Delia Smith Christmas Cake

If you're looking for a different kind of Christmas Cake, Delia Smith's Creole Christmas Cake may be the answer. It's a boozy affair that includes rum, brandy, cherry brandy and Angostura Bitters making it a very adult cake indeed. In this video, watch Delia Smith take you through the steps of making this seasonal "classic". Be warned, it takes a week of pre-soaking the ingredients, so don't try this at the last minute!

Watch the video

Get The Recipe

Visit Delia Smith's website for the full Creole Christmas cake recipe. If your tastes are vegan or vegetarian we have a vegan Christmas cake recipe you can make right now!

If this isn't what you're looking for, what about one of our Christmas gift recipe book suggestions?

How To Bake A Cake

How do you bake a cake? This video from the Food Network is a great start in your home baking, cake making career. Check ingredients, including egg sizes and have them at room temperature. This video will tell you everything you need to know about how to bake a cake like a pro.

Visit the Food Network at


How To Make Chocolate Chip Cookies

Watch Anna Olson make chocolate chip cookies that come out of the oven the same shape and size every time. The secret is, after "creaming" the mixture is to store the dough in the fridge for an hour before baking. We love this video and Anna is such a great presenter. Watch and learn how to "drop" your cookies the professional way!

For more inspiration, visit Anna Olson's website at:

Texas Tassie Bars Video | The Hummingbird Bakery

Another speedy video recipe from Hummingbird Bakery. This is the gist. For all the quantities you'll need to get the Hummingbird Bakery: Life is Sweet recipe book (or Kindle version)

Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder then add butter and rub together. Add chopped pecans and press into a tin and smooth out with baking paper. Bake and cool.

Next, mix brown sugar, flour, eggs, golden syrup, treacle, vanilla extract and salt. Pour it onto the crust and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake and slice.

Happy eating! If you've made this recipe, tell us how it went in the Comments below.

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash


3 Cake Recipes With Oranges

Hey! Do you know any cake recipes with oranges in them? I was looking for a recipe for orange polenta cake (I’d tried it once at a Carluccio’s years ago), and found this recipe on on the BBC Good Food website. It uses flour, eggs and polenta, however some orange polenta cakes are actually gluten free as they substitute all the flour for polenta ( also know as corn meal ) and ground almonds. This can make the cake quite “heavy” though. Luckily the following recipes include syrup for drizzling, and in one case olive oil, to create a moist orange cake you’ll want to make again and again.

If polenta’s not your thing then you could always look at these orange cake recipe suggestions from Dan Lepard that includes a recipe for orange and walnut cake!

Orange And Polenta Cake

I found this video of a wood-fired oven orange and polenta cake that Jamie Oliver made back in 2012. Again this doesn’t quite get us to gluten-free as Jamie’s recipe uses some flour, though not a lot. Imagine the flavour a wood-fired oven would give your baking. There are more dough recipes than baking ones though as the temperature is much higher in this type of oven. Though very hot to begin with, Jamie Oliver lets the oven cool down to around 180c before baking his cake.

The recipe for orange polenta cake is pretty standard though there are a few variations. In this version it uses:

Pack of softened butter (250g)
Unrefined sugar (250g)

Mix the butter and sugar, beating together.

125g polenta
3 large free range eggs
Heaped tea spoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
50 grams of flour
Zest of one orange

Mix to a thick batter, it’s that simple!

Add 200g ground almonds, instead of flour (hence the small amount in the recipe)

Placing the cake around centre of the oven, it should bake in around 55 to 60 minutes at 180c.

Syrup for drizzling

In all the recipes I found, they all include orange syrup for drizzling on the cake. Jamie Oliver’s method is very simple using the juice of an orange, sugar and water. The mixture is simmered for 5 minutes then poured over the cake. If you don’t know how to drizzle on a cake, it’s simple enough to user a skewer to make holes in the surface so that the syrup get’s into the cake itself, rather than just sitting on the surface.

In the following recipe, Anna Olson makes a simple syrup, for drizzling, from a half cup of blood orange juice and half a cup of sugar.

Italian Orange Polenta Cake Recipe

The Italian orange polenta cake recipe that Anna Olson makes is a classic recipe that uses polenta and simmered milk mixed together. The mixture is cooled down with a cup of sugar to prevent the 4 eggs that are added from becoming scrambled. Ground almonds add structure, 2 spoons of baking powder help the cake rise and a pinch of cinnamon adds flavour. This cake bakes for 45 minutes.

