Blueberry Dream Cake

Light and airy vanilla sponge with a bottom layer of blueberries, topped with a caramelised oat crumble and served with hot custard or cream. Blueberry Dream Cake literally tastes like a dream!

This recipe is inspired by one of the most traditional and famous Danish cakes Drømmekage, which translates into English as “dream cake”. I’ve kept the sponge ingredients and method the same but added blueberries for a fruity twist. The topping is traditionally made with coconut, but I chose to make it with oats instead (I’ll admit it’s what I had in the cupboard!) and added a teaspoon of cinnamon to compliment the blueberries.

Blueberry dream cake with custard poured on top

The method for a Drømmekage sponge is so different from any other cake I’ve made before. For starters, you whisk the eggs and sugar first, rather than creaming the butter and sugar. I know, I was confused too, but trust me it works! Then you add melted butter, vanilla and milk. At this point, I was thinking this can’t be right but stay with. Finally, you add the dry ingredients and fold everything together.

I put the cake in the oven, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Well, the result was amazing! The sponge is moist but light, sweet but not too sweet, and the caramelised topping just takes it to a whole other level. I served mine warm with custard, and after the first bite, I totally understood why it’s called a dream cake.

Blueberry dream cake

Ingredients (makes an 8inch cake / 8 slices)

For the cake:
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
200g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
130ml whole milk
150g fresh blueberries

For the caramel oat crumble:
90g unsalted butter
30ml whole milk
150g soft brown sugar
100g porridge oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon

To serve:
Custard or cream


Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of an 8inch deep loose-bottom round baking tin and grease the sides with a little butter.

Start by making the cake. Combine the flour and baking powder together in a bowl, stir through and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together for about 5 minutes until pale and frothy.

Melt the butter in the microwave in 20 second blasts or on the hob. Add the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk to the whisked eggs and mix through. Add the dry ingredients and fold the mixture together until you have a smooth mixture (don’t worry if it looks runny, it’s meant to be like that). Finally fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the mixture to the baking tin, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and the middle is firm to the touch.

10 minutes before the cake is ready, make the caramel oat crumble. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and stir together on a medium-low heat until the butter and sugar have melted and you have a thick oat mixture.

Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and pour the caramel crumble on top. Return to the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the topping has set and has browned around the edge. Leave to completely cool in the baking tin.

Best served warm with either a dollop of custard or a drizzle of cream. Store the cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Classic Victoria Sponge

It’s back to basics with this bake. Classic Victoria sponge cake, so simple but so delicious!

There are so many variations of a classic Victoria sponge. Buttercream or fresh cream? Raspberry or strawberry jam? Decorate or leave plain?

I started going down a rabbit hole when researching this one, only to realise that there isn’t really a “right” way and that, to be honest, it doesn’t really matter! It’s one of those cakes that I think you can decide what your classic take on Victoria sponge will be, and let’s face it, it’s always going to taste amazing.

So here’s my take on it. Beautifully baked vanilla sponge cakes sandwiched together with strawberry jam and fresh whipped cream flavoured with vanilla essence. For the decoration, I chose a simple dusting of icing sugar. As you know I’m all about simplicity!

Ingredients (makes a two-layer 8inch Victoria sponge cake)

For the cake:
250g Stork tub
250g white or golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk

For the filling:
3-4 tablespoons strawberry jam
150ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4-5 fresh strawberries (optional)

For the decoration:
Icing sugar for dusting

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of two 8inch/20cm round baking tins with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the sides with a little butter.

Start by making the cake. In a large bowl beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy.

Mix in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the 250g flour with each egg to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add the remaining flour and baking powder, and fold the mixture together until smooth and combined. Be careful not to over-mix. The mixture should drop off the spoon but still hold its shape. If it’s too thick then add a tablespoon of milk and mix through.

Divide the mixture equally between the cake tins. Lightly tap the baking tins on the side to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and leave in the baking tins for 5 minutes to cool. Run a knife around the edge of the tins and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

Now make the filling. Whip the double cream and vanilla extract with a whisk or electric mixer until the cream starts to thicken, can hold its shape but is still soft. Be really careful not to over whip as this can make the cream hard and grainy. If you’re unsure, I found watching BBC’s video tutorial really helpful.

Time to decorate. Choose a cake layer for the base and place it on a pretty plate or cake stand. Spread the jam on top into an even layer. Make sure the jam doesn’t go right up to the edge of the cake, you’ll want to leave about a 1cm gap. Spoon the whipped cream on top and spread out into an even layer, again leaving space. Cut the strawberries lengthways and dot around the outer edge of the cake. Carefully place the other cake layer on top and lightly press down so that the jam and cream spread out to the edge underneath. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Velvety in texture and rich in flavour, whipped chocolate ganache frosting is a delicious alternative to traditional buttercream.

