Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Double Chocolate Cake Pop Truffles or Petit Fours

Gosh I'm tired tonight. For that reason I'm going to try and make this a quick one but we all know that once I get talking about cake I can't stop. Remember this cake? I think that was the most pictures I put into a post which made for a lot of talking. So I'll try and get on with it - I made cake pops. Except they don't have sticks so they are more like chocolate box chocolates. But made of cake. Cake pop truffles!

I have actually been here before with these Almond Cake Pop Truffles which were born out of a disaster yet turned out rather delicious. Thinking about those again has made me realise I've used white chocolate both times (and again in these proper peanut butter rocky road cake pops)  - I swear it is a coincidence and certainly no bad thing! These truffles aren't the result of needing to use up another gone wrong cake. Quite the opposite in fact as they are made from slices of this hugely successful Chocolate Chilli Loaf Cake which I had stored in the freezer for future use.
I had always intended to use the slices I couldn't eat for cake pops but because I find making such things too fiddly to do often I didn't actually expect to ever get round to making them. A couple of weekends ago though I was inspired by the lovely sun to get as many things made as possible and so the leftover cake got put to use. It's probably a good thing I made this cake ages ago because if I had made it recently I would have had an army of people at uni waiting to eat it meaning no leftovers and none of these highly addictive treats would have been made.

When I say addictive, I actually mean enslaving. I don't know just how much of the mixture I ate while rolling out the little globes of beauty and if I did I know I would be ashamed. Then there was the melted chocolate. This is precisely the reason why I don't much like to bake with chocolate despite chocolate cake being one of my favourites. I eat too many of the ingredients.

So yes, where there should have been at least 15 there ended up being only 10 cake pop truffles. I considered it a victory leaving them where they were in the cupboard until I could take them home and share them with my parents. Dad loved them despite hating chilli (he lies, he eats chilli con carne too readily to hate it) and Mum wanted to eat more despite complaining of the hint of peppery heat from the chilli powder in the original cake. Typical parents - you've got to love them.

 The chocolate chilli cake was fabulous on it's own but crumble it up (and eat some) and mix with the vanilla smooth creaminess that only white chocolate can bring (and eat some more) and the flavours of chilli, milk chocolate and it's blonde couterpart meld together into something new. Something exciting and indulgent and provocative. Provocative to eat just one more.

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Double Chocolate Cake Pop Truffles
Highly addictive chocolate cake pops smoothered in white chocolate and looking like they should be presented in a gift box for a special occasion.
  • 200g chocolate cake, crumbled (chilli flavoured is good)
  • 100g white chocolate, melted + at least 150g more melted to coat
  • Sprinkles of choice
1. Mix the cake crumbs and 100g chocolate in a bowl. Divide into 15 balls and chill on a plate in the fridge.2. When the cake balls have cooled and set, drop each one in turn into the second portion of melted chocolate using a spoon or spatula to coat. 3. Lift out using a fork and set on a baking paper lined tray or silicone mat. Add sprinkles while still wet and leave to set and harden.

Altough cake pops aren't actually French I'm hoping Ness from JibberJabberUK will see them as petit fours and so will allow them into her Love Cake challenge this month where the theme is French cakes.

Anne from Anne's Kitchen is hosting the No Waste Food Challenge this month on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and because I used up some cake I had stored in the freezer so it didn't go dry before I could eat it fresh, I'm entering these truffles there too.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Fresh Raspberry Swirl Loaf Cake

I think raspberries and I have finally made friends. I don't have the same love affair with raspberries as I do with strawberries and up until now I've always been left a bit disappointed with them. No more though which is why I'm pretty thankful to this cake.

I spend quite a lot of time being thankful about cake if I'm honest with myself. I should be showing the same devotion to fruit and exercise, you know, the healthier things in life but then I know which ones I'd rather give my undivided attention. Cake after all gives so much more back than a few vitamins and no, I'm not talking about calories. There is no room for talk like that on this blog.

Don't get me wrong, the rest of my diet behind all the sugar is actually pretty healthy. I rarely eat fast food or takeaways, don't like the taste of alcohol (unles it's in food), don't drink fizzy pops, choose whole fruit over juices, eat the all important variety of fruit and veg, avoid sugary (and delicious) cereals unless I'm ill, dry fry or use the teeniest smear of oil..... you get the picture. If it wasn't for the amount of cakes/biscuits/chocolate I ate I would be one of those very healthy people. Who could also easily find things in their cupboards because they haven't fit them in amongst the cake tins.

