Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits

When I was browsing recipes and ideas for Christmas biscuits to make for my family, I came across these fabulous pinwheel cookies by Sugary Winzy. I just had to give them a go! The effect is so fun and eye catching. As well as the look of these biscuits, the other thing that attracted me is that you can make them in advance, keep the rolls of dough in freezer and take them out and slice them when you’re ready to bake. You don’t even need to thaw them for more than a few minutes!

To make the chocolate dough I started by melting 30g butter into 2 tbsp milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a bowl I mixed the milky butter with 6 tbsp cocoa powder and set aside.

To make the vanilla part of the dough I mixed 230g butter with 225g caster sugar until creamy. Then I added 2 egg yolks, one at a time mixing between each addition. And finally I added 4 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp milk.

To the vanilla dough mixture I added 375g plain flour and 1 tbsp baking powder and mixed until a dough formed.

I took about 3/4 of the vanilla dough and mixed it into the chocolate dough. Then I shaped both doughs into balls and cut in half.

Onto greaseproof paper I rolled out both dough halves into rectangles that were approximately 8″ by 7″.

Carefully, I tipped the chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and rolled over them lightly so that they stuck together. Then, like you would do with a swiss roll, I rolled up the doughs together. Do the same again with the two other halves of dough. Then I wrapped both dough rolls in cling film and put them in the freezer.

When ready to bake the biscuits, I took the rolls out of the freezer and let them thaw for 5-10 minutes. I sliced them into 1/4″ thick slices using a sharp knife and placed on a baking tray.

I baked the biscuits on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 15-20 minutes. They do grow in size so leave space between them. I was so thrilled with how they looked! And as you can see from the missing spot, tasting before giving out as gifts is very important and necessary!

Not the best photo, but this is how I presented the biscuits. I them in some treat bags from Lakeland, tied them with ribbon and made my own Christmassy luggage tags to tell people what they were. I was pleased to hear that my family enjoyed eating up these biscuits, they certainly didn’t last very long!

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Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits
Ingredients
  • 260g Butter
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 6 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 375g Plain flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
Instructions
To make the chocolate dough melt 30g of the butter into 2 tbsp of the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a bowl mix the milky butter with the cocoa powder and set asideTo make the vanilla dough mix 230g of the butter with the caster sugar until creamy. Then add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Finally add the vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of the milkTo the vanilla dough mixture add the plain flour and baking powder and mix until a dough formsTake 3/4 of the vanilla dough and mix it into the chocolate mixture. Shaped both dough into balls and cut each one in halfOnto greaseproof paper roll out both dough halves into rectangles that are approximately 8″ by 7″Carefully lay the chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and roll over them lightly so that they stick together. Then, like you would do with a swiss roll, roll up the doughs together. Do the same again with the two other halves of dough. Then wrap both dough rolls in cling film and put them in the freezer for 1 hourWhen ready to bake the biscuits, take the rolls out of the freezer and let them thaw for 5-10 minutes. Slice them into 1/4″ thick slices using a sharp knife and place on a baking trayBake the biscuits on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 15-20 minutes. They will grow in size so leave space between them

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Gingerbread Cake

This gorgeous spicy golden cake is part of a set of recipes put together by Schwartz to get you started into the world of baking. They have put together a selection of simple, traditional and tasty recipes that are all easy to make and delicious to eat. From a chocolate drizzle cake to a light fruit cake, they are great recipes for less experienced bakers who still want to create something attractive and delicious. You can see the full list of recipes by clicking here. I decided to make the Gingerbread Cake because it sounded warming and seasonal.

I started by melting 100g butter, 225g golden syrup and 50g soft light brown sugar on a low-medium heat.
 

Once it was smooth and golden, I left it to cool slightly.

In a bowl I beat together 2 eggs and 150ml milk.

I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze milk again, this time the unsweetened version as this cake has lots of golden syrup in it to provide sweetness. Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts in the world, so it’s good to know you are getting some extra nutritional value your baking. You can read more about the health benefits here.

In another bowl I sifted in 225g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp Schwartz Ground Ginger and 2 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice.

I’ve been using Schwartz spices for years and I’m a big fan of their range. They are probably the most recognisable herb and spice brand in the UK with the distinctive shape and colour of their bottles. They have a huge selection of spices which are perfect for baking, and a great variety of herbs too. I use their Perfect Shake range a lot in my cooking. They’re great for adding flavour to meat and dishes like risotto, stir frys and casseroles.

On with the cake… I poured the egg mixture and sugar mixture into the flour and mixed well.

I spooned the mixture into a lined loaf tin.

