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.

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.

Double Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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IMG_20151128_151233[1] 28/11/2015

I felt like making cookies today but wanted something more than a standard chocolate chip mix and pistachios and dark chocolate is what I had in the cupboards. It’s a combination that goes really nicely together. The rich dark chocolate and salty roasted nuts are great together in a buttery, chocolate shortbread round. An impressive, tasty bake with minimal effort required – Result!

Makes 12-15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground pistachios
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup 60% dark chocolate chips
  • Coarsely ground pistachios, for garnish

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Instructions:

  1. In a large food processor, process the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the egg and egg yolk, processing until combined.
  3. Add the flour, pistachios, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and process once more. Scrape the sides of the processor.
  4. Place dough mixture into a medium bowl, and add the chocolate chips. Gently combine until evenly distributed.
  5. With a sufficient piece of parchment paper, wrap the dough into a round log, about 2.5″ in diameter.
  6. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 170C.
  8. Cut the cookie dough off the log in even pieces, about .8″ or so apart, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. They will firm up once taken out of the oven.

Lamingtons

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IMG_20150920_085312[1] 20/09/2015

Lamingtons are an Australian sponge cake filled with a layer of strawberry jam then covered in chocolate and coconut. What’s not to like?

You can cut the sponge to any size to suit your occasion. I made really big Lamingtons because if I made smaller ones then I would only go back for seconds so in a way, that’s a healthy version if I only have one, right?

Either way, try this recipe. These are really tasty little cakes.

Yield: 24 two-inch pieces

Ingredients:

Cake ingredients:

  • 340g plain flour, plus additional for dusting pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus additional for greasing pans
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 240ml milk

Chocolate icing ingredients:

  • 240ml milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 960g icing sugar, sifted
  • 90g cocoa powder, sifted

Additional ingredients:

  • 240ml approx strawberry jam
  • 455g desiccated coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly butter two 9″ x 13″ baking tins, line the pans bottoms with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Dust the tins with flour, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes (don’t shortcut the time – the beating of air into the butter is important to the cake texture).
  4. Beat in the vanilla and then the eggs, one egg at a time until incorporated. Fold the part of the flour mixture into the batter, then the milk, and then fold in the remaining flour into the batter until just incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter between the two baking tins, spreading even, and then bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean in the middle of the cakes. Cool slightly in the tins then lift out of the tins and finish cooling completely on wire racks.
  6. After the cakes have cooled completely, spread the jam over the top of one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top, and then using a serrated knife, trim the edges of the cake and then cut into 24 two-inch squares (or whatever size you prefer. The size stated makes pretty massive lamingtons).
  7. Make the icing. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and milk, heating until butter is melted. Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla extract, icing sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir until combined. Pour the icing into a Pyrex bowl and then place over the top of a saucepan filled with at least 2-inches of gently simmering water.
  8. Put the coconut in a bowl and set aside. Dip a cake square into the bowl of chocolate icing, using forks to turn the square, coating all sides. Allow excess icing to drip off then place the square in the bowl of coconut. Using clean forks, turn the square to coat all sides with coconut (I find it easiest to place it in the bowl of coconut, sprinkle coconut on the top, then start turning in coconut to get all sides coated). Place the square on a wire rack and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes to set. Repeat with all of the remaining squares.

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Dark Chocolate Ganache Pie with Biscoff Cookie Crust

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IMG_20150914_184706[1] 15/09/2015

Ganache – simple, satisfying indulgence! This pie is so easy to make but pushes all the right buttons. Smooth, creamy and rich chocolate filling encased in a crunchy, buttery crust of Biscoff. Need I go on?

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground Biscoff cookies
  • 6 Tbsp room temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Raspberries for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl combine butter and cookie crumbs with a fork.
  2. Press mixture into a 9 inch pie plate or tart pan.
  3. Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes or until the crust is crisp and has browned a bit.
  4. To prepare the filling, add chocolate, cream and salt to a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  5. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and chocolate is fully melted.
  6. Pour into cooked crust.
  7. Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until the filling has set. Slice and serve with fresh raspberries.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge

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IMG_20150914_184819[1] 14/09/2015

Do you like the combination of sweet and salty? Then you will love this Salted Dark Chocolate Fudge. And it is super easy to make.

I love having little sweet treats to hand for when you want that little something special that you can keep as a pick me up at the end of a tough day or just to enjoy with friends and this recipe is perfect for providing little chunks of chocolate loveliness that do just that.

Makes 64 1″ fudge pieces.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 450g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • salt flakes for sprinkling

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with grease-proof or foil that overhangs on all sides (for lifting out later).
  2. Chop dark chocolate into small pieces. Stir sweetened condensed milk and salt together in a bowl. Add chocolate pieces and butter.
  3. Place the bowl on top of a double boiler and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth and has thickened.
  4. Pour melted mixture into lined pan. Sprinkle with salt flakes. Let the fudge set in the fridge for at least 2 hours, then cut into 1” pieces.

Millionaire’s Shortbread

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IMG_20141104_194715[1] 04/11/2014

Crisp, buttery shortbread! Smooth, velvet caramel! Dark, luxurious chocolate! Rock salt that accentuates all of the above!

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/8 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Caramel Layer

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of salt

For the Chocolate Layer

  • 6oz dark chocolate, finely chopped, 70% cocoa solids minimum
  • 3 tablespoons double cream
  • Rock salt (optional)

Instructions:

For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminium foil, pushing the foil neatly into the corners and up the sides of the pan ensuring that the foil overlaps all edges to help removal from the pan later. Grease the foiled pan with butter.

Combine the flour, brown sugars, cornflour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined and no lumps of brown sugar remain. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until a coarse mix forms. Add the ice water and egg yolk and mix until moist clumps form. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and press with your fingers into an even layer (dust your fingers with flour if the dough is too sticky). Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

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For Caramel Layer:

Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugars, butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Attach a sugar thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225F, about 6 minutes. Pour the caramel over the crust and cool for about 15 minutes or until the caramel is set.

Note that the caramel will not set completely. It will still be slightly soft in the finished product but this is definitely a good thing.

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For Chocolate Layer:

Place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat gently until the chocolate and cream have melted. Spread the chocolate over the caramel layer. Lightly sprinkle some rock salt over the chocolate for extra flavour. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour. Using the foil overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into small squares and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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These bars will keep well in the fridge stored in an airtight container if not gobbled up before that.