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WEEKEND - Keep them Sweet.

Summary: We have something for every occasion with these gorgeous bakes and desserts -- perfect for treating friends and family. Recipes SARAH COOK and CASSIE BEST

Ice cream cone cakes

MAKES 10 PREP 15 MINS COOK 30 MINS Easy BEFORE ICING

12 flat-bottomed ice cream cones

200g softened butter

200g plain flour

4 tbsp custard powder

1 tsp vanilla paste with seeds

200g golden caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

TO DECORATE

350g butter, softened

350g icing sugar, sifted

2 tsp vanilla extract

Sprinkles, wafers, chocolate, glace cherries, sauces - whatever you like on ice cream!

1 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Sit the cones in a muffin tin to hold them upright.

2 Put the butter, flour, custard powder, vanilla, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat together with an electric whisk until smooth. If you have nimble-fingered little helpers, hand round pairs of teaspoons and set them to work filling the cones. If you're making them yourself, spoon the cake batter into a food bag or disposable piping bag, snip off the end to give you a wide hole, then pipe into the cones, filling them 3ua4 full - this will enable you to get the batter right to the bottom.

3 Bake the cone cakes, still in the muffin tin, for 30 mins until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool.

4 To decorate the cakes, beat the butter until smooth, then add the icing sugar and vanilla, and beat again until well mixed. Put into a piping bag fitted with a big star nozzle, then pipe icing on top of each cake as you would a cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, cherries, drizzles of sauce - whatever you like.

PER CAKE 756 kcals, protein 4g, carbs 77g, fat 47g, sat fat 29g, fibre 1g, sugar 56g, salt 1.0g

SUNDAE FUN Add a hidden surprise to your cone cakes. Before you ice them, use an apple corer to remove a central core of sponge. Fill with an ice cream sauce of your choice, then ice and decorate the top, hiding and sealing the sauce.

Sticky treacle, ginger & lime cake

CUTS INTO 10-12 SLICES PREP 45 MINS COOK 1 HR 20 MINS Easy

200g butter

200g dark muscovado sugar

175g black treacle

2 tbsp ginger syrup

250ml full-fat milk

2 large eggs, beaten

325g plain flour

11ua2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

75g stem ginger, chopped

Zest of 2 limes

4 tbsp lime marmalade or lime curd

FOR THE ICING

Zest of 2 limes, plus juice of 1

140g icing sugar

1 tbsp amber sugar crystals or 5 sugar cubes

1 Put the butter, muscovado sugar, treacle and ginger syrup in a saucepan. Heat for a few mins, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool for 5 mins. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm-deep round cake tin with baking parchment.

2 Whisk the milk into the butter mixture, then add the eggs and beat well to combine. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarb and ground ginger. Pour in the buttery liquid and stir well to combine, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Add the stem ginger and lime zest, and stir again.

3 Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 hr 15 mins. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake - if any uncooked cake mixture sticks to the skewer, return the cake to the oven for a further 10 mins, then check again. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

4 Split the cake into 2 or 3 layers with a long, serrated knife. Spread the lime marmalade or curd between the layers then reassemble.

5 In a small bowl, mix the lime juice and icing sugar until thick and smooth, adding a little extra icing sugar if it's too runny. Transfer to a sandwich bag, squeeze down into one corner and twist shut, then snip off a tiny bit of the corner. Drizzle in stripes over the cake. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the sugar crystals or cubes, with half the lime zest, to a chunky rubble and scatter over the top of the cake. Finish by sprinkling with the remaining zest. Will keep in a tin for up to 1 week - it tastes great on the day it's made, but even better after a day or two in the tin.

PER SLICE (12) 442 kcals, protein 5g, carbs 70g, fat 16g, sat fat 10g, fibre 1g, sugar 50g, salt 0.8g

SUNDAE FUN If you're camping or self-catering, make this scrummy cake before you go. It tastes even better the longer you leave it in the tin.

Honeyed peach & pistachio Pavlova

SERVES 8-10 PREP 40 MINS PLUS OVERNIGHT COOLING COOK 1 HR 10 MINS A little effort Gluten Free

5 large egg whites

175g golden caster sugar

100g light brown sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white wine vinegar

FOR THE TOPPING

100ml clear honey, plus 2 tbsp

5 ripe but firm peaches, peeled if you like, and thickly sliced

300ml pot double cream

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste with seeds

200ml pot Greek yoghurt

85g pistachios, roughly chopped

1 Heat oven to 160C/140C fan. Using a 20cm plate or cake tin as a template, draw a circle on a large sheet of baking parchment, flip it over and place on a large baking tray. When ready, dot a blob of raw meringue onto each corner of the baking tray and put the baking parchment on top - this way it won't slip.

