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.

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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.

Best Christmas Cupcake Toppings

So, you have decided on the flavour of your cupcakes, got a tried and tested recipe sorted and they are baked, smell delicious and they are ready to eat… But how to ice them? In preparation for the school Christmas fayre next week, where parents will be competing to see who can do the best cakes, I have been looking for some of the most simple yet most effective Xmas toppings… Feast your eyes on this lot!

 

Check out this guy – just 2 marshmallows with a minstrel on top, but kids will love this!

 

 

Really Gorgeous and decadent looking Xmas trees, from the Martha Stewart collection – lots of frosting, but what an effect!

 

 

The popular green Xmas trees from a previous blog – so simple, yet crazily effective.

 

 

Reindeer cookie and pretzel cupcakes – super simple yet the pretzels are a genius addition, I love the mix of salty and sweet, but if it is not your thing, remove before eating!

 

 

Or stars always make a great topping, these are so cute.

 

 

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Now I am the first to admit I am not the biggest fan of Christmas pudding the traditional way. After a huge dinner the last thing I want is a heavy pud. Also by that time of the day, the thought of anything brandy soaked on top of the bucks fizz and wine that has been consumed throughout the day fills me with dread… So these are a perfect alternative. And they have chocolate in! Thanks again to the Good Food Channel. 🙂

Ingredients:
50g dark chocolate , in chunks
140g butter , plus extra for greasing
100ml soured cream
3 eggs , lightly beaten
140g self-raising flour
140g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
85g dried sour cherries , plus a few extra to decorate

For Decoration:
250g icing sugar , sifted
1 tsp custard powder, sifted
12 small bay leaves

  1. Heat oven to 170oC/gas mark 5. Butter a non-stick 12-hole muffin tin, and stick two criss-crossing strips of baking parchment in each hole.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool a little, then stir in the soured cream and eggs.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, almonds, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Pour in the chocolate and stir until smooth, then stir in the cherries. Spoon into the muffin holes so they are 3⁄4 full.
  4. Bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tins. Can now be frozen in plastic bags for 3 months.
  5. To decorate: Mix the icing sugar and custard powder with 2 tbsp water to make a thick icing. Remove the muffins from the tins and cool on a rack. Cut off any rounded tops, stand upside-down on the rack, then spoon icing over. Leave to set, then top with bay leaves and cherries.

Chocolate Beer Cake

This is one of my favourite Delia recipes and is my boyfriends choice every birthday – “but dont you want to try something new?” I ask every year. And I always get the same reply – “why would I want anything else when this cake includes my two favourite things – Beer & Chocolate??”…

So I should share it, the way to a man’s heart is truly through his stomach… Enjoy!

Ingredients:
50g cocoa powder
200ml stout
110g very soft butter
275g dark soft brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
175g plain flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:
110g icing sugar, sifted
50g very soft butter
2 tablespoons stout
110g dark chocolate (50-55% cocoa solids)
25g walnut pieces, finely chopped

To decorate:
8 walnut halves
cocoa powder, for dusting

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180°C.
  2. Grease 2 x 8-inch (20cm) sponge tins, 4cm deep. Line the bases with lightly greased baking parchment.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar, beating together thoroughly for 3 – 4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  6. Weigh the cocoa and put it in a separate bowl, gradually stirring the stout into it. Now carefully and lightly fold into the egg mixture small quantities of the sifted flour alternately with the cocoa-stout liquid.
  7. When fully incorporated, divide the cake mixture equally between the two tins and level out.
  8. Bake the sponges in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes. The cakes should be flat on top and feel springy and will have shrunk slightly from the side of the tin. Leave them to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool further, carefully stripping off the base papers.
  9. To make the icing: beat the icing sugar and butter together until blended, then gradually add the stout, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in after each addition.
  10. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over hot water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Then, when it’s melted, remove the bowl from the water, and carefully fold the chocolate into the icing mixture.
  11. To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter together until blended, then gradually add the stout, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in after each addition. Now melt the chocolate in a bowl set over hot water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Then, when it’s melted, remove the bowl from the water, and carefully fold the chocolate into the icing mixture.
  12. Now remove a third of the icing to a separate bowl and stir in the chopped walnuts. After all the icing has cooled to a spreadable consistency, sandwich the cake with the walnut icing. Then spread the remaining two-thirds of the icing on top of the cake, using a palette knife. Next, dust the walnut halves with cocoa powder and arrange on top of the cake.

Seriously, although the picture looks good, it can in no way describe how yummy this cake is!