Monday, 29 June 2015

My Favourite Peanut Butter Brownies

A double dose of peanut putter awaits in these gooey brownies. The star of the show is mixed right into the batter AND swirled on top. My absolute favourite peanut butter brownies.
My absolute favourite gooey Peanut Butter Brownies. That's neat peanut butter swirled right on top.
 What do you do to be kind to yourself when going through extreme stress? No prizes for guessing what I do - bake and eat lots of chocolate. I'm barely ashamed of just how much chocolate I ate during exam week. There was more than one reason for the chocolate gorging but the end result was worth it!
My absolute favourite gooey Peanut Butter Brownies. That's neat peanut butter swirled right on top.
Before exam week started I prepared for the onslught of stress that I knew was to come in every way possible. I went shopping for all the things I like to eat before I leave for an exam (bacon and egg sandwiches if you're interested) and all manner of sweet treats that I might possibly fancy. Of course I had to bake something for myself too. Plus, it's really rather nice to bake with only yourself in mind! Peanut butter brownies were the only answer.
My absolute favourite gooey Peanut Butter Brownies. That's neat peanut butter swirled right on top.
I'm not talking brownies completely overloaded with every form of peanut butteriness imaginable. Instead I'm talking about my ideal, simple, peanut butter brownies in which the peanut butter is undiluted to give that perfect hit of sumptuous flavour (you know the one) combined with the ultra chocolateyness that all good brownies have. These brownies are pretty much the epitome of that category. Adapted from my original favourite recipe, these brownies are gooey and thick with pockets of melted milk chocolate and the subtle pieces of peanuts that come from using crunchy peanut butter. Swirl some more right into the top and it will bake to such nutty perfection that you might even want to face some extra stress so you have an excuse to bake these.
My absolute favourite gooey Peanut Butter Brownies. That's neat peanut butter swirled right on top.
Or just bake them anyway. You deserve a treat such as these once in a while. They might even rank better than brownies with a mini Galaxy caramel egg nestled into each one. Or brownies laced with whisky and Baileys Chocolat luxe. There's only one way to find out after all...


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My Favourite Peanut Butter Brownies
A double dose of peanut putter awaits in these gooey brownies. The star of the show is mixed right into the batter AND swirled on top. My absolute favourite peanut butter brownies.
Ingredients
  • 50g butter
  • 60g + 120g peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 25g + 75g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line an 8" sqaure tin with baking paper. Melt the butter, 60g peanut butter, dark chocolate and 25g milk chocolate in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until foamy then stir in the vanilla extract followed by the melted mixture. Stir in the flour and cocoa until just combined, then the remaining milk chocolate. 3. Pour the mixture into the tray and drizzle the peanut butter onto the top (warmed slightly if necessary to make it easier) then gently swirl the mixture.4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins - a skewer inserted into the middle will come out with a bit of mixture on. Set onto a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares.
I'm sharing these brownies with CookBlogShare run by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes and Bake of the Week run by Helen at Casa Costello. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Why Tea & Coffee Are Good For You Inforgraphic - Something for the Weekend

Happy Friday everyone! It's time for the next installment of my new Something for the Weekend series. 

Do I have any caffeine addicts amongst my readers? If so, this inforgraphic might interest you - many excuses to have another cup of tea or coffee. I'm a tea drinker myself and only like coffee in cakes and biscuits. It's not the caffeine I like though, just tea in general. Don't ask me my favourite - that answer would take a while!

