Posts Tagged With: 2014

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

Originally posted 20/12/2014

WARNING: this stuff is highly addictive!! Seriously, I made a batch with the aim of taking half into university to share with my classmates but it somehow all disappeared in a number of freak scoffing accidents before I had the chance…

The recipe below is adapted from one found in an old winter issue of Good Food magazine – I thought the original batter lacked a chocolatey flavour and didn’t really taste much different from normal gingerbread cake so I added cocoa to the mix which resulted in the perfect marriage of chocolate and spice. I also cut down the amount of treacle and syrup used as I felt the previous quantities were a bit excessive.

This cake is definitely my new festive favourite as it’s so deliciously moist, smells incredible and is super simple to make. It also keeps really well and, if anything, tastes better after a couple of days (if you can make it last that long…)

I finished this batch off with some sprinkly chocolate rings from Aldi.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12 large squares

  • 255g/9 oz self-raising flour
  • 155g/5.5 oz butter/margarine
  • 115g/4 oz dark brown sugar
  • 115g/4 oz black treacle
  • 115g/4 oz golden syrup
  • 115g/4 oz milk or dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 150 ml/5 fl oz milk

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter/margarine, sugar, treacle, syrup and spices into a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave until smooth or melt in a pan over the hob.
  3. Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in another heatproof bowl then melt in the microwave in blasts of 30 seconds-1 minute or over a pan of hot water.
  4. Stir the melted chocolate into the butter mixture then fold in the flour, cocoa powder and milk.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin then bake for 20-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  6. Transfer (with the baking parchment) onto a wire rack to cool then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Top with festive decorations of your choice if you wish.
Advertisements
Categories: Chocolate, Festive, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

White Christmas Rocky Road

Originally posted 19/12/2014

I’ve not been great at keeping my blog updated over the last few months due to being busy with uni but now we’re officially into the festive season it’d be wrong not to post some recipes! Being a loan-less student in London means money is pretty tight so I’ve been doing Christmas on a budget this year by creating as many homemade edible/crafty gifts as time and ability allows. This snowy white rocky road is a twist on the traditional kind and so ridiculously easy and cheap to make. The ruby red glace cherries look beautifully festive and the spicy ginger of the biscuits contrasts wonderfully with the creamy white chocolate.

You could also add nuts (e.g. pistachios or walnuts) or experiment with other goodies like dried cranberries for an equally authentic yuletide taste.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18 squares

  • 500g/1 lb 1oz white chocolate
  • 150g/5.5 oz ginger nut biscuits
  • 200g/7 oz glace cherry halves (1 standard tub)
  • 2 handfuls mini white marshmallows

METHOD

  1. Line a standard rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in blasts of 30 seconds in the microwave (no longer or it’ll seize!) or over a pan of hot water.
  3. Roughly break the ginger nuts up by hand into pieces no bigger than a 50p piece and add to the chocolate then stir in the glace cherries and marshmallows until thoroughly coated.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin then allow to set in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before cutting into squares with a sharp knife.
Categories: Chocolate, Festive, No-Bake | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Tea Cupcakes with White Chocolate Icing

Originally posted 14/10/2014

I’m back! After a bit of an absence from my wee blog due to moving and dieting, I’m now settling into life in London as a postgraduate English Linguistics student, and I’ve joined my university’s Baking Society which has made the cake making urges return tenfold! I attended their welcome meeting last week and had a jolly old time meeting fellow baking enthusiasts and sampling some scrumptious homemade goodies. The theme for the night was ‘try something new’ so I thought this’d be the perfect excuse to try out the matcha green tea powder my other half very kindly brought me back from California after I said I’d like to use some in my cooking.

Fortunately the oven in my new flat is wonderful and these cakes turned out beautifully – despite turning the sponge a lurid swampy colour, the green tea powder gives them a lovely subtly fragrant twang which works well with white or milk chocolate icing. I’m proud to say they were the first tin of cakes to disappear!

I’ve since found out that matcha green tea powder is extremely expensive to buy here in the UK (I’ve seen prices from £20 to £50!!) so they may not be the most practical cupcakes to try. However, you could add the contents of regular green tea bags instead and still get the flavour, just without the distinctive eye-catching green sponge.

Like a moron I forgot to photograph the insides of the cakes but the sponge came out very green! I ran out of white chocolate icing for the last two cakes and was in a hurry so I slathered them in Nutella – they were also delicious!

