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

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  • 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.

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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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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….

 

Gravity Cake

This week was my older son’s 10th Birthday so I took this opportunity to try my hands at a “gravity cake” which I have fancied doing for quite a while… As I got to do what I wanted on the outside, he got his wish for the inside: Custard cakes sandwiched together, without the fruit!

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This post isn’t so much about the recipe as I have already posted it! But more of my step by steps effort to achieve the cake and I must admit, I was quite pleased with the end results….

  • Step 1: I baked the cakes the day before, and once cooled, sandwiched them together with chocolate buttercream, a standard one but instead of using cocoa powder, I melted a 200g bar of dark chocolate. I also covered 2/3 of a wooden stick and placed it all in the fridge overnight001
  • Step 2: On the day, I cut a wedge out, at an angle, allowing me to quality control the cake at the same time! I had kept some buttercream to cover the hole, and it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look pretty!

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Place your wooden stick in the cake and in the box (you can also use a pouch, filled with cotton  or else, I used bubble wrap, so the stick doesn’t move) at an angle.

  • Step 3: at first, you can just drop the chocolates as they are, they will stick to the buttercream. As you add more on top of each other and onto the stick, I used plain melted chocolate, cooled down so it’s thickened, as glue.

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Et voilà! Really not much to it and well worth the effort!

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And so were his friends! I didn’t even get to try some!031

Custard Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

I made this for the first time yesterday and when I asked my oldest boy if it was nice (he loves custard!) his reply was: ” Mum, nice doesn’t even begin to describe this!” I knew I was onto a winner!

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Ingredients:

  • 400g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 3 to 4cm sized piece
  • 25g vanilla sugar
  • Fresh custard: powder, sugar and 500ml milk
  • 190g soft butter
  • 250g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp ground vanilla (if available)
  • 150g light brown sugar

Preparation:

For the rhubarb:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/ Gas 5
  • Put the rhubarb in a shallow dish and toss with the sugar
  • Make sure it is in a single layer and cover with foil
  • Roast for 15mn
  • Remove the foil, shake a little and roast for an extra 5mn
  • Drain the juices off and let it cool

For the custard:

  • Basically, follow the instructions on your custard powder tin, or buy it ready made.
  • You will need 150g + 3 or 4 tbsp (set aside for the end)

The cake:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 25cm / 10″ round springform cake tin
  • In a large bowl, I used my stand mixer for this cake, beat together the custard with all the rest of the ingredients (it’s that easy!) until creamy and smooth
  • Level 1/3 of the mix on the bottom of your tin and dot with 1/3 of the rhubarb
  • Repeat twice but don’t be to neat about your cake layers, leaving a few dips
  • Finishing with a layer of rhubarb, scatter the rest of the custard (the 3 or 4 tbsp set aside) on top

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  • Bake for 35 to 40mn until well risen and golden in colour
  • Cover with foil and bake for an extra 15mn: clean skewer and it springs back when touched

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  • Leave to cool in the tin, it will drop a little
  • Dust with icing sugar and enjoy with custard, what else!

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Note

I think this could work with apples too! to be continued…..

Banana and Coconut Fruit Cake

This is my definition of fruit cake so you won’t find any raisins or sultanas: I don’t like them! Fruit cakes were always an issue for me, would be rude to refuse when offered but I just couldn’t eat them….until I came across this one: it had sultanas when I first tried it but the cake itself was so moist!

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Ingredients:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • 150g soft butter
  • 150g mixed dried fruit: I used dried cherries, chopped, blueberries and cranberries
  • 1 large, very ripe, banana, chopped
  • 50ml honey
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 150ml milk
  • 50ml cream (if available, otherwise milk)
  • 1 tsp extract of vanilla
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, coconut, sugar and vanilla
  • Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Stir in the fruits till well blended and add the honey
  • Place the bicarbonate of soda in a jug and mix with 2 tbsp of the milk. Stir in the rest of the milk and cream. Add extract
  • Add in the vinegar and stir just once. It will froth up. Pour quickly onto the dry mix and mix with a wooden spoon
  • Stir until it looks blended to a medium-stiff consistency: add either a little milk or coconut if not
  • Spoon into the tin and bake for about 55mn: well risen, golden and inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Leave in the tin to go cold

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Note:

It is best done a day in advance and it will keep for up to a week, if it lasts that long….

