How to use this book
Limoncello Brandy Snap Curls
Lemon and Pistachio Cheesecake Pots
Coconut and Lime Teacup Puddings
Caramelised Marmalade French Toast
Lime and Ginger Drizzle Cake Traybake
Lemon and Poppy Seed Pancake Stack
Orange, Pistachio and Pomegranate Cakes
Grapefruit and White Chocolate Possets with Shortbread
Lemon Meringue Profiteroles
Preserved Lemon and Olive Focaccia
Lemon and Lime Battenberg
Mini Doughnut Muffins
Quick Berry Crumbles
Mango and Prawn Filo Cups
Honey Scones with Rhubarb Compote
Peaches and Cream Cupcakes
Sweet and Sour Apple Crisps
Passionfruit Viennese Whirls
Raspberry Crêpe Cake
Blackcurrant and Peanut Macarons
Persian Fruit Cake
Coconut Custard Tart with Caramelised Pineapple
Cherry and Marzipan Pie
Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread
Honey and Sea Salt Roasted Nuts
Peanut Butter Cookies
Coffee Bean and Almond Brittle
Sticky Maple Pecan Pudding
Frangipane Puff Pastry Pies
Pecan Praline Brownies
Flourless Hazelnut Torte
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Roulade
Peshwari Naan Breads
Nutty Chocolate Babka
Oriental Satay Popcorn
Fire Fries with Raita Dip
Spiced Milk and Honey Cake
Speculoos Cookie Spread
Chilli Chocolate Churros
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Cumin and Sesame Crackers with Whipped Goat’s Cheese
Sugar and Spice Doughnuts
Chilli and Garlic Flatbreads
Chai Tea Panna Cotta
Eggnog Layer Cake
Gooey Sharing Cookie
Lacy Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce
Mint Chocolate Mousses
Toasted Marshmallow Flapjacks
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
Earl Grey, Caramel and Chocolate Loaf Cake
Mississippi Mud Pie
Triple Chocolate Éclairs
Caramelised White Chocolate Cake
Death by Chocolate Cake
Salted Caramel Sauce
Hot Chocolate with Caramel Pretzel Bites
Brown Sugar Beignets
Salted Caramel Cornflake Bars
Caramel Madeleines with Buttered Rum Sauce
Brown Butter Caramel Tartlets
Malted Millionaire’s Slices
Butterscotch Thumbprint Cookies
Burnt Caramel Banana Bread
Coffee Caramel Monkey Bread
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
Baked Époisses Fondue with Prosciutto Dippers
Parmesan and Chipotle Crisps
Smoked Cheddar Welsh Rarebit
Tartiflette Potato Skins
Triple Cheese Gougères
Butternut Squash and Feta Empanadas
Cherry and Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies
Cheese and Marmite Sausage Rolls
Mini Pork and Stilton Pies
Fig and Manchego Loaf
Gouda and Smoked Paprika Pretzels
Bramble Crêpes Suzette
Brandy Butter Bread Pudding
Whiskey Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cherry Kirsch Soufflés
Pisco Sour Angel Food Cake
Mai Tai Rum Babas
Espresso Martini Cheesecake
Mulled Wine Pavlova
Irish Cream Pretzel Cake
Gin and Tonic Lime Pie
List of Searchable Terms
About the Publisher
I have loved food for as long as I can remember. I was the child who looked forward to grocery shopping because I loved to see all the fresh fruits piled precariously in displays and to marvel at the number of intricately shaped pasta varieties in their colourful packets. Trailing slowly behind my mum, I’d wander through the aisles trying to sneak the new foods that I was curious to try into the trolley. I couldn’t (and still can’t) make it home with an intact baguette, as resisting the temptation to tear off the knobbly end and sink my teeth into the golden crust encasing the soft, chewy bread was beyond me. I’d spend Sunday afternoons thumbing through my mum’s Nigella collection, devouring the pages with my eyes and picking out recipes to try to persuade my parents to let me make.
I was the girl who always had a hot school dinner because I hated the mundane predictability of a packed lunch. Taking my plastic tray up to the hatch and choosing a meal that I felt like eating was an experience to which I would look forward with great anticipation. The food may not have been incredible, but I had the choice of what I ate, and I loved it. In restaurants, I’d always ask for a spare plate rather than a meal of my own so I could sample everyone else’s food at the table instead. I adored having a little taste of everything. I remember being sorely disappointed when I became too old for the empty-plate approach to be socially acceptable and had to order my own food. I couldn’t relate to fussy eaters, as the thought of not knowing how a new food sitting on my plate tasted was an alien concept to me. I’ve been fascinated by flavour and had a thirst to understand food for longer than I’ve been able to cook it.
