Tag Archives: Dan Lepard

Dundee Cake.


I am massively behind on my blogging so this cake at the time of baking was pretty seasonal, what with it being Burns Night the following day. Irrespective of timing this cake is brilliant, it combines my love of fruit cake and neat circles, it stores for AGES (seriously ages, Dan Lepard had kept his for a whole year), and makes such a huge cake so there’s definitely spare for sharing. I also got to use some of my marmalade from christmas, so it was completely homemade!

I used Dan Lepard’s recipe but found I had to cook it for a bit longer, maybe that’s because my oven isn’t the greatest, but as it cooks at such a low heat it’s very hard to burn, so don’t be too tentative to keep it in the oven for longer.

Dundee Cake (adapted from Dan Lepard)


175g soft unsalted butter
150g caster sugar, plus extra to make the glaze
Finely grated zest of an orange
250g plain flour
3 large eggs
100g marmalade (It doesn’t need to expensive stuff)
100g ground almonds
375g mixed dried fruit
200g glacé peel or cherries (I used peel as I detest glacé cherries!)
1 tsp baking powder
100g blanched almonds for the top


1) Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/335°F/gas 3. Place in a large mixing bowl the caster sugar and softened butter, with an electric whisk beat until pale and fluffy.

2) Add the orange zest and 75g of the plain flour, beat well. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Once mixed thoroughly. beat in the marmalade.

3) Beat in the ground almonds, add the remainder of the flour and the baking powder, ensuring to mix well.

4) Fold in the dried fruit. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. when lining the sides leave an excess of 10cm of parchment paper.

5) Pour the mixture into the tin, smoothing the top and making sure the mixture has no air pockets.

6) Scrunch a square of tin foil, unfold, and then sit on top of the tin (the excess parchment paper will hold it over the cake mixture, creating a lid to keep the steam in).

7) Place in the middle of the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

8)Whilst the cake is baking, place the almonds in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and dry with a tea towel. This prevents them from browning too quickly when you put them on the cake.

9) After the 45minutes cooking time remove the cake from the oven, and lower the temperature 150°C/fan 130°C/300°F/gas 2. Place the almonds on the top in a circle pattern starting from the centre, with the flat side of the almonds facing down into the cake.

10) Return to the oven, with the foil now removed, for 60-90 minutes (mine needed the full 90 minutes). Place  a skewer into the cake, it should leave a few crumbs on your skewer as it’s not quite cooked yet. Remove from the oven and glaze with a mixture of milk and caster sugar. Return to the oven for a final 10 minutes to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. It keeps well if stored in brown parchment paper and a cake tin.


Starter news (day three and four)

My two successful days in the world of starters must have gone to my head because I royally cocked up my third. In a state of tiredness following a 6am five hour train journey to Edinburgh (clutching my starter, affectionately known as Garth, the whole time) I misread Dan Lepard’s instructions and made the (hopefully) common mistake of misreading ‘tsp’ for ‘tbsp’. So Garth the starter was massively overfed. However, rather than start all over again I have decided to persevere with Garth, and today (day four) he is looking exactly the way he is meant to. So maybe my mistake was more of a cheeky blunder than the mammoth cock up I had previously described it as.

Day Three. 

Dan Lepard says that by day three the raisins will have stated to break down and you will have started to notice a light, coffee coloured ring around the area in which they sit. He also says that there will be the odd pinhole of fermentation on the surface. All of which Garth had pre-train jostling, but the photograph does show some of these signs.



So to proceed with Dan’s method on day three you must…


100g water and 20 degrees

4 rounded tsp strong white flour

4 rounded tsp rye flour


1) Add the water, stir well to combine.

2) Then add the flour and stir well again. Dan says the mixture will look frothy but that is just from the stirring. Cover and leave for another 24 hours.

Day Four.

By now the froth of fermentation should be beginning, but the aroma of acidity should be only slight. Apologies for my photograph it was very dark in my kitchen, but hopefully you can see the fermentation well enough.



100g water at 20 degrees

125g strong white flour


1) Remove and discard three-quarters of the mixture.

2) Add the water and stir well.

