Monday, 21 November 2011

Stephen's Award Winning Kirschtorte

This spectacular cake won Stephen the first prize in the cake category plus the closely-fought Best In Show Award.

Macaroon layers:

220g icing sugar

120g ground almonds

4 egg whites

80g caster sugar


3 eggs,separated

3 tablespoons hot water from a boiled kettle

80g icing sugar, sifted

10g caster sugar

50g plain flour

50g corn flour

Pinch of baking powder


225ml whole milk

170g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

170g unsalted butter

3 tbs blackberry jam (without seeds)

Kirsch syrup:

4 tablespoons water

20g caster sugar

120ml kirsch

For decoration:

100g toasted flaked almonds

70g icing sugar


Macaroon layers

1) Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

2) Draw two 25cm circles in a large piece of baking parchment and grease the insides of each circle with butter. Place each piece of baking parchment on a baking sheet.

3) Place the ground almonds in a large bowl and sift the icing sugar on top.

4) Whisk the egg whites and caster sugar until the whites have formed a thick meringue, but don't let it get dry and powdery. Take one third of the meringue and incorporate it into the icing sugar and almonds with a large metal spoon. Then add the remainder of the meringue in two equal batches. Try to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

5) Spread the mixture inside the prepared circles, bringing it right up to the edge. You may find it helps to stick the baking parchment to the baking sheet using a small amount of the macaroon mix.

6) Bake for about 10-12 minutes – ideally until the macaroons come away freely from the baking parchment, but whatever you do try not to overcook them. Remove from the oven as soon as they are cooked and leave to cool.


7) Increase the oven to 175ºC.

8) Grease a 25cm springform round cake tin lined with baking parchment (for best results use one with a removable bottom).

9) Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks on full power, adding the hot water a tablespoon at a time, until thick and light. Add the icing sugar gradually and beat well. It should be light and fluffy. Set aside.

10) Beat the egg whites until stiff in a clean bowl. Add the caster sugar to the stiff egg whites and beat well until smooth and glossy.

11) Sift the flour, corn flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Fold in the egg yolk and icing sugar mixture with a large metal spoon one third at a time until fully incorporated. Then fold in the egg whites very carefully. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through – the cake will come away from the sides of the tin when baked.

12) Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let cool completely.


13) Put the milk in a small saucepan with 85g of caster sugar. Heat until the mixture steams, but do not allow to boil.

14) Put the egg yolks in a bowl with 85g of caster sugar and stir until pale and thick. Do not whisk as you do not want the mixture to become airy.

15) Slowly pour the hot milk on to the yolk and sugar mixture, stirring constantly.

16) Rinse or wipe out the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until thickened and a nice custard consistency has formed (it will be ready when it coats the back of a clean wooden spoon). Do not allow to boil.

17) If there are any lumps in the custard, strain through a sieve, and allow to cool until it is thickened and set.

18) Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until very soft and creamy. Then beat in the cooled custard one tablespoon at a time. Add the jam and mix well.


19) In a small saucepan, bring the water and caster sugar to the boil over a medium-high heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool. Add the kirsch and mix well. Set aside.


20) Very carefully, peel the macaroon discs off the baking paper and place one of them on a serving plate or cake stand.

21) Spread one third of the buttercream evenly over the macaroon.

22) Place the sponge on top of it, poke lots of small holes in the sponge with a skewer or sharp knife and brush it generously with the syrup. Leave to rest for a few minutes, until the syrup is absorbed.

23) Carefully spread one third of the buttercream over the soaked sponge. It will be more difficult because the sponge is moist from the syrup.

24) Overturn the second macaroon onto a clean flat chopping board so that it is upside down with the baking parchment now face up. Carefully peel back the baking parchment. Then, as quickly as you can, turn the chopping board back over and, holding the macaroon in both hands, place it on top of the cake; an extra pair of hands is useful at this point! If your macaroon is soft it might crack in your hands – don't worry about this.

25) Spread the remaining buttercream on the sides of the cake and press the flaked almonds onto the cream. Using a sieve, sprinkle the top of the cake with a small amount of icing sugar.


This recipe is adapted from Patricia Scarpin's Zuger Kirschtorte recipe. The macaroon layers are based on Ottolenghi's macaroon recipe and the buttercream is adapted from a recipe in Leiths Techniques Bible.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

2011 Best Year Ever!

This year's Bunfight was our most successful to date so well done to everyone who took the time to enter. With 85 spectacular entries, the bakers and cake-eaters of Peckham raised a fabulous £405 for the Art Clubs at Peckham Space.
Our thanks go to our wonderful judges, Lucy Williams from delicious magazine, our own prize-winning Charlie Fox and artisan chocolatier Isabelle from La Melange.
Thanks to our little crew of organisers for getting up very early on a Sunday morning and packing away when everyone else was in the pub!
Finally thanks to all those who kindly donated lovely prizes or gave their support: Review bookshop, Jake Tilson, Ganapati, Frog on the Green, Fenton Walsh, Old Villa, Anderson & Co, Roullier White, Franklins Farm Shop, La Melange, Toutes Directions, Starbucks, Gareth Sambidge and Quadrille Publishing.
Anyone who entered, send us your recipe and we'll put it up here.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Bun Fight 2011

Our 5th annual cookery competition will be taking place outside the Review Bookshop on

Sunday 9th October

This year's Classic Cake Competition will be The Best Carrot Cake and as always there will be a special prize for Best In Show. All winners and runners up will be awarded a prize.

Please drop off entries between 10am - 12pm.

Winners to be announced at 3.00pm followed by the cake sale (of any entries that have been donated to the event)

Entry forms and further info are available from Review.

£1 per entry is payable on the day. All proceeds raised will be donated to charity. Please contact us with nominations for this year's funds.