My earliest memory of a craving (embarrassing as this is for a baker who valiantly aims to champion homemade cooking) is butterscotch Angel Delight. I was transfixed by the kitchen magic that occurred; how whisking a beige powder with cold milk would transform it into a thick, cloudy mass with an unnatural, gelatinous texture. My sister and I adored it, and the artificial buttery flavour evokes a certain nostalgia that I’ve struggled to replicate. We crave the things we love; the foods that make us happy. That’s how the idea for this book was born.
Crave is a book focused on my love affair with food; on glorifying ingredients in their purest form as well as showing how to combine flavours to create sensational bakes. Living in an age crammed full of dieting and healthy-eating cookbooks, I was desperate for a change, and I hope Crave offers just that. This is a book that should speak to that inner voice we all have which asks ‘What do I really feel like eating?’ It is aimed squarely at loving, appreciating and celebrating food for what it is, without an ounce of guilt for indulging the body and mind in what they desire. By no means am I suggesting that you throw healthy eating out of the window and base your diet on these recipes; I am fully supportive of eating a balanced, nutritious diet. However, I am also a firm believer in the importance of treating yourself every now and again. Food, especially baking, should be fun! This book is full of recipes that will satisfy your cravings on those self-indulgent days.
Cravings are a curious phenomenon. What starts as an insignificant little niggle at the back of your mind, gently hinting at the kind of food needed to hit the spot, can quickly grow into a compulsion that demands to be satisfied. The kind that drives you out of bed in the middle of the night to raid the fridge for a morsel of cheese, or causes you to sneak away from your desk in a desperate hunt for a square of chocolate to go with your coffee. This book is organised into chapters focused on eight of the most common cravings: Citrus, Fruit, Nut, Spice, Chocolate, Caramel, Cheese and Alcohol. Starting with recipes for refreshing citrus breakfasts to start the day with vigour, through ambrosial caramel delights to satisfy even the sweetest tooth, and ending with dark and devious ways to imbue delectable bakes with alcoholic tipples, there is something here to sate every appetite.
In the words of Virginia Woolf:
‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well .’
Crave is everything I love about baking. I bake to please, to nurture, to comfort, to entertain and, most importantly, to enjoy, and I hope that radiates through these pages.
How to use this book
I bake with immediate consumption in mind. I’m an impatient baker, and I want to be rewarded for my toils as quickly as possible – whether that is with a super-quick bake or by sneaking a spoonful of hot gooey brownies fresh from the oven before they have had the chance to cool. The three categories of recipes represent the different amounts of time needed to create bakes to satisfy your cravings. You’ll notice the headers at the top of each recipe page.
These recipes take less than 20 minutes. They are go-to quick treats that can be rustled up in next to no time when you need something to hit the spot. You’ll find clever tips and shortcuts to help speed up your favourite bakes.
Taking less than an hour to create from start to finish, these include everything from amazingly quick cakes to biscuits and savoury snacks. These are the recipes that you can always sneak a bite from while they cool, if you can’t wait any longer.
These recipes take over an hour, allowing plenty of time for more lengthy baking processes, such as proving and rising, and for flavours to steep right into bakes. These are recipes that truly reward the patience you expend and will not disappoint you.
The key to fitting these recipes into the allotted time is preparation. Set out and measure all your ingredients before you begin so you don’t waste time scouring the kitchen for a missing item or get halfway through and realise you’ve run out of something vital. Do the same with your equipment, so that once you are in the swing of things, everything is within easy reach. Remember to preheat the oven before you start, too. I have timed and tested these recipes vigilantly to make sure they are achievable in the time specified. Some might take a little practice at first, but your go-to recipes will soon become second nature.
Some flavours are perfect partners and it’s a regular occurrence for me to find myself craving not one but two (or even more!) flavours and ingredients – dark chocolate and orange, warming spices and caramel, or savoury cheese with sweet fruit. I’ve flagged these classic combos with small icons on the recipe pages.
My kitchen is bursting at the seams with equipment, some that I use every single day and couldn’t bear to be without, and some that sits gathering dust for most of the year. This is a list of my essential kit, the things I use on a regular basis that aid my baking.
