Easter rosemary biscuits

Makes 24 average-sized biscuits.


For the dough:

  • 500g plain flour
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 250g butter, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • drop of milk, if required
  • 1tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • zest of one lemon

To decorate:

  • pack of ready-made sugarpaste or Royal icing 


  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Sift the flour and sugar together into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub together with the flour mix using your fingertips until you have a sand-like texture and the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, rosemary and lemon zest. Bring the mix together as a dough. If it feels a touch dry, then add a teaspoon of milk at a time as needed.
  • Squash the dough down to about 1” thickness, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the fridge and roll out to ½cm thick.
  • Cut out shapes using your chosen cutters and place the biscuits on a baking tray.
  • Put back in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill the biscuit dough.
  • Remove from the fridge and put straight into the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  • Decorate as desired with sugarpaste or royal icing. If using royal icing, you can alter the flavour by adding a few drops of lemon juice or rose extract.

Choc-orange hot cross buns

This recipe involves making your own candied peel and it really is worth the effort; in fact it sounds far more effort than it actually is.


For the candied peel:

  • peel of two oranges
  • 120ml water
  • 120g caster sugar

For the buns:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 120ml milk
  • 15g live yeast or 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 60g softened butter
  • 50g currants
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

For the cross:

  • 150g flour
  • water as needed


For the the candied peel:

  • Using a potato peeler, remove the peel from the oranges, try to avoid including any pith as this will be bitter. 
  • Cut the peel into thin strips and drop into boiling water for two minutes.
  • Drain the peel into a sieve and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Repeat this blanching another one or two times; when the peel has lost it’s bitterness it is done.
  • Place 120ml water into a small saucepan along with the 120g caster sugar.
  • Stir gently and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved drop the blanched peel into the syrup and gently stir.
  • Continue simmering for 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Drain the peel, retaining the syrup. Spread the peel out on a plate to dry a little.

For the buns:

  • Sift the flour, salt and granulated sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Heat the milk very gently to lukewarm, remove from the heat.
  • Drop the live yeast into it and leave for a couple of minutes. Pour the beaten egg into the well, followed by the milk mixture. Mix until a dough forms. (If you are using dried yeast you can simply add this into the well without the need to add it to the milk first.)
  • Knead lightly in the bowl until smooth.
  • Add the softened butter a little at a time, then add the peel, currants and chocolate chips.
  • Set the dough aside to rise until it has doubled in volume. Place a damp tea-towel over the bowl and place your bowl somewhere warm, such as the airing cupboard, to prove.
  • Once risen, knead the dough very lightly. 
  • Shape into 12-16 balls and arrange them on a baking tray. Cover with clingfilm and place back in the warm area to double in size.

To Make the Cross:

  • Meanwhile, create the cross by putting the 150g flour into a bowl and adding enough water to make a thick paste. 
  • Fill a piping bag with the mixture and cut off the end to give a ¼cm hole and pipe a cross on each bun. 

To bake the buns:

  • Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas 6.

To finish:

  • Remove the buns from the oven and place on a cooling rack over a tray. Brush the reserved orange syrup over the buns for glaze, shine and a super, orangey flavour.

Easter Madeira cake

Makes one 6″ cake


For the cake:

  • 135g softened butter
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g plain flour
  • 35g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 120ml water
  • 120g caster sugar
  • few drops of rose extract

For the decoration:

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g raspberry jam


For the cake:

  • Grease a six-inch cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the beaten eggs slowly. Once the eggs are fully incorporated, fold in the flours by hand using a spatula.
  • Turn out the batter into the prepared tin and bake on 160C/315F/Gas 2-3 for one hour.
  • A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake coming out clean will signify the cake is cooked.
  • Whilst the cake is in the oven, place the water and sugar together in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. 
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the rose extract and stir it in.
  • Once the cake has cooled, cut the uneven top so it’s flat. Cut the cake to form two layers and invert so the bottom becomes the top.
  • Brush the cooled rose syrup onto the top of each sponge to keep the cake moist.

For the icing:

  • Mix together the icing sugar and softened butter and beat for two minutes until light and fluffy and pale in colour.
  • Spread a layer of jam and a layer of buttercream on the bottom sponge and sandwich the two halves of cake together.
  • Using a palette knife, cover the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • Serve as is or decorate further with sugarpaste.
Stefi created a name for herself by decorating and designing flamboyant and extravagant masterpieces, many decorated with handmade, intricate encrusted sugar flowers that have become her hallmark.
Stefi also offers a unique bespoke design service. For more information, visit www.stefijakab.co.uk