Saturday, 22 June 2013

Lemon Macaron Layer Cake - Clandestine Cake Club - Norwich Club (May) - RECIPE

Unfortunately, I've had little time for blogging of late - so have a lot of catching up to do !

This is the cake I made for the May meet of Clandestine Cake Club (Norwich). I'll warn you now if you are thinking of making it - it WAS a labour of love.....

There are a lot of aspects to this cake - sponge, swiss meringue buttercream, macarons and homemade lemon curd. It contained 48 macaron shells as there were also macarons between the layers.

It was very time consuming so wouldn't be a cake that you would want to make on a regular basis. It was also very rich, so only snall slices required.

At a guess, this cake served around 36 portions. I brought a lot of it back and it got handed round several neighboring companies and staff at my work !

Sponge Cake Recipe 

200g of salted butter
375g caster sugar
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
160ml milk

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and combine followed by egg yolks. Add dry ingredients and milk with canilla, alternating (1/3 of the amount at a time)

Bake in a 170deg C pre-heated oven for approx 50mins until a cake tester comes out clean

Allow to cool and then refrigerate until firm.

Tort (split) into three even layers.

Spread the bottom and middle layers generously with lemon curd, then top with a layer of macarons and a layer of Italian meringue buttercream.

LEMON CURD RECIPE (makes two jars)

200g sugar
3 eggs + 2 yolks
100g melted butter
250ml lemon juice (or 150ml lemon and 100ml lime)
zest 3 lemons

The lemons I bought looked sublime, but infact were very disappointing.... Loads of peel and very little juice.I used 5 lemons and still had to top up with 100ml of lime juice on this occasion as I ran out of lemons !

First of all, melt the butter and them add the lemon juice and lemon zest.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a pan, then whisk in the butter and lemon mix.

Stir continuously over a low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Put into sterilised jars and seal. 

This lemon curd recipe does not need a double boiler. Keep a sink full of cold water nearby. If it looks like it might split, plunge the pan bottom into the water and then whisk like fury. I've never had it split yet...(though I've water dunked it once or twice before).

This time however, I made lemon macarons instead of orange. These are baked on the Revolutionary Double Sided Macaron Mat from

For applying buttercream and getting lovely straight sides on your cake, use a bench scraper (£6.99 from

These can be butted up to the cake and be flat on the cake board. It gives you a lovely smooth finish with very little effort and a professional finish.

Sarah-Jane Nash -

Galloping Gus and Sparkly Shoes - Cake Decorating with Kaysie Lackey

Meet Galloping Gus -  the goofy racehorse. This is my resulting creation of another wonderful cake decorating class with Kaysie Lackey of The People's Cake  at Pretty Witty Cakes in Sussex.

I must say, Kaysie is a wonderful tutor, and I'd highly recommend her classes. This horse cake was no mean feat however. It took 3 days of hard work to create, and we struggled working with chocolate, fondant and cake in warm weather. I was rather amazed I managed to get him home in one piece !

Earlier in the month, I also made took Kaysie's 2 day designer shoe cake class. These glittery high heeled shoes are hand made from chocolate !

Great fun and I've met some lovely girls in the classes this month, whilst upping my skill levels.

Kaysie now also has classes available online via Cake Masters.

Sarah-Jane Nash, June 2013

Spelt Loaf with Dried Fruit and Honey Coated Seeds - RECIPE

This recipe is so easy it's child's play. Yes - really !

Unlike conventional bread, this loaf is has no yeast. It is quick to make and requires no kneading or setting aside to prove. Infact, it was made this morning by my 4.1/2 year old son - Oliver.

This loaf was still hot when we sliced it - he couldn't wait to eat it for lunch.

Spelt is an ancient form of wheat introduced to the UK by the Romans. It has higher protein and vitamin B than regular bread flour and very low gluten. It's lovely mixed with other flours in a traditional loaf. 

When baked as a bread on it's own, it's hearty and wholesome. The bread has a good crunchy crust and a nutty flavour. Add some seeds or dried fruit and it becomes sheer delight. We used a dried seed and nut mix from Sainsburys which included raisins, cranberries and apricot with honey coated seed mix.

