Chocolate Hot Cross Bread and Butter Pudding

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hotc 18/01/2018

What’s not to like about chocolate, custard and bread? I’ll tell you. Nothing.

I know it is only January but yes, hot cross buns line the bakery isles already and these chocolate and salted caramel versions from Tesco are no exception. Ever a sucker for the end of isle specials, I found that a few packs had made their way into my shopping bags. And what better way to enjoy them than baked up in a wonderfully gooey, fluffy and light chocolate studded custard? Again, nothing.

Ridiculously easy and ridiculously tasty. Give it a go.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 chocolate and salted caramel hot cross buns
  • 25g butter
  • 75g dark chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C, 150°C Fan.
  2. Cut the hot cross buns in half and butter the cut sides, sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips, sandwich together again and place in a baking dish.
  3. Beat the egg milk, sugar, salt and vanilla together and pour over the buns. Scatter with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 30 minutes or until just set.
  4. Serve with custard or ice cream.
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Chocolate Irish Cream Roulade

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roulade 01/01/2018

Happy New Year! Have I got a treat for you?

Yes.

This gorgeous chocolate roulade is made without flour so it’s light as a feather. The cake is rich and chocolatey yet light and almost mousse-like from the pillowy egg whites.

I am not usually a huge fan of cream but the Baileys filling is light and subtle. I cannot describe what a joy this cake is to make and to eat so you’re just going to have to try it yourself.

I have included some tips for the assembly but don’t worry if the cake cracks as this is part of its charm.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) plain dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
  • 4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
  • icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

You will need a Swiss roll tin, 30cm x 23cm (12in x 9in) and 2cm (¾ in) deep.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/gas 4). Lightly grease the Swiss roll tin with butter and line with baking parchment. It helps to make a small diagonal snip at each corner of the baking parchment, about 3cm (1¼ in) long, so the paper fits snugly into the corners of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. The base of the bowl must not touch the water. Leave until just melted, then remove from the heat, stir and leave the chocolate to cool slightly. (See below, Make a light cake, step 1.)
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk using an electric hand whisk on high speed until fluffy and stiff, but not dry.
  4. Tip the caster sugar and egg yolks into another large bowl and whisk on high speed until light, thick and creamy, for about 1½ minutes. Pour in the cooled chocolate and stir until blended. Add two large spoonfuls of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Sift the cocoa and fold it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. (See below, Make a light cake, step 2.)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is well risen and firm on top. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside, leaving it in its tin until cold (expect it to dip and crack a little).
  6. Place the cream in a bowl with the Baileys Irish Cream liqueur and whip until thick enough to just hold its shape. If insufficiently whipped it will be too runny to spread; if over-whipped it will become too thick to spread evenly.
  7. Lightly dust a large piece of baking parchment with icing sugar. Turn the cake out on to the parchment and carefully peel off the lining paper. Spread the surface of the cake with the whipped cream, leaving a bare rim of about 2cm (¾ in) all the way around the edges. With one of the short ends near you, make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from this edge, being careful not to cut right through. Starting at this point, tightly roll up the roulade. Transfer the roulade to a serving platter or board. (See below, Roll a neat roulade.)

 

Keys to perfection:

Make a light cake:

  • As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat so the chocolate doesn’t overheat or it will become too stiff; it needs to be a pourable consistency. Stir, lift the bowl off the pan and leave the chocolate to cool until it feels tepid. If the chocolate is too hot when stirred into the egg yolks it will start to cook them.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the buttered and lined Swiss roll tin. The mixture should be light and airy now that the egg whites have been added. Ease it into the corners and smooth the surface level using a spatula. Do this very gently, so that you don’t squash out the air that you have just whisked in.

