Bonus recipe – Doughnut Muffins aka Duffins

Last week I had the chance to contribute to a charity bake sale for a Macmillan Coffee morning. I decided to try another bake inspired by Bea’s of Bloomsbury – and these Duffins turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever baked!! I was almost reluctant to hand them over, if it hadn’t been for charity I might’ve eaten them all myself. I’ll definitely be making them again, and soon.

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Makes: 8   Time: 40 mins   Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

300g self-raising flour

85g caster sugar

pinch salt

80ml vegetable oil

1 medium egg

175ml semi-skimmed milk

1 tbsp lemon juice (concentrate)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Coating and filling

100g caster sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

200g melted butter

4-8 tsp jam (I used seeded raspberry jam)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease 8 holes of your muffin tin.
  2. Add the lemon juice to the milk and leave to sit for 2 mins. (This is a substitute for buttermilk which can’t always be found easily but this solution works just as well).
  3. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the vegetable oil, egg and vanilla to the milk and lemon mix.
  5. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until they have just combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray holes, filling them three quarters of the way up. Bake in the oven for approx. 20 mins – a cocktail stick inserted in the middle should come out dry and crumbly.
  7. While the muffins are baking, put the melted butter in one shallow bowl and combine the sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.
  8. Remove the muffins from the oven and tip out of the tray onto a wire rack. Using a pastry brush, liberally coat the muffins in the melted butter then roll in the sugar mix to evenly coat.
  9. Fill a piping bag with the jam and push the nozzle midway into the muffin – through the bottom if you want them to look neat or I like the dollop showing through the top. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of jam into each ‘duffin’.

Best Ever Rocky Road! What’s in yours?

Primrose Bakery / Rocky Road

2015-10-06 22.20.17Next up on my quest to find London’s best cakes is Primrose Bakery near Covent Garden. The smell of fresh baking and sweet icing as I walked in was delicious! The cafe has a lovely retro feel with a beautiful display of cakes.

I decided to go for the rocky road – I’m cheating a bit, I know I can replicate this easily at home. It was rich, super chocolatey and had a tang of cherries. It was pretty good but I have to say I prefer my own recipe! That’s the best thing about baking at home, you can adapt recipes to suit your own taste.

PB Rocky Road

Of course I couldn’t visit Primrose Bakery without ordering one of their famous cocktail cupcakes so I also got a Peach Bellini cupcake to take home for later… Recreating the delicate flavour and swirl of icing on this cake will take more effort however so look out for a future post on that.

PB Bellini

Primrose Bakery – 42 Tavistock Street, WC2E 7PB

Nearest Tube: Covent Garden, Temple

My Best Ever Rocky Road Recipe

Rocky road is one of my favourite treats to make – it’s so easy and so delicious.

20151005_102514My top tip for rocky road is to chop up full size marshmallows rather than use mini marshmallows. The full size ones are much gooier and make all the difference. I also love raisins in my rocky road – I’m not actually a big fan of raisins and even pick them out of scones but they add a lovely chewiness to the rocky road without you really noticing they’re in there.

My latest twist on this recipe is, of course, to add salted caramel. I did warn you this might come up in every recipe! In my defence, I have a jar of it in the fridge from the last recipe and needed to use it up…

Makes: 12    Time: 20 mins    Difficulty: Very Easy

Ingredients

200g soft butter

450g dark chocolate, broken up

tablespoons golden syrup

200g digestive biscuits 

100g marshmallows, full size ones cut in half (so much gooier and yummier than mini marshmallows!)

100g raisins

4 tbsp salted caramel sauce

2 tsp icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

  1. Chop your marshmallows in half with a sharp knife.
  2. Put the digestives into a freezer bag and then bash them with a rolling pin (I’ve always said baking is therapeutic!) until you have crumbs and pieces of biscuit. Pour into mixing bowl. Add chopped marshmallows and raisins to bowl.
  3. Gently melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan.
  4. Pour just over half the melted choc into the mixing bowl, leaving the rest in the saucepan (keeping it warm so it can later be poured over the top). Mix well.
  5. Tip into a foil tray (roughly 24cm / 9 inch square) and spread the mixture evenly.
  6. Melt the salted caramel sauce in a saucepan and pour over the mixture. (Alternatively, you can do this at the end and drizzle the salted caramel over the top of the chocolate for a lovely gooey effect.)
  7. Pour the reserved melted chocolate over the biscuit mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  8. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.
  9. Cut into squares and use a sieve to dust with icing sugar .

