Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

The Great British Bake Off is bake on British TV and, like thousands of others, it has reinvigorated my interest in baking! My sister and her colleagues have decided to each choose a week to bake some goodies and take them along to the office to share. The idea is that they bake something that was on the programme that episode. However I’ve made it easier on myself and just stuck to the theme. The idea is to challenge myself to bake a new recipe or come up with a new idea.

This week was biscuit week (week 2)! There was lots of shortbread being made, so this inspired my first attempt at these ‘Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits’.

You may be wondering why I’m starting with week 2, and what happened to week 1! Well I’ve started late so I’m kind of cheating and counting a previous bake (from 4 months ago!) as my week 1 contribution: Black Forest Cake.

I’m also on Twitter @wangsamsin so feel free to follow my progress!

Shortbread Ingredients: (Original recipe from Tesco website)

  • 125g butter
  • 55g Caster sguar
  • 150g Plain flour
  • 50g Ground almonds
Salted Butterscotch Sauce

Salted Butterscotch Sauce

Salted Butterscotch Ingredients:

  • 125ml double cream
  • 30g butter
  • 4 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Butterscotch Method:

  • In a small pan, bring cream to the boil and stir in butter.
  • Turn down the heat to low then the sugar, stirring until the butterscotch becomes smooth.
  • Add the sea salt and mix thoroughly
  • Allow to cool to room temperature so it becomes spreadable but not too thick (if it thickens too much then re-heat to loosen)
  • Left-overs can be stored in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to a month. Use as a sauce for ice cream or pancakes!
Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Almond Shortbread Method: (I made two batches for these double layered biscuits)

  • Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth with an electric mixer.
  • Stir in the flour and almond to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1/2 cm thick. For the second batch, I cut a small hole in the centre of each biscuit to allow the butterscotch filling to show through.
  • Cut into shapes, place onto a baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. Make sure you bake the ‘holes’ too as they make really cute mini-shortbreads!

To Assemble:

  • Think of a ‘Jammy Dodger’ and you’ll not go wrong!
  • Using the plain biscuit as the bottom layer, spread a layer of butterscotch filling on it then ‘sandwich’ it with a top layer that has a hole in it. Simple!
  • Decorate with some extra sea salt flakes to give a hint of what’s inside…
Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

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Black Forest Cake: A CCC post

Black Forest Cake: Childhood Sweethearts

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

This post comes a couple of months late, but by heck have I been busy! Another post will explain all…

For my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meet up the theme was ‘Childhood Sweethearts’ which made me instantly think- “Blackforest Gateaux!”

I think I’ve said this on previous posts but basically my favourite cake is ‘Blackforest’ as it is the cake I always remember from childhood birthday parties. Back then it was the Sara-Lee frozen kind and more recently, home baked creations by my mum. It’s something about the way the sour cherries cut through the sweetness of the cake and the whipped cream balances out the bitterness of the dark chocolate… or am I over-thinking this? 😀

It’s not the first time I’ve made this recipe, in fact I made mini versions for a Christmas afternoon tea (not Christmas themed, but it took place on Boxing Day!). Despite making up the recipe as I went along at Christmas, the turned out quite well. This time, it wasn’t so! After a couple of attempts at the chocolate sponge, I ended up with something passable but not my best baking to date. What can I say? For me, baking under pressure does not result in a tasty cake!

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml milk
  • grated chocolate to decorate
  • 1 can or jar of cherries (use fresh pitted cherries if in season), saving some for decorating
  • 3 tbs sour cherry jam
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 750ml double cream
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Method:

  • Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3.
  • Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat.
  • While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml milk
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake is baking, warm through 3 tbs cherry jam in a saucepan and add the whole cherries. Stir in 1 tbs cornflour to help thicken the mixture, ensuring there are no lumps of flour remaining. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Whip the double cream with 1tbs icing sugar until soft peaks form.

