Lemon Meringue Sponge Cake

Light as a feather sponge cakes sandwiched with tangy lemon curd and enrobed in pillowy torched meringue – what’s not to love?! I made this cake for my 26th birthday and it has become a favourite. It is best to make the lemon curd the day ahead and the meringue just before serving.

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Ingredients (serves 12)
Lemon Curd (makes 2 cups)
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 4-5 lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
115g butter, melted

Sponge Cake
4 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
10g butter
1/3 cup boiling water

Meringue
3 egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Kitchen blowtorch (optional)

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To make the lemon curd, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter. Cook in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately 3-5 50 second intervals). Pour into a sterile jar or container and allow to cool to room temperature before covering it with a lid and storing it in the fridge.

To make the sponges, line and grease two deep 20cm round cake pans. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

In a large bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer until thick and foamy. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoonful at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved between additions (total beating time approx. 10 minutes). Sift flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture. Gently fold to combine. Combine butter and water and gently fold through egg mixture.

Divide mixture evenly into prepared pans. Bake sponges about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. As soon as the sponges are baked, turn out upside-down onto wire racks covered with baking paper to cool.

Once the cakes are completely cool, glue one sponge to a cake stand or serving plate using lemon curd. Spread a generous layer of lemon curd over the top of the cake and gently place the second sponge on top, taking care not to squeeze out too much of the curd from the middle (scrape away any excess from the sides).

To make the meringue, use electric beaters to whisk the egg whites and sugar in a large heat-proof bowl until frothy. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over a medium heat. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler. Whisking constantly with the beaters, heat the egg white mixture until the sugar dissolves completely and it is warm to the touch. Take the bowl off the saucepan, add the vanilla and mix on high until you have medium-stiff glossy peaks.

Working quickly, heap the meringue mixture onto the top of your sponge cake and gently spread down the edges with a metal spatula until the cake is completely covered. Create some texture with the meringue on the sides and top of the cake (this is one time where you don’t want it to be perfectly smooth). Use a blowtorch on low-medium to toast the meringue until it is your desired colour. Serve immediately.

Note: the cake is best eaten on the day it is made as the meringue changes texture, however it is still good the following day. Store covered at room temperature.

70EE0982-1FB5-4191-8F81-B888612A48AB_1_105_cLemon curd adapted from My Baking Addiction microwave lemon curd.
Sponge cake adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Best Ever Sponge Cake’.
Meringue icing adapted from The Cake Blog lemon meringue cake.

Pumpkin & Spice Cupcakes

Hints of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice combine beautifully with the natural sweetness of roasted pumpkin and, when topped with a light and airy cream cheese icing, make these the Autumnal cupcakes of my dreams. Try and stop at one!

Note: it is best to make the pumpkin puree the day before.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
½ a butternut pumpkin (approx. 550g)
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
225g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
115g butter, room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

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Method

To make the pumpkin puree, preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into 3cm pieces. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until pumpkin is golden and tender. Once cooled, blitz in a blender until silky and smooth. Refrigerate until required.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir with a silicone spatula until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 patty pans. Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back when touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, add the cream cheese and butter to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, cinnamon and icing sugar and beat on low speed until just combined. Switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and airy. If the icing is too runny, add extra icing sugar.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a large star piping tip (I use Wilton 1M). Ice the cupcakes in a circular motion from the outside in for a softserve look. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting’ from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Speckled Egg Easter Cakes

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Happy (almost) Easter everyone! Today I’m sharing my super simple recipe for these adorable miniature chocolate cakes topped with a Flake nest and speckled eggs. To make it even easier, feel free to use a packet mix cake (I like Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake mix).

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Ingredients (makes 2 10cm cakes, 1 10cm cake and 12 cupcakes, or 24 cupcakes)
125g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup self-raising flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup (160ml) water

90g dark chocolate melts
30g butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons hot water

1 packet Speckled Easter eggs (I used Darrell Lea)
3 Flake bars, lightly crushed

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160 fan-forced). Spray a 10cm round cake pan with cooking oil and line the base with a baking paper. Fill a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans*.

Place the butter, vanilla, sugar, eggs, sifted flour and cocoa, and water into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Beat the mixture for a further 3 minutes on medium speed until smooth and pale in colour.

Fill the round cake pan about 2/3 way full and divide the remaining mixture evenly among the patty pans. Bake the cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes and the mini cake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate icing. Place the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl. Half-fill a small saucepan with water; bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Put the bowl of chocolate mixture on top of the saucepan and stir until smooth. Add a little of the sifted icing sugar and some of the water; stir until mixture is smooth. Keep adding the sifted icing sugar and the water, a little bit at a time, stirring, until the icing is spreadable.

When the cakes are completely cold, spread with chocolate icing using a metal spatula. Shape the Flake pieces into a nest on top of the cakes and top with speckled eggs. Enjoy!

