Treat Petite December – Round Up

Treat Petite December – Round Up
It’s been a very busy December for me this year, I’ve not had nearly enough time as usual to bake. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the entries for the ‘Merry Christmas’ themed Treat Petite come flooding in. So much exciting inspiration. Happy Christmas everyone! Look out for January’s challenge over on Cakeyboi in the new year.

Our first entry was from Pauline’s Occasional Baking Adventures with these tasty Cranberry & White Chocolate Cupcakes which she made for a charity bake sale.

Paul’s Food World made a recipe I have been wanting to try myself for ages – Lebkuchen. A traditional German recipe that dates back to the 13th century.

Mini Stollen Loaves were sent over by Tales From The Kitchen Shed, another traditional German recipe adapted into mini portions.

Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker made these Golden Syrup Cupcakes. She liked them so much she made 36!

Caroline Makes… also made Golden Syrup Cupcakes, but her’s were also dairy free and vegan friendly. Plus Frozen themed!

The More Than Occassional Baker’s second entry was this dark and delicious looking Chocolate & Fig Panforte. It looks similar to Rocky Road and is a great no bake recipe.

I was recently involved in Waitrose’s Bake It Forward campaign, and so was Choclette. She made these Chocolate Cinnamon Smacaroons which are very chewy and nutty.

I’m ashamed to admit that I often forget that not everyone celebrates Christmas! Family Friends Food made these Spiced Olive Oil Cupcakes for Chanukah.

How To Cook Good Food sent in these gorgeous looking Roasted Pear & Mincemeat Crumble Tarts, a great twist on the classic!

Another twist on traditional mince pies from Food Glorious Food with Mini Chocolate Mince Tarts made with chocolate pastry.

For my entry I made these Snowflake Biscuits using a gorgeous set of cutters from Lakeland. I decorated them with icing, sprinkles and glitter.

Green Gourmet Giraffe made these cute White Chocolate & Ginger Cookies, which are vegan friendly too!

Family Friends Food also sent over these Festive Chocolate Christmas Trees, which are a super easy Christmas gift!

If you’re trying to avoid overindulging this Christmas, Caroline Makes… tried out this Less Sinful Mince Pie recipe from Slimming World.

As Camilla from Fab Food 4 All suggests, her Christmas Soda Bread would be a great way to use up leftover ingredients from Christmas cakes and puddings.

Garden Tea Cakes & Me made this Christmas Fudge with Cranberry using a Christmas Punch flavoured icing sugar. It sounds delicious!

Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary made these gorgeous looking Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Chocolates. An easy no bake recipe perfect for gifts.

Edible decorations for your Christmas tree are so fun to make and tasty too, The More Then Occassional Baker’s Stained Glass Cookies look awesome!

Two more great ideas for Christmas gifts from Caroline Makes… with Candy Cane Peppermint Bark and Hot Chocolate Dippers. I love the mould used for the bark!

Beckie from This Is Not My Home sent over this Spiced Cranberry Party Fudge. I would be glad to see this on offer at a Christmas party!

My Treat Petite co-host, Stuart from Cakeyboi, made these mouth wateringly good looking Mince Pie Custard Bars. A fantastic festive bake!

The Gluten Free Alchemist made a gingerbread house with her daughter and made these Gluten Free Gingerbread Christmas Tree to go along with it. They are so beautifully decorated.

These super cute Reindeer Cupcakes were sent over by The Dream Baker. They are made with pretzels for antlers.

Caroline Makes… friends and family certainly are lucky to receive so many edible gifts from here, these ones are Candy Cane Chocolate Hearts.

Lancashire Food experimented with chesnut flour to make these Chesnut Maple Snowflake Biscuits. They sound a bit healthier then usual Christmas biscuits with coconut oil instead of butter.

 

How To Cook Good Food’s Stollen Biscuit Bites are such a brilliant way to transfer the flavours of stollen into easy to make and eat biscuits.

Isn’t this Cupcake Christmas Tree impressive?! Fenton Eats made this by sticking lots of cupcakes to a large cone, such a clever and effective idea.

 

This biscuit tower is made from lots of Spiced Christmas Biscuits. Blue Kitchen Bakes iced and piled the biscuits up into a tree that looks beautifully festive!

More delicious Christmas Shortbread Biscuits this time from Tales From The Kitchen Shed. They look gorgeous dusted with icing sugar!

Caroline Makes… tried out a Chocolate Truffle recipe without double cream. They didn’t set quite as well, but tasted good with the Christmas cake liquor she used!

