Fluffy, fruity boozy Panettone

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author adapted from 'Great Italian Chefs'


First Refresh

  • 20 g strong white flour
  • 6 g dry yeast
  • water to make smooth paste

Second Refresh

  • 40 g strong white flour
  • 12 g dry yeast
  • water to make smooth paste

Third Refresh

  • 80 g strong white flour
  • 12 g dry yeast
  • water to make smooth paste

First Panettone Dough

  • 400 g strong white flour
  • 170 g butter soft
  • 190 g Third Refresher dough
  • 200 g egg yolks
  • 150 g water
  • 175 g caster sugar

Second Panettone Dough

  • 100 g strong white flour
  • 35 g caster sugar
  • 60 g egg yolks
  • 60 g butter soft
  • 16 g liquid honey
  • 12 g salt
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2 oranges, zest only
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • 300 g mixed dried fruits, chopped small as needed (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, apples, cherries)
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Rum


  • 40 g ground almonds
  • 40 g ground hanzelnut
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 9 g white flour
  • 4 g cocoa powder
  • 3 g corn flour
  • 80 g egg white
  • pear sugar, to garnish


Refresher Cultures

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the 'first refresh' in a glass bowl until smooth. Allow to rise until trippled in volume at room temperature (usually takes 1.5 h for me at around 18 degrees C)

  2. Add all ingredients for the 'second refresh' to the 'first refresh', mix until smooth and leave to rise until trippled in volume (usually takes 1.5 h for me a around 18 degrees C)

  3. Add all ingredients for the 'third refresh' to the 'second refresh', mix until smooth and leave to rise until trippled in volume (usually takes 1.5 h for me at around 18 degrees C)

First Panettone dough

  1. In the evening, at around 8 pm, mix the first panettone dough.

  2. Melth the caster sugar in the water over a low heat, then add the flour and half of the egg yolks.

  3. Combine in a stand mixer and mix thoroughly to obtain a smooth and elastic dough. Add 190g of the 'third refresh' and the remaining egg yolks, mixing until combined. Finish by adding the soft butter a little at a time. The final dough should be at a temperature of 26ยฐC

  4. Leave dough at 16-18 degrees C to rise over night (12 h). Ensure you have placed in a bowl big enough to allow the dough to more than tripple in volume

Fruit preparation

  1. Place all dried fruits and the orange and lemon zest in a bowl and pour in Rum to approximately half way cover the fruits. Mix, cover and leave over night

  2. Cut the 1 orange and 1 lemon into circles, place them on a non stick mat in the oven and bake at 150 degrees C until semi dry and caramelized. It took me around 1h baking. Adjust depending on your oven strength. You want the oranges to still be a little soft and juicy but not too wet.

Second Panettone dough

  1. After 12 h rising time, make the second panettone dough

  2. Mix the flour into the first panettone dough in a stand mixer for 15 minutes

  3. Add the sugar and egg yolks in 3 additions, allowing to combine before the next addition each time

  4. Add the honey

  5. Once combined, add the salt and mix for another 3 minutes

  6. Gradually add the soft butter a knob at a time and mix until smooth, shiny and elastic.

  7. Add all the Rum soaked dried fruits (including any residual Rum not soaked into the fruits) and mix the dough well.

  8. Leave dough to rest for 1 h

  9. Divide the dough into two Panettone moulds and leave to rise for 6 h at around 27 degrees C (I turn the oven just on with fan running - using the cooking thermometer, I check the oven temperature to ensure it stays at 27-30 degrees C. Once the temperature is stable, I place the Panettones in the oven to rise. Alternatively you can place the Panettones in a drying cupboard - basically somewhere warm).


  1. Once risen to the top of the Panettone moulds, take the Penttones out of the oven while you pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C

  2. Make the icing by combining all ingredients in a bowl and mixing with a hand mixer. If the mixture is too thick, add another egg white

  3. Just before baking, glaze the Panettones gently with the icing. The icing is quite thick so you need to do it gently. Usually I rather sprinkle the icing with a pastry brush rather than actually brushing, to prevent the Panettone from sinking

  4. Just before baking, sprinkle the Panettones with pearl sugar

  5. Bake for around 50 minutes, until the inside of the Panettone reaches 94 degrees C. After around 40 minute baking time I usually open the oven to briefly stick the cooking thermometer into the Panettone to check the temperature. Use one of the thin meat thermometers.