I baked on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 1 hour and 30 minutes until it was a rich gold colour.

Once cool, I digged in! Wow this cake is full of flavour and deliciously moist and light too. I enjoyed it with some cream poured on top, but it’s great on it’s own too. I was really pleased with how this turned out. The cake is best after a week stored in an air tight container, so the flavours can develop. If you can’t wait that long, like me, the good news is it’s yummy on the day it’s made too. This would be a great recipe for a Christmas gift as the cake will keep till after New Year if you make it next week.

Check out Schwartz’z website for more easy to make and delicious cake recipes!

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Gingerbread Cake
Ingredients
  • 100g Butter
  • 225g Golden syrup
  • 50g Light brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150ml Milk
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp Schwartz Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice
Instructions
Melt the butter, golden syrup and light brown sugar on a low-medium heat. Once it is smooth and golden, leave it to cool slightlyIn a bowl beat together the eggs and milkIn another bowl sift the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, Schwartz Ground Ginger and Schwartz Mixed SpicePour the egg mixture and sugar mixture into the flour and mix wellSpoon the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Bake on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 1 hour and 30 minutes until it is a rich gold colour

NB. This post was created in association with Schwartz, all opinions are my own.

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Orange & Ginger Slice

These delicious slices are filled with festive flavour and are great little treats for parties and family gatherings. They are so simple and quick to make, which is just what you want this time of year. The crunchy ginger topping packs a spicey punch which you can adjust depending on your taste. This recipe is based on a ‘Lazy Daisy’ cake, which is an old recipe from the 1940s that uses hot milk to make the cake. It is usually topped with coconut, but I changed it to fit the season.

I started by heating 120ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and 15g butter in a pan.

I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze again after being sent some recently and using it in my Mulled Wine Cupcakes. I have recently been having trouble with cow’s milk so I was
really interested to try out almond milk. It comes in three varieties;
original, unsweetened, and chocolate. I’ve only tried the original
variety so far, but it tastes really nice. It’s also very low in
calories and perfect for anyone on a diary free or vegan diet. You can
use it just like regular milk in baking, or when making soups, sauces
and hot drinks.

 

In a bowl I whisked together 2 eggs until frothy. I gradually added 200g caster sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I then added the zest and juice of one orange and whisked in.

In a bowl I weighed out 160g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. I added it to the mixture and stirred until just mixed. Finally I poured in the hot milk mixture, stirred in, and poured into a lined tin.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until golden.

To make the topping I melted 110g brown sugar, 45g butter, 2 tbsp Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and 2 tsp ginger (add more or less depending on your taste).

Pour the mixture over the cake, then pop it under the grill for about 3 minutes until it bubbles all over. Leave to cool, then slice and serve!

These Orange & Ginger Slices were a huge hit in my office, the only thing I would change is to double to recipe next time! They are really light and moist, and the ginger topping has just the right amount of spice for that festive kick. It’s a very versatile recipe too so you can change the flavours depending on the season. It would be great with other citrus fruits and spices.

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Orange & Ginger Slice
Ingredients
  • 120ml + 2 tbsp Almond Milk
  • 60g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Orange
  • 160g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 110g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground ginger
Instructions
Heat the 120ml of almond milk and 15g of the butter in a panIn a bowl whisk together the eggs until frothy. Then gradually add the caster sugar and vanilla extractThen add the zest and juice of the orange and whisk inIn a bowl weigh out the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the egg mixture and stir until just mixed. Finally pour in the hot milk mixture, stir in, and pour into a lined tinBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until goldenTo make the topping melt the brown sugar, 45g of the butter, 2 tbsp of almond milk and ground gingerPour the mixture over the cooked cake, then pop it under the grill for about 3 minutes until it bubbles all over. Leave to cool, then slice and serve!
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Mulled Wine Cupcakes

If there’s one drink that really says Christmas, it’s got to be mulled wine. I’m pretty sure it’s only drank around Christmas time, and I know a lot of people who consider that after they’ve had their first mulled wine, Christmas is officially here! Also know as ‘gluhwein’ and ‘glogg’, mulled wine is warmed red wine, with sugar and spiced with orange, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and/or cardamom. The spices used are a cultural, or personal, preference. I love making my favourite drinks into cupcakes! Here’s how I did it…

I started by warming up 100ml mulled wine. I used a bottle of ready spiced mulled wine, but you can spice your own if you wish. Once it was warm I added some dried cranberries and left them to soak for about an hour.

I used these dried cranberries which are flavoured with orange for that extra orange zing in the cupcakes. You can also use 100g plain dried cranberries.