2 In a well-cleaned, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until they form stiff peaks. Add the caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, continuing to whisk as you go. The meringue will start to get thick and glossy. Add the brown sugar in the same way, continue whisking for another 1-2 mins until really thick and holding stiff, shiny peaks on the end of your whisk. Now add the cornflour and vinegar, and give a final whisk until smooth.

3 Using a large metal spoon, pile the meringue onto the parchment-lined tray, using the circle template as a guide to create a symmetrical circle. Use the spoon to make a dip in the middle (this will hold your cream and fruit later) and a few spikes of meringue around the edges. Place in the centre of the oven, shut the door and immediately turn the temperature down to 140C/120C fan. Cook the meringue for 1 hr 10 mins, then turn the oven off and leave until completely cold (best done overnight).

4 For the topping, put the 100ml honey in a wide frying pan and heat until saucy. Add the peach slices and cook for 1-2 mins on each side, over quite a high heat, until the peaches are sticky but still holding their shape. Cool completely.

5 Just before you are ready to serve, assemble the Pavlova. Tip the cream, vanilla and remaining honey into a bowl. Whisk until it just holds soft peaks, then add the yoghurt and, using a spatula, fold together until combined. Spoon the cream into the centre of the meringue and swirl it out towards the edges. Top with the sticky peaches and any saucy bits from the pan, and sprinkle over the pistachios.

PER SERVING (10) 392 kcals, protein 5g, carbs 43g, fat 22g, sat fat 12g, fibre 2g, sugar 43g, salt 0.1g

Black Forest pudding

SERVES 6-8 PREP 50 MINS PLUS OVERNIGHT CHILLING COOK 10 MINS Easy Low fat Vit C 1 of 5-a-day

Sunflower oil, for greasing

300g blackberries

300g dark cherries, halved and stoned, or quartered if large

200g small black seedless grapes

140g golden caster sugar

200g blackcurrants

200g blueberries

4 tbsp creme de cassis (or 2 tbsp Ribena, a fruit drink concentrate)

400g medium-sliced white bread

Clotted or single cream, to serve (optional)

1 Brush a 1.5-litre pudding basin with oil - if you don't have a 1.5-litre pudding basin, use a smaller one and serve any fruit that won't fit on the side. Line the basin with a double layer of cling film, overhanging the basin at the top.

2 Put the blackberries, cherries, grapes and sugar in a saucepan with 3 tbsp water. Cover and gently heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and the fruit is syrupy. Add the currants and blueberries, cover and cook gently for 2 mins more until the fruit is just softened. Take off the heat and cool.

3 Strain the fruit into a colander set over a bowl. Leave for 5 mins to drain well, then stir the cassis or Ribena into the captured juices. Trim the crusts from the bread slices and discard, losing as little bread as possible. Then use a pastry brush to spread a little of the berry juices over one side of each slice. Cut a circle from 1 slice (or 2 semi-circles from 2 slices) that will neatly cover the base of the basin, and push in - juice-side down.

4 Reserve some bread so that you have enough to cover the top of the basin, then halve the remaining slices into fat fingers - trimming to the correct length to line the sides of the basin. Then, juice-side down, work round the basin, overlapping the edges of the bread slightly and pressing them to stay in place, until the basin is completely lined with bread. Patch any gaps with scraps.

5 Reserve a couple of spoonfuls of fruit to serve, then spoon the remainder into the bread-lined basin, squishing the fruit down to level it. Reserve 150ml of the juices with the reserved berries, then pour the rest into the basin, concentrating on pouring it around the edges to soak into the bread. Jigsaw the reserved bread to neatly cover the top and seal in the fruit, this time placing it juice-side up. Loosely cover the top of the basin with cling film. Find a small plate that will fit snugly inside the basin so it is in contact with the pudding and add 4 x 400g cans to weigh it down. Chill overnight with the reserved juice and berries.

6 To serve, unwrap and invert the basin onto a serving plate with a lip to hold any juices. Lift off the basin, holding the cling film down tightly as you pull to help you remove it. Peel off the cling film round the pudding. If you've any white bread patches visible, spoon over some juice to colour it. Spoon the rest of the berries and juice onto the top of the pud and serve with clotted or single cream, if you like.

PER SERVING (8) 269 kcals, protein 5g, carbs 54g, fat 1g, sat fat none, fibre 4g, sugar 35g, salt 0.6g

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Publication:BBC GoodFood Middle East
Date:Feb 24, 2014
Words:1862
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