1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (spoon & levelled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120ml) milk (I use whole, but any milk is fine)
zest + fresh juice of two medium lemons1
vanilla buttercream and additional lemon slices for topping
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating on low speed after each addition. Batter will be thick. Beat in the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix this batter at any point.
Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for about 18-22 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. If topping with lemon zest, do so right before serving. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Decorate/assemble cupcakes immediately before serving. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days. Frosted or unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
It’s pudding week on Great British Bake Off so why not sample one of Paul Hollywoods favourite little hot chocolate puddings. These little volcanoes release a soft, silky river of chocolate, a real show stopper.
165g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
165g dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces
3 medium eggs
3 medium egg yolks
85g caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
Grease 4 individual pudding moulds, about 175ml capacity, with a little butter.
Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering (ban marie). Remove the pan from the heat and leave to melt, stirring once or twice.
Using an electric whisk, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together for several minutes until thick, pale and moussey.
Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mix, using a spatula or large metal spoon. Sift in the flour and fold this in carefully too.
Divide the chocolate mixture between the prepared moulds. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours until firm. (You can make the pudding up to 24 hours in advance and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to cook and serve them)
When you are ready to cook, heat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Stand the moulds on a baking tray and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the puddings are risen but not cracked.
Turn the puddings out onto individual plates and serve at once, with pouring cream.
Achieving the molten centre is all about their timing. Don’t let the puddings bake to the point that their surface begins to crack, as this means the centres are starting to cook.
3 tablespoons of bramble and apple jelly (or blackberry jam)
80g/²⁄³ cup of blackberries
80g/heaped ¾ cup cooking apple, peeled and diced small
2 tablespoons of light muscovado sugar
3 eggs, weighed in their shells
unsalted butter, the same weight as the eggs
caster/superfine sugar, the same weight as the eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of milk, as necessary
Prepare the fruit. Place the diced apple and blackberries in a small bowl and combine with the light muscovado sugar.
Butter a 2 pint/1.2 litre pudding basin, and place 3 tablespoons of bramble and apple jelly in the base.
Sift the flour and cinnamon together.
Place the room temperature butter and sugar in the bowl of your mixer. With the flat beater, cream the two together until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition.
Taking care not to loose all the air you’ve worked so hard to incorporate, ‘fold’ in the flour/cinnamon mix. If the mixture is a little stiff, add a little milk. You are wanting a ‘dropping consistency’.
Lay a sheet of foil on top of a sheet of baking parchment and make a pleat in both, to allow for expansion. Butter the baking parchment. Place it butter-side down on the pudding. Top with the foil. Align both pleats on top of each other. Tie a piece of string firmly around the ‘lip’ of the basin. Trim the edges so it won’t rest in the water.
Place an upturned saucer in the base of a saucepan and lower the pudding on top. Fill the saucepan with boiling water so that it reaches halfway up the bowl. Bring the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover. Keeping an eye on the water level – it may need topping up – steam for 1½ hours.
Carefully lift the pudding from the water and remove the coverings. If it’s cooked the centre will feel springy and a light finger will pull the edges from the side of the bowl. If it needs a little longer, re-tie the coverings and continue steaming for another fifteen minutes. Check again.
When it’s cooked, place your serving plate on the top of the pudding and smoothly turn it over. Lift the pudding basin off, being aware that warm jam will ooze down onto the plate. Don’t allow the pudding to cool in the basin as it will stick.
Serve warm with a traditional English custard or cold cream.
Aga cooks – Bring the water surrounding your pudding to the boil on the Boiling Plate, transfer to the Simmering Plate for 5 minutes and then move it into the Simmering Oven, lid on, for 3 hours.
Makes: 6 servings Preparation time: less than 30 mins Baking time: no cooking required
unsalted butter, for greasing the ramekins
4 free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g/1oz caster sugar
600ml/1 pint full-fat milk
pouring cream, to serve
Pre-heat oven 150C/300F/Gas 2. Warm the ramekins in the oven, so they are warm when the caramel is poured in.
First make the caramel. Pour the sugar and six tablespoons of water into a clean stainless steel pan.
Dissolve the sugar slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon over a low heat.
When there are no sugar granules left, stop stirring and boil until the sugar turns a dark copper colour.
Remove immediately from the heat to ensure the caramel does not burn. Quickly pour the caramel into the warmed ramekins.
