James St Recipes: Start your Christmas preparation with Niall McKenna’s Chocolate Donut and Orange Lemon Cake

WITH this week’s recipes, I’m turning to cakes in preparation for Christmas desserts.

I think it’s a really good idea to bake at home, especially if you have kids, as some of my best memories are apple pies and scones in my grandmother’s kitchen.

Of course, there was always a run to the bakery in the morning for a bap in Belfast, as we are, after all, a nation of bakers in Northern Ireland.

If you’re entertaining guests this Christmas, it’s always a good idea to have a chocolate and fruit dessert to satisfy different palettes.

This week we have a chocolate roscón, which you can fill with currants, and a very simple cake to bake with orange and lemon drizzle.

These are two great recipes to get the kids involved, before you sit down and enjoy your cakes with a nice cup of tea.

:: For more information about our cooking demonstrations at Waterman Cookery School, visit www.waterman.house


(8 servings)


6 eggs, separated

150g powdered sugar

60g cocoa powder plus extra for dusting

Icing sugar for dusting

For the filling:

250ml double cream

1 tablespoon icing sugar

250g red currants


We start by preheating the oven to 160C. Line a Swiss roll tin approximately 23cm in size and grease with a little butter before reserving.

Place the egg yolks and powdered sugar in a large bowl and beat until thick and creamy. Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and beat until well blended.

In a second bowl, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a third of the egg whites to the cocoa mixture, then gently stir in the rest of the mixture until evenly distributed. Pour into the mold and spread around the corners.

Place the tin in the center of the oven and bake for up to 20 minutes. The cake will not rise because there is no flour in the mixture, but it will come off the walls of the mold.

Remove the pan from the oven and peel off the sides with a spatula before letting cool.

To make the filling, beat the cream and icing sugar until thick enough to form soft peaks. Remove the red currants from their stems.

To roll up the roscón, place the cake on a piece of clean parchment paper, cover the cake with the cream and sprinkle with the currants.

At one end of the cake, begin to flip and roll in on itself. Don’t push too hard because you don’t want the cream filling to come out. Continue rolling until the entire cake becomes itself.

Dust with powdered sugar and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


(For 4 people)

300g powdered sugar

150 g ground almonds

2.75 teaspoons baking powder

300g vegetable oil

6 eggs

zest of 2 oranges

zest of ¾ lemon

To make the syrup:

20g powdered sugar

Juice of 2 oranges

juice of a lemon


Preheat the oven to 160C.

In a bowl we put the sugar, ground almonds and yeast and mix.

Add the eggs and vegetable oil until all the ingredients are well combined.

Grate the zest from the oranges and lemons and mix again.

Line a cake pan with parchment paper and add the mixture before placing the pan in the oven for 45-50 minutes.

To make the syrup, mix the icing sugar with the orange juice and lemons, put the sugar and juice over medium heat and, once dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil, stir well and pour over the cake.

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