Coca~Cola Cake

I was in Atlanta recently, where Coca~Cola has its headquarters. Needless to say that it is everywhere and used for anything so why not a cake? The old fashioned southern recipe from Georgia requires “full fat” coke, the locals might even say “is there anything else?” and I did comply…. I haven’t bought that version in soooo many years! And a lot of sugar, that’s where I drew the line, I just couldn’t put the amount stated…. a healthier version it is and it tasted wonderful! It also came right on cue for another birthday treat: I didn’t fancy making anything complicated, organising the party is tiring enough. The cake is actually best done the day before, so the icing can sip into the cake overnight…

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 225g/ 8oz butter (it can be half flavourless oil)
  • 50g/ 2oz cocoa powder
  • 250ml Coca~Cola
  • 255g/ 9oz flour
  • 255g/ 9oz sugar, only! I would even reduce that next time to 200…. {original: 350g}
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • sprinkle of ground vanilla *optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Coca~Cola frosting (what did you expect?)

  • 115g butter
  • 80ml Coca~Cola
  • 25g/ 1oz cocoa powder
  • 280g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp of coke extract ( if not available, use vanilla)

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Preparation:

The cake:

  • Prepare a rectangular 33x23cm/ 13×9″ baking tin with butter and flour or greaseproof paper
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My brownie pan was not deep enough as slightly smaller, it needs to be at least 5cm/ 2″

  • As usual, I need to address the lack of buttermilk in France first: add a tsp lemon juice to 125ml of semi or full fat milk, at room temperature and leave for 10mn
  • In a pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cocoa, stirring constantly, then the coke
  • Bring to the boil and whisk for 5mn then set aside

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  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda and the salt. Whisk in the sugar ( I used dark brown) and the ground vanilla if used

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  • Gradually, mix in the coke mixture

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  • To the buttermilk add both eggs and vanilla extract and stir into the batter in 3 or 4 batches until well combined

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  • For the purists: at this stage in Atlanta, one adds 2 cups of mini marshmallows to the batter, which disappears in the baking… I had 1 cup in my pantry so I did…

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  • Pour the batter in the tin and bake for 30 to 40mn (should have been 30mn but it took longer so check your oven) until your testing needle comes out clean

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The Frosting:

Cannot be done whilst waiting but once you take cake out of the oven….

  • Sift the icing sugar in a bowl
  • Melt butter in a pan over medium heat then add cocoa and coke. Stirring constantly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add extract if used
  • Add to the icing sugar, whisking until smooth and glossy

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  • Pour all over the cake, filling all the gaps but never using a spatula, if you want to keep the shine
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I cut the top of my cake as I needed it to be flat for my birthday icing topper

  • Let it cool overnight, in a sealed container or can be kept longer in the fridge but it won’t last that long!

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*** On a personal note: the coke flavour is particularly stronger in the frosting and it tasted very sweet. The cake is definitely a keeper as it rose so well, is a bit different than the usual chocolate cake and benefits from being done the day before to allow the flavour to develop…. Next time, I would probably ice it with my usual chocolate buttercream or ganache!

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Nutella Rock Drops Cookies

Yep, the apron is back on! What better way to start but with our favourite chocolate spread? This is my second time of making these in two days, they are soooo easy and it answers the question: convert or not convert (into grams)? The first time I did, only because my cup doesn’t fit in my flour tin and I didn’t want to make more washing for myself… This time, I didn’t….

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼cup oats
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground vanilla
  • 90g cold butter, diced
  • splash of vanilla extract *optional
  • ½ to 1 cup of nutella

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 190°C/170°fan/ Gas 5 and prepare a large baking sheet, greased and lined
  • I put buttermilk at the top of my list because: 1)In the UK, I never had any 2) It simply isn’t sold in France. So it has to be made first to be ready when required. Add 1 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to 250ml of milk. Do not stir.

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  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, soda, salt and ground vanilla.

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  • Cut the butter in and mix it in with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
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OK, I use gloves, I hate when it goes in my nails…

  • Add the buttermilk and mix with a spatula until just combined and no more. Add the vanilla extract if used.

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  • With a knife, swirl the Nutella into the dough: first time I didn’t measure but this time I did. The boys liked them more with a “heavy hand in the jar”…

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  • Scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet. Makes 15 to 18 rocks

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  • Bake for 15 to 18mn, until golden brown

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And the answer? don’t convert, an extra bowl to wash won’t make that much difference. They came out exactly as I wanted in the first place, even if the boys asked for “more Nutella”. The first time, when I used a converter and measured all the ingredients, I found that it made for a wetter dough which spread out whilst baking and ended up with slightly burnt edges…

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Chocolate & Pear Sponge Cake

It’s been a while but Christmas did what it does best, piling on the pounds, a couple at least, so I thought it best to stay away from baking for a bit…. I actually baked this cake a while back and simply forgot to post it! Pears compliment really well chocolate and it adds a healthy touch… My baking apron is back on!

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Ingredients:

  • 175g softened butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 3 lightly beaten eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp espresso powder *optional
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp room temperature milk
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 23cm/ 9″ round loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and lined
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Gradually, add the eggs to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if it starts to look a little curdled.

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  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, coca powder, espresso powder if used and salt.
  • Fold the dry ingredients gently into the creamed mixture until well combined.
  • Stir in the milk and pour the mixture into your cake tin. Level the surface.

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  • Arrange the pear slices on top of the batter.

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  • Bake in the oven for about 1 hour until the cake is just firm to the touch and the sides have started to shrink from the side.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10mn before transferring to a wire rack.