In a bowl I measured out 200g self raising flour, 140g caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 40g butter. Feel free to add your favourite spices in whichever quantity you wish!

In a jug I whisked together 120ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I was recently sent some Blue Diamond Almond Breeze to try out in my baking. I have recently been having trouble with cow’s milk so I was really interested to try out almond milk. It comes in three varieties; original, unsweetened, and chocolate. I’ve only tried the original variety so far, but it tastes really nice. It’s also very low in calories and perfect for anyone on a diary free or vegan diet. You can use it just like regular milk in baking, or when making soups, sauces and hot drinks.

I mixed the almond milk mixture into the flour mixture bit by bit, and then added the 100ml mulled wine strained from the cranberries. I poured the mixture into a lined cupcake tin and put a few cranberries into each one until they were all used.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20-25 minutes until golden.

Whilst they were cooling I made a buttercream out of 400g icing sugar, 150g butter and 3 tbsp mulled wine. I also added some Christmas Red and Grape Violet Sugarflair food colouring till I got a rich burgundy colour. I put some cinnamon and mixed spice into my icing, for extra warmth. I just added a couple of pinches of each until I was happy with the taste.

I used a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, then I added some sugar snowflake decorations.

Finally, for that Christmas sparkle, I sprinkled some gold edible glitter onto the cupcakes!

When cut open, the cupcakes were lovely and moist and filled with juicy cranberries.

Serve with mulled wine, of course!

I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly challenge Treat Petite. This month’s theme is Happy Holidays!

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Mulled Wine Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 100g Dried cranberries
  • 100ml + 3 tbsp Mulled wine
  • 200g Self raising flour
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 190g Butter
  • 120ml Almond milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 400g Icing sugar
  • Sprinkles
  • Red & purple food colouring
Instructions
Warm up the 100ml of mulled wine. add the dried cranberries and leave to soak for about an hourIn a bowl mix together the self raising flour, caster sugar, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and 40g of the butterIn a jug whisk together the almond milk, egg and vanilla extractMix the almond milk mixture into the flour mixture bit by bit, and then add the mulled wine strained from the cranberries. Divide the mixture into cupcake cases and put a few cranberries into each one until they are all usedBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20-25 minutes until goldenMake the buttercream by mixing the icing sugar, 150g of the butter and the 3 tbsp of mulled wine. Add the food colouring to get a rich burgundy colourUse a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, then add sprinkles and gold edible glitter
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BBC Good Food Show Winter

Last week I headed to the NEC in Birmingham for the BBC Good Food Show Winter. The show consisted of 100’s of award winning producers of quality food and drink, demonstrations from celebrity chefs, the world cheese awards, opportunities to buy a range of food gadgets and ingredients, and also featured some of The Great British Bake Off stars.

After a quick wonder round to get my bearings, which was admittedly quite difficult as the show was massive! I started my day watching Francis Quinn, the 2013 Great British Bake Off winner, demonstrate how to make her Cauliflower Cheese Scones.

Frances talked about her creativity and admitted she always has a sketchbook on her as an idea can come to her at any moment. I was also relieved to her she is a fan of shortcuts, e.g. buying puff pastry. I completely agree!

She talked a lot about the friendly atmosphere on the GBBO set, the contestants all got on really well and were happy to share fridge space and borrow things from each other. She told the audience how they all went for dinner in Oxford the weekend after the final and caused somewhat of a stir when they all walked into a local restaurant – no wonder! And afterwards they enjoyed some rocky road made by Glenn.

The Cauliflower Cheese Scones looked brilliant and I was impressed with how easy they are to make. I will definitely be giving these a try!

At the end of the demo Frances was happy to meet and great with some fans – including me! She was such a lovely lady and very friendly.

I stayed put as next on stage was GBBO finalist Kimberley Wilson doing a demonstration of her Banana Nut Loaf with Hazelnut Praline and Rum Caramel. Just like on the show, Kimberley was full of technical knowledge! She explained that she used the creaming method for the loaf as it gets more air into the sponge, otherwise the banana will weigh the batter down.

Kimberley is still doing her 9-5 job as a psychologist, but takes time out for events like the BBC Good Food Show and the upcoming Remarkable Woman Conference that she will be attending along with fellow finalist Ruby Tandoh.

It seems like the most popular place to spot a GBBO contestant is in the local supermarket, both Frances and Kimberley talked about being stopped for baking advice and praise on their GBBO achievements while they shopped .