Electric hand-held whisks and stand mixers are a godsend. They make cake making so much quicker, and are essential for tasks like whipping egg whites and making light buttercreams. Electric hand-held whisks are more affordable than stand mixers, but if you bake a lot, a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or Kenwood kMix is a worthwhile investment: it will revolutionise the way you bake.
Wire cooling racks
Often overlooked, wire racks are really important in making sure whatever you’ve put time and effort into baking yields the very best results. Elevating a hot bake allows air to circulate and prevents condensation from forming, avoiding sogginess and helping the bake cool evenly and quickly.
Perhaps the most essential kit. They come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be daunting choosing which ones to invest in. The tins I regularly use and recommend purchasing are round 18cm and 20cm deep loose-bottomed tins, ideally three of each so you don’t have to bake in batches for a multilayered cake. A 20 × 20cm square tin, 450g loaf tin, 12-hole muffin tin, 24-hole mini muffin tin, pie dish and a 20 × 35cm traybake tin are also useful.
Baking trays and baking sheets
Although they are very similar, baking trays and sheets serve different purposes so I have both in my kitchen. Baking trays have a lip around the edge to prevent whatever you’re baking rolling off the edge (ideal for roasting nuts). Baking sheets are completely flat, so there is more surface area to bake cookies or biscuits.
Jars, bags and boxes
I always have an array of glass jars, presentation bags and cake boxes on hand so that anything I bake can be easily packaged as a gift. Jars need sterilising before you fill them. To do this, simply wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse with clean water then dry them completely in an oven preheated to 110°C/90°C fan/gas 1 /4 (this will take 5–10 minutes) before filling.
These are handy for both sweet and savoury cooking. They cut the time it takes to chop nuts and create purées, and can even make pastry without you getting your hands dirty. Powerful processors are expensive, so for a more budget-friendly option, go for a mini food processor or stick blender with a chopping bowl attachment, which are perfect for blitzing small quantities of nuts, dough or praline for ‘instant’ recipes.
I use ice-cream scoops for so much more than scooping ice-cream. In fact, it is probably one of my most-used pieces of kitchen equipment. I have three sizes and they are ideal for making even-sized cupcakes, perfectly circular cookies and distributing batters between cake tins.
To get a beautiful, smooth finish on iced cakes, you will need a palette knife. I have a larger one for smoothing the edges of my cakes, and a mini offset knife for adding detail to the top of cakes.
Piping bags and nozzles
I use disposable piping bags as they’re so handy – you can snip off the end of the bags once filled, creating holes of various sizes without always needing to use a nozzle. Where I suggest a disposable bag, do use a reusable piping bag if you prefer. For icing cupcakes and large cakes, my favourite nozzles are open and closed stars, as they create a beautiful ruffled effect.
Baking parchment and baking sheet liners
I find lining tins time-consuming and a real chore, so I buy pre-cut circles of baking parchment the same sizes as my round tins. They reduce preparation time and are ideal for my ‘Instant’ and ‘Soon’ recipes. I cover baking sheets with a reusable non-stick baking liner to save the need to grease them.
Reliable, good-quality digital scales are a must. Baking is a science that requires accuracy to obtain good results, so inaccurate scales will limit you.
A common measurement people get wrong is teaspoon and tablespoon measures, as it is very easy to overestimate or underestimate spoon measures if you’re weighing by eye or using ordinary cutlery. Get hold of a cook’s measuring spoon set.
Fresh, good-quality ingredients raise an average bake to a great one and really make it sing. These are my top storecupboard ingredients which I make sure I always have in stock.
The humble egg is the most versatile ingredient in baking. It can be used to bind mixtures, aerate puddings, thicken custards and set into firm structures like meringue. I use medium free-range eggs in my recipes unless otherwise stated. Fresh eggs yield the lightest, fluffiest bakes, so use your freshest eggs for making cake batters. Slightly older eggs will make brilliant meringues or macarons. Store your eggs at room temperature for baking – egg whites and yolks combine much more easily at room temperature and will disperse through batter more smoothly.
Butter is my favourite ingredient by far to use in baking. Its rich, full flavour is what makes caramels so moreish and ganache so smooth. I always use salted butter in baking unless otherwise specified. I find the saltiness is the perfect partner for sweet and savoury recipes and it’s what I spread liberally on my toast, so its something I always have to hand. Unsalted butter is necessary in some cases – buttercreams and delicate pastries can be overwhelmed by salt, so keep this in mind. Use the butter at the temperature that the recipe states – cold for pastry and room temperature for sponge or buttercream – as this can make or break a bake.
