Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chocolate and Mint Loaf

Remember I mentioned in previous posts about getting goodies from a friend who visited America? I asked for Andes creme de menthe baking chips as I've baked with them previously and they were really tasty so I was really pleased she got me a bag of these. Unfortunately it was one of the hottest days of the year when I received these and we were out for the whole day so these sat baking in the car boot. Unsurprisingly when I got to them they had melted completely so I popped them in the fridge when I got home and it solidifed again but in a giant lump. I didn't want to waste them so I decided to incorporate them into a chocolate and mint loaf cake. I put about 1/2 of the bag into the cake and sprinkled some on top of the cake before baking. I used the remainder to make a minty chocolate ganache to go with the cake. The result was a really moist chocolatey and minty cake with a delicious mint chocolate ganache. You could still taste chunks of the mint chocolate in the cake which was my favourite part. I suspect these would be good in brownies too which was my other option. 

 This is what it looked like after it had melted and then been refrigerated 


For the cake
100 grams plain flour
100 grams caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
20 g cocoa powder
90 g unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75 ml sour cream
~150g Andes Creme de menthe baking chips + ~25g for the topping

For the ganache
50 mls double cream
~100g Andes Creme de menthe baking chips

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place all the ingredients for the cake in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Alternatively mix everything by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the cake batter into a loaf tin.
  • Sprinkle the top with Andes creme de menthe baking chips.
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it's almost boiling.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the mint baking chips.
  • Continue stirring until smooth.
  • Pour the ganache over the cake before serving. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

SRC: Healthy Raspberry Bars

It's the 4th Monday of the month which can only mean one thing.... It's Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day! I love the Secret Recipe Club and look forward to reveal day every month. The concept is simple - each blog is assigned another blog in secret and the idea is that you choose a recipe to make from your secret blog and reveal it on the same day. It's a great way to discover new blogs and exciting recipes. 

This month my assignment is Without Adornment written by Bean. Her favourite hobbies are baking/cooking and photography, both of which she showcases on her blog. She is gluten intolerant and loves to experiment with vegan baking so her blog is a treasure trove of gluten free/dairy free/vegan recipes. I know more and more people with gluten intolerance and food allergies so this was a good opportunity to experiment with recipes and to bake outside my comfort zone. 

I had a real nosey round her blog and I do encourage you to pop over and say hi. She writes a beautiful blog with lovely accompanying pictures. I shortlisted a few recipes to try and in the end went with this raspberry bar as it sounded good and I had some fresh raspberries to hand. Her recipe is a gluten and refined sugar free vegan bar. I've made some adjustments as I did not have all the ingredients to hand so mine is not quite gluten free but it's dairy free with minimal refined sugar. I was really pleased that mine turned out almost exactly the same as Bean's. It tastes like a crumble and the sweetened, spiced tart raspberries are the perfect filling. These would be great for lunch boxes or picnics.

 flour and oat mix 

 adding coconut oil 

 looks like a crumble mixture 

 mix the raspberries with honey and spices 

 press more than half of the flour mixture onto a traybake tin 

 add a layer of raspberries 

 top with the remaining flour mixture 


Recipe adapted from Without Adornment

55g ground almonds
80 g brown rice flour
100g oats
55g wholemeal flour
100g spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
50g dark brown sugar
100g coconut oil
450g fresh raspberries
4 - 5 tablespoons honey (adjust to taste) 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground almonds, brown rice flour, oats, wholemeal flour, spelt flour, sugar and baking powder.
  • Add the coconut oil and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the honey, spices and raspberries together. 
  • Spray a traybake tin with non stick spray. Press more than half the flour mixture into the tin and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Spoon the raspberry layer on top and finish with the remaining crumble mix.
  • Bake for approximately 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into squares.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Marmalade Chocolate Croissant Pudding

There was an opened pack of stale croissants at work sometime ago that was about to be binned. It was only a few days old and I thought it would be a shame to waste it, perhaps I can make something with it. I love bread and butter pudding and have not had one for a long time. So I decided to turn these stale croissants into marmalade chocolate croissant pudding. It's really simple and a great way to use up stale croissants/brioche or bread.

I sliced the croissants in half and spread a thick layer of dark marmalade on each side. I placed them marmalade side up in a dish and sprinkled some dark chocolate chunks on top.Then I soaked it in the custard mixture for about 30 minutes before baking. The result was amazing. The buttery croissant combined with tangy marmalade and hints of dark chocolate was absolutely divine. The eggy custard held it all together and even though we were completely full after dinner, we managed a hefty portion as it was just so good. I'm tempted to buy fresh croissants and leave them for a few days just to make this again!

I'm entering this to the No Waste Food Challenge as I used up leftover croissants for this recipe. This month it's hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

 spread marmalade on croissants which have been sliced in half 

 sprinkle over some dark chocolate chunks 

 soak in custard 

 fresh from the oven 


3 stale croissants, sliced in half 
150mls double cream
75mls milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar 
Dark marmalade 
50g dark chocolate chunks

  • Place the cream and milk in a pan and bring to a boil. 
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. 
  • Pour the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
  • Prepare the croissants as shown.
  • Pour the custard mixture over the croissants and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes or until soft. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Chocolate Marshmallow Muffins

These were originally meant to be chocolate marshmallow cupcakes with a milk chocolate frosting and mini marshmallow topping. However, when I was baking this quite late at night, I discovered I only had about 30g of icing sugar left and it was too late to go out to get more.  As this does not have icing, I feel it's wrong to call it a cupcake hence chocolate marshmallow muffins. 

