Month: June 2012

Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake recipe

Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake recipe

Peggy Porschen Lemon Limoncello cake

So, yesterday I reviewed Peggy Porschen’s latest cake book and today I am happy to share with you an extract from the book for this yummy and oh so pretty cake. I just know you guys are going to love it! Thanks to the publishers Quadrille for giving me permission.

Peggy Porschen
Peggy Porschen herself!

By the way I forgot to mention two things yesterday about the book that I really love.

No. 1 – The book is styled by my friend Vicky Sullivan who has styled all of Peggy’s books (I think?) She’s a stylist with amazing talent and a natural eye, expecially when it comes to cakes. She really captures the look and feel you want when you display a cake. It needs to look too good to cut and Vicky nails it every time!

No.2 – The book was photographed by Georgia Glynn Smith. I’ve never worked with Georgia but having seen her work in many, many books (and having been told that she’s reeeaaallly lovely by people who have worked with her) I really want to. I’m sure one day our paths will cross. You never know, maybe I’ll have a book of my own to shoot one day!

Anyway, on with the cake…



Makes one 15cm (6in) round cake, serving 8–12 slices


For the decoration

  • 150g white sugar florist paste
  • Small amount of white vegetable fat
  • Green and yellow paste food colour
  • Small amount of royal icing

For the sponge

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour

For the sugar syrup

  • 150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50ml Limoncello liqueur

For the buttercream filling

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 80g icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g Peggy’s Lemon Limoncello Jelly or any other good-quality lemon jelly or lemon
  • curd


Basic baking kit
Three 15cm (6in) round sandwich tins
Cake leveller or large serrated knife
Non-slip turntable
Flat disc to place on top of the turntable
(I (Peggy) use the loose base of a 30cm (12in) springform cake tin)
15cm (6in) round cake card
Metal side scraper

Make the simple daisies and leaves decoration at least one day ahead of assembling and serving. Bake the sponges one
day ahead of serving. Make the sugar syrup whilst baking the sponges. Prepare the filling and assemble and decorate the cake on the day of serving.

To make the decoration

Mix two thirds of the sugar florist paste with a small amount of white vegetable fat. Mix the remaining third with the green paste food colour to a pale green shade. Mix the royal icing with the yellow paste food colour to a pale lemon shade. Using a daisy plunge cutter, leaf cutter and veiner,
make approximately 12 simple sugar daisies and small leaves. Leave to set in a cool dry place.

Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.Prepare the sandwich tins by greasing and lining them with greaseproof paper.

To make the sponge

Place the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest into a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly add to the butter mixture while whisking quickly. If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 2–3 tablespoons of the flour. This will rebind the batter. Once all the egg has been added and combined with the butter mixture, sift in the flour and stir until the batter is just combined. This will ensure the sponges stay light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the sandwich tins. If you find it difficult to measure by eye, use your kitchen scales to weigh out the amount of sponge mixture for each tin.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are using deeper cake tins, the sponges will take longer to cook. The sponges are cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tins and the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge; it should come out clean.

To make the sugar syrup

While the sponges are baking, prepare the sugar syrup for soaking. Place the lemon juice and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Set aside to cool down slightly and then add the Limoncello liqueur.

Once the sponges are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven. Using a pastry brush, soak the tops of the sponges with syrup while they are still warm; this 
allows the syrup to be absorbed faster.

Once just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins, remove the sponges from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and then rest them overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed in and the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering. When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponges tend to crumble and may even break into pieces.

To make the buttercream filling

Place the butter, icing sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy. Add the lemon jelly to the mixture and stir through until combined and smooth.

To assemble the cake

Trim and sandwich together the three sponge layers using one-third of the buttercream filling and the limoncello syrup for soaking. With the remaining buttercream filling, cover or mask the top and sides of the cake.

To decorate

Arrange the sugar daisies and leaves around the circumference of the cake top andstick them down with a dab of buttercream.

Serve the cake at room temperature. This cake is best enjoyed within 3 days of baking, but it can last for up to 1 week


Decorations made from sugar can attract moisture and may collapse when exposed to 
humid conditions. Therefore, do not store the cake in the fridge once decorate if it is not being eaten on the same day.

Peggy Porschen Lemon Limoncello cake

BOUTIQUE BAKING by PEGGY PORSCHEN, published by Quadrille (£20, hardback)


Peggy Porschen  Boutique Baking

Peggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book review


I’ve been a big fan of Peggy Porschen for ages. I met her at the launch of the Hobby Craft magazine a few years ago. She had done a beautiful feature on how to decorate these cute cookies. She’s really lovely. Very quietly spoken and so passionate about cakes. We could have talked icing for hours!

At the launch I showed her some of the pictures of my cakes (they were really dodgy photos on my phone!) and she was so complimentary. She asked if I wanted to come along to one of her cookie masterclasses that she was doing that weekend. She had one place left! Obviously I jumped at the chance! It was a Halloween themed class (which I am pretty into as my birthday is on Halloween!) We made pumpkin, cat, and ghost cookies. I learnt tons that day.  Peggy made it look so easy but let me tell you it’s not!

Peggy’s been baking cakes for years and is one of the biggest cake guru’s in the country! She even sells her wedding cakes at Fortnum & Masons!!! She opened a cake shop just over a year ago in Belgravia, in the heart of London which is a huge success. In the basement she does classes. I can’t recommend them enough! Check out the website here!

The book

Her latest book is inspired by the cakes and cookies that are sold in Peggy’s shop.  As with her previous books the cakes and designs are beautiful, seasonal and would make fantastic gifts. There are loads of recipes and step by step shots on how to create the decorations and effects. So what’s in it?

The contents

Sweet treats

These are so cute. Mini Meringue kisses, Morello Cherry Bakewell tarts with the cutest cherry decorations on top, ice cream cake pops, Peggy’s signature macarons, Mini cinnamon donuts (I adore these!!) I’ve tried to make donuts in the past and they turned out to be greasy blobs so I’ll definitely be giving these a go.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Morello cherry Bakewell Tarts

Beautiful biscuits

Just when you thought you couldn’t do anything new with biscuits Peggy comes up with a whole host of goodies, from stencilled decorations to moulded flower toppers.  The teaspoon chocolate biscuits are really lovely. I also love the sound of the mulled wine stars.  Deelish!


Cupcake heaven

With these flavours who can go wrong? Banoffee, sticky toffee, black forest, strawberry and champagne, Lemon and raspberry, vanilla chiffon, chocolate heaven and Cosmo (yep – like the cocktail!)  Each one has the perfect frosting and all are easy to make and look great.

Lucious layer cakes

I’ve used many of Peggy’s recipes from her previous cake books but these are something else! I love the way the cakes are layered and then cut open so you can see how tempting they are once ready to be served. The summer berry cake uses jam in the buttercream which is such a great idea. It gives the cake a pretty colour and looks like it would taste amazing. The chocolate on the Tipsy Orange Truffle cake looks so perfectly flat! How does she do it? There’s also a dark truffle cake and white chocolate passion cake as well as a glorious victoria cake complete with shell and swirl detailing.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Tipsy orange truffle cake

Classic cakes & Bakes

There’s a great choice here with Neapolitan marble cake, Chocolate hazelnut Torte, Triple berry cheesecake, Luxury fruit cake, Mini eggnog kugelhopfs and the Raspberry & Rose dome cake which looks amazing and is the kind of cake decorating I can only aspire to.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Raspberry and Rose dome cake

Delicious drinks

I was surprised to see drink recipes in the book, but then again there must be loads sold at the cake shop! They look so pretty. I think the pink lemonade and Minteani are first on my ‘to try’ list but they’re followed closely by summer berry ice tea and home made hot chocolate. I reckon you can stand a spoon up in that!


The icing on the cake

This is where you learn how to make daisies, blossom, chrysanthemums as well as other pretty details from icing. You’ll also see steps on how to decorate cup cakes, assemble layer cakes, how to use Royal Icing and making a paper piping bag.

There’s also an Acknowledgements page and a Suppliers page.

This book is serious eye candy. Not only are the recipes mouth watering, but the way they look is just beautiful. They’re the kind of cakes that I would love to take round to a friend’s house for a party. They look as good as they taste and there’s so much to choose from. Peggy’s books just get better and better.  It’s a great buy!


You can buyPeggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book, Published by Quadrille on by clicking on the image below.


A word about Oven Cleaning!

When I worked on Woman and Home magazine I used to write a page about cleaning.  I was the Classy Cleaner! I loved this page! I loved testing the appliances, bottles and potions and cleaning cloths. You’d be surprised how many people would ask me how to remove this stain or which vacuum cleaner to go for. (This Miele is my fav at the moment by the way!) When it comes to cleaning products – I’ve tested most. I never put anything on the page that I wouldn’t buy myself.

So, when it was time to give my own oven a really good clean I knew exactly where to go! Amazon! The best and simplest oven cleaners are the ones with real clout and that need little elbow grease.  Well, a little is okay but who really wants to be scrubbing away burnt on food stuffs? and one that doesn’t hurt the environment.