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No Fail Chocolate cake

This is the recipe I go back to time and time again basically because it is easy, full of flavour and very light in the mouth. When I have my hands full with those more and more complicated birthday cakes, this chocolate cake never fails me to get ahead with no worry and it keeps very well!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 200g/ 7oz sugar
  • 90ml/3fl oz milk, room temperature
  • 250g/9oz soften butter
  • 250g/9oz white self raising flour
  • 60g/2oz cocoa powder
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp good espresso or coffee powder *optional but it brings out the chocolate flavour

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 23cm/ 9″ round or square cake tin
  • Beat the eggs and add the sugar, mixing until light and fluffy

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  • Add the milk and make sure it is well incorporated
  • I change to my paddle attachment and chop the butter into the mixture

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  • In a bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and coffee
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat really well till soft and larger in volume. It does take a few minutes hence the mixer!

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  • Spoon into the prepared tin (I sprinkled chocolate chips because I didn’t want to ice it later) and bake for 55 to 60mn, until dark, slightly firm and the sides shrink from the tin

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  • Leave in the tin to cool completely then dust with icing sugar or top with a simple chocolate buttercream

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Football Cake

It might be a bit strange to post now about a cake I made over a month ago but With work and my computer playing up, it is only now that I am managing to post about my 2nd son’s birthday…. The idea came to me 2 weeks before the due date, at night as sleep eluded me: he hadn’t asked about his cake yet ( the usual being whatever cake with an icing cake topper picture) and I was thing, he loves football so what about…..

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I am sharing this with you to show you that anyone can do that sort of thing: I had never attempted anything of the sort before and I am no professional! All you need is to get organised, this was done over 3 days!

  • Day 1: bake a chocolate cake, simple 8″ round cake and once cooled put it in the food processor to make it into breadcrumbs. Mix in a chocolate fudge made to taste and enough to bind it all together into a ball

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  • Day 2: I bake another chocolate cake, rectangular this time, as my hubby pointed out the ball had to be perched somewhere! That’s when I came up with the idea of a “pitch”…. Covered with chocolate buttercream

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  • Day 3: I spent the morning just decorating…. I had cut out polygon shapes on icing paper to create an exact football but quite frankly it became too fiddly and geometrical for my liking…. did you know that on a football, the white shapes have 6 sides and the black ones only 5? you do now!

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And it doesn’t have to be to size either! That was just enough to feed about 10 hungry boys!

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Nutella Brioche Star

Otherwise known as “Pizza with a twist” revisited, on the sweet side! What can I say about it? 3 letters: OMG!

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Brioche dough:

As per the twist, in my bread machine, dough setting, mine is liquid in first:

  • 2 tbsp milk + 2 eggs
  • 225g strong bread flour, sprinkled over the liquid to cover it
  • ½ tsp salt + 1 tbsp sugar + 50g melted butter + 1½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast in separate corners

Once cycle over, I knocked it back gently onto a floured surface and divided the dough in 4 rolls, working one at a time, covering the others aside.

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This time I rolled the doughs and used a plate 20cm/ 8″ wide to cut them into neat discs, actually smaller than the pizza as not meant to be a meal onto itself!

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Make sure the chocolate spread is of a almost melting consistency to spread over each layer as you don’t want it to “move”. Layer them onto your baking sheet so you can slide it on your baking tray with ease.

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Cover with the 4th layer and centre a glass in the middle in order to make your first cuts. At that stage I put my pizza stone in the oven, preheating at 220°/ 200°fan, to warm up

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Remove the glass and using a pair of scissors, do the remaining cuts, 16 in all, then start twisting!

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

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You should end up with something that looks like this:

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I baked it in the oven for 20mn the removed it from the stone and baked it on the sheet for a further 5mn

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It was a resounding success and disappeared in 10mn!

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In the end I had to save myself 2 “petals” in order to quality control the result, of course!

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Chocolate Crumble Square

I made these when the boys were on holidays. It ticked all the right boxes: chocolate, custard and crumble! And they look luscious! Not only that, they are dead easy to make!

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Ingredients:

  • Cold custard made with 200ml of milk
  • 175g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted

Topping:

  • Rub together 50g flour+40g diced butter, at room temperature
  • Stir in 15g vanilla sugar (2 sachets) + 1tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30cm×20cm / 12″x8″
  • Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy
  • Spoon into the prepared pan and level with a spatula
  • Drop small dollops of the custard over the top, swirling into the chocolate mixture
  • Scatter the topping over the top
  • Bake for 30 to 35mn and leave to cool in the pan
  • Dust with icing sugar and cut into 12 generous squares!

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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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Nutella Crumb Cake

You could use any chocolate spread as it can be a little costly but let’s face it, soooooo worth it! It is the best!

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Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1tbsp good instant coffee (optional, I believe it brings out the chocolate flavour through)
  • 1tsp ground vanilla
  • 400g Nutella
  • 55g softened butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate chips

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 175°C/ 155°fan/ Gas 4
  • Using a stand-in mixer, sift in together the first 7 dry ingredients
  • Add the Nutella and butter, beating until crumbly. Remove a small cup of crumbs for the topping
  • Add the milk, eggs and vanilla, beating on low until combined
  • Continue to beat on medium speed for 3mn
  • Pour (it will have a very “liquid” consistency) into an ungreased 25cm/ 10″ tube pan {a must, I tried with a round baking tin and the sides burnt waiting for the centre to cook}
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips followed by the saved crumbs

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  • Bake for 40 to 50mn, until a toothpick comes out clean. let it cool before cutting and enjoy on its own, sprinkled with icing sugar, or slightly warm with custard

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