earl cake earl grey & lemon

The humble lemon meringue pie is a huge favourite of many but its reputation as boring or a bit old fashioned means it can sometimes be overlooked.  So with this in mind one of our lovely cremettes was given the task of coming up with a glamourous version of  this classic.  So let us introduce you to our lemon and earl grey torte…..ta-dah!  This is the perfect grown up decadent desert and this is how we made it:

Earl grey and lemon torte

earl grey bse

For the base

75g (3oz) butter

25g (1oz) demerara sugar

175g (6oz) digestive biscuits, finely crushed (see tip below)

You will need a 23cm (9in) round, straight-sided or fluted ceramic tart dish, about 4cm (1½ in) deep. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

2 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into the flan dish using the back of a spoon to bring the crumbs up around the sides of the dish and smooth the base in an even layer.

FOR THE FILLING

lemon cutting

1 x 394g tin of full-fat, sweetened condensed milk (see tip below)

3 egg yolks (see tip below)

finely grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons

To make the filling, first pour the condensed milk into a bowl, then beat in the egg yolks, lemon rind and strained juice. The mixture will appear to thicken on standing, then loosen again as soon as it is stirred. This is caused by the combination of condensed milk and lemon juice and is nothing to worry about. Pour the mixture into the biscuit-lined dish.

Pour the filling onto the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins at 190c/170c then set aside to firm up

lemon filling

FOR THE MERINGUES

4 egg whites, 225g caster sugar, 1tsp lemon extract

whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, add half of the sugar and lemon extract whisk again until glossy, add the remaining sugar then spoon into a piping bag with a large star nozzle,pipe out small meringues pictured

earl grey mer

Bake in oven for 30 mins at 120c then reduce to 100c and bake for a further 3o mins.  set aside to decorate

EARL GREY BUTTERCREAM

6 earl grey teabags

6 tb spoons of boiling water

100g softened butter

160g icing sugar

buttercream

 

Let the teabags steep for as long as possible (min 30mins) and squeeze teabags to get as much liquid as possible

whisk the softened butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy and then slowly add the tea infusion.  you may need to add extra icing sugar at this point

Once the torte has cooled and the filling is firm spread over the buttercream with a spatula, then place the meringues on top.

The citrus flavour of the bergamot in the earl grey compliments the lemon filling beautifully and gives a gorgeous colour and faint aroma to the buttercream.  This recipe may seem a little fiddly but any extra effort is definitely rewarded in the taste department, we promise!

side view

lemon fireplace

Although our lemon drizzle cake is popular all year long, there is something about easter and spring that makes us go extra crazy about it.  Maybe its their bright, cheerful colour lifting us out of the darkness of winter or simply that they smell so refreshing.  Whatever it is, year after year this easy recipe always provides a sweet, zesty slice of spring!

We normally make lemon drizzle loaves but this recipe is perfect for little fairy cakes,lemon bars or an elegant afternoon tea cake.

lemon cake

 

 

Ingredients

SPONGE

2 eggs

175g caster sugar

150g of butter, plus extra for greasing

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

175g self raising flour

125ml milk

icing sugar for dusting, if you fancy

lemon cakeplate

SYRUP

140g icing sugar

50ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice  – double these quantities for an extra zesty syrup

 

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180 degrees/ 350 fahrenheit/ gas mark 4

Grease your loaf tin or cake tin

Place the eggs,caster sugar and butter together and whisk until smooth and fluffy.  Mix in the lemon rind

Fold the flour into the mixture and add the milk, mix evenly

Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch

(fairy cakes and shallow baking trays will all bake in alot less time (15-20min) so keep checking on the sponge’s progress)

While the cake is baking, make the syrup by placing the icing sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan, heating gently and stirring until the sugar dissolves – do not boil.

When ready take sponge out of the oven and while still hot prick the cake with a skewer and spoon the hot syrup evenly over the top, allowing it to be absorbed.

leave to cool in its tin and dust with a little icing sugar or decorate with candied lemons.