Some interesting GBBO statistics were revealed. During this year’s series the contestants used 750 piping bags, 35 litres double cream, 80kg chocolate, 150kg sugar, 2000 eggs, 90kg butter, and 200kg flour. And the poor people who had to clean up spent 208 hours doing the washing up and used 25 litres of washing up liquid and 40 sponges!

The Banana Nut Loaf looked delicious, and the Rum Caramel sounds to die for. Kimberley recommended leaving the loaf till the next day so the flavours could mature. You can find the recipe here on Kimberley’s website.

Kimberley was also kind enough to do a meet and greet with the audience!

You couldn’t avoid the World Cheese Awards! The smell of the cheese was amazing and seeing so much cheese all in once place was pretty mouth watering. The awards are the biggest of their kind worldwide and having been running for over 20 years.

Throughout the BBC Good Food Show, visitors had the opportunity to learn about how the cheese is judged, sample some of the cheese, and learn some interesting facts about cheese.

I headed round the show to look at some of stalls and produce on offer at the show. Swifts Bakery had some gorgeous bread for sale. The Swift family have been baking bread since 1893, so they know a thing or two about it!

I was really interested to hear about how you can replace butter in your bakes with pureed prunes. Not only does this cut down on the sugar and fat content of your bake, but it also adds vitamins like potassium and Vitamin K to the bake. I tasted both an energy bar and chocolate brownie made with prunes and they were delicious! Check out California Prunes for recipes.

I purchased some ground cardamom from Fox’s Spices, who had a massive range of herbs and spices in all kinds of forms available. I’m pretty sure from a thorough look at their stall that they stock pretty much every spice and herb that exists! Definitely the place to go if you are looking for the weird and wonderful of the spice world.

These gorgeous cakes were on the Delovely Cakes stall. I particularly love the gingerbread man cake and the cupcakes with mini macarons on top – gorgeous! They have some other stunning Christmas cakes on their website.

I love sweet potatoes and these sweet potato crisps from Scott’s Farm were so yummy! Vegetable crisps are really good for you as well as being tasty, I’ve only ever since mixed varieties before (beetroot, parsnip, carrot) so it’s great to see these on the market.

The Little Round Cake Company had their giant cakes and merangz for sale at their stall.



Scrumptious Sprinkles had a massive range of cupcakes cases, glitters and sprinkles to choose from.

I bought some delicious cheeses from Remarkable Foods including a caramelised onion cheddar that was divine.

You can order bread from the Hedonist Bakery that comes part baked and frozen so you can finish baking them at home for easy fresh and delicious bread anytime! I recommend the roasted onion bread.

I just had to share this rather interesting sign with you!!

My last stop of the day was to watch Stacie Stewart demonstrate on the Saturday Kitchen Stage where she made Honey Madelines with Cointreau Syrup and a Christmas Pavlova. When making the pavlova she demonstrated a fabulous product called ‘Yolk Hero’. This little gadget easily removes egg yolks from the whites. You can buy it from Lakeland.

She gave the audience some great tips on making meringue; you can freeze eggs yolks and egg whites for months, when making meringues make sure the bowl is clean and free from any grease, if you add 1 tsp of cornflour and 1 tsp of white wine vinegar to your meringue it will improve the quality. She also told us that if you add golden syrup to whipped meringue mixture it makes ‘fluff’ – the marshmallow stuff you can buy in a jar, and if you whip cream at room temperature it will whip faster.

The Christmas Pavlova looked fab, it was filled with marscarpone cream, orange flavoured mincemeat and melted chocolate. I didn’t get to taste any, but the Honey Madelines with Cointreau Syrup were amazing!

The BBC Good Food Show is definitely a food lovers heaven. I do enjoy food a lot, but baking is my main interest and although the show did have an area devoted to baking, it wasn’t enough for me. However if you are a food all rounder who likes wine, cheese, chocolate and meat then this show is definitely for you. There are a huge number of chef demonstrations on, so you’re bound to find someone you’ll enjoy watching and you’ll learn something new about food and cooking. Plus it’s a great opportunity to try new flavours and sample some amazing quality foods!

The next BBC Good Food Show is at the NEC Birmingham from 12th – 15th June 2014. You can buy tickets and find out more here.

(In case you are wondering why I have not mentioned Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood; I was unable to watch their demonstration as I held a press pass and the press did not get an allocation of tickets on the day I attended.)

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Mince Pie Cake

Last year at Christmas I made Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream and a Butterscotch Drizzle, and they were absolutely delicious (if I do say so myself!) I love mince pies, so making them into a cupcake was an obvious choice. Plus the brandy buttercream… oh wow! Brandy is such a great Christmas flavour and I couldn’t wait to make the cupcakes again this year. But then I was invited to the Christmas meeting for my local Clandestine Cake Club, and I decided to make a cake instead! The bigger the better!