The inbetweener

Oven Mate. This is one kick arse brand. I have been using the ‘In between – oven  spray’ since I had my new oven put in last year. Just a quick squirt once a week is all it needed!

But then Tim made an amazing Roast Chicken Dinner and I went away for a few weeks to shoot and the next time I went to bake YUCK! I won’t go into details (or show you the before and after shots I was intending on putting on here!) Let’s just say I had to give it a complete overhaul deep clean before any cake batter could go near it.

 When you mean business.

For the really deep clean I knew the In between spray wasn’t man enough for the job, so I went up a stage and bought the Oven Mate cleaning Gel  This is a serious bit of kit. It comes with disposable gloves as you shouldn’t get it on your hands as it may burn them, yet it says on the box that it’s biodegradable! Go figure! It also comes with a applicator brush.

So, I set to and laid loads of newspaper on my granite worktop (I wasn’t taking any chances there!) I glooped a load of the gel on the baking trays that slot into my oven. Then I smothered the stubborn oil/grease marks on the floor of my oven and the splatters on the glass of the door. Mind you don’t get the gel on any rubber seals though.

It says the gel takes between 3 minutes (yeah right, in my dreams) and  3 hours. I set my timer for 2 1/2 hours and left it to do its stuff. Sure enough when I returned I just used some kitchen paper to see if the trays were clean and I really did just wipe the gel up and the grease came up with it.

There were a few really stubborn marks that needed a second treatment and I did get the scourer out and give it a good rub to make the oven like new on those baked on bits, but it worked like a dream!

I’ll definitely be adding this to my ultra easy cleaning kit!

Oven Mate Cleaning gel


What exactly is Clafoutis?

A few weeks ago Tim and I went to Norfolk for our friend Charlotte’s wedding. Norfolk is beautiful and I wish we could have stayed longer than just a short weekend.
We stayed at a hotel in Blakeney which is on the North Norfolk coast. It was raining when we arrived. It was raining a lot! We braved the seafront anyway and took a windswept stroll. On the way back we decided which pub to have our dinner in. We chose the The White Horse.  As we walked into the seemingly empty pub we were asked if we had booked. They “squeezed” us into the empty conservatory and pretty quickly it became surprisingly very full. It would seem that Blakeney has the best food around and every pub/restaurant/hotel in the area get’s booked up in advance. Good job we headed out to fill our tummies so early in the evening!

As this is a baking blog I’m not going to bore you with what we both ate. I’ll just say that egg and local asparagus were involved in the started and neither Tim nor I could finish our main meals. Seriously large portions!

Dessert, not surprisingly is my favourite part of any meal and the menu on offer here was fantastic. I love to try out new dishes on a menu. It’s so boring to see the same old stuff time and again. When it came to choosing I knew exactly what it had to be.


What’s for dessert?

Before I tell you about dessert I should let you know that I have a small addiction to diet coke, well not really diet coke, Dr Pepper, but it’s not easy to come across, especially when you’re looking at a dessert menu! On the menu under”Saving the best till last...“, number three was “Wild Morello kirsch soaked cherry Clafoutis, Coca Cola syrup, toasted almonds and Creme Fraise

Well, I was convinced on the spot that this was the pud for me. I had absolutely no idea what a Clafoutis was but it had a Coca Cola syrup – the first I time I had ever seen this done- and it sounded French which meant great taste and probably very fattening! What could go wrong?

The Clafoutis

When it arrived I was really impressed. I mean who wouldn’t want a mini skillet all to themselves? 10/10 for presentation. Don’t you think it looks great?

So what is Clafoutis?

Clafoutis is a ‘flan type batter with cherries and powdered sugar‘ according to Wikipedia. Am I the only person to not know what it is? Have you heard of it? I’ve Googled it since and come up with a ton of recipes which I can’t wait to try out. Apparently experts say that you should leave the cherry stones in when baking as it adds to the flavour so, I’ll be giving that a go when I make it.

Needless to say it was deelish! This dish was the perfect balance of cake and pudding. The Coca Cola syrup didn’t really taste of the black stuff, but it was lovely anyway and now I’ve discovered a new pudding. Do you have a great Clafoutis recipe? If so please let me know!

all gone Clafoutis

So, next time you’re in Norfolk, it’s definitely worth checking out the The White Horse pub. Fantastic grub and the perfect end to a wet and windy walk along the Norfolk sea!


The only Double Chocolate Cookie recipe you’ll ever need!

