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buıppnd ɹɐǝd & uoɯɐuuıɔ ‘ǝʇɐןoɔoɥɔ

7 May

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Upside down pudding, one of Granny’s favourites. It’s also one of my favourites when Granny cooks it. This was going to be the classic pineapple upside down pudding, using tinned pineapple*, seeing as how I can’t stuff enough of the totally tropical fruit down my gob these days. However, we had 3 ripe pears in the fruit bowl that desperately needed using up this weekend – so pear, chocolate & cinnamon it is. Pineapple, your time will come!

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Chocolate, Pear & Cinnamon Upside Down Pudding

Ingredients
3 ripe pears
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
150g butter
50g dark muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder

Method
First, poach your pears. Peel, half and core them and place in a pan with the granulated sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes or so until soft but not falling apart.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line 20cm round cake tin.

Cream together 50g of the butter with the muscovado sugar before spreading it over the bottom of the tin. Lay the pear halves on the layer of butter and sugar in any pattern you see fit!

Cream the rest of the butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well. Fold in the flour & cocoa powder, and then add 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the pears. You want the batter to have a dropping consistency. Spread the cake batter on top of the pears.

Bake for around 35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Turn out the cake onto a plate with the pear side upwards. This is delicious as a pudding with custard or ice cream, or served cool as a cake with your coffee.

*classy

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Candy Cane Cupcakes

21 Dec

chocolate peppermint cupcake

Not everyone likes a mince-pie, or a slice of brandy rich, fruity Christmas cake. I mean, there must be something wrong with them, right? But let’s not discriminate. Here’s a festive morsel for those raisin haters out there.

candy cane cupcake

Chocolate & Peppermint cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
50g cocoa powder
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
165g butter
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml sour cream

For the icing
400g icing sugar
125g butter
40ml milk
1tsp peppermint essence
16 mini candy canes

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan/Gas 4, and line 2 muffin tins with 16 cupcake cases.

2. Mix the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

3. Melt the butter and allow to cool, then beat in the sugar and then the eggs and vanilla. Mix in half the flour mixture followed by half the sour cream. Then mix in the other half of the flour followed by the other half of the sour cream.

4. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cakes and bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the icing beat the butter and icing sugar together until well combined and creamy. Beat in the peppermint essence (you can add more or less to taste). Spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes and top each one with a mini candy cane.

Digital Biscuits

28 Sep

digestive biscuits

At work we eat a lot of biscuits, and when I say a lot I mean at least a large packet of chocolate digestives each week. And when I say we, I mean mostly me. So because I’m the one mostly scoffing them, I thought it only fair that I make a batch to bring in.

making digestive biscuits

So, why digital biscuits? Well, I work with digits, mostly. It just seemed to fit. This recipe is another from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, his River Cottage Digestive Biscuits, deliciously spelty with an almost shortbread-like sandy texture. Must be all the lovely butter in them. Yum. Hugh doesn’t mention dousing them in chocolate, I hope he’ll approve.

chocolate covered digestive biscuits

Certainly too crumbly for the cycle jersey pocket, but just about perfect for that midday cup of tea break.

Happy Birthday little sister

20 Sep

Dan Lepard Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday new little sister-in-laaaaaaaaaaaw, Happy Birthday to yoooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu!

Dan Lepard Sour Cream Chocolate Cake ingredients

That’s right, I got married. Which means I have a new sister. Whoooop! And it’s her birthday today. Fandabbydozy. Cake time!

Dan Lepard Sour Cream Chocolate Cake icing & cake

More chocolate cake, this is very out of character Mrs Cakes? But other people seem to like it, so Dan Lepard’s Sour Cream Chocolate Cake it is. Only, don’t do what I did and substitute Wilton’s Candy Melts for the chocolate in the icing. It seemed like a bright idea, but they contain oil among other things. The icing therefore didn’t set, as you can see below.

Bad icing!