Family Friends Food made these fantastic Orange Chocolate Truffled-Centred Cookies. I would love to get a bag of these for Christmas!

The More Then Occasional Baker finishes up the round up with her Cranberry, Orange, Percan and White Chocolate Loaves. Another tasty Christmas gift!

A late entry from Herbs, Spices & Tradition with her Eat-Sum-More Christmas Cookies which look lovely and are inspired by a recipe from Botswana that has cream cheese in the recipe.

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Brie & Cranberry Tartlets

Brie & Cranberry Tartlets
Christmas party season is upon us and if you are hosting a party, or need to take some food along to one, easy to make treats that are also delicious are top of the baking list. These Brie & Cranberry Tartlets fit the bill perfectly, sweet cranberry sauce and smooth savoury brie go together perfectly in a crispy pastry case. I will be taking these along to my family’s annual Christmas Eve buffet!

I started by making the pastry. I mixed 175g plain flour and 85g butter together and rubbed with my fingers until it resembled breadcrumbs. I added 1 egg and brought it together to form a dough. I also had to add a splash of milk as it was a bit dry. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled in the fridge for 1 hour. You can buy ready made if you need to save time.

I made the cranberry filling by mixing together 250g smooth cranberry sauce, 50g dried cranberries and 1 tbsp port. You don’t have to add port if you don’t want to.

I chopped up the brie into pieces, leaving the rind on. If you dislike the rind you can remove it of course.

I rolled out the pastry until it was quite thin, about 1-2mm. I cut rounds out using an 8cm round cutter. I got 21 tarts from the pastry.

I greased a tartlet/mince pie tray and put the rounds of pastry in, gently tapping them down into the tin.

I put about 1 tsp of the cranberry mixture into the pastry and topped with a square of brie.

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden. When they came out of the oven I sprinkled some finely chopped pecans on them. You could use walnuts or almonds too.

The tartlets are so delicious and incredibly moreish! I ate 3 while writing this post! And I really want to go and get another one…

I am submitting this post to the LV= Very British Cookbook.

 
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Brie & Cranberry Tartlets

Servings 21

Ingredients

  • 175 g Plain flour
  • 85 g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 250 g Smooth cranberry sauce
  • 50 g Dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp Port
  • 250 g Brie
  • 75 g Pecans finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Start by making the pastry. Mix the plain flour and butter together and rub with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk, and bring it together to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
  2. Make the cranberry filling by mixing together the smooth cranberry sauce, dried cranberries and port
  3. Chop up the brie into pieces
  4. Roll out the pastry to a thinness of 1-2mm. Cut rounds out using an 8cm round cutter
  5. Grease a tartlet/mince pie tray and put the rounds of pastry in, gently tapping them down into the tin
  6. Put approx 1 tsp of the cranberry mixture into the pastry and top with a square of brie
  7. Bake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden. When they come out of the oven sprinkle the finely chopped pecans on them
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Snowflake Biscuits & Christmas Jumper Day

Snowflake Biscuits & Christmas Jumper Day
This Friday is Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day. The charity work around the world saving the lives of children and fighting for their rights. A lot of people I know are having Christmas Jumper Day’s at work and donating to the charity. I was contacted by both Save the Children and a company called The Biscuiteers, who make bespoke biscuits about the day and I was inspired to not only get my Christmas jumper on, but also to make these gorgeous snowflake biscuits and spread the word about this fantastic cause!

Here’s me in my Christmas jumper! And the biscuit likeness sent to me by The Biscuiteers, isn’t it fantastic?! Their speciality are beautifully iced biscuits that they send out in gorgeous tins.

I am also submitting this post to Patience Brewster‘s Cookie Exchange. They make Christmas ornaments and gifts.

To make the dough for the Snowflake Biscuits I first creamed together 230g butter and 225g caster sugar. I then added 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract and mixed well.

Finally I added 385g plain flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tbsp baking powder and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

I got the snowflake cutters from Lakeland and they are pretty tricky to use because they are so intricate. I found the best way was to roll some of the dough out onto baking paper, press the cutter in, then gently peel the baking paper away. The dough will stay in the cutter.

Using a lollipop stick I first poked out the holes of the snowflake, then holding the dough filled cutter close to a lined baking tray, I used the lollipop stick to gently poke the dough to get it come out of the cutter. I did get a few lollipop stick indentations, but they disappeared after baking.

I filled my baking tray full of snowflake shape dough using all four different shapes from the cutters.