Set aside to cool and become hard. (Do not put in the fridge because the sugar will absorb moisture and go soft and tacky).
Once hard, butter the sides of the ramekins above the level of the caramel.
For the custard, whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and caster sugar together in a bowl until well mixed.
Pour the milk into a saucepan, gently heat over a low heat until you can still just dip your finger in for a moment, then strain the milk through a fine sieve onto the egg mixture in the bowl.
Whisk together until smooth, then pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins.
Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin and fill the tin half-way with boiling water from a kettle.
Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the custard has set. Do not overcook the custard – check around the edges of the dishes, to make sure no bubbles are appearing.
Take the crème caramels out of the oven, remove the ramekins from the tray and set on a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to the fridge overnight so that the caramel is absorbed into the custard.
To serve, loosen the sides of the custard by tipping the ramekin and loosen with a small palette knife round the edges. Place a serving dish on top of the ramekin and turn upside down. Serve with pouring cream.
Make these the day before – if you turn the caramel custard out too soon, the caramel stays in the bottom of the ramekins. But do turn them out just before serving or the caramel will lose its colour.
If you prefer, the recipe can be made in a 1.2 litre (2 pint) dish and cooked for 40-50 minutes.
Do not use a non-stick pan to make the caramel, it will not work, it will crystallize. For a richer crème caramel add an extra two yolks to the eggs.
Makes: 32 servings (two loaves) Preparation time: 25 min plus rising Baking time: 30 min
2 packages (7g each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (approx 45 degrees)
1-1/2 cups warm whole milk (approx 45 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
3 large free range eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
7 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
Dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter and 3-1/2 cups flour; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
On a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch down. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. Divide into six portions. On a floured surface, shape each into a 14-in.-long rope. For each loaf, braid three ropes together on greased baking sheet; pinch ends to seal. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 50 minutes.
Beat egg yolk and water; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes.
As the seasons are changing who doesn’t like to get cosy with a warm cup of tea and a nice biscuit in front of the nations favourite baking programme Great British Bake Off. These Gingerbread Men are perfect for Autumn with warming spices and can be decorated as elaborately as you wish. Recipe via BBC Food.
Makes: 20 Gingerbread Men Preparation time: 30 min to 1 hour Baking time: 10 to 30 min
350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
1 free-range egg
4 tbsp golden syrup
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.
The new series of the Great British Bake Off started last night with some show stopping cakes! One of our particular favourites was Flo’s “One in a Melon” cake. We’ve posted the recipe below for you to recreate at home. Why not bake it with some of our delicious Laid With Love eggs?
Makes: one large cake, serves 20 Hands-on time: 3 hours, plus chilling time Baking time: Approx 1 hour Skill level: Needs a little skill
For the sponge mixture:
620g baking margarine, at room temperature
620g caster sugar
11 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten
620g self-raising flour
60g dark chocolate chips
Red food colouring gel, from a 28g tub
2 tablespoons watermelon syrup
For the white buttercream:
250g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon watermelon syrup, or to taste
For the red buttercream:
165g unsalted butter, softened
265g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon watermelon syrup, or to taste
Red food colouring gel, from a 28g tub
5 tablespoons watermelon syrup, or to taste
40g dark chocolate chips
For the fondant icing (or use 1kg green ready-to-roll icing):
20g powdered gelatine
2 tablespoons glycerine
275g liquid glucose
About 900g icing sugar, sifted
Dark-green food colouring gel, from a 28g tub
You will also need:
3 x 20.5cm sandwich tins (with deep sides), greased with butter and base-lined with baking paper
5cm hemisphere mould, well greased with butter
Large stand mixer
Step 1 – Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4.
Step 2 – Put the baking margarine and sugar into the mixer bowl and beat thoroughly until light and creamy (you may need to make the mixture in 2 batches and then combine them). Scrape down the sides of the bowl then gradually beat in the eggs, adding a tablespoon of the flour with each of the last 4 pours of egg. Fold in the rest of the flour with a large metal spoon, followed by the chocolate chips.
Step 3 – In a smaller bowl, mix about half the tub of red food colouring with the watermelon syrup, then stir in a few tablespoons of the sponge mixture. Add this to the rest of the mixture and combine thoroughly until there are no visible streaks. If necessary, stir in a little more food colouring until you’re happy with the colour.
