Orange Glazed Cardamom Buns

After being inspired by an old Great British Bake Off episode I wanted to make a cardamom flavoured bread and came across the existence of Swedish Cardamom Buns. Having never been to Sweden, or tasted one of these before I cannot attest for its authenticity – I can however vouch for its scrumptiousness: both comforting and exciting to eat. Don’t be put off by the multiple stages, I had plenty of time to go off and complete errands (play computer games) between each one!

This is where I found the original recipe – Dels Cooking Twist, however after converting it to metric, halving it and messing about with it in general including adding orange to the glaze it’s not very recognisable. These are a less sweet version of the more common cinnamon buns and go very well with a cup of coffee.


  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 300g milk
  • 350g strong white flour (bread flour)
  • 1 x 7g sachet yeast
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 125g soft butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g strong white flour (bread flour)
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 60g soft light brown sugar
  • 60g soft butter
  • Juice 1 orange
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 30ml water
  • drop vanilla paste


  1. Bash the cardamom pods, put them in a saucepan with the milk – heat until warm / steaming then remove from the heat to cool.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar and yeast together in a bowl.
  3. Once the milk is cooled, strain to remove the cardamom, then mix it into the dry ingredients to form a dough.
  4. Knead on the worktop until a smooth dough is achieved (come to me if you want to learn this bit!).
  5. Place back in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel / oiled cling film. Leave to prove for around 30mins until it’s doubled in size. The length of time this takes is dependant on how warm the milk was, how warm the room is etc.
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  2. Crush the cardamom pods and discard the husks. Crush the seeds to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Mix the egg with the cardamom, vanilla paste and salt.
  4. Gradually beat the egg into the creamed butter and sugar, followed by a few tablespoons of the flour to help incorporate in the fat.
  5. Knock back the poved pre-dough and add in this creamed butter mix. This will be messy and slimy – enjoy it! Eventually you should be able to mix it to a sloppy dough. Now start adding the rest of the flour – I worked it on the worktop again at this point, adding the flour in gradually until I got a soft dough.
  6. Knead the dough again until it’s elastic and smooth.
  7. Place the dough back in the lightly oiled bowl – cover with a tea towel / oiled cling film. Leave to prove for another 30 mins until doubled in size again.
  8. While the dough is proving prepare the filling
  1. Crush the cardamom pods and discard the husks. Crush the seeds to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and cardamom together.
  3. Once the dough is risen, knock it back again and shape to a rectangle on a floured worktop.
  4. Spread the filling over half of the dough. Fold the empty half over the filled half so you’ve sandwiched the filling in.
  5. Roll the dough back out to a rectangle. Cut into around 16 x 1cm strips, cut each 1cm strip in half up the length so you have 2 x 0.5cm strips which are connected at the top by 1cm. See photo for a less confusing description!
  6. Take each of these strips – twist the lengths to form a rope and roll the whole thing up tucking the end away underneath. Place in a muffin case. Repeat with the rest of the strips.
  7. Place on baking trays and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to prove for around 45 mins until they look full and they spring back when poked. (Resist poking them too hard or you’ll knock the air out!).
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Baking and Glaze
  1. Boil the orange juice, sugar, water, and vanilla in a saucepan to create an orange sugar syrup – it should be thick enough to paint on as a glaze.
  2. Once the buns are proved, place them in the oven, turn the oven down to 180° and set a timer for 15 mins. These are worth keeping an eye on – you may need to cover them with foil or take out sooner as the high sugar content will cause them to burn easily.
  3. They are ready when they are caramel brown on top and underneath, they should also sound hollow.
  4. Remove them from the oven and from their muffin cases. Brush the top of each with the glaze.
  5. Leave to cool on a wire rack (try to resist eating them when they’re sticky, straight from the oven!)


Chorizo Scotch Quail Eggs

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The same day that I decided to make my practice batch of Mini Sausage Rolls I thought it might be fun to make another picnic snack using up the remainder of the sausage-meat. It also helps that my husband is obsessed with Scotch Eggs and chorizo, and this is therefore something I’ve been promising to try making for a long time!

It felt a bit odd to get the deep fat fryer out from the garage and dust it off for use in my new sparkling kitchen. It’s not one of my regularly used kitchen appliances, not because I don’t like deep fried food, more because I like it a bit too much to get good at cooking it at home! I am pleased to say that these were well worth the effort and they were all eaten up before I had a chance to consider taking any to my work colleagues – much to their dismay!

This recipe made 11 scotch eggs, I’m sure it could have just about stretched to make the round dozen, but I messed up peeling the first quails egg as I’d under-done them all. But given how many requests I got for them afterwards I would say if you’ve got the time to peel 24 quails’ eggs it is worth doubling the recipe.