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies

Thick and ultra gooey, these brownies are infintiely adaptable but they all share one common feature - they are AMAZING! My ultimate brownie recipe, the one I base all others on.The BEST brownies ever. Read on for the secret ingredient.
My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies made with Terrys chocolate orange. Worlds best!
It is finally time. Time to share with you my ultimate brownie recipe. I've felt strangely protective of this particular recipe even though I've shared with you many of the variations I've made from it. Remember these Creme Egg brownies? Or their cousin, the Galaxy caramel brownies? These overloaded ones went down a storm at uni and these Baileys whisky brownies were so good they are now joint first with these as my mums favourite. 
My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies made with Terrys chocolate orange. Worlds best!
You may well be asking what has brought about this change of heart. To be honest I'm not quite sure. What I do know is that it is a recipe I am incredibly proud of having created it when I set out to follow a published recipe and deciding at each step that I wanted to do it differently. It seems like a fitting time to share the recipe when I'm also full of happiness over my results. You see, two days ago was results day. For those who don't know already, I've just completed the final year of my MChem degree. It turns out that despite having a meltdown in the middle of my Physical chemistry exam I'm still going to graduate in July with a first. And a very high averaging one at that.
My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies made with Terrys chocolate orange. Worlds best!
These brownies are definitely a fitting tribute. My secret weapon is a Terrys chocolate orange. Sure, normal milk chocolate makes for a very good brownie but the humble Terrys takes them to a whole new level. Or lets you sink to a whole new depth of wonder and dreaminess. Seriously, if there is a good way to go drowning in a thick square of ultra gooey, soft and squidgy brownie must be it. The melted dark chocolate combines with melted Terrys orange to create a fragile, crisp sugary top over pillows of wonder, infused throughout with the most amazing flavour. Chunks of white chocolate and more orange milk chocolate are nuggets of hidden treasure. Rich these brownies may be but they are so good you will want to cut them into big squares. 
My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies made with Terrys chocolate orange. Worlds best!
Mum loves these brownies so much that every time she sees Terrys oranges on offer she buys one, hence why we have a stash on top of the kitchen cupboards. They are addictive, just like the baked goods they go into. As for my degree, I'm glad it's over. As cliche as it is, I'm moving onto bigger and better things, surrounded by brilliant researchers and academics. Maybe I'll even treat them to a batch of these one day. If I don't make another variation before then. 


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My Favourite Ultimate Gooey Brownies
Makes 16 small or 9 large brownies
Thick and ultra gooey, these brownies are infintiely adaptable but they all share one common feature - they are AMAZING! My ultimate brownie recipe, the one I base all others on.The BEST brownies ever. Read on for the secret ingredient.
Ingredients
  • 85g butter
  • 90g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 95g Terrys milk chocolate orange, chopped
  • 75g white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line an 8" square cake tin with baking paper. 2. Melt the butter, dark chocolate and 35g of Terrys chocolate together in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly.3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until foamy then stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined then stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 mins. A cake tester inserted into the middle will come out with a bit of mixture on it. Leave to cool on a wire rack before lifting brownies out and slicing into squares.

I'm sending these off to the O themed Alphabakes because of the Terrys orange they contain. Caroline from Caroline Makes hosts this month and alternates with Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake

Squidgy, chocolatey and swirled with peanut butter, this cake is something to look forward to. With that dose of veg from the courgettes, this loaf cake is practically healthy in my book!
Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake - two favourite cakes in one
Is it too early to start posting courgette recipes? Surely not. I know when courgette/zucchini season fully hits we all cry at having to use up so many so quickly but really we all know we love how versatile the humble veg is.
Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake - two favourite cakes in one
Last year I had so much fun experimenting with various recipes to use up the courgettes my mum grew for me. I added white chocolate to muffins and stuffed brownies with Nutella. My mum's favourite was this batch of pecan crumble muffins though my viewers' favourite remains this double chocolate chunk loaf. I even managed a couple of savoury courgette recipes
Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake - two favourite cakes in one
I've had the photos for this loaf cake on my computer since last year because I ran out of time to share the recipe. I couldn't wait any longer though. I based it on this ever popular cake, but with the addition of the peanut butter, this version might be the new favourite. The crumb has the texture of chocolate fudge cake, a rich density that makes you sigh happily with each bite. The moisture imparted by the courgettes is wonderful without leaving the slightest bit of courgette taste. The peanut butter portion is a sultry addition, swirling throughout each slice while the chunks of chocolate are little reward pockets scattered throughout. Finally there is the drizzle of chocolate melted with peanut butter which sets with a glossy fudge like quality.
Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake - two favourite cakes in one
What with one thing and another Mum hasn't been able to spend as much time in the garden this year. She has still got one courgette plant on the go for me though. I wish it would hurry up and produce some courgettes for me - I still have plenty of ideas left to spur me on. Nevertheless, I still love to hear of any of your courgette baking plans for this season. 


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Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake
Squidgy, chocolatey and swirled with peanut butter, this cake is something to look forward. With that dose of veg from the courgettes, this loaf cake is practically healthy in my book!
Ingredients
  • 2 smallish courgettes, grated (skin on)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 ml honey
  • 120 ml oil
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 200g plain flour
  • 75g peanut butter
  • 0.5 tsp coffee granules, ground to powder
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g milk or dark chocolate chunks
  • 25g chocolate melted with 25g peanut butter
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking paper.2. Mix together the courgette, eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl sift together the bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and plain flour. Mix the wet into the dry until just combined.3. Transfer half the mixture into another bowl. Mix the peanut butter into one portion and the cocoa, coffee and chocolate chunks into the other. 4. Alternatively place spoonfuls of each mixture into the lined loaf tin. Use a knife to swirl the two mixtures together.5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hr - 1hr 15 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, remove from the tin and drizzle the chocolate/peanut butter mixture of the top.