Step 4 – Transfer the mixture to the three prepared tins and mould – they will be about half full – then carefully level each surface with an offset palette knife. Place the hemisphere mould on the baking sheet so it doesn’t wobble. Bake all four tins in the pre-heated oven until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. The sandwich sponges will take about 30-35 minutes, the hemisphere mould sponge about 55-70 minutes – depending on the size and type of your tins. As soon as the sponges are ready, run a rounded knife around the inside of each tin to loosen the sponge. Turn out the three sandwich sponges onto a wire rack and leave to cool for 5 minutes; leave the hemisphere sponge to cool in its tin before turning out.
Step 5 – While the sponges are baking, make the two buttercreams. Make the white buttercream first so it is not ‘stained’ by the red buttercream. Put the butter into the mixer bowl and beat until creamy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar (use a slow speed to start with) followed by the watermelon syrup. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover and set aside. Make the red buttercream in the same way, adding about 1/8th teaspoon of red food colouring at the end to give a colour similar to the sponges. Cover and set aside.
Step 6 – Lightly brush the undersides of the still-warm sandwich sponges with watermelon syrup then leave to cool. When the sponges are cold, set one sponge top-side down on a cutting board. Spread with a third of the red buttercream and sprinkle over a third of the chocolate chips. Place the second sponge on top, top-side down, and repeat. Add the third sponge and spread with the remaining red buttercream and chocolate chips. Set the hemisphere sponge on top and gently press down so the cake holds together. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up.
Step 7 – Using a serrated bread knife, carefully carve the bottom 2 sponge layers to form the curved, almost ball-like shape of a watermelon. Clean up any crumbs. Transfer half of the white buttercream to a separate bowl, cover and set aside. Using a palette knife, evenly spread the remaining white buttercream over the whole cake. Chill for 15 minutes, or until firm. Then, using a clean knife, spread over the last of the buttercream to make a smooth and even top layer. Chill until very firm.
Step 8 – Meanwhile make the fondant: put the water into a heatproof bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Leave to soak for 5 minutes or until the mixture looks spongy, then set the bowl onto a pan of very hot water and leave for a few minutes until the gelatine is smooth and melted. Remove the bowl before the mixture gets hot, and stir in the glycerine and glucose.
Step 9 – Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the gelatine mixture into the well and start to mix in the icing sugar. As soon as the mixture feels less ‘damp’, turn it out onto your worktop (liberally dusted with some icing sugar from the bowl). Gradually knead in enough of the remaining icing sugar to make a firm but easy-to-roll fondant icing (you may not need all the icing sugar). Using the tip of a small knife dot the green food colouring on the icing and knead it in thoroughly – add more if needed until it is the same colour as a watermelon rind.
Step 10 – Roll out the fondant icing on the worktop into a large disc (measure your cake to get the right size) then gently lift and drape the icing over the cake. Dust your hands with icing sugar and gently press the icing onto the cake, smoothing out any pleats or gathers. Tuck the icing under the bottom of the cake then trim off the excess with a sharp knife. Transfer to a serving board. Using the tip of a small knife, gently press the edge of the icing under the sponge to cover any gaps.
Step 11 – Mix a little dark-green food colouring with water then carefully paint darker green stripes down the sides of the ‘watermelon’ with the paintbrush. Leave for several hours or overnight to firm up before cutting.
Last year Gin had record breaking sales and it looks to continue growing in popularity. So here is a light, citrus cocktail for you to enjoy this summer with your favourite tipple. Recipe via The Spruce.
2 ounces of your favourite gin, the flavour really shines through in this cocktail
Dash of lemon or lime
1/2 teaspoon of refined sugar
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour the gin, juice, sugar, and egg white into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously. More than usual if using the egg white to ensure it is mixed thoroughly with the other ingredients.
Strain into a chilled highball glass with ice cubes.
Top off with soda water.
Garnish with a cherry.
Variations on the Gin Fizz:
Instead of the juice and sugar you can use either juice and simple syrup or a fresh sour mix.
The choice between lemon and lime is a personal one, though I have found that I prefer lime with the really dry London dry gins and lemon with those with those that have a lighter juniper profile.
