Baking, Cakes, Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

This post is especially for those of you looking for my Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe….

I bought Tamasin Day- Lewis’  book ‘Tamsin’s Kitchen‘ a few years ago for two reasons:

1) I had watched some of her programs on TV and liked her cookery style

and

2) it was reduced in from something like €25 to €9 – who says I can’t economise?

It is a a mighty tome with the recipes arranged in sections designed to take you from ‘Easy Things’ to ‘Serious Skills’. At the start of each section there is an introduction on what to expect. She also includes little hints and tips at the top of each recipe. The downside – the recipes are written in paragraph form  rather than points making them (well for me anyway) less easy to follow and very few of the recipes have photos showing what the end result should look like.

So what have I cooked from this book in the last two years? One thing and one thing only – Tamasin’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake – and yes I know strictly speaking it’s not cooking!

I have added a few bits and pieces to the original recipe and left out the cream that she puts in the icing. These additions  may change depending on what’s in the store cupboard so my version is a cross between Chocolate Biscuit Cake and Rocky Road – but I’ve had no complaints yet!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

What you need:

  • 4oz /110g Butter
  • 4oz/110g Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 80z/225g digestive biscuits
  • 3oz/80g mini Marshmallows
  • 2oz/50g dried cranberries
  • Dark & white Chocolate to decorate

What you do:

  • Put the biscuits in a plastic bag and bash them to crumbs using your rolling pin (who you think of while doing this is your own business!)
  • Put the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan and allow to melt gently over a low heat. Don’t allow mix to boil!
  • Add the mini marshmallows and dried fruit to the melted mix. Then stir in the crushed biscuits, making sure that they are well coated.
  • Turn the mix out into a lined shallow baking tin (approx 30 *20 cm).  Allow to cool then Leave to set for a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge.
  • Once the cake is set cover the top with melted chocolate, leave it for a few mins then cut into slices (it’s easier at this stage)
  • Then drizzle over some melted white chocolate (After a lot of trials I have discovered that white chocolate buttons are the easiest to melt – Thanks Nicola!)

Now that I’ve pulled this book from the shelves I really must try a few more recipes…….

Happy Cooking !

Baking, Cakes, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Heart’s Desire Cake

So it’s that time of the year – Valentine’s Day or should I say the ultimate Hallmark day! Time to bring out your inner romantic and make everything pink and heart shaped……..

And if my black pudding starter seems very ‘hearty’ well here is the ultimate chocolate cake to finish off your romantic meal á deux! (what you choose to have for main course is entirely up to you………….)

I came across this recipe when I was putting together a ‘Cupid’s Cooking’ class last year and it went down very well. I think it came from Delicious Magazine so I hope they don’t mind my variation on it!

It’s quick , easy and delicious so go on, give it a try………..

Heart’s Desire Cake

Preheat your oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4.  You’ll need a loose bottomed heart-shaped tin – I got mine from Kit Your Kitchen last year and I’m sure Gemma will have some  in stock this year

What you need:

  • 150g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) buttons
  • 140g light brown sugar
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 50g Green & Black’s butterscotch chocolate

What to do:

Put butter, vanilla, chocolate and sugars into a bowl

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat  until melted.

Remove bowl from heat, add in the beaten eggs and fold in the flour

Finally stir in the chopped hazelnuts and butterscotch chocolate.
Pour the cake mix into a buttered, heart shaped tin and bake in a preheated oven for 25 mins until top is firm to touch but cake is still squidgy inside.

Allow to cool in tin for 15 mins before carefully turning out onto serving plate.

A few bits from my decorating box...

Decorate to your heart’s content ……

and serve warm with whipped cream and lots of love……..

Did I mention I had a very interested observer while all this was going on….

Happy Cooking !

PS Valentine if you’re reading this, I have the cake so  flowers or jewellery will do……….

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Meringue Gateau – a cake for all seasons!

A few weeks ago on twitter Evin was looking for suggestions for an alternative Christening cake and I suggested this one. This is a cake that I’ve used for christenings, birthdays, First Communions and even a small wedding. It’s versatile, elegant and relatively simple to make but it does look impressive!

