All things eggy - from chocolates to decorations (Part 3) - Simnel cake & Chocolate cherry pavlova

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Simnel cake

Filled with feel good spice, zest and fruit - a small slice with satisfy any cravings.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves 11


Description: Simnel cake

Simnel cake

500g (1lb 2oz) marzipan

250g (9oz) plain flour

300g (10oz) mixed dried fruit

50g (2oz) candied peel, chopped

1/2tsp baking powder

2tsp mixed spice

175g (6oz) butter, plus extra for greasing

175g (6oz) light brown muscovado sugar

Zest 1 lemon

3 large free-range eggs, beaten

50g (2oz) ground almonds

2tbsp milk

2tbsp brandy

To decorate

2tbsp apricot jam

1 free-range egg, beaten

You will need

18cm (7in) loose-bottomed cake tin, buttered and the base and sides

Double lined with baking parchment, ribbon, to decorate (optional)

  1. Heat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Roll out a third of the marzipan into a round slightly smaller than the tin, place on a sheet of clingfilm and set aside. Mix 1tbsp flour with the mixed fruit and candied peel and stir so the fruit is evenly dusted.
  2. Sift the remaining flour, baking powder and mixed spice together with a pinch of salt, and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter with an electric whisk until pale and creamy, add the sugar and lemon zest and beat for 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating continuously until smooth.
  4. Fold in the almonds and flour mixture with a large metal spoon. Add the fruit, milk and brandy, and fold in. When combined, spoon half into the prepared tin, and spread evenly. Gently place the rolled out disc of marzipan on top. Spoon the rest of the mixture on top and spread evenly. Make a slight dip in the center so the cake rises evenly. Give the tin a couple of gentle taps on the worktop to dislodge air pockets.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 170 C, 150 C fan, 325 F, gas 3 and bake for 1 hour. To test if cooked, insert a metal skewer down to the marzipan level - it should come out clean. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and leave to cool.
  6. Roll out a third of the remaining marzipan to a round to fit the top of the cake. Lightly brush the top with the jam, press the marzipan down firmly and crimp the edges with your fingers. With the tip of a knife, score the marzipan in a diamond pattern.
  7. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. Lightly brush the top of the cake with the egg, position the balls around the edge and brush with more egg. Place the cake under a heated grill for 1 to 2 minutes to glaze, or use a cook's blowtorch. Cool before serving.

Per serving: 595 calories, 25g fat (10g saturated), 88g carbohydrate

Chocolate cherry pavlova

Lighter meringue replaces the gateau in this Black Forest-inspired creation.

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Easy/prepare ahead

Description: Chocolate cherry pavlova

Chocolate cherry pavlova

5 free-range eggs, separated

1tsp cream of tartar

250g (9oz) caster sugar

1tsp cornflour

100g (4oz) dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

2tsp arrowroot

1tbsp caster sugar

390g jar black cherries in Kirsch, drained and liquid reserved

450ml (15fl oz) half-fat crème fraîche

2tbsp black cherry jam

You will need

Baking sheet with baking parchment

  1. Heat the oven to 140 C, 120 C fan, 275 F, gas 1. Whisk the egg whites, a pinch of salt and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually add the sugar, whisking until it's stiff Whisk in the cornflour. Fold in the chocolate for a marbled effect.
  2. Spoon on to the baking sheet and spread to a round 20cm (8in) in diameter and 3cm (11/4in) high. Make a dip in the center with the back of a spoon, and swirl the outer edges. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until crisp on the outside (the center should be slightly soft). Turn off the oven and leave inside to cool completely.
  3. To serve, remove the paper and place on a serving plate. Whisk together the arrowroot, sugar and reserved Kirsch and heat gently until thickened, then leave to cool. Whisk the crème fraîche until it forms soft peaks and pile on to the pavlova. Mix the jam into the cherries and spoon on top of the crème fraîche. Drizzle with the cold Kirsch syrup and serve immediately.
Per serving: 316-263 calories, 12-10g fat (6-5g saturated), 45-38g carbohydrate
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