Desserts & Baking (Part 1) : Vanilla cupcakes with crystallised violas, Almond meringue cake with kiwi and raspberries

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Vanilla cupcakes with crystallised violas

Description: Vanilla cupcakes with crystallised violas

If you're limiting portion size, cupcakes are good for not overindulging.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes 12

Easy/prepare ahead/freeze (sponge only)

100g (4oz) butter, softened

100g (4oz) caster sugar

2 large free-range eggs, beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

100g (4oz) self-raising flour

You will need

12-hole cupcake tin lined with cases

1.    Heat the oven to 180 C, 160 C fan, 350 F, gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy; gradually beat in the eggs. Don't worry if the mixture curdles, it'll come together when you add the flour. Add the vanilla, then fold in the flour until you have a smooth batter.

2.    Divide the mixture evenly between the cases; bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until springy to the touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the frosting (see below), and use a star-nozzle in a piping bag to pipe.

Per cupcake: 139 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated), 15g carbohydrate

Almond meringue cake with kiwi and raspberries

Description: Almond meringue cake with kiwi and raspberries

Almond meringue cake with kiwi and raspberries

Use Greek yogurt instead of cream – it is better for you and tastes divine.

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus cooling

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves 10

Easy/prepare ahead

For the meringue

5 large free-range egg whites

large pinch cream of tartar

275g (91/2oz) caster sugar

100g (4oz) ground almonds

For the filling

500g (1lb 2oz) thick Greek yogurt

2tbsp icing sugar

 2tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

2 kiwis, peeled and chopped

250g (9oz) raspberries

1.    Heat the oven to 140 C, 120 C fan, 275 F, gas 1. Draw an 18cm (7in) circle on 3 pieces of baking parchment, and use to line 3 baking sheets.

2.    Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar until stiff, then whisk in half the sugar, 1tbsp at a time, until the meringue is thick and shiny. Fold in the remaining sugar and the ground almonds with a metal spoon.

3.    Divide the mixture between the baking sheets and spread the meringue evenly over the marked circles (make sure the side of the parchment that you wrote on is facing downwards so you don't end up with ink on your meringue!) Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, then turn off the oven; leave the meringue inside until completely cold. The cooled meringues will keep for a day in an airtight container somewhere dry.

4.    To make the filling, mix the Greek yogurt, Icing sugar and vanilla. Place a meringue circle on a serving platter and top with a third of the yogurt and fruit, then repeat with the other meringues, and finally top with the rest of the yogurt and fruit. Serve Immediately.

Per serving: 252 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated), 38g carbohydrate

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