Or maybe not. There is the exercise thing as well. It's not as if I don't try. I just find it ever so boring. Even sports where you supposedly get the benefits of team spirit don't appeal and yet with my height I would in theory at least be good at netball or basketball. I say in theory because I have gone through secondary school where my PE teachers despaired at my lack of ability. I'd rather be in the kitchen.

I've even said to myself that I need to take up running. Note that I didn't say I was considering taking up running - I knew it would never happen. It's not as if I don't try. I walk two miles everyday between uni and the house, hula hoop and do squats. Have you any idea how puffed it is possible to get doing squats?!!! But like I say, the benefits from cake appeal far more.

Cake can bring comfort, joy, satisfaction. It can be a talking point, an introduction, some common ground. A thank you, a congratulation or a token of appreciation. If I could say I had a favourite time for cake it would be classic tea and cake. This could be with family or friends or simply on my own but whichever way, I love it. 

This example is a great success story. It could quite easily feature as all of the things mentioned above. Laden with moisture there is no chance of getting a moutful of anything but springy blissful crumb folded around piquant crushed raspberries that lead a spirited samba across your tongue to the consummating  elementary drizzle of creamy white chocolate. All taste buds be satisfied.

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Fresh Raspberry Swirl Loaf Cake
Wonderfully moist and quick to mix, tangy raspberries flavour the cake and provide a pretty pink swirled interior finished with white chocolate.
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.25 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 50g dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice mixed with 225 ml milk
  • 80ml sunflower or olive oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g raspberries, frozen then crushed so the 'bobble' are loose
  • 50g white chocolate, melted
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 2 lb loaf tin. 2. In one bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together. In another bowl, or jug, whisk together the remaining ingredients apart from the raspberries and chocolate. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined - don't overmix.3. Pour half the mixture into the tin and layer on top half the crushed raspberries. Repeat with the remaiing portions then swirl together. 4. Bake in the reheated oven for 50-60 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.5. When completely cool remove from the tin and lining and drizzle with the melted chocolate to finish.

Credit to Sally's Baking Addiction for the recipe I adapted.

As usual I can't resisit sharing this post with a couple of challenges. Alphabakes, this month hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker who alternates with Caroline from Caroline Makes, has the letter R theme so my raspberries make this loaf cake count.

Also, because I used raspberries which I had bought when I spied them reduced I'm entering this into this months Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake on behalf of Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream

Banana, peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. Just a quick (for me) post today to match the quick recipe. A 3 ingredient recipe but I'll leave you to guess what the ingredients might be!

Most us have seen by now those ice creams made from bananas. They might not be top of everyone's list of favourite puddings but I'm a big fan. So quick and so gratifying in my unhumble opinion. I actualy feel like a bit of a fraud posting this because they are so incredibly easy but after experimenting with flavour combinations last summer, I wanted to let you all know about one of my favourites. And because it is largely made up of fruit and nuts, I fail to see why you can't eat it for breakfast. Fruit and nuts are healthy after all and considering that Nutella contains chocolate and is advertised as a breakfast treat then why shouldn't a little milk chocolate sneak into breakfast ice cream? 

Not that I have ever eaten ice cream for breakfast myself but after making this I may seriously give it a go. And to think, I may not have even bothered if I hadn't trapped the end of one of my bananas in the office fridge door making it go really black. Adding peanut butter and crumbled chocolate was the problem to my banana dilemma. Like I say to a lot of people, chocolat eis always the answer.

It's graduation week at Huddersfield this week and someone has arranged for an adorable little ice cream van to be parked on campus. I thought it was part of the weird temporary art installations that have sprung up in the last few weeks but when I saw people in gowns and suits wandering about I realised I was a) wrong, and b) very jealous. The amount of noot particularly healthy food I have consumed this week may prevent me from visiting this novelty but if so then I'm so glad I have a fall back in this ice cream. 

If the sugar cravings become too much and I don't want to break into the emergency Ben & Jerry's I know that in as little as an hour I could be enjoying the delight that is homemade sweet and creamy ice cream shot through with velvety peanut butter and ingots of chocolate which disintegrate perfectly to little pools of pleasure. Load up a dish and top with whatever takes your fancy. The best bit? It's homemade so you get to control the ratio of chocolate to ice cream.... if you catch my drift!

