Tag Archives: Treats

Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake

Rich’s company keeps on growing and therefore I must keep on baking…

I was meant to be having some drinks with the team  on Friday evening to take requests, but as I have a nightmare project at my work, by the time I got to the bar almost everyone had gone. Therefore I have had to believe that Rich has spoken to his team and this cake represents their requests. The direction I was given was chocolate.

As always, I opened my copies of Nigella and went to her chocolate section – when I did carrot cake she was unfortunately lacking. It was a toss up between her Malteser Cake from Domestic Goddess or her Old Fashion Chocolate Cake from Feast ; both looked amazing but the icing on the latter won me over. My favourite chocolate icing has been the sour cream one from Delia’s classic complete cookery course. Anyway, I could go on forever about my favourite cook books but I should really get on with the recipe!

 

Welcoming Stephen to the Company

Recipe: Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake

Ingredients: The Cake

  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 200g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 175g Butter – Room temperature and very soft
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 150ml Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. This is super easy.
  2. Preheat the oven to GM 4 (180 C) and grease & line 2 circular 20cm cake tins with plenty of butter and grease proof paper.
  3. Either, add all of the ingredients to a cake mixer and quickly mix or put them into a bowl and mix with a whisk – the electric sort makes it a lot easier! The batter that you get is quite thick but don’t be alarmed, it makes a lovely cake.
  4. Split the batter between the two cake tins and then put into the oven. Cook for about 25 minutes, test and if it’s not ready (ie bounces back when you touch it) put it back in for another five minutes.
  5. Once the cakes are done, leave them to cool on wire racks.

Recipe: Sour Cream Icing

Ingredients: The Icing

  • 75g Butter
  • 175g Chocolate – I use 65%
  • 1 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 125ml Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Icing Sugar

Instructions

  1. On a very low heat, in a heavy pan, melt the butter and the chocolate; keep an eye on it and don’t let it get hot so that nothing goes wrong!
  2. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl to get rid of the lumps.
  3. Add the golden syrup to the chocolate – to get the syrup out I find it easiest to heat a tablespoon over the gas and then put that into the syrup and it slides off the spoon. Don’t heat it too much as it might ruin chocolate!
  4. Next, add the sour cream to the sweetened chocolate and then the vanilla.
  5. Whisk in the icing sugar so that the colour lightens and texture smooths.

To decorate the cake put one third of the icing on to the bottom layer and then add the next layer on top.

Add the rest of the icing on to the top of the cake and gently work it down the sides with a knife.
Decorate the top of the cake with bits of fudge or chocolate shavings or nothing.
Eat the cake 🙂
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Carrot Cake

Rich has just had another member of staff join him at the Gadgetplex, so to celebrate I thought that I would make the team a cake. I asked Rich for inspiration and he choose carrot cake – it was meant to be the team but I guess that he’s the boss!

It was then that I realised that I don’t think that I have ever made a carrot cake – I have eaten plenty but it does tend to be one of those cakes that you eat when you are trying to be good; carrots are a vegetable after all. I did a search online and found a lot of recipes that play around with the basics – marscapone instead of cream cheese, coconut, pineapple, the list goes on…The thing that I was looking for is that cinnamon infused, faintly bicarb tasting, moist cake with hidden surprises of raisins and walnuts topped with an incredibly rich icing – or should I say frosting?

I realise that this looks like a lot of ingredients – something of a running theme on in my recipes – but it’s actually really simple; mix the dry ingredient, mix the wet ones, add them together, cook it, mix the icing, waiting until everything is cool, put it together and eat.

 

This is what happens when you don't chill the icing enough - lesson learnt

Recipe: Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 100g Raisins
  • 50ml Sloe Gin
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground Cloves
  • ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 200g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 150ml Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 150-200g Grated Carrot – about 3 small ones
  • 75g chopped Walnuts
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
Icing
  • 200g Cream Cheese
  • 100g Butter Soften
  • Zest of an Orange
  • 1 tbsp Orange Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 250g Icing Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your over to gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line two 9 inch cake tins.
  3. In a pan, bring the gin and raisins to the boil; simmer for about 5 minutes and then leave the raisins to soak up the liquid. FYI you can easily use rum or tea but I often have sloe gin…
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl and add the dried spice.
  5. In another large bowl, mix the sugar and oil.
  6. Add the eggs to the sugar mix, one by one, then add the carrot, walnuts, tahini and raisins.
  7. Gentle fold in the spiced flour and then split between the two cake tins. Put in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cakes are cooked.
  8. Whilst you are waiting for the cakes to cook get on with the icing.
  9. Beat the orange zest, cheese and butter until it’s smooth.
  10. Add the vanilla and orange juice to the cheese mix and then gradually beat in the icing sugar.
  11. Once all of the sugar is mixed in out the icing into the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
  12. When the cakes are cooked – they should spring up when you press them and be slightly coming away from the sides of their tin – place them onto a wire rack to cool.
  13. Ice the cakes generously in the centre and on the top, if necessary let the icing slip down the sides (make sure that the cake is on its serving dish if you do!). Decorate with walnuts and serve – as Rich would say “om nom nom nom…”

Quick notes

This recipe is based on Dan Lepard’s “How to Bake” Carrot Cake with a couple of tweeks

Variations

If you don’t like raisins leave them out, same goes with walnuts. I think that this is one of those recipes that’s pretty tolerant – next time I make it I’m going to try adding banana

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 8

My rating 4 stars:  ????? 1 review(s)

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Scones

Every time that I make these scones I am always amazed how easy they are

Recipe: Scones

Summary: This is a really quick and easy scone recipe; I warn you once you realise how easy it might be hard to stop making them…Below only makes four real scones and one off-cut. I always try to make a small batch to stop me eating too many!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 oz Butter – Room Temperature Soft
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 90ml Milk – Approximately

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 or 220° C.
  2. Rub the soft butter gently into the flour with your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Quickly mix in the sugar and salt; remember that you don’t actually need too much sugar as you’ll want to be adding jam once they are cooked.
  4. Add the milk and mix with a knife, or your hands, to form a dough. You may need to use slightly more or less milk than stated above. Personally, I think that it is better to add a little be too much liquid as it makes the scones softer. The main thing that you need to be aware of is not to mix to much or you will get tough scones.
  5. Dust your clean surface or bored with a little flour.
  6. Place the dough one the floured surface and shape to about 2-3cm thick.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter of about 6 cm diameter (or glass if you don’t happen to have a cutter hanging around like me) cut out your scones. Don’t be tempted to twist your cutter or you’ll end up with wonky scones. Place the cut out scone onto a floured baking tray. You won’t get them all out in one go so just reshape the dough and cut again. Again, don’t over work the dough or you’ll end up with tough scones.
  8. Place into the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until they are lightly, golden brown.
  9. Place on a rack and eat as soon as they are room temperature. If you are not eating yours straight away, put them into an air tight tin and eat as soon as possible as they are best fresh.

Quick notes

These really need to be eaten with clotted cream and jam. Rich and I ate ours with my Mum’s home-made damson jam and cream.

Variations

You can add sultanas but I would recommend having them plain

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: English

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