Still, it got scoffed – so it must have tasted good.

Bone Voyage

3 Sep

Salty Devil's Food Cake

To my dear friends Mr & Mrs Bone, who leave east London this week for the motherland. Me & Mr Cakes will miss them lots. They’re off to Scotland with its lochs, mountains, whiskey & irn-bru and so we say “Bone Voyage”

making mini bunting

salted caramel icing

chocolate devil's food cake

chocolate cake with salted caramel icing

The best leaving gift? A chocolate devils food cake with salted caramel icing. First make yourself just the cake part of Nigella’s Devils Food Cake recipe. Then you ice with the Salted Caramel icing from this recipe. (Mr Cakes did the artex style icing application)

Then, to make it super pretty make some mini bunting to string across the top. I found the template at b.loved weddings. Good luck chums, can’t wait to come & visit.

Good things come to those who wait

5 Jul

Single Guinness Cup Cake

Remember the chocolate guinness mud cake that came 2nd in the wedding bake off? Well, ever since that post I’d been thinking about how good it was! I had to have it again, and so decided to convert Nigella’s recipe to one for cupcakes. How perfect do they look? Like little sweet pints of Guinness. They taste the business too, even a few days after baking when they magically become even more squidgy and muddy.

Guinness Cup Cakes

iced guinness cupcakes

plain guinness cupcake

guinness cake iced

Good thing cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

Method
1. Make a batch of Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake batter and icing. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C
2. Line 2x 12 hole muffin tins with muffin cases. Pour the cake batter into a measuring jug and then divide between the cases.
3. Bake the cupcakes, 1 tray at a time for 15 minutes per tray. The cakes will still feel quite squishy and soft when you press them, but as long as a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, they are cooked.
4. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe the icing onto the top of the cake in a lovely swirl.
5. Batch them up in pretty tins and share with your friends!

cake boxes

Final tip – these will work best if you use a muffin pan and muffin cases. A bun tray doesn’t do these fellas justice.

Wedding Bake Off, Part 2

21 Jun

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Oh good, you’re back to see who came second in the bake-off? Well, you see that rather tasty looking offering 2nd from the back? The muddy, chocolatey, gooey cake with that “eat-me” creamy frosting on top? Can you tell what it is…? It’s a Chocolate Guinness mud cake. Bit of a gamble, I’m not usually one for chocolate cakes! But, put a bit of booze in there and add a creamy, cream cheese topping (it reminds me of carrot cake) and jobs a good ‘un.

Bake Off Wedding Cakes

Before we get to the details of the Guinness cake, how about some of the other entries? We did pretty well – look at this table full of treats, from the imaginatively titled ABCD cake (containing apricots, bananas and it’s seedy) to the opportunistically named Sicilian lemon drop cake (the middle of the cake sank when it came out the oven…)

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Wouldn’t you like a slice of one of these? A fruity citrus-y cake (so ZINGY) decorated with cake pops!!! Or this beautiful chocolate cake, decorated with smarties and Cadbury’s fingers – like something straight out off Christmas c.1986

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OMG! Look at this little lady – Barbie Wedding Cake, absolute genius!

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Mmmmm, and these fluffy clouds of coconutty, creamy delight.

the day after cakes

We had so much cake, we had to invite everyone back again the next day to help us polish it off. What great hosts are we?

Back to the Chocolate Guinness mud-cake. My goodness, it was divine – so moist and dense at the same time, like the best brownie you’ve ever tasted but better and almost sandy, no muddy in texture. The icing on top was, well, just the icing on the cake. Cool, smooth, creamy and tangy. Try this recipe – Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake and wish that it comes out half as well as the bake-offering. What we didn’t realise when judging that there was a picture of us both underneath.

Finch & Ford

I think had we seen it, the cake would have won….no?

Thanks again to Dave Johnson for the faberooney snaps!

