Baking recipes from Great British Bake Off 2013 winner Frances Quinn

Great British Bake Off 2013 winner Frances Quinn shares some of her favourite recipes, from basic vanilla cake to a showstopping strawberry shortcake. 

Gloucestershire floods


Frances’ Basic Vanilla Cake

MAKES A 10CM CAKE

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SERVES 2–3

For the cake

50g butter, softened

50g caster sugar

1 egg (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g self-raising flour

1 tsp warm water

Equipment

10cm round, deep, loose-bottomed tin (pork-pie size), greased and fully lined

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

Using a hand-held electric whisk (it’s tricky to beat this small quantity in a free-standing mixer), beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until very light, pale and creamy.

Break the egg into a mug or jug (this makes it easy and less messy to pour into the mixture). Add the vanilla extract to the egg and beat with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Should the mixture look like it’s curdling, add a spoonful of the flour.

Sift the flour into the cake mixture and fold in until just combined. (If you are making one of the larger quantities – see table opposite – sift and fold in the flour in several batches.)

Gently fold in the warm water, which will loosen the mixture and lighten the finished cake. You will now have a cake mixture with a soft dropping consistency – i.e. if you take a dollop of it on a spoon and turn the spoon on its side, the mixture will drop off of its own accord. Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out level with a spatula.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until risen and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean with no damp cake mixture adhering to it. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing the cake and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Finish

This lovely vanilla sponge is particularly good split into two layers and then sandwiched back together with fresh whipped cream and jam. I also like it topped in Buttercream (see p.276) or Sweetened Mascarpone Cream (p.278) and decorated with fresh fruit and flowers and my Edible Confetti (p.295). You can use the mixture to make mini- and muffin-sized cupcakes too, and decorate them with all sorts of finishes and flavours.

Frances’ Fried Egg Cakes

These egg-cellent bite-sized treats are made with my essential lemon cake mix. To make them extra citrussy, the bright yolk at the centre of each egg is formed with a blob of delicious orange curd. Serve up the cakes in real egg cartons for a great gift. To make them even sweeter, include a side of my butter biscuit chips too (see p.35).

Makes 24 mini cakes

For the cakes

50g butter, softened

50g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 egg (at room temperature)

50g self-raising flour

1 tbsp ground almonds

1 tbsp lemon juice

for The fried eggs

50g icing sugar

About ½ tbsp lemon juice

25g orange curd (see p.273)

Equipment

24-hole mini-muffin tin

24 white or yellow paper mini-muffin cases

Wooden latte stirrer

Egg boxes, to serve, optional

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Line the mini-muffin tin with the muffin cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk (it’s tricky to beat this small quantity in a free-standing mixer), beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until very light, pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and beat it in.

Break the egg into a mug or jug and beat with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks like it’s curdling, beat in a spoonful of the flour. Sift the flour and almonds into the bowl and fold them in until just combined. Gently stir in the lemon juice. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, dividing it equally.

Bake for 10–12 minutes or until the cakes are risen and lightly golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring them, still in their paper cases, to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make a lemon water icing for the fried eggs, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in a little lemon juice, a few drops at a time, until you have a smooth, thick paste. Carefully spoon a little of the icing on to the top of each cake creating an uneven shape that suggests the white of a fried egg. Use the latte stirrer to help you spread the icing into the right shape. Then, with the stirrer, apply a blob of orange curd to the centre of each egg. Leave to set.

Before serving, carefully place your cakes inside egg boxes, if using.

Variation

Instead of the icing and curd eggs, you can use fried egg sweets, securing one to the top of each cake with a little honey, some water icing or curd.

Frances’ Strawberry Shortcake

Here you can have your cake and eat it, together with a biscuit or two!

This fusion of vanilla sponge, jam, cream, strawberries and the all-important, buttery shortcake biscuits sums up British summertime at its sweetest. I use the classic, fluted-edged shop-bought shortbread biscuits for this, which measure 6 x 3.5cm. Serve with extra strawberries, if you like.

MAKES A 10CM CAKE

SERVES 2–3

For the cake

50g butter, softened

50g caster sugar

1 egg (at room temperature)

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g self-raising flour

1 tsp warm water

To decorate

50g strawberry jam – homemade (see p.272) or shop-bought

50ml double cream

½ tbsp icing sugar

Few drops of vanilla extract

9 shortcake biscuits

1 medium and 2 small strawberries

About 1 tsp freeze-dried strawberry pieces

Equipment

10cm round, deep, loose-bottomed tin (pork-pie size), greased and fully lined

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

Using a hand-held electric whisk (it’s tricky to beat this small quantity in a free-standing mixer), beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until very light, pale and creamy. Lightly beat the egg with the vanilla extract. Gradually add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in until just combined, then gently fold in the warm water. Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out level with a spatula.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing the cake and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Use a long, serrated knife, such as a bread knife, to carefully slice the cake horizontally into two equal layers. If the cake is very domed, you can also level off the top to create a smooth, flat surface for the topping. However, a slightly domed top is fine.

Place the bottom cake layer on your chosen cake board or stand. Spread a few teaspoons of jam over the cut surface – don’t be too generous because you don’t want the jam to spill out too much. Place the other cake layer on top. Put the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla extract, and whip until the cream holds soft to medium peaks. Spoon the cream on top of the cake and smooth it out with a palette knife, creating a slightly textured finish.

Spread some jam over the back of each shortcake biscuit to act as ‘glue’: spread the jam over three-quarters of the biscuit, leaving the top quarter uncovered. If your jam contains chunks of fruit, avoid them, because any lumps will create an uneven finish.

Press the biscuits around the side of the cake, with the un-jammed sections uppermost, to give a clean finish. The nine biscuits won’t be wedged tightly up against one another: there should be a few millimetres between them, creating neat spaces for cutting the cake into even slices.

Decorate the top of the cake with the three strawberries, placing the larger one in the centre and the smaller two alongside, slightly off-centre. Scatter the freeze-dried strawberry pieces over the top.

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Extra strawberries and freeze-dried strawberry pieces look lovely scattered around the cake, and I like to serve extra whipped cream alongside the cake in a pretty bowl.