To build the final cake:

  • When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into two or three layers depending on how much it has risen and how confident you are that it won’t fall apart!
  • Using just under a third of the whipped cream, evenly cover the bottom layer of sponge then add a third of the cherry jam filling
  • Top this layer with another layer of cake and repeat the previous step. Do this again if you have a three layer cake, ensuring you have enough cream and cherry filling for each layer.
  • Decorate the top with piped cream and grated chocolate. Decorate the cake with the saved cherries as you see fit. I took inspiration from Sara-Lee’s classic frozen Black-forest Gateau for mine!
Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Florentines

Naked Florentines

Naked Florentines

Florentines

Florentines

For Christmas 2014 I didn’t have a lot of baking planned but wanted to try a couple of new recipes. There have been a few Florentine recipes being posted recently and I do like the look of them! So I decided to give them a try… My dad is pretty difficult to buy gifts for so this Christmas he got a hamper of goodies, mainly shop bought foods as I worried that he won’t get round to eating homemade foods with all the extra treats that are around during the Christmas holidays!

My dad has to control his intake of sugar and fat intake as diabetes and heart problems run in the family. He likes to snack in between meals but isn’t a fan of chocolate. These Florentines seemed like an ideal addition to his hamper since they are mostly made of store-cupboard ingredients, so can sit around for a little longer in a hamper. Although they are made of sugar, a little goes a long way and the use of dried fruits adds lots of natural sweetness too.

I came across this useful article where the writer did all the hard work of trying out several Florentine recipes and came up with the ideal one. Who am I to go look a gift horse in the mouth? I did change make some changes to the ingredients for the recipe to adapt to the dried fruits that I had to hand. I also decided to skip the chocolate coating, hence the ‘naked’ Florentines!

Florentines

Naked Florentines

Ingredients:

  • 45g Butter
  • 60g Demerara sugar
  • 100g Dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 50g Soft dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 60g Blanched almond slivers
  • 15g Plain flour
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 tbs Double cream

Method:

  • Heat oven to 180 degrees C and line a large baking tray with grease-proof paper
  • In a small saucepan melt the butter and sugar on a low heat, set to one side
  • In the meantime combine all the dried fruits and nuts in a bowl and toss in the flour
  • Stir the double cream and salt into the melted butter then add the fruit and nut mixture
  • Spoon 1 tsp blobs of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and flatten as much as possible and leaving enough space around each round for spreading when baking
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, mine took 10 minutes and were already very brown on the edges! Allow to cool completely in the tin otherwise they will fall apart
  • Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days
Florentines

Florentines

 Apologies for the poor quality of the photos but you get the idea! 🙂

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

I’ve gone from hardly baking any cakes recently to two birthday cakes in one week! The first being a Chocolate and Caramel Cake (post to follow) and the second was this Coconut and Pineapple Cake. It is almost a year to the day that I last baked a Coconut Cake. I know this because the cake was made for my cousin’s birthday and this cake was made for her next birthday! What else do you bake a coconut addict than a Coconut Cake?

Since last year’s cake was a bit complicated, and this year I didn’t have as much time so I tried a simplified version with the additional flavour of pineapple to give it a twist! After lots of searching for Pineapple and Coconut cakes, I ended up using a mish-mash of recipes to tailor the cake to the ingredients I actually had to hand (I couldn’t be bothered to head to the shops!) 🙂

I am going to be the first to admit that this cake didn’t turn out too pretty, however for what it lack in the eye candy department it more than makes up for in flavour! I have a knack of trying to fit too many things in at the same time, so I was finishing the decorating of this cake whilst last minute packing for a trip to Myanmar (Burma) the next day. I’d like to think that if I had more time I would have spent more time on the presentation, for example getting some dried pineapple slices and making them into pretty flowers to top the cake. However my attempts to get some at the local supermarket were fruitless (excuse the pun!) and I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so a bit of quick chocolate writing was what I settled for… any suggestions for future cake decorating in the comments box below please! 😀

Although this cake has a few steps, it is actually quite simple to make as the pineapple filling and the coconut custard for the frosting can be easily made whilst the sponge is baking in the oven! The ingredients are mostly store cupboard basics so should be fairly easy to get together. Feel free to use fresh pineapple if you can get it (and have the time to cut it up and prep it!)

