19 October 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

Domestic diva desserts

Celebrity chef Silvena Rowe shares some of her sweet treats. Watch the videos

Recipes by Silvena Rowe
16 Aug 2013 | 12:00 am
  • Orange almond cake

    Orange almond cake.

    Source:ANM Image 1 of 3
  • Cardamom and white chocolate mousse

    Cardamom and white chocolate mousse.

    Source:ANM Image 2 of 3
  • Tahini and vanilla panna cotta with fairy floss

    Tahini and vanilla panna cotta with fairy floss.

    Source:ANM Image 3 of 3

A diva knows how to make an impact, and what better way to wow people than with a knock-out dessert? But you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen slaving over complicated recipes – Silvena’s sweet treats are simply stunning.

Silvena Rowe’s orange and almond cake (Serves 8)

Prep time: 40 mins plus cooling time
Baking time: 45 mins


2 large seedless oranges
butter, for greasing
6 free-range eggs
240g caster sugar
240g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
icing sugar, to serve


1. Wash and scrub the oranges then boil them whole for about 40 minutes or until soft. Allow them to cool, then place (unpeeled) in the food processor and work to a purée. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

2. Butter a 24cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Beat the eggs and sugar for at least 5 minutes until very thick, creamy and volumised, then fold in the ground almonds, baking powder and orange purée until all are evenly combined.

3. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Some ovens may take longer, so bake a little longer if the cake still feels wet. Cool, dust with icing sugar and serve. The cake will sink slightly in the middle, but this will only add to its home-made, rustic look.

Tahini and vanilla panna cotta with fairy floss (Serves 4)

Prep time: 40 mins plus cooling time
Chilling time: 4 hours or overnight


2 x 2g leaves gelatine
300ml double cream
115g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
2 tbsp tahini paste
vegetable oil, to grease
handful Persian fairy sugar floss


1. Soak gelatine leaves in cold water. Pour the cream into a pan, add the sugar and heat gently, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring just to a simmer, then take off the heat. Add vanilla seeds to infuse.

2. Squeeze out gelatine then stir it into the warm cream mixture to dissolve. Add tahini. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.

3. Grease the inside of 4 espresso cups or small ramekins and divide the mixture between them. Cool then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To turn out, put the dishes briefly in boiling water and then invert on to plates. Serve with Turkish delight, candied nuts, raspberry syrup and sugar floss.

Cardamom and white chocolate mousse (Serves 8)

Prep time: 15 mins
Chilling time: overnight


4 free-range eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
400g white chocolate, broken into pieces
300ml double cream
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
berries, for garnishing


1. In a food processor, blend egg yolks with all but a tablespoon of the sugar until thick and creamy.

2. Half-fill a pan with water, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it on top of the simmering water (it shouldn’t touch the water). Stir the chocolate from time to time until it has melted. Allow the melted chocolate to cool, then combine with the egg and sugar mixture.

3. Whisk egg whites, adding remaining tablespoon of sugar, and beat until shiny.

4. Whip double cream and fold into egg and chocolate mixture. Finally, gently fold in the whisked egg whites and cardamom. Do not stir, beat or whisk any further, as the objective is to get as much air as possible into the mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into 8 small ramekins and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with berries of your choice before serving.

Mini meringues with berries (Serves 4)


Prep time: 30 mins
Baking time: 25 mins
3 medium free-range
eggs, whites only
175g caster sugar
284ml double cream
300g blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or any other berry of
your choice


1. Preheat oven to 120°C and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

2. Put egg whites in a clean bowl and place bowl on a folded tea towel so it doesn’t slip. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk egg whites on a low speed until they turn white. Gradually increase speed and whisk until whites form soft peaks when you lift whisk out.

3. Add a little sugar, whisk, then add another spoonful of sugar and whisk again. Continue until you have added half the sugar. Tip in remaining sugar and give mixture a final quick whisk. Don’t over-whisk or it won’t hold its shape in the oven.

4. Dollop large spoonfuls of meringue on to baking sheets. Use a teaspoon to make a dent in the middle of each one so it has slightly higher sides and a flat middle, like a nest.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meringues feel crisp and lift off paper easily. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

6. In a bowl, whisk cream until it forms soft peaks (just like for egg whites). Spoon cream into meringues and top with berries. You can add vanilla to the cream if you want to flavour it.

Recipes by Silvena Rowe

Recipes by Silvena Rowe