Gooseberry Custard Friands (gluten-free)

Gooseberry Custard Friands are the perfect little bite of cake for the summer. These light gluten-free friands are topped with a vanilla custard and a sweetly tart fresh gooseberry jam.

gooseberry friands on a napkin on a wooden table

Gooseberry season is far too short. I get completely over-excited when I first spot them at the farmers’ market and end up buying punnets and punnets which languish in my freezer whilst I decide which hallowed recipe gets the go-ahead with this year’s haul. I am so indecisive that often in the middle of October I may find a stray punnet in the depths of the deep freeze that I forgot about whilst I was dithering. A happy day indeed.

Overhead shot in gooseberries in paper bag

gooseberry friands on a plate on a wooden table in front of a window

Since gooseberries are so tart, especially these early ones, they really need to be paired with something sweet in order to make them shine. This is why they are so perfect in jam and my Gooseberry Thyme Jam I swear will convert anybody who claims jam is too sweet. Gooseberries always add a more sophisticated tang to recipes.

gooseberry friands with a bite taken out on a napkin with a fork on a wooden table

I didn’t use that jam for these Gooseberry Custard Friands but instead whipped up a quick easy jam by heating equal amounts of water and caster sugar until the sugar dissolves and then adding in the gooseberries to simmer until they burst. The fruit will thicken in about five minutes and give you a wonderful jam that will keep for about a week or so in your fridge. Or they can be used to top these tremendously light and ever so moreish Gooseberry Custard Friands.

gooseberry friand on a napkin on a wooden table

I wrote at length on what a friand is for my recipe on Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Friands but essentially they are the Australian cousin of the French financier and are small tea cakes made from ground almonds, sugar, a small amount of flour and egg whites. Since there is so little flour in the original recipe then they can be easily adapted into a gluten-free version. For ease and accessibility I have just used a plain gluten-free flour blend (without xanthan gum) which has a neutral taste. I also used almond flour instead of ground almonds here for a fluffier lighter bake but don’t worry if you can only get hold of ground almonds they will be absolutely fine. Ground almonds will give a more substantial texture to the finished friand and more almond flavour, but they will be equally delicious.

gooseberry friand on a napkin on a wooden table

The custard used to top the friand may test you a little but it’s a very safe to make custard if you fear of splitting since the cornflour mixed into the eggs at the beginning of the process helps to stabilise the recipe. It’s pretty foolproof and takes no more than about 5-6 minutes to knock up in case you think it sounds intimidating.

gooseberry friands with a bite taken out on a napkin with a fork on a wooden table

These little bites of cake are absolutely delicious and I guarantee if you serve these friands out among friends and family they will simply fly off the plate. They are simply irresistible and the perfect recipe to make the most of your limited supply of gooseberries.

gooseberry friands with a bite taken out on a napkin with a fork on a wooden table

Print Recipe
Gooseberry Custard Friands (gluten-free)
Gooseberry Custard Friands are the perfect little bite of cake for the summer. Light gluten-free friands topped with a vanilla custard and a sweetly tart fresh gooseberry jam.
gooseberry friands on a napkin on a wooden table
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
12 friands
Ingredients
Quick Gooseberry Jam
  • 300 g gooseberries topped and tailed
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 40 g water
Custard
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 small egg yolks
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
Friands
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 160 g almond flour you can use ground almonds
  • 100 g gluten-free plain flour blend *I used Doves Farm
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g butter melted
  • 180 g egg whites about 6
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
12 friands
Ingredients
Quick Gooseberry Jam
  • 300 g gooseberries topped and tailed
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 40 g water
Custard
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 small egg yolks
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
Friands
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 160 g almond flour you can use ground almonds
  • 100 g gluten-free plain flour blend *I used Doves Farm
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g butter melted
  • 180 g egg whites about 6
gooseberry friands on a napkin on a wooden table
Instructions
Gooseberry Jam
  1. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour in the gooseberries and cook on a gentle heat until the gooseberries have burst. Stir and carry on cooking for another 5 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Custard
  1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan with the vanilla extract and heat until just under boiling point then turn off the heat.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour until pale and thickened.
  3. Then very carefully pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  4. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Friands
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and butter a 12 hole friand tin.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the almond flour, gluten-free plain flour, the icing sugar and salt together.
  3. Stir in the melted butter until completely combined.
  4. Then in another bowl whisk the egg whites until light and foamy.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter until combined.
  6. Divide the batter between the friand moulds, then top with a teaspoon or two of custard and then finish with a teaspoon of gooseberry jam.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from the oven. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I use this KitchenCraft MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Friand Tin, 35.5 x 26.5 cm to make my friands. The tin is extremely hard wearing and it’s very easy to get the friands out. Just wobble the edges with a small palette knife and you can more or less just slip your friands straight out of the tin.

