Quick Summer Desserts

The weather is hot, your probably having salads for tea as it is too hot to cook, do the same with your desserts!
You want something quick with minimal effort to enjoy this summer. Use store brought ingredients and stay away from that oven in this heat, but still have an indulgent dessert.

I have been doing a lot of desserts using fresh seasonal fruit. Went ‘strawberry and raspberry picking’.


Raspberries ready for freezing

If you find that you have any leftover raspberries you can freeze them, ready to use when you are baking. I did freeze some strawberry slices but they don’t defrost that well so I will just be using them when baking.


Strawberry & Raspberry Flan

One of this things that we like to make when we have lots of strawberries is a fruit sponge flan. I love strawberry flan, to me it is the taste of summer – me and my brother have always made it with my mom ever since we were little.

Serves 6-8 (depending on how big you want your slice) 

1 Large Flan Case – store bought
1 Sachet of Quick Jel – I got ‘Greens Red Quick Jel’
Strawberries – enough to fill you flan

Put your flan case on to a plate, wash and cut your strawberries, sliced or halved depending on there size. Place these on the sponge flan case along with the raspberries – I’m always fussing around making it look pretty.

Follow the instructions on the back of your Quick Jel, let it cool before pour it over your fruit as it will make your sponge go soggy – no one likes a soggy bottom. Then place in the fridge, it takes about 20-minutes for the Jel to set.

Serve with double or spray cream.

Note: You don’t have to stick to these fruits you can choose your own.

Strawberry, Raspberry & Blueberry Flan
Strawberry & Raspberry Flan I also dotted some defrosted Blueberries to add a contrasting colour… Pretty!

Strawberry & Raspberry Meringue Nests

When I did this for the first time, me, my mom and dad we were like ‘the three little bears’, for dad there was enough cream, my mom wanted a bit more and for me (the fussy one) there was too much… It was still very delicious with the fresh berries!
So it is personal choice it you like lots of cream pile it on, but if you are like me then just a bit.

Serving 3Strawberry and Raspberry Meringue Nests
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store bought
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce, to drizzle – Store bought

“Add as much or little as you like it is personal taste,
I pile the raspberries up because I love them”.

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Wash and dry the strawberries and raspberries, slice, halve or diced the strawberries depending on their size.

Pour the double cream into a small glass bowl and using a hand held mixer beat the cream until soft-firm peaks form. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a open star nozzle then pipe onto the meringue nests – pipe the amount that you desire. If you don’t want to be fussy like me you can use a teaspoon to put the cream on the meringues.

Now decorate your cream topped meringues with the raspberries and strawberry slices and placing some of the larger pieces on the side of the plate as a garnish, just before serving drizzle over the raspberry sauce.

Strawberry and Raspberry Meringue Nests2

Fruity Meringue Nests with Pistachio

I really did enjoy this dessert the sweet meringue, double cream and with all the fruit, balancing the slightly unhealthy with the healthy. The crushed pistachios sprinkled on top just finished it off.

Serving 3Fruity Meringues sprinkled with Pistachio
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store bought
2-3 Apricots
2-3 Peaches – I had the doughnut type
Handful of shelled Pistachios
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce, for drizzling – Store bought

“Add as much or little as you like it is personal taste,
I pile the raspberries up because I love them”.

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Prepare the fruit and cut them up, slice or halve the strawberries depending on their size, de-stone the apricots and peaches – dice the apricot to sprinkle on top of the nests and slice the peaches to serve on the side.

Put the pistachios into a food bag and smash with a rolling pin (take out any of your aggression), so there are still some large pieces – set aside.

In a small glass bowl pour the double cream in and using a hand held mixer beat the cream until you have soft-firm peaks forming. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a open star nozzle and pipe swirls onto the meringue nests – pipe the desired amount.
If you don’t want to fuss around to much then you can use a teaspoon to put the cream on the meringue nests.

Next decorate with the chopped fruit, placing the larger pieces such as the peaches on the side of the plate as a garnish.

Just before serving drizzle over some raspberry sauce and sprinkle over the pistachio pieces.

