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See you there (and believe me, some of my recent recipes are well worth a look!) 🙂

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Chocolate Layer Cake

Always a classic, whatever the time of year, this yummy recipe from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery looks and tastes too good to pass up…

Serves 8-10

Ingredients
110g (4oz) self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
110g (4oz) butter
110g (4oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) golden syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 tsp milk
200ml (7floz) double cream, whipped
Grated chocolate to decorate

Method

  1. Grease and line a deep 20.5cm (8in) round cake tin.
  2. Sift flour twice with cocoa.
  3. Cream butter, sugar, syrup and vanilla together until very pale in colour, light in texture and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp of sifted dry ingredients with each one.
  5. Fold in milk and remaining dry ingredients with a metal spoon.
  6. Transfer to prepared tin and smooth top with a knife.
  7. Bake at 180°C (350°F) Mark 4 for 35-40 minutes, or until a wooden cocktail stick, inserted into centre of cake, comes out clean.
  8. Turn out on to a wire rack, strip off paper and leave until cool.
  9. Cut cake into two or three layers.
  10. Fill and cover top with double cream, whipped until thick, or butter cream.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cupcakes

OK, so this isn’t the most Christmasy recipe out there, but it is too good not to share. So for something a little different at this time of ear, try these scrummy looking white choc and raspberry cupcakes…

Ingredients
150g butter, at room temperature
170g caster sugar
2 eggs
150g white chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
110g self-raising flour
110g plain flour
80ml milk
150g fresh raspberries
Fresh raspberries, extra, to serve

White Chocolate Frosting
200g white chocolate, finely chopped
120ml thickened cream
100g butter, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate. Combine the flours and fold into the mixture with milk until smooth.
  3. Gently fold in the raspberries until just combined.
  4. Divide the mixture among the cases and smooth the surfaces. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. To make the white chocolate frosting: Place white chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (800 watts/100 per cent), stirring every minute, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Add butter and stir until it melts and the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the mixture is thick and spreadable.
  6. Use an electric beater to beat the frosting in a bowl until pale and creamy. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle. Pipe on to the cupcakes. Top with the extra raspberries.

Thanks to Taste.com for this one. 🙂

Christmas Cupcakes

so, the big day is fast approaching. 6 days worth of advent calender chocolates down and I am really starting to get into the festive spirit. So in this vein, I have found these gorgeously xmasy cupcakes online, the mincemeat, nutmeg and brandy combo is to die for! 🙂

Ingredients
115g butter, softened
230g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
230g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
3 eggs, large
140g mincemeat
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp brandy, optional

Icing
3 oz/85g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp Cointreau, or preferred liqueur, or brandy

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 4
  2. In a large roomy baking bowl, place the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir.
  3. One by one add the eggs beating really well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold into the butter-sugar in three parts, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Finally stir in the mincemeat, spices and brandy if using.
  6. Place cupcake cases into a muffin tin. Fill each case 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and well risen. Cool on a wire rack before icing.
  7. To make the icing: Combine the Cointreau or liqueur with the icing sugar Drizzle over the top of each cupcake and serve.


Deliciously Christmasy, Thanks to http://britishfood.about.com for the Fab recipe!

Nutmeg Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Nutmeg is a fabulously christmasy flavour and when combined with lemon cream cheese frosting it is simply magical! Enjoy…

Ingredients
170g plain flour
50g whole wheat flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground or 1/4 tsp freshly grated
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
75g unsalted butter, softened
70ml apple sauce
225g granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
60ml yogurt, buttermilk or kefir (I tend to substitute buttermilk for sour cream)
1 cup ripe bananas, smashed (from about 2 bananas)
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 4. Line a muffin pan with cupcake holders.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients & and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, then beat the eggs in one at a time. Fold in the yoghurt, followed by the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the bananas and apples. Fill each cupcake cup about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking every couple of minutes afterwards, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar.
  7. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.Frost each cooled cupcake with a butter knife or piped through a frosting bag and grate a dusting of fresh nutmeg over the tops.

Yummy! Big thanks to Mother Earth News for the recipe.

Chocolate Marble Cake With Butter Cream Icing

My lovely friend, Miss Charlie Burley, very kindly gave me this recipe after teasing me with the delicious looking cake she baked for her very lucky boyfriend this week. It is from the Le Crueset recipe collection and it smelt devine. 🙂

Ingredients:
Marble Cake

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
125ml sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
300g self–raising flour, sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
60g baking chocolate chips

Butter cream Icing –
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
600g icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk

To Decorate –
Approx 2 x boxes of maltesers (or more if like me you eat as you go along…)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C/Gas Mark 2. Grease and dust the inside of the pot with flour.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract and gradually add this mixture to the creamed mixture, beating well between additions.
  3. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour a little at a time. When all the flour has been added, transfer one quarter of the mixture to another bowl.
  4. Fold the cocoa powder and chocolate chips into the smaller amount of mixture.
  5. Put half the vanilla mixture into the pot and level the surface. Add the chocolate mixture in 3 large spoonfuls, spacing them apart. Spread the remaining vanilla mixture on top.
  6. Using a knife, make 3 or 4 wide swirling movements to create the marbling effect; do not make many more swirls, or the definition of the marble will be reduced.
  7. Level the top of the mixture and make a small dip about 5 cm (2 inches) wide in the middle to help keep the cake top level while it rises as it bakes. The lid is not used.
  8. Bake the cake just below the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until the top is golden brown and just firm to the touch. When the cake is baked through, a turkey skewer or cocktail stick inserted into the middle will come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the pot for at least 15 minutes before un-moulding it on to a cake cooling rack. Cool thoroughly before icing.
  9. For The Icing – In a large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
  10. Once Iced, add maltesers to the edges of the cake.

Yummy!!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I found this recipe, that frankly has to be shared, on the amazing (and my new favourite) blog – recipegirl.com. Definitely a girl after my own heart, the images of this particular cake are too amazing not to share. The recipe is fairly complex, but for a show stopping pudding, or when you just want to show off, this is perfection. 🙂

Serves 12 – 14

Ingredients:
Cheesecake:
2 x 225g tubs cream cheese, at room temperature
150g granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
80ml sour cream
80ml heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red Velvet Cake:
275g plain flour
340g granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
350ml vegetable oil
235ml buttermilk (I use sour cream if I cannot find this)
2 x 30ml bottles red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting:
275g icing sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
2 x 225g tubs cream cheese, at room temperature
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/Gas mark 3. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven.
  2. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
  3. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
  4. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese – blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy.
  5. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition.
  7. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven.
  9. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake). Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  10. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly.
  11. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.
  12. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour).
  13. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally.
  14. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  15. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
  16. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat icing sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not overbeat).
  17. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment.
  18. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers.
  19. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
  20. Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer to the cake – use a long, thin spatula to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Be sure to wipe off your spatula each time you are about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any red crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting.
  21. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the 2nd layer. Start by adding a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Because you applied a crumb-coat layer, you shouldn’t have any red crumbs floating around in the final frosting layer. Decorate, as desired.Keep this cake refrigerated.

Whilst at first it seems labour intensive, I like the fact it can be built up in stages. I just have to keep looking at that picture to inspire me to make it!!

Source: RecipeGirl.com (cake & frosting portions of the recipe from Piece of Cake, inspired by the red velvet cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and by a version of this cake made by Erin’s Food Files )