Chorizo scotch quail eggs
(adapted from a sainsbury’s magazine recipe)
  • 250g sausage-meat
  • 100g chorizo (I used Revilla Spanish chorizo)
  • 12 quail eggs
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 100g fine dried breadcrumbs
  • 2.5 litres vegetable oil for frying
  • Deep fat fryer

Cooking steps

mise en place
(put in place – Prep work!)
  1. Finely chop the parsley and thyme.
  2. Dice the chorizo.
  3. Break the egg into a high sided plate and beat with a fork.
  4. Mix the flour and paprika in a high sided bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the breadcrumbs in another high sided bowl.
  6. Get a bowl of ice cold water ready.
Quail eggs
  1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Once it’s boiling lower in the quail eggs using a slotted spoon. If you are doubling the recipe it’s worth boiling them in two batches.
  2. Boil t2016-02-26 16.33.57he eggs for two and a half minutes and then transfer them to the bowl of ice cold water to stop them cooking more.  Two and a half minutes should be enough so that they are soft boiled but you can still get the shell off. I messed this up the first time, I only boiled them for 2 minutes and then couldn’t remove the shell without damaging the egg. I therefore returned the rest to the boil for another minute, and in the end they were hard boiled not soft boiled, quail eggs are tricky things to get right!
  3. Once the eggs have cooled down in the water peel them. I did this by gently tapping them on the worktop until they cracked all over and then using a turning knife to help get under the membrane and peel the shell off being careful not to damage the egg. Do ensure you get all the membrane off as it’s pretty rubbery.

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  1. In a large bowl combine the chorizo, sausage-meat, parsley and  thyme, season with salt and pepper. At this point you can fry off a small bit of the mixture to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary – remember you can always add but you can’t take away!
  2. Roll the eggs around in the seasoned flour to coat and then shake off any excess (Don’t throw away the rest of the flour as you’ll need it for step 3. Divide the sausage mixture into 12.2016-02-26 16.34.28
  3. One at a time, flatten each into a circle large enough to cover the egg. Put an egg in the middle and carefully form the sausage-meat around it. Seal the edges and roll around in your hands to even out. Put them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up (or chill in the fridge if you have made them ahead of time).
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  4. One at a time again roll them in the seasoned flour and then in the beaten egg, then the breadcrumbs. Put them back in the freezer for 10 minutes or the fridge for an hour or more.2016-02-26 17.22.572016-02-26 17.23.212016-02-26 17.22.36

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  1. Put the vegetable oil in the deep fat fryer and heat it to 175°C. There should be enough oil to fully cover the eggs when placed in. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C fan.
  2. Once the oil has reached temperature lower in the scotch eggs using tongs and deep fry for 3 minutes. When you lower them in hold them in the oil for 5 seconds before letting them drop in, or they’ll stick to the basket. I would fry them 6 at a time max, or the temperature of the oil will drop too much. After the 3 minutes is up remove them using the tongs, move them onto a plate with some kitchen roll on it, to drain off some of the oil.2016-02-26 18.12.03 2016-02-26 18.14.44
  3. Give the oil enough time to return to temperature and then repeat step 2 with the remaining 6 eggs, then remove them and allow them to drain for 5 minutes.
  4. Place all of the eggs on a baking tray and put in the pre-heated oven for 3 mins.2016-02-26 18.22.07
  5. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool down enough to eat. I think these would be excellent served chopped in half with some sweet chilli jam for dipping.

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Mini Sausage Rolls

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My gorgeous Nephew is turning two in March and I offered to bring something to the party, my sister requested Mini Sausage Rolls. I obviously can’t resist making them from scratch, so I made a practice batch in advance, especially as I’ve never made rough puff pastry before. They were fairly successful flavour wise but I learnt from a few mistakes, which I’ll go through in the steps below.

I used two recipes as a base to follow, the rough puff is from The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies book, the rest of the recipe was adapted from one I found on-line.

I halved the recipes as it was just a test batch, the following amounts made two rolls which I chopped into 10 portions each, making around 20 portions overall.


Rough Puff Pastry
(Adapted from The Hairy Bikers’ Recipe)
  • 110g strong white bread flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 90g cold butter
  • 60ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Sausage-meat filling
  • 250g sausage-meat
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fresh sage
  • Salt & pepper
To Assemble
  • 1 egg
  • Seasoned flour
  • Rolling pin
  • Thin baking tray