Many chefs specify whole milk for baking, but if you don’t normally have it in the fridge, don’t buy it especially unless the recipe specifies it. Whole milk has a high percentage of butterfat (a minimum of 3.5%) so can yield a creamier result, but semi-skimmed milk (1.5–1.8% butterfat) will still do the job. I often use semi-skimmed milk to make bakes, and it works perfectly.
Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda are the two raising agents I use to make bakes rise or spread out. For any chemistry geeks like me who want to know how they work, here’s a brief explanation. A reaction between an acid and a base creates carbon dioxide bubbles, which cause a cake mixture to rise. Bicarbonate of soda is a base, so an acidic ingredient needs to be present in the mixture for it to react with to create the bubbles. Lemon juice, buttermilk or cocoa powder, among many others, do the trick. Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda (a base) and cream of tartar (an acid), so both the acid and base required for the reaction are already present, and your bake will rise with no further assistance.
There are many different kinds of salt available, so it can be confusing to know what’s best for baking. Fine table salt is generally what’s called for, as its fine texture can evenly disperse throughout bread dough and cake batter. Sea salt has a better flavour and is perfect for adding a final flourish to caramels, breads and snacks.
From clouds of white icing sugar to clumps of moist, fudgy, soft, dark brown sugar, there are so many varieties of the sweet stuff that, when used in baking, produce completely different results. Caster sugar is the most commonly used in this book as its fine texture and neutral flavour provide a great base for most sweet recipes. I try to buy Fairtrade sugar to ensure that it is grown and harvested ethically (it is rarely pricier than standard sugar).
I use fast-action dried yeast (also known as instant, easy-blend or easy-bake yeast) in baking as I find it the easiest to work with. It doesn’t need to be activated with warm water or milk, it can just be added straight to dry ingredients and will work perfectly. Always check the use-by date on packs of yeast, as out-of-date yeast may fail to make your bread rise.
I use a mixture of self-raising flour and plain flour in this book, as I always seem to have a glut of both flours, and it seems a shame to let one go to waste. If a recipe specifies self-raising flour but you don’t have any, you can easily substitute it by adding 1 /2 a teaspoon of baking powder to 100g plain flour and using this in its place. Strong bread flour is essential in bread-making and some pastries as it contains a higher level of gluten necessary for maintaining structure.
Nothing awakens a half-asleep body like a morning sip of sharp orange juice or soothes illness like warmed lemon and honey. A glass of ice-cold lemonade is all you need to feel summery, and an afternoon making marmalade in the Seville orange season in January and February is a midwinter ray of sunshine.
My grandma starts her day with half a grapefruit, cutting into it with a spoon and bursting through the segments, creating a spray of juice that showers everyone at the table. I once thought I could handle it, but the tart, tangy flavour was overwhelming for my young taste buds. I’ve since learnt that citrus juice can be variously mellowed, perhaps adding sugar to make drizzles for cakes or incorporating it into creamy cheesecakes or possets.
Slicing into citrus fruits reveals a complex network of brightly coloured, almost translucent segments packed with tiny juice sacs that glisten in the light. They are held together by geometrically satisfying strips of white pith, which allow the fruits to fall apart neatly when peeled and split into segments.
When selecting citrus fruits for baking, choose firm, brightly coloured specimens that feel heavy for their size, as they should yield the most juice. If you are going to grate or pare the zest (which I recommend, as it contains the citrus oils that characterise each fruit), be sure to buy them unwaxed, as the protective wax coating applied to fruits has a bitter flavour and tough texture. If you can’t find unwaxed fruits, remove the wax by washing them in hot water and scrubbing them with a brush. Before juicing fruits, roll them on a worktop. The pressure of rolling bursts open some of the segments inside, which makes them easier to juice.
Limoncello brandy snap curls
Once you try making your own brandy snaps, they will no longer be condemned to the folder marked ‘difficult bakes’. These delicious retro treats are made with storecupboard ingredients and can be whipped up quickly if you make a small quantity. The key here is to be vigilant when you’re weighing the ingredients; being a few grams out really does make a difference in this recipe. I’ve paired the snaps with a limoncello cream because I love the way it brings out the citrus flavour in the brandy snap, but if you’d rather make alcohol-free brandy snaps substitute the limoncello for lemon juice or just dip them into plain whipped cream.
MAKES 8 BRANDY SNAP CURLS
PREP TIME: 10 MINS PLUS COOLING
COOKING TIME: 6–8 MINS
Oil, for greasing
25g soft light brown sugar
25g golden syrup
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and 1 tsp juice
25g plain flour
100ml double cream
1 tsp icing sugar
1 tbsp limoncello
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4, line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and grease a rolling pin or long, thin bottle with oil.