Cupcake Workshop

22 Apr

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Big sis Cakes and I learnt how to decorate cupcakes today, thanks to the lovely Gill at The Cupcake Workshop. But first things first. A lovely cup of tea of course.

Then down to business. First we learnt to make butterflies, daisies, roses and bows using sugar paste.

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Don’t they look professional?

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All that hard work left us gasping. Time for more refreshments methinks.

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And then back on with the grafting…

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Filling the cupcakes with a secret surprise…

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Keep those hands steady sis, nice buttercream rose icing!

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Add your sugar paste decorations, and there you have it, fantastic looking cupcakes. Too good to eat really!

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But don’t worry, we did manage to eat a couple. Forced them down, you know…

Child’s play

17 Mar

candy meltscake pop sprinkles
wilton candy meltsmelts and sprinkles

Cake Pops are so easy to make, even children can do it. Which is a very good thing, as the cake pops I had planned to make for some chums and their kids weren’t quite done when they turned up for dinner. “Hi gang, good to see you! Now, I’ve got a job for you to do….”

We ate dinner, let it go down (for about 5 seconds, can we make them noooooooooowwwww?) – and then got busy with the cake pops. The day before I had already prepared the cake (an orange sponge that didn’t taste very orangey, must try orange essence next time), mixed the cake crumbs with icing and rolled into balls in the usual fashion. All that was left to do was decorate the little fellas.

It was good family fun, as long as you don’t mind your star sprinkles getting mixed up with your confetti sprinkles, and your confetti sprinkles getting mixed up with your star sprinkles, and your hundreds and thousands getting mixed up, well, everywhere! But our little cake pop designer had some pretty interesting ideas – like “lets use all the colours at once” which is how we ended up with the swirly 2 tone cake pop below.
ottos cake pops

This time, I discovered that your cake pops should come straight from the fridge before you coat them in chocolate. If they’re room temperature they won’t be hard enough to take the chocolate coating, and they’ll fall of their sticks (and right into your little cake pop-skateer’s mouth!)

That is all.

I ♥ Cake Pops

14 Feb

Valentines pops

Happy Valentines y’all. As promised – red velvet cake pops to look at. I first came across the cake pop concept via Rhubarb and Rose (I was actually looking for a bunting tutorial…and got sidetracked by cake, strange that!) Check out the cake pops tutorial from this fantastic blog.

They’re quite simple really. Just bake a bright red cake and then go against all your instincts and turn it into crumbs and mix it with some frosting. This will feel strange. We’ve evolved to protect our cakes, not mash them up. Fight the urge! It’s worth it.

red velvet cake

Roll into balls, or shape into hearts and chill for a couple of hours in the fridge (the pops, not you)

balls and hearts

Then put on lollipop sticks,

balls on sticks

and cover in chocolate and sprinkle with decorations.

valentines cake pops

or just cover with chocolate

heart cake pops

And, if you don’t think you have enough for everyone (you lucky people coming to the CoMA London rehearsal tonight), make some cupcakes and ice with bright red buttercream. YUM!

red cupcakes

Here are my top tips for cake popperage…

1. As a rule of thumb 300g and 100g frosting seems to give a good consistency for your cake base.
2. Get creative with your cake innards. At Christmas I used some Christmas Cake offcuts to make some christmas pudding cake pops and christmas tree cake pops, they were pretty good!
2. Wilton’s candy melts have a good flavour, good colour and coat well. You can get them from Jane Asher’s Sugarcraft Shop. Other brands are available. They don’t taste as good!
3. Put your chocolate coating once melted into a small cup to dip your pops in. This will ensure a smooth even coating of chocolate. I’ve tried it other ways, it doesn’t work. Check out what Rhubarb and Rose have to say about dipping
4. Have a go! They’re ruddy good fun, look flippin fantastic and taste great too.

P.S. I’m already thinking ahead to next year, when this fella might have to make an appearance…

Hidden heart cake
If you fancy having a go, I found this Heart Cake on the beautiful i am baker blog.