Posts Tagged ‘sweet’

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut ladoo

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Coconut ladoo in a vintage tin

Justin cooked a curry for visitors between Christmas & New Year. We figured it would be the ideal flavour contrast to all the other seasonal fayre – and judging by the crowds we’ve noticed in our local curry house this week, we weren’t alone!! I usually make some type of cake for dessert, but following a hearty curry that option would likely prove too filling.

Coconut ladoo ingredients

Dainty Indian sweets would be the perfect end to the meal. I chose to make coconut ladoo (or laddu) because we already had all 3 ingredients in our store cupboard. 

Cardamom pods with a wooden mortar and pestle

It’s the flavour of the pungent ground cardamom which gives this sweet its Indian taste.

Coconut ladoo cooked mixture

There are other kinds made with chickpea flour or semolina instead of coconut and fried in ghee. They are also be made with the addition of dried fruit and/or nuts such as pistachios or cashews.

Rolling coconut ladoo balls

They’re make a great little alternative present to the more usual box of chocolates.

Coconut ladoo
Yields 30
A treat often served at celebratory events such as the Hindu festival of Diwali
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1 tin (397g) condensed milk
  2. 250g dessicated coconut
  3. 5 cardamom pods
  1. Remove the cardamom seeds from their papery outer shell and grind finely using a pestle & mortar
  2. In a large saucepan add 220g of the dessicated coconut, condensed milk and powdered cardamom
  3. Heat over a medium flame stirring constantly until just before the mixture begins to colour (about 5 minutes) and most of the liquid has evaporated
  4. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before forming into balls the size of marbles using the palms of your hands
  5. Roll the balls in the reserved 30g of dessicated coconut
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Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

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nutty millionaire's shortbread

This nutty millionaire’s shortbread tastes SO much better than any I’ve ever bought from a shop. I happened to have bags of whole almonds and hazelnuts in the larder, but it would be equally as good if you made it using pecans, Brazil nuts or walnuts. Cashew butter instead of peanut in the shortbread could be a good alternative to try too!

Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread

Yield: makes 9 squares

Cakes & Bakes: Nutty millionaire’s shortbread


  • For the shortbread
  • 125g/4oz butter, softened
  • 2tbs peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • 75g/3oz cornflour
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • For the topping
  • 397g/14oz tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g/3½oz mixed nuts (I used ½ & ½ hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 125g/4oz plain dark chocolate


  1. To make the caramel topping, put the unopened tin in a heavy-based saucepan and completely cover with water. Cover the saucepan with its lid and boil for about 1½ hours, topping up the water level if needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350F/Gas mark 4, 10 minutes before baking.
  3. Line a 22cm/8inch square cake tin with parchment/greaseproof paper
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light
  5. Sift in the cornflour and plain flour and mix to form a smooth dough
  6. Using the back of a dessert spoon, press the mixture evenly into the lined cake tin and prick all over with a fork
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until just turning golden brown
  8. Put the nuts on to a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  9. Remove the shortbread from the oven and set aside on a wire rack
  10. Remove the nuts from the oven and wrap them in a clean tea towel. Rub the nuts together to remove most of the skins (especially if you're using hazelnuts or 'red skinned' peanuts)
  11. Reserve 9 of the nuts, roughly chop the remainder and sprinkle them evenly across the shortbread
  12. Open the tin of boiled condensed milk (if the contents are quite rigid you can soften it by warming slightly in a saucepan on the stove or decant into a microwaveable container and heat for 20-30 seconds). Pour the caramel over the nuts and spread evenly. Refrigerate while you prepare the chocolate
  13. Break up the chocolate into pieces and put them into a heat-proof bowl
  14. Using a saucepan small enough not to allow the bowl to touch the bottom, fill the bowl with just enough water so that it doesn't come into contact with the base of the bowl
  15. Simmer the saucepan of water until the chocolate has just melted
  16. Pour the chocolate evenly over the top of the caramel
  17. Place the whole nuts on top of the chocolate, one for each portion
  18. Allow to set before slicing into squares & serving


You can parboil the tinned condensed milk in advance and the caramel can be stored for months & months before use. I always have a few cans of 'cooked' condensed milk stored in our larder.

Cakes & Bakes: Super sticky syrup sponge

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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bowl of syrup sponge with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

We’ve been hooked on the Great British Bake Off since the very start. That’s where we were first introduced to the author of the syrup sponge recipe we’re featuring today.

Ruth Clemens of The Pink Whisk was the runner up in that inaugural series. Since then, she’s become a successful blogger, has had a number of cookbooks published and is a regular contributor to magazines; I tore out and kept this recipe from a recent copy of Stylist. The recipe is quick & simple to make and, if you’re a fan of very sweet gooey puddings like me, tastes great!

The sponge went down a storm with Justin, he enjoyed his with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – I paired mine with a dollop of crème fraîche. Custard would be another delicious option!

Cakes & Bakes: Super sticky syrup sponge

Yield: makes 1 x 8-inch pudding

Cakes & Bakes: Super sticky syrup sponge


  • for the sponge
  • 125g/4½oz golden syrup
  • 100g/3½oz butter
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 265g/9½oz plain flour
  • ¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¾tsp baking powder
  • 165g/6oz golden syrup
  • 215ml/7½ fl oz boiling water
  • for the topping
  • 50g/1¾oz golden syrup, warmed


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Line the base & circumference of a 20cm/8'' round springform tin with non-stick baking paper
  3. Add the 125g golden syrup to the base of the tin
  4. Put all the sponge ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, adding the boiling water last
  5. On the slowest speed and using the whisk attachment, mix together the batter slowly increasing the speed to medium until well combined
  6. Pour the batter over the golden syrup in the tin
  7. Bake for an hour
  8. Carefully release the cake from the tin and invert onto a serving plate
  9. Pour the warmed golden syrup on top and serve