Stir the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest, reserving a pinch to garnish the limoncello cream.
Sift the flour into the saucepan and beat it into the mixture until a smooth dough forms.
Using a teaspoon, drop about 4 heaps of mixture on to each tray. It will be fairly runny, but this is normal. Make sure that you leave space between the heaps, as they will spread out when they bake.
Bake for 6–8 minutes until golden brown, spread out and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a minute so they mould easily without tearing. As they cool they take on their signature lacy pattern.
Wedge the greased rolling pin or bottle between a couple of heavy objects so it is stable when you place the snaps on it. Use a palette knife to lift the warm snaps on to the rolling pin and gently press them down so they bend around the cylinder to make curls. Leave to set until cool and crisp.
Whisk the cream, icing sugar and limoncello in a bowl until the mixture forms soft peaks then spoon it into a small serving bowl. Top with the reserved lemon zest. Use the brandy snap curls to scoop the lemon cream as a treat to share or as a dessert.
Lemon and pistachio cheesecake pots
No-bake cheesecakes are one of my guilty pleasures. I used to make these pots for my sister and me when we were young, and she’d always be in awe of how quickly I could create a cheesecake. We’d try different flavours, depending on what we had in the cupboard, but this is my favourite: creamy lemon and vibrant green pistachios with a layer of luscious lemon curd peeking through in the centre. Try this recipe with any combination of curd or nuts to tailor it to any fussy family member!
MAKES 2 CHEESECAKE POTS
PREP TIME: 15 MINS PLUS CHILLING TIME
COOKING TIME: 2 MINS
60g digestive biscuits
40g pistachio nuts, plus extra to decorate
200g full-fat cream cheese
Grated zest and juice of 1 /2 unwaxed lemon
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon curd
To make the base, melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Place the digestive biscuits in a small food processor with the pistachios and blitz until the biscuits and the nuts are crushed. If you haven’t got a food processor, crush the biscuits to a powder by putting them in a bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. Finely chop the nuts with a sharp knife and combine them with the crushed biscuits. Place the ground biscuits and nuts in a bowl and stir in the melted butter. Divide the mixture between 2 small glasses and press it down into an even layer. Transfer to the fridge to chill.
Beat the cream cheese for the filling with the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Stir through half the lemon zest, reserving the rest for decoration.
Divide half the cream cheese mixture between the biscuit bases, then top with the lemon curd. Finish with the rest of the cream cheese mixture. Top with the rest of the lemon zest and a few chopped pistachio nuts. You can eat these desserts straight away or make up to 3 days ahead and keep them in the fridge.
Coconut and lime teacup puddings
This is a sophisticated, tea-party twist on a mug cake. The liquid poured over the top serves two purposes: it keeps the sponge moist, which is really important in a microwaved sponge as they have a tendency to dry out, and it soaks through the pudding, creating a surprise citrus sauce at the bottom of the cup.
MAKES 2 PUDDINGS
PREP TIME: 5 MINS
COOKING TIME: 2 MINS IN THE MICROWAVE OR 12–14 MINS IN THE OVEN
50g butter, plus extra for greasing
50g self-raising flour
50g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 /2 unwaxed lime
25ml coconut milk from a shaken can
25g granulated sugar
Grease 2 oven-safe porcelain teacups or ramekins with plenty of butter and set to one side.
In a small food processor, blitz the butter, flour, caster sugar and egg together until they resemble a smooth, thick batter. (You can do this by hand in a large bowl, but it will take a little longer.) Fold through the lime zest and divide the mixture between the 2 teacups or ramekins.
Mix together the coconut milk, lime juice and granulated sugar in a small jug. Pour this mixture over the puddings so the top is covered in liquid.
Cook in the microwave on full power for 2 minutes until the cake is risen and the top is springy. Alternatively, bake in an oven preheated to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 for 12–14 minutes until they are risen and golden.
Allow to cool for a minute or two before turning out on to a plate or enjoying straight from the cup or ramekin.
Caramelised marmalade French toast
Perennially popular French toast is a fantastically fast and impressive-looking breakfast dish. It’s a great way to use up slices of leftover bread, too – I use brioche here for its rich, sweet flavour but any type of bread will work. This is my favourite way to eat French toast: sticky and caramelised in the marmalade, with an oozing melted chocolate centre. Bitter orange with rich chocolate and sweet brioche is a combination to die for.