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*Alternatively spray and line a second 10cm round cake pan, or prepare two 12-hole muffin tins with patty pans.

Cake and icing recipe adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Quick Mix Chocolate Cake’ and decoration inspiration from taste.com.au

Spiced Mocha Santa Hat Cupcakes

Christmas is just around the corner which means one thing…

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….Bailey is being forced into a whole range of ridiculous but adorable costumes :’)

It also means that our kitchen is filled with the delicious scent of Christmas baking – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger are being added to just about everything!

These cupcakes are no exception with a rich Christmas spiced mocha flavour. I’ve topped them with a vibrant red buttercream and a white mini marshmallow to look like Santa hats, but decorate them however you like.

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Ingredients (makes 12)
Christmas Spice Cupcakes
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
100g butter, softened
160g brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
125ml boiling water
75g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon instant coffee

Frosting
100g butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
Wilton colouring gel in Red
12 white mini marshmallows

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Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan-forced. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with patty pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, bicarb and mixed spice. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and then beat in a third of the flour mixture followed by a tablespoon of the sour cream, repeating until all used.

Put the water, chocolate and instant coffee in a pan and heat gently until the chocolate melts. Fold this into the cake batter, being careful not to over beat.

Pour the batter into the patty pans and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until each cake is cooked through but still dense and damp.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, cut the domes off the cupcakes until you have a flat surface.

To make the frosting, cream the butter for 1-2 mins in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy). Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet. Add colouring and beat in until combined and the desired colour has been achieved.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large, plain nozzle. Pipe frosting onto the cakes in a circular motion from the outside in until it looks like a santa hat. Top with a white mini marshmallow.

Enjoy!

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Cake recipe from Nigella Lawson ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’
Frosting recipe adapted from the ‘Crabapple Cupcake Bakery’ cookbook.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

It should be no secret by now that I love lemon meringue. I already have recipes on the blog for a traditional lemon meringue pie and for mini lemon meringue pies, but until now I haven’t had lemon meringue cupcakes.

Luckily, today is the day I rectify that sad scenario. This recipe is a combination of my butterfly cake recipe with my lemon curd and a lightly toasted meringue topping and the result is delicious!

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Ingredients (makes 12)
Cupcakes
1 cup (125g) self-raising flour
⅔ cup (125g) caster sugar
125g butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Lemon Curd
½ cup white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
½ cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 2-3 lemons)
Zest of 1 lemon
55g butter, melted

Meringue
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 egg whites

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Method
Preheat oven to 200ºC and line a 12-hole muffin tin with yellow patty pans.

Put all of the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among the patty pans (I know it doesn’t look like much batter, but they will rise a lot).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are baking, start making the lemon curd. Whisk together the sugar, egg and yolk in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter.

Cook the curd in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately three 50 second intervals). Allow to cool completely.

Once the cakes and curd are completely cool, use a teaspoon to dig a hole in the centre of each cupcake. Fill the holes with the lemon curd and set aside.

To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Continue whisking, gradually adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue whisking until sugar dissolves.

Use a piping bag with a star or plain nozzle to pipe meringue over cupcakes. Use a cook’s blowtorch to lightly toast the meringue. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– If you don’t have a blowtorch, simply bake the frosted cakes on an oven tray at 220ºC for 3-5 minutes or until the meringue is toasted.
– Any extra lemon curd can be stored in a sterilised container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Cupcake recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess
Lemon curd recipe from My Baking Addiction
Meringue recipe from Taste.com.au

Giant Cookie Cake

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For my birthday this year, I decided to bake something a little different. As much as I have enjoyed making (and eating!) my layered drip cakes (here and here) over the last couple of years, this year I was after something simpler. Enter the cookie cake.

I have admired the brightly coloured array of delicious looking cookie cakes on Sally’s Baking Addiction (my baking porn website of choice) for years, and finally got around to making it. Boy, am I glad I did! As promised, this ‘cake’ is so quick and simple to make and produces a deliciously chewy and flavoursome giant cookie. The recipe is also very easy to adapt – you could use M&Ms, or mix up the choc chips depending on your taste.

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Ingredients (serves 12-14)
170g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg + an extra yolk
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
Chocolate frosting for topping (optional)

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Method
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Spray a 23cm (9-inch) pie dish or cake pan thoroughly with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for about a minute or until combined. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla on until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours and baking powder. On a low speed, gradually mix into the wet ingredients until combined. Add in 1¼ cups chocolate chips and mix for until evenly dispersed.

Gently press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden brown (use a skewer in the centre to check it’s cooked). Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, use a sharp knife or metal spatula to loosen the sides of the cookie cake from the pan and transfer to a cake stand or serving plate.

