Easter Sunday is approaching, and what better way to celebrate than with a spot of baking. Simply follow our recipes to create some delicious Easter goodies for all the family…
A deliciously fruity cake with a sweet marzipan topping.
• 100g/4oz glacé cherries
• 225g/8oz butter
• 225g/8oz sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 225g/8oz flour
• 100g/4oz currants
• 50g/2oz chopped peel
• Grated zest of 2 lemons
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 450g/1lb marzipan
• 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/280F, then grease and line a cake tin.
2. Cut the cherries into smaller slices – larger squares are perfect if you desire a more chunky fruit cake.
3. Pop the cherries in a bowl with the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, currants, peel, zest and mixed spice – beat well until evenly blended. Pour half of the mixture into your cake tin.
4. Take a third of the marzipan and roll it into a circle that matches the size of the tin – place on top of your mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for around 2hours, or until the mixture has risen, looks evenly brown and appears firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for half an hour then turn out, peel off the paper lining and place on a wire rack.
6. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with a thin layer of apricot jam and roll out half of your left over marzipan to fit the top. Press firmly on the top to avoid it slipping. Form the remaining marzipan into 11 balls.
7. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the marzipan balls around the edge of the cake. Brush the balls with the egg and then place the cake under the grill until the top is gently toasted.
HOT CROSS BUNS
Classic sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses.
• 625g/1.3lb white flour, and a little for dusting
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp mixed spice
• 45g/ 1.5 oz butter, leaving extra for greasing
• 85g/3oz sugar
• zest of 1 lemon
• 1½ tsp fast-action yeast
• 1 free range egg
• 275ml/10fl oz milk
• 125g/4oz mixed dried fruit
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• vegetable oil for greasing
• 1 tbsp gently heated golden syrup
1. For the buns, sieve the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Create a small well in the centre of the mixture, then add the sugar, lemon zest and yeast.
2. Beat the egg and add to the flour with the milk. Blend together to form a soft dough. Lightly flour your work surface and place your dough onto it. Carefully work the dried fruit into the dough until it’s mixed evenly. Knead gently for 5 minutes, or until smooth.
3. Grease a warm mixing bowl with butter. Roll the dough into a ball and place it into your bowl, then cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.
4. Turn out the proved dough onto your floured work surface and split into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands.
5. Grease your baking tray with butter and pop the buns on the tray. Loosely wrap the tray with greaseproof paper, then place inside a large polythene bag. Set this aside in a warm place for 40 minutes to rise.
6. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 8.
7. For the topping, mix the plain flour into a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of water.
8. When the buns have risen, remove the bag and paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and create a cross on each bun.
9. Place the buns in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until they appear golden brown. When you remove the buns from the oven, immediately brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
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