Finally, in 2017 Nadiya’s British Food Adventure featured an Orange Blossom and Herb Scented Polenta Cake. This polenta cake recipe includes rosemary, thyme and pistachios for a different flavour. Though it’s gluten-free, as one commenter says, make sure your baking powder is also gluten-free. It makes a dense, sticky cake. ( remember I was saying “heavy” earlier? )

180 ml Olive Oil
220g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
Mix in 300g ground almonds
Zest of 4 mandarins
Orange blossom water (3 teaspoons)
150g polenta
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Syrup - mandarin juice, 4 tsp orange blossom honey, 4 sprigs of thyme. Mandarin and thyme work well together because of thymol.

Bake for an hour.

Iced cake with pistachio oil instead of water, with the icing sugar. Add pistachio nibs. Delicious!

BONUS: While searching for other recipes, I found this Orange Polenta Cake recipe that uses Grand Marnier as an ingredient. That sounds super luscious!

Got a recipe you want to share? Have you tried any of these recipes? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Credit: Photo by Dana Nestorova on Unsplash

Overnight Bagel Recipe

Why not bake bagels at home to improve on the flavour and chewiness of store-bought ones? We've worked long and hard at how to create this authentic overnight bagel dough recipe using barley malt syrup to enhance the fresh aroma and flavour, and boiling to produce the characteristic chewy texture you'd expect. Look no further for a easy to follow, step-by-step recipe for baking authentic homemade bagels. It's quick to prepare but letting the dough rest overnight is what makes this bagel dough recipe so special.

What are bagels made of?

Baked authentic bagels cooling on a wire rack
Baked bagels cooling on a wire rack

Bagels are made from a handful of easy to source ingredients being flour, salt, yeast, water and barley malt syrup. It's what you do with the ingredients that makes a bagel taste and feel the way it does. This includes allowing the dough time to rise, letting the dough ferment and briefly boiling before baking your bagels. This is a fat-free recipe, using no oil.

Where does the bagel come from?

Originating as a bread product in the Jewish communities of Poland, bagels were a "... boiled-then-baked ring-shaped bread can be found in a 13th-century Arabic cookbook...", according to this Bagel article on Wikipedia. Today we often think of "New York bagels" with their dense dough and chewy consistency and for many of us, New York is where the bagel comes from.

"The New York bagel contains malt, is cold-fermented for several days to develop the flavors and enhance the crust, and is boiled in salted water before baking in a standard oven." - The Untold Truth of New York Bagels

So to answer the question, where does the bagel come from, in modern times it's New York, but it goes way back in history.

What’s the secret to a bagel's flavour?

People often ask, can you proof bagel dough overnight? The “secret” to baking authentic tasting bagels is to let them prove slowly overnight. So, in answer to the questions: "Can you leave bagel dough in the fridge overnight?" and "How long can you leave bagel dough in the fridge?" - 18 hours is about right, but you could leave them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days!

"Traditional bagels develop much of their flavor and distinct crust characteristics from a long, cold fermentation step called retardation...", Science Direct says. This brings complexity to the flavour, making memorable bagels that people will always comment on. If you’re the impatient type and can’t stand delayed gratification, skip that step and get baking your bagels the same day. Don’t complain though if they aren’t anywhere near as tasty as the overnight bagels in this recipe!

Have Your Tried Malt Syrup For Bagels?

I kept reading and found that for the "authentic" tasting bagel I didn't need sugar and oil, I just needed a bit more water and barley malt syrup (it might be called malt extract where you are) Two articles I read mentioned this: and How to make the perfect bagels by Felicity Cloake

"Malt contributes a mild sweetness as well as important ingredients such as mineral salts, soluble proteins, dough conditioning enzymes, flavor, color, and nutritive materials. These give us the incredible rich brown crust of the typical New York bagel, while adding flavor and aroma to the finished bagels."

Why Malt Syrup in Bagels?

Also, since writing this post I found a very helpful discussion on the King Arthur bakery website, about using "...different malts for flavo[u]r, colour and rise in bagels and breads..."

Bagel baking tips

Two important details when baking bagels, you make rings, don't punch a hole in the dough, it's not cheating but it does something to the shape and consistency of the bagel when you roll it out between your hands. The second thing is boil your bagels before baking.

Easy to follow overnight bagel recipe (makes enough dough for 6)

After lots of time and experimentation, I think this is the best recipe for bagels I've tried.

2 cups (400 g) of strong white bread flour
1/2 tablespoon of “easy bake” yeast
1/2 tablespoon and a bit of salt
1.5 tablespoons of barley malt extract
210g of lukewarm water (around 36 degrees celsius / 97 fahrenheit)

Preparation time: 100 minutes, waiting time approx 18 hours.
Baking time: 16 minutes

Day One: Start preparing at 10am. Bagels should be covered and in the fridge by about 11.30am
Day Two: Take the proved bagels out of the fridge around 7.15am and let them come to room temperature for an hour. They should have filled out, looking puffy but firm-ish to the touch. Boiling and baking takes about 25 minutes.

