Perfect homemade custard creams comprising a custard flavoured shortcake biscuit with a creamy custard buttercream filling.
So I am kicking off this post with some custard creams facts to enlighten us all as to the history of this lovely little biscuit. It turns out the good old reliable CC made its UK debut in 1908 and the fern baroque biscuit styling came courtesy of the Victorian era (they were big on baroque). To this day the custard cream remains ever popular. At a poll of the most popular biscuits in the UK taken in September 2020, the custard cream held it's head high coming in at a respectable 6th place. Not too shabby at all for an old 'un.
My first batch of custard creams came out perfectly but were a bit too big, a custard cream should be a mouthful not a bar. So, for Plan B, I decided to go for authenticity, purchased some cutters from Amazon and set to work on another batch. These cutters resulted in a biscuit that looked like the real thing but had the added benefit of being homemade and therefore tasting sooooo much better!
Just look at these little beauties, are they not just super cute?!?
This custard cream recipe is really easy, so yummy and well worth the effort, I really hope you have a go a baking your own, please do rate the recipe below if you can.
Why bake these Custard Creams?
Because these are:
Super easy ✔️
Have a lovely light shortcake texture ✔️
The filling is a delicious soft vanilla custard blend ✔️
Great for making with children ✔️
Perfect for a good dunking with a perfect cup of tea! (only Yorkshire tea will
Plain (all purpose) flour: plain flour can be substituted for self raising flour if preferred, the difference is that it comes pre-loaded with it's own baking powder. If you use SR flour then just omit the baking powder so that your biscuits do not over-puff up.
Cornflour (cornstarch) and Icing Sugar (confectioner's sugar): both of these work together to give a lovely lightness to the custards creams. Cornflour protein does not contain gluten and as such results in a softer biscuit. Icing sugar is very fine and light and also contains more cornflour, so between the two of them and your custard powder you are guaranteed a lovely light shortcake biscuit.
Baking powder: just a little is added to ensure the biscuits remain flat.
Custard powder: I use Birds Custard Powder. That good old classic! If you are baking your custard creams in the U.S. and cannot get custard powder just swap it for instant vanilla pudding mix, it will work just as well.
Fine salt (kosher salt): fine salt is used because it disappears quickly into the biscuits when they are baked. However, bear in mind that omitting the salt may result in a slight loss of flavour.
Unsalted butter: using unsalted butter enables control over the amount of salt in a recipe. The butter should be kept in the fridge and grated when needed so that it is kept as cold as possible.
Large egg yolk: the fat from one egg yolk is needed as it binds the biscuit mixture together.
Milk: milk is added because it keeps the custard cream biscuit mixture soft when baked.
See end of post RECIPE CARD for precise quantities and instructions
Weigh out all of your ingredients ready and line your baking tray with greaseproof (parchment) paper.
- Biscuit dry ingredients
Add the flour, cornflour, baking powder, custard powder, salt and icing sugar into a food processor with a blade attachment and give it a whizz to ensure it mixes together. Alternatively, pop it all into a large bowl and mix. Add the cold, grated butter and pulse about 10 times until a breadcrumb consistency is achieved. Or rub the butter in by hand.
- Biscuit wet ingredients. Add your egg yolk, vanilla bean paste and milk and pulse again until the mixture just begins to clump into larger lumps. 12 pulses should do it.
- Refrigerate your dough. Lightly cover your work surface with a little icing sugar. Tip your biscuit mixture out onto it and bring together into a ball. Knead very slightly just to ensure it sticks together. Press the dough out flat to a depth of about 1 inch and wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate the custard cream biscuit dough for 20 minutes.
- Cutting your biscuits. Heat your oven. Roll your biscuit dough out to a depth of 3mm. Cut out about 50 Biscuits. My biscuits measured 5x4 cm using these cutters. Then place your custard creams on your baking tray, leaving a 1cm gap in between them. Next, bake the biscuits for 12 minutes or until the edges turn golden. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Custard filling. Beat all of your ingredients together until smooth.
