Do you celebrate Valentine’s day? I always have, but never in a big way. Last year when we were in lockdown I just cooked us a nice supper and made som heart shaped cookies with a yummy cream cheese frosting. Pink of course!
The cookies were quite fiddly to make, but really delicious, and the frosting recipe is now a go-to, courtesy of the brilliant Ina Garten.
Valentine’s Day cookies with cream cheese frosting
Mix wet ingredients with sugar using an electric whisk, then slowly add baking powder and flour. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough until quite thick, approx 3 mm, use a cookie cutter to shape hearts and carefully place them on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Bake for 5-7 minutes at 190C, until still pale and soft. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing.
Mix together the ingredients for the icing using an electric whisk. Add a few drops of food colouring (I prefer the gel colours) to the frosting, mix well and spread onto the cooled cookies with a small spatula. Add sprinkles if using.
I kept the icing in a bowl covered with cling film for a few days, icing the cookies as we ate them so they wouldn’t soften.
I first made this cake for a book club meet-up and it went down so well I made it one December weekend as well. And that’s also when I tweaked the recipe to what it is below. The original recipe called for lingonberry jam which I omitted even the first time, but I thought the spices could come through a bit more as well and after my tweaks I’m very happy with it!
So next time you want a festive cake, try this! I promise it’s a welcome change from mince pies and other cakes heavy on dried fruit. This is still a spiced cake but much lighter and, dare I say – fresher – with its cream cheese frosting and juice bursting pomegranate seeds!
Gingerbread sponge with cream cheese frosting and pomegranate seeds, serves 8
Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Butter a baking tin. Melt the butter and put aside. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs and sugar pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the buttermilk and lastly the melted butter and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
75 g softened salted butter
80 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
150 g cold cream cheese (preferably full fat Philadelphia)
110 g pomegranate seeds
Cream the butter for approx 5 minutes using an electric whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated.
Let the cake cool and put it on a cake plate. Spread the frosting on top and decorate with pomegranate seeds.
I made this fresh lemon cake for work a couple of weeks ago and it went down a treat! If using a smaller diameter baking tin than mine the cake can easily be made into three tiers which looks even more impressive than my version. The frosting made from cream cheese and lemon curd is just divine. Fresh and zingy and the cake isn’t too sweet either. A perfect summer cake!
Lemon yoghurt cake with lemon curd cream cheese frosting Translated from Swedish blog Pickipicki’s recipe.
Cake: 250 g softened butter 3 lemons, zest and juice 330 g caster sugar 4 eggs 300 g plain flour 1,5 tsp baking powder 140 g thick natural yoghurt
Frosting: 125 g butter 2 eggs 3 lemons, juice only 1 tsp lemon zest 150 g caster sugar 250 g cream cheese
Cover a round baking tin with baking parchment. Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest untilm pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at the time. Then add yoghurt, lemon juice flour and baking powder. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in a low oven, 160C for 90 minutes.
In the meantime, make the lemon curd: add butter to a saucepan to melt. Add eggs, lemon juice, zest and sugar. Stir continuously until the curd thickens, about 10 minutes on low heat. Leave to cool completely.
Beat the cream cheese fluffy with an electric mixer, add about 100 ml of the lemon curd and combine. Once the cake is compltely cool, cut into three equally thick sponges. Spread 1/3 of the frosting on to the base layer, place sponge number two on top and spread with another 1/3 of the frosting. Add the final sponge and cover with the remaining frosting. Top with lemon curd and berries and serve.
On Sunday it was typical British weather with heavy rain and grey dull skies, so what is a girl to do when she doesn’t want to go out and get wet? She puts on her pinney of course and starts baking and spreading the lovely scent of cupcakes in the flat, and a cloud of dusty icing sugar… I have yet to learn how to make frosting without leaving the kitchen looking like it has snowed in there…
I brought these cupcakes to the office on Monday and they diappeared extremely quick, even the boys loved them and asked for the recipe! The recipe for the cake is from the Swedish blog Mumsfillibaba and the frosting is courtesy of a Swedish TV chef called Leila (but I made 1,5 batches).
Rhubarb cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, makes 18
125 g softened butter 200 ml caster sugar 2 eggs 150 ml milk 450 ml plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 rhubarb stem, sliced
90 g softened butter 750 ml icing sugar (1,5 tsp vanilla sugar) 1,5 tbsp lemon juice (I used rhubarb purée instead) 150 g Philadelphia cheese
Place 2-3 rhubarb pieces in each cupcake case. Beat butter and sugar white and creamy. Add one egg at the time. Mix in the other ingredients and divide between the cake cases. Fill them to 2/3. Bake in 175C for 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Beat butter, icing sugar and liquid creamy with an electric whisk. Add the cream cheese and beat until glossy. Decorate the cupcakes when cooled completely.