Archive | February, 2015

Lorraine Pascale’s Easter cake recipes

9 Feb



SERVES 12-14
currants, sultanas and raisins 350g
dried cranberries 80g
medjool dates, deseeded and roughly chopped 80g
soft died apricots 80g, roughly chopped
mixed peel 80g
brandy or a good Jamaican rum (or regular tea if you are on the wagon) 500ml
butter 250g
soft light brown sugar 250g
eggs 5, lightly beaten
plain flour 250g (plus 70g for tossing the fruit in)
baking powder 15g
mixed spice 2 tsp
nutmeg 1 tsp
ground ginger 1 tbsp
treacle 1 tbsp
ground hazelnuts 100g
lemon zest of 1
orange zest of 1
fresh ginger 2 x 2cm pieces, grated
pears 2, peeled, deseeded and cubed

To decorate:
ready-made marzipan , the best you can afford 300g
apricot jam 4 tbsp
egg 1, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line (bottom and sides) a 2.5cm x 20cm deep round baking tin, with a double thickness of greaseproof paper. Put a double thickness of newspaper around the outside of the tin, too. (The cake needs a long cooking time, so the double greaseproof will protect the outside from cooking too quickly.)

Put the currants, sultanas and raisins, cranberries, dates, apricots and mixed peel in a bowl and cover with the brandy/rum or tea, and leave to steep overnight. If you don’t have time, just leave them for an hour or two.

The next day, cream together the butter and sugar until they are well combined, add half of the eggs and half the flour and stir to just combine, then add the rest of the eggs, flour, baking powder, mixed spice, nutmeg and ground ginger and mix to just combine. Finally drain the fruit, reserving the brandy/rum/tea and toss the fruit in the 70g of flour. This will stop it from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking. Add the fruit along with the treacle, hazelnuts, lemon and orange zests and fresh ginger and stir until the mixture looks uniform, and then fold in the pears.

Dollop into the cake tin and make a well in the centre of the cake batter. This will ensure that the cake does not rise with a peak at the centre and cooks with a level top.

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for 2-2½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the sides have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin. Once it is cooked, remove it from the oven and prick holes over the top of the cake and pour some of the brandy/rum liquid over the top so it runs into the holes and “feeds” the cake with booziness.

Then allow the cake to cool. Once it is cool, remove it from the tin and set it on a serving plate. Roll out the marzipan to about 5mm thick on some icing sugar, then put the cake tin on top of the marzipan and, using a knife, mark round the tin. Remove the tin from the marzipan and remove the offcuts, so you have a perfect circle. Brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam. If the jam is quite thick, heat it in a pan with a little water to loosen it up. Then place the marzipan circle on top of the cake and press it down gently. I like to flute the edges to make it look more presentable.

Take some of the marzipan offcuts, roll them into 12 balls about the size of 1p coins and arrange them around the outside of the marzipan, sticking them on with the apricot jam.

Preheat the grill to high and brush the marzipan with the lightly beaten egg. Then place the cake under the grill until the marzipan begins to brown. You can use a blowtorch to brown the marzipan if you have one.


For the sponge:
butter 220g, softened
caster sugar 220g
eggs 4
vanilla pod seeds of ½
vanilla extract a couple of drops
lemon zest of ½-1
self-raising flour 220g
baking powder small pinch
lemon juice of ½-1 (if required)
For the filling:
good lemon curd 5-6 tbsp
double cream 300ml
icing sugar 30g
vanilla pod seeds of ½
vanilla extract a couple of drops
limoncello 1 tbsp, optional

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. For the sponge, grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Put the softened butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat together well. Add 2 eggs, vanilla seeds and extract, lemon zest and half the flour and beat well. Then add the other 2 eggs, the rest of the flour and the baking powder and beat. If the mixture is stiff, add a little lemon juice.

Divide the mixture between 2 tins and level off with the back of a spoon. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the sides of the sponge have shrunk slightly from the side of tins, the sponge springs back slightly when pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the sponge comes out clean. Leave the sponges to cool in tins.

To assemble, once the sponges are completely cool, remove them from the tins and place on a serving dish. Spread one sponge with the lemon curd then whip up the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla pod and extract (and fold in the limoncello if using), then dollop on top of the lemon curd. Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with some icing sugar.



rhubarb 600g, cut into 5cm pieces
soft light brown sugar 200g
fresh ginger 2cm piece, grated
orange juice or grenadine or port 100ml
plain flour 200g
salt a pinch
ground cinnamon a pinch, optional
ground ginger a pinch, optional
cold butter 200g, cut into cubes
soft light brown sugar 80g

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put the rhubarb, 200g brown sugar, fresh ginger and orange juice into a pan over a low heat. Once the liquid is beginning to bubble gently, cover and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. You want the rhubarb to be just going soft and tender but still very much holding its shape. The rhubarb will get further cooking in the oven later. Once the rhubarb has left this stage, leave it to cool in the pan.

Put the flour, salt, cinnamon and ground ginger (if using), butter and 80g brown sugar into a food processor and blitz until it comes to fine breadcrumbs. If you do not have a food processor, just rub the butter into the flour using the tips of your fingers until it becomes fine breadcrumbs, then set aside.

Put a sieve over a clean bowl and pour the rhubarb and juice into it. Then put the drained rhubarb in the bottom of the baking dish. I do not like to have too much liquid in my crumble, so I like to drain it out at this stage. But if you don’t mind the liquid, then don’t bother sieving it and just add it all to the bottom of the baking dish.

Tip the crumble mix evenly on top of the rhubarb and press it on very loosely without packing it down too much, otherwise it turns into a great big biscuit rather than crunchy crumble. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumble goes golden brown.

Serve very simply with some ready made custard.



butter 150g
sugar 150g
eggs 3, medium-sized
self-raising flour 150g
salt a pinch
Oreo biscuits 1½ packets
For the buttercream icing:
butter 500g, softened
icing sugar 1 kg

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Get the middle shelf ready. Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with cases. I like to use Dr Oetker, as they are a good size for this recipe. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one by one, beating together after each addition. If at any time the mixture looks like it has curdled, add a little bit of the flour and beat it like mad until it looks uniform again. To be honest, even if it looks a little curdled it does not really affect the texture of the cupcake. It will still taste delicious. Add the flour and mix together along with the salt, and then fold in half a packet of the Oreos (crumble them up first).

Divide the mixture among the 12 cupcake cases and then bake for around 25 minutes (oven temperatures are often not very accurate and vary so much) or until they feel spongy and smell cooked. Once the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool completely in the tin.

Once they are done, set them aside and start making the buttercream. Cream together the butter and icing sugar until it is light and fluffy. Then fold in a half-packet of crumbled-up Oreos.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, plop a big spoonful of the icing mixture on each cake, then smooth it around with a knife until it is to your liking. It is quite hard to pipe the mixture on to the cupcakes because of the Oreo bits, but if you have a piping nozzle big enough for the bits to get through, then it is worth a try. You can decorate the cakes with half a whole Oreo if desired. Serve with a piping-hot cup of tea.

Baking made easy

Lorraine Pascale’s Baking Made Easy is published by HarperCollins, £18.99. To order a copy for £15.19 with free UK p&p, go to or call 0330 333 6846