PREP TIME: 5 MINS
COOKING TIME: 10 MINS
125ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange and juice of 1 /2
25g caster sugar
1 /4 × 400g brioche loaf
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp orange marmalade
Beat together the egg, milk, vanilla extract and orange zest in a wide dish that is large enough to accommodate a slice of brioche comfortably. Add the sugar to the mix and beat again.
Cut 2 thick slices from the brioche loaf and slice each piece diagonally in half to make 4 triangles. Make a small horizontal incision in the side of each slice using a sharp knife and stuff the cavity with a few chocolate chips, then pinch the edges together to seal.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan or griddle pan over a medium–high heat. Dip each stuffed slice of brioche into the egg mixture and allow to soak briefly until saturated. Fry each slice until browned and caramelised on the bottom, then flip over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you fry the remaining pieces.
Heat the marmalade and orange juice together in the frying pan until bubbling. Allow to bubble for 1–2 minutes, then return the French toast slices to the pan with the marmalade and coat them in the glaze. Serve immediately.
Lime and ginger drizzle cake traybake
Changing the type of drizzle on a cake is now commonplace, but don’t forget that you can change the cake, too – don’t just stick to vanilla sponge! Ginger cake is already deliciously moist, but drenching it in lime juice mixed with demerara sugar only improves it further. Citrus flavours like lemon or lime lighten warm spices like ginger and make each square of this cake really refreshing.
MAKES ABOUT 16 SQUARES
PREP TIME: 15 MINS PLUS COOLING
COOKING TIME: 30–35 MINS
200g butter, plus extra for greasing
250g soft dark brown sugar
100g golden syrup
1 ball stem ginger from a jar in syrup, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lime
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
Juice of 3 limes
100g demerara sugar
25g crystallised ginger, cut into small cubes (optional)
You will also need a 20 × 20cm cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4, grease the cake tin and line it with baking parchment.
Place the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a large saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove from the heat and pour the milk into the saucepan of hot butter and sugar mixture, whisking until combined. This will cool the mixture down before you add the egg, preventing it from scrambling. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time, then stir in the chopped stem ginger and most of the lime zest, reserving some for decoration.
Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger in a large bowl. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the saucepan and beat until well combined.
Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30–35 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, prepare the drizzle. Mix the lime juice and demerara sugar together in a small jug. Just 5 minutes after the cake comes out of the oven, while it’s still in the tin, pour over the drizzle and spread it right to the edges of the cake. Sprinkle over the crystallised ginger cubes (if using) and remaining lime zest, then leave to stand for at least 15 minutes so the drizzle can soak into the sponge properly. Remove from the tin and cut the cake into squares. This cake will keep for up to 1 week.
Lemon and poppy seed pancake stack
This is lazy weekend food, for those times when towering stacks of fluffy pancakes dripping in syrup are the only thing worth crawling out from under the duvet for. The lemon juice in the batter serves two functions: it gives the pancakes a beautiful flavour, and its acidity reacts with bicarbonate of soda to make them rise up into soft pillows.
MAKES 8 PANCAKES
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOKING TIME: 15–20 MINS
150g plain flour
1 /2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 /2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp caster sugar
100g natural yoghurt
Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tbsp poppy seeds
25g butter, plus extra for frying (if needed)
Whipped cream or mascarpone cheese, to serve
100g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Small knob of butter
1 tbsp double cream
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar. Beat together the egg, milk and yoghurt in a large jug, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and poppy seeds.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add it to the pancake batter and mix until smooth.
When you’re ready to fry the pancakes, use an ice-cream scoop or simply transfer the batter back into the jug and pour roughly 8cm-diameter discs into the buttered frying pan. Try to make each pancake the same size, so they stack neatly on top of each other. Fry each pancake for about 1 minute on each side over a medium heat, waiting until the top of the pancake is bubbly but feels dry before turning it. Add a very small amount of butter between frying each one if the pancakes start to stick. Put the cooked pancakes on a baking tray in a low oven, covered with a sheet of tin foil, so you can serve all the pancakes warm at the same time.
While the pancakes are frying, make the lemon syrup. Place the caster sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over a low heat and let it boil until the sugar dissolves. When the syrup is thick and bubbling, stir in the butter and double cream.
Stack the pancakes up on a plate, then pour the syrup over the top of the pancakes so it drips down the sides. Top with a little whipped cream or a spoonful of mascarpone cheese, then serve immediately.