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.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake… Cake

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cx 11/06/2017

My friends and I have wanted to make this cake for ages. It is really several cakes piled into one glorious creation. The cheesecake centre is smooth and creamy against the spiced, nut studded carrot cake that is topped with a luxurious icing and even more nuts for beautiful texture and flavour. A real celebration cake!

The frosting makes enough to cover the entire cake generously however, I only covered the top of the cake and this was more than enough as the frosting is very sweet. I used the remaining frosting for a coffee and banana pecan cake which was really nice or you could just half the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½-1 cup chopped pecans

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  • 16oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  1. Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of hot water to the pan. Place it on the lower shelf of the oven. Allow it to preheat in the oven.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch spring-form pan by wrapping the bottom of the pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line the bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
  4. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 8-inch spring-form pan. Place pan in centre of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
  6. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  7. When cooled, remove outside portion of the spring-form pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake (this is what I did).

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FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

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FOR THE FROSTING:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
  2. To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting on top and on the sides if you feel particularly decadent.
  3. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. ENJOY!

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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.

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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!

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.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

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IMG_20150412_042151[1] 15/04/2015

During the blackouts of the Second World War, Ebinger Baking Company in the New York City borough of Brooklyn developed its Blackout cake. This cake was extremely popular in Ebinger bakery and many other bakeries across New York. Unfortunately the bakery closed due to bankruptcy but lucky for you, this fantastic recipe for smooth, velvetty chocolate fudgy, custard cake lives on!

This rich, dark sponge is filled and coated with a thick chocolate custard, then finished with crumbled cake. It is best eaten chilled from the fridge so the custard stays set. In my opinion, this cake improves with keeping. A real must try for chocolate lovers and custard lovers alike.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 140g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 140g buttermilk
  • 100ml coffee, made with 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g light muscovado sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder

For the custard filling and covering:

  • 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. Grease then line the bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Melt the butter in a pan, then remove from the heat and beat in the oil, buttermilk, coffee and eggs. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together plus ¼ tsp salt and squish any resistant lumps of sugar with your fingers. Tip in the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.

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3. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely, parchment-side down.

4. Remove the parchment linings from the cakes. If the cakes are domed, trim them flat. Now cut each cake across the middle using a large serrated knife. Put your least successful layer and any trimmings into a processor and pulse it to crumbs. Tip into a large bowl.

5. Sit one layer on a cake plate and spread it with a quarter of the custard. Sandwich the next layer on top, add another quarter of the custard then top with the final layer of cake. 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.

6. Hold the cake over the bowl containing the crumbs, then sprinkle and gently press a layer of crumbs all over the cake. Brush any excess from the plate. You’ll have some crumbs left. Chill for 2 hrs, or longer, before serving, and eat it cold. 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.

IMG_20150413_222458[1] IMG_20150415_073700[1]