3 Recipes To Inspire Spring Baking

Whether you’re hosting friends or looking for a wholesome way to spend a Sunday, here are three recipes to try your hand at baking this spring; from a decadent mud cake to a delicious tart.

Cheddar and Rhubarb Tart

Serves 4-6 or 2 with plenty of leftovers

325g sheet of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g mascarpone
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
400g thin stems of bright pink rhubarb
1 tbsp caster sugar
130g Cheddar cheese, grated
small bunch of thyme
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat the oven to 200 ̊C/180 ̊C fan/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and unroll the sheet of pastry on to the tray. Use a sharp knife to score a 2–3cm border around the edge, then prick all over the centre part with a fork.

2. Brush the pastry edge with the egg, then line with baking parchment and baking beans. Blind-bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until dry to the touch and lightly golden at the edges. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes or so.

3. In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the Parmesan and season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon the mascarpone over the middle of the tart and spread it out as evenly as you can. If the pastry is puffed up in the middle, don’t worry, just press it down gently with your hands and spoon the mascarpone on top. Cut the rhubarb into long-ish pieces, roughly 16cm long, and arrange them snugly, side by side like soldiers, over the mascarpone. Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb, then top with the grated Cheddar. Lastly scatter over a few thyme leaves.

4. Set in the oven to bake for 15–20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the rhubarb is tender. Serve warm.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Mud Cake

18cm (7 inches)

For the sponge

550 g (1 lb 4 oz) caster / (superfine) sugar
375 ml (13 fl oz) boiling water
350 g (12 oz) unsalted butter
180 g (6 oz) good-quality white
chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
400 g (14 oz) self-raising flour
125 g (4½ oz) raspberries, plus extra to garnish (optional)
Gold leaf, to garnish (optional)

For the white chocolate ganache:

200 ml (7 fl oz) thickened (whipping) cream
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) good-quality white chocolate, chopped
50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F). Line two 18 cm (7 inch) cake tins with baking paper.

2. Combine the sugar, boiling water and butter in a large saucepan.

3. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

4. Turn off the heat, add the white chocolate and stir to melt the chocolate and emulsify the mixture. Set it aside to cool completely (you can do this step a day ahead and leave it in the fridge). If you don’t allow the mixture to cool, the flour will begin to cook when you mix it in and the cake will have a gummy texture – not good!

5. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then add the flour and whisk until completely combined. The batter will be really thin, but this is what gives the mud cake a really fudgy, moist texture.

6. Split the batter between the cake tins and stud each cake with the raspberries. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 1 hour – they will break if you try to remove them before they’ve cooled.

7. For the ganache, pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put the white chocolate in a bowl, pour in the hot cream and let it sit for 1–2 minutes to melt the chocolate. If it doesn’t melt completely, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Add the butter and vanilla and blend with a stick blender until smooth and glossy. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

8. You can layer and fill the mud cake following the instructions on pages 100–103, or just sandwich the cakes with ganache, spread the rest all over the cake and add some fresh raspberries and gold leaf, if using. Dig in!

Guinness Punch Pie

If you like custard tarts, you will love this. I first had the idea for it a few years ago, while drinking some Guinness punch and wondering if it would translate into dessert form. The answer was a resounding yes. The flavours work really well in a tart and you can adjust the intensity of the Guinness flavour by using slightly less or more. And if you don’t drink alcohol you can use 0% Guinness: it works, I’ve tried. Stout is a really popular drink in Jamaica, with Guinness and Dragon Stout cornering the market. Guinness followed the British Empire – it is also huge in Nigeria – and the company first exported a West Indian porter from Dublin to the island in 1801, with the first export of proper Guinness going out in 1830. Its long-standing history on the island is immortalised in Guinness Punch (see page 265) and this tart takes on those flavours beautifully. The slight bitterness of stout is softened by sweetness here, while the spices in the custard are really reminiscent of the stout itself. The tart makes a brilliant centrepiece, and will bring smiles of contentment to fans of the drink, as well as to everyone else.


For the custard:

400ml Guinness
7 egg yolks (freeze the whites for
another time)
405g can of condensed milk
250ml double cream
1⁄2 tsp grated nutmeg, plus more to serve
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pastry:

125g unsalted butter, plus more for the tin
250g plain flour, plus more to dust
45g golden caster sugar
1 egg yolk
30ml water


1. In a saucepan, simmer the Guinness until it reduces by about two-thirds. Leave to cool.

2. Meanwhile make the pastry. Using your hands, rub the butter and flour together until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and egg yolk and then add the measured water a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together. Don’t knead any more, just wrap in cling film or greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/Gas Mark 3. Butter a 20cm tart tin and remove the pastry from the fridge. Dust your worktop with flour and roll out the pastry into a circle roughly 28cm in diameter. Coil the pastry around the rolling pin and uncoil over the tart tin. Carefully push the pastry into the corners of the tin and leave the edges rising above the edge. Prick the base of the tin with a fork all over, then line with greaseproof paper and baking beans or rice. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take out the greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

4. In a bowl, gently beat the egg yolks with the condensed milk, trying not to get too much air or too many bubbles into the mix. Stir in the double cream and reduced Guinness, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

5. Pour the custard into the pastry case and bake for 40–45 minutes; it should still have a wobble in the middle. Remove and leave to cool. Grate extra nutmeg over the top and chill before slicing.


Arts & Culture

5 Restaurants To Base Your Weekend Plans Around This Spring

We’ve pulled together a list of 5 must-visit London restaurants on our hit list, as well as recommendations of other more
Arts & Culture

​​9 Must-Know Vegan And Vegetarian Restaurants In London

It could be argued that the capital’s most pioneering cooking is now produced by the plant-based crowd, who run more
Arts & Culture

3 Middle Eastern Recipes From Our Favourite Vegetarian Restaurant Bubala

Making vegetables the star of every plate, rather than simply side dishes, we’d recommend noting Middle Eastern Restaurant Bubala more