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 8 – 10 minutes, until they were just going golden at the edges.

To make the icing I mixed 1 egg white with 225g icing sugar in my food mixer until thick. I piped it onto the biscuits using lot of different patterns. Snowflakes are unique after all! I used some sprinkles and glitter as well for decorations.

Although the cutters are tricky to work with, the effect is amazing and they look so stunning and even prettier when decorated!

Here are some more I decorated the next day but didn’t get a chance to photograph in the day light.

I am also entering these into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly challenge, Treat Petite. I’m hosting this month and the theme is Christmas.

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Snowflake Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 230 g Butter
  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract
  • 385 g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Egg white
  • 225 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the dough cream together the butter and caster sugar. Add the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well
  2. Add the plain flour, salt and baking powder and mix to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour
  3. Roll the dough out onto baking paper, press the cutter in, then gently peel the baking paper away. The dough will stay in the cutter
  4. Using a lollipop stick gently poke out the holes of the snowflake, then holding the dough filled cutter close to a lined baking tray, use the lollipop stick to gently poke the dough to get it to come out of the cutter
  5. Bake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 8 - 10 minutes, until they are just going golden at the edges. Leave to cool
  6. To make the icing mix the egg white with the icing sugar in a food mixer until thick. Pipe it onto the biscuits and add sprinkles and glitter as desired
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Chocolate Roulade with Baileys Cream

Chocolate Roulade with Baileys Cream
The Christmas season is here and I am loving it! Mostly because I could finally make this Chocolate Roulade with Baileys Cream… I saw the fabulous Mary Berry make this at the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show back in October and the whole audience was drooling. Although her original recipe doesn’t feature any Baileys, at the show she put a good glug of it into the cream and I thought it sounded delicious. I was recently invited over for dinner at a friend’s house and took this over for dessert, much to everyone’s delight!

I started by melting 175g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over water.

Meanwhile I whisked up 6 egg yolks (keep the whites!) and 175g caster sugar until thick and creamy.

I used my food processor to whisk up the 6 whites from the eggs until stiff.

I whisked the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. Then I mixed in one tablespoon of the egg whites. I folded in the rest of the egg whites gently, and 2 tbsp of sieved cocoa powder.

I poured the mixture into a lined baking tray. If you have a swiss roll tin you can use that, but I just use a regular baking tray.

I baked it on 160C/320F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. I left it to cool in the tin with a tea towel covering it.

When it was completely cool I whipped up 300ml of cream and a good glug of Baileys. I tasted it to make sure the amount of Baileys was enough for me, so put in however much you like. I tipped the sponge out onto a piece of baking paper dusted with icing sugar and scored it about 2cm from one end. I spread the cream over. I didn’t use all of the cream, I saved some for extra!

I gently rolled the sponge up. It will crack, this is meant to happen and also makes a nice effect!

I dusted it with extra icing sugar and served with the leftover Baileys cream. It’s so light and delicious, plus as no flour is used it’s a great dessert for anyone on a gluten free diet. The sponge has a great fudgey texture and the hit of Baileys in the cream adds festive decadence.

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Chocolate Roulade with Baileys Cream

Ingredients

  • 175 g Dark chocolate
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder sieved
  • 300 ml Double cream
  • 3 tbsp Baileys
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over water
  2. Whisk up the yolks of the eggs and the caster sugar until thick and creamy
  3. Use a food mixer to whisk up the whites from the eggs until stiff peaks form
  4. Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. Then mix in one tablespoon of the egg whites. Fold in the rest of the egg whites gently, along with the cocoa powder
  5. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray. Bake on 160C/320F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes then leave to cool in the tin
  6. Whip up the cream and the Baileys. Tip the sponge out onto a piece of baking paper dusted with icing sugar and score it 2cm from one end. Spread the cream over it
  7. Gently roll the sponge up. Dust it with icing sugar to finish
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Treat Petite December

Treat Petite December

Welcome to Treat Petite December!

It was great see all the ‘Thank You‘ entries from last month over on Cakeyboi. This time of year is such a great opportunity to spend time with and thank our loved ones.

This month’s theme is, of course, Christmas! Anything you make for the festive season that is individually portioned is acceptable. No large cakes, just small treats like cupcakes etc.!

Image Source

Here are those all important rules:

1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current
month’s post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest

2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month

3. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs on Google+ (see sidebar links), if you haven’t already.

