Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Christmas means plenty of gingerbread – gingerbread men, gingerbread house… I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread cake, as I like the flavours in there more so than Christmas pudding, and wanted a scrumptious gingerbread-like dessert to wrap up Christmas dinner.

This year, I found the favourite old fashioned gingerbread recipe and decided to adapt it by reducing the sweetness and doubling the spice, and also adding a layer of mascarpone cream icing on top. The result? Delicious! The cream and gingerbread taste worked really well together! Continue reading “Old Fashioned Gingerbread”


Five Minutes Chocolate Cake

Back in Italy, the best colazione (breakfast food) to have at home would be a homemade cake shared with the family. True to my origins, I often crave something sweet for breakfast and I get itchy for the next baking mission. This time, I quickly put together some very basic ingredients I had at home and the perfect homemade cake came out with only 5 minutes of preparation and 30 minutes in the oven. This simple chocolate cake will stay perfectly fluffy and spongy for a few days (even if you store it in the fridge). Savour it for breakfast with a cappuccino or with a glass of milk as a snack. Or bring it to that last minute dinner invite! Continue reading “Five Minutes Chocolate Cake”


Double Layer Milk (Shuang Pi Nai)

Chinese desserts are relatively few and far between, but there are a few special ones that can be hard to get in the shops, and this double layer/skin milk is one such dessert. The recipe dates back to the 1850s, and comes from the Canton region.

The key ingredients are full fat milk and egg whites – so it will give you plenty of proteins! It is also very easy to make, and the prep time only totals around 5 minutes, with a cooking time of roughly 20 minutes. However, there are quite lengthy cooling periods in between. You can also make it the day before and keep it chilled in the fridge! Continue reading “Double Layer Milk (Shuang Pi Nai)”

Tiramisu – a classic Italian dessert

Valentine’s Day is approaching and this year we propose a simple but iconic Italian dessert: Tiramisu. We don’t know for sure where this dessert was originally created, but we know that it’s an all-time favourite throughout the Italian peninsula and all Italian restaurants abroad have their own version too. Just like any classic recipe, Tiramisu would be a perfect reason for an animated Italian argument about who has the best recipe amongst friends or family. Continue reading “Tiramisu – a classic Italian dessert”


Mince Pies and Hazelnut Ale – Eric Lanlard Launches Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale

Nothing sets off the festive spirit and signals the approach of Christmas quite like mince pies, and that’s what we learned to make with Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard at Cake Boy in order to celebrate the launch of Meantime‘s latest limited edition beer in The Pilot Series: Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale.


We found Eric Lanlard’s boutique patisserie by the river near Wandsworth Town on an evening in December, which, in London, means that it had been pitch black for several hours already. A step into the patisserie brought us into a different world, where the sofas were as colourful as the macarons. We sipped a glass of Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale as we stared at the mini Christmas trees and chocolate baubles on the counter. Fairy lights twinkled in the background – yes, it’s Christmas.

The nutty and smooth dark ale was created with Christmas in mind. But more than that, it is the spirit of experimentation that led Meantime’s Brewmaster Ciaran Giblin to incorporate hazelnut, an ingredient from baking and festive desserts, into an ale. The desire to create something exciting, different and unexpected sits at the heart of Meantime’s Pilot Series: 26 limited edition beers of which Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale is the latest addition.

It is, again, the spirit of experimentation that led Eric to incorporate the ale into these special mince pies. We soon donned aprons with the pink Cake Boy logo to find out how to make them. We gleamed a few top tips from the Master Pâtissier throughout the evening.

5 tips from Eric Lanlard – how to bake (and eat) the perfect mince pie Continue reading “Mince Pies and Hazelnut Ale – Eric Lanlard Launches Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale”

Asian honey and butter bread recipe – a simple dessert

This honey and butter bread is quite commonly found in Korean and some other Asian cafes, and doesn’t require any actual bread baking (although it does require a few minutes in the oven). The core ingredients are – yes – honey and butter. The ideal bread to use is milk bread, but you can make it with ordinary sliced bread as well. I’m using half brown and white bread here for an easy and healthier option.

The prep work only takes about 2 minutes, and then it’s a quick 10 minutes in the oven before it’s ready to serve as a dessert or a sweet pick-me-up.


2-3 thick slices of bread
2 tbsps of clear honey
A few slices of unsalted butter
Dash of cinamon
Whipped cream
Chocolate sauce

Continue reading “Asian honey and butter bread recipe – a simple dessert”


Split yellow pea cake (wan dou huang) – a simple Chinese dessert recipe

Pulses such as split peas and lentils are a great source of iron, and if you get bored of cooking with them for savoury dishes, then you can try out this traditional Beijing snack, made with mostly just yellow split peas (and some sugar). It’s very much a spring snack, and is eaten before the third of the third lunar month, which is 9th April this year.

The cooking time is quite long, but mostly it just needs to be left to simmer on the stove – there is very little prep needed. This recipe makes a large batch that’d last a few weeks. You can downscale and make a smaller batch to start off with.


1kg of split yellow peas
6 dried jujubes 

300g of sugar

You’ll also need water and a tiny dash of oil.

Continue reading “Split yellow pea cake (wan dou huang) – a simple Chinese dessert recipe”


Pebble effect red bean paste rice ball recipe for the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao/Tang Yuan)

Now that Chinese New Year is over (happy year of the monkey!), it’s time for arguably the even bigger festival of the year: the Lantern Festival (also known as Yuan Xiao festival). Yuan Xiao are basically fillings wrapped in glutinous rice flour, and the fillings can be anything from minced meat to sesame paste. I’m using red bean paste (azuki bean paste) here. If you want to make the paste from scratch, you can try this anko recipe.

There are two “schools” of making these rice ball dumplings: you can either make the fillings first, then roll them around in the rice flour to coat them in a thick layer of the flour, or you can make the flour into a sort of dumpling skin, then stuff the filling inside.

I usually use the first method, but in order to make these pebble-effect Yuan Xiao, it makes more sense to go for the latter. You can mix different ingredients into the rice flour to create all sorts of colours. I’ve only used cocoa powder and strawberry jam here, as I wanted to make brown and rose-coloured swirls.

Portions of the ingredients are fairly rough again, as is always the case when making dumplings. Please use it as a guide only. This makes roughly 10 “pebbles”.


200-250g glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
2 tbsp of strawberry jam
150g red bean paste

You’ll also need water throughout. Continue reading “Pebble effect red bean paste rice ball recipe for the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao/Tang Yuan)”