I made one for a ‘surprise’ birthday recently and decided to go for three layers rather than the normal two. You only need three things to assemble this cake – meringues, butter cream and whipped cream , lots of it!

For the Meringue Discs, I used 8 egg whites and 16oz caster sugar whisked together in the Kenwood until mixture formed stiff peaks (NB make sure your bowl is clean and dry before adding the egg whites !)

Btw meringue measurements only even seem to work for me in imperial – 2 ozs sugar to each egg white.

Draw 3 20cm/8″ circles on parchment paper – turn the paper over so pencil doesn’t get on cake and pipe the meringue mix evenly over the three circles. Don’t worry there will be some leftover – I just pipe these as baby meringues.

Now comes the part where everyone seems to disagree – I cook the discs at 130 C Fan for 30 mins, check to see how they’re doing and normally end up leaving them for another 10-15 mins at 100 C Fan. You’ll know the meringues are done when you can lift them off the paper easily. I always leave my meringues to cool in the (switched-off!) oven.

Please note  it’s very useful to stick a tea-towel in the oven door to remind yourself that there’s something in there – twice baked meringues are not good – trust me I know!

Next you need to make Chocolate Butter Cream. For three layers I used 9 oz butter, 13oz icing sugar and 3 oz Green & Black’s Cocoa Powder  – blend all three ingredients in a food processor and add in good dash of rum or brandy to loosen the mixture.

You also need to whip lots of Glenisk cream – I think I used at least a litre on this cake (see I’m incapable of sticking to one measurement system – must be the engineer in me!)

Now to assemble the cake, sorry gateau!

Use a little butter cream to keep the base meringue layer in place on the cake board , then carefully spread butter cream over the first meringue disc.

Then cover the butter cream with whipped cream (I never said this was going to be low calorie, did I ?)

Place the next meringue disc on top of the cream and then repeat the chocolate butter cream and whipped cream layers. Top with the final meringue disc

Then just in case there isn’t enough cream – you need to cover the entire cake in more of it!

I put it in the freezer to set overnight at this point – if time is of the essence you can skip this step and decorate it straight away.

Now came the tricky bit – I normally just decorate the top with lots of chocolate and baby meringues but something made me want to write on the top this time (never again!). I did lots of practising……….

and I got lots of twitter support from Arnelle  and  Rosanne on how to pipe writing, freeze it, lift it off paper onto the cake, use stencils…… I even tried following Zack’s instructions for making a mini piping bag….

And this is what I ended up with ….

I may need more practise on my writing but the cake itself went down very well even if the birthday girl wasn’t as surprised as she should have been!

I hope you like it too!

Happy Cooking!

Baking, Cakes, Catering, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Afternoon Tea Treat…..Lemon Cake

This is a very quick post in response to requests on twitter for  for my apparently “famous” lemon cake recipe !

I found this recipe several years in one of those little books that sometimes come free with the Good Food magazine and it’s become a firm favourite!

The original recipe used an ‘all in one’ method which I found didn’t work for me so I reverted to the old fashioned creaming of the butter and sugar first (in my trusty Kenwood of course………..)

It’s a quick and easy cake to make and it freezes well – always good to have one on standby. We like to serve it with morning coffee or afternoon tea and it always goes down with our clients.  I hope you like it!

Hey Pesto! Lemon Cake

No Servings:        15 mini squares
Oven:                    180 C/Fan 160/Gas 4
 

What you need:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75 ml milk
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Topping:
    • 100g caster sugar
    • Juice of 1 lemon

What to do:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together using K beater in Kenwood (or by hand if you’re feeling energetic!)
  • Add in the eggs and the milk to give nice light batter
  • Then fold in flour, baking powder and lemon zest.
  • Pour mix into a lined baking tin (approx… 20cm * 30cm) and bake in preheated oven for 30 mins – you want it golden-y colour and firm to touch.
  • Make the icing by heating together the sugar and the lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the icing over the cake and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled cut into squares ,  dust with icing sugar and serve on a pretty plate!

PS I have made a gluten free version using Dove’s Farm GF flour and a teaspoon of Xanthan Gum – it works!

Happy Cooking!

 

PS2 apologies for lack of photos of finished cake but I did say this was a quick post!