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.

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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.

Celebration Cakes!

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Screenshot_2016-05-16-09-12-56-1[1] 16/05/2016

Right, you lucky things. Not one but two cake recipes. You can thank my fussy family for that. I made a birthday cake for my wonderful mum who loves coffee and walnut as do I. The boys, on the other hand, love traditional Victoria sponge. In a moment of pure genius, I made both cakes from one mix. With just a few tweaks to a simple recipe, you can achieve two completely different cakes. I have included quantities for two full sized, two-tier cakes here but I actually made one and halved the mix to add the different flavours to each. I then cut each cake into a semi circle and placed the two semi-circles together to form a half-and-half cake!

This is an all-in-one method of making a cake. It is so so easy. You literally bung all the ingredients in together and mix well and you are left with the most light and airy cake without the need to cream butter and sugar or add eggs one at a time and worry about curdling. Just stick it in, mix it up, bake it, apply to face!

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 225 g (8oz) margarine
  • 225 g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee (I used Azeera)
  • 225 g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 75g roughly chopped walnuts

For the filling and topping:

  • 2oz margarine
  • 6oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)
  • Walnut halves for decoration

Method:

  1. Grease and base line 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the coffee until dissolved. Measure the margarine, sugar, flour and baking powder into the egg mix and beat until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  5. For the buttercream icing, beat the margarine and coffee until soft and fluffy. Gradually sift in the icing sugar until well combined and add a tablespoon or two of milk to loosen slightly.
  6. Use half the buttercream to sandwich the two cakes together. Spread the remaining buttercream on top. Decorate with walnut halves.

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 225 g (8oz) margarine
  • 225 g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 225 g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder

For the filling and topping:

  • 2oz margarine
  • 6oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)
  • Raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Grease and base line 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and stir. Measure the margarine, sugar, flour and baking powder into the egg mix and beat until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  5. For the buttercream icing, beat the margarine until soft and fluffy. Gradually sift in the icing sugar until well combined and add a tablespoon or two of milk to loosen slightly and some vanilla extract for flavour.
  6. Spread the bottom layer of cake with the jam then use half the buttercream to sandwich the two cakes together. Spread the remaining buttercream on top.

Coffee Cake

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IMG_20151006_151029[1] 06/10/2015

One of my favourite cakes. I love coffee and I love cake. This is a no frills recipe for a light sponge and creamy coffee icing that is very simple to put together. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 225 g (8 oz) margarine
  • 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee
  • 225 g (8 oz) self raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder

For the filling and topping:

  • 2oz margarine
  • 6oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)

Method:

  1. Grease and base line 2 x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and stir in the coffee until dissolved. Measure the margarine, sugar, flour and baking powder into the egg mix and beat until thoroughly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and level out.
  4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  5. For the buttercream icing, beat the margarine and coffee until soft and fluffy. Gradually sift in the icing sugar until well combined and add a tablespoon or two of milk to loosen slightly.
  6. Use half the buttercream to sandwich the two cakes together. Spread the remaining buttercream on top.

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Store the cake in an airtight container or tin. Place the cake on the lid to store so that when you open it, the cake is easy to cut and serve. Keeps well for 4-5 days.

Espresso Cookie Butter Rice Crispy Treats

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IMG_20141108_200707[1] 08/11/2014

This recipe came about after crazily overestimating how many marshmallows I was going to need for toasting over the fire on bonfire night.

I made these rice crispy treats a bit more interesting with the addition of coffee and cookie butter and a few bits of crumbled speculoos biscuits for good measure.

