Posted 22nd Mar 2016
From Simnel cakes to hot cross buns, we've put together our favourite baking recipes for you to try at home this Easter weekend
For the cake:
225g golden caster sugar
225g unsalted butter, softened
4 medium eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
225g self-raising flour, sifted
For the filling:
150ml double cream
4 teaspoons rosewater
4 tablespoons raspberry jam
150g raspberries, slightly crushed
175g icing sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Lightly butter 2 cake tins and line with baking parchment.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until they are pale and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs a little at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a teaspoon of flour. This should bring it back together. Add the vanilla extract.
3. Mix in the baking powder and half of the flour, then fold in the rest. Divide the mixture between the cake tins. Smooth the tops, then bake for 20-25 minutes. The cakes should be nicely risen and the sponge should spring back when you press a finger onto it.
4. Leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
5. Meanwhile, whisk the double cream until it stands in soft peaks, adding 2 teaspoons of the rosewater as you go. Then, fold in the raspberry jam, being careful not to over-mix, as you want to create a ripple effect.
6. When the cakes are completely cool, turn one of them flat base uppermost, slather on the cream mixture and scatter with the crushed raspberries. Top with the second cake.
7. For the pink icing, mix together the icing sugar, remaining rosewater and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Add in the juice from a few crushed raspberries until it looks pink. Drizzle the rose icing across the cake and don't worry if things are looking a little tipsy. Allow the jam, cream, berries and icing to slide if they want to.
8. Decorate with roses, petals, any remaining raspberries and dust with icing sugar.
Recipe courtesy of www.bills-website.co.uk
Hazelnut Meringue Nests with Chocolate Topping
3 medium egg whites
175g golden caster sugar
75g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
75g mini chocolate eggs
2 Alpro chocolate soya desserts
1. Pre-heat the oven to 130°C/110°C Fan/Gas Mark ½. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Whisk the eggs whites until stiff peaks are formed. Whisk in the sugar at a fast speed a tablespoon at a time until a soft glossy mixture is created. Fold in the hazelnuts.
3. Pipe or spread the meringue into 6 nests on the baking paper and bake for 1 hour, or until the meringues are firm to the touch.
4. Transfer the meringues to a rack and allow to cool.
5. Lightly crush the mini chocolate eggs and fold into the Alpro chocolate soya dessert. Spoon into the meringue nests and top with more mini chocolate eggs.
Recipe courtesy of www.alpro.com
Easter Fruit Garland
500g pack white bread mix
60g glacé cherries, chopped
40g poppy seeds
50g Tate & Lyle dark muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice, ground
15g butter, melted
50g Tate & Lyle golden caster sugar
100g Tate & Lyle icing sugar
1. Make up the bread mix according to the pack instructions. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes. Place into a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Stand in a warm place and leave to rise until doubled in size.
2. Knead the dough lightly for 1 minute, then roll out into a rectangle.
3. Mix together the sultanas, currants, cherries, poppy seeds, muscovado sugar, mixed spice and butter and spread over the dough leaving a 2cm border around one of the long edges. From the other long edge, roll the rectangle into a sausage shape, pressing down on the long edge to seal it. Curl the roll into a circle, sealing the ends together.
4. Lift the ring onto a large greased baking sheet, then cut 16 even slices without cutting right through and keeping the circular shape. Twist each slice so that the cut surface lies upwards. Leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to rise and pre-heat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.
5. Bake the garland for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
6. To glaze, dissolve the golden caster sugar in 4 tablespoons of boiling water and simmer in a pan for 2 minutes. Brush over the garland and leave until cold. Mix the icing sugar with a little cold water to make a thin icing and drizzle over the top.
Tip: Serve decorated with small chocolate Easter eggs.
Recipe courtesy of www.tasteandsmile.com
Simnel Swirl Buns
500g strong white flour
10g caster sugar
7g fast-action yeast
1 large egg
115g Stork with butter
75g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
75g marzipan, cut into small chunks
100g dried mixed fruit
50g almonds, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons apricot jam
1. To make the dough, place the flour in a bowl and stir in the salt and caster sugar. Add the yeast and stir it through the flour. Add 150ml of tepid water, the milk and egg and mix well with a wooden spoon until you have a dough. Add 40g of the Stork and knead until the mixture is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size.