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12-14

For the cakes:

  • 115g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/6 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/6 oz butter/margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing (measurements very approximate, sorry!):

  • 140g/5 oz white chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • Splash of milk
  • A few pinches of matcha green tea powder
  • 12 wafer daisies (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, green tea powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 30-40 seconds (or 1 minute if using cooking chocolate – this tends to be more forgiving) until smooth.
  2. Add the butter, icing sugar and milk and beat until the mixture is a spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny add more icing sugar and if it’s too stiff add more milk.
  3. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife – make sure you work quickly as this icing tends to stiffen rapidly!
  4. Sprinkle a little matcha green tea powder onto the top of each cake and add a wafer daisy as a pretty finishing touch if you wish. Voila!

Edit: You can see the sponge’s vivid green colour a bit better in this photo of another batch I made for Halloween (along with some chocolate bat ear cupcakes!), with red ‘blood’ icing and sweetie fangs:

FB_IMG_1438382705685

Categories: Chocolate, cupcakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

Originally posted 07/06/2014

I’ve always thought there’s something so cute and jolly about (albeit not strictly traditional) Mr Kipling style individual bakewell tarts, with their dazzlingly white fondant icing and bright red cherry decorations sitting atop jam-filled sponge and pastry. I’m not even a fan of almonds but I love them! They were the inspiration for these pretty and easy to make cupcakes, which I think scream retro village fete cake stall. I’m always reluctant to use glace icing due to being paranoid its runniness will make my creations look like a three-year-old was let loose in the kitchen but luckily keeping it at quite a thick consistency meant they looked a tad more sophisticated.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15-18

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 100g/3.5 oz ground almonds
  • 225g/8 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond essence

For the glace icing/jam filling:

  • 115g/4 oz icing sugar
  • Half a tsp of almond essence
  • Water or milk
  • 12-14 tsp (approx.) strawberry or raspberry jam (raspberry is traditional but I used strawberry as my friend at work is allergic to raspberries)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and almond essence until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling & icing:

  1. If your cupcakes have risen up to form dome tops in the oven and you’d prefer a flat surface to put the icing on to avoid excessive drizzling, use a serrated knife to slice the tops of the cakes off (don’t throw them away – scoff them later!)
  2. Using a teaspoon or small sharp knife, carefully cut a small hole (about 2cm deep by 2cm wide) in the top of each cupcake. Don’t discard the bits you’ve cut out!
  3. Drop about a teaspoon of jam into each hole and then gently push the sponge part that was cut out back into each one so that the tops of the cakes are even.
  4. Place the icing sugar into a bowl then add the almond essence and enough milk or water and stir to form a thick but slightly runny mixture.
  5. Spread the icing onto the top of each cupcake in a thick, even layer using a teaspoon or pallette knife and top with a glace cherry.
Categories: cupcakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coconut Ice Cakes

Originally posted 26/05/2014

I should probably begin this post by admitting that I’m not really the biggest fan of coconut, or sweeties in general. However, for some bizarre reason, I’m a huge fan of the colourful sugary treat known as coconut ice.

I’ve been craving this by the bucketful the last few weeks and so, out of curiosity, had a Google to see whether anyone had had the stroke of genius to incorporate it into a cake recipe. Shockingly enough, turns out no one had. Naturally, I had to try and resolve this so I donned my experimental chef’s hat and hit the kitchen armed with desiccated coconut, red food colouring and crossed fingers. I’m pleased to say the result was fantastic – simply adding desiccated coconut to regular buttercream icing really does make it taste very reminiscent of the sweet itself – and it went down a storm with my colleagues 🙂

For an extra homemade touch, you could make the actual coconut ice yourself (it’s very easy – mostly just desiccated coconut and condensed milk) but, if I’m brutally honest, *whispers* I prefer the bought stuff. On that bombshell, here’s my recipe…

Aren’t they pretty??