Ingredients:

  • 10 to 12 speculoos biscuits, crumbled coarsely (I used Lotus Biscoff)
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I used Nescafé Azera)
  • 12 ounces marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter (crunchy or smooth, such as Biscoff)
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Method:

  1. Foil and lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan with melted butter; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, crush the cookies and add the cereal; set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and espresso powder in a large saucepan set over medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Add the cookie butter and salt (if using) and stir until just combined.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal mixture until it is evenly coated with the melted marshmallows. Once combined, press the mixture into the prepared pan. (A good tip here is to press the mix in with the back of a lightly oiled tablespoon so things don’t get too sticky). Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Coffee Fudge

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IMG_20140829_090908[1] 11/09/2014

I store my fudge in a margarine tub in the fridge and it keeps for as long as I can resist the temptation to disgrace myself, eat too much and bounce around with a sugar high. The margarine tub is partly because of my lack of Tupperware and partly as a clever disguise – my precious!

This is a basic recipe and method for fudge with demerara sugar to work with the coffee flavour. You can use coffee granules instead of powder but there will be little flecks in your final results which I actually think looks very pretty.

Ingredients:

  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 150ml milk
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 450g Demerara sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons espresso powder
  • Chocolate coffee beans, to decorate

Method:

  1. Line and lightly grease a 20cm x 20cm square pan with foil.
  2. In a large saucepan on a medium heat, heat the condensed milk, milk, butter and sugar, stirring regularly, until the sugar has melted.
  3. Turn up the heat, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirringcontinuously, until a small amount of mixture dropped into a glass of cold water forms a tiny ball of, you guessed it, fudge. This is known as the soft ball stage. If you have a sugar thermometer, stop when the temperature reaches 116C.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the espresso powder and beat for about 10 minutes, until the caramel-y glossiness has gone and you have a thick and soft consistency.
  4. Scoop into your lined pan, spread into the corners, pat down to even the surface then leave to cool at room temperature and refrigerate until firm.
  5. Cut into squares, pop a chocolate coffee bean on each and serve with a hot cup of coffee.

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Tip: You must keep stirring otherwise the fudge will stick to the bottom of your pan and you will have burnt bitter fudge!

This recipe gave me enough for 36 big chunky pieces but you could cut them into more petite, pretty sizes and wrap them up as gifts as well. I would have done this if I didn’t eat all the chocolate coffee beans first.

Double Espresso Brazil Nut Cake

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IMG_20140801_215741[2] 03/08/2014

Back to the sweet stuff! Coffee and walnut cake is probably one of my favourite cakes. I love coffee. I often say that I think I’d be severely dehydrated if I didn’t drink it as I love it so much, it’s about all I drink. So combining coffee with cake? No brainer! Here I used brazil nuts instead of walnuts. Feel free to leave nuts out all together or experiment with your own. Toasted hazelnuts might be nice? 

The use of coffee grains in this cake gives a very intense coffee flavour that goes nicely with the buttery brazil nuts. I chopped some of the brazil nuts coarsley and some quite finely for a nice chunky mouthful every so often. 

Ingredients:

  • 100ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground roasted coffee beans
  • 175g unsalted butter or baking margarine, softened
  • 100g light soft brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 75g brazil nuts, chopped

Method:

  1. Line and grease two 20cm Victoria sponge tins with discs of non-stick baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Combine the milk, instant coffee and ground coffee in a saucepan and bring to the boil then remove from the heat and leave until warm.
  3. Beat the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the coffee mixture until evenly combined. Stir the two flours and baking powder then beat this through together with the chopped brazil nuts.
  4. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.
  5. Leave to cool before removing from the tins and peeling off the paper. Allow to cool completely on wire racks before applying the coffee water icing (recipe to follow).

Coffee Water Icing:

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 25ml cold water, more if needed
  • 25g glucose, optional but it helps the icing to set and stay glossy
  • 3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional for a cleaner flavour)

Method:

  1. Dissolve the coffee granules in the water.
  2. Spoon the icing sugar into a bowl and add the coffee water and glucose (if using) a little at a time and stir together. If more water is needed to get the desired consistency, add it cautiously and gradually.
  3. Add lemon zest if you like (I skipped this part)
  4. Divide the icing between the two cakes, smooth it out and sandwich them together. Top with extra brazil nuts for decoration.

This really is a lovely cake. it is very simple to make and I think it improves slightly the next day. This recipe was taken from Dan Lepard’s ‘Short & Sweet’.