  6. Once baked, take the Panettones out and hang them upside down by sticking two skewers through the bottom of the Panettones, inverting and hanging them between two chairs for example.

  7. Leave the Panettones to cool upside down until cooled down or as long as you can manage before wanting to taste some ๐Ÿ™‚

Millionaire's Shortbread

This is the best millionaire's shortbread recipe ever! Well...Alex loves it, so it must be ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks to the author Jenn Segal who posted this recipe on her website:

I tried once to make it with homemade condensed milk as we didn't have any at home:

 I must say it is quite a lot better with homemade sweetened condensed milk. However, this is not feasible every time as it takes rather a long time. Therefore just do it with shop bought condensed milk. I usually use 280ml shop bought condensed milk + 30ml milk as the bought condensed milk is a little thick.

Where it says to add a generous pinch of salt to the caramel mix I add about 1/2 to 2/3 tsp of salt. We prefer it more salty than some. You can adjust as you like it.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 30 servings


For the crust

  • 128 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 115 g cold butter
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the caramel layer

  • 310 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 100 g dark brown sugar
  • 90 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup such as Lyle's Golden Syrup or dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt

For the chocolate layer

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate broken into small pieces, best quality
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


For the crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, pushing the foil neatly into the corners and up the sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that the foil overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from the pan).
  3. Spray the foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt; process until well combined and no lumps of brown sugar remain.
  5. Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  6. Add the ice water and egg yolk and blend until moist clumps form.
  7. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and press with your fingers into an even layer (dust your fingers with flour if the dough is too sticky).
  8. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
  9. Set aside to cool.

For the caramel

  1. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225 degrees F, about 6 minutes.
  3. Pour the caramel over the warm crust; cool for about 15 minutes, or until caramel is set.

For the chocolate layer

  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is about 75% melted.
  3. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate, until smooth (if necessary, place the chocolate back in the microwave for a few more; just be sure not to overheat or the mixture will curdle).
  4. Spread the chocolate over the caramel layer.
  5. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour. Using the foil overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board.
  6. Cut into small squares and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bakewell tart

This is a very easy, British cake. You will be amazed how easy it is to make ๐Ÿ™‚ We omit the icing on the top, because we already feel it is sweet enough without in. That way you can taste the almond filling better too.

You can make your own jam, but it works just as well with shop bought jam. Traditionally bakewell tart is made with raspberry jam, but we have made this cake with other jams too (e.g. plum, cherry).

Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Author Mary Berry (Great British Bake Off)


Sweet shortcrust pastry

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 150 g butter chilled
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 egg large
  • 2 tbsp cold water


  • 4 tbsp jam
  • 150 g butter softened
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 tsp almond extract



  1. combined the flour and butter in a bowl and, using your finger tips, rub until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  2. Stir in the icing sugar, egg and water, to form a soft dough

  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and use it to line a 23cm tart tin (flan tin). Leave the tin with the pastry in the fridge for 30min, to chill.

  4. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (fan oven). 

  5. Line the chilled pastry case with non stick baking paper and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove the beans and paper and cook another 5 minutes until the base is dry.

    Leave the oven on for baking the tart with the filling later.


  1. Spread the base of the tart with 4 tbsp of jam.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 

  3. Add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract and mix.

  4. Spoon the almond mixture on top of the jam in the pastry case. The mixture will be rather thick and difficult to spread on the jam base. Just place blobs of the filling on the jam. Don't try and spread it (unlike the original recipe suggests). As long as you have even blobs of filling over the base of the tart, it will spread out as it heats up in the oven.

