jam & vanilla custard filled doughnuts

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I doughn’t know what it is about this recipe, but I am so happy that my first forays into yeasted concoctions have been deep fried, covered in sugar and filled with dreamy deliciousness.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about kneading a dough by hand, and certainly no smell more comforting than fresh, floury products. Unfortunately I can’t eat these in any way, shape or form given my celiac disease, but I absolutely adore the process of making something that literally rises to the occasion. I am, however, curious to experiment at some stage with what will inevitably be inferior gluten free renditions, but for now, here is the unadulterated, gloriously glutinous version.

These are real-deal doughnuts: I’m unfortunately not about to accept baked versions as anything more than doughnut-shaped cakes, which are undeniably tasty in their own right, to be sure, but doughnut to try to tell me that they can compare to their yeasted, fried, sugar dusted counterparts. These really are in a league of their own, and try as I might to come up with a combination more blissfully simple than jam and custard, I’m not about to mess with what I know works.

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pear and ginger layer cake with salted caramel frosting

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This is a cake for people who don’t think they’re into cake.

I’m sure you all have one of those friends (or colleagues … or bosses). Well. This cake will turn them. To me, this is what cake is all about. There’s no fuss or fondant, and every element celebrates the others in a beautifully simple way. I made it up on a lazy Sunday afternoon in which the salted caramel set a precedent for me to be unusually productive.

Maybe it’s because I know my winter will be broken up by one month of glorious, European summer, but I am so enjoying the crisp autumn days lately, the wearing of sleeves and the changes in produce that the seasons bring. Now that I’m comfortable enough to essentially throw together a recipe of my own accord, it is so much easier to base what I make around what looks best at the farmer’s market. I’m reading that sentence now and realising I sound like an utter food wanker. But basically, the pears were cheap and fresh and this cake is delicious. You need to make it and experience it for yourself.

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salted white chocolate lemon almond loaf

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I’m well aware that a lot of people have a problem with this word, but there’s no getting around this: this loaf is moist.

The building blocks of many of my day dreams is to come up with a desired flavour combination and then challenge myself to offset it with a contrasting texture to keep things exciting. What’s happening here is pretty obvious: fresh lemon zest highlights the white chocolate swirled through, with the dense texture of the loaf yielded with the ground almonds and further enhanced by the crushed roasted almonds within the cake itself and also on top of the lemon drizzle. For something so simple, it stands up as an elegant afternoon tea (or in this cake, pre-midnight snack) in its own right.

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apple walnut cat cake

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This birthday cake went down purr-fectly!

Given that my flat-mate Emma is not particularly into treats of the “too sweet” variety, an autumnal apple and walnut cake seemed the perfect way to celebrate. In fact, there was almost more apple going on than cake! The maple cream cheese icing accompanied it perfectly – despite being a little reluctant to pipe! The cake itself is delicious enough in its own right not to require animal adornment, and the perfect addition to an afternoon tea.

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Cadbury Creme egg layer cake

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While I have been baking less frequently lately, I’m trying to do so with more care, i.e. extra hours of day dreaming. Quality over voracious quantity, I suppose – with respect to reminding myself I don’t have to bring treats in to work everyday despite having set a precedent for such a thing to be expected (an expectation I entirely place on myself – thank you, type A personality). I’m pleased with the result – creating something in person that is just as beautiful as what I’ve pictured in my head is enough to induce genuine squealing (of joy, not like a pig stuck in a fence or something). This cake is no exception.

It is a creme egg in cake form – the bottom and top layers made from chocolate fudge mud cake, the middle vanilla buttermilk (both arising from the same initial batter because I am that lazy or efficient, depending on how you want to look at it). The filling between is a buttercream attempt at the fondant inside the egg, and the Dairy Milk fudge icing completes it, with actual Creme eggs and other Easter treats to complete it. I’m a loyal Whittaker’s girl in most respects, but their lack of Easter goodies and desire to recreate Cadbury’s ubiquitous Easter egg means the Dairy Milk is absolutely non-negotiable.

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peppermint no-bake slice

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Apparently all I like to do is cut things into quadrilateral pieces, because slices (bars) are becoming a bit of a treat theme here. I was vaguely disappointed to discover that beyond my contribution, the only other St. Patrick’s-related adornment to my workplace were some clover-printed socks (concealed with scrubs). I was unintentionally overzealous with the green food colouring when making the peppermint filling, and I initially intended for it to be a rather elegant shade of light pistachio. Not the case. Thankfully the garish colour did nothing to put people off, even a few chocolate-mint naysayers (someone even went as far as to say that things were always more delicious when covered in green icing. I’m not so sure I agree with such hyperbole but gold star for enthusiasm). I was inspired by Jane’s Patisserie for this recipe, but also used what I had on hand to make a slightly more robust filling to the slice, because apparently I like things thick like that.

No bake slices are so easy – they’re pretty much the ultimate method of combining various delicious things, so it’s hardly surprising that these taste good. They’re very forgiving and totally adaptable for whatever you want to stuff them with.

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Lucy’s ginger crunch

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Could there be a better way to express that you miss someone than by creating a slice in their honour?

My friend Lucy is possibly my food soulmate – sharing not just the ability to eat past the point of what is both socially acceptable and physically possible, but massive enthuse for the edible. Unfortunately, our friendship is currently confined to the realms of long distance Whatsapp conversations. Through living vicariously through her Instagram as she frolicks about in Mallorca and attending the supermarket post night shift (is there a situation where one feels more jaded? I don’t want to find out), I was inspired by our favourite pick and mix treat, dark chocolate covered crystallised ginger.

Her number one complaint with food is that it is neither dense nor rich enough – therefore the slice comes with 25% extra ginger icing, crunchy toasted pistachios and chunks of Whittaker’s chocolate. Ginger crunch is one of those things I consider to not really require upgrading with superfluous deliciousness, however I feel the extra treats on top and marbled chocolate ganache through the ginger icing take it to an entirely separate territory.

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