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer – we will retweet

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. If you like, add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board (request access from Cakeyboi)

Feel free to enter old
posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

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Spiced Apple Crumble

Spiced Apple Crumble
I had a craving for apple crumble last weekend. It must be the drop in temperature, it makes me want warm cosy foods. I’ve already had my first (and second!) mulled wine of the season, and I wanted to add those winter flavours and spices to this crumble to make it extra cosy and perfect for Christmas time. The other great thing about crumble is that it is so easy to make, once assembled it’s just a matter of snuggling under a blanket and waiting for it to bake.

I started by peeling and chopping 3 large cooking apple into small pieces. It was about 600g of apples, but 3 large Bramley apples should do the trick. I added 70g sultanas, 70g light brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, a pinch of nutmeg and the zest of 1 orange.

I mixed it all together and spread it out into a dish. My dish is 31x21cm (12×8 inches).

For the crumble I mixed 190g light brown sugar and 350g plain flour together. I then added 220g butter, cut into cubes and rubbed it with my fingers until it looked like breadcrumbs. This is quite a thick crumble topping, which is how I like it, so if you prefer a thinner layer take a third off the measurements.

I spread the crumble topping over the fruit and baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serve warm with custard for a warming and spicy winter treat!

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Spiced Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • 3 Large cooking apples
  • 70 g Sultanas
  • 260 g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 Orange
  • 305g Plain flour
  • 220 g Butter

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the apples into small pieces. Add the sultanas, 70g of the light brown sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and the zest of the orange
  2. Mix it all together and spread it out into a 31x21cm (12x8 inches) dish
  3. For the crumble mix 190g of the light brown sugar and the plain flour together. Then add the butter, cut into cubes, and rub it with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs
  4. Spread the crumble topping over the fruit and bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until golden and bubbling
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Mince Pie Bakewell Squares

Mince Pie Bakewell Squares
This Christmas, Waitrose are running a campaign called ‘Bake It Forward’. It’s all about baking something for someone who you want to thank, sharing it on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #BakeItForward, then tagging your someone and asking them to continue the good deed by doing the same for someone else they know. Together we can all start a chain of baking joy! And maybe win some Waitrose goodies too. Here’s Heston Blumenthal to tell you a bit more about #BakeItForward…
I joined in the campaign and decided to make these squares after discussing a mutual love of mince pies with a colleague of mine. I made Apricot Bakewell Squares earlier this year and they were delicious. We both agreed that replacing the jam with mincemeat would be a fantastic festive twist! Seen as she loves mince pies so much I am baking these for her as she is supportive and helpful colleague who certainly deserves these tasty treats!
I started by making the pastry. I rubbed 100g butter into 225g plain
flour and 1 tsp salt. I added 2 1/2 tbsp cold water and brought the mixture together to form a
dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can buy a 375g pack of shortcrust pastry.
I rolled the pastry out to fit my lined and greased baking tin and pricked it with a fork. I chilled it again for 20 minutes, then baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes.

To make the sponge I first creamed 200g butter and 200g golden caster sugar together.
I whisked in 4 beaten eggs, 1 tsp brandy and 1/2 tsp almond extract. Finally I folded in 100g ground almonds and 100g self raising flour.

I spooned a jar of mincemeat over the part baked pastry. I always use a good quality mincemeat and one with brandy or cognac in it because I think it tastes nicest, or you can make your own, Waitrose have a good recipe for it.

I gently spooned the sponge over the top and spread it out. I sprinkled over some toasted flaked almonds.

I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until it was a lovely golden brown.

When it was fully cool I mixed 2 heaped tbsp icing sugar with water and piped it over the sponge in a zig zag pattern.

The squares were really delicious and certainly improved by the good quality mincemeat – hello brandy! I was really pleased with them and so were my colleagues, I got a lot of good feedback. Although sadly the colleague these were aimed at was off sick today. Fingers crossed she is better and back in tomorrow as I have saved her one! They are certainly an interesting twist on mince pies and a great way to feel festive.

 
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Mince Pie Bakewell Squares

Ingredients

  • 300 g Butter
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Cold water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 200 g Golden caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Brandy
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract
  • 100 g Self raising flour
  • 100 g Ground almonds
  • 1 jar of Mincemeat
  • A handful of Toasted flaked almonds
  • 2 heaped tbsp Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Start by making the pastry. Rub 100g of the butter into the plain flour and salt. Add the cold water and bring the mixture together to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
  2. Roll the pastry out to fit a lined and greased baking tin and prick it with a fork. Chill it again for 20 minutes, then bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes
  3. To make the sponge cream 200g of the butter and