We use weight measurements to keep everything accurate as cup measurements can vary. This recipe should produce approx. 660g of dough which will make 6 x 110g bagels. We’re aiming for an optimum 57% hydration as bagel dough is quite dry by nature.

Method for Baking Bagels

  • Add 1 x tablespoon of barley malt extract to the lukewarm water and mix in
  • Put the yeast in a bowl, pour in the water mixture, stir, cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 minutes – you should get an even froth across the top of the water.
  • Add the remaining barley malt extract and stir.
  • Add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl then add the yeast mixture. Combine the flour, salt and yeast mixture, kneading by hand for 10 minutes. ( Stand mixers can’t easily handle the heavy dry dough mixture )
  • Leave the dough ball to rise to double size in a covered bowl for an hour
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal parts using scales to weigh the dough balls
  • Shape bagels by rolling out into sausage shape and wrapping around hand and rolling to join
  • Place the bagel rings on a floured tray, in a sealed plastic bag for 18 or more hours in refrigerator (12 hours is OK)
Flour, barley malt syrup and yeast mixture waiting to be combined in this recipe for bagels
Flour, barley malt syrup and yeast mixture waiting to be combined
Shaped bagels proving before being boiled for an authentic bagel flavour
Shaping bagels proving before being boiled

The Next Day - Bagels for breakfast

With breakfast ingredients ready, to complete this overnight bagel recipe we need to be up early to remove the bagels from the refrigerator, say around 6am. This will prove it's the best recipe for bagels when you see the end result!

  • Remove the tray from the fridge, place bagels on a room temperature surface for an hour and cover
  • Boil a wide pan of water and add half a teaspoon of baking powder (this promotes caramelisation and can give the bagel a pretzel-like flavour) - you could add sugar, honey or barley malt syrup to improve the glaze, but we like baking powder
  • Boil your bagels for 15 seconds each side - use a slotted spoon to retrieve and drain the bagels
  • Stand boiled bagels on a rack for 5 minutes then transfer to a baking tray
  • Bake at 200c for 16 minutes turning tray 180 degrees after 8 minutes
  • Turn out onto a rack and let cool for 20 minutes
  • The bottoms of the bagels should be a golden brown colour when they’re fully baked. The surface of the bagel should be covered in small blisters.
Boiling bagels in a pan in this overnight bagel recipe
Quickly boiling bagels
Baked authentic bagels cooling on a wire rack
Baked bagels cooling on a wire rack

Enjoy your bagel with toppings

So now you have baked a delicious batch of bagels, what are you going to add as your bagel toppings?

Here's a few suggestions:

  • Avocado - mash the avocado, add lemon juice and chilli flakes, or just slice some avocado straight onto your bagel
  • Salmon and cream cheese - it's the classic combination. Add plenty of cream cheese before placing slices of smoked salmon with a sprinkle of black pepper and lemon juice.
  • Cheese - I like to put slices of cheese, such as Jarlsberg, and lay on some gherkin. You could add piccalilli for a more adventurous flavour combination
  • Peanut butter - I'm definitely a fan of savoury flavours and when it comes to peanut butter, mine has to be organic and crunchy. Toast the bagel first, maybe add a smear of butter too. This is a great breakfast bagel treat.
  • Toasted with butter - it's a very English thing to have toast and butter, with a cup of tea, so no surprises this is on the list.
Smoked salmon, cream cheese and gherkin on this bagel

How to make the perfect bagels - The Guardian, 7th August 2014

You’re Doing It Wrong: Bagels - L.V Anderson on Slate, 24th April 2014

How to Make Bagels at Home by Adam Kuban - Serious Eats, March 24, 2011
"Rope-and-loop: You form a snake shape, loop it around your hand, and roll it on the counter to seal it together"

6 Common Bagel-Making Problems and How to Fix Them - Serious Eats, October 30, 2019

  • Mix dough for up to 45 minutes to get air in and blisters on surface
  • Prove for up to 20 hours in fridge

10 Tips for Making Schmear-Worthy Homemade Bagels - October 5, 2016 by Caitlin Raux

  • Use cold water
  • Chilled dry active yeast
  • Don’t whisk yeast, let it sit on surface of water

Why Malt Syrup in Bagels? New Yorker Bagels, 8th November 2013 -

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Leave a comment

This overnight bagel recipe is quite simple really but it needs patience, and eating anything fresh from the oven is so satisfying. If you’ve tried this recipe for bagels why not leave a comment and let us know how it went? Was it the best recipe for bagels ever?!

Layered Honey Cake

Layered Russian Honey Cake (Medovik) Recipe

Recently I came across an article on Natasha's Kitchen with a recipe for layered Russian honey cake that looked intriguing.