3) Strain the mixture in order to get rid of the raisins, pour the strained mixture back into your kilner jar and add the flour and stir well.

4) Cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

The Starter of Something New (Day one and two)

IMG_0788Most people’s New Years Resolution’s are to quit something, learn something new or exercise more. Mine is slightly different, mine is to cultivate a live microbiological culture which actually performs fermentation in bread… simple! Having read many horror stories of how volatile sourdough starter’s are I am pretty dubious to how successful this resolution will be. However, after thorough research (and not being swayed by the fact I received a copy of his book for christmas) many people recommend Dan Lepard’s approach as the easiest for sourdough novices.

So here goes, day number one and day number two have been completed and so far so good (I think)


Dan Lepard suggests to use a Kilner Jar (which I did) of a minimum of 500ml.IMG_0784


50g water at 20 degrees

2 rounded tsp rye flour

2 rounded tsp strong white flour

2 rounded tsp currants or raisins

2 rounded tsp live low-fat yoghurt


Mix all the ingredients together in your jar. Cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.


Day one!


So Mr Lepard says that at this stage there shouldn’t be a perceptible  change, he says the surface should look shiny as the solids serpent from the water and sink down into the jar. Which I think mine did, although my photograph isn’t of the best quality.

Day Two!

Day Two!

Day Two’s Ingredients:

50g water at 20 degrees

2 rounded tsp rye flour

2 rounded tsp strong white flour


Stir the ingredients in, starting with the water and the the flours. Cover and leave for a further 24 hours at room temperature.

I have four more days of actively feeding my starter and on day six it is apparently usable. However, I think I’ll leave baking my first sourdough loaf (if this is successful) till the following weekend as many of Dan Lepard’s loaves are very time consuming. Will post again in a few days to document my process.

Yes Michael, I ‘wanna be starting something’ *tenuous song link, but surprisingly no ballad has been written about a girl and her sourdough starter.

Bread Christmas Style aka Stollen and a Christmas Round Up.

Christmas starts for me with a mug of Glühwein and a slice of stollen so this year, after a year of bread making,  I decided I should make my own. After much research and deliberation I decided upon a Dan Lepard recipe, I’m obsessed with his guardian website page and his recipes are always easy to follow and informative. Bread is his speciality and his knowledge seemingly knows no bounds, so I felt like I was in safe hands having never attempted to make stollen before. His recipe uses a ten second kneading method which is repeated several times. I was dubious about this at first as the dough was very moist and sticky, but I persevered and the end result was great so I will no longer doubt it in future. The recipe I used yielded two large loaves, which can be frozen and do store well, but you may want to half the recipe if you’re already too full of christmas fare.

Stollen. (adapted from Dan Lepard)



Dan Lepard’s recipe uses the ‘sponge’ method, where the yeast is left to ferment in a separate mixture before being added to the main bulk of the ingredients.

For the Sponge:

50g strong white bread flour IMG_0690
1 tsp caster sugar
2 level tsp easy-blend yeast
100 ml warm milk

For the Dough:

450g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 tsp salt
50g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tbsp spiced rum
175g warm milk
250g raisins
125g mixed peel
250g golden marzipan
melted butter and icing sugar to finish

For variation you could add other dried fruit in place of raisins, such as dried cranberries or apricots


1) For the sponge; mix together all the ingredients in a bowl, leave to stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, the mixture should be bubbling.


2) Meanwhile, place the flour for the dough in a  wide mixing bowl with the cinnamon, lemon zest, icing sugar and salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until all the lumps disappear.

3) After the sponge has been left for 30 minutes, beat the egg, rum and warm milk into it and  then pour this into the flour mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir everything together. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 mins.


4) After 10 minutes lightly oil the work surface and your hands and gently knead the dough for 10 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for another 10 mins. Repeat this light-kneading twice more at 10-min intervals. Once done, leave the dough covered in a warm place for a further 30 mins.