Speaking of small palette knives, I use this little guy Dexam Spatula with Wooden Handle 10.5cm in almost all my baking – there is usually a need for him. Like in this case, easing my friands out of my tin. You really can’t use any other implement as it won’t damage the cake tin or cut into the friands at all. I also use it for icing cupcakes, large cakes, releasing almost all cakes out of their cake tins. Because it’s not that big it’s easier to wield with more control than a larger palette knife.

I have been using this almond flour, RealFoodSource Certified Organic Extra Fine High Protein Almond Flour (1KG) for a while now and really recommend it for this recipe. You could use ground almonds but by using almond flour the bake is lighter and more fluffy. This almond flour is beautifully ground and so usefully for so many of my recipes.

The plain gluten-free flour blend which I like to use sometimes to make my life easier and my bakes more accessible for hobby bakers is Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour 1 kg (Pack of 5). It is easy to get at the supermarket but I’m finding more and more that the flour is out of stock when I need it most so I now like to buy 5kg at a time and keep it handy in my larder for emergencies. I really like this blend as it doesn’t have xanthan gum which I am intolerant to. Because of this I usually use this flour in conjunction with almond flour or ground almonds to help give the cakes more moisture and a better texture but it really is a good all rounder.

The links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

If you like this recipe then you might also like…

Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Friands {gluten-free}

Some Apple Cinnamon Ricotta Friands sitting on a wire rack next to a bowl of caramelised apples

Gooseberry Thyme Jam

Overhead image of Gooseberry Thyme Jam on a wooden board with gooseberries and a sprig of thyme

Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Overhead image of a bowl of Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble with ice cream and a spoon

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick is like a time travel machine in food form, designed to send you right back to your nursery days. A glorious traditional suet pudding studded with currants, mixed peel and spices, designed to warm you from the inside out.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

This week has not been one of my favourites. The whole house has been suffering with the most horrendous cold. So far, I’ve been housebound for nearly seven days and I’ve got severe cabin fever. As the outside world looks like a treacherous winter wonderland with snow blizzards lashing at our windows I can’t believe I am longing to be outside. Weather like this in London just doesn’t happen, it’s been snowing for almost three days straight and I’m so keen to wrap up in multi layers of knitwear, plonk Cole in his snowsuit, grab Billy Buddy’s lead and head to Parkland Walk which is the disused railway walk right by our house and always looks so beautiful in this snow capped weather.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

But instead I’m lying down on the bed watching the snow fall through the window, when I’m not consumed by a major coughing jag which seems to rip my body in half (The baby seriously does not like it when I cough and has been getting his own back by zapping me with searing Braxton Hicks contractions). I’ve also been watching an obscene amount of Paw Patrol on the sofa with Cole who is suffering with this cold just as badly, minus the pregnancy pains but plus a sky-high fever which I’m constantly battling to manage 24/7. Thank goodness for my mum who was able to come up for a few days to lend a hand to our fallen household.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

So I’m basically being a miserable so-and-so and to top it all off I got the unenviable news from my midwife at the beginning of the week that the baby is growing at an unprecedented rate and as such they are testing me for gestational diabetes. To counteract this ungracious news I have had to swear myself off sugar until I get the all clear. Giving up sugar is no fun at the best of times, giving up sugar when you are exhausted from spending all night long comforting a mewling toddler and 8 months pregnant is even worse. Coupled with the reality that playing with sugar is my job so I’m having to rethink a few recipes when my brain is like soup. Plus there’s the fact that goddammit I just want a Galaxy Ripple but having to make do with an oatcake. It’s really not the same. So not only am I ill, heavy with baby, tired and looking after a sick toddler but even sugar has forsaken me. I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself, can you tell?