At, we now stock a good range of traditional stoneground bread making flours from Letheringsett Watermill - the last operational water mill in Norfolk

450g spelt flour
525mls milk or water (warm)
2 tsp black treacle
1 tsp salt
150g mixed dried fruit and seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Mix all together in a bowl and then put into a 2lb silicone loaf mould

Bake in a 180deg C pre-heated fan oven for 50 > 60 minutes.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Iced Coconut Finger Buns - Summer on a Plate (RECIPE)

Being on a diet and avoiding carbs for a considerable amount of time - I had a really strong craving for some soft white bread and something sweet.....

This is a new recipe I've created and although I DID have one, the rest were eaten by staff and people in adjacent units in rapid quick time. Carb fest over - it's back to the diet :-(

I do love making bread. There is something really satisfactory in kneading the dough, watching it rise and the smell from the oven and knowing there is no preservatives. Nothing beats the smell for fresh bread and coffee.

We are opening a cookery school in Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17. First class is a bread class on Friday 14th June - where students will be making and baking various types of hand made breads including sour dough.

 Future cookery classes at Sarah-Jane's Kitchen will appear on very soon. These will include chocolate work, macarons, structural cakes, cupcakes, cookies etc.

Ingredients - makes 10 > 12

250ml coconut milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 sachet instant yeast
500g white bread flour

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, making sure to keep the salt away from the yeast.

Combine the coconut milk, golden syrup and eggs and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together and then turn out and hand knead for around 10mins. Cover with cling wrap and leave until doubled in size.

When doubled in size, divide into 10 > 12 pieces and shape into finger buns.

 I made mine into 10 x 85g pieces and these made generous sized finger buns ! 

Cover with oiled cling film and leave again until doubled in size. Bake for approx 8 > 10mins at 180deg C Fan.

Remove from oven and immediately apply the icing and coconut.

For the icing, I used powdered sugar (sorry - didn't weigh) - maybe around 400g - some coconut milk and a couple of teaspoons of Malibu if you have any plus a teaspoon of glycerine. Mix together until you have a thick and stiff paste. Pipe this straight on to the top of the buns in a thick line and allow it to melt over the bun then quickly scatted some flaked coconut over the top.

They'll be very soft and dense but fluffy if that makes sense in the inside. A complete dream in a bite that made me think of summer sunshine.

A May bank holiday day out with Oliver to the seaside.....

We didn't get the terrible twos, or the terrible threes but we often get a stroppy 4yo !

In a mood and not getting his own way at Orford Castle. Mummy and Daddy hadn't finished looking - Oliver had done it all and was ready to leave.....

I love this photo - sums up the strops nicely !!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Auntie Jane's Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls - The Christmas Hamper Bakeoff

These are probably one of my earliest food memories, and certainly one of my Dad's favourite things of all time. Unfortunately, I didn't take photos last time I made these and have had this blog post sat as draft for ages. The intention was to make more, for the sole purpose of photography - but I'm on a diet and simply don't trust myself not to eat these.

When I was a little girl, we occasionally used to go and visit my aunt and uncle. My memory is a little unclear - but I think this was in the years before my cousins came along. I'm guessing I was around 6 years old....

At the time, my Auntie Jane and Uncle Richard lived just round the corner from my grandmother. I remember my Auntie Jane used to make chocolate covered coconut balls and these used to be a real treat !

Last year, I begged her for the recipe. Jane hasn't made these in a very long time - she guesses around 30 years. That's probably about right, as my cousin Kathryn is now 28yo (almost 29) and had no memory of these at all.....

Kathryn made a leap of faith and moved from Scotland to Norfolk in December and joined us as a full time team member. Unfortunately, she'll only be working with us for a few months more as a baby is now on the way !

Kathryn and I made some of these coconut balls, to included in family gift hampers last Christmas.

To describe what they taste like - imaging deluxe home made Bounty Bars and you won't be far wrong !

This recipe is easy enough for children to help with and requires no cooking

RECIPE - makes approx 42 to 45

400g dessicated coconut
200g icing sugar
200g of salted butter
1 can Carnation condensed milk

Good quality milk or dark chocolate - to coat (guessing about 500g)

Cream butter and icing sugar together and beat in the condensed milk. Stir in the dessicated coconut and refrigerate until firm.

Roll into golf ball sized spheres and then coat by dipping with two forks into melted, tempered chocolate. Place on to a silicone mat. Leave to sit for 5 mins of so and then refrigerate until set.

Due to the butter content, keep refrigerated..... but should store for a good month or more.