3 Lorraine Pascale recipes all bakers need to know
Marking a special occasion means cake and cocktails for most of us. Lorraine Pascale has a different way of celebrating. ‘It’s my mate’s birthday and a group of us are going to a cardio class at boxing gym BXR London,’ she says. ‘We’re fitness freaks.’ Cripes. Thankfully, she adds that the night will end in a bar. ‘It’s all about balance,’ she says. This just about sums up Lorraine, BBC chef and best-selling author of seven recipe books, including her new book Bake.
Famous for creating delicious food – in particular extravagant, mouth-watering cakes, tarts and crumbles, baking is one of Lorraine’s greatest loves. Then again, so is eating clean and training hard.
‘I’m a strong believer in everything in moderation,’ says Lorraine, 44, who starts her day by drinking hot water with lemon, followed by a green juice made with spirulina, matcha, turmeric and black pepper. ‘It tastes horrid,’ she admits. ‘But, I have been baking and eating cake every day for six months!’
HAVE YOUR CAKE
Bake is a book for everyone – a mixture of fast, simple classics and elaborate ‘all singing, all dancing’ numbers. There’s indulgent Death By Chocolate fudge cake with ganache drizzle, a Rainbow Roulade that has lime and cream cheese frosting and Chocolate Brownies. Plus gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free options and a sublime vegan scone recipe.
‘Thanks to Instagram, cake decorating has become more elaborate and techniques are more focused,’ says Lorraine. ‘I wanted to include things that people maybe hadn’t seen before, and explore methods that don’t require lots of equipment, like the ombre cake, so it’s more accessible.’
Hackney-born, Oxfordshire-raised Lorraine has been baking since she was five years old, when a school teacher announced there’d be a baking day.
‘One of my most vivid early memories is cooking at school – unwrapping the ingredients, weighing them out and witnessing the science of them forming into something in the oven,’ she says. Now, baking is not only her job but her therapy, too. ‘It’s my time to slow down and de-stress.’
Lorraine created 125 recipes for Bake. ‘My daughter Ella, 20, would come home to cheesecakes and muffins everywhere! I binge-watch boxsets like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as I bake!’
Lorraine, who meditates daily for 20 minutes, also loves a positive mantra. ‘If I had to choose one, it would be this: “Believe in yourself, even when no one else does.” ‘I tell Ella that all the time. I think that’s a pretty good way to live.’
With so many of us feeling disconnected in this world of stress, social media and quick fixes, baking is something that can’t be rushed.
GLUTEN-FREE CLEMENTINE & ALMOND CAKE WITH POMEGRANATES
‘My friend Satya gave me an orange cake when I went for tea at her house. It was rich and slightly bitter, but also sweet with an orange tang that lasted well after the final bite. This is my version of her beautiful cake, and I hope I can do it justice. I’ve used clementines but you could use two large oranges instead, boiling them a little longer.’
• 5 medium clementines, scrubbed (but not peeled)
• 120g butter, softened
• 150g soft light brown sugar
• 50g honey
• 3 eggs
• 320g ground almonds
• ½tsp ground cinnamon
• 1tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
For the orange syrup
• Zest and juice of 1 large orange
• 150g soft light brown sugar
• Handful of toasted flaked almonds
• Large handful of pomegranate seeds
• Icing sugar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a 20cm round, 7.5cm deep, loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Pop the clementines in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the clementines are super soft – this makes them much less bitter. Allow the clementines to cool a little, then put them in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
2. Put the butter and sugar together in a large bowl and beat well with a hand- held electric whisk or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the honey and beat for another minute or so. Add two of the eggs and half the ground almonds and beat until well combined. Add the other egg, the remaining almonds, the clementine purée, cinnamon and baking powder. Beat until evenly combined.
3. Tip the mixture into the lined tin and cover loosely with foil. Bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4. About 15 minutes before the cake is ready, make the orange syrup. Put the orange zest and juice in a small pan with the soft light brown sugar. Place over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Then turn up the heat and boil it for 5 minutes, or until the orange syrup has thickened and reduced slightly. Set aside.