- Filling your custard creams. Take half a teaspoon of the custard cream buttercream and gently spread it onto the underside of a biscuit. Place another biscuit on top and twizzle it very gently so that it sticks together. Wipe the buttercream that spills out from the sides away so they look neat and tidy. The shortcake biscuits are quite fragile so be very gentle.
- You need to keep the fat in the biscuits as cold as you can. This ensures your biscuits have a nice snap to them and retain their embossed pattern. Grating the cold butter means that it takes less time to mix into the flour. To ensure your measurements are correct, grate the butter directly into the weighing scales bowl and stop when you reach the quantity required. If you are rubbing the butter into the flour with your hands it is even more important to use cold butter because your hands will heat it as you rub it in.
- I recommend using a heavy gauge baking tray for these custard cream biscuits if you can. The tin will conduct the heat far better and keep your shortcake biscuits nice and flat.
- Your biscuit dough needs to be cold for this custard creams recipe to ensure the biscuits keep their shape and custard cream pattern. Soft butter means the fat will melt very quickly and the biscuits will spread. If you find your mixture warms up a bit when you've cut your biscuits then just pop the baking tray with them on into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill.
- To add a pattern to the custard cream biscuits either use the cutters I suggest or an embossing rolling pin. Alternatively, take a doily and roll it over the dough which will then emboss a pattern onto it. Or you can just prick it with a fork to create your own pattern.
This shortcake biscuit will go perfectly with a variety of fillings. Omit the custard powder and try adding in a tablespoon of cocoa powder for lovely chocolate filling. Alternatively add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to give a lovely light summery filling.
These custard creams will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Did you try this recipe? Please leave a ⭐ rating in the Recipe Card at the end of this post.
- Food processor with blade attachment (or you can rub mixture together by hand)
- Rolling Pin
- Biscuit cutter 5x4cm
- Clingfilm (saran wrap)
- 2 x large heavy gauge baking trays (or use one twice making sure you cool it with cold water before using it for the next batch)
- Stand or hand mixer
- 220 g plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 50 g cornflour (cornstarch)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 35 g icing sugar (powdered/confectioners sugar) plus extra for rolling out
- 20 g custard powder or instant vanilla pudding mix
- ¼ tsp fine salt (kosher salt)
- 120 g cold unsalted butter grated or in small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp milk
- 50 g unsalted butter softened
- 120 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp custard powder
- 1 tbsp milk
- Add your first 6 ingredients to a food processor with the blade attachment fitted and give it all a whizz to fully mix together.
- Dot your grated butter evenly over the flour mixture.
- Pulse for about 10 pulses until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You may need to scrape down and mix around with a spatula in between to ensure equally mixed.
- Add your egg yolk, vanilla bean paste and milk and pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together a little. 12 pulses should be enough.
- Spread a little icing sugar out onto a clean work surface and tip your biscuit mixture out onto it.
- Bring the mixture together into a large ball, knead it slightly just so it fuses together.
- Flatten the ball to a depth of about 1 inch, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/355°F/Gas mark 4
- Place a piece of greaseproof paper onto the base of your baking trays.
- Roll out your biscuit dough to a depth of 3mm.
- Cut out 50 biscuits.
- Place the biscuits onto your baking trays, leaving 1 cm between each one.
- Bake for 12 minutes, or until the biscuits start to just brown at the edges and slightly on the base.
- Leave to cool on the baking tray for 2 minutes, then carefully remove to a cooling rack.
- Beat all of your filling ingredients together until soft, pale, creamy and spreadable.
- Take one of your biscuits and carefully spread ½-1 tsp of butter icing onto the base of the biscuit.
- Sandwich together with another biscuit, giving it a gentle twizzle to ensure it sticks together, but be careful as the biscuits are fragile. Wipe the sides of the biscuits to ensure a neat presentation.