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. 🙂
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
250g icing sugar , sifted
1 tsp custard powder, sifted
12 small bay leaves
- 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.
- Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool a little, then stir in the soured cream and eggs.
- 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.
- Bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tins. Can now be frozen in plastic bags for 3 months.
- 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.
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!
50g cocoa powder
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
8 walnut halves
cocoa powder, for dusting
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180°C.
- Grease 2 x 8-inch (20cm) sponge tins, 4cm deep. Line the bases with lightly greased baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar, beating together thoroughly for 3 – 4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- 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.
- When fully incorporated, divide the cake mixture equally between the two tins and level out.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Many thanks to The Guardian Online for this delicious sounding recipe, an absolute classic.
115g dark chocolate
175g soft dark brown sugar
2 eggs (separated)
185g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dark chocolate (to decorate)
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Slowly add the egg yolks and beat well. Next, add the melted chocolate and beat again.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Measure the milk into a jug and stir in the vanilla extract. Alternatively add the flour and the milk to the main mixture, beating well.
- In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed. Then carefully fold this into the main batter.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cases to two-thirds full. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes, until raised and golden.
- Once cool, ice with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and decorate with shavings of chocolate.
- For the frosting: Beat together the butter, milk and vanilla extract, and half the icing sugar.
- Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat to a smooth buttercream.
- Keep any unused icing in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
The image for these is what totally enticed me into giving them a go – the peanut butter cup filling looks too yummy!
Makes 24 Cupcakes
200g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
110g vegetable oil
1 tbsp water, warm
3 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
24 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
- Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg and vegetable oil. In a small bowl, stir together water, instant coffee and vanilla, then add to sugar mixture. Whisk flour mixture into the bowl with the sugar, mixing just until everything is combined and no streaks of flour remain.
- Place about 1 tbsp of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Place an unwrapped miniature peanut butter cup into the centre of each cup, pressing down gently. Top with about a tablespoonful of batter, just enough to cover the peanut butter cup. It is better to have some batter leftover than to overfill your muffin pan. The cavities should be approximately 3/4 full, or slightly more.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cake batter is set.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
From http://bit.ly/uHtvHb – Thanks 🙂
So Halloween is quickly approaching and being my 6 year old’s 2nd favourite occasion of the year, only beaten by Christmas, I am now under pressure to make this year’s annual family Halloween bash better than last year’s.
Sure we had cake, sweets in the shape of spiders – so fizzy they hurt your mouth, a treasure hunt in the garden during which we almost drowned in the torrential rain and costumes so good Madame Tussaud would have been green with envy, but the inevitable truth is now we are expected to top it this year.
After going through a variety of emotions – fear, sadness, worry, excitement and finally the realisation that I actually do need to get off my bottom and source some stuff I got on the internet; a mums best friend these days where the time to go to the shops is becoming more and more scarce, and found some fab stuff. So here are my top products which will be either adorning the table or assisting in my preparation for our Halloween party this year…
1. Halloween Chocolate Moulds – Super cute – chocolates can be eaten as they are or used as cool edible cake toppers.
2. Wrapped Halloween Chocolates – Great for kids party bags, prizes for games or treasure hunt items.
3. Pirate Cupcake Kit – For those budding pirates, young and old.
4. Haunted Mansion Cupcake Stand – A cool centre piece for the table.
5. Skeleton Drinks Cooler – The perfect place to keep the drinks… Briefly!
6. A Halloween Cupcake Kit – Cute ideas in this book with accompanying decorations.
7. Ghoulish Goodies Cupcake Book – having bought and tried this out, The kids absolutely love the recipes and decorations.