The courgettes in this cake mean I'm sending it off to Extra Veg, this month hosted by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours who swaps with Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food For Families

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Flourless White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Crunchy edges with a touch of chewiness at the centre, these flourless cookies are loaded with undiluted peanut butter flavour. Add in a handful of oats and some white chocolate and you've got a pretty perfect cookie. 
Flourless White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - crunchy edges and a chewy centre mean perfection
Isn't it annoying how when you really want something to go perfectly it inevitably turns out rubbish? Then you get bakes like these cookies which are the complete opposite. These cookies were a complete surprise. Just like this bundt cake I never intended to blog about them, then I saw how perfect they looked fresh out of the oven and I knew I couldn't deprive you all.
Flourless White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - crunchy edges and a chewy centre mean perfection
My brother and his family were visiting and the biscuit barrel was almost empty. The situation needed rectifying quickly. Christopher looks forward to walking into the house and inspecting the contents of all cake and biscuit containers immediately. It is extra important that there is always at least one biscuit with some form of chocolate. Plain digestives simply weren't going to cut it,especially as they weren't these ones. With Mum not feeling like baking I took this responsibility upon myself.
Flourless White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - crunchy edges and a chewy centre mean perfection
My inspiration came from Sally. I really do love her blog. After the success of these gluten free almond butter cookies I really wanted to bake something similar. But something different too. These flourless cookies were the answer. So much peanut butter allows for an undiluted flavour that will have all peanut butter addicts sneaking back repeatedly for another helping when they think nobody else is watching. The crunchy edges give just enough resistance so you can truly appreciate the chewy core. The hand cut chunks of white chocolate add another creamy dimension while the handful of oats rounds off the array of textures you will experience with each bite.
Flourless White Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - crunchy edges and a chewy centre mean perfection

The lack of flour means that all you have to do to make sure these cookies are suitable for coeliacs is to make sure you use glten free certified oats. Easy peasy. And even if this isn't a necessity, these cookies are sure to satisfy a vast number of people. On second thoughts maybe you should make double the batch. If you can spare the peanut butter that is. For me that is a pretty tough call. 


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Flourless White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies
Crunchy edges with a touch of chewiness at the centre, these flourless cookies are loaded with undiluted peanut butter flavour. Add in a handful of oats and some white chocolate and you've got a pretty perfect cookie.
Ingredients
  • 250g peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 60g oats
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. 2. Mix together the peanut butter, honey and egg. Stir in the oats, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda then the chocolate, reserving some for the top of the cookies if you wish. 3. Form the mixture into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Press down to flatted slightly and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 12 mins or less if you prefer a softer cookie. Press any remaining chocolate into the tops of the cookies.4. Let the cookies firm up for a few mins then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

I'm sharing these cookies with CookBlogShare, run by Lucy at Supergolden Bakes.

Friday, 19 June 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Nuts Inforgraphic - Something for the Weekend

Welcome to another Something for the Weekend post. Did you see the start of my new series last Friday? If you missed it, I posted an inforgraphic on the different types of cookware. It had me dreaming up all the different bits and pieces I'd like to own in my dream kitchen.

This week I've got another inforgrpahic for you, this time on nuts and their different health benefits. I'm crazy about nuts, especially ever since I realised just how quickly they make my nails grown. At the moment my favourites are pecans and hazelnuts and I like to bake with them too.

So tell me, do you have a favourite nut?