I used a chocolate sour cream cake recipe that I've used previously. I debated about how to incorporate the marshmallows and in the end decided to put 2 large marshmallows at the bottom of the muffin case before filling it with cake batter. What I didn't know but should have guessed was that the marshmallow would rise during baking and give a toasted marshmallow topping. Result! To be honest, these were so good on their own they didn't require any frosting. The cake was moist and chocolatey and the toasted marshmallow on top gave extra sweetness and gooeyness to the cake. 

I created this recipe for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge which is guest hosted by Rebecca from Bake N Quilt. She chose the theme marshmallow and chocolate. The challenge is run by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog

 I bought micro marshmallows for the cupcakes but I'm sure I'll find another use for it. 

 cook butter, cocoa powder and water 

 whisk in the eggs

 followed by the sour cream 

 place 2 large marshmallows on the bottom of each cupcake case 

 cover with cake batter until almost full 

 toasted marshmallow! 

 I also made a medium loaf cake with the remaining batter which is covered in melted milk chocolate (I prepared it for the icing) and sprinklses 

Makes 12 mini cakes and 1 medium loaf as shown.

250g plain four
45g cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate pieces
225g butter
1 cup water
300g sugar
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 large marshmallows

  • Place the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate and water to cook over a medium heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together.
  • Carefully add half the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time and continue whisking. 
  • Then add the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • Place 2 marshmallows in each cupcake case. 
  • The cake batter is quite liquid so I'd recommend pouring it into the jug and pouring the cake batter into each cupcake case until it's almost full.
  • The marshmallows may float but not to worry. 
  • Bake for about 18 minutes or until the marshmallows are toasted and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Cherry and Coconut Bundt Cake

Back in Feb this year, I was invited to attend a French Glace Cherries Masterclass. It was great fun and I discovered new recipes using French glace cherries. They contacted me recently to ask if I was interested in entering their competition by creating a recipe using French Glace Cherries as the star ingredient. It takes about 10 days to make French Glace Cherries where the fruit's natural water content is replaced by sugar. They use natural fruit and vegetable juices to give the cherries different colours. These cherries retain their flavour, shape and texture throughout the baking process. 

I started thinking about flavours that pair well with cherries. Almond and chocolate immediately sprung to mind but I wanted something a little different. I decided on a cherry and coconut combination even though I'm not a huge fan of coconut. I was going to add chocolate to the mix but decided less is more and I really wanted to highlight the cherries in this bake. After lots of thinking and experimenting, I came up with this cherry and coconut bundt cake with a cherry jam filling and a cherry glaze on top. 

The bundt cake looks stunning on its own and this particular shape called for a glaze. My glaze was quite thick  but I think it still achieved the desired effect. The cake was moist and you get a real hit of coconut. The cherries were evenly spaced throughout the cake which ensured that each slice had some cherries in it. I particularly liked the jam layer in between which was supposed to be in the middle but ended up near the top during the baking process. I gave J the cake to take to work and the feedback I received was 
  • Very moist sponge
  • Jam and cherries work well 
  • Not too sweet which is nice, not overpowering 
  • Nice to have a good cake that's not reliant on butter cream or icing 
  • Tastes just as good the day after 

The lovely people at French Glace cherries have kindly agreed to offer one of my readers a selection of French Glace Cherry goodies which includes a branded timer, kitchen scale, an apron and samples of French Glacé Cherries. For your chance to win, just leave a comment saying what you will use the cherry samples for and a winner will be selected at random. Prize is only available to UK residents. I will contact you via the comment section on this blog and announce the winner after the closing date so please remember to check back on 3rd September to see if you are the lucky winner. Another winner will be selected if the first winner is not contactable after 72 hours. 
The closing date is 12 midnight GMT 2nd September 2014. 

I hope this cake will qualify for a few blog challenges this month.

Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and co hosted by Jane from Hedgecombers. The theme this month is Picnic Food and Picnic Treats. This cake will be perfect for a picnic as it's easily transportable and can be eaten with your fingers. Plus it will impress everyone at the picnic :) 

Celebration Cakes & Bakes hosted by Mummy Makes Cakes as this is a stunning cake worthy of any celebration. 

 Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too.

Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy from Super Golden Bakes

 lovely french glace cherries - red and purple variety 

 I tossed the cherries in the dessicated coconut 

 add a layer of batter 

 followed by a thick layer of jam - be careful not to touch the sides of the tin with the jam 

 cover with remaining cake batter 

 making the cherry glaze 

 fresh from the oven 

 you can see all the cherries dotted around 

 with the glaze 

 you can clearly see the jam layer 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the cake
250g butter
400g plain flour
330g caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
250mls coconut cream
100g dessicated coconut
4 eggs
192g french glace cherries
370g (1 jar) berry & cherry jam

For the glaze
100g glace cherries
1/2 - 3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of caster sugar (or to taste)
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
  • Mix in the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the coconut cream and dessicated coconut. 
  • Cut the glace cherries in half, rinse in cold water and dry thoroughly. 
  • Place the dessicated coconut in a small bowl and toss the cherries through the coconut.
  • Add this to the cake mixture and stir by hand. 
  • Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bundt tin.
  • Place a thick layer of jam on top making sure not to touch the sides.
  • Top with the remaining cake batter.
  • Bake for approximately 50 -60 minutes (it's a large cake!) or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating. 
  • To make the glaze, place the cherries, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the sauce thickens and the cherries soften. You may need to add more water or more sugar depending on consistency and sweetness required. 
  • Place the mixture in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Sieve the mixture through a medium sized drainer to get a smoother glaze.