To make the three tiers of sponge I first creamed together 375g butter and 375g caster sugar.

I then added 6 eggs and 3 tbsp brandy, and mixed in well. Then finally folded in 375g self raising flour.

I divided the mixture into three sponge tins and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

I left the sponge to cool and made some chocolate decorations by melting dark chocolate, putting it in a piping bag, and piping out shapes. I didn’t know how I was going to decorate the cake at this point so I also made some star shapes which didn’t end up on the cake. However they are an easier shape to do if you don’t feel confident enough to do the Christmas trees.

Once the sponge was cooled I started to stack it. I filled between the sponge with this luxury mincemeat, laced with port and packed with fruit. Of course you can use home made mincemeat if you have some.

Don’t spread the mincemeat all the way to the edge, leave a little gap, otherwise you run the risk of mincemeat in your buttercream.

I made the brandy buttercream using 400g icing sugar, 150g butter and 3 or 4 tbsp brandy, depending how strong you want it, and also don’t add too much as you want a fairly stiff buttercream for covering the cake with.

I spread the buttercream over the cake, then left it to set. Then I did another layer of buttercream to completely cover the cake. I pressed the chocolate Christmas decorations into the fresh buttercream around the side of the cake.

Then I sprinkled some bronze sugar pieces around the edge – and all over my kitchen!

Finally I placed a Christmas tree in the centre of the cake. And off to Cake Club I went! Here are the other cakes we had at the meeting…

My friend Beth made this delicious Chocolate & Chestnut Yule Log using a Delia Smith recipe. It contains no flour, giving it a beautifully light texture. And she made the chocolate leaves herself too!

Janice made these brilliant Chocolate & Vanilla Candles, with a fantastic stripey inside!

Elaine made this gorgeous Orange & Almond Cake with a crunchy top.

A savoury twist from our host Avril with a Stilton & Walnut Cheesecake. Although I am not a walnut fan, I loved the Stilton filling. And the carrot chutney accompanying it was delicious!

Clare tested out a new icing technique on us with this gold dusted effect Spiced Orange & Cranberry Cake.

Janette wowed with this basket woven buttercream effect which you get from a certain type of piping nozzle and plenty of patience! It looks great and the Lindt truffles were a brilliant touch on her Chocolate & Baileys Cake.

Jane used a Mary Berry recipe to make her Ginger & Treacle Traybake.

And here’s my cake towering above the rest, it was so big! Definitely enough to feed a hungry family, or group of friends around Christmas time. Be mindful of the amount of alcohol in it if you have children at your gathering, the buttercream certainly packs a punch! A good one of course for us adults to enjoy.

And here’s a shot of the cake sliced, with the three layers and mincemeat filling visible. I had a lot of compliments on this cake, and I was really pleased with it too. It’s a fantastic Christmas treat! Let the Christmas baking commence!

I am entering this cake into this month’s Calendar Cakes hosted by Laura Loves Cakes and Dollybakes. This month’s theme is Christmas!

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Mince Pie Cake
Ingredients
  • 525g Butter
  • 375g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 7 tbsp Brandy
  • 375g Self raising flour
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 1 jar of Mincemeat
  • 400g Icing sugar
  • Sprinkles
Instructions
Cream together 375g of the butter and the caster sugarAdd the eggs and 3 tbsp of the brandy, and mix in well. Then fold in the self raising flourDivide the mixture into three sponge tins and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until golden brownMake some chocolate decorations by melting the dark chocolate, putting it in a piping bag, and piping out Christmas tree shapes onto baking paperOnce the sponge is cool, stack it up filling between the sponge with the mincemeatMake the brandy buttercream by mixing the icing sugar, 150g of the butter and 4 tbsp of the brandy. Cover the top and sides of the cake with half of the buttercream, leave to set, then add another layerTo decorate press the chocolate Christmas decorations into the fresh buttercream around the side of the cake. Sprinkle some bronze sugar pieces around the edge, and place a chocolate Christmas tree in the centre of the cake
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Treat Petite Round Up – November

This month’s theme for Treat Petite was America. This could include anything American themed, from American ingredients, to something baked for Thanksgiving or a bake inspired by America. I was looking forward to seeing what my fellow bakers came up with for this theme!

Our first entry was these beautifully layered Nanaimo Bars from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. They are a Canadian recipe (part of North America!) made up of a coconut and nut biscuit base, a buttercream centre and a topping of rich dark chocolate.

