Chocolate Fudge Cake

Today is Chocolate Cake Day! As if I needed another reason to bake…. Tuesdays are busy days for me so I didn’t have much time to do it in: but no need to worry, this recipe is so quick and easy!

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Preheat: oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan: either use an muffin tin, it will make 16 to 18, or an 8″/20cm round tin. Today I opted for my kugelhopf tin

In a large bowl: sift together and set aside

  • 350g plain flour
  • 175g sugar (I mixed white and brown just because I ran out of the white)
  • ¼tsp salt

In a small bowl: mix together and set aside

  • 125ml buttermilk ( last minute so milk + 1tsp white vinegar left for 5mn)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (or 1 tbsp good instant espresso powder)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

In a small pan:

  • melt 230g butter
  • add 4 generous tbsp cocoa powder
  • pour 250ml boiling water, stirring well and once brought back to the boil, remove from heat

All together:

  • Pour the chocolate liquid over the dry ingredients, mixing gently, allowing for the liquid to cool down: you should get something that looks like a dough

choc cake

  • Add the wet ingredients over it and mix together with a wooden spoon. Pour into your prepared pan

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Bake for 35mn as a cake or 18 to 20mn as muffins.

choc cake3

Leave to cool for 10mn before turning onto a wire rack. I used melted milk chocolate and sprinkles for finishing touches!

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That easy! Now enjoy as my boys did!

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Pains au chocolat & Butter Pudding

The saying goes: “Don’t knock it down till you’ve tried it”. That’s what I always did to Bread and Butter pudding: knock it down as bread smothered in butter then drowned into an eggy-milk mixture could only come out as “soggy”, Yuk! That was until I found some chocolate chips brioche slices going stale in my pantry…. I don’t really “do” puddings for after dinner but it was Christmas time and I suddenly fancied trying just that! Well, I never! It was actually nice! And the boys liked it too! So when I was given a tray of 8 “pains au chocolat” 2 or 3 days gone, I knew exactly what to do: my own spin on this very British classic!

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Pains au chocolat & Butter pudding

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 Pains au chocolat
  • Butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

Preparation:

  • As I wanted to stay as close to the original as possible and butter the “bread”, I skimmed off the tops of the Pains with a sharp knife
  • Using a sweet chocolate chips butter, apply a generous amount to the top and cut in half.  Arrange in a dish, overlapping and showing the tops (un-cut sides)
  • I scattered some more chocolate chips, but quite frankly it wasn’t needed as quite a bit of chocolate already inside the Pains

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  • Into a mixing jug, whisk the eggs then add the milk, cream, extract and sugar
  • Pour over the Pains and leave to stand for 15mn allowing the bread to soak up some of the egg mixture
  • Meanwhile preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar (I used vanilla sugar) over the pudding and bake for 30 to 40mn until just set and golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool down a little before serving with some cream if desired

Enjoy just I did, getting the urge to share it with you!

Pizza with a Twist

You could be forgiven for thinking that I must feed my children solely with cakes or cookies but it isn’t so!  I do like cooking in general but it would have to be an unusual savoury recipe for me to want to share here…. as it was at the week-end! Not the recipe itself: a pizza! but with a twist…. Camera was at the ready! I was inspired by a video seen on line, brioche and Nutella of all things and I actually decided to go savoury on this one! Wonders never cease!

pizza with a twist

Pizza dough:

I won’t bore you with the details, I did mine in my bread machine, dough setting, mine is liquid in first:

  • 420ml water + 45ml or 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Sprinkle over 675g bread flour, covering all the liquid
  • Add in separate corners: 3tsp salt, 1½ tsp sugar and 1½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast

Once cycle over, I knocked it back gently onto a floured surface:

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I divided the dough in 4 rolls, working one at a time, covering the others aside.

Base: the first one, I rolled wide enough to cover my pizza stone, onto a baking sheet, checking the size before warming the stone up in the oven, preheating at 220°/ 200°fan

dough1

Cover in your preferred pizza tomato sauce:

base

Second Roll: try and roll it to the same size so it covers your base:

dough2

My boys wanted bacon bits and I used shop-bought grated mozzarella as a middle layer:

middle

Third Roll: same again, cover on top and S’more cheese, it is a pizza after all!

cheesy

Fourth Roll: Roll and cover your last layer. Now the fun begins!

  • Place a glass upside down in the middle of your pizza and cut 4 quarters

quarters and cut each quarter into 4 slices (tip: use scissors!)

  • Take 2 slices in each hand and twist twice, going opposite way ( right hand goes right and left hand goes left)

twists tuck the 2 ends together

  • Do the same all around your glass

rose and it should look like this!

  • More grated cheese: I keep telling you, it is a pizza!

smore cheese I took my hot stone out of the oven and just slid the baking sheet on top. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35mn, turning it round 2 or 3 times, until cooked as a pizza should be!

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Just perfect, it fed all of us (4) with one “petal” spare…. I know what I’m having for lunch! :dinner:

 

Upside Down Tangerines and Polenta Cake

It is a fruit of the season and I just felt like something unusual: I’ve always wanted to try polenta in baking and here was my perfect excuse! Be warn though: best eaten same day so it made some happy neighbours….

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 5 tangerines or clementines, peeled and seedless
  • For the cake tin base: a little soft butter and demerara sugar
  • 125g soft butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp tangerine zest
  • 170g fine polenta
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 280g greek yoghurt
  • 180g ground almond
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 or 3 tbsp poppy seeds

Syrup:

  • Boil together the juice of 1 orange and 100g sugar

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30×20/ 12″x8″: spread the butter at the bottom and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar so the pan is well covered
  • Lay the tangerines segments, making sure all the bitter membranes are removed: should make 4 nice rows and I suggest alternating the direction for each rows
  • In a large bowl (I used my stand-mixer), beat together the butter, eggs, zest, polenta and the sugar until pale and creamy
  • Sift together the almond and baking powder in a small bowl
  • Add the dry ingredients, seeds and yoghurt to the mixture and fold in by hand
  • Pour over the fruit
  • Bake in the oven for about an hour: until it’s golden in colour and a knife comes out dry, so you might have to cover with foil in the last 10 to 15mn
  • Once out of the oven, prick the cake with a tooth pick and pour some of the syrup onto the cake
  • Let it cool down half an hour then turn upside down
  • When the rest of the syrup has thickened to honey consistency, glaze over the tangerines

Really nice with cream!

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Good Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

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At the week-end, I just fancied a good chocolate cake, no re-thinking of the recipe, as is! I liked the sound of  Nigella’s, quick and easy:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/old-fashioned-chocolate-cake-119

My tiny alteration was to reduce the sugar amount from 200g to 150g and I used honey instead of golden syrup! The icing being a little sweet to my taste, I decided not to cover the whole cake….