Fruity Meringue Nests with Pistachio

Blackberry, Apricot & Kiwi Meringue Nest

Serving 3
6 Meringue Nests, 2 each – Store boughtBlackberry, Apricot and Kiwi meringue Nests
2 Kiwi Fruits
A handful of Blackberries, plus extra for garnish & decoration
2-3 Apricots
250ml Double Cream
Raspberry Sauce

Place two meringue nests on each plate. Peel the kiwi fruit and slice them up, leaving 6 of the slices whole to serve on the side of the plate as a garnish, then dice the rest up. De-stone the apricots then dice them, then set aside.

Pour the cream into a small glass bowl and beat it using a hand held mixer until you have soft-firm peaks. Wash and dry the blackberries; reserve a third of them and set aside. Then cut the rest of them up in halve or quartered depending on the size, add to the cream and stir to combine.

Spoon 2 teaspoons of the blackberry swirled cream onto the meringue nests, decorate with the diced kiwi and apricot pieces and cut some of the reserved blackberries in half for decoration.

Put 2 kiwi slices on each plate, a few whole blackberries and any diced apricot and kiwi that you have used to decorate the meringue nests on the side as a garnish.

Just before serving drizzle over some raspberry sauce if desired.

Kiwi, Blackberry and Apricot meringue nests


I hope that you enjoy these, you can create some of the things that I have made or you can get creative and do something of your own. I would love to see pictures of the dessert you have made so feel free to email or tweet me.

Gluten Free

Gluten Free Life

I think that Gluten Free foods are coming about more and more but there still needs to be more awareness as people don’t fully understand. I’m not actually gluten free myself but my Aunty is and my sister has a slight intolerance. For things such as bread and cakes you hear people saying that it tastes like cardboard, I have actually done some gluten free baking and I have still enjoyed them and more importantly my Aunty did too.

Beautiful Body with Biz

gluten-free-life-I was diagnosed with Celiac in 2005. Back then food classified as gluten free was disgusting. I have never been fond of eating dry cardboard.

With Celiacs Disease and with most gluten sensitivities, digesting gluten can lead to a whole host of other issues. Sure it’s trending to be eating ‘gluten free’ and it seems to be one of the newest fad diets. However, for some of us, it is far more serious than trying to get a hot, smoking body!

What is gluten, you may ask?

Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein that is found in some grains; these include wheat, barley and rye (and any combination of them such as triticale). Here in Canada Oats are an acceptable grain, but they MUST be certified as gluten free. Cross-contamination can occur when the same machines are used to produce wheat and oats.

What does…

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Cakes · Cupcakes

Very Best Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate Easter Cake - Triple Layer Sponge (above shot)

Now who doesn’t like chocolate cake!! This is my favourite chocolate cake recipe, the sponge is moist and with the ganache its like the perfect dessert and it comes from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

Mary Berry’s – Baking Bible

“This will become your favourite chocolate cake recipe – it is the best! It is speedy to make and the easy filling doubles as an icing. The cake is moist and has a ‘grown-up’ chocolate flavour”.
– Mary Berry

How she describes this cake just makes you think I’ve got to bake that, you won’t regret it, this cake is delicious!

This cake is great for an afternoon treat, save it for dessert or you could even do it as a birthday cake… It is so yummy everyone will love it!

Chocolate Easter Cake - Triple Layer Sponge
Chocolate Easter Cake: 3 layers of sponge, coated in ganache and decorated with golden eggs and sprinkles





50g Sifted Cocoa Powder
6 tablespoons Boiling Water
3 Large Eggs
50ml Milk
175g Self Raising Flour
1 rounded teaspoon Baking Powder
100g Butter, softened
275g Caster Sugar

For the Icing and Filling
3 tablespoons Apricot Jam
150g  Plain Chocolate (39% Cocoa Solids)
150ml (¼ pint) Double Cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 4/180°C/Fan 160°C. Grease two 20 cm (8 inch) deep sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Blend the cocoa powder and boiling water in a large bowl then add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until the mixture has become a smooth, thickish batter. Then divide the cake mixture equally between the two prepared sandwich tins and level the surface using a back of a spoon.

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25–30 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning them out, removing the baking parchment and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To make the filling and topping, start by warming the apricot jam in a small pan, then spread a little over both the base of one cake and the top of the other. Now to make the ganache icing break the dark chocolate into pieces and pour the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and gently heat together for about 10 minutes or just until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the bowl from the heat (I suggest doing this with a towel, as quite a bit of steam comes from the saucepan) and stir the chocolate mixture to make sure it has completely melted and that there are no lumps. Leave to cool until it is on the point of setting, then spread on top of the apricot jam on both cakes. Sandwich the cakes together and use a small palette knife to smooth the ganache on the top. Keep in a cool place until ready to serve.

