Soak your Sponge in a Simple Syrup


Simple Syrup

Why not make a simple syrup using your favourite liqueur, adding a hint of extra flavour to your cakes.


For the Syrup

  • 110ml Water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 peel of lemon zest
  • 1/2 vanilla pod split down the centre.
  • 80ml of your favourite liqueur.

Method for the Syrup

  • Put the water, sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add the seeds and empty pod to the saucepan.
  • Boil for 3 mins to syrup consistency.
  • Take off the heat and add your Liqueur ( today I am using Pimms ). Leave to cool.

Sponge soaked in Syrup

This syrup is suitable for brushing over, still warm, Loaf Cakes, several times. Making tiny holes with a skewer will help the syrup penetrate through the depths. Leave the cake in the tin to soak up all the flavours before turing out onto a wired wrack.

Also suitable for brushing over several layers of cake sponge before adding fillings and sandwiching them together.

Strawberries and Syrup

Add a couple of tablespoons of syrup to fresh strawberries and use to sandwich your sponge layers together.

You can of course go the whole hog and add undiluted Liqueur to your sponge cakes. But for a subtle flavour I suggest a syrup instead.

Keep any leftover syrup in the fridge and  use within a  week or double up the quantities and bottle in your favourite jars, remembering to sterilise them before you do.


Book Review: Patisserie ~ William and Suzue Curley



Patisserie Chestnut and Rum Cake

*** See special Discount code at the bottom of this page.

Cook books are the things I love to read the most. They inspire and challenge me.

Patissierie is one such book. You would be forgiven for thinking that this book is not for the home baker, but it is. It will challenge you to take yourself out of your comfort zone and inspire you to make something different. It will make you think about taste, flavours and presentation.

With gorgeous pictures and step by step guides, all you need do is read through the recipe carefully, get all your ingredients together and create something special.

Being a lover of all things cake, Clandestine Cake Club being my passion ATM, and with me in the midst of writing a new CCC Cook Book ( read more about it here) I decided to bake the Chestnut and Rum Cake on page 328.

Apricot Nappage

The first step was to make the Apricot Nappage on page 104. Note to self, buy a good quality digital scales that primarily deals with smaller qualities of grams. I added too much Pectin and as a result, the Nappage resembled a quince Jelly. Still nice, but after leaving in the fridge to set, it needed a little water to soften before adding the glaze to the finished cake.

Apricot Liqueur Syrup

Next I made the Apricot Liqueur Syrup on page 102, I didn’t have enough Rum so I carried on with the Apricot theme and used Apricot Liqueur. This recipe made enough syrup to save for other cakes. I suggest you start to creating your own syrups, they are easy to make and are perfect for dousing cakes with additional and complementary flavours which help add moisture to your sponge. Get yourself some nice bottles and start syruping.

Chestnut and Rum Cake

I didn’t have the correct tin sizes, but the recipe worked beautifully in 2 x 1lb loaf tins. They had a good rise, the sponge texture was terrific and moist and the taste was divine with the Ground Almonds, not too sweet. It balanced nicely with the Alcoholic Apricot glaze and Nappage as a topping. It was delicious. We ate one cake and froze the other. I have a glut of cakes in the freezer ATM, with all the recipe testing I am doing for the next book.

Watch: A video masterclass with William & Suzue Curley, where they demonstrate one of the recipes from Patisserie. The video can be found HERE ON youtube 

Disclosure: I was given this book to review by Jackie Small publishers.

***Special Reader Discount code: To order Patisserie at the discounted price of £32.00 including p&p* (RRP: £40.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG147.
*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

The book officially released on 22nd May, is published by Jacqui Small (@JacquiSmallPub)