5) Then divide the dough into two pieces and form each in to a ball. On a lightly dusted work surface, roll each ball of dough out into an oval using a rolling pin, roughly 2 cm thick. Take the marzipan, divide it in half, and roll each piece into a sausage the same length as each oval of dough. Place the marzipan along the length of the dough, and then fold the dough in half so that the marzipan is covered. Press gently around where the marzipan is  to seal the marzipan in. Place each stollen on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, leaving space between each of them so they don’t merge when proving. Place the tray in a carrier bag to create a pocket of warmth and moisture and leave in a warm place for about an hour, or until the stollen have almost doubled in volume. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

IMG_06956) Bake the loaves on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 mins, reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and cook for a further 20 mins. Like bread, turn over a tap to see if the loaves are hollow and thus cooked. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. While still warm, brush each stollen with melted butter and dredge heavily with icing sugar, then wrap in greaseproof paper and tie with string. Store in a air-tight container. The loaves keep for up to two weeks. If making again I would definitely half the recipe, although I did make a stollen based bread and butter pudding with the second loaf.


So I’ve been pretty bad with blogging this festive season, bad internet coupled with busy christmas plans has lead to a neglecting my duties. So here’s a cheeky photo montage of christmas baking and general foodie-ness. Highlights include the two Christmas Puddings  made earlier in december, puff pastry mince pies, my new gorgeous anthropologie measuring spoons, chocolate orange star biscuits, turkey pie, my new le creuset pestle and mortar, Moran family pickles, red onion and cheddar soda bread and stollen bread and butter pudding.


Chestnut Brownies and another Cake Date.


I have never roasted Chestnuts before. I know its a christmas traditions, well its part of a christmas song so it must be a big deal. But I have never done it before. So when I came across Dan Lepard’s Chestnut Brownie recipe that used pre-cooked Chestnuts I decided it was only fitting that I went the whole hog and roasted them myself, and it surprisingly wasn’t as laborious as I had envisaged. I did however, massively undercook the brownie mixture. I intended to double the recipe, and knew this would mean an extended cooking time, but clearly I didn’t add enough time. They tasted great, and the chestnuts and rum were a great addition, but they were hard to cut into pieces and didn’t retain their shape well at all. But you live and learn, and I will definitely try this recipe again (perhaps after christmas when the price of chestnuts have gone down!)

Chestnut Brownies (adapted from Dan Lepard)


400g chestnutsIMG_0614
200g brown sugar
25ml dark rum
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium eggs, separated
200g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
100g plain flour


To roast the chestnuts; cut cross shapes into the base of the chestnut in order to pierce the skin, this will mean steam will not get trapped in when they cook. Place on a roasting tray and cook at  200C /gas mark 6 for 30 mins, until the chestnut inside is soft. Leave to cool, remove the skins and cut into small pieces.

1)Line a deep, 20cm square tin with nonstick baking paper. In a bowl mix the chestnut pieces with 100g sugar, rum and vanilla.

2) In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft white peaks, slowly beat in 100g sugar until you have a soft meringue, then beat in the egg yolks. To ensure your bowl is clean and grease free, rub a lemon and dry with a paper towel.

3) Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and beat into the chestnuts and flour. Stir this into the meringue, then spoon into the prepared tin. Bake at 170C (150C fan-assisted)/335F/gas mark 3 for 20-25 minutes, until barely set in the middle, then leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting.

To make it a little festive I made a stencil out of paper in the shape of a snowflake and dusted icing sugar over, after all, its the closest thing you’d find in your kitchen to snow!

Cake Date Tuesdays

I am a little behind on my blogging, so a whole week has gone by since we visited French Fancies! This week’s cake date again took place in New Town. This time we headed to The Bakehouse on Broughton Street. It was rainy and miserable, and reasonably late in the day for cake, but that meant we had the run of the place and the full attention of the staff who were extremely friendly and helpful (not to mention enthusiastic, having made the products themselves they were more than happy to recommend their favourites). I settled for a chilli hot chocolate, perfect for a cold and dismal day, and we halved a scone and a lime and coconut slice. The coconut slice was crumbly, tangy and had a delicious icing. It was also the largest slice I have ever eaten, practically needing it’s own table. The scone was light, fluffy and lacked the bitter bicarbonate of soda aftertaste that some of its counterparts fall victim to. It’s a beautiful shop, conveniently located and very inexpensive, I thoroughly recommend you visit.