Thursday, 29 September 2011

Flourless Almond Cake with raspberries

I was talking to a colleague recently and found out she is intolerant of flour. That explains why she politely declines all my baked goods. So I decided to make a flourless cake so she could join in the indulgence! I've made a few flourless cakes previously, usually of the chocolate variety and decided to do something a little different this time. This is a really simple recipe with fantastic results. Its the first recipe I'm trying from a book I bought a while back called Home Bake by Eric Lanlard. He has a cafe-patisserie, Cake Boy in London which another colleague has told me about but I've never had a chance to try it. Has anyone been?
The book is full of lovely pictures, great recipes and tips and I'll definitely be baking from here again. I made some madeleines following the success of this recipe but that's for another day :)
I decided to jazz up this simple cake with some raspberries and homemade raspberry sauce. The verdict - everyone really enjoyed it especially the intended recipient. I've made another one tonight as the first one disappeared so quickly, not everyone had a chance to try it!

100g unsalted butter, melted
200g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond essence

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Grease and line a 20cm sponge tin.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs together at medium-high speed until they double in volume. 
  • Whisk in the melted butter and then the ground almonds and almond essence. 
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 30-45 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and the cake is shrinking away from the side of the tin.
  • Allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • I served mine with fresh raspberries on top and a homemade raspberry sauce (blitz 150g raspberries with a few drops of lemon juice (to taste) and a few teaspoons of icing sugar (to taste) )

Best ever brownies

I am always on the quest for the perfect brownies and when I saw these on one of my favourite websites BBC Good Food, I knew I had to try it especially since they claim to be best-ever brownies! Verdict : ALMOST! It was moist and gooey with a crisp top, exactly how I like my brownies! It's definitely a choc-a-holics dream as it has milk, dark and white chocolate and cocoa powder. My favourite/best ever brownie is still the triple chocolate brownie from Sainsbury's but this one is most definitely in the top 5. What's your favourite brownie recipe?

 melt chocolate and butter 

whisk the eggs and sugar until its thick and creamy like this. 

 fresh from the oven 


Recipe from BBC Good Food 
185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate
50g milk chocolate
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar

  1. Cut the butter into smallish cubes and tip into a medium bowl. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and drop into the bowl. Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, then sit the bowl on top so it rests on the rim of the pan, not touching the water. Put over a low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted, stirring occasionally to mix them. Now remove the bowl from the pan. Alternatively, cover the bowl loosely with cling film and put in the microwave for 2 minutes on High. Leave the melted mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. While you wait for the chocolate to cool, position a shelf in the middle of your oven and turn the oven on to fan 160C/conventional180C/gas 4 (most ovens take 10-15 minutes to heat up). Using a shallow 20cm square tin, cut out a square of non-stick baking parchment to line the base. Now tip the flour and cocoa powder into a sieve held over a medium bowl, and tap and shake the sieve so they run through together and you get rid of any lumps.
  3. With a large sharp knife, chop the white and milk chocolate into chunks on a board. The slabs of chocolate will be quite hard, so the safest way to do this is to hold the knife over the chocolate and press the tip down on the board, then bring the rest of the blade down across the chocolate. Keep on doing this, moving the knife across the chocolate to chop it into pieces, then turn the board round 90 degrees and again work across the chocolate so you end up with rough squares.
  4. Break the eggs into a large bowl and tip in the sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take 3-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your mixer is, so don't lose heart. You'll know it's ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume. Another check is to turn off the mixer, lift out the beaters and wiggle them from side to side. If the mixture that runs off the beaters leaves a trail on the surface of the mixture in the bowl for a second or two, you're there.
  5. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggy mousse, then gently fold together with a rubber spatula. Plunge the spatula in at one side, take it underneath and bring it up the opposite side and in again at the middle. Continue going under and over in a figure of eight, moving the bowl round after each folding so you can get at it from all sides, until the two mixtures are one and the colour is a mottled dark brown. The idea is to marry them without knocking out the air, so be as gentle and slow as you like - you don't want to undo all the work you did in step 4.
  6. Hold the sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and resift the cocoa and flour mixture, shaking the sieve from side to side, to cover the top evenly. Gently fold in this powder using the same figure of eight action as before. The mixture will look dry and dusty at first, and a bit unpromising, but if you keep going very gently and patiently, it will end up looking gungy and fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don't want to overdo this mixing. Finally, stir in the white and milk chocolate chunks until they're dotted throughout. Now your mixing is done and the oven can take over.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping every bit out of the bowl with the spatula. Gently ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and paddle the spatula from side to side across the top to level it. Put in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the buzzer goes, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it's not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin. Take out of the oven.
  8. Leave the whole thing in the tin until completely cold, then, if you're using the brownie tin, lift up the protruding rim slightly and slide the uncut brownie out on its base. If you're using a normal tin, lift out the brownie with the foil. Cut into quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares and finally into triangles. These brownies are so addictive you'll want to make a second batch before the first is finished, but if you want to make some to hide away for a special occasion, it's useful to know that they'll keep in an airtight container for a good two weeks and in the freezer for up to a month.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Giant Chocolate Cupcake

I am back from my travels and am really pleased that I’ve managed to get this in for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge. I was really excited when I first saw the challenge as I love birthdays and I love chocolate so I definitely didn’t want to miss out! It was also my birthday recently but as I was away, I haven’t had a chance to make a cake so this is a birthday cake for myself and for WSC. As the theme is chocolate, I’ve made a giant chocolate cupcake, filled with Spanish chocolate filling and topped with my favourite chocolate buttercream icing. I added some stars on top – why not? And some M&Ms as you just can’t have enough chocolate! This is definitely a choc-a-holics cake and it disappeared really quickly at work.

 making the batter 

 Spanish chocolate that I used for the filling

 fill chocolate cupcake with more chocolate

 add even more chocolate - my piping skills are a little rusty! 

 some stars for celebration

 and just a few M&Ms to finish the look! 

Recipe for chocolate cupcake and chocolate buttercream icing and be found here

Friday, 2 September 2011

Syrup Crunch Cookies

I saw these on one of my favourite blogs, the caked crusader and knew I had to make it and to make it soon. It contains most of my favourite ingredients and the perfect opportunity presented itself when we had a celebratory breakfast for a colleague who was getting married. I thought the cornflakes and oats would make it very 'breakfast-ty'! It's really more-rish and I had quite a few as they came out of the oven! Someone commented that it tastes like it should be part of 1 of your 5 a day but clearly it's not! I'm definitely making these again and again.
I'm off on a short summer break but will be back with more baking goodness soon :) 

250g unsalted butter
200g condensed milk
175g golden syruo
175g cornflakes
175g porridge oats
250g plain flour
100g custard powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
  • Place the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a large saucepan and heat gently.
  • Stir occasionally until the ingredients have melted and evenly combined; they should be runny.
  • In a separate bowl crush the cornflakes by hand – you don’t want them crumbed, just broken up a bit.
  • Stir in the oats, flour, custard powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mix in the saucepan.
  • Scoop heaped tablespoons onto the baking sheets, leaving a gap around the biscuits for expansion while baking. 
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  • Leave to cool, on their baking sheets, on a wire rack. They will be soft on leaving the oven but will firm up as they cool.