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

I am hoping that the gestational diabetes test is negative but I have a feeling that I won’t get the results until the baby is pretty much here anyway so I’m looking at a sugar-free existence for the rest of the pregnancy. Luckily I was getting ahead of myself for a few of these posts and this indulgently delicious Gluten-Free Spotted Dick was a masterpiece from a couple of weeks back.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Do you know about Spotted Dick? Have you guffawed at its absurd name – gosh those British fools really know how to name wrestle with innuendo. The bemusing moniker is really an ancient term meaning spotted dough, not nearly as memorable I think you’ll find. The spotted part refers to the currants which are dotted throughout the pudding, along with mixed peel and spices. It’s a much easier pudding to make then you think as the dough quickly comes together and then is wrapped in a double layer of muslin and foil and boiled for a couple of hours.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick is a really traditional British ‘nursery’ pudding. Basically one of those charming relics of childhood which is more often found these days in staid British restaurants and gentleman’s clubs. Most of us though know of it from school dinners, hence the term ‘nursery pudding.’ It has a horrid reputation as a great stodge of a pudding but really it doesn’t have to be. It’s tremendously comforting, a perfect accompaniment to Snow Day and this gluten-free version is especially heart-warming. It’s traditionally made with suet but I find by using fresh beef suet (which you should ask your butcher for) instead of the shop bought stuff really lightens the finished result. The pudding must really be eaten steaming hot with copious amounts of custard. I wouldn’t even bother advocating making your own custard here as Bird’s Custard will really seal the nostalgia deal.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

I have to say I can’t wait to get better, cast off the aspersions of gestational diabetes and fall headlong back into a great big bowl of Spotted Dick and custard. It’s what’s keeping me going.

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Spotted Dick is a glorious traditional suet pudding studded with currants, mixed peel and spices, designed to warm you from the inside out.
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g currants
  • 3 tablespoons rum or whisky or brandy
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 120 g oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 180 g fresh beef suet
  • 125 g soft brown sugar
  • 40 g mixed peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 225-250 ml whole milk
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
  • 125 g currants
  • 3 tablespoons rum or whisky or brandy
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 120 g oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 180 g fresh beef suet
  • 125 g soft brown sugar
  • 40 g mixed peel
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 225-250 ml whole milk
Gluten-Free Spotted Dick
Instructions
  1. First place the currants in a small bowl and spoon over the rum, leaving them to soak for at least an hour.
  2. Sift the flours, baking powder and sea salt into a large bowl.
  3. Then stir in the suet, sugar, soaked currants (without the excess liquid), mixed peel and spices.
  4. Pour in just enough milk to make soft dough, mixing together with your hands.
  5. Shape the dough into a thick log and loosely wrap in muslin or cheesecloth, securing the ends with string.
  6. Then wrap in foil.
  7. Place the Spotted Dick in a large saucepan, pour boiling water all around the spotted dick until it has submerged and bring up to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer, put the lid on and leave to cook for two hours.
  8. Remove the Spotted Dick carefully from the water and serve immediately with lashings of custard.

Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard is the ultimate in pudding decadence. Warm and sticky gluten-free chocolate pudding steamed on the stove top then served with lashings of rich chocolate custard.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

This Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard takes me right back to childhood. I have been craving it for weeks but my irritating lack of time lately has meant the recipe has just sat taunting me on my laptop every time I switch it on. It was a pudding which was on constant rotation during school dinners at my primary school and I have been longing to recreate it in my own kitchen. I went to a small country primary school of only a hundred children. The school itself was just one small building with no separate dining room. We would all be seated on large tables of about 10 children, laid out in the assembly room through to the three classrooms, which were all more or less open plan. The dinner ladies called up each table one by one to line up for our hot lunch served by two cooks who always looked harassed. One tall and stern and the other short and jolly. We stood patiently at the front of the assembly room as they stood behind their trolleys dolloping out food from metals trays and huge mason cash mixing bowls.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

First we would line up for our main course and I’m sorry to say I can’t remember a single main meal that we had. Probably shepherds pie but after that I’m a bit stumped. I think it’s very clear where my allegiances lay even in those early days as the puddings I have no problems recalling. After our main meal had been cleared away each table would be called up again to line up for our pudding. Always hot and always served with custard so thick you could stand a spoon up in it.