  5. turn down the oven temperature to 160 degrees C (fan oven) and bake the tart 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  6. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. If it is a tart tin with a removable bottom, remove the tart after 10 minutes from the tin and leave to cool outside the tin.

  7. Eat while still a little warm, with a dollop of thick cream or clotted cream ๐Ÿ™‚

Most amazing salted chocolate cookies!

I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for a chocolate cookie recipe for Alex. These are such easy to prepare cookies - crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. The dough can be prepared, rolled into a sausage shape and left in the fridge for a week. Then you can bake the freshly each time you want one. So tasty with a cup of coffee. 

I have adapted them a little: 

I make half the dough, compared to the recipe online. This makes around 20 decent size cookies in my hands.

I use half caster sugar, half muscavado sugar. This gives the cookies a deeper taste. 

We also sprinkle large salt flakes on the cookies before baking. This gives very tasty salted chocolate cookies ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also reduced the baking time to 7 minutes (for soft cookies for immediate eating) or longer (for slightly firmer cookies, if you want to make them to take with you somewhere).

They are for sure a 'hit' in our household ๐Ÿ™‚

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes
Servings 20 cookies, approximately


  • 140 g butter room temperature
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g dark muscavado sugar
  • 1 egg large
  • 75 g cocoa powder
  • 128 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch salt flakes per cookie


  1. In the bowl of a food mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

  2. Add the egg and continue creaming until combined.

  3. In another bowl, mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt.

  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

  5. Divide the dough into two equally size pieces and roll into 4cm high logs. The dough will be rather soft. Just use some flour to help you roll it.

  6. Wrap the logs in cling film and leave to rest 20min in the freezer for immediate baking or in the fridge for later use.

  7. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (fan oven).

  8. Once the dough has been chilled, cut approxmiately 1.5 cm silces and place on a non stick sheet on a baking tray.

  9. Flatten the dough slices a little with your fingers and sprinkle with some large salt flakes. Amount of salt can be varied, depending on how salty you like the cookies.

  10. Place the cookies in the oven for 7-10 minutes, depending on how soft you like them.

  11. Let them cool on the non stick sheet (removed from the baking tray), before handling them. They are very soft at this point, before they have cooled.

  12. Enjoy with a cup of strong coffee!

Gingernut biscuits

This recipe is not our own invention (recipe by Delia Smith), but I though I would record it on here, as these are such easy to make and tasty biscuits. Perfect with afternoon tea or coffee. 

I have adapted it slightly, adding more ginger (or you can add any spice you like - e.g. ground cloves, cinnamon etc...

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 biscuits
Author adapted from Delia Smith


  • 100 g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger slightly rounded
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda level
  • 40 g granulated sugar
  • 50 g butter room temperature
  • 50 g golden syrup


  1. Sift the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.

  2. Add sugar.

  3. Lightly rub in the butter until crumbly.

  4. Add the syrup and mix to a stiff paste.

  5. Divide the mixture into 16 equal pieces.

  6. Roll each dough piece into a small ball and place on a baking sheet covered with a non stick mat. Make sure to leave enough space between each dough ball, as the biscuits will spread out rather a lot.

  7. Flatten each dough ball slightly with your fingers and bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15min.

  8. When ready, the biscuits will have spread out and have a cracked appearance.

  9. Coold the biscuits on a baking tray and then on a wire rack.

'Quarktorte' - German Baked Cheese Cake

The 'one cake a week' theme continues with this delicious baked cheese cake. Recipe obtained from a friend.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 people
Author From a friend, named Tina ๐Ÿ™‚


For the 'Streusel dough'

  • 175 g soft butter
  • 300 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon bakingpowder
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 750 g quark soft cheese
  • 50 g molten butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 packet bourbon vanilla pudding powder
  • 200 g rosehip berry jam


For the 'Streusel dough'

  1. Melt the butter and leave to cool a bit.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a big bowl.
  3. Add the egg and molten butter gradually, mixing with the dough hook of electric mixer (the dough will seem very buttery/greasy).
  4. Spread 1/2 - 3/4 of the โ€˜streuselโ€™ dough on the bottom of a 26cm cake tin (pressing it down gently and pushing it up along the sides as much as possible to form an edge).