Roll a neat roulade:

  • Leave the roulade cake to cool completely before you tip it out of the tin. Run a small palette knife around the inside of the baking parchment in the tin to loosen the cake, so you can turn it out easily without it breaking.
  • Gently turn the cake out on to a large sheet of baking parchment that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar. Carefully loosen the parchment that surrounds the cake and peel it off, making sure you don’t take the cake with it.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the roulade, so you will get a uniform spiral of cream in each slice. Rather than spread the cream right up to the edges, leave a gap of about 2cm (¾ in) all round, or the cream will start to ooze out as you start rolling.
  • Use a sharp knife to make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from a short edge, and cut about halfway through the cake on the score line. This will be a useful starting point when you start rolling and will give you a tighter, neater roulade.
  • Roll the cut edge over tightly to start with, using the baking parchment to help keep it all tight by gently pulling it up and over the roll. Don’t worry if the cake cracks – that is quite normal and will be part of the roulade’s charm.
  • Keep rolling, again using the parchment to help by pulling it up and over as you roll. After rolling, ensure the join is underneath, as this will keep the roll secure, then transfer the roulade to a platter using a large, wide spatula or two fish slices.

Biscoff Rocky Road

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l 16/07/2017

If your will power lasts more than 10 minutes then these tasty morsels will keep for a week in the fridge. As with most of my posts, you can adapt this to include other fillings and textures but I think this combination showcases the biscuit spread flavour.

Very easy to put together, you don’t even need to turn the oven on for this one.

This recipe makes 16 pieces of Biscoff Rocky Road!

Ingredients:

  • 400g White Chocolate, chopped
  • 125g Biscoff Spread
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 150g Mini Marshmallows
  • 250g Lotus Biscuits, chopped
  • Spare Biscoff Spread for Drizzle

Method:

  1. Line a 8/9″ square tin with greaseproof paper and leave to the side.
  2. In a large bowl, add in the chocolate and butter – melt on a low heat in a large glass bowl, over a pan of simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl) until fully melted – stir until smooth!
  3. In a separate bowl, melt the biscoff spread in the microwave for 30 seconds or so or until runny, beat into the melted white chocolate mix.
  4. Once it has melted and combined, add in the marshmallows and chopped biscuits and fold together – pour into the tin and spread until it is even. Refrigerate until set!
  5. If you want the extra biscoff kick, melt some extra biscoff spread and drizzle over the top of the Rocky Road, again, refrigerate until set!

Chocolate Fudge Custard Cake

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caa 29/06/2017

I would love to provide a picture of the cake as a whole with its silky, chocolate custard covering but once I removed it from the fridge to serve, it didn’t last two seconds before everyone crowded round for a slice! I made this for my little brother’s birthday. He is a massive chocolate fan and this cake certainly delivers in that respect.

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g plain flour
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 100ml strong coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the chocolate custard:

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 140g chocolate, 85% cocoa solids, broken into cubes
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Make the custard first as it needs to chill. Put all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a large pan and bring gently to the boil, whisking all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a silky, thick custard. It will take 5-7 minutes from cold. Stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt then scrape the custard into a wide, shallow bowl. Cover the surface with cling film, cool then chill for at least 3 hrs or until cold and set.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
  3. Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
  4. To assemble, cover one of the cake layers with a generous helping of the custard. Add the second layer to the top of this and spoon the remaining custard on top of the cake then spread it around the top and down the sides until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up the custard again.

ca

Chill for 2 hours, or longer if possible, before serving, and eat it cold. This cake can be made up to 2 days ahead. The cake gets fudgier and more enticing the longer you leave it. The coffee in the recipe cannot be tasted but really brings out the intense cocoa flavours in the custard and the sponge and the addition of a small pinch of salt in the custard really intensifies the chocolate even further.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Mexican Chocolate Mousse

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Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-14-12-1[1] 12/08/2016

It’s not even funny how good this cake is. I mean seriously good. The squash makes for an incredibly moist sponge brought to life by warming spices and it is sandwiched together with heavenly, creamy chocolate mousse spiked with a tiny bit of chilli heat for a tingling surprise.

