Tag Archives: Sugar

Red swirl meringues 

We’re right in the heart of the strawberry season here in the UK and have been having some lovely weather, on and off. These are great to spruce up some strawberries, if you serve with some whipped cream or yoghurt. Make smaller ones if you want to sandwich them together, but I just served larger ones on top of a bowl of strawberries and cream, which I think gives a more dramatic impact (and they’re easier to eat with a spoon). 

These are the crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle sort of meringues. The swirls are made with food colouring, so you can make the swirls whatever colour you’d like, to match the fruit colour, or theme of a party, perhaps, I just think red looks a bit more natural as it matches up with the strawberries. 

  
You will need:

4 egg whites

Pinch salt

300g caster sugar

Red food colouring, I like the gel kind by Dr. Oetker

  
1. When separating eggs, use a really clean bowl, as any dust or fat will stop the meringue from getting really whisked up, never mind meaning you have all sorts of grossness in your food! I’m sure we all have our own tips as to how to separate eggs, but I’ll share my method just in case you haven’t done it before. I don’t like to use separators and so on, as it just results in more washing up. But I do believe in the luxury of multiple bowls – two cereal sized ones and your mixing bowl, as this helps to prevent eggs being wasted. Basically, I crack the egg against the side of the bowl, pull the shell apart, and sort of tip out the white, whilst tossing the yolk from shell to shell to get as much as possible, then I chuck the yolk into a separate bowl. Tip the white into the mixing bowl and repeat until they’re all done. If you get any shell in, retrieve using half of the larger shell, or a teaspoon if you’re worried about more shell breaking off. The wisdom in this madness is that if you do accidentally split or spill the yolk, it’s only affecting one egg white, not all the other clean successful ones you’ve already managed. Add the salt. 

  
2. Whisk up the egg whites in the mixing bowl until frothy, white and holding in soft peaks. Without the sugar, it will remain bubbly and sort of transparent in areas.

  
3. Gradually add the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time then whisk in. This is the tricky part which requires lots of patience. Basically, you need to encourage the sugar to dissolve without overbearing the meringue. When it’s done, it’ll look thick and glossy and will hold itself in stiff peaks. 

  
4. Spoon into a sheet of baking parchment on a baking sheet, whilst your oven preheats to 110C. You can pipe them instead, or be creative with your spoon, using the spoon to swirl it and pull out a nice peak at the top. 

5. Squeeze some food colouring onto a cocktail stick and gently drag it around the meringues in a swirling motion. You may need to reapply. 

  
6. Bake in the oven for an hour or so, or until crisp on the outside and easily coming away from the paper, i.e. dry on the bottom, when lifted. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few weeks. 

 

Coconut Cream Cake

Hey everyone, sorry this is a bit late. I’ve been in a training session at a hotel all day today (where the heating was turned up way too high) and ended up being seated next to the Directors at lunch so no break for me! At least I’m going on holiday in 10 days, but more about that soon. In the meantime…..cake!

This is a beautiful, light, not too sweet cake, which is perfect with a cup of Earl Grey, and a lovely break from chocolate cake, cupcakes, cookies……not that they aren’t great in their own way! Plus, you get to use up that tin of coconut cream that has been lolling about in your cupboard for awhile.

A tip for using coconut cream – if you live somewhere cold or it’s winter, you may find that your coconut cream has split into solid parts and watery parts due to the cold temperatures. To fix this, gently heat it in a saucepan, stirring to combine, then take it off the heat and allow it to cool a little before using it.

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You will need:

175g softened butter

175g golden caster sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons coconut cream

175g self-raising flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

50g desiccated coconut

For the icing and filling:

100g softened butter

3-4 tbs coconut cream

280g icing (confectioners’) sugar

jam to fill the cake, I like the sharpness of raspberry

50g or so desiccated coconut

glitter sugar, I used gold (optional)

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1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan. Prepare 2 sandwich tins by lining with greaseproof paper and greasing with butter.

2. Cream the butter with a hand/standing mixer until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and cream again. Mix in the coconut cream and beat.

3. Crack in the eggs and beat until the mixture is full of air and almost mousse-like. Add the coconut and mix in.

4. Fold in the flour and baking powder, gently, trying to keep the air in, and stop mixing as soon as the flour has been properly combined with the mixture.

5. Divined the mixture between the tins and bake for 15-20 mins, or until golden and only just springy to the touch, with the cake coming away from the edges. Allow to cool a little then turn out, peeling the paper from the bases. It’s a good idea to run a paring knife around the edge to stop sticking and breaking first. Set aside to cool completely.

6. Best the softened butter until lighter and fluffy. Add the coconut cream and icing sugar (bring careful not to let it puff out all over you and the kitchen) and cream until combined and fluffy.

7. Once the cakes have cooled, place one upside down on a plate or board. Spread a good layer of jam on it then sandwich the other layer on top.

8. Spread the coconut icing over the top and sides of the cake with a knife or spoon then decorate with sprinklings of coconut and glitter sugar.