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Signature Bakes: GBBO's Ian serves a taste of summer

In his July column for Velvet, Cambridge Bake Off finalist Ian Cumming shares recipes for a picnic-friendly savoury and a cake that screams summer

Mushroom & Stilton ‘Sausage’ Rolls

This recipe is the sort of recipe you can do all or some of. You could skip the pastry part and buy some puff pastry in the shops (but always try and buy the all-butter puff as it’s so much more tasty) or you could make this pastry recipe and just buy some sausage filling - meaty or otherwise.

Ian Cumming's Signature Bakes for Velvet, July 2020 (35836580)
Ian Cumming's Signature Bakes for Velvet, July 2020 (35836580)



250g strong white flour

2tsp mustard powder (optional)

1 level teaspoon salt

200g cold butter

75ml cold water

Mushroom filling:

10g dried porcini mushrooms

250g finely chopped mushrooms

6 finely chopped spring onions

40g butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

A few sprigs of thyme

1 tbsp flour

100ml Vermouth or white wine

50g fresh breadcrumbs

100g crumbled chestnuts

25g of butter

125g crumbled stilton

Salt and pepper - be generous with both

Truffle oil (optional)

Egg yolk with a teaspoon of cream or milk


Mix the flour, mustard powder (if using) and salt in a mixing bowl. Grate in the butter and use a knife to cut through the mixture until it starts to look like a crumble. Sprinkle over the cold water and cut through with the knife for a couple more minutes. Bring it all together and then knead a few times. Squash into a rough rectangle about 2cm thick and wrap in clingfilm or an old plastic bag. Chill in the fridge whilst you make the filling.

For the filling you need to go big with the flavours! The pastry will mask some of those flavours so help the filling shine through with more salt, garlic etc than you think might be right. Firstly put the porcini mushrooms in a small cup, cover with boiling water and set aside.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan. Put the mushrooms and spring onions in the pan and fry on a medium-high heat. They’ll absorb the butter and oil so you may need a bit more oil. Meanwhile drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.

Add the porcini, the thyme leaves and garlic and fry for a couple more minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and fry for a minute before pouring over the Vermouth or white wine. Continue to cook until it has more or less disappeared before adding the bread crumbs and chestnuts.

Add the reserved liquid from the porcini until you have a nice thick paste. Turn off the heat, mix in the extra 25 of butter before mixing in the crumbled stilton. Season with generous amounts of salt and pepper. If you have it, then I love to add in some truffle oil too. Leave the mixture to cool.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to approximately the thickness of a one pound coin. Using a sharp knife cut a straight line across the base of the pastry.

Put the mushroom mixture in a strong bag - ideally a piping bag if you have one. Gently squish it all together and then cut a corner off the bag so you get a line of mixture approximately 15mm in diameter. Pipe this along your straight line of pastry.

Cut the pastry at either end perpendicular to your line of mushroom so the end of the sausage rolls will be straight. Tightly roll up the mushrooms and then cut the pastry all the way along leaving a 10mm overlap. Brush the overlap with a little water and then seal up the roll placing the seam at the bottom. Cut the rolls into suitable sizes.

Once you have done them all brush the tops with the egg yolk mixture. If you want you can score the top with a sharp knife for the professional look. Put on a lined baking tray and place in a 200C oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Strawberry Upside-down Cake

Upside-down cakes are a bit of a favourite of mine as you can put all manner of fruit in them and they end up tasting great. Also they don’t require icing so are very easy to make. This recipe uses a good load of our glorious English strawberries so you might be able to say you’re having one of your five a day as you enjoy it. . .

Ian Cumming's Signature Bakes for Velvet, July 2020 (35836578)
Ian Cumming's Signature Bakes for Velvet, July 2020 (35836578)


20g Demerara sugar

Approximately 400g punnet strawberries

240g unsalted butter

240g caster sugar

Good pinch of salt

4 large eggs

1/2tsp almond extract

150g self raising flour

level teaspoon of baking powder

90g ground almonds

30ml milk

Few tsp strawberry jam


Grease and line a 23cm tin that is a couple of inches deep. Sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the base.

Cut the strawberries in half and lay them over the base of the tin. You can cut them lengthways or across. Arrange them in beautiful patterns or dump them in. Just make sure they are cut side down.

Put the butter, caster sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and beat for a good couple of minutes. One thing I have learnt relatively recently is to beat it until it changes colour from a pale buttery yellow to almost white. This means it has lots of air whipped into it which will help your cake rise.

Add the eggs one at a time, whipping the mixture thoroughly with each addition. Add a tablespoon of the flour with the last egg along with the almond extract. (The flour will help stop the mixture splitting.)

Sieve the flour and baking powder onto the eggs and then add the ground almonds on top. Fold it all together along with the milk.

Put about half the mixture on top of the strawberries and then put 1/2 teaspoon sized blobs of jam all over the mixture - you should probably have a dozen or more blobs. Put the rest of the batter on top and smooth it flat.

Put in oven preheated to 180C. Bake for about 25 minutes before turning it down to 160C and then baking for approximately another 20 minutes. Check to see that an inserted knife comes out clean.

Once cooked, run a knife around the outside and leave it to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate. You could wait for it to cool, but I really recommend enjoying it whilst still warm with a generous blob of creme fraiche.

* Pictures by Ian Cumming - icimages.com

Read more: Ian Cumming's recipes for comfort and cheer

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