Experiment!

The best thing about Rocky Road is that you can make it your own by adding your favourite treats. Here’s some ideas:

  • Chop up and mix in your favourite chocolate bars – snickers, mars, crunchie, maltesers, rolo’s etc
  • Try with shortbead or rich teas even ginger nuts instead of / as well as digestives
  • Add dried cranberries, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, meringue, cherries
  • Anything else you can think of! Just remember to adjust the amount of chocolate mixture you need to cover it all…

How do you make yours? I’d love to hear from you!

Rocky Road

Bea’s of Bloomsbury Townie / Salted Caramel Townie Recipe

It makes sense to start my adventure into finding London’s best cakes with a cake invented in London – the Townie. A cross between a tart and brownie, this hybrid treat is London’s answer to New York’s ‘Cronut’. Created by Bea Vo from Bea’s of Bloomsbury, the townie is a delicious mash up of fudgy chocolate brownie encased in a pastry tart shell. Sounds amazing, I couldn’t wait to try it!

I visited the St Paul’s location of Bea’s on a lovely sunny afternoon and sat outside where I could see the cathedral and watch the world pass by.

Bea's of Bloomsbury    Bea's cakes

Bea's cake counter

Bea’s of Bloomsbury is known for it’s afternoon tea but also does a great selection of individual cakes including Valrhona brownies, duffins (doughnut muffin hybrid), cinnamon buns and of course, the Townie. It was a battle of willpower not to order one of each! I do love Bea’s simple philosophy though and fully intend to follow it;

Life is short. Eat more cake.

The Townie was a perfect balance of crumbly, flaky pastry shell and fudgy brownie filling with a crisp sugary crust on top. Just enough chocolate-y goodness to satisfy my sweet tooth without being too much. Delicious and totally worth the calories!

Bea's Tea and Townie Bea's Townie

Bea’s of Bloomsbury, – St Paul’s, 83 Watling Street, EC4M 9BX

Nearest Tube: St Paul’s


My Salted Caramel Townie Recipe

Bea’s recipe is secret so I have adapted a recipe I found on greatbritishchefs.com. My main adaptation was to halve the ingredients to mitigate the very real risk of eating 10 Townies all by myself…

I also added salted caramel – not only because it is my favourite invention ever (there’s a danger all recipes in this blog will be salted caramel flavour) but also because I may have slightly undercooked the brownie mix and the caramel helped to disguise the sunken middle! Most delicious recipe fix ever..

Makes: 5      Time: 1 hour

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Ingredients

Pastry

125g plain flour

100g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

50g icing sugar

1 egg yolk

pinch salt

Filling

75g dark chocolate, broken up

60g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

45g plain flour

1 egg

5 tbsp salted caramel sauce (I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference)

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, butter, icing sugar and salt. Cream together with your fingers until well combined.
  2. Add the egg yolk and work it in with your fingertips until the dough comes together. Knead 3 or 4 times until smooth, then roll into a ball, wrap with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 3mm thickness.
  4. Cut out rounds slightly larger than the diameter of the tins you’re using (I didn’t have tart tins so used a muffin tin which was fiddly but worked). Place the rounds into the tin, and press the dough gently into the tin.
  5. If you have time, rest for 20 minutes in the fridge (I actually forgot this step and they were fine!)
  6. Preheat oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4
  7. Prick the pastry bases with a fork, and line with baking paper and baking beans. Tip: You can also use rice or lentils to weigh down the baking paper. Save them after baking for future use. 
  8. Bake for 5 minutes
  9. Remove the paper and baking beans and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the base is lightly golden
  10. In the meantime, for the filling, place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth
  11. Remove from the heat. Add the sugar and flour and stir until well mixed. Then stir in the egg and mix until thick and smooth
  12. Pour the filling into the pastry shells, and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 120˚C and bake for a further 8 minutes, or until crisp on the top and soft in the centre
  13. Leave to cool in the tins before turning them out.
    Tip: turn them out by placing the wire rack on top of the muffin tray then holding the edges turn it over and gently shake
  14. Once cooled, dollop a spoonful of salted caramel sauce in the centre of each Townie.

Result – my pastry was a little less delicate than Bea’s, more crumbly and buttery, and the filling was a lot gooier but these Townie’s are oh so delicious! Good thing I only made 5…

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