On the hunt for showstopping baking recipes to try this autumn? Turn to Nadiya Bakes, the fifth cookbook by Nadiya Hussain.
Since winning The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya Hussain has hardly stopped. The Milton Keynes-based baker is the bestselling author of a staggering 13 books, including four works of children’s fiction and last year’s memoir Finding My Voice. Her fifth cookbook, Nadiya Bakes, has just been published, with a television show of the same name – the eighth series she’s fronted so far – due to start on BBC Two later this month (a ninth Nadiya programme, Nadiya’s American Melting Pot, is also slated to air in 2020).
You’d be forgiven for worrying she was spreading herself too thinly. But no Nadiya fans will be disappointed by Nadiya Bakes, which shows Hussain doing what she does best: creating accessible baking recipes that are inventive, beautiful and delicious. Containing over 100 recipes, the book is split into eight chapters covering everything from easy no-bake bakes to dazzling celebration cakes. As a result, there’s something for everyone – whether you break out in hives at the sight of a complicated recipe or enjoy the challenge of a more elaborate bake.
Each recipe is accompanied by Hussain’s warm, laidback commentary. “To be honest I don’t care about labels,” she says, describing a honey cake that may not technically count as a honey cake, “all I know is it’s delicious.” Now that’s a cooking philosophy we can all get on board with.
Below, Hussain shares three fruity recipes from Nadiya Bakes. The vegan banana ice cream cheesecake is a no-bake delight topped with blueberry compote, and her orange and lemongrass meringue pie is an original twist on the classic lemon version. Her mango and coconut cake with German buttercream, meanwhile, is inspired by memories of the Bangladeshi cuisine she ate as a child. Happy baking.
Banana ice cream cheesecake with blueberry compote
Cheesecake in any form is a winner for me and this is a simple no-bake ice cream version, which also happens to be vegan. Its sweet, oaty, hazelnutty base is filled with a banana ice cream ‘cheesecake’ layer, then topped with a warm blueberry compote.
Prep 30 minutes, plus chilling and freezing
Cook 15 minutes
For the base:
- 160g porridge oats
- 160g roasted whole hazelnuts
- 60ml coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the tin
- 185g golden syrup
- a pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 7 bananas, chopped and frozen, about 580g
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
For the compote:
- 250g fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ lemon, zest and juice
- 100g caster sugar
Start by lining and lightly greasing the base and sides of a 20cm round loose-bottom tin, 7.5cm deep.
Make the base of the cheesecake by toasting the oats and the hazelnuts in a large frying pan on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they just start to turn a golden brown, making sure to stir all the time to keep the oats moving. Pop them straight into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb.
Now add the coconut oil and the golden syrup and blitz again till it all clumps together.
Throw the mixture into the prepped tin and, using the back of a spoon, press into the base and 2.5cm of the sides. Leave the base to chill while you make the filling.
Make the topping by taking out the frozen chopped bananas and adding to a food processor with the golden syrup, cinnamon and cocoa. As tempted as you might be to begin whizzing, walk away for 5 minutes and allow the bananas to defrost just very slightly so that they process more easily, then blitz till you have what looks like a soft-scoop ice cream.
Quickly spoon the mixture on top of the prepped base and pop into the freezer till you are ready to eat.
When you are ready to eat, make the compote by adding the blueberries, lemon zest and juice and sugar to a pan and stirring over a medium heat till the blueberries have just softened. This should only take a few minutes. You can make the compote well in advance and, if you do, keep it chilled in the fridge until serving.
Take the cheesecake out of the freezer, slide it out of the cake tin and put it onto your serving dish. Add the warm compote on top and leave for just a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.
Orange and lemongrass meringue pie
Meringue pie is a classic, especially the familiar lemon variety. But it’s also a recipe where there are so many variations possible and this is just one of countless ways to mix it up. Instead of biscuit or pastry I’ve made the base with sweet crisp cereal and instead of lemon curd I’ve gone for orange and lemongrass. The only bit that hasn’t changed is the top, as I think meringue needs no improvement.