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes

Sticky and sweet, these cupcakes are loaded with treacle and syrup with a wonderful ginger kick. Your favourite sticky Jamaican ginger loaf cake in a more transportable form.
Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes - the classic cake in cupcake form
It feels strange to be writing so many blog posts lately. It feels weird to notbe working full stop. Since I completed my last bit of work for my MChem degree all I've had to do is pack and do what I want to relax. This is a new concept for me. I'm one of those people who doesn't know how to relax and when I pick up a book or log into Pinterest for nothing more than a browse I feel teribly lazy. Even though that is the whole point of this summer - the relax and recuperate ready for the autumn - it still feels odd to not have to do something.
Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes - the classic cake in cupcake form
What doesn't feel odd is presenting you with a recipe which is typically atumnal in the middle of June. I've said several times before that I'm not one to limit certain flavours to certain times of year just to go along with convention. Of course it's possible to enjoy ginger cake in the summer. Especially when it is as nice as this one.
Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes - the classic cake in cupcake form
Jamaican ginger cake is typically very sticky and this recipe has that down. Even holding so much back treacle and golden syrup doesn't make these cupcakes densy or heavy. Each bite into the soft and tender crumb yields a rich depth of flavour from the treacle, perfectly complemented by the heady ginger. In winter the spices would be warming but in summer they provide a refreshing change, the perfect finisher to a meal, or alongside a cup of tea in the afternoon.
Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes - the classic cake in cupcake form
The first time I made this recipe and took it into the office the tinwas practically snatched out of my hand. You can of course use molasses instead of treacle if it is not available or prefer a slightly more subtle flavour. The recipe is also perfectly suited to being baked in a bundt tin or as a loaf cake. As cupcakes though, this classic recipe is portioned up ready for sharing and is easy to transport. If you don't have stem ginger, feel free to use cystallised ginger like Kate did in her decoration or leave it out entirely. And remember, not all cupcakes need a crown of buttercream. Some naked cakes are far better left to fend for themselves, these Jamaican cupcakes included.  


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Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes
Sticky and sweet, these cupcakes are loaded with treacle and syrup with a wonderful ginger kick. Your favourite sticky Jamaincan ginger loaf cake in a more transportable form.
Ingredients
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 0.75 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g black treacle (or molasses)
  • 75g golden syrup*
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 75g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75ml water
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 balls stem ginger, grated
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper cases. 2. In the microwave heat together the treacle, syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, water, milk and stem ginger. Stir at regular intervals and once combined set aside to cool slightly.3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda. Pour in the melted ingredients and stir together, then mix in the egg.4. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 mins, until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. 5. Carefully remove the cakes from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack. Decorate with more greated stem ginger if you wish.
*Replace a portion with an equal weight of syrup from the stem ginger jar. As much as you can spare. 

I'm sending these cupcakes off to Bookmarked Recipes run by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes because I pinned the recipe from What Kate Baked as soon as I saw it. I knew it would be perfect. Also to the No Waste Food Challenge run by Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary - I made these to use up the last of my stem ginger, one of those ingredients that you buy then end up lurking in a cupboard for ages. Karen is hosting Tea Time Treats this month at Lavender and Lovage where the theme is muffins, fairy cakes and cupcakes. She shares hosting duties with Janie from The Hedgecombers.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake

Add a shot of coffee to your typical banana bread recipe to create a new favourite. Roasted bananas make all the difference to this mini bundt recipe.
Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake - the new banoffee!
Confession time. I almost didn't blog this recipe. The day I made it I was feeling really down (loooong story) and didn't feel like taking any pictures so it's a good job I woke up the next day and felt energised and determined. It would have been a terrible waste otherwise. The cake is so good!
Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake - the new banoffee!
I haven't tried a banana and coffee cake before but I have roasted bananas to make my banana bread even more lovely. It's so worth it and doesn't take long at all. I've also been dying to christen my new tin which I found brand new in a charity shop. I was trying to avoid buying any more baking things but I wasn't going to miss this bargain. I'm also slowly developing an addiction to bundts. It's so easy to make a stunning cake with so little effort. The tin does all the hard work for you.
Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake - the new banoffee!
I knew this was going to be a good cake as soon as I nervously flipped it upside down to remove it from the tin. I'll admit I held my breath but it slipped out perfectly, no encouragement needed. I know there are as many banana bread recipes as there are brownie or chocolate cake recipes but I swear this one is up there with the best. Roasting the bananas gives a dreamy depth of flavour allowing the natural sugars to caramelise and give luscious backnotes that lift the coffee, allowing the flavours to swirl around your senses with each soft and tender bite. The coffee glaze though, well it almosts steals the show. On day one it gives a lovely fudgy frosting that you will want to slowly sink your teeth into. Let it stand for longer and the icing will dissolve in the moisture from the cake and become a wonderfully sticky drizzle like you can see here. Spoon it over each slice for an extra boost.
Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake - the new banoffee!
Second confession time, now I have you floating in cake heaven.  Back in the autumn of last year I realised I had to cut back on my blog to finish my degree. Everything is now out of the way but things have happened since then that have taught me more of what I enjoy and what I want out of my blog. As such I've decided to give up my beloved Biscuit Barrel Challenge for good. Before I reached this conclusion Alexandra from The Lass in the Apron very kindly volunteered to run the challenge while I was finishing up and I cannot say thank you enough. Alexandra did a fantastic job and you can see the round ups she created here. I thought I'd be raring to take back over come June but I twigged that guest hosting other challenges was more suited to me. I don't want the commitment of regular hosting to become a chore. I feel terribly guilty after all the hard work Alexandra has put in but it has to be done. To hopefully give a tiny reward I wanted to give a big shout out to Alexandra and her creative blog full of innovative recipes - seriously her blog is one of my favourites and I'm always amazed at the recipes. Alexandra even has her own cookbook! I hope you'll pay her a visit, browse through her droolworthy recipes and maybe even follow her blog.