The next entry was a gluten free bake from Kate at the Gluten Free Alchemist. She sent over (sadly only a photo!) these Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies. Peanut Butter is a well known American ingredient and appears more than once in this round up!

Ros at The More Than Occassional Baker doubled up on the American ingredients with these Mini Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecakes. She says it they are one of the best desserts she has ever made, so they must be worth making!

My Treat Petite co-host, Stuart over at Cakeyboi, submitted these Pumpkin Blueberry Scones. Pumpkin is so popular this time of year, and the Americans definitely have a lot to do with it! I love seeing it mixed with different flavours, and I think blueberry is a brilliant match!

Another fabulous pumpkin entry came from Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Than… with these Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Muffins. This was the first time she had ever baked with pumpkin, and from the sounds of it I don’t think it will be the last!

These Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies are not only America themed in flavour, but they are made by an American too! Lisa from United Cakedom submitted these super cute cookies. She also used American cup measurements, and an American keyboard to type it up. I think we have a winner for hitting the theme from all angles possible this month!

Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes sent over these Chocolate Chip Cookies that she made last year as a present for a friend. The recipe for these cookies came from an American book called ‘Big, Soft, Chewy Cookies’ and it definitely looks like they have delivered with this bake!

And finally I joined in the fun with these Baked Donuts. I made three varieties – Chocolate, Vanilla, and Pumpkin. I loved how light the textured of baked donuts is compared to typical deep fried ones. All the flavours were a big hit, but the pumpkin was my favourite!

If you like the look of any of this month’s Treat Petite entries, head on over to the blogs involved and let them know! Look out for the announcement for the December Treat Petite theme over at Cakeyboi very soon!

The
recipe for these cookies came from an American book called ‘Big, soft,
chewy cookies’ – See more at:
http://bluekitchenbakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/chocolate-chip-cookies.html#sthash.Vl4dVrLB.dpuf
The
recipe for these cookies came from an American book called ‘Big, soft,
chewy cookies’ – See more at:
http://bluekitchenbakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/chocolate-chip-cookies.html#sthash.Vl4dVrLB.dpuf
The
recipe for these cookies came from an American book called ‘Big, soft,
chewy cookies’ – See more at:
http://bluekitchenbakes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/chocolate-chip-cookies.html#sthash.Vl4dVrLB.dpuf
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Rhubarb & Ginger Jam Cake

This gorgeously dark spiced cake is based on a Rombauer Cake, which is a German cake made typically with blackberry or raspberry jam. The use of dark brown sugar and cinnamon makes it a perfect warming treat for this time of year, and the Rhubarb & Ginger Jam I used compliments the spices wonderfully. I also added cardamom for extra interest, toasted flaked almonds for texture and drizzled with a brown sugar icing which is so good I can’t think of a word that quite covers it!

I made this recipe card for my cake using PicMonkey, which is an online photo editor. I had so much fun making it and there are literally a ton of tools, graphics and options you can play around with. How awesome would it be to make up a set of recipe cards and give them out as a Christmas gift?! If a friend or relative has been asking for a recipe or loves something you bake, you could make them a card, and it would be such a sweet and personal gift. PicMonkey is free to use, but you can pay a monthly fee for extra features. I followed this tutorial by fellow blogger Brandie to make the recipe cards. You can also use PicMonkey to edit non-baking related photos.

This is my final (sad face!) recipe using the amazing jams I got sent from Scottish preserves manufacturer Mackays. I have so far made a delicious Lemon, Blueberry & Blackberry Swirl Loaf with their Blueberry & Blackcurrant preserve, tasty Spiced Jammy Flapjacks with their Strawberry Preserve with Champagne, and gooey Chocolate & Marmalade Cheesecake Brownies with their Dundee Orange Marmalade. The final jam I had was Rhubarb & Ginger – great flavours for this time of year!

I made this cake to take along to my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meeting which took place at The Albert Club in West Didsbury. The theme was ‘Classic Matches’ and I thought Rhubarb & Ginger was not only a classic flavour match, but with winter here the perfect comforting and warming flavours you want right now. Here are the cakes that we had at the meeting…

Janette made this amazing Caramel & Chocolate Cake which had Daim bar sprinkled all over it. I had three pieces, and another the next day, suffice to say I liked it a lot!!

Helen made this fabulous Chocolate & Mint Cake with mint matchstick decoration.

I loved Elaine’s Ginger & Lime Cake, the lime jam in the middle was particularly tasty.

Claire’s Chocolate & Orange Cake was so moist and delicious with just the right amount of orange zing!