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Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream
A 3 ingredient ice cream reciep that nobdoy could argue isn't suitable for breakfast. YOU get to decide the size of the add in scoops and it's no churn too!
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
  • A scoop of peanut butter, heated until runny
  • 1 Cadbury Twirl or Flake, crumbled
1. Place the sliced bananas in a bowl and use a stick blender to make them completley smooth. An electric mixer, regular blender or a fork all work too.2. Stir through the runny peanut butter and chocolate. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until solid or your desired consistency.3. Remember, it is largely fruit so you can enjoy at any time of day!

Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary is hosting We Should Cocoa this month on behalf of Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and has chosen the theme of 'chocolate ice creams and toppings'. It might not be a chocolate ice cream itself but as it still contains chocolate, I hope my entry will count!

So many people have old bananas to use up at some point and most of us hate them going to waste so I'm offering this ice cream to the No Waste Food Challenge as an alternative to throwing them away. Anne from Anne's Kitchen is hosting on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary this month.

As a sneaky little promotion of two challenges I'm hosting, my Biscuit Barrel challenge has the theme of IN SEASON FRUITS this month and Janine from Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit challenge has the theme of ALCOHOL FOR PARTIES. I hope you can join in!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Strawberry Daiquiri Traybake

I am never baking with strawberries again. Ever. It's far too dangerous, like a drug but worse. Think of the most addictive substance on earth, multiply it by a million and factor it by the love of your favourite food and you've just about got how I was with these cakes. Yes. Oh dear indeed.

I know I've mentioned many a time before how much I love strawberries such as in my Boozy Butterfly Cupcakes post- I'm not exaggerating when I say I love them as much as chocolate. My food bill goes up during the spring/summer months when British strawberries are available because there is no way I am going to go without them when they are in season seeing as I can't get them all year round. Take advantage while you can and all that. 

I'm not even ashamed to admit that I can and will easily eat a whle punnet of strawberries in one sitting. Strawberry containing foods are almost as bad and hence why after eating two pieces of this cake plus the trimmings, before I'd even finished taking the photos, I knew I had to get the rest of the batch out of the house ASAP. 
My usual method of ridding myself of whatever I have been going crazy with in the kitchen is to take it into university and the people in my office, as well as the guys in my friends' office, make short work of it. Sadly, one of these friends has a strawberry allergy and I felt mean at the thought of taking cake in when he couldn't have any. And yes, I did nearly cry when I found out about said allergy.

I tried taking it to the nearby care home, thinking the residents would enjoy a little treat. I've been meaning to take something for them anyway and this seemed like the perfect time. No such luck though as for health and safety reasons they can't accept gifts of food. Fair point, I hadn't thought of that and so I traipsed back to the house with my bag still full of dangerous (to me) goods. Luckily for me my housemate Lauren's friend was still ensconced at the table crafting away. Having heard her response to some of my earlier bakes I thought it was a safe bet she would happily take it off my hands, and thus save me. The practically begging plea for it to be removed from my presence probably wasn't necesssary but it didn't hurt!
I might possibly have made Lauren a bit good-naturedly jealous when I made this traybake because I didn't make it gluten free and so she couldn't have any, yet straberry daiquiris are one of her favourite cocktails. Even when my original idea for the topping didn't work it still tasted delcious. The base isn't your typically light and airy cake but never fear, i wouldn't be telling you about it if it was the dreaded heavy and stodgy. Simply it has enough body to hold it's own against all the moisture given by the creamy strawberry yoghurt and the fresh strawberries pulverised to just the right state to give little flecks of fruit throughout the cake. It helps to create a lagoon of strawberry heaven after sinking through the lusciously thick fruit layer on top - a layer sweet enough to prevent amusing faces and tangy enough to allow the lime zestiness to come through the bold strawberry hit. 
The alcoholic component was a drizzle type addition when the cake was fresh from the oven but no suprises seeing as I'm strawberry crazy, the vodka (or white rum as you wish) isn't the predominant flavour. I don't regret the gorging which meant I had to exorcise the house of these cakes - it was far too enjoyable for that. Summer in a slice of cake.