An egg is often used in a Gin Fizz and some of the variations below switch up the portion of the egg used. Though it is optional, an egg white Gin Fizz (sometimes called a Silver Fizz) is just a little bit better and more interesting than one made without it (which makes the drink, essentially, a Gin Rickey). Try this one with an egg and see what you think.
Delicious homemade lemon curd is quick and easy, this recipe from BBC Food Recipes is mouthwatering and a real hit with fans of our eggs.
“Wow! Just made a new batch of lemon curd using your eggs. What a difference.!! Beautiful deep yellow colour, rich, velvety taste, just fabulous. I won’t be going back to using “ordinary” eggs.”
Laid With Love egg customer.
10 to 30 mins
Makes one 500g/1lb 2oz (large) jar or two 250g/9oz (small) jars
4 unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
200g/7oz unrefined caster sugar
100g/3½oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 free-range eggs, plus 1 free-range egg yolk
Put the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter into a heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture every now and again until all of the butter has melted.
Lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk and stir them into the lemon mixture. Whisk until all of the ingredients are well combined, then leave to cook for 10-13 minutes, stirring every now and again, until the mixture is creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the lemon curd from the heat and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally as it cools. Once cooled, spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
To sterilise jars, wash the jars in very hot, soapy water or put through the hot cycle of a dishwasher. Place the jars onto a baking tray and slide into an oven set to 160C/325F/Gas 3 for 10-15 minutes.
Easter is the perfect excuse to combine our two favourite types of eggs, hen and chocolate. This amazing recipe from Sarah Barnes at Taming Twins has perfectly combined both in a delicious cake.
25 to 30 mins
500g unsalted butter
500g caster sugar
8 medium eggs
500g self-raising flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Gel/paste food colouring – yellow, pink and violet
328g bag of mini eggs
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs until well combined (don’t worry if it looks a bit odd, it’ll be fine in a moment).
Gently stir in the flour and vanilla. If you’re using a mixer, do this slowly or by hand.
Split the mixture into 4 bowls (about 500g in each).
Leave one plain and colour the others with a tiny tiny bit each of Egg Yellow, Ruby and Grape Violet until they are each a pastel shade.
Prepare 4 (or 2 at a time if you only have 2) 7″ tins. Oil them and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Spoon each of the mixtures into a tin and bake for about 25 minutes or until just cooked and a skewer comes out clean.
If you’ve only baked 2 of the sponges, wash them out, prepare them again and bake the remaining 2 lots of batter.
When the cakes come out of the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter until very light, pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes in a mixer or 10 by hand).
Beat in the icing sugar until total combined and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla.
If the icing is a little stiff, add a few drops at a time of boiling water and beat in until fluffy and ‘floppy’.
Now to colour the icing, spoon out 2 lots, each of 200g of icing into separate bowls. Colour these yellow, pink and violet using a tip, end of a knife tip, of gel colour.
For next step watch Sarah Barnes instruction video for how to put together.
Level the cakes and then use the remaining, uncoloured icing to sandwich the cakes. Cut out the centre core. Fill with Mini Eggs.
Use the coloured icing to cover the cake with an ombre, graduated colour effect.
>Dollop any remaining icing on top to ‘glue’ a small mountain of Mini Eggs on.
Try and ice and fill the cake the day you plan to serve it. Not essential but the mini eggs inside will get a little soft if left any later.
Always use paste/gel colours to colour the cake and the icing (I’ll add links below to my favourite ones).
When adding the colours to the cake batters and icings, do so a tiny bit at a time and add more if you need to until you get the colour you’re looking for.
I like to not quite fully mix the colours in to give a ‘speckled’ effect to both the sponge and the icing.
It is easier to ice using a turntable, but if you don’t have one don’t worry. Just put the cake on greaseproof paper on a flat surface and use the paper to help you turn the cake. If you put the cake on a plate, it’s very hard to smooth the sides as the lip of the plate gets in the way.
I used a cranked palette knife and a side scraper for this decoration. These are really quite cheap (about £5 for the pair) and a great investment as they make a huge different to decorating layer cakes. (There are links below to my favourites).
Don’t forget to watch the video showing you how to do the ombré icing effect.
You’ll notice in the video that I’ve trimmed both the top and bottom of the two ‘inner’ cake layers. This means that when you slice through the cake, you don’t get a brown ‘crust’ in view.
Always trim the cake tops to make them flat. Never try to stack a domed cake, it’s asking for trouble!