Redcurrant and Orange Meringue Cake

Cake- day

I don’t usually do cake, as even the most cursory glance at this blog will show. But this weekend we had the inlaws for dinner and I was in charge of pudding. So I have faced my cake demons and have actually baked one (I’m blaming my recent Bake Off binges for thinking that this might be a good idea….).

I wanted to use the redcurrant curd that I’d made earlier but I wanted to make something a bit snazzier than a victoria sandwich. I eventually stumbled upon this – Nigella Lawson’s lemon meringue cake. You can find the recipe here

It’s a twist on a lemon meringue pie but with sponge instead of pastry. Nigella’s version has lemon juice and zest mixed into the sponge mix, but as I was using redcurrant curd I decided to go for orange instead and so added the zest of one orange along with 5 tsp of orange juice (the mix looked a bit dry). Once you’ve added the thin layer of sponge to each sandwich tin you then pop the meringue on top.
cake - Straight from the oven

In one tin it’s smoothed flat to form the base of the cake, and in the other it’s pulled up into peaks and scattered with sugar to create a more impressive top. It’s baked once a skewer comes out clean which doesn’t take long (I’ve hidden the slightly burnt edge of the base off the top of the photo…). Removing the bottom tin wasn’t too much of a problem but I was a bit worried about squashing the carefully constructed peaks of the top – I think a loose bottomed tin would be distinctly less stressful than trying to delicately handle fragile peaks of meringue!


The whole thing was then sandwiched together sponge sides in with whipped double cream and redcurrant curd. Obviously I added more curd than the recipe said only to see it start to slide Vesuvius like over the side of the cake – not quite the look I was going for! So in order to try and deflect attention from the curd avalanche I sprinkled some pink sugar on top.

I was a bit worried about this as it wasn’t the neatest of cakes but taste wise it was a massive hit with everyone raving about it. The in laws even took doggy bags of slices home with them. And it was even better the next day when the filling had had more time to set. Cake for breakfast – what could be better!
Slice of cake



An Experiment in Cake Baking.

slice of cake and coffee

For once the Bank Holiday has been warm in much of the UK. Even more surprisingly I am in one of these areas – in previous warm spells the LSH and I have been up a fell in the Lake District where it has been cold, windy and wet. So I’ve been making the most of it.

To the casual observer it may have looked as if I’ve been drinking coffee and eating cake whilst sat in the sun with my feet up. In reality I have been a whirlwind of activity clearing my washing basket and baking bread for the coming week.

Thankfully both of these tasks are ones where time (and machinery) does a lot of the work for you which left me with no option but to eat this slice of homemade blueberry and white chocolate cake.

This is a bit of a baking experiment. I don’t usually do cakes and where I do I rarely change the recipe. However this week my local sandwich shop had slices of blueberry and white chocolate cake on the counter. Obviously I had to try it (for purely research purposes….) and have been musing on how to replicate it.

It tasted like a Madeira cake and I wanted it to have a loaf tin form so I used this BBC Good Food magazine recipe as the basis. I ended up adding quite a bit of milk to it as the mix seemed but thicker than described. I then roughly chopped 75g of white chocolate and added this to the mix along with blueberries coated in icing sugar (this supposedly stops them sinking in the cake mix). It was then baked for about 1:30hrs.

blueberry and white chocolate cake

This cake is probably not going to win any prizes at the WI show. It looks more like a school volcano project that a cake having made a break for freedom from its tin about halfway through its time in the oven (I was eating cake off the oven floor!) But that doesn’t matter. As I sit here munching contentedly through another doorstep thick slice all I can think about is how moist and fruity it is with just the faintest hint of white chocolate (more of a texture than a taste). All it needs is a larger tin……

blueberry and chocolate 2

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffin
Yesterday was not a good day. Back to back meetings and delayed trains have meant that I survived on a diet of vending machines, the refreshment trolley and whatever was left in the station cafe at the end of the day. Not good!

So I’m in need of the culinary equivalent of a hug. And after a day staring at their coffee shop steroid version I thought I’d have a go at some homemade muffins.

A quick trawl through the Leith’s Baking Bible produced 17 pages of muffin recipes ranging from lemon and poppy seed through to pumpkin and orange. According to Leiths “It is thought that the word ‘muffin’ is a derivative of the French ‘moufflet’, meaning ‘soft’ when referring to bread.” ¬†Traditionally¬†English muffins are a type of bread but the American sweeter version is increasingly what we mean when we talk about muffins and that’s what I have here. As I still had quite a few frozen blueberries, I’ve made blueberry muffins. I’ve added some lemon zest and juice, largely because I had one in the fridge that had seen better days.

muffin mixture


340g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
115g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
290g semi skimmed milk
1 egg
55g butter
juice of half a lemon
225g blueberries (I used frozen)

Melt the butter and leave to cool
Preheat oven to 200C

Sieve the flour and mix in a bowl with the other dry ingredients including the lemon zest.

Beat the egg and mix with the other liquid ingredients except for the lemon juice.

Make a well in the middle of your flour mix and add the liquids. Mix into a smooth batter and add the lemon juice.

Stir in the blueberries.

Divide the mix between 12 muffin cases taking care not to overfill.


Muffins in oven


Bake for about 25-30 min until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container or you can freeze them.

Cooked muffins


Ok- let’s be honest. These are not the perky buoyant muffins of the coffee shops. For starters you can tell from the colour that the right hand side of my oven is considerably hotter than the left (something that I’m still struggling with managing) and this affected both the colour and shape of them.

But they are moist and tasty little things, stacked with home grown blueberries and with just a hint of lemon. Very morish! I’m sure all that fruity goodness must go some way to offsetting the sugar (hopefully!).