Cake: 

  • 175 g Self Raising Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 130 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Medium eggs
  • 130 g Butter, melted
  • 2 tbs Coconut cream
  • 60 g Desiccated coconut
Pineapple Filling

Pineapple Filling

Pineapple filling:

  • 540 g Can of pineapple (340 g drained weight)
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
Coconut Custard

Coconut Custard

Coconut Cream Frosting:

  • 370 ml Coconut milk
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 20 g Caster sugar
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
  • 300 ml Double cream

To Decorate:

  •  20 g Desiccated coconut, toasted
Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake

Method:

For the Cake:

  • Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until you see ribbons trails when stirred, lightly beat in the coconut cream
  • Slowly stir in the melted butter, try to avoid knocking too much air out of the mixture
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder along with the desiccated coconut, lightly combine so it is just mixed together
  • Bake the batter in a lined round 23 cm spring form cake tin for 25 minutes, 180 degrees C (fan oven)
  • Remove cake from the tin and allow to cool completely

For the Pineapple filling:

  • Pour the pineapple juice/syrup from the can into a jug and combine with the cornflour until smooth
  • Chop up the pineapple into small chunks and put into a saucepan
  • Warm up the pineapples in the pan and add the cornflour and juice mixture, keep on a low heat and the mixture will slowly thicken to look similar to apple sauce
  • Leave to one side to cool completely

For the Coconut cream frosting:

  • Make a coconut custard by combining the egg yolks with the cornflour into a smooth paste, warm in a saucepan and slowly add the coconut milk into the thicken egg mixture so you have a smooth custard
  • Keeping the pan on a low heat, add the sugar and continuously whisk until the mixture forms a very thick custard, don’t allow the custard to stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Set the custard to one side until completely cold. This can be made ahead and refrigerated, but ensure you cover the custard with cling film to prevent it from forming a skin
  • Whip up the double cream until peaks form, add the coconut custard and lightly whisk to combine

To assemble and decorate:

  • Cut the cake through the middle to create two layers, using the top as the bottom layer
  • Cover the bottom layer with a layer of the coconut cream frosting, then add the pineapple filling on top. I only used half the pineapple filling in the end as I was worried it would be too much!
  • Add the second layer of sponge then completely cover the whole cake with the left over frosting
  • Decorate with the toasted desiccated coconut
Coconut Cream Layer Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Layer Cake

As you can see from the, slightly dodgy, photo of the inside of the cake it is packed with filling and cream. The contrast in textures and flavours worked well, the cake sponge was a little on the dry side but the cream helped to balance this out. All in all, a tasty version of the coconut cake in less than half the time of the original! 🙂

 

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with a Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

After staring at a bowl of ripening pears and wondering what to do with them (I like them crunchy!) I decided the only thing was to make a cake! I’ve been on a bit of a baking frenzy recently after a couple of months of resting the oven. I blame the gradual change in weather… as the British summer time comes to an end more weekends are spend indoors making comfort food until it’s time to come out of hibernation again…

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

I have a lovely memory of when I had a slice of plum crumble cake in a little tea shop remember exactly how tasty it was. Since then, I’ve really wanted to try a cake with a crumbly topping but haven’t really gotten round to it so when I saw this Delia Smith recipe, I knew I had to give it a try! I’ve never really been one to try Delia Smith recipes so why not start with this one?! 🙂

The recipe is taken directly from the website but I had some missing ingredients and substituted some, so here is what I used…

Ingredients

(For the cake)

  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 3 ripe pears; peeled, cored and quartered

(For the topping)

  • 50g melted butter
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 30g dark brown sugar
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