The ganache calls for a few simple ingredients; chocolate, double cream and butter. I prefer to use a mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate so that the flavour doesn’t end up being too bitter. The butter is optional, but personally, I feel that it adds richness to the ganache and gives it a lovely shine.

After the ganache has had time to set, it is whipped using an electric mixer for a couple of minutes. Whipping the ganache makes it light, fluffy and creamy, it also holds its structure really well making it perfect for piping or spreading onto cakes.

Use the ganache frosting to decorate cakes, brownies cookies or whatever you fancy! To give you an indication, this recipe will make enough frosting to decorate a two-layer 8-inch cake (top and sides), or about 12 cupcakes.

Whipped chocolate ganache frosting

Ingredients (makes enough to decorate a two-layer 8-inch cake)

150g good quality 70% dark chocolate
150g good quality milk chocolate
50g butter
300ml double cream

Method

Chop the two chocolates and butter up into small pieces and place in a bowl.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat on low until the cream is steamy and bubbles start to form around the edge. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and butter. Leave for 30 seconds and then stir together until the ganache is smooth. Put the ganache in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up.

Put the ganache in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer, to whip the ganache on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes.

Use straightaway to decorate your bakes or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Lime and pistachio loaf cake

This cake combines the earthy flavour of pistachios with the zingy vibrancy of fresh lime to make a delicious lime and pistachio loaf cake that is light, refreshing and perfectly balanced.

Lime and pistachios really are a match made in heaven. The sponge is made with fresh lime zest, lime juice and chopped pistachios. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, a lime juice and sugar syrup is drizzled all over which sinks into the sponge and gives it a lovely moist texture. The cake is finished with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, which pairs beautifully with the flavours in the cake. The final touch is a scatter of crushed pistachios.

Ingredients (makes a 2lb loaf / 8 slices)

For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
1 lime
50g unsalted pistachios

For the lime drizzle:
1 lime
50g golden caster sugar

For the cream cheese frosting:
75g icing sugar
35g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon milk
30g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge
10g unsalted pistachios

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper.

Start with the cake. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining flour, and the zest and juice of the lime, and fold the mixture together. Chop the pistachios into small pieces and add to the mixture. Fold everything together one last time.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove and set aside to cool for 5 minutes in the baking tin.

Whilst the cake cools, make the lime drizzle. In a small saucepan combine the caster sugar and juice of the lime. Heat gently on a low temperature until the sugar dissolves. Prick the cake all over with a toothpick or skewer, and slowly spoon the lime drizzle over the cake allowing time for the syrup to sink in. Leave the cake to cool completely.

Now make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese and fold until just combined. Be careful not to over do it, as it can quickly become runny.

To decorate, remove the cake from the baking tin and place on a serving plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cake. Whiz the pistachio nuts in a blender or crush using a rolling pin and scatter on top.

Slice into 8 and serve. The cake can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Lemon and elderflower cake

Two layers of zingy lemon sponge, sandwiched together with lemon curd and elderflower buttercream. Finished with a scatter of edible flowers, and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Tastes just as good as it looks!

The thin coating of buttercream on the sides is called a ‘semi-naked cake’. There’s a minimal amount of buttercream swiped around the sides, to show off the cakes’ natural texture and filling. It looks really effective and is great if you aren’t a perfectionist as it’s not meant to be neat. There’s no need to crumb-coat, chill, frost, repeat, which also helps save time.

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Ingredients

For the cake:

200g unsalted butter or Stork tub
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
Zest of 2 lemons
1-2 tablespoons milk

For the filling:

2 tablespoons homemade or shop-bought lemon curd
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
500g icing sugar
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

To decorate:

Edible flower blossoms (I bought mine from Sainsbury’s)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 8inch round baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Beat the sugar and butter together until light and creamy. Add one egg at a time, along with a little flour, and mix together. Add the remaining flour and lemon zest and fold together until fully mixed.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the cakes have turned a golden colour and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Once the cake is cooled, make your elderflower buttercream by first beating the butter with an electric whisk until soft. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together until smooth. Sift in the remaining icing sugar, add the elderflower cordial and beat again until you have a smooth buttercream.

To decorate

Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place one cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable or serving plate. Using an icing spatular, spread a layer of buttercream evenly on top. Drizzle over the lemon curd.

Top with the second cake layer and spread the remaining buttercream on top and all around the sides. Using a flat knife or an icing scraper, smooth out the buttercream on the sides of the cake. This should be rough and the sides of the cake should show through. Finish by decorating with flower blossoms.