Easter is late this year so we have to wait until nearly the end for the month for our Chocolate Eggs. Easter signifies the end of Lent and many of us will have given up sugar since Pancake Day; I have.

A good time, I thought to look at some recipes that involved sugar and lots of sweet stuff. I particularly like the Fruit Tartlets recipe and you can use any fruits inside, but as strawberries are still in season here in Spain, they do look the best. I also regularly make the Apple and Raisin Parcels as an alternative to Apple Pie. They make a great dessert to compliment your Easter Roast but are also very tasty cold in a picnic or as a snack. Happy Easter.

Buen Apetito

Ma Millbank’s Chocolate Sponge

200g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
150g self raising flour
50g cocoa
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
Oven 190º
Beat the butter until creamy, add the sugar and again beat until creamy. Sieve out flour and baking powder and leave ready. Add eggs 1 at a time with a spoonful of flour; this will stop curdling. When all eggs mixed in, add the remaining flour, but mix only until a smooth mixture. Too much mixing will lose all the air in the mixture.
Pour into two cake tins and when oven is at temperate, cook for 20 minutes or when a sharp knife comes out clean. Do not open the oven door before at least 15 minutes or cake will drop the air.

Butter Cream for middle of sponge

100g butter
50g of icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
Cream butter and add sieved icing sugar and cocoa until smooth. If too runny add more icing sugar; if too stiff add a few drops of cold water. Wait until cake sponge is cold before applying the butter cream. Melt chocolate in glass bowl above some hot water and pour over the top of the cake and decorate or double the butter cream quantities and spread the top with butter cream and decorate.

Banana and Strawberry Honey Crisp

75g oats
25g caster sugar
25g butter
I lemon
1 tbsp orange blossom honey
225g strawberries hulled and halved
4 medium bananas peeled and thickly sliced
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
Sprinkle oats over a baking sheet and scatter with sugar. Dot with butter and then drizzle over the honey. Place in oven 190ºC for around 10 minutes or until toasted. Remove and allow to cool. Place the strawberries and bananas in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Top with Greek yogurt and finish with a scattering of crumbled honey crisp oats.

Fruit Tartlets

125g plain flour
50g icing sugar
60g butter
75g milk chocolate
400g mixed summer red fruits (cherries, raspberries and redcurrants make a good display)
2 tbsp raspberry jam
1 small banana
Sift the flour and sugar in a bowl. Dice the butter and rub in with your fingertips. Add the egg and mix in the dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Divide the pastry into four equal pieces and roll out flat, curve up the edges and put triple thickness foil around the outside. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl. Brush the chocolate inside the pastry cases and top with summer fruit. Warm the jam and sieve until smooth then brush over the fruit. Slice the banana and push some slices into the centre of each tartlet and serve.

Rum Truffles

100g trifle sponges
4 tbsp rum
4 tbsp black coffee
25g slivered almonds
1 tbsp icing sugar
25g butter
100g strong chocolate
Chocolate strands to decorate
Dice the sponges and place in shallow dish. Grill nuts of 5 minutes, turning until toasted. Allow to cool. Put icing sugar and butter into a bowl and beat together. Add the sponge, juices and almonds and mix well. Set aside. Break chocolate into squares and place in a glass heat proof bowl over a pan of hot water. Leave until melted and stir until smooth, remove from the heat and mix into sponge mixture. Set aside to cool until firm enough to roll. Using a spoon scoop out a small portion and roll into a ball. Roll in the chocolate strands and place in a paper case.

Apple and Raisin Parcels

450g Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rum
50g sugar
¼ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
50g raisin
1 pkt of puff pastry
Peel, core and chop the apples and toss in the lemon juice to prevent discolouring. Place 2 tbsp of cold water, the rum and sugar and spices into a pan. Stir in apples and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in raisins and allow to cool. Roll out pastry and cut into squares. Place a spoonful of the apple mixture in the centre of the square and bring the corners up to the middle and pinch together. Cook in oven 200º for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.