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I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember. It started with my mother, and a really good collection of cookbooks. At first, it was the brightly coloured ones aimed at children, from which we made flapjacks, butterfly and chocolate cakes (decorated with chocolate buttons), graduating not very long afterwards to a pale-pink-macaron-coloured Patisserie book. Along with a book on cake decorating (rolling a cake covered in green buttercream through a tray of desiccated coconut to create a grassy effect) and a Cadbury book of baking (featuring elaborate chocolate castles with biscuit trellis-work), it’s fair to say that I read about cakes almost as often as I ate them.
Childhood highlights included home-made doughnuts, laced with cardamom, my mother’s pineapple upside-down cake and orange chocolate chip steamed puddings (both of which made their way into The Sweet Roasting Tin). Much as I still enjoy looking at photographs and how-to videos of elaborately iced and decorated cakes, my preference when baking or eating is still with those that are simple to put together and minimally adorned.
The easy, one-tin cakes and bakes in this book are what you’d find in my imaginary shop and real-life kitchen. I’ve broadened the definition of ‘one-tin’ to include muffin tins, cupcake tins and baking trays for cookies – because why limit yourself to one shape of sweet thing?
Feeling inspired? Here are three recipes from Rukmini’s new book…
Orange Chocolate Chip Bread & Butter Pudding
This is based on a favourite steamed pudding – orange chocolate chip – which my mother made for us as children. This bread and butter version uses the same flavourings but helps if you’ve got some leftover bread to use up.
Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Fridge Cake
A fridge cake fit for a queen: this tiffin combines all my favourite ingredients – glacé cherries, chocolate, pistachios and golden syrup
Cherry & Almond Cake
I cannot pass a bakery selling cherry and almond cakes without going in to get a slice – particularly welcome after or during an outing with the pup. For me, this is a perfect all-day cake – just make sure to use the nice bright red glacé cherries for full retro impact.