Prep 30 minutes, plus chilling
Cook 10 minutes
For the base:
- 250g sugar-frosted cornflake cereal
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 large oranges, juice and zest (you will need 200ml juice)
- 4 sticks of lemongrass
- 25g cornflour
- 250g caster sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
For the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 255g caster sugar
- 125ml water
Line the base of a 23cm loose-bottomed tin with a circle of baking parchment.
Pop the frosted flakes into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and whizz till you have a mixture that resembles wet, clumpy sand. Tip it out into the tin and, using the back of a spoon, cover the base and sides, making sure to pack it all in really tightly. Pop into the fridge to chill and set.
Now for the curd. Add the orange juice and zest to a non-stick pan. Bash the lemongrass to release all the flavours, chop into little pieces and add to the pan.
Add the cornflour, sugar and egg yolks and stir everything together. It will be lumpy and not look great at this point, but pop it onto the hob on the lowest heat and mix till you have a smooth curd that coats the back of a spoon.
Take off the heat and push through a sieve, to remove lumps and extract more of that lemongrass flavour. Leave to cool completely. As soon as it is cool, add to the crispy tart base, level off and pop into the fridge.
For the meringue, put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Mix the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bubble until the syrup reaches 110°C. When that happens, start beating the egg whites in the stand mixer until they reach stiff peaks. Once the syrup reaches 118°C, pour the syrup slowly onto the egg whites with the motor still running at a slow speed.
Once the syrup is mixed in, increase the speed to medium−high and beat for another 3–5 minutes until thick and shiny.
Take the tart shell out of the tin and put on a serving dish. Dollop peaks of meringue onto the curd. The more swirls you have the more beautiful it will look. Grill the top for just long enough to toast or use a blowtorch to colour the meringue.
Mango and coconut yoghurt cake with German buttercream
These flavours are as traditional as they get for me. They’re the flavours I grew up with, though while mango was cooked in curries, dried or eaten in the sun under the shade of the tree, it was never put in a cake! The same went for coconut. If it wasn’t being eaten dry, it was being stewed or eaten early, drinking its sweet water and scooping out its young flesh, but never ever in a cake. So, let’s fix that, and put all that wonderful stuff straight into a cake, shall we?
Prep 35 minutes, plus chilling
Cook 45 minutes
For the cake:
- butter, for greasing the tins
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
- 400g Greek yoghurt
- 300g caster sugar
- 7 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 400g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
For the German buttercream:
- 150ml whole milk
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 350g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the decoration:
- 25g coconut chips or desiccated coconut, toasted
- 150g mango pulp
- Greek yoghurt and extra mango pulp
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line the bases and grease two 20cm deep round cake tins.
Toast the coconut in a small pan until it is golden and sprinkle into the bases of the cake tins, making sure to evenly distribute it. Toasting it will enhance the flavour (untoasted coconut is no different to the wood chip shavings I lay out for my rabbit). Add the mango in some sort of orderly fashion, straight on top of that coconut.
The cake is an all-in-one method, so really easy. Pop the yoghurt into a large mixing bowl along with the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt and mix until you have a smooth, shiny cake batter. Pour the mixture into the tins and tap the tins a few times on the work surface to level off the top.
Bake for 40–45 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Take the cakes out and leave in the tins to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the buttercream by adding the milk to a saucepan with the sugar. As soon as it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and mix, making sure the sugar has melted.
Now add the egg yolks to a bowl with the cornflour and whisk. In a steady stream pour in the hot milk mixture, making sure to stir all of the time. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently until it all thickens into a really thick custard that coats the back of the spoon. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge.
When chilled, whisk the custard mix, then add a good tablespoon of butter at a time, whisking after each addition. Keep whisking until you have a really stiff, pipeable buttercream. Pop into a piping bag.
Take the first cake, with the fruit side facing upwards, and arrange on a serving dish. Pipe swirls of the buttercream all around the edge and then in the centre, covering the top of the cake. Pop the other cake on top and make the same swirls around the edge, avoiding the middle and leaving gaps between the swirls.
Pour the mango pulp into the centre, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle it with the toasted coconut and serve the cake with Greek yoghurt.
Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain (£22, Michael Joseph) is out now. Nadiya Bakes starts 9 September, 8.30pm, BBC Two
Photography: Chris Terry