5. Take the baked cake out of the oven and carefully remove from the tin. Transfer to a serving plate and, while still hot, brush the syrup all over. I’m generous with the syrup so the cake is sticky, well soaked and full of flavour. Scatter the flaked almonds and then the pomegranate seeds over the cake and dust with icing sugar, if using. Transfer any leftover syrup to a jug and serve with the cake. This cake is best served warm.
PEACH, MAPLE & FIG COBBLER
‘This US pudding comes in sweet and savoury incarnations and its toppings vary to the extreme – some are made with cold butter like a British crumble, and others are made with melted butter that is poured over the fruit like a batter; some are rolled out like pastry and stamped out with a cookie cutter, and others are just dolloped on top. I opted for the last variety as I love its buttery taste and “crazy paving” look.’
• Knob of butter
• 6 firm, ripe peaches, cut into wedges, stones discarded (you can peel them if you fancy but I don’t)
• 3 firm, ripe figs, cut into quarters
• 3tbsp maple syrup
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
For the topping
• 160g butter
• 150g plain flour
• 180g soft light brown sugar
• Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas 4. Use the knob of butter to lightly grease a 1.2 litre pie dish. Tip the peaches into the prepared dish with the figs, maple syrup and ground cinnamon. Mix well to evenly combine, and set aside.
2. To make the topping, melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave, and leave to cool a little. Put the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the melted butter and salt and stir until the mixture starts to come together.
3. Take a small handful of the dough (about 50g) and squidge it together into a ball, then flatten it a little and place on top of the fruit. Continue with the rest of the topping to make nine balls that sit side by side on top of the fruit. (For extra texture and crunch, you can scatter some chopped nuts or rolled oats over the top.)
4. Bake the cobbler in the oven for 40–45 minutes, or until the topping is cooked through and golden brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
‘This delicious fruity cobbler is best served warm with fresh cream, ice cream or custard.’
REFINED SUGAR-FREE WALNUT & RASBERRY ONE-BOWL BROWNIES
‘This is a short-cut brownie recipe, perfect for when you just want to pull something together in super-quick time, without the need for lots of whisking and folding. All you need is a food processor and about 10 minutes, and the big bonus is that these brownies contain no refined sugar – not that you’d notice, as they are so delicious!’
• 110g butter
• 75g plain flour or white spelt flour
• 170g pitted dates, chopped (Medjool or any that look soft and sticky)
• 1tsp baking powder
• 70g cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy)
• 70ml whole milk
• 2 eggs
• 80g walnuts, roughly chopped
• 150g raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment. I make sure there is some extra baking parchment hanging over the edges of the tin – this makes it easier to pull out the brownies when they are baked.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave and then leave to cool a little. Put the flour in a food processor with the chopped dates, baking powder, cocoa powder, milk, eggs and melted butter. Blitz until the mixture comes together and is well combined.
3. Tip the chopped walnuts and 100g of the raspberries into the mixture and use a spoon or spatula to mix together well. Spoon this mixture into the lined cake tin, using the back of a spoon to make sure the top is nice and smooth. Arrange the remaining 50g raspberries
over the top, pushing them ever so slightly into the mixture.
4. Pop the baking tin on a baking sheet (this makes it easier to move the tin around) and then bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. When it’s cooked it should be dry on top, but still slightly gooey and fudgy inside. Don’t be tempted to leave it in the oven any longer than this, or you may end up with cake, not brownies – although it’ll still taste delicious!
5. Once the brownies are cooked, remove them from the oven, allow to cool a little in the tin, and then cut into nine large squares. Delicious served warm or cold.
CAKES MADE EASY
Recipes taken from Bake: 125 Show-Stopping Recipes, Made Simple by Lorraine Pascale (£20, Bluebird)
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