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Coffee and Roasted Banana Bundt Cake
Add a shot of coffee to your typical banana bread recipe to create a new favourite. Roasted bananas make all the difference to this mini bundt recipe.
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 35g honey
  • 25g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk mied with 1 heaped tsp coffee granules
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large banana (or 2 small)
  • 110g plain flour
  • 0.75 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the glaze:
  • 25g margarine or butter
  • 1 dsp milk mied with 1 heaped tsp coffee granules
  • 115g icing sugar
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 180 C/160 C and roast the banana on a baking sheet until the skin is blackened, turning over as necessary. All the banana to cool to just warm.2. If using a small bundt tin brush with melted butter and dust with flour making sure the entire inside surface is coated. If using a 1 lb loaf tin, line with baking paper.3. Snip the end off the banana and squeeze the flesh into a bowl. Mash until smooth along with the oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, coffee milk and egg. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda al stir together until just combined.4. Transfer the mixture to the tin and level off. Bake for 25-30 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.5. Carefully turn the cake out of the tin and set on the wire rack the right way up. In the microwave, melt the butter with the coffee milk and icing sugar and mix until smooth. Continue to beat until cooled and thickened slightly then pour over the cake. Leave to set.

I'm sending this bundt cake off to Credit Crunch Munch because if you have over ripened bananas sat in your fruit bowl they can easily replace the roasted bananas. Jen from Jen's Food is hosting this month on behalf of Camilla from Fab Food 4 All and Helen from Fuss Free Flavours

Friday, 12 June 2015

Comparison of Cookware Infographic - Something for the Weekend

This is something I've been toying with for a while, adding a weekly feature to my blog. It might be something intriguing or something funny but whatever it is I'll hopefully kick off your weekend with something interesting.

First up is an inforgraphic I was sent a while ago. Have you ever considered all the various types of cookware? Did you even know such a varierty existed or how to use them best? I'm certain I'm not the only one who loves geeky facts!

Source: Fix.com

So tell me, do you have a favourite type of cookware?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake

A wonderfully soft loaf cake, full of hazelnut flavour and infused with a refreshing orange drizzle. Perfect for lazy summer afternoons but also for any time of year.
Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake with a refreshing orange drizzle
Published post number 201. Yep, really. I probably should have celebrated at the two hundredth post but then I would have stolen the limelight away from my blogiversary and these muffins. Oh fine then, I forgot I had reached 200 posts but when I remembered I wanted something, even a little something, to celebrate it with. Cake for me will always be a good way to celebrate an event, no matter how small. I even celebrated being offered the chance to put myself under 3 more years of stress by making these brownies. Safe to say, I think we've established I'm a sugar addict. I wish I were a gym addict too but no such luck.
Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake with a refreshing orange drizzle
I came across these photos while sorting through files on my laptop and wondered why I hadn't posted the recipe before. Perfect timing. Something summery and bright seemed just right for a mini celebration. Note that I haven't actually said that summer is actually here at last because there was a brief thought of that before then it went back to being freezing cold, raining and gale force winds. October weather in May and now June. Welcome to the UK everyone! 
Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake with a refreshing orange drizzle
Ground nuts really do give the most wonderful texture in a cake - more evidence is in this coffee and walnut cake and my chocolate and hazelnut cottage. I made this in the throes of lovely weather last year but really, I'd be happy eating it all year round. The crumb has a wonderful soft and silky texture, made extra moist by the addition of ground hazelnuts and a sticky sweet orange drizzle. The hazelnuts give a lovely flecked appearance to the cake interior which simply oozes fresh fruity orange flavour with each bite.
Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake with a refreshing orange drizzle
I'll never tire of them. Especially when they make my nails grown quickly.Even though this recipe uses the creaming method instead of the all in one method, it is still really easy to make. I'm a bit of a hypocrite really. I pin hundreds thousands of multistep, extavagent recipes on Pinterest but then when it comes to my own baking I stick to speedy simplicity. I've said it so many times before - the quicker it is baked, the sooner it can be devoured.