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Strawberry Daquiri Traybake
A deliciously moist cake which is super easy to make using strawberry yoghurt, fresh strawberries, limes and vodka to add flavour.
For the cake:
  • 225g plain flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 115g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g strawberry yoghurt
  • 100 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 100g fresh strawberries, pureed
To finish:
  • 3 tbsp vodka or white rum
  • 100g fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 heaped dsp caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Icing sugar
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan. Line a 8" square cake tin.2. Combine the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in one bowl and the remaining cake ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until evenly combined and transfer to the cake tin.3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 mins, adjusting t your own oven, until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set on a wire rack, gently poke all over with the cake tester and brush over the alcohol. Allow to cool completely.4. Prepare the fruit topping by placing the chopped strawberries, caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl and heating in the mircowave for about five minutes. Stir periodically and don't lett it boil over. Set aside to cool completely - I put mine in the freezer.5. When cool, trim the cake of the edges (if you want to) and spread over the fruit topping.6. Combine the lime juice with enough icing sugar to make a thick icing and drizzle over the straberry topping. Don't worry when it dissolves into the straberries.7. Slice into as many cubes as desired - I made 12.

I am so pleased with the flavour of these cakes that I'm sharing them with lots of challenges this month. First Baking With Spirit, created by Janine from Cake of the Week and guested hosted this month by me. I've chosen the theme of 'alcohol for parties' and as cocktails are often served at parties I think these cocktail inspired cakes fit. 
Next is my own Biscuit Barrel Challenge where the theme for July is 'in season fruits'. I'm not fussy as to what fits into a biscuit container so any biscuit, cookie or small cake will be accepted...enter this traybake!

Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen hosts the Vegetable Palette where the current theme is 'summer reds' so strawberries are in.

I couldn't leave out Nayna from Simply Food's Let's Cook with Strawberries event.
Treat Petite is a joint venture between Stuart from Cakeyboi and this months host, Kat from The Baking Explorer who has chosen the theme of 'summer'. Strawberries will always mean summer for me!

Last but never least is Lucy's CookBlogShare link party over at Supergolden Bakes for any homemade creations.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Fiery Ginger Flapjack

Have you ever been recovering from something, an illness say or a particularly exhausting ordeal, and you knew, absolutely knew, that no matter how tired and weak you were feeling you had to bake? That is exactly what happened with this Fruit and Veg Cake and it happened again with this flapjack.

I'm not about to wail and moan that I've been at deaths door and as such deserve all your sympathy. Not one bit because that is besides the point and anyway, details of illness are never pretty. The actual point is that even though I had been feeling pretty pathetic I was too stubborn to sit on the sofa reading blogs and rest as I probably should have been. I had already given up my Saturday morning of blog prop hunting at the market as a nod to recuperating so there was no way in hell I was going to give up baking something my taste buds were crying out for. I would find the energy somehow and pay the price later.
Anyhow, when you have been ill (sorry, I know it sounds like I'm looking for sympathy with all this repetition) you are supposed to be kind to yourself and eat what you fancy as it is your body's way of telling you what it needs to make it feel better. That's may excuse anyway and I'm sticking to it. Feel free to use it for yourself one day if necessary! We'll just ignore the fact that I'm constantly fancying chocolate and by body can't need that much that often....
Speaking of chocolate, I did consider drizzling some over the top of these squares but I'm so glad I didn't. They are perfect as they are in their simplicity. Perfect in my book anyway. We recently had a discussion in the office as to what texture people like for their flapjack. We had some voting for crumbly, some for chewy and a couple from crunchy. While I'm not going to refuse any sort of good flapjack, my allegiances are with the crunchy on the edges and chewy towards the middle camp. This is easy to create - just use a thinner layer in a bigger tin.
I think I'm going to have to make this again some time soon to take into the office after that particular discussion. I can't go sharing this batch though. That would be highly irresponsible of me in cases there were any traces of ailment left that might have contaminated these. I wouldn't want anyone else to feel unwell so I'll just have to eat all these myself. Ahem.
Satisfying the need for a contrast of textures  the crunchy edges gravitate towards a soft, chewy centre while nuggets of stem ginger hide amongst the edifying goodness of oats allowing a ground ginger fire to permeate throughout each and every portion. I'd say it is going to be a challenge to eat the whole batch myself but I'd be lying. There's no point in hiding it - I love to share what I've baked but this time round I'm going to enjoy the opposite. Time to put the kettle on.