baking steps

rough puff pastry
  1. Measure the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and use a round bladed knife to cut the butter down to mix it into the flour. Keep cutting the butter down into smaller pieces tossing them with the flour until lightly coated. Stop when the butter chunks are still recognisable in the flour, and before it all becomes a breadcrumb consistency.
  2. Combine the lemon juice and water and add them to the butter flour mix. Continue working the mixture with the knife until the dough comes together and the bowl is almost clean. Remove it from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Using a well floured rolling pin roll the dough to a rectangle 3 times longer than it is wide. Two things are key at this stage, that the pastry remains cold so the butter does not melt and that the surface and rolling pin are kept floured to make sure the pastry doesn’t stick. A nice cold granite worktop helps wonders with this bit!
  3. Fold down the top third of the pastry and fold up the bottom third, then press the edges with a rolling pin. Rotate it 90° and use the rolling pin to make 3 depressions in the pastry – this helps keep the edges straight. Roll it into a rectangle again.2016-02-26 17.40.27
  4. Repeat step 3 five more times, not forgetting to keep the rolling pin and surface well floured. This is to make the pastry layered and puff up. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour, or overnight. Before using allow it to stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling.
mise en place
(put in place – prep work!)
  1. Grate the onion, draining away the juice. This is to rectify one of the mistakes I made, to stop the mixture from being too wet ensure the pastry is nice and crisp and not soggy on the inside.
  2. Finely chop the fresh sage.
  3. Break the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork.
  1. In a large bowl combine the sausage-meat, onion, basil, sage and a season well with salt and pepper. Mix until everything is well combined. At this point you can fry off a small bit of the mixture to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary – remember you can always add but you can’t take away! If the mixture is too wet you can add some breadcrumbs, or if it’s too dry add some orange juice or water.
  2. If you are prepping ahead you can wrap the mixture in cling film at this point and chill in the fridge for a few hours.2016-02-26 17.42.36
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C fan.
  2. Lightly flour the work surface with the seasoned flour. I actually used the paprika seasoned flour left-over from my Chorizo Scotch eggs, which gave the pastry more flavour.
  3. Roll out the pastry until it is around 25 x 25 cm and 1 cm thick. Note if you’ve doubled the recipe you’ll need to divide the pastry in two first and then roll out two squares.2016-02-26 17.41.46
  4. Using a sharp knife divide the square into two rectangles. 2016-02-26 17.42.12
  5. Divide the sausage-meat mixture into two.
  6. Place the sausage-meat mixture closest to the left side of the pastry.
  7. Brush the right edge with the egg wash. Again I used the leftover egg from the Chorizo Scotch eggs as you won’t need a whole egg for this.2016-02-26 17.45.33
  8. Take the left side of the rectangle and roll the pastry over the sausage-meat, making sure it is wrapped tight  so there is no gap and the pastry glues, seam-side-down. This is another mistake I made leaving a gap, meaning the filling can fall out as you’re eating them. 2016-02-26 17.46.082016-02-26 17.46.172016-02-26 17.46.22
  9. Repeat step 8 for the other rectangle.2016-02-26 17.47.04
  10. Brush the rolls with the remainder of the egg wash and make small clean cuts across the top around 3 cm apart. 2016-02-26 17.50.43
  11. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.2016-02-26 18.25.01
  12. To serve slice each roll into 10 small bites, and eat with chutney or piccalilli. Or straight from the oven at speed as this batch was!

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Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake

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The idea for this cake came from my husband who came home one day with a photo of a cake and its name, without having tried it, and asked if I could recreate it. The name of the cake was ‘Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake’ and the stunning (blurry) photograph was this:

Original cake

This was my first time combining recipes to essentially make my very own cake in a somewhat Great British Bake Off style challenge, and I must say I really enjoyed it.

So while the inspiration for this bake came from my husband, all of the recipes / ideas are taken from Frances Quinn and her book – ‘Quinntessential Baking’. I say Frances herself and not just her book because I met her a few weeks ago. My mother-in-law and I saw her do a cooking demonstration including her Brownie Owls and Orange-Flavoured Marzipan Bees. After the demo, while she was signing her book we had a quick chat (she commented on how many notes I made during her demo!) – her enthusiasm for baking, and more importantly her sense of design in baking is quite infectious. I’m usually one to follow a single recipe, but the satisfaction of making something up based on flavours and ideas was a much more satisfying and creative endeavour!

From the photo and name I took the somewhat obvious decision that the cake should be made from an orange-flavoured sponge and covered in a chocolate ganache, and finally decorated with white chocolate. I then decided that to add extra flavour to the sponge I would spike it with an orange syrup and also add a middle layer of orange mascarpone to add a touch of sharpness.

The outcome of the experiment was very tasty (even if I do say so myself!). The idea of turning this into my first blog post came from my desire to keep a record of each step so that I can recreate it one day. So here follows the recipe!


