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Blackcurrant, sloe gin and white chocolate Jaffa cakes

17 June 2018

This morning, I scrolled back through my blog archives and - perhaps for the first time - read my way through the first year of recipes that I posted here. It's been four years since I first started writing Pudding Lane, and it felt lovely, nostalgic and generally rather sweet to revisit the thoughts, experiences and bakes of my slightly-younger self.

While I definitely cringed at a couple of my weaker sentences (and whoever it was that told me stop starting each post with a quote, thanks again), I felt more in touch with that time in my life than ever. Tinkering around in the funny little Stockwell kitchen I shared with friends, and placing much less pressure and meaning on my love of baking, seems simultaneous yesterday and a lifetime ago. Not that I needed it, but this archive of memories represents yet another reason to feel so thankful for this little blog.

As I sifted through Christmas mincemeat couronnes, elderflower and blackberry friands and that gin and tonic cake, I felt a small glimmer of sadness that that aforementioned tinkering around in the kitchen happens less than I'd like these days. While I'm often baking, my evenings and weekends tend to go into recipe development commissions, wedding cakes and styling jobs. While I am so, SO grateful to be working on such exciting projects (the 22 year old with a broken boiler would have laughed at the thought), I do miss those early days too.

And funnily enough, today's recipe came about on a rare empty Sunday last weekend. Leftover blackcurrants and sloe gin found their way into a thin set jelly, and with a couple of leftover milkybars unearthed (read: forgotten - leftover chocolate gets eaten in this house), my very favourite Jaffas got a little adult makeover. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.
Makes 24
For the jelly
250g blackcurrants
50g caster sugar
Parred peel of 1 lemon
90g water
90g sloe gin
4 gelatine leaves
For the cakes
50g plain flour
120g golden icing sugar
40g ground almonds
4 egg whites
80g butter, plus extra for greasing
Pinch salt
300g white chocolate

To make the jelly, begin by lining a baking tray with three layers of clingfilm, leaving plenty of overhang. 

Place the blackcurrants, sugar, lemon peel and water in a plan. Place on a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil. Allow to boil for five minutes, until it is foamy and the blackcurrants have all burst. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes. 

Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water, and leave for five minutes to bloom. 

While the gelatine is soaking, carefully pour the berry mixture through a sieve. Use a spoon to push as much juice and blackcurrant puree through as possible. Discard the remaining seeds and lemon zest. Stir in the sloe gin.

Once the gelatine has soaked, squeeze to remove any excess water. Add to the blackcurrant mixture, and stir until melted and mixed through. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to allow the jelly to set completely. 

While the jelly is setting, making the cakes. Heat the oven to 170°C / 150°C fan. Melt a little extra butter, then brush two cupcake/muffin trays with the melted butter, ensuring all the moulds are well coated.

Place the 80g of butter in a small pan, and set over a medium heat. Allow it to melt, then continue cooking for a couple minutes, until the solids on the surface have turned from white to brown. This will give the butter a deeper, nutty flavour. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.

Separately, whisk the flour, golden icing sugar, ground almonds and salt to combine. Add in the egg whites, and whisk until smooth and glossy. Pour in the butter, and whisk until smooth. Set the batter aside to rest for 15-20 minutes. 

Once rested, divide the mixture between the 24 buttered moulds. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the surface of the cakes is golden and the edges have browned. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes, then use the end of a palette knife to carefully ease the cakes onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. 

Once the jelly is set, use a 3 or 4cm round cutter to cut neat circles out. Place these on top of the cakes, then transfer to the fridge to chill. 

Break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl, then carefully set this over a pan of water. Ensure that the water is not touching the bowl. Heat until the chocolate has just melted, stirring occasionally to help the chocolate melt. Remove the bowl from the pan, to allow the chocolate to cool. 

Once the chocolate is only just warm to the touch, drizzle on top of the cakes, covering the jelly. Do not be tempted to put the chocolate on while it is still hot, or it will melt the jelly. Allow to set at room temperature. 

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