One of my earliest childhood memories was the excitement of hearing the ice-cream van jingle every Saturday afternoon. My brother and I would dash to greet it, pennies tightly clasped in our little hands. It was a very tricky decision, as a six-year-old, to choose just one ice from the van’s exotic display!
So, whatever our unpredictable British summer throws at us this year – a stunning heat wave or just grey drizzle – ice-creams just have to make an appearance on the kitchen menu.
Any little treats that don’t require hours of slaving in the kitchen are perfect, especially during the summer months when appetites may be smaller.
You might need to look twice at these… are they freshly churned? Flake 99? Raspberry ripple and mint-choc chip? No, these are in fact cakes!
Dead simple, quite quick to bak e and ideal for all that summer entertaining. They are great at impromptu barbecues, picnics and kids’ parties and will even keep children occupied in the kitchen for an hour or so during the interminable summer break, if you don’t mind the mess… Oh, and they won’t melt! Surprisingly the cakes are actually baked in the cones, which form an edible cupcake case.
In the hot weather, buttercream can easily become too soft to pipe. If this happens to you, place the bowl of buttercream in the fridge for a short spell – 15–20 minutes should do it – to firm up a little. If it becomes too hard, beat it again, adding 1 tbsp of boiling water; it will soon become creamy and easy to pipe once more.
Bake the cakes, if you can, on the day they are to be eaten or, if necessary, the day before, but no longer as they tend to dry out inside the cones. The buttercream can be made ahead and even frozen, but will need to be beaten again, as above.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake these ice-cream cones, pop along to Waitrose patisserie counter, where you will find an array of individual summer treats. We have created a cute summer box of fairy cakes, decorated with little ice creams, bunting and bumblebees, and even a summer tea party box of fairy cakes decorated with a tiny tea pot, cup and strawberries.
The simple and quite delicious British summer classic dessert, Eton Mess, is made with strawberries, meringues and cream. One of the many stories behind its creation has it that a perfectly constructed meringue dessert was mangled during the car journey to a picnic at Eton College… Luckily, however you combine British summer berries, meringues and cream, it will taste delicious.
Look out for our Raspberry Eton Mess cupcake in Waitrose, or make the dessert yourself with home-made or ready-made meringues.
In the summer, it would be criminal not to make the most of our delicious home-grown berries and fruits. And remember that, during the summer months, individual portions of dessert can be much easier to serve, especially for picnics, barbecues and other moveable feasts, so try meringues, individual pavlovas, tartlets, summer puddings… I could go on!
Ice-creams that won’t melt! A perfect addition to any children’s party or picnic, especially during the summer. These are decorated as the real things – flake 99, raspberry ripple or mint choc chip – but use your imagination and get the children to give you a hand. These cakes are baked in ice-cream cones, so eat them quickly as they will start to dry out after a day or so. That shouldn’t prove difficult!
1 x Orange Drizzle Cake batter
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
grated zest of 2 large oranges, plus 75ml orange juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
250g self-raising flour, sifted
20-25 flat-based ice-cream cones
1 x recipe Buttercream
300g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar, sifted
few drops of peppermint extract
green food colour
1 tsp vanilla extract
pink (or red) food colour
nylon piping bag
large star nozzle
7-8 chocolate flakes
7 tsp tiny chocolate buttons
5 tsp coloured sugar sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 170C/fan 160C/340F/gas mark 3 ½. Cream the butter, sugar and zest until very pale, light and fluffy (it will take at least 5 minutes in an electric mixer). Add the eggs gradually, beating between each addition, along with 1 tbsp of the flour to prevent curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and, lastly, slowly mix in the orange juice.
Place all the ice-cream cones on a baking sheet. Divide the cake batter evenly between them and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter in an electric mixer until really pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat for at least 5 minutes, until light and creamy.
Divide the buttercream between 3 bowls. Add a little peppermint extract to the first, to taste, then a dash of green food colour, and mix until you achieve the desired shade. Add the vanilla to the second bowl and mix well. To the third bowl, swirl in a little pink food colour; do not blend it in as you are aiming for the marbled effect of raspberry ripple ice-cream.
Spoon the vanilla buttercream into the piping bag and swirl on to a third of the ice-cream cones. Finish each with a chocolate flake. Wash the bag and nozzle and repeat with the green buttercream; sprinkling with chocolate buttons. Wash the bag and nozzle again. Finally pipe the raspberry ripple buttercream into the remaining cones and decorate with sprinkles.
Arrange on a serving dish or cake stand.