My friend Beth made a Lemon & Lime Loaf Cake. She candied the peel on top herself and the cake inside was light and moist.

Owen made a Gin & Tonic cake with a recipe he found in the Big Issue magazine, and it went down very well!

 Our organiser Avril made this delicious Lemon & Ginger Cake using a ring bundt pan.
 

Janice made this delicious Marmalade & Ginger Cake.

Sadly, my cake did not turn out how I wanted – it didn’t rise and despite tasting really good, it was far to dense and close textured. I had a lot of kind words from my fellow cake clubbers about the flavour and there wasn’t much left at the end, so that was a relief! But I couldn’t leave it at that and I had to perfect the recipe. So I changed it and tried again the next day!

I started by creaming together 215g dark brown sugar and 85g butter.

I then whisked in 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 tbsp sour cream. Folded in 195g plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp ground cardamom. For instructions on how to grind cardamom pods see my post Chai Spiced Rolls. If you are not a cardamom fan, feel free to leave it out.

Finally, I added a full jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger preserve and
stirred until just mixed, I wanted there to still be sections of jam
within the sponge once it was baked. I poured the mixture into a lined cake tin.

I baked it for 50 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. It looked like a much better bake this time!

Whilst the cake was cooling I made the brown sugar icing. This stuff is probably the most delicious icing ever to have existed. I pretty much went weak at the knees when I tasted it! This would be beyond divine on pancakes. You make it by heating 80g dark brown sugar, 40g butter, 2 tbsp milk, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt on a medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Leave it to cool and it will thicken up noticably.

I drizzled it fairly liberally all over the cake. Then sprinkled some toasted flaked almonds on top. You could use another type of nuts if you prefer, or some candied ginger.

Finally success – a gorgeous moist cake inside! I am sorry to my fellow cake clubbers that they didn’t get to try out my much improved version of this cake. It tastes great and I loved the hint of cardamom, and the jam running through the cake. This would be amazing with hot custard on a cold evening.

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Rhubarb & Ginger Jam Cake
Ingredients
  • 295g Dark brown sugar
  • 125g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Sour cream
  • 195g Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp + a pinch Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1 jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • A pinch of Salt
  • A handful of Toasted flaked almonds
Instructions
Cream together 215g of the dark brown sugar and 85g of the butterWhisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream. Then fold in the plain flour, baking powder, the 1 tsp of cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cardamomAdd the jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger preserve and stir until just mixed. Pour the mixture into a lined cake tinBake it for 50 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4Whilst the cake is cooling make the brown sugar icing. Heat 80g of the dark brown sugar, 40g of the butter, milk, the pinch of cinnamon and salt on a medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Leave it to cool and it will thicken up noticablyDrizzle it all over the cake. Then sprinkle some toasted flaked almonds on top
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Baked Donuts

For my boyfriend’s Halloween party last weekend I decided to make donuts to feed the hungry guests. I got a Wilton donut pan for my birthday back in July and hadn’t used it yet, I was really curious about baked donuts (as opposed to deep fried donuts). I wanted to know what their texture was like, how they were made and most importantly, how they tasted! So in the spirit of finding this out, I made three different flavours: Vanilla, Pumpkin and Chocolate.

I used this recipe from Lakeland to make both the vanilla and chocolate donuts. I started with 225g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 175g caster sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl I mixed together 175ml milk, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I poured the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisked until combined and smooth.

I poured the batter into my donut pan, almost filling each ring. baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. As I hadn’t made them before I just used my best judgement on this. I pressed the donuts quickly with my finger and if they sprang back I knew they were done. I used a spoon to gently tip them out.

For the icing I mixed 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste formed. You don’t want it to be too runny as it will slip right off the donuts so add the water slowly. I also added some orange food colouring for that Halloween feel, but you could add some vanilla seeds or any colouring you want depending on the theme you’re going for.

I dipped the donuts into the icing, and also used a spoon to smooth the icing on and neaten it. Before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving, which doesn’t take long.

For the chocolate donuts I replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the donut batter, and replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the icing. They were very rich and chocolatey, and the most popular donuts at the party!

For my third and final lot of donuts (and my personal favourite!) I used this recipe for Pumpkin Donuts as I adore pumpkin in my baking. I mixed together 3 eggs, 1 can of pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s), 270g caster sugar, 80ml vegetable oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp mixed spice.

I then added 225g plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. I mixed well then poured the batter into my greased donut pan and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutes. The mixture made 15 donuts.

I made cinnamon icing for the donuts. Using the same method as for the other donuts, I added water to 100g icing sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. I made the cinnamon icing slightly more runny as I drizzled it over the pumpkin donuts. Wow these donuts were tasty!