 

Giant Jaffa Cake

It was my younger son’s birthday last week and we celebrated over the week end… As his favourite biscuits are Jaffa cakes, I had the idea to make one as a birthday cake, and I personally think it turned out better than I ‘d ever hoped!

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On this occasion, I will present the process rather than the recipe, step by step!

Step 1:

Make the jelly! I used the powdered packets, 2 of, raspberry flavour, which happened to be the sugar free kind. Made it up to 500ml and added 4 very generous tablespoons of mixed fruit jam, in a wide round bottom pan

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Step 2:

Bake a Victoria sponge. I used 175g soft butter/ 150g caster sugar/ 3eggs/ 175g self raising flour and 1 ½ tsp baking powder and baked in a 25cm/ 10″ round baking pan as I wanted it quite flat

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Step 3:

Getting the jelly on top of the sponge…. good luck!

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Step 4:

The chocolate ganache made with 200g dark chocolate and 200ml cream, it was too much but it can be frozen!

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Step 5:

Smooth over so it looks like a Jaffa Cake , as above! and inside:

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Obviously, as it was for the birthday boy, some more “beautifying” had to be done…. The end result:

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Cardamom & Orange Cake with a Pine Nuts Streusel

I love the smell of cardamom, ground or pods, and I use it quite liberally in curries etc… but I’ve always fancied trying it in cakes… so here it is: it has a strong distinctive flavour and the orange comes through first

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Ingredients for the Streusel:

  • 70g plain flour
  • 60g pine nuts (¾ coarsely chopped)
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch ground vanilla
  • 50g butter, softened

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ scant tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 120g melted and cooled butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 110ml strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preparation for the streusel:

  • Toss all the ingredients except the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon
  • Add the butter and, using your fingers, mix together until you get a crumbly mixture, of different sizes. Set aside

Preparation for the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°fan/ Gas 5 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin. Place it on a baking tray
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cardamom and coffee powder
  • In a smaller bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is well infused
  • Mix it in with the dry ingredients and blend well
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together in the smaller bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir gently and only until the batter is evenly blended
  • Scrape the batter
  • into the prepared tin and top with an even layer of the streusel. Pat gently into the batter
  • Bake for about 40mn: the cake well risen, golden crumbs and clean skewer from the centre
  • Transfer immediately to a wire rack to cool

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Apricot Spiced Crumble Cake

Go with what the season has to offer and if you’ve bought more apricots than you can possibly eat, try this! This easy cake didn’t last 24hrs!

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Ingredients:

  • 180g plain flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mango powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • ¼heaped tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1½ cup chopped fresh apricots (about 7)
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 125ml melted butter
  • 60ml (small pot) plain yoghurt ( used 0%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumble topping:

  • 100g flour
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 75g butter, softened

Preparation:

  • Prepare the crumble first by combining the flour with the sugar and the butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly
  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients ( flour through to Cardamom) in a large bowl
  • Add the apricots, eggs, butter, yoghurt and vanilla. Mix until well combined

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  • Pour into the tin and smooth over with a spatula
  • Sprinkle the top evenly with the crumble
  • Bake for 45 to 50mn, until skewer comes out clean

 

Notes:

  1. Originally, vegetable oil was used but my #1 son, John couldn’t get enough of this cake so as I had to make it again, I used melted butter instead as I prefer the taste of it: hands down, the buttered version is much nicer, even the texture of the batter was “cakier”….
  2. This crumble is heavier than my usual so don’t be surprised if it sinks a little during the cooking as mine did but the cake looked scrummier in the process!

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Cucumber Cake

A very unusual ingredient for a cake, I made this last summer as I found myself with a surplus of cucumbers. The recipe itself was very hard to find and I still had to adapt it as it was Indian. It is ideal for those waistlines as very low fat yet very nice: you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s cucumber unless told! So easy to make too!

CUCUMBER CAKE

Ingredients:

* Dry Bowl:

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 85g brown rice flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

*Wet Bowl:

  • 200g brown sugar ♥ I reduced it to 125g
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml apple puree
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ cup cucumber seeded and grated

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and grease a 18cm/ 7″ Bundt pan
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until everything comes together
  • Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 40mn, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Unmould 10mn after removing from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Note:

Also works with peach or mango but DO NOT try with melon, just wouldn’t have it….