My Notes
Mary serves her cake with the ganache sandwiching her sponges together and some for the topping. If you want, you can then decorate the top of your cake however you like. Here are a few examples of how I have done the cake.

Chocolate Cake Decorated with Snowflakes Chocolate Cake








Here I used 7-inch sandwich tins.
3 layers of sponge and look at that ganache… hmmm yummy.
I just decorated it with a few snowflakes.

Chocolate Easter Cake - Triple Layer Sponge (undecorated)2Here is the cake I did for Easter before adding extra decorations. It is 3 layers of 8-inch sponge (I double the recipe, with the spare mixture I made cupcakes) I then filled and covered the entire cake with ganache and smoothed it all over. Even like this it looks yummy!

4-inch cake and cupcakes decorated with chocolate stars
4-inch cake and cupcakes decorated with chocolate stars


I have also used this recipe to make cupcakes, it works great. The only thing that you need to do extra is whip the ganache. Once the melted the chocolate and cream have cooled use a hand held mixer to beat it until thick and fluffy. Transfer this to a piping bag and get decorating.

Chocolate Easter Cupcakes2Here I have decorated the cupcakes with mini Easter eggs, flowers, butterflies and gold sprinkles!
Chocolate Easter Cupcakes

Tips from Mary Berry
The cake can be frozen (iced or un-iced) for up to 1 month. Store in a round freezer-proof container about 2.5 cm (1 in) bigger than the diameter of the cake. Sit the cake on the inside of the lid and place the container over the top. Seal, label and freeze.
If the cake is frozen iced, the icing will not be quite as shiny once thawed. To defrost, release the lid but leave in position and thaw for 4 hours at room temperature.


Are you all overloaded on chocolate now! 

I hope you enjoy this chocolate cake recipe as much as me, and that some of my ideas have been of some inspiration or if you have any other ideas I would love to know… Emails or Tweet as you could inspire me!

Twitter: @PerfectingBakes


Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries

Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries x3
For the past couple of weeks we have had a summer “heatwave” (well its what the UK call a heatwave – for all the other countries it is most likely the norm). The loud thunderstorms in the early hours of the morning – haven’t had ones like that for years!
I actually found the rain and thunder quite soothing to be honest, it was nice listening to it. Both of my dogs slept through it, they were to busy snoring.

So due to the “heatwave” I have not wanted to go near the oven with it being so stupidly hot, didn’t really want to add any extra heat, so I have been doing more chilled desserts using all the fresh fruit that is in season especially… Raspberries YUMMY!

Sorbet and Strawberries

Some of the things that I have been using to create the desserts over the past couple of weeks are; strawberries, raspberries, apricots, meringue nests, double cream and ICE CREAM!! I will post some of the other things that I have made soon.

Super easy desserts that are nice and refreshing in the summer heat and that require hardly any work at all, like using store brought meringue nest for quickness, plus no need for the oven.

Tonight I decided to do something so quick it needed no effort at all ‘Lemon Sorbet with Strawberries’… can you guess what you need.

Lemon Sorbet & StrawberriesLemon Sorbert with Strawberries CollageEasy as 1, 2, 3

So I thought that this would be a nice refreshing dessert for my mom and dad, as he had been working out in the sun all day building a shed in the garden. I really wish that I had gotten a chance to take a picture of his face, as he screwed it up so much when he had some of the sorbet, it was so funny – So he won’t be wanting that again – I don’t think he likes sour things.

So dad had…
Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries

Dad's Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries
Dad’s Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream & Strawberries

The Great British Bake Off Returns…

The Great British Bake Off is returning…

Recipes from Mary Berry Cooks    Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc.    

    So the countdown begins until Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood return to our screens along with Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc and their cheeky baking puns on Wednesday 6th August – 8pm on BBC1

Embedded image permalink
The Great British Bake Off is on BBC1… “An Extra Slice” the spin off, will be shown on BBC2 directly after the BBC1 episode has finished. The GBBO Spin Off is going to be hosted by Jo Brand in the style of the Apprentice.