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Orange Hazelnut Loaf Cake
A wonderfully soft loaf cake,full of hazelnut flavour and infused with a refreshing orange drizzle. Perfect for lazy summer afternoons but also for any time of year.
Ingredients
  • 150g butter, softened
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 100g hazelnuts, ground
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 140g self raising flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp marmalade + splash of orange juice
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking paper.2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then gradually mix in the eggs, mixing well between each addition. 3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and ground hazelnuts and gently fold in. Mix together the zest, marmalade and juice then fold into the mixture. Transfer to the loaf tin, level off and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 mins until a cake tester insertedinto the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.4. Immediately pon removing from the oven, heat together in a microwave the juice and sugar until boiling. Carefully use a narrow skewer or cake tester to poke holes in the cake then brush on the drizzle until it is all used up. Leave to cool in the tin.


I'm sending this orange hazelnut loaf cake off to the O themed AlphaBakes, hosted this month by Caroline from Caroline Makes, who alternates with Ros, The More Than Occasional Baker. Also to the summer themed Love Cake run by Ness from JibberJabber UK because I think oranges are such sunny, summery flavour. And because I saved the original recipe from BBC Good Food for ages I'm sharing my version with Bookmarked Recipes run by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins

It's that time of year again. My blogiversary. 3 years this little blog has been running. I know of blogs that have been going for less and have achieved more. Have more readers, more follows and more outreach opportunities but that doesn't matter to me. I'll continue to hit publish for as long as I enjoy blogging and that doesn't seem set to change any time soon. 
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins - no added fat treats!
Some people bake a real showstopper of a cake to celebrate their blogiversary but for me, I like to go back to where I started. My very first post was for a Weetabix cake so it has become a sort of tradition to make a variation on Weetabix cake. At the first year mark I had as good as given up blogging but last year I made a cherry and chocolate orange Weetabix cake. This year, I'm in the middle of packing ready to move house (!!!) so I'm currenly using up whatever is in my cupboards. I wanted to make just a small cake so these Weetabix muffins were born.
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins - no added fat treats!
I really ought to make Weetabix cakes more often. They're really fun! Quick, easy and no added fat should also be added to their list of attributes. Yep, that's right. These moreish muffins don't contain any butter or all. Surely that makes them low fat?! Even if you decide to drizzle chocolate all over them, I'm sure that doesn't count. And cocoa is full of antioxidants and stuff isn't it so it's good for you? By my reckoning these are healthy muffins. About as healthy as  my bakes get anyway.
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins - no added fat treats!
I don't know why people don't make more variations. I loved the deep and dark chocolatey flavour that comes from using cocoa. Chocolate chunks are all very good but what you chocolate in every crumb of every bite then a cocoa base is the way to go. The cherries provide juicy bursts of sweetness amongst the soft interior of each muffin and that glossy sheen on top is nothing less than an invitation to take a big bite.
Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins - no added fat treats!
These are just a little treat to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea or as a finishing touch to lunch. Relax and enjoy them. And help celebrate I'd Much Rather Bake Than... for I'll be eternally grateful.


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Dark Chocolate and Cherry Weetabix Muffins
Use up old Weetabix in these desply chocolately muffins with burts of juicy sweetness from the glace cherries.
Ingredients
  • 130g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g sugar
  • 0.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 Weetabix, crushed into crumbs
  • 100g glace cherries, halved, rinsed and dried
  • 150 ml yoghurt or milk
  • 1 egg
Instructions
1. Set the oven to 200 C/180 C fan and line a muffin tray with 8 cases.2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spice and sugar. Stir in the Weetabix crumbs followed by the cherries.3. Mix together the yoghurt or milk and the egg. Stir into the dry ingredients until just combined then divide between the paper cases.4. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 mins then reduce the temperature to 180 C/160 C fan and bake for approximately 15 more mins until a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean. Carefully remove from the muffin tray onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

I'm going to share these with the No Waste Food Challenge run by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary because Weetabix cake are the perfect way to use up that cereal dust that inevitably comes from crumbly Weetabix. It is a shame to throw it away so make these instead.