There was spotted dick or vicarage pudding (which was pretty much the same as spotted dick) or treacle sponge with vanilla custard, jam roly poly with strawberry custard or the pudding every child revered, chocolate pudding with chocolate custard.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Chocolate custard isn’t something which you come across much these days. Pubs might serve a crumble with a bit of weak vanilla sauce if you’re lucky, the likes of which would be laughed out the door at Chilton Foliat Primary School. Proper nursery custard that has body and a life of its own outside its sponge or crumble accompaniment is little seen. Let alone the rarity of a strawberry or chocolate custard. And forget Bird’s custard (which I don’t have an issue with as such) but homemade custard with double cream, eggs and sugar is a five minute job and in another world of its own. Add a bit of cocoa powder to proceedings and chocolate custard will suddenly become the most important food discovery to emerge from your kitchen since toast.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

This Chocolate Sponge Pudding is old school as well. Steamed in a pudding basin, the old fashioned way. Steamed puddings are few and far between these days but this Chocolate Pudding will encourage you to rediscover them. It is so quick to pull together, perhaps a little bit faffy to sort out the lid of the pudding basin and make sure you have a big stockpot large enough to fit it in, but really only five more minutes of prep time. It does steam for 1½ hours so a little longer than a sponge you might bang in the oven but really there is no bother and technically no baking involved so a great pudding if your oven is on the blink.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

That’s not even to mention the sheer indulgence of the Chocolate Pudding itself. Sticky on the top from the rich ganache you cleverly nestled into the bottom of the basin which then soaked alluringly into the sponge during steaming. The pudding is moist and almost gooey in the centre and is the part you really want to get your spoon stuck into as you are serving it up. It’s an ideal pudding in my chocaholic frame of mind and utterly lives up to all of my cravings. Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard is exactly what weekend puds are all about.

Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard is the ultimate in pudding decadence. Warm and sticky gluten-free chocolate pudding steamed on the stove top then served with lashings of rich chocolate custard.
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword chocolate
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  • 100 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100 g double cream
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Custard
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
Course dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword chocolate
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1.5 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  • 100 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100 g double cream
  • 2 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g soft light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 g almond flour
  • 70 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Custard
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 100 ml whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
Steamed Chocolate Sponge Pudding with Chocolate Custard {gluten-free}
Instructions
Chocolate Sponge Pudding
  1. Prepare a 1.1lt pudding basin by placing a small circle of greaseproof paper into the bottom of the basin and greasing well.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water.
  3. Once melted stir in the double cream and golden syrup and pour into the bottom of the pudding basin. Set aside whilst you prepare the sponge.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla extract.
  6. Sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt then beat into the rest of the sponge mixture.
  7. Pour the sponge mixture into the pudding basin on top of the chocolate cream and smooth the top.
  8. Cut a large circle of greaseproof paper and tin foil to fit over the top of the basin with a very generous overlap. Lay the tin foil on top of the greaseproof paper then make a pleat in the centre of the two.
  9. Place the greaseproof paper/foil lid over the top of the basin, greaseproof paper down, and use string to secure the lid, tying the string just underneath the lip of the basin. Cut away the excess paper just underneath the string.
  10. Place a metal trivet or a folded up tea towel in the bottom of a large stockpot or saucepan and then place the pudding basin on top so that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot.
  11. Fill the pot halfway up the sides of the pudding basin with boiling water then place the lid on the pot. Bring the water up to boil then turn down to simmer for 1½ hours. Check the water level every so often to make sure it doesn’t boil dry.
  12. Once ready, remove the pudding basin carefully from the stockpot, remove the paper/foil lid and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Serve warm with plenty of custard.
Chocolate Custard
  1. To make the custard, first whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder and a drop of the cream to make a thick paste.
  2. Heat the cream up in a medium sized saucepan until just below boiling point then pour a small amount into the cocoa paste and whisk it in. Pour a little more hot cream in and then a little more, whisking all the while until all the cream has been added and the custard is smooth.
  3. Pour back into the saucepan and heat up until just boiling, whisking all the time.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve liberally over the chocolate pudding. I served mine with a little extra double cream poured over as well just to be audacious.

