There is little doubt that Rukmini Iyer has completely revolutionised the way we all view a traybake meal. The author and food stylist has released six best-selling cookbooks, all of which champion a casually elegant style of cooking, designed to minimise fuss and maximise flavour.
Now, Rukmini turns her attention to the sweeter side of things with an eagerly anticipated new cookbook, The Sweet Roasting Tin. With over 75 recipes that stick to her popular one-tin formula, readers can choose from a wide selection of muffins, brownies, tarts and loaf cakes, to name but a few. Plus, there is a conscious focus on including gluten-free, vegan and diabetic-friendly alternatives to the majority of the recipes to ensure that no one misses out on their favourite treat. We rounded up a ready group of volunteers to try their hands at some of Rukmini’s bakes, so read on to see the sweet results.
From the book
The Sweet Roasting Tin
75 laid-back bakes from the author of The Roasting Tin series
From traybakes to tarts, cupcakes to cookies
With recipes for every season, occasion and skill level
Who: Rhiannon Roy – Managing Editorial Assistant, Vintage
What I made: Rosemary Lemon Curd Cupcakes (gluten-free)
What I thought: Since my dad found out he was coeliac a few years ago, it’s been difficult finding him a cake that doesn’t fall apart when you pick up a slice, taste distinctly gritty, or replace 90% of the ingredients with sugar. So I was thrilled not only by the number of naturally gluten-free options in The Sweet Roasting Tin, but also by the detailed gluten-free conversions included in most of the remaining recipes. It meant my Dad had a whole book to choose a cake from, rather than weakly being offered a fruit salad, which is what happens in most restaurants! He went for the Rosemary Lemon Curd Cupcakes.
We only had muffin cases, so I changed the recipe slightly to make 10 larger cakes instead of 12 cupcakes, and they therefore needed 5 more minutes in the oven, but otherwise the instructions were easy to follow and it took no time at all to make the cakes. When they came out, you couldn’t even tell they were gluten-free, which is the best compliment I can give a cake!
Who: Genevieve Halbert – Marketing Executive, The Happy Foodie
What I made: Orange & Hazelnut Cake
What I thought: I’ve always loved the way Rukmini Iyer’s recipes prioritise ease without ever compromising on flavour, and so I was excited to see how she’d apply that principle to baking. The Sweet Roasting Tin did not let me down. It’s packed with super-straightforward recipes for genuinely unusual bakes, so much so that it was tricky to choose just one to make. Chocolate and lime truffle cake, chilli-spiked halloumi and courgette muffins, and saffron and orange banana bread all called out to me, but in the end I chose to bake this simple orange and hazelnut cake. This cake marries the delicate flavour of orange and the earthy flavour of toasted hazelnut to great effect, and has an appealingly damp texture thanks to the fresh orange juice used in the batter. It’s excellent with a cup of strong coffee.
Who: Mollie Stewart – Marketing Executive, Vintage
What I made: Chilli-spiked Halloumi & Courgette Muffins
What I thought: I’ve lost my sweet tooth recently, but luckily Rukmini has some sumptuous, savoury recipes in The Sweet Roasting Tin, and being a chilli fan I couldn’t resist the sound of the chilli-spiked halloumi & courgette muffins. They were so easy to make (definitely do not skip the salting of the courgettes and squeezing the moisture out of them), and kept well over the next few days as a great addition to my back-to-the-office lunch boxes. This weekend, despite only having baked one loaf of bread before in my life, I’m going to be attempting her spiced focaccia with roasted butternut squash.
Who: Jessica Lockyer-Palmer – Marketing Manager, The Happy Foodie
What I made: Cherry and Almond Cake
What I thought: For me, there is no greater culinary duo, no ingredient collaboration more irresistible, than cherry and almond. During the brief annual cherry season, if you come for dinner at mine you can pretty much guarantee dessert will involve cherry and almond in some format: clafoutis, frangipane tarts, crumble, you name it. I always find myself somewhat bereaved when the summer draws to a close, taking the last of the fresh cherries with it and I vow to cook with frozen or preserved varieties but invariably forget. So when, in the midst of my annual cherry mourning, I stumbled across this glacé cherry and almond traybake from The Sweet Roasting Tin, I knew it was the bake for me. I am pleased to report to any fellow cherry and almond fans out there, it does not disappoint. With a light, buttery crumb fragrant with almond and dotted with sweet cherries, it also couldn’t be easier to make. And no need to mourn this perennial bake either, so no doubt I’ll be returning to it to brighten my days in the depths of winter.
Who: Alex Russell – Senior Editor, Vintage
What I made: Black Pepper, Cheddar and Sage Muffins
What I thought: One word: perfection. These muffins disappeared from the table almost as soon as they came out of the oven. I’ve used a few muffin recipes in the past and the results have often been either too dense, or too light and cupcake-like. This recipe though is incredibly easy to follow, and works a treat. Breakfast, lunch or late night snack, these muffins deliver at any time and keep well in the fridge for a couple of days. Don’t be afraid to mix in lots of sage as it cuts through the rich cheese taste wonderfully and, with the pepper, gives a fresh kick.
Who: Sophie Painter – Head of Campaigns, Vintage Marketing
What I made: Sticky Date Gingerbread
What I thought: Ginger and dates are two of my favourite things, so this sticky gingerbread really leapt off the page at me. Also there’s something particularly autumnal about sticky ginger cakes, so this seemed like the perfect warming treat for colder, darker days.
It was incredibly quick and simple to make, and I had all of the ingredients ready to go in my kitchen cupboards. The preparation took no more than 15 minutes, and that was with me slowing the whole thing down by eating the odd date as I went along.
It might feel like you’re adding too many dates, if such a thing is even possible, but they all sink into different layers and that is exactly what makes this cake so sticky and delicious. Also, if you like your ginger cake extra fiery, I would suggest adding an extra heaped teaspoon or two of ground ginger to the mix as I did. As an added bonus, while in the oven, the cake made my whole flat smell absolutely delicious.
The result is a really unique and moist ginger cake, which isn’t too sweet and keeps really well. If you have a sweeter tooth, I recommend icing it with Rukmini’s orange icing, which is also in the book.
Who: Katrina Northern – Marketing Manager, Vintage
What I made: Intense Chocolate and Salted Caramel Muffins
What I thought: It took me days to decide what to make because I already wanted to make every single thing in The Sweet Roasting Tin. In the end, I opted for the Intense Chocolate and Salted Caramel Muffins as I had many of the ingredients already, and crave chocolate at all times. Muffins are also great because they’re easy to take to a picnic, the office, or to slip into your bag as an ‘emergency’ snack.
The only thing I didn’t have in my mildly chaotic baking cupboard was the dulce de leche, or tinned caramel, which you may need to go to a larger supermarket for. I also inexplicably misread the recipe and made 18 muffins, rather than 12, (which is probably why I had a thinner top layer of cupcake mixture and a bit of caramel leakage). It resulted in more muffins though, so I wasn’t complaining.
The steps are very easy, mixing wet and dry ingredients separately and then together before dividing into muffin cases in the tin. After this, you pause to add a spoonful of caramel or dulce de leche into the centre, and then top with the rest of the mixture (which you will have enough of if you make an ordinary number of muffins).
The natural yoghurt, depending on the brand you use, gives them a really nice subtle tang and they are delicious warm, though also nice at room temperature. When you cut one open, you should be able to see a very satisfying, gooey caramel centre.