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.

Advertisements

German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

I have never heard of German sandwich cake before and I feel like I have been missing out! I love coconut, pecans and, most of al chocolate, so how I have missed this one I am not sure. I intend to make up for lost time though by attempting these heavenly looking sandwich cookie versions of the traditional cake…

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
60g cocoa powder
330g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter
400g demerara sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
180ml milk

For the filling:
Two tins sweetened condensed milk
225g unsweetened shredded coconut
200g finely chopped toasted pecans

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a second large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture, stirring to combine. Add the milk, scraping the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the second half of the flour mixture, again scraping the bowl.
  5. Working in batches, drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each for spreading. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. For the filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the coconut. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to pull away from the pan and will hold a line when you drag your spoon through it, 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Place the pecans in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Spread a spoonful of the coconut mixture onto the flat side of one cooled cookie. Top with another cookie, flat side down, to form a sandwich. Roll the edges of the sandwich cookie in the chopped pecans.
  8. Store in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper.

Thanks so much to Tulsa World for opening my eyes to this delicious treat!

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!

2 Minute Chocolate Salted Caramel Mug Cake

So I know what I am making for my lunch – check out my favourite of a heap of incredibly simple yet frankly obscene in their deliciousness recipes from the fab Babble Blog, Family Kitchen.

Makes 1 mug cake

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg – beaten
3 tablespoons skimmed milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 salted caramels

  1. Into a small bowl add: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix to combine.
  2. Pour mixture into a regular sized coffee mug. Drop caramels into centre of mixture one at a time.
  3. Microwave on high for one minute and 30 seconds. If needed, microwave on high for up to an additional 30 seconds.

Seriously – a blog worth checking out, my only problem is knowing which one to go for next… 🙂

Chocolate Cranberry Puds

All I can say is wow – these look so amazing and are definitely going to be one of my Christmas day desserts…

For this recipes you will also require 2 x 8-hole Tefal silicone half sphere cake moulds.

Ingredients:
100g plain chocolate, broken up, plus extra, melted, to serve
100g softened butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g soft amaretti morbidi (soft almond macaroons available from Waitrose and Italian delis), crumbled
100g chopped hazelnuts
Icing sugar, cranberries and angelica to decorate the individual bombes

For the filling:
90g fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
90g fresh or frozen and thawed raspberries
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp Cointreau
190g mascarpone
100ml double cream
Zest and juice of 1 small orange
1 tbsp icing sugar
Heaped tsp powdered gelatine

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Stir in the macaroons and chopped hazelnuts. Chill for 5 minutes. Press the mixture into the half sphere moulds to make even shells, especially around the top. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up and set.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the thawed berries, caster sugar and Cointreau in a pan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the cranberries have softened. Cool slightly, then whizz in a food processor until puréed. Cool.
  3. Put the mascarpone in a bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually mix in the cream, then stir in the orange zest and sugar. Heat the juice in a small pan, then whisk in the gelatine until melted. Cool slightly, then stir half into the fruit purée and half into the mascarpone. Divide the mascarpone mixture among the holes of the chocolate-coated mould so that each one is three-quarters full, then finish each one with a thin layer of fruit purée. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
  4. Turn out each mould and gently press 2 halves together to make a sphere and sit each on a small plate in a puddle of melted chocolate. Chill for 15 minutes to fix in place. Dust with icing sugar, and decorate with cranberries and angelica to serve.

Thanks to Channel 4 for the amazing recipe 🙂

Black & White Cupcakes

Many thanks to The Guardian Online for this delicious sounding recipe, an absolute classic.

Ingredients:
115g dark chocolate
85g butter
175g soft dark brown sugar
2 eggs (separated)
185g plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
250ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dark chocolate (to decorate)

Vanilla buttercream
115g butter
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed. Then carefully fold this into the main batter.
  6. 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.
  7. Once cool, ice with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and decorate with shavings of chocolate.
  8. For the frosting: Beat together the butter, milk and vanilla extract, and half the icing sugar.
  9. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and beat to a smooth buttercream.
  10. Keep any unused icing in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.