Baked donuts don’t resemble fried donuts at all in terms of texture. Baked donuts are very light and moist, one thing I noticed is that these donuts released a lot of sticky moisture, they stuck to the plates I put them on and even the cooling rack. I’m not sure if this is normal for baked donuts, but it certainly didn’t affect the taste and I think it improved the texture. They were a huge hit with the party guests and I can guarantee I’ll be making baked donuts again!

The theme for this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by myself and Cakeyboi,  is ‘America‘. So I am entering this bake as donuts are a well known American food, and pumpkin is a popular American baking ingredient.

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Baked Donuts (Vanilla & Chocolate)
Ingredients
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 175ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 80g Cocoa powder
  • Sprinkles
Instructions
Put the plain flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl (replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extractPour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smoothPour the batter into a donut pan, almost filling each ring. Baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. Use a spoon to gently tip them out onto a cooling rackFor the icing mix 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste forms (replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)Dip the donuts into the icing, and before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving

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Baked Donuts (Pumpkin)
Ingredients
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 can of Pumpkin puree
  • 270g Caster sugar
  • 80ml Vegetable Oil
  • 4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100g Icing sugar
Instructions
Mixed together the eggs, pumpkin puree, caster sugar, vegetable oil, 2 tsp of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mixed spiceAdd the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Mix wellPour the batter into a greased donut pan and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutesAdd water to the icing sugar and 2 tsp of the cinnamon. Make it runny enough to drizzle it over the pumpkin donuts
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Baked Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

I had some friends over for dinner recently and I relish the chance to cook for people so I planned a three course meal. I wanted to make things that I could prepare in advance, so that while my friends were there I could concentrate on good conversation and enjoying the night. I started with a butternut squash soup, which I could easily prepare in advance and heat up to serve. I used this recipe, I omitted the chilli and added an extra garlic clove. It was delicious! I will definitely make this again. For the main course I homemade some chicken kievs and served them alongside sweet potato wedges and salad. Again, I prepared this in advance and simply popped into the oven whilst my guests enjoyed their soup. For desert I decide a cheesecake would be perfect as I could make it the day before and serve it up without any hassle on the night.

I started by crushing 150g digestive biscuits in a bowl with the end of a rolling pin. You can also whizz them into crumbs using a food processor if you have one.

I melted 90g butter in a pan on a low heat, and greased and lined the bottom of a 24cm springform cake tin.

I mixed the butter and crushed biscuits together and pressed them into the cake tin. I made sure they were compact and evenly spread.

In a bowl over some heated water I melted 200g dark chocolate.

While this was melting I used my food mixer to mix together 400g cream cheese, 2 eggs and 60g caster sugar. I then added 200ml double cream and mixed again. Finally I added the melted chocolate, 2 tbsp orange liquor and the zest and juice of 1 orange and mixed until smooth.

I poured the mixture into the tin over the biscuit base and baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 45 minutes.

When the cheesecake was baked I let it cool completely, before putting it in the fridge overnight. The next day I made a chocolate buttercream using 60g butter, 30g cocoa powder, 100g icing sugar and 2 tbsp orange liquor. I piped swirls onto the cheesecake and added a slice of Terry’s Chocolate Orange to decorate.

When my friends were ready for desert I just took this out of the fridge and served it straight away! It was so creamy and delicious, with a great orange flavour. Do you have any dinner party cooking tips?

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Baked Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
Ingredients
  • 150g Digestive biscuits
  • 150g Butter
  • 200g Dark chocolate
  • 400g Cream cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 60g Caster sugar
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 4 tbsp Orange liquor
  • 1 Orange
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 1 Terry’s Chocolate Orange
Instructions
Crush the digestive biscuits in a bowl with the end of a rolling pin. You can also whizz them into crumbs using a food processor if you have oneMelt 90g of the butter in a pan on a low heatMix the butter and crushed biscuits together and pressed them into a greased and lined 24cm springform cake tinIn a bowl over some heated water melt the dark chocolateMix together the cream cheese, eggs and caster sugar. Then add the double cream and mix again. Then add the melted dark chocolate, 2 tbsp of the orange liquor and the zest and juice of the orange and mix until smoothPour the mixture into the tin over the biscuit base and bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 45 minutesLet it cool completely, and put in the fridge to chill. To make the chocolate buttercream mix 60g of the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar and 2 tbsp of the orange liquor. Pipe swirls onto the cheesecake and add slices of Terry’s Chocolate Orange to decorate

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.

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