2. While the dough rises, make the filling. Cream together the remaining Stork with butter, muscovado sugar and spice until paste-like.
3. Once the dough has risen, flour the worktop and roll the dough out into a square. Spread the filling all over the dough, then scatter the marzipan, fruit and nuts onto the filling. Roll up into a tight spiral, trim off the messy ends and then cut the roll into 12 equal slices. Place these, spiral sides up, into a medium sized roasting tin and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 8. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until golden and risen.
5. For the glaze, boil together the apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of water for 1 minute. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, paint over the apricot jam and allow to cool in the tin.
Tip: To finish sprinkle over lemon zest.
Recipe courtesy of www.bakewithstork.com
Speckled Egg Cake
5 medium egg whites
475g caster sugar
550g Stork with butter
250ml whole milk
4 tablespoons vanilla extract
450g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
600g icing sugar
3 drops pale blue food colouring
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line the base of 3 cake tins.
2. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside until needed.
3. Whisk the caster sugar with 250g of the Stork until fluffy. Slowly add in the milk while whisking, then add 1 tablespoon of the vanilla, the flour and bicarbonate soda and beat to a smooth paste. Carefully fold in the egg whites and divide evenly between the cake tins. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the tins.
4. For the buttercream, whisk the remaining Stork until pale, then add the icing sugar and whisk for another 5 minutes. Add a few drops of food colouring to achieve a very pale, egg-blue colour.
5. When the cakes have cooled, place one cake onto a cake card and spread the top with some of the buttercream. Repeat until you have 3 layers of cake sandwiched together with 2 layers of frosting. Chill for 20 minutes to firm.
6. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and edges of the cake, getting it as neat as possible.
7. Mix together the cocoa powder and remaining vanilla extract. Dip a clean toothbrush into the mixture and flick the bristles close to the cake so that the brown mixture spatters over the pale blue icing. Continue until the entire cake is covered and resembles the pattern of a speckled egg shell.
Tip: Top with a pile of mini chocolate eggs.
Recipe courtesy of www.bakewithstork.com
Cranberry & Chocolate Hot Cross Buns
250g white bread flour
7g fast-acting dried yeast
75g caster sugar
165ml whole milk, warm
5g vanilla bean paste
50g lightly salted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
100g milk chocolate
100g dried cranberries
50g white chocolate
1 tube Dr. Oetker hot pink gel food colour
1. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Mix the flour, yeast and 25g of the caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour 60ml of the milk in the centre of the well and add the vanilla paste. Add the melted butter and all but 1 tablespoon of the egg. Gently mix into the flour using a wooden spoon to form a smooth paste. Break the milk chocolate into chunks and add these to the mixture along with the cranberries.
2. Mix in 65ml of the milk, stirring to form a slightly sticky dough in the centre of the bowl.
3. Turn the dough out onto the work surface. Knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic.
4. Put the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, big enough to allow room for the dough to double in size. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
5. Once the dough has risen, push it with your knuckles to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Form the dough into a ball and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and form into balls. Place on the baking tray with a little space in between each one. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 8.
7. Brush the reserved tablespoon of egg all over the buns. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.
8. Meanwhile, prepare the decoration. Put the remaining milk and caster sugar into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute until syrupy. Once the buns are cooked, brush them generously all over with the sugar and milk glaze. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool.
9. Break up the white chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and leave to melt. Remove the chocolate from the water, add 15 drops of the gel food colour and mix quickly. Spoon into a small uncut piping bag. Snip off the end and pipe a thick pink cross on the top of each bun. Leave the chocolate to set for a few minutes.
Tip: These buns are delicious when eaten on the same day as baking, split in half and spread with butter.
Recipe courtesy of www.oetker.co.uk