Well doesn’t Donna’s big day deserve something a little bigger?
Eggless Vanilla Sponge
This is my eggless sponge version two.
It differs from version one in that there is no orange juice or vinegar, and the condensed milk and melted butter has become plain yoghurt and sunflower oil.
The buttercream is eggless too, made by simply combining icing sugar and butter with a little salt and vanilla extract.
Eggless Peaches and Cream Vanilla Sponge Sandwich
Of the dozens of ways to make a sponge, most make use of an egg or two, or three, or maybe even a boxful. Here there are none.
But it’s not just about what this sponge does without. It’s also about what it does with. Yes, it has the expected flour, caster sugar and butter, but it also has the more unexpected condensed milk, orange juice and vinegar.
As for the filling, what could be more peaches and cream than peaches and cream?
Pompe a l’Huile
This is a sweet and fragrant brioche made with olive oil instead of butter, with the combined flavours of orange zest (incorporated into the dough) and fennel (sprinkled over the egg glaze). Soft, chewy, and a little more dense than a normal brioche.
Originating from Provence, this is traditionally served as part of The Thirteen Desserts at Christmas. Representing the sitters at the Last Supper, fresh fruit, dark and light nougat, almonds, figs, raisins and walnuts are placed on the table for three days. (Easter comes to Christmas.) There are usually two loaves, one for Christmas Eve, the other for breakfast the morning after.
Cassata alla Siciliana
This is our classic celebration cake of choice for Christmas.
A rum-infused ricotta filling, laced with shards of dark chocolate, chopped glace cherries and toasted almonds, is sandwiched between three layers of a sherry-soaked Genoise style orange-zest-speckled sponge.
All smothered beneath a layer of cream cheese frosting and marzipan, topped with almond paste fruits, a scattering of glace cherries and slithers of candied citrus peel.
The thinnest of slices usually suffices.
Veggie Sausage Rolls
No meat, no matter.
Not when you combine pinhead oatmeal, onion, chestnut mushrooms, chestnut puree, dried cranberries, sage leaves, ground nutmeg, black pepper, yeast extract and vegetable stock.
Just roll up snugly in a rough puff pastry, and finish with a poppy seeded egg glaze.
Christmasy Cranberry and White Chocolate Oat Biscuits
My basic oat biscuit recipe made Christmasy with cranberries and lovely little white choccie chunks.
Apricot and Sultana Oat Biscuits
What I like best about these is the crisp crunchy chewy texture combination.
Flavour combination experimentation beckons.
Apple and Apricot Cake
It’s another quick-and-simple, throw-it-all-in-a-bowl, mix-and-bake recipe from Mary Berry.
It’s also another user-upper of those free-to-passers-by windfall bramleys from down the road.
A light marshmallowy middle, inside a firm, crisp and glossy shell.
I mixed together 115g egg whites and 225g caster sugar over a pan of simmering water until the sugar was dissolved and the mixture was warm but not hot. Then a 15 minute whisk, spooned out and sprinkled with flaked almonds. Baked for 45 minutes at 120 fan, then left to cool in the oven.