Ginger and honey biscuit cake with choc-orange icing

For a truly show-stopping dessert, try this Russian-inspired cake made from layered honey and orange biscuits, which have softened after soaking in the cream cheese icing.

For the biscuits

200g clear honey
130g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
3 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
Finely grated zest 1 orange
600g plain flour, plus extra to dust
For the candied clementines

200g caster sugar
2 clementines, unpeeled, sliced horizontally very thinly
For the icing and decoration

650g cream cheese (we like Philadelphia)
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Finely grated zest 2 oranges
120g icing sugar
3 tbsp clear honey
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp sunflower oil

Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Melt the honey, sugar and butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and bubble for 5 minutes until a slightly darker shade of brown. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 8-10 minutes until cool enough to touch.
Gradually pour the beaten eggs into the cooled mixture, beating with a balloon whisk until fully combined.
Add the baking powder, ground ginger, zest, flour and a pinch of salt, then mix well using a wooden spoon. The dough is soft like gingerbread dough and takes about 5 minutes to properly combine. Weigh, then divide into 10 pieces (about 110g each).
Shape each piece into a disc then, on a well floured surface, roll one into a 2-3mm thick circle just larger than 20cm in diameter. Use a 20cm cake tin to cut out a disc of dough. Use a cake lifter or cake tin base to transfer to one end of a lined baking sheet. Repeat with another 3 dough pieces, putting discs on each lined sheet, then bake for 7-8 minutes until golden and cooked through. Leave to firm up for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Once the biscuits are cooked, make the candied clementines. Turn the oven down to 120°C/100°C fan/gas ½. Put the sugar in a pan with 200ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve. Add the clementine slices, reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain, lay out on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the icing. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and zest with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the icing sugar and honey, then whisk again until smooth and creamy.
Put one biscuit on a large plate, spread evenly with 3-4 tbsp of icing using a palette knife and top with another biscuit. Repeat using up all the biscuits, then spread the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the biscuits. Use a palette knife to gently scrape the icing around the sides until you can just see the edges of the biscuits, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water), then mix in the sunflower oil. Remove the cake from the fridge, drizzle over a little chocolate, then spread it over the icing with a palette knife to create a swirling pattern. Keep adding more chocolate and spreading it across the cake. When you’re happy with your swirl, drizzle over the rest of the chocolate, Jackson Pollock style. Return to the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Decorate the top with the candied clementines.
delicious. tips

Mint, chocolate and blackcurrant biscuits

Perfect for an afternoon tea, Martha Collison’s double-layered biscuits have a touch of jammy dodger! Simple to make, even easier to eat.

And if you fancy it, you could even make your own seedless blackcurrant jam.

 125g unsalted butter, softened
75g soft light brown sugar
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium free-range egg
200g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
For the filling

75g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1 tsp whole milk
½ tsp peppermint extract
200g blackcurrant jam

Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper. Put the 125g butter, brown sugar and caster sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer for a few minutes until slightly paler. Mix in the vanilla and egg. Gradually add the flour and cocoa powder, beating as you go, until the mixture starts to clump together. Bring it together with your hands, wrap in cling film and chill for 45 minutes.
Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge and roll it out between 2 pieces of cling film to 5mm thick. Using a 4cm round cutter, cut out 16 circles, re-rolling as necessary. Use a small flower or star cutter to stamp out the centre of half the circles to make the biscuit tops.
Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
To fill, use an electric mixer to beat the butter with the icing sugar, milk and peppermint until fluffy. Pipe in small blobs around the edge of the cooled biscuit bases, spoon 1 tsp jam into the centre, then add the tops.
delicious. tips

Blueberry and polenta shortcake

Inspired by her best friend’s mum, Debbie Major shares her recipe for this summery and comforting blueberry shortcake.

Go for the classic combo of strawberries and cream or try our zesty lemon curd shortcake instead.

150g chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
100g plain flour, plus extra to dust
100g self-raising flour
100g polenta (see tip)
150g caster sugar (vanilla if you have some)
Finely grated zest 1 large orange
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp demerara sugar
For the filling

350g fresh blueberries
25g caster sugar (vanilla if you have some)
2 heaped tsp polenta (see tip)

Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas 4. Grease a 23cm springform tin with a little butter and line the base with a disc of baking paper.
Put both flours and the butter into a food processor with a pinch of salt and whizz until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the polenta, caster sugar and orange zest, then use the pulse button to mix briefly.
Combine the egg with the orange juice, add to the machine and pulse again briefly until the mix starts to come together in clumps. Tip the mix onto a dusted work surface and knead briefly to a dough.
Cut off 250g of the dough, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. With lightly floured hands, press the rest of the dough onto the base of the prepared tin, working it 2cm up the sides.
Scatter the blueberries over the base of the shortbread and sprinkle with the 25g caster sugar and the polenta. Roll out the reserved piece of dough into a 23cm disc, lay it over the top of the berries and press the edges of the dough together to seal, then crimp with your fingers. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully unclip and transfer the shortcake to a serving plate or wire rack.
delicious. tips


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