Decorate as desired (I made a quick chocolate buttercream using butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder and piped it on using my Wilton 1M tip), top with the remaining chocolate chips and serve with vanilla ice-cream. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake’ on Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Lemon & Raspberry Muffins

I love Nigella recipes because they’re consistently quick, easy and delicious. These muffins are no exception, taking under 40 minutes from start to finish. The recipe is also incredibly flexible – you can use fresh or frozen raspberries (or any other fruit for that matter) or try switching the lemon for another citrus fruit of your choice. Happy baking!

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Ingredients (makes 12)
60g butter
200g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
150g caster sugar
Juice and z est of 1 lemon
Milk (approx. 120ml)
1 large egg
150g raspberries

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Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a muffin tin with 12 patty pans.

Melt the butter in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and lemon zest.

Pour the lemon juice into a large measuring jug and add milk until it comes to 200ml (don’t worry about it curdling). Add the milk mixture to the melted butter and then beat in the egg.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined (don’t overmix it as your muffins will be tough). Gently stir through the raspberries.

Spoon the batter into the patty pans and bake for 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when touched. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Nigella’s ‘Lemon-Raspberry Muffins’ in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Autumn is here (at long last) and the trees are looking stunning! Even though I live in the Southern Hemisphere and pumpkin flavouring isn’t as prevalent as in the US, when I found myself free on a grey Autumn afternoon I felt the need to make something using pumpkin, cream cheese frosting and my favourite spices.

My Mum, sister and I visited the Hummingbird Bakery while we were in Notting Hill in London and tried one of their whoopie pies. While everything we tried from the bakery was delicious, the whoopie pie was our favourite and so I felt the need to replicate it at home. Luckily for me, the recipe was easily available online (and also in their cookbook Cake Days) and with a bit of tweaking to add in extra spices, it really hit the spot.

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Ingredients (makes 15 whoopie pies)
120ml vegetable oil
180g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
100ml pumpkin purée
250g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger

85g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
80g cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
A splash of milk (as required)

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Method
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (approx. 150ºC fan-forced) and line two large trays with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla until combined and light in colour. Add the egg and pumpkin purée and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Sift together the remaining ingredients and add to the liquid mixture in two batches, beating until just combined.

Spoon 30 teaspoons full of the batter on to the prepared trays, leaving a 3cm gap between each. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are golden and bounce back when touched. Allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the cream cheese filling, use an electric beater to mix together the butter and the icing sugar on a low speed until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and spices and continue mixing on a low speed until just combined. Add milk or extra icing sugar as required.

To assemble the whoopie pies, take a sponge, spread approximately 1 tablespoon of filling onto its flat side and then sandwich with another sponge flat-side-down. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cake Days by the Hummingbird Bakery

Grandma’s Scones

Does anything beat scones with jam and cream and tea in the sunshine? (Answer: no).

Scones are very simple to make but tend to be saved for ‘fancy’ occasions like high-tea in my house. Well, no more. I vow to make more of these versatile beauties because, regardless of occasion, there’s something supremely satisfying about a eating a fluffy scone smothered in jam (ideally homemade) and a dollop of whipped cream.

Oh and obviously it’s pronounced scone, rhyming with “John” not “Joan”.

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Ingredients (makes 18)
2 cups self-raising flour (+ extra for dusting)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs

Method
Preheat oven to 230-240°C (210-220°C fan-forced).

Beat eggs together in a small bowl.  Add lemon juice to milk in order to sour it (don’t worry if it gets a bit lumpy).

Sift flour into a large bowl, add sugar and then gently mix in eggs, soured milk and butter until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it just comes together. Gently form into a disc 3-4cm thick. Use a 5cm-diameter round cutter dipped in flour to cut out scones (re-flouring between each scone). Arrange scones on a large oven tray lighted dusted with flour.

Bake scones for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Turn scones out onto a clean tea towel and cover with another tea towel.

Serve scones warm or at room temperature with jam and sweetened whipped cream.

NB: best eaten fresh on the day they’re made as they dry out quickly.

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Recipe adapted from Grandma, Margaret Payne, via Mum ♥

Luscious Lemon Curd 2.0

This lemon curd could not be easier to make. Honestly. It takes 5 minutes and uses a microwave (the horror!!)

I have tried many recipes for lemon curd in my time, and can honestly say that this is far and away the tastiest, easiest and most luscious. You will want to slather this stuff on EVERYTHING – pikelets, bread or between sponge cake layers, tartlets (like these mini lemon meringue pies), ice cream or on a spoon right out of the jar (not that I would ever do anything as undignified as that). It is liquid gold.

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Ingredients (makes approx. 2 cups)
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 4-5 lemons)
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup (115g) butter, melted

Method
Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large microwave safe bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in lemon juice, zest and melted butter.

Cook in the microwave on full power for 50 second intervals, whisking after each interval. You will know your lemon curd is ready when it coats the back of a metal spoon (approximately 3-5 50 second intervals).

Pour into a sterile jar or container and allow to cool to room temperature before covering it with a lid and storing it in the refrigerator.

Keeps for ~2 weeks.

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Adapted from My Baking Addiction microwave lemon curd.