Method

  • Mix the flour and  baking powder into a bowl, then add all the other ingredients (except the pears). Whisk together until evenly combined. Spoon the mixture into a prepared tin (I used a 18cm round tin, though the recipe advises for a 20cm tin.
  • Arrange the pears in a circle on top of the cake batter.
  • To make the topping, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl then add the melted butter and lightly crumble it with a fork.  After stir in the nuts, sprinkle the mixture all over the pears and bake near the centre of the oven for 35- 45 minutes at 180 degrees C.
  • Leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before attempting to take the cake out of the tin
  • Just before serving, dust the surface with icing sugar.
Pear and Almond Cake

Pear and Almond Cake

This cake is fairly easy to put together but it looks like you spent a lot more time on it!

There isn’t a lot of cake batter so I would check the cake after 30 minutes of baking to ensure it doesn’t overcook. The cake itself is quite dense but the moisture of the pears helps to lighten it up. The crumbly almond topping gives a nice contrast too.

Overall I liked the final result but adding a flavouring to the sponge next time would make it even tastier?! A little cardamom or cocoa powder perhaps…

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Serve this pear and almond cake warm with a little ice cream or if you’re living in a colder climate some thick custard would make this cake an extra special treat! 😀

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcake with Fresh Cream, Strawberries and Pistachios

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

We’ve had a busy few weeks at home! There have been lots of visitors staying with us so I’ve had an excuse to bake some tasty treats… Does there always need to be an excuse to make cakes? If so, I’m sure I could think of one at the drop of a hat! 🙂

Strawberry Plant

Strawberry Plant

During the British summer there is an abundance of strawberries, the season is relatively short but they are oh so delicious! I tried to grow a couple of strawberry plants in pots this year but there wasn’t much of a harvest…though what we did get was delicious! Strawberries and cream… the quintessential British summer treat!

Home Grown Strawberries

Home Grown Strawberries

These Cardamom Cupcakes with Fresh Cream, Strawberries and Pistachios were a real pleasure to eat! I decided at the last minute to add the cardamom as an afterthought, I have a tendency to  add cardamom to any cake recipe I get away with!

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachios

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g butter
  • 180g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs milk (add as required)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (seeds from about 7-8 pods ground up)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbs icing sugar
  • Strawberries (for decorating)
  • Pistachio nuts (toasted and crushed for decorating)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases
  • Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Fold in the flour and cardamom, adding milk if the batter is too thick
  • Half fill the paper cases and bake for 10-15 minutes
  • Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack, in the meantime beat the cream with the icing sugar until it is thick enough to pipe
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, decorate with the fresh cream, strawberries and pistachio nuts
Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

These cupcakes are very quick to make and the contrasting colours mean they look very pretty! The cardamom adds an interesting background flavour, the strawberry adds some freshness, the pistachio gives a little added texture and the fresh cream brings all the flavours together…

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

I very rarely use fresh cream on cupcakes but after baking these little beauties, I am left wondering why! 😀

 

 

 

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

This ‘cake’ was an experiment that went a little wrong, so the final result turned out more like a ‘cheese cake’. However, it took me hours to make so I wasn’t going to chuck it out!

The original recipe came from Dan Lepard’s ‘Pear Mousse Cake’ in his book ‘Short and Sweet’ but can be found on this website too. I liked the sound of this cake as it uses a genoise sponge cake which is lovely and light.