For the filling

  1. Combine the quark, butter, eggs, sugar and pudding powder and mix until smooth.
  2. Pour the filling into the cake tin.
  3. Put blobs of jam on top of the cake and sprinkle the rest of the โ€˜streuselโ€™ dough on top.
  4. Bake at 180-190 degrees for 55-60 mins until cooked through (26cm diameter tin). Leave to cool fully before removing from the tin.

Gooey chocolate cake

Adapted by combining and adapting the following two recipes: Sponge mixture from: Filling and topping from:
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 12 people


  • *** 1cup = 240ml volume of each ingredient this is easiest convesion as for each ingredient you can measure a volume. Otherwise just use an online cup to gram conversion tool for each ingredient

For sponge

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ยพ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1ยฝ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ยฝ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For oreo cream filling

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening fat which is solid at room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk or cream cream preferred for best texture
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For chocolate buttercream topping

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream cream preferred for best texture
  • 16 additional Oreo cookies pulsed into a fine crumb


  1. Preheat oven to 175ยบ C.
  2. Prepare two 23cm cake tins by buttering and lightly flouring.

For the cake

  1. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to the bowl of a mixer.
  2. Using the paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined.
  4. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter (IMPORTANT: this step is crucial for giving rise to a soft and moist sponge cake)
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

For oreo cream filling

  1. While the cake cools, make the Oreo Cream Filling.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together on high speed until fluffy.
  3. Add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk/cream and vanilla. The filling will be very thick.
  4. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For chocolate buttercream topping

  1. While the cake cools, make the Chocolate Buttercream.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  3. Beat in the cocoa powder and vanilla on low speed, then add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk/cream. The buttercream will be thick.
  4. Set aside in the refrigerator.


  1. Once the cake has cooled, spread the oreo cream filling on one of the sponge cakes and top withe the other sponge cake.
  2. Spread the whole cake with the chocolate buttercream mixture
  3. Adapted from combination of parts of recipes from 'add a pinch' and 'sallys baking addiction' blogs

Lemon drizzle cake

This is just the most scrumptious lemon cake! I don't have a sweet tooth (although Alex does!), but I love anything lemony! Try this!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 12 people
Author adapted over the years by Alex & Ausma


For the filling

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 50 ml lemon juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g mascarpone

For the lemon sponge

  • 200 g unsalted butter cubed and softened
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 medium eggs beaten
  • 200 g self-raising flour sifted

For the sugar topping

  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 75 g granulated sugar



  1. Preheat the oven to 180ยฐC.
  2. Grease a 20cm, round, cake tin and line with baking paper.

For the filling

  1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar using a wooden spoon in a small saucepan until smooth.
  2. Beat in the lemon juice, grated zest and butter, and heat for 3โ€“4 minutes, stirring all the time until it thickens (the sugar prevents the eggs from curdling).
  3. Once thick, allow to cool; cover and chill until needed.

For the sponge

  1. Place the sugar, softened butter and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer. This should lead to a pale colour and a light and fluffy texture.
  2. Now start adding the beaten egg in stages, mixing thoroughly after each addition. If it looks like it's going to curdle, add 1 tbsp flour.
  3. Finally, fold in the flour. The mixture will be quite thick, but this is what you want.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 35โ€“45 minutes until it is shrinking away from the sides of the tin.
  5. Test it with a skewer to see if the mixture is cooked.
  6. Remove from the oven and prick all over with a skewer about 20 times.

For the sugar topping

  1. To make the sugar topping, stir the strained lemon juice into the sugar so it dissolves a bit, but not fully.
  2. Drizzle over the cake, slowly, so that it all sinks in.
  3. Remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Using a serrated knife, slice in half horizontally.
  5. Set aside, and finish off the filling by placing the Mascarpone in a bowl and mixing in the lemon curd.
  6. Lift off the top half of the cake and spread the base with the lemon curd and Mascarpone mixture. Replace the top half.

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