This is the pattern of food writer Jane Dunn’s debut cookbook, named after her blog, Jane’s Patisserie. Sweet treat after sweet treat; each one seemingly promising comfort, deliciousness and nostalgia.
The 28-year-old has been blogging her bakes for around six-and-a-half years, creating recipes designed to suit all skill levels – hence why she wouldn’t dream of judging you for buying ready-made caramel (it involves far less risk of singeing your fingers on molten sugar), and gladly recommends decorating her no-bake millionaire’s cheesecake with shop-bought millionaire shortbread bites.
Jane’s Patisserie the cookbook presents her easy-breezy chocolate-adoring ethos in paper form – and “you can get it messy!” says Dunn, which means no more coating your phone in flour as you scroll to the next step in the recipe.
Eliminating fear around baking is something that underpins Dunn’s bakes. Each comes with customisable elements, so you can amp up flavour combinations, swap in ingredients you do have for ones you don’t, and avoid having to nip to the shops mid-mix for a missing item.
“I tried to cover all bases so people can just have fun with it, and not be scared,” explains Dunn. “With cooking, you can sort of wing it mostly, but with baking, it is science. So you have to get it right mostly.” She’s hoping her nifty comments and reassuring advice will ease any oven-related concerns. Her honesty around her own cake mishaps help too (“I’ve dropped entire cheesecakes and it’s been quite heart-breaking”).
Dunn’s bakes focus on bringing the joy, and as you’d imagine, stumble into her kitchen and you’ll find an incredible stash of sweet treats. She buys her baking chocolate in huge bags, and then, because her bakes demand it of course, she’ll “go down the supermarket and buy 10 Terry’s Chocolate Orange, five giant Toblerone…” Her friends and family reckon she has the best snack cupboard that’s ever existed, which is fortunate, because they – and her local coffee shop – help her keep cake waste to a minimum. “Sometimes people think I just make it and throw it away. No, no, no! My friends and family love me because I always have cake available.”
Jane’s Patisserie by Jane Dunn is published by Ebury Press.
Salted caramel-stuffed NYC cookies
125g unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
1 egg (medium or large)
1tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1½tsp baking powder
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp sea salt
250g milk chocolate chips or chunks
8–16 soft caramel sweets
1. Beat the butter and soft light brown sugar together until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again.
2. Add the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt and combine until a cookie dough is formed, then add the chocolate chips or chunks and mix until they are evenly distributed.
3. Portion your dough out into eight balls – each should weigh about 110g. Once rolled into balls, flatten slightly and put one or two soft caramels in the middle, then wrap the cookie dough around the caramels and re-roll into balls. Put into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or in the fridge for an hour or so. While the cookie dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
4. Take your cookies out of the freezer or fridge and put onto the lined trays (I do four cookies per tray) and bake for 12–14 minutes. Once baked, leave the cookies to cool on the trays for at least 30 minutes as they will continue to bake while cooling.
Blueberry lime loaf cake
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour, plus 1tbsp for dusting
Zest of 1 lime
200g fresh or frozen blueberries
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lime
For the decoration:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan and grease and line a 900g loaf tin with parchment paper.
2. Put the butter and caster sugar into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the self-raising flour, eggs and lime zest to the bowl, and mix again until combined.
3. Put the tablespoon of plain flour into a bowl and add the blueberries, mixing until they are coated (this stops the blueberries all sinking to the bottom of the cake). Fold the blueberries through the cake mixture, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50–55 minutes, or until baked through. Remove the cake from the oven, and leave to cool fully in the tin while you make the buttercream.
4. Add the butter to a bowl and beat on its own for a few minutes to loosen and soften. Add the icing sugar and beat again until combined. Finally, add the lime juice and beat again.
5. Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the loaf cake, then sprinkle over the blueberries and lime zest.
Rhubarb and custard blondies
300g white granulated sugar
200g unsalted butter, melted
125g plain flour
75g custard powder
200g white chocolate chips or chunks
1. Chop the rhubarb into pieces, and add to a pan with 50g of the sugar and the water. Place over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, or until the rhubarb softens. Set aside to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan and line a 23cm square tin with parchment paper.
3. Put the melted unsalted butter and remaining 250g sugar into a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and beat until smooth, then add the plain flour and custard powder and beat until combined. Fold through the white chocolate chips or chunks.
4. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Dollop the rhubarb mixture and custard over the top and swirl through slightly using a cake skewer or knife.
5. Bake the blondies for 30–35 minutes, or until there is an ever so slight wobble in the middle. Leave the blondies to cool fully in the tin before cutting into 16 squares.