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

This cake was intended to be a layered cake using the mousse as a frosting in between layers and around the outside of the cake. You get the mental image? Not exactly how mine turned out! 😦

The cake itself didn’t rise half as much I it was supposed to, but that’s because I added heavy ground sesame seeds to it and the cake wasn’t able to rise. So I only had one layer of sponge to work with and decided to make it into a cheese cake base! Waste not, want not! 🙂

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

I took the cake to the office and shared with colleagues but it wasn’t received very well. I guess because the black sesame flavour is new for most people and quite a savoury flavour so the little amount of sugar in the cake batter didn’t balance so well. The other thing was that the ‘mousse’ didn’t taste of pears! How disappointing! 😦

Despite there being 7 pears in this recipe, the mascarpone and cream completely wiped away the flavour of the pears… The mousse also didn’t set enough to spread onto a cake, so I added extra gelatine to make it more ‘cheese cakey’. Hence the results…

All in all, not a success but it wasn’t bad enough that I had to chuck it straight in the compost bin! Won’t be making that again then…

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Mousse Cake

 

 

Black Sesame and Pear Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Cake: Clandestine Cake Club meet No.3

Black Sesame and Pear Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Cake

This cake club comes around so quickly! But I love it! 😀

My ultimate pastime activity; baking, eating and talking about cake! If this is your first time hearing about the Clandestine Cake Club, you must visit their website and sign up to a local club immediately… This was my third meeting with previous bakes being the Spanish Orange and Almond Cake and the Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake.

Clandestine Cake Club Spread

Clandestine Cake Club Spread

The theme of this club meeting was ‘Think Outside the Box’ due to the lovely people of Selfpackaging.com sponsoring the event. When thinking about the type of cake to take along, I was really stuck with the theme. I’m not a fan of making cakes that taste strange and I’m good with sugar paste either… So I decided to go with my favourite or favourite ingredients: Black Sesame! 😀

Black Sesame isn’t widely used in cooking, unless you are Asian! So I thought that it would be a new flavour for most people. (Any excuse to use black sesame! :))

Black Sesame and Pear Loaf Cake

Black Sesame and Pear Loaf Cake

Luckily for me I came across a recipe for Black Sesame and Pear Cake which makes use of pears in a traditionally western way of baking, so it was a good way of introducing the flavour without being too ‘out there’!

What I learnt from this recipe was that it rises quite a bit (mine bubbled right over the sides of the tin all over the oven) and it is very dense so needs a long bake in a lower temperature. I also had to cover the cake part way through cooking with foil as it was browning very quickly.

Black Sesame and Pear Loaf

Black Sesame and Pear Loaf

Due to the long baking time, the edges became quite crisp so I snapped them off. The texture of the crisp sugary top and the moist cake was quite nice.

Pear and Black Sesame Cake

Pear and Black Sesame Cake

This cake went down quite well at the cake club meeting. Several people asked me where they could buy black sesame seeds from. (A good sign that!) There was also very little left at the end of the evening (Good sign number 2!)

It may not be pretty, but it tasted good! I think my forte is for flavour rather than looks in baking… 😀

I also wanted to share with you a couple of highlights of mine from the evening…

Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake

Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake (Looks gorgeous doesn’t it?!)

I may be a little biased as this cake was made by my cousin, but how beautiful is this?

Bento Box Cake

Pandan Cake with Lychee Butter cream

This cake was a work of art as well as being delicious! What amazed me was that the baker (Steven) had just bought some flavours that he’s never used before from a Chinese supermarket and baked a cake with it. He also made these adorable pandas out by making marshmallow from scratch! What a legend!

 

 

Raspberry and Double Chocolate Muffins and Loaf Cake

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffin

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffin

You know it’s been a long time since you’ve made cake when work colleagues start asking for them! Around the same time last year (just after Christmas when everyone was trying to shift a few pounds!) it was the opposite, we were all sick of the sight of cakes and biscuits in the office…

So I dusted off the muffin tin and rummaged for the muffin cases to try out this Raspberry and Chocolate Muffin recipe. This recipe current has 239 positive reviews so I chose to go with this one without even bothering to look at others, why would I ignore such a highly recommended recipe?!

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffin

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffin

First thing to note is that the recipe uses ‘cups’ rather than weighing out each ingredient making it very simple to throw together. I usually have some frozen berries in the freezer for emergency baking or fruity sauce making (yes there are instances of such urgent issues in my life). I also have quite a few blocks of chocolate left over from Christmas baking. I’m not a huge fan of eating chocolate on its own so they have gone untouched in case of other dessert making adventures.