This recipe came about as I had half a huge butternut squash to use up and didn’t fancy making another soup (from which the first half was used). Butternut squash is extremely versatile and when pureed it can be used in all manner of recipes too. Squash puree is also fantastic stirred into a cheesy sauce for a pasta bake amongst many other things. But before I go on a ramble about the many uses of the vegetable, let me tell you about its use here.

I have used squash in place of the popular tinned pumpkin puree which is full of additives, preservatives and sweeteners. While I am aware that this cake is not exactly a diet food, I at least know exactly what is in it and can add flavour with beautiful, natural spices.

To create squash puree, peel and deseed the butternut. Cut into small dice and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the squash can be easily… squashed between your fingers. Drain away any water that may have collected from the steam in the bowl then mash until smooth. You can do this in a blender for very fine results but I was saving on the washing up and used a potato masher which gave slightly coarser puree that I personally really liked in the overall bake. You are now left with about 2 cups of puree, depending on the size of your squash, which is just perfect for this amazing recipe.

Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-11-35-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-09-15-1[1]

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⅓ cups golden caster sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (I used yeo valley 0% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 4 eggs

For the chocolate mousse filling/topping:

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
  • 1 cup cold double cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2 round 20cm cake tins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and squash. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing very well after each addition.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the tins straight away and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.
  4. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate chips and allow the chocolate to cool a bit. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whip just until the cream reaches the “stiff peaks” stage. Carefully fold about half of the chocolate into the cream. Then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, layer the cream in the middle and on top of the cake.

 

Cookies & Cream Cake

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Screenshot_2016-08-08-20-25-10-1[1] 10/08/2016

The chocolate sponge in this recipe is my new go to chocolate sponge now. It is everything you want a chocolate cake to be; chocolatey, rich, cakey, moreish, amazing. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour and the buttermilk adds a fudginess to the overall bake. Team that with a slathering of Oreo cookie, cream cheese icing and you’re onto a winner. This recipe makes enough for a massive 4 layer cake so feel free to half the amount if you don’t want something quite so extreme. I made the full amount but made two cakes – one to keep and one to take to work – the lucky devils!

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 300ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g plain flour
  • 130g cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 560g light brown soft sugar
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • 200ml strong coffee
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For the icing:

  • 150g stork baking margarine
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 180g tub full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pack Oreo biscuits (I used chocolate stuffed Oreos)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put 200g flour, 65g cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 280g light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
  2. Measure 200ml buttermilk, 100ml coffee, 150ml oil and 2 tsp vanilla in a jug. Add 2 eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, so that you have 4 sponge cakes in total. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.
  4. To make the icing, put the butter in a large bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sieve in the remaining icing sugar, mash together again, then blend once more. Put the Oreos in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Add the biscuit crumbs to the icing and mix again until combined.
  5. To assemble the cake, stick one of your sponges to a cake stand or board with a little of the cream cheese icing. Use roughly half the icing to stack the remaining cakes on top, spreading a generous amount between each layer. Pile the remaining icing on top of the assembled cake, and use a palette knife to ease it over the edges, covering the entire surface of the cake. Tidy the plate with a piece of kitchen paper.
  6. If you have any leftover Oreos, break them into pieces and push these around the base of the cake.Alternatively, use mini Oreos.

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Someone’s lucky day!

Peanut Butter Coconut Macaroons

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IMG_20151217_192335[1] 17/12/2015

I love coconut and I love peanut butter so why not smoosh them together into an awesome creation of tasty, sweet, chewy, nutty, rich goodness? There is no reasoning. It needs to be done.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 5 1/2 cups sweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. This is a must!
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Pour mixture over coconut and use your hands to combine.
  3. Spoon balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the coconut is toasted.
  5. For the drizzle, chop the dark chocolate into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted, stirring in between. Using a fork, drizzle the macaroons with the chocolate. Let chocolate set or speed it up by placing in the fridge for a couple of minutes.

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I love these served at room temperature. They are the perfect pick me up with a cup of coffee.