Russian honey cake, or Medovik, is a soft and fantastic taste that everyone wishes to try or taste at least once. It is made of layers after layers of honey goodness filled with delicious cream which makes it an unforgettable

Origin of Russian Honey Cake 

Medovik honey cake is popular throughout Russia. The story began in the early 19th century in Emperor Alexander’s palace kitchen. The Empress Elizabeth could not taste or stand any dish made with honey. However, one day a confectioner baked a new cake with honey and thick sour cream. He aimed to impress the Empress, wife of Alexander, without knowing she disliked anything made from honey. Surprisingly, Elizabeth liked the cake regardless of the honey content and the cake gained popularity from that moment on. There are countless variations of the Medovik taste but honey is the key ingredient that gives the necessary flavour.

Video of Honey Cake with Salted Caramel

Ingredients to make Medovik honey cake

  • Honey
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salted butter
  • Eggs
  • Baking soda
  • All-purpose wheat flour
  • Caramel

Simple procedure for making the Russian honey cake

  1. Add salted butter into a bowl and whisk continuously for about 5 minutes. Add caramel and mix them thoroughly.
  2. In a different pan, add butter, sugar, baking soda and eggs and melt them under together under low heat. Stirring continuously to ensure the ingredients mix completely.
  3. Fold in all-purpose flour with a spatula until the dough reaches a clay consistency and it cannot stick to your hand. The size of the cake determines how much flour is required.
  4. Transfer the dough and stretch it to cut it into equal pieces. On a flat surface, Roll out the pieces while the dough is still warm into the desired shape. Transfer the layer to a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 3 minutes under 200oC and repeat for layers.
  5. Finally, when the layers are cool, apply equal levels of cream on them as you pile them together. Place the cake into a fridge for about 6-8 hours. Then it is advisable to keep it for 2 hours under room temperature before consuming it.


Did you make this cake? Let us know how it was for you!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The Hummingbird Bakery Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Roulade Video

I'm a big fan of The Hummingbird Bakery and their wonderful videos that show simple instructions for how to create some of their best cakes. This video for Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Roulade is no exception, and I like it even more that it uses some more savoury ingredients alongside butter, eggs and icing sugar.

The Video & How To Make It

After whisking together the eggs and sugar, pumpkin purée is folded in. Then plain flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda is folded in and poured into a flat tin to bake. This is the roulade which is laid on parchment or a tea towel dusted in icing sugar and rolled, beginning at the narrow edge and left to cool completely.

For the filling, whisk together icing sugar, butter, vanilla extract and cream cheese. Gently unroll the roulade, add the frosting (spreading evenly), re-roll and then slice.

Recipe and Cookbook

For the exact measurements, timings and recipe you'll need to refer to the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home cook book. This link is to Amazon UK where the book is currently available for around £15 (originally £25) in hardback.

If you haven't already seen it, check out the Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake video I posted about last year.

Subscribe to the Hummingbird YouTube Channel and get baking tips from the Hummingbird Baking Tips blog.

If you've tried this recipe, let me know in the comments how it was for you. See you again soon!

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Jamie Oliver's Bakewell Tart Video

On our travels we visited Bakewell in Derbyshire and visited the Bakewell Tart shop. Great to get something from the source and it kept us going for days! Curious to find out how to make it I scoured the web for a nice example. Jamie Oliver's Bakewell Tart video is really helpful in understanding how to make a nice pastry case (blind baked) and then adding the nutty ingredients for the frangipane. The tart cooks for about 40-45 minutes. The filling is sour cranberry, not raspberry as we'd had, and the St Clement's drizzle is a nice touch when served warm.

Origins Of Bakewell Tart

Confusingly there are several variations of the tart including an Iced Cherry Bakewell and a Bakewell Pudding (made with puff pastry rather than sweet shortcrust pastry). The original recipe was supposedly created by accident in the 1820s. It's "...a shortcrust pastry base covered with luxury jam and topped with a special recipe ground almond filling. Suitable for vegetarians." according to the Bakewell Tart Shop.

Sour Cranberry Bakewell Tart Recipe

If you didn't get all the recipe details from the video, then head over to Jamie Oliver's website for the Sour Cranberry Bakewell Recipe. It includes details of how to make the frangipane filling (with hazelnuts, walnuts, butter, caster sugar, eggs, lemon and lime) with a praline twist.

For more Jamie Oliver, we've also collected some banana-related videos for your inspiration.

Bakewell tart photo by Alan Stephenson on Unsplash

Happy baking!

Baking Bagels video - Homemade VS. Store-Bought: Bagels

Watch this quick video that explains how to make bagels at home.

The bagel recipe for used in this video comes from Tasty, and you can view it here:

We mostly agree with the method, but adding barley malt syrup at the boiling stage just adds colour and flavour to the crust. In our overnight bagels recipe see how we use this ingredient right from the start of baking our bagels.

Happy baking guys!