The recipe itself calls for white chocolate but I didn’t have enough so I ended up using both white and milk chocolates, hence the ‘double chocolate’ element of the muffin. As with most cake recipes, I reduced the amount of sugar from 1 cup to 2/3 cup. I figured that with all that chocolate in it, it would be sweet enough. On taste testing the muffins (I had to have 2 just to be sure) I would even go for half a cup of sugar depending on how sweet your chocolate is!

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffins and Loaf

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffins and Loaf

I was quite surprised that there is only 50g of butter and 1 egg in this recipe. Relatively low in fat compared to other muffin recipes, an excuse to eat double the amount maybe?

Due to the expanding number of people working in my office I made two batches. The first batch went into a loaf tin and the second batch in 12 muffin cases. I have to say that sticking the the muffins is much quicker. They took 20 minutes but the loaf tin took a good 45 minutes to bake. However, having a cake to cut up is always more enjoyable when with a group of friends with a round of tea and coffee… There are pros and cons to both, but pretty much any cake is always a good thing!

So you can imagine that after baking such lovely cake and muffins for my work mates, I was looking forward to seeing their reactions when they took the initial bite and tasted the tart raspberries with the sweet chocolatey nuggets of goodness. Well something terrible happened, and not for the first time! I FORGOT to take the cakes with me in the morning! Can you imagine the horror when I realised half way into my one hour commute to work? I just dreaded having to tell them all that the cakes I had made especially for them were abandoned on my coffee table 30 miles away… The worst of it was that I wasn’t even due in the office the next day so couldn’t even give them slightly stale cake. Oh well, more for me! 🙂

Their wish has been left unfulfilled…

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake!

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Chocolate cake is usually a reliable crowd pleaser, although I do know a few people who have allergies to chocolate and caffeine so this cake is definitely not for them! I can’t say that chocolate cake is my all time favourite, I often find it far too sweet and a bit too rich! But given the choice of eating a piece of chocolate cake or no cake at all, I’d take what is on offer! 🙂

I made this cake for my brother-in-law’s birthday this weekend. It was actually a second attempt as the first attempt went terribly wrong, but I’m not exactly sure why! It was very flat and However, my brother-in-law and nephew being big chocolate cake fans managed to polish off the ‘trial cake’ within a day anyway…

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I grew up eating ‘Black Forest Gateaux’ for birthday cakes. This cake ended up being very similar in flavour. I’m not sure if this decision was subconsciously or whether it was a happy ‘coincidence’ but it was well received by all anyway!

The recipe is for The Ultimate Chocolate Cake and judging by the current 864 ratings on the BBC Good Food website, its a popular and reliable recipe to go with. It’s also a very basic easy to follow recipe so a good one to fall back on when you are short on time and need something fairly quick. It’s very similar to a brownie recipe and results in a dense cake with a slight crunch on the outside.

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream, Raspberries and Cherry Compote in the middle

This is the second time I’ve made this cake, the first time was for a colleague’s birthday in the office a few months ago. It went down very well then too but I found it far too rich and sweet so this time I attempted to lighten it up by adding fresh cream and the tartness of fresh berries to try and cur through the rich dark chocolate. This was achieved to a certain extent, but I don’t think I went far enough. Feedback from the family was that more cream was needed, so I will definitely remember this for next time! The fruit was a welcomed addition and again I would add a lot more next time…

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

Ultimate Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Raspberries

I have a confession to make with this cake… The nice little pile of raspberries that were delicately placed in the middle of the cake didn’t stay there for long. When packing into the cake carrier, I found the cake was too high and the lid did not fit, so I ate all the raspberries off the top to make it fit! It only occurred to me later on that I could have put the extra raspberries into a container to add them later on, but by then it was already too late! 🙂