I am really looking forward to the Bake Off starting… maybe its because I have become more obsessed with baking – I can’t get enough of it. So I can’t wait to see what the 12 bakers are going to be making… as everyone has their own interpretation and style!

It is not only the winners of the show that make a good name for themselves when it comes to baking; Ruth Clemens – The Pink Whisk and Holly Bell – Recipes from a Normal Mum both have great sites and Holly has just released her first book too.


Mixed Berry Muffins

Mixed Berry Muffins

One of the baking blogs that I like to visit quite often is she is an American food blogger and recipe developer and I always love to see what new recipes she has posted.

As well as the recipes, the photos that she posts are amazing I just love them… they make you want to lick the screen especially when it comes to her cupcakes.

Sally also goes into details before the recipe telling you why each of the ingredients are important to the cake or cookie you are going to be making. I find it really helpful with all the different tips and side notes that she gives you.

Sally’s Very Berry Muffins were part of a post called ‘The Master Muffin Mix’ where she gives you the basic muffin mixture and lots of options for different add ins like… Banana Nut Muffins – I don’t normally like banana in things but she makes them look and sound so deliciously – I will definitely have to make them.

I’m very glad I came across her blog – so check it out for yourselves!

375g Plain Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
(Sally also adds a 1/4 teaspoon of salt) – but I don’t like much salt in food, so the choice is yours!
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
100g Granulated Sugar
100g Light Brown Sugar
204ml Milk, at room temperature                             (Sally’s Tip – Using Buttermilk adds extra moistness)
120ml Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil or Coconut Oil)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
340g mixed berries, fresh or frozen (not thawed) – so that their colour doesn’t leak into the mixture
coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Mixed Berry Muffins Pic

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7. Spray/oil a  muffin tin with non-stick spray – I actually lined the tin with muffin cases. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon (and salt if using). Mix the dry ingredients using a balloon whisk, giving it a quick stir, so that they are combined. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the milk (or buttermilk), oil, and vanilla extract. The mixture will be pale and yellow. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand. Avoid over-mixing! – as this would produce tough, dense muffins. Gently mix together until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and that no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be very thick and somewhat lumpy.

4. Next very gently, to avoid the berries leaking their colour, fold in the just over three-quarters of the mixed berries so that they are evenly dispersed throughout the muffin mixture – the remaining berries will be dotted on the tops of the muffins before putting in the oven.

5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins, filling them all the way to the top. Using the berries you have leftover, press a few into the tops of each muffin. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. (I didn’t have any coarse sugar so I used Demerara Sugar).

6. Bake at Gas Mark 7 for 5 minutes keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to Gas Mark 5 and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes. These muffins taste their best on the day of baking.
Mixed Berry Muffins incase

Store the muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes: I have also done this muffin recipe using wholemeal flour and they were just as tasty!


Raspberry Bakewell Cake

I love this raspberry cake and so do the rest of my family, I’ve lost count on how many times I have made this. So when it comes to birthdays, instead of making them a nice pretty decorated cake… they want this cake.

My Dad's Birthday Cake
My Dad’s Birthday Cake
Mother's Day Cake
Mother’s Day Cake

Made this cake when my brother came down from uni at Christmas as he hadn’t tried it… So there were the four of us (Me, mom, dad and my brother) – this cake only lasted 24 hours!!

So we had dinner and had a slice for dessert… But my brother is always eating and decide to have a midnight snack… another slice of cake – so everyone else had one even though they were full the make sure that they got their fair share.

150g Butter, softened
150g Caster Sugar
150g Self Raising Flour
150g Ground Almonds
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Almond Extract
6tsp Raspberry Jam
150-170g Raspberries (Fresh or Frozen) either are good I’ve tried both
50g Flaked Almonds

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the almond extract.
4. Fold in the flour and ground almonds until the mixture is smooth.
5. Place half of the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it over. Dot the raspberry jam all over, half a teaspoon at a time – use a knife to gently spread it if necessary.
6. Scatter over the raspberries, then drop the remaining mixture all over the fruit and smooth it over – again if it helps use a small palette knife to help spread over the holes.
7. Scatter the flaked almonds on top of the cake mixture and bake it in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until golden

Serve on its own, with cream, ice cream, fresh fruit, whatever you fancy!!

Little Slice of heaven