SHOP THE RECIPE

I love my Cornishware Blue and White Stripe Pudding Basin 1.1L 40oz which I use for all my steamed puddings, it’s so beautiful and sturdy and is about to really come into its own as I make my Christmas Pudding in the next couple of weeks.

It’s not easy to buy certified gluten-free sweet rice flour in the UK, for some reason Bob’s Red Mill is astronomically expensive. However I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free and it’s fantastic. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Oat flour can be picked up at most health food shops and if I run out that’s where I head to. However, like all alternative flours it can be expensive so I find the most economical way is to buy it online. I go through bags of the stuff as it’s the flour I use most regularly so I like to buy in bulk. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4) at a reasonable price. Even better if you go the subscribe and save option.

The almond flour I really love RealFoodSource Certified Organic Extra Fine High Protein Almond Flour (1KG). It is ground extra finely so produces very fluffy results.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

IF YOU LIKE THIS RECIPE THEN YOU MAY LIKE…

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Gluten-Free Spotted Dick

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Blackberry Lemon Pudding {gluten-free}

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

Happy New Year!

This Christmas seems to have been crazier than usual, I’m not sure if it was because we had one less weekend in December before Christmas or whether the decision to make all my Christmas presents should have really been done in October.  Weeks ago I dutifully bought all the materials to do so, but then set them aside so I was ramshackled to my sewing machine throwing together aprons and cushion covers for family presents in the days leading up to Christmas rather than doing any sort of useful food preparation.  This new year I definitely resolve to organise myself a lot better.

I have overstuffed myself with more turkey and chocolate this festive period than I would think humanly possible.  Seriously, I received enough Lindt Lindor to begin my own outlet.  But I can’t possibly start the diet yet, after all it is only New Years Day and I don’t know about you but I’m still suffering the effects of last year.  So the salads and running can wait one more day as I need some simple cupcakes infused with calming vanilla to soothe my bedraggled state.

These are vanilla vanilla vanilla cupcakes, vanilla extract in the cake batter and in the silky buttercream but a burst of vanilla pod in the whipped custard filling.  To fill my cupcakes all I do is bake the cupcake as normal then when cooled stick an apple corer in the centre and pull out a little circle of sponge.  Tuck a teaspoon of the custard into the hole and place your sponge centre back on top.  It’s surprising how much filling you can squeeze into that small space without it exploding out of the top when you cram the sponge back in.

Vanilla Custard Cupcakes
Makes 24

230g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400g caster sugar
4 eggs
240ml whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
345g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to the whole milk.
  5. Sift the baking powder, flour and salt together.
  6. Add the flour alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  7. Pour into cupcake cases and bake for 16-18mins.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
A pinch of salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pipe onto your cupcakes.

Whipped Custard filling

125ml whole milk
1 vanilla pod, halved with seeds scraped out
2 small egg yolks
35g caster sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
75ml whipping cream

  1. Pour the milk into a smallish saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds.
  2. Heat until just under boiling point and turn off the heat.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thickened. Then whisk in the plain flour until smooth.
  4. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk then very carefully pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the while to stop the egg from curdling.
  5. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the eggs pour back into the saucepan, you can add the vanilla pod back in at this stage if you like, then bring up to a careful boil whisking continuously until the mixture is very thick and smooth.
  6. Take off the heat and put in a bowl in the fridge to cool, making sure you have put cling film on the surface of the crème patissière to stop a skin from forming.
  7. Once the crème patissière has cooled, then whip the whipping cream to form soft peaks and fold into the crème patissière. Fill your cupcakes with as much of this whipped custard as you can cram into the middle.