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Fiery Ginger Flapjack
A delicious crunchy edged, chewy centred flapjack with an unmistakeable fiery ginger flavour.
  • 1 ball stem ginger, grated
  • 115g butter or buttery margarine
  • 85g soft dark brown sugar
  • 85g golden syrup (I substitued 40g for syrup from the ginger jar)
  • 225g porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and grease a baking tin - I used a 9" ungreased silicone one.2. Place the grated ginger, butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and melt together over a low heat. Mix the the oats and ground ginger.3. Press into the tin and level off then bake in the preheated oven for 15-30 mins depending on your chosen tin size and texture preferences. I baked mine for 25 mins. 4. Cool in the tin on a wire rack before turning out and slicing into pieces.
I'm sharing this flapjack with Tea Time Treats where this month Jane from The Hedgecombers has set the theme of Flapjacks and Traybakes. This is a super simple example but so delicious to eat. Karen from Lavender and Lovage also hosts on alternate months. 

I'm also submitting these to CookBlogShare, a link party run by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes where you can share anything you've made - there's always lots to see!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Chocolate Mud Loaf Cake with Creme Fraiche Icing

This post is a week late but that's ok because I'm still on the high a little bit from what I'm celebrating. You see this year at uni, my placement year where I've been working on research projects linked with melon pectins and probiotics in bread, has well and truly had lots of stresses. May saw the exam and major hand in date and Tuesday last week was results day. I didn't expect to get the results I did (they were really good) and I wanted to make a cake to celebrate. This was that cake.

I felt like making one of the many recipes I had pinned on Pinterest and I knew it had to be chocolate (celebration = chocolate of course) so after repinning lots of recipes to the board I use to help me decide what to make, this one from Karen at Lavender and Lovage caught my eye. Karen is a lovely lady with lovely recipes to match - I've tried this Guinness Cake of hers before and it went down very well at home. This time though, it was chocolate fudge that got into my head and would not leave until baked. 
Everyone is very supportive in our office at uni (ok, so placement students aren't supposedd to have offices but I managed to acquire myself a desk in the best one) and there were lots of congratulations being shared about that day for me and the final years who everyone knows. I had promised I would bring cake in if my baking experiment went ok so I was very eager for it to go right. I almost didn't take it in. Almost. Karen's cake looks far prettier than my version - I don't think the loaf shape, which I had an urge to use, could take the weight of the mixture and there was some sinkage. 

Even after I had tried a piece for myself and loved it I was worried nobody else would but I took a risk. It was a good job I did because it disappeared very quickly. Very quickly. It turns out that collapsing cake can be a good thing - it creates mud cake! One of those happy accidents where resulting in the most appetising of dishes with an ugly name that had people forgetting that it wasn't even lunch time yet as they reached into the cake box.

Fiercely chocolatey with a sensationaly moist interior and outrageous but beautiful dense crumb, this is practically the ever-popular brownie in loaf cake form. The tangy yet sweet chocolate creme fraiche fudge icing sets off what lies beneath proving a harmonious contrast while the fudge pieces are a splendid accompaniment to add that final bit of fun.

Celebrations are all about fun. Now, what can I celebrate next?!

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Chocolate Mud Loaf Cake with Creme Fraiche Icing
An extra chocolately fudgy and deliciously dense mud cake with an almost brownie like texture and topped with chocolate creme fraiche icing and vanilla fudge. Uses the quick all in one method too!
For the cake:
  • 105g creme fraiche (half fat is fine)
  • 100g soft margarine
  • 150g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 115g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
To decorate:
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp golden syrup
  • 50g creme fraiche (half fat is fine)
  • 75g fudge, chopped into cubes
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 2 lb loaf tin.2. Place all of the cake ingredients in a bowl (sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa) and use and electric mixer to mix everything until evenly combined, scraping down the sides as necessary. This should take 1-2 minutes.3. Pour into the lined loaf tin, level then make a shallow groove down the centre. Bake in th preheated oven for 55-60 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Turn the oven off with the cake inside for 5 mins then remove and cool on a wire rack.3. For the icing, melt the chocolate and golden syrup using your preferred method (low microwave setting or in a bowl over hot water) and then mix in the creme fraiche. Beat until smooth and combined. 5. Spread onto the loaf cake and and decorate with the fudge pieces.

Recipe adapted from Karen at Lavender and Lovage

Seeing as I've had this recipe bookmarked on Pinterest for some time now I'm submitting it to Bookmarked Recipes run by Jac from Tinned Tomatoes. It's the second recipe I've loved by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and I know there are many more I want to try.

Other chocolate treats you might like...
Chocolate Traybake with Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Icing
Cherry and Chocolate Orange Weetabix Cake 
5 Ingredient Dark Chocolate Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies