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Slide Our top 5 picks Triple chocolate & peanut butter layer cake
PREP: 45 MINSCOOK: 30 MINS - 1 HRplus cooling and 1 hr 40 mins chilling
MORE EFFORT
SERVES 14
Make a showstopping cake this Easter. Top chocolate sponge with peanut butter frosting, ganache drip, pretzel bark and chocolate eggs for a divine dessert
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Freezable
Vegetarian
Nutrition: Per serving
kcal 870
fat 54g
saturates 23g
carbs 85g
sugars 68g
fibre 4g
protein 8g
salt 1g

Ingredients
225ml rapeseed oil
,plus more for the tins
250g self-raising flour
4 tbsp cocoa
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

225g caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup

3 large eggs
, beaten
225ml milk

For the pretzel bark
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp chocolate chips
small handful pretzel pieces
2 tbsp honeycomb
pieces
For the icing
65g dark chocolate

250g soft salted butter

500g icing sugar
45g smooth peanut butter
1-2 tbsp cocoa
For the ganache drip
200ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
, finely chopped
For the decoration
a mixture of different-sized chocolate eggs, some hollow, some filled, gold lustre, toffee popcorn and pretzels

Method
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line the base of three 19cm sandwich tins. Mix the flour, cocoa, bicarb and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and beat in the syrup, eggs, oil and milk with an electric whisk until smooth.
Divide the mix between the tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until the cakes are risen and firm to the touch. Cool in the tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack and cooling completely. At this stage, they can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to eight weeks.
Make the bark while the cake is cooling. Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave, stirring every 20 secs, until smooth. Spoon onto a parchment-lined baking tray and smooth over with a spatula to make a thinnish layer, around 35 x 20cm. Sprinkle over the chocolate chips along with the pieces of pretzel and honeycomb, then chill until solid. Remove the bark from the fridge and leave for a minute to come to room temperature before using a sharp knife to cut it into shards (if it’s fridge cold, the chocolate will snap rather than cut). Chill again until you’re ready to decorate the cake.
To make the icing, melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring between short blasts, then leave to cool a little. Meanwhile, beat the butter, icing sugar and 1 tbsp boiling water with an electric whisk or stand mixer, slowly at first, then turn up the speed and beat until you get a pale, fluffy icing. Spoon out a third of the mix into a separate bowl and stir in the peanut butter. Whisk the melted chocolate into the remainder of the icing, then beat in the cocoa if you want a darker, more chocolatey-coloured icing.
Sandwich the three cakes together with the peanut butter icing. Use half the chocolate icing to coat the sides and top of the cake and fill in the edges between the layers, scraping off any excess. Chill for 20 mins. This is called a crumb coating, allowing you to get a really smooth finish when it comes to the final icing.
Spread the remaining chocolate icing over the lightly chilled cake, smoothing over the sides and top so you get a neat finish. Chill again for 20 mins.
To make the ganache, heat the cream in a small pan until steaming. Tip the dark chocolate into a bowl, then pour over the cream. Mix well until smooth and shiny. Transfer to a piping bag and leave to cool for a few mins at room temperature.
Pipe the ganache on top of the cake, nudging it over the edge and allowing it to drip down neatly. Do this all the way round the cake, then fill in the centre with more ganache. Smooth the top with a knife. Chill for 1 hr for the ganache to set.
Press the bark shards into the cake, sticking up. Add lots of chocolate eggs, popcorn and pretzels in and around the shards. Cut into slices to serve. Will keep for up to three days kept in a cool place in an airtight container.

Classic Victoria sandwich recipe
ready in 30 minutes, plus cooling - this one was decorated with violets but feel free to use your own decorations if you want to make it more interesting!
EASY
CUTS INTO 10 SLICES
The perfect party cake, a Victoria sponge is a traditional bake everyone will love. Makes an easy wedding cake too

Cake base freezes well for 3 months
Nutrition: per serving
kcal558
fat 28g
saturates 17g
carbs 76g
sugars 57g
fibre 0.6g
protein 5g
salt 0.9g

Ingredients
200g caster sugar
200g softened butter
4 eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

For the filling
100g butter, softened
140g icing sugar, sifted
drop vanilla extract (optional)
half a 340g jar good-quality strawberry jam (we used Tiptree Little Scarlet)
icing sugar, to decorate

Method
Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, beat 200g caster sugar, 200g softened butter, 4 beaten eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp milk together until you have a smooth, soft batter.
Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed.
Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
To make the filling, beat the 100g softened butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in 140g sifted icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract (if you’re using it).
Spread the buttercream over the bottom of one of the sponges. Top it with 170g strawberry jam and sandwich the second sponge on top.
Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.
Raspberry bakewell cake
PREP: 10 MINSCOOK: 50 MINS
EASY
SERVES 8
This simple almondy cake is a great way of using up pick-your-own raspberries

Freezable
Nutrition:
kcal 411
fat 28g
saturates 10g
carbs 35g
sugars 21g
fibre 3g
protein 8g

Ingredients
140g ground almond
140g butter
, softened
140g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract
250g raspberry

2 tbsp flaked almonds
icing sugar, to serve

Method
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Blitz the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor until well combined.
Spread half the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the raspberries over, then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread – you might find this easier to do with your fingers. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Cool, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.
Pimm's cake

PREP: 1 HRCOOK: 30 MINS
MORE EFFORT
SERVES 18 - 20
Yes, you read right, Pimm's in cake form. Smooth strawberry and lemon buttercream coupled with cucumber essence make this the ultimate taste of summer
Nutrition: per serving (20)
kcal 600
fat 30g
saturates 19g
carbs 76g
sugars 61g
fibre 1g
protein 4g
salt 1g

Ingredients
For the cake
1 cucumber
zest and juice 1 lemon

300g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
300g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract
400g self raising flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder

For the strawberry buttercream
200g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
80g strawberries, hulled
For the lemon buttercream
200g butter, softened
400g icing sugar
juice & zest 1 lemon

For the strawberry filling & decoration
100g strawberries, hulled and sliced plus 3 strawberries, halved, (stalks on)
3 tbsp Pimm's
¼ cucumber, sliced

Method
Put the sliced and halved strawberries for the filling and decoration into a small bowl and pour over the Pimm's. Leave to soak in for at least one hour or overnight. Heat oven to 190C /170C fan/gas 5. Line 3 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment and grease with butter.
Cut the whole cucumber in half lengthways and using a teaspoon scrape out and discard the seeds. Roughly chop the rest of the cucumber and puree in a blender with the lemon juice.
In a large bowl and using electric beaters whisk up the softened butter with the sugar until pale and light. Continue whisking as you add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in between additions. Once all the eggs have been added pour in the cucumber purée, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Don’t worry if the mixture splits - it will come back together when you add the flour.
Fold in the flour and baking powder and whisk once again briefly until there are no lumps of flour remaining then divide the mixture between the three tins. Bake in the oven for 30-35mins or until a skewer pushed into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool in their tins for five minutes then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooking and cooling make the buttercream. To make the strawberry buttercream, mash the strawberries in a small bowl with a fork until mushy. In a larger bowl whisk up the butter and half the icing sugar until smooth, then whisk in the mashed strawberries followed by the remaining icing sugar. Whisk until smooth and pale pink and place in the fridge until needed. Repeat the process with the lemon buttercream.
Once the cakes are completely cold, put one of the cakes onto a cake turntable and add about one third of the lemon buttercream, spread over the surface evenly, then top with half of the soaked strawberry slices. Next, spread one third of the strawberry buttercream onto another of the cakes and top with the remaining strawberry slices. Carefully stack the two filled layers with the final cake on top.
Transfer the remaining buttercream to disposable piping bags and snip off the ends. Pipe the strawberry buttercream in rings around the outside of the cake, starting at the base. Once you reach three quarters of the way up, switch to the lemon buttercream and continue piping onto the top of the cake. Smooth over the top using a palette knife then smooth the sides with either a large palette knife or, better still a pastry scraper. Use long sweeping movements and gently turn the cake turntable so that you get a smooth finish but a subtle gradient effect where the two colours meet. Scrape any excess icing into a bowl.
To finish, top with the remaining soaked strawberry halves and the slices of cucumber.

Chocolate brownie cake

issues for £5
PREP: 15 MINS
EASY
SERVES 6 - 8
Get kids cooking at the weekend by baking this yummy brownie cake, much better than shop bought
Nutrition: per serving (6)
kcal 500
fat 23g
saturates 13g
carbs 73g
sugars 59g
fibre 1g
protein 5g
salt 0.5g

Ingredients
100g butter

175g caster sugar
75g light brown or muscovado sugar
125g chocolate
(plain or milk)
1 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract /essence
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Place the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, chocolate and golden syrup in the pan and melt gently on a low heat until it is smooth and lump-free.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk with the fork until light and frothy. 5 Add the eggs, vanilla extract or essence, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.
Put the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25-30 mins.
Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 mins before cutting into wedges and serving.
Serve with cream or ice cream and plenty of fresh fruit.
Chocolate Brownie Cake

PREP: 15 MINS
EASY
SERVES 6 - 8
Get kids cooking at the weekend by baking this yummy brownie cake, much better than shop bought
Nutrition: per serving (6)
kcal 500
fat 23g
saturates 13g
carbs 73g
sugars 59g
fibre 1g
protein 5g
salt 0.5g

Ingredients
100g butter

175g caster sugar
75g light brown or muscovado sugar
125g chocolate
(plain or milk)
1 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract /essence
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Place the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar, chocolate and golden syrup in the pan and melt gently on a low heat until it is smooth and lump-free.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Break the eggs into the bowl and whisk with the fork until light and frothy. 5 Add the eggs, vanilla extract or essence, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.
Put the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25-30 mins.
Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 mins before cutting into wedges and serving.
Serve with cream or ice cream and plenty of fresh fruit.
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