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12 large squares

For the cakes:

  • 340g/12 oz self-raising flour
  • 340g/12 oz butter/margarine
  • 340g/12 oz granulated/caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 55g/2 oz strawberry milkshake powder
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring
For the coconut icing/jam filling:
  • 115g/4 oz icing sugar
  • 55g/2 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring
  • 4-5 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 12 small cubes of coconut ice (or 6 large chunks cut in half)
METHOD
For the cakes:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two identical rectangular cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour until a batter of soft dropping consistency has formed then place half of the mixture into a separate bowl.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to one bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the strawberry milkshake powder and strawberry extract to the other bowl then stir in the red food colouring a drop at a time until the mixture turns a pale pink colour.
  6. Pour each bowl of cake batter into the two separate tins and bake for about 15-18 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  7. When baked, place the cakes on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage they can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the coconut icing & jam filling:

  1. Spread the strawberry jam onto the top of the pink sponge and carefully place the yellow sponge on top (you may wish to trim the tops to make them nice and flat so they sandwich together more easily).
  2. Place the butter and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a thick, fluffy mixture has formed.
  3. Stir in the desiccated coconut and red food colouring until the icing turns your desired shade of pink.
  4. Spread the icing over the top of the cake in an even layer then neatly trim off the outer edges of the cake to get the full effect of the lovely coloured sponge layers (but don’t throw away the offcuts, they’re still yummy!)
  5. Cut into 12 even squares then top each one with a piece of coconut ice.
Categories: Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Ever Blondies

Originally posted 06/05/2014

My first attempt at blondies were a sickly, sticky mess but these are ridiculously good! I was reluctant to reveal my secret ingredient to my eager samplers but I shall share it here for the benefit of the baking community at large (ahem). And that secret ingredient is…*drum roll*…custard powder.

This idea came about when I was simply too lazy to look up a blondie recipe and decided just to go by my failsafe brownie recipe and substitute the milk chocolate for the white variety. It then dawned on me that I had no idea what to add in place of the cocoa powder. There’s no such thing as white cocoa powder (to my knowledge?!) and I was worried that making up the cocoa quantity with more flour would affect the flavour and make them too plain so, in the absence of butterscotch Angel Delight, I reached for the vanilla scented custard powder. And hey presto! The rest is scrumptious cakey history.

The lovely golden blondies pictured with their darker chocolate bretherin, pre-cutting… 

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15

  • 200g/7 oz granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g/3 oz self-raising flour
  • 120ml/4 fl oz cooking oil
  • 130g/4.5 oz white cooking chocolate
  • 4.5 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but really makes the butterscotchy flavour pop!)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Briefly whisk the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and caramel flavouring together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate into small chunks and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 1 minute until smooth, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  • Fold the flour and custard powder into the mixture then pour into the prepared tin.
  • Pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out pretty much clean, then leave to cool.
  • Cut the blondies into squares using a sharp knife and marvel at their deliciousness as you dive in.
Categories: Chocolate, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Belgian Speculoos Cupcakes

Originally posted 28/02/2014

In October last year I went for a lovely long weekend in Bruges with one of my best friends and, in between stuffing our faces with the heavenly chocolate and fruit beer, we found ourselves sampling delicious golden caramel-flavoured ‘Speculoos’ spread every morning with breakfast in the hotel. This is a peanut butter style spread that’s made from ‘Speculoos’ biscuits which, we later found out from the distinctive red and white packaging, can be bought here in the UK under the name ‘Lotus Caramelized Biscuits’. Just recently, the spread has also become available to buy in the supermarkets over here so it went without saying that I needed to cake-ify it somehow! And here’s the meltingly moreish result, topped off with Belgian chocolate chips for the ultimate Bruges experience 🙂

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12-15

For the cakes:

  • 170g/6 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz brown sugar
  • 55g/2 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 170g/6 oz butter/margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but stunningly delicious and aromatic!)

For the icing (apologies if measurements are a bit off here, made it up as I went along):

  • 3 tbsp butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 4 tbsp Lotus Caramelized Biscuit spread
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp milk
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (again, optional but scrummy!)
  • Handful of Belgian chocolate chips

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two baking trays with 18 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and both lots of sugar together in a mixing bowl then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and caramel flavouring until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the paper cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the icing:

  1. Whisk the butter, Lotus spread, vanilla extract, caramel flavouring and icing sugar together in a bowl until well combined, while gradually adding the milk to loosen the mixture until it’s of a spreadable consistency. If it’s too thick, add more milk and if it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.
  2. Spread onto the cakes using a palette knife or pipe on using the nozzle of your choice.
  3. Top each cake with a few Belgian chocolate chips.
Categories: cupcakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.