Chocolate cookies

Cookie stack chocolate cookie recipe

I love chocolate cookies. I mean I LOOOVVVVEEE them! But, I’m fussy! They have to be dark chocolate (milk chocolate in a cookie? No way! Well not for me anyhow) and they have to be soft, melt in the mouth and just plain yummarge!
This recipe is for the best double chocolate chip cookies you will ever make. I’ve made them many times and even when they go wrong (like when I burnt the melting chocolate and just left it out of the ingredients) they still taste great. But with the melted chocolate included they are divine!

The last time I made them I was in a bit of a strop. I’d had a particularly stressful day. It was half term, my girls had trashed practically the whole house and the snowman I was making for an up and coming shoot was flopping big time which was making me really stressed out!
When I’m stressed I crave chocolate more than ever, so I decided to hit two stones with one bird (before you say it- I know, I always say that the wrong way round. I think it’s funny!) To chill out and relax I bake. It’s a simple remedy. Baking and creating something cheers me up and if it’s chocolate I get my sugar rush too! My sister popped round that evening and said I should be in a strop more often if it meant more cookies like this!

so, onto the recipe

The Ingredients for Double chocolate cookies

Makes around 20

  • 400g dark chocolate
  • 110g butter – at room temperature
  • 130g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda

How to make double chocolate cookies

Preheat your oven to 170 C ( Fan 150C) Gas 3. Line a baking tray or two with grease proof paper and pop them in the fridge. This prevents the cookies baking too quickly on the bottom.

Melt chocolate for chocolate cookiesTake 150g of the chocolate and melt it in a heat proof bowl placed over boiling water. Make sure that the boiling water doesn’t touch the bowl or the chocolate will burn (trust me on this! Been there. Done that!) Once melted set aside to cool a little.

Chopped chocolate chunks
Roughly chop the remaining chocolate. You can use chocolate chips but the oozing won’t be quite as big!

butter and sugar for chocolate cookies
Mix the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Add egg
Add the egg and mix again adding spoonful of flour if it starts to separate. Add the vanilla essence.

Stir in the flour, bicarbonate of soda  and cocoa powder.

mix in the chocolate
Add the melted chocolate and stir through. Mix in the roughly chopped chocolate pieces.

Let them cool
Use a  dessert spoon to measure out equal measurements of dough (it will be a bit sticky) and roll it into a ball, place it on the baking sheet, leaving space for spreading between each one. Flatten slightly with your fingers.

Let them cool
Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes and not a second longer. Then place them on a rack to cool down.

Mmmm. Oozing chocolate cookie!
Now this is where it all goes wrong for me! All that roughly chopped chocolate is all melted and gooey and if you break a cookie in half it should be too moist for you to be able to resist eating it. I have normally eaten a few before they have cooled down completely. This is my favorite time to eat them. Fresh out of the oven!
They will last a day or two in an air tight container but I think they taste best eaten on the day of baking. They stay moist even once they have cooled down completely.

Who can resist gooey chocolate like this? Not me!


Mr Men Birthday cake

When Beau was 6 she was really into Mr Men and Little Misses books. She couldn’t decide which character to have for her cake so we decided that we would have a Mr Men and Little Misses picnic cake. Mr Strong and Mr Bump were made of cake and the smaller ones, Mr Small, Little Miss Tiny and Little Miss Twins were solid sugarpaste.

All the characters were sitting on a picnic blanket, which was on grass. Of course any cake board that has grass has to have flowers, so I filled the green space with loads of pretty blossom flowers in different colours.
Mr Men picnic cake - Mr Bump birthday cake
Mr Bump was really good fun to do. I had a job sticking the arms on. In the end I used cocktail sticks and edible glue. His arm fell off just as the party guests were arriving. I quickly applied a bit of royal icing and that did the trick!

Mr Men picnic cake

Mr Strong was the first tall squarish cake I ever made. It was a job to get the sides even and flat before the sugarpaste was applied. I’m not very good at seeing when things aren’t straight or even. You should see the shelves I’ve put up in the house in the past! If I had a £1 for every cake Tim looked at and said “It’s not straight!” I’d be a rich girl right now!

Mr Men picnic cake

I must have been in a reall hurry (or just plain inexperienced) when I made Mr Small. Look at all those lines! He’d never look like that if I made him now! I’ve learnt that you need to work the sugarpaste to get it to roll nice and smooth. Then leave it alone!!!

Mr Men picnic cake

I had loads of fun making the plates and sandwiches. I think the Little Miss Twins are eating a tomato and cucumber sandwich. What do you think?

Mr Men picnic cake

How cute is Little Miss Tiny? I love adding loads of extra details to a cake or cake board. I could have gone on for ever with this design. It was so much fun to do.


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