Orange sponge cake
(Adapted from Frances’ Basic Vanilla Cake)
  • 200g softened butter (as mine came from the fridge I chopped it into cubes and left it in the warming drawer for 5 mins)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp orange juice (fresh from an orange – you will need about 3 oranges for this whole recipe)
  • Zest of 2 unwaxed oranges
Orange Syrup
(Frances’ Flavoured syrup)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml orange juice (fresh from an orange)
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
Orange mascarpone cream
(Frances’ sweetened Mascarpone cream and Orange curd)
  • 50g (here’s one I made earlier) home-made orange curd
  • 100g Mascarpone cream
Chocolate ganache
(From Frances’ brownie Owls)
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used Lindt cooking chocolate – 51% cocoa)
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml double cream
White chocolate drizzle decoration
  • Easy melt white chocolate drops
  • Single cream

Baking steps

Orange sponge cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160˚C (fan) placing a shelf in the centre position.
  2. Prepare the cake tin: grease the base and sides with butter, then cut a circle of greaseproof paper for the base and a strip for the sides. For an extra final precaution I sprayed it all with baking spray. This does seem over the top – but it was the neatest looking cake I’ve ever made so I think it was worth it!
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until very light, pale, and creamy (this was around 5 mins in my Kenwood Chef).
  4. Break the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract, and beat with a fork.
  5. Slowly add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar – beating well after each addition. If it curdles add a spoonful of flour to bring it back together.2015-10-17 11.58.07
  6. Sift the flour into the cake mixture in several batches – folding in until combined. You’re trying to keep the mixture fluffy at this stage.
  7. Fold in the orange zest and orange juice.
  8. Pour the cake mix into the prepared cake tin and level it out with a spatula.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes until risen and golden. Check that the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre and seeing that it comes out clean.2015-10-17 12.22.04
  10. While this is baking make the orange syrup.
Orange syrup
  1. Put the sugar and orange juice in a small pan over a medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to help dissolve the sugar.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for around 2 minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved – the syrup should be clear orange (not foggy).2015-10-17 12.09.45
  3. Remove from the heat and add the Cointreau (or other orange flavouring).
  4. Leave to cool slightly – 5 to 10 minutes.
Finishing the orange sponge cake
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  1. Remove the tin from the oven and make lots of holes in the top of the cake using a skewer.2015-10-17 12.47.59
  2. Drizzle half of the syrup evenly over the cake.
  3. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for around 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely.2015-10-17 12.53.11
  5. Cut the cake in half (I used a cake wire cutter) and place both halves “inside up” on two plates, as seen below.2015-10-17 17.27.42
  6. Drizzle the remaining syrup over the cut inside of each cake.
Orange mascarpone cream
  1. Beat the mascarpone and orange curd together until soft and creamy.
  2. Place in the fridge to firm up – between 10 and 20 minutes.2015-10-17 17.47.04
Chocolate ganache
  1. Chop the chocolate up into small pieces using a sharp knife.
  2. Put the chocolate, golden syrup, and vanilla extract into a medium sized heatproof bowl.2015-10-17 17.43.00
  3. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. When it’s just coming to the boil remove from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate.
  5. Stir gently until the mixture has a smooth and shiny consistency.2015-10-17 18.00.41
  6. Leave the ganache to cool slightly – but you still want it to be runny.
Icing the cake
    1. Spread the orange mascarpone mix over the base half of the cake – trying to keep it in the centre and not dribbling over the sides!2015-10-17 18.09.00
    2. Place the top half back on the base, sealing the orange mascarpone in the middle.
    3. Put the cake onto a surface with plenty of room that you don’t mind getting messy (very messy!). I used a cake turntable on my kitchen worktop.2015-10-17 18.10.18
    4. Give the ganache a final stir and then pour it carefully onto the centre of the cake. It should be thin enough to slowly run from the centre of the cake and down the sides, covering it as it goes. You may need to pour slightly off centre to encourage an even covering – you can also touch up any bits which were missed with extra ganache.
    5. You should now have a completely chocolate covered cake (and a chocolate mess which I hope won’t go to waste!).2015-10-17 18.12.55
    6. Allow the ganache to cool until it firms up.
    7. In the meantime melt the white chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water with enough cream to loosen it up slightly – don’t overheat as white chocolate has a lower melting point than dark chocolate and will go a funny texture.2015-10-17 19.30.112015-10-17 19.36.29
    8. Once the white chocolate has reached a pouring consistency pour it into the piping bag. If you’ve made your piping bag well the end will be sealed and you’ll have to snip off the tip before it comes out. If not plug it with your finger before you pour the chocolate in!
    9. VERY carefully move the cake from the decorating stand to the serving plate.2015-10-17 19.28.04
    10. Snip the tip off the piping bag – you want it small enough to be a controlled flow of chocolate but not so small that you have to squeeze it to get it out.
    11. Decorate the cake using the white chocolate – I just drizzled mine over to get a similar effect to the original photo.

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And there you have it – Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake! It is worth storing this cake in a cool place to keep the mascarpone cheese filling fresh.

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The cake should be light but moist, with the mascarpone balancing out the richness of the chocolate ganache. Yum yum!

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Home-made versus original:

Original cake2015-10-18 10.58.57