Make a hot cup of tea and try a slice – the enders are particularly lemony and delicious!

lemon circle

 

rasp

make it this deliciously, decadant white chocolate and raspberry cake! Everyone loves chocolate but sometimes the heat of summer makes even the most die hard chocaholics reach for a lighter sponge.  So learn this simple recipe combining fresh raspberries and white chocolate to keep everyone sweet this summer.  This recipe is our lovely baker Jane’s own recipe, and most of it goes straight into our staff’s tummies – thats how delicious it is.

White chocolate & raspberry cake

 Ingredients

6oz self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder                                                                        Ganache/ frosting

6oz soft butter/margarine                                                                              200g white chocolate

3 eggs                                                                                                                 200g double cream

2 tablespoons of milk                                                                                         100g icing sugar

2.5oz fresh raspberries                                                                                     30g seedless raspberry jam

raspberry cake

 method

preheat oven to 180 degrees

combine ALL the ingredients EXCEPT  the raspberries and beat for 2 minutes, then pour 2/3 of the mixture

into the cake tin, scatter the fresh raspberries onto the mixture then pour the rest of the batter on top and cook in the oven

for 20-30 mins

Ganache – place chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water – ban marie style – melt the chocolate and slowly add the cream until all combined.  Leave in the fridge for 2 hours, stirring every so often

Once the ganache has thickened add 100g of icing sugar, mix well and leave to chill in the fridge for another hour.

Take ganache out of fridge add the strawberry jam and mix well.  Once the cake has cooled and ganache is ready, spread over cake and decorate with fresh raspberries.

rasp sl

spring cookies

spring cookies

 

One of the nicest things about baking ,apart from eating the goods, is sharing recipes. Some of the most unlikelist friendships are formed over a good victoria sponge recipe and generations of families proudly pass on secret family recipes. An email saying “I saw this chocolate cake and thought you would love it!” or someone handing you a recipe torn from a magazine with you in mind are lovely ways of nurturing relationships.
This next recipe comes from a lovely family friend, she got us hooked on these delicious delights and coached us through our first not so great attempts. The versatility of this recipe means we often use it to make empire biscuits, iced Christmas cookies or other sesonal sweets.

empire cookies

making empire biscuits

 

Spring Sugar cookies

Ingredients
175g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
400g plain flour (00 grade is ideal) + little extra flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
cookie cutters
300g icing sugar sieved
pastel food colouring
piping bags

method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too runny or sticky to be rolled out , add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. A problem we made at first was looking for a consitency for cakes not the more plasticine style dough.
  6. Halve the dough, form into fat discs, wrap each half in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disc of dough on it (not taking out the other half until you’ve finished with the first) and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about ½ cm / ¼ inch. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the biscuits a little apart on the baking sheets. Put the cookie shapes in the freezer for 15 mins to help keep their shape while baking.
  7. Bake for 8–12 minutes, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. Cool on a rack and continue with the rest of the dough.
  8. make up icing sugar by sieving the icing sugar and adding to a little boiled water and the food colouring and make a thick paste.  Decorate and devour! easter cookies

meringues main Meringues get a hard time for being tricky to make and unlucky to bake but with this surprisingly simple recipe we beg to disagree.  Its a great basic recipe that not only guarantees sugary cloud like sweetness everytime but its also a fab recipe that allows creative customisation.  Make your own delicious delights by adding spices,extracts,dried fruit, chocolate or anything else you can imagine!

raspberry meringues

mini raspberry meringues

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

4 egg whites

225g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

(if being creative – any other flavourings,spices etc)

Method

Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

set up a piping bag with whatever nozzle you want (we normally use a medium sized star nozzle)

heat oven to 120c

in a clean GLASS (not plastic) bowl whisk the egg whites until very stiff (the whites should remain stiff and upright when the whiskers are taken out – not flop down)

Once stiff peaks have been reached add roughly half the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk again until the mixture becomes very thick, firm and shiny

add the remaining sugar and whisk again until thick,firm and shiny

spoon the mixture into piping bag and push out any air then pipe onto the baking trays.  The meringues will spread out slightly as they cook so leave enough space between each one.

Bake for 1hr – 30 mins at 120c then reduce the oven to 100c after 30 mins.

turkish delight meringues

mini turkish delights using rose extract and drizzled chocolate

Remove from open and they should peel away easily from the parchment paper.  Then enjoy.

meringues finish

store your meringues in pretty jars

These meringues can be made and stored in an airtight container for 1 week AND meringues are FAT – FREE!! (science bit – the principal nutritional components are protein from the egg whites and simple carbohydrates from the refined sugar)

CAKE PLATE

So, apparently grabbing your cake with two hands and stuffing as much into you mouth as possible is not the most pleasurable way to consume your cake calories.  No, some mathematical genius,Francis Galton, discovered way back in 1906 that the typical cutting into wedge shapes is not the “mathematically perfect way to cut a round cake”.  So we decided to put Galton’s theory to the taste test…… CHEWY CHOC

RIGHT & WRONG Instead of cutting into pretty triangles cut straight across the middle and remove a cross-section – this is scientifically speaking the tastiest part of the cake.

You can watch the video here:

So if you have loads of willpower, no friends and there is cake leftover, all you need to do is simply push together the remaining half-moon pieces as this will preserve its softness, eliminating the dry, crusty slices left when a standard wedge size is removed.

cake jug

 

Amazingly enough all of our gourmand guinea pigs did prefer the cake cut the “correct way” when taking part in the taste test.  Some saying the cake was more moist and others simply noted that it just tasted nicer!  So, there you have it, if you can hold off long enough to cut your cake as Galton described you will be rewarded with the creme de la creme of cake slices!

 

 

 

We are lucky to have the loveliest customers in our shops & we love hearing their suggestions, trying their recipes & generally have a good natter with them. So when we asked our customers via facebook for some cake ideas we were delighted to hear their comments and decided to try one of the suggestions; caramac cake.

caramac

 

Caramac cake
We vaguely remembered caramac cakes when we were younger & assumed one of our wonderful bakers would know a recipe and we would make it with ease one quiet Tuesday afternoon leaving at closing time on a sweet caramac high. This didn’t happen…at all! Firstly, all our most knowledgeable baking mentors, bakers and all round foodie fanatics we asked couldn’t quite decide on what constitutes a caramac cake. So obviously we googled it & simply using a hotch potch of a google recipe, kind suggestions and our own chocolate cravings we came up with the below recipe. Looking back now, it’s a very simple recipe but at the time with the kitchen a complete disaster zone & any sweet success unlikely it was more of a palaver.

Anyway,

Crème’s Caramac Cake

Untitled-5

 

 

 

Shopping list, ingredients caramc recipe

Plain flour     /     120g sieved

Caster sugar   /     140g

Baking powder /   1 ½ tsp

Butter           /       40g

Semi skimmed milk / 120ml

1 Egg

Cocoa powder / as desired

Buttercream

Butter               / 225g

Vanilla extract / 2 tbsp

Icing sugar / 125g

Caramac / 225g

 

EASIEST METHOD (EVER):

1. Set oven to 180oc (gas mark 3)

2. add all the sponge ingredients (except the cocoa powder) into a large bowl and mix – the mixture should be quite runny at this point

3. then add as much cocoa powder as you like a little at a time, ensuring the mixture remains quite wet

4. add everything into a cicrcular cake liner and place into a 8” round baking tin

5. place into the oven, set timer and bake for 30-35 mins

6. once cake cooked & cooled make the frosting by melting the caramac in a bain –marie then add the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk & place onto the cake, decorate with caramac pieces then devour….

cake cara

 

 

 

 

 

Last summer taught us a great life lesson that unless you have written cooperation from the Scottish weather gods  don’t attempt to plan any alfresco shindigs as it will literally rain on your parade.  So how is a girl to entertain without stressing in summer?
Plan for impromptu fun of course!
I know how crazy & contradictory that sounds but hear us out.  By sorting out the basics; suitable outdoor entertaining space, cute decor, a reasonably stocked pantry, a few bottles of wine the stage is set for one of those “it wasn’t planned” unforgettable spur of the moment wild nights!
BASIC PARTY PREP CHECKLIST

All of the below are available for all sorts of budgets so shop around, remembering if there’s something better than shopping it’s getting a bargain!

  • Create your Outdoor entertaining space:
  • Tables & chairs are ideal  but tree stumps, stools or loads of cushions are just as nice
  • Decor: Tablecloths are always pretty especially in cream or white with either napkins in complementary colours or bright napkins with bold patterns to make more a statement. Candles & flowers are always a welcoming addition to any tabletop & seriously who doesn’t own at least one candle! (Candle light is great for many things; instant prettiness with the soft focus glow, it keeps away annoying bugs & can mean a great night can continue into the wee small hours!) From florist’s posies to a bunch of wildflowers, by simply displaying them outside in a vase or jar any table will look elegant & put together.
  • Outdoor picnic ware is always a good idea to have & is very handy to avoid any boozy breakages when cocktails are being quaffed! Supermarkets are doing loads of really cute plastic ware at great prices. The glasses pictured are from matalan, they look like elegant crystal glassware but unbelievably they are plastic & really inexpensive!  Along with the tumblers & pitchers they are a great find, timeless enough to use for loads of occasions – yay for poshplastic !
  • Drinks -Most households have at least a bottle or two of wine in them most weeks, ideally coming up to the summer months you should be aware of building up a small supply of alcohol or non alcoholic drinks. Fruit juices, pimms, bubbly(from champagne to sparkling wine) are all handy to have in! We will talk about planned parties another day…
  • Food –Note for foodies:  you are the type of person that has a beautifully stocked pantry that rivals waitrose or peckhams, dream of the next day’s menu & can turn leftovers into cordon blue cooking so whipping up late night canapés & suppers will be no trouble to you, do I won’t insult you with my beyond basics. So please skip this section!

For the non foodie& irregular shopper!
Try these;
Quick bruschetta – toasted bread with chopped tomatoes,balsamic vinegar,garlic & red onions
Mini pizza bites –
Rustic platters – crackers, cheeses, chutneys,meats (whatever is in your fridge & in date!) displayed on a nice wooden chopping board
Dips & crackers – selection of crackers, hummus,philadelphia spread, sour cream
And if all else fails order a takeaway – one of the best meals ever is champagne. & chips in the fresh air !!!

Some crafty ways to create a pretty party atmosphere!!

Pretty icecubes -Fruit on its last legs (especially berries) make the cutest ice cubes- just wash fruit, fill ice cube tray with water pop in fruit then freeze . Great for summer cocktails or to simply make a glass of water more interesting. Kids love them too!
Child’s play…Cheap customised cushions
If you have an outdoors area but no money or space for outdoor furniture, throw a bundle of cushions out to create a casual gathering. Even better is to customise some cheap or old cushions with cute quotes or inside jokes that only your nearest & dearest will get !  After hunting for dotty cushions, we decided to buy a cheap ikea cushion cover for £3 & a gold sharpie & just basically went dotty drawing all over it. It washed fine & we still like it.
Using the same method we took an old jar & drew dots on that too, it’s perfect for little tea lights or flowers! Make sure you use a permanent marker like a sharpie though,so it doesn’t rub off on someone’s white trousers!!

new shoes All of us in the cremette kitchen love shoes, we buy too many, pay too much and aim too high – 160mm heel height? seriously Mr. Louboutin! So unless you are Victoria Beckham or have a very strong boyfriend that will carry you about, the practicality of such pretty purchases particularly for us waitresses is absolutely zilch.  Therefore, we are on a mission to find comfortable, cute but flattering shoes that won’t cripple us on a 8 hour shift.  Please help, if you have any recommendations let us know. P.s retirement isnt an option!

 

 

 

Maybe its due to the excitement of Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games this year, but we can’t get enough of the colour gold.  Gold meringues, gold cupcakes, gold cookies, we have even been spray painting shelves gold to coordinate with stationary, shoes and jewellery – nothing is safe!  If only our goldfingers could make actual real gold bars….

gold meringues TASTE – spraying edible gold spray onto baked goods to make them sparkle & shine, we love Dr.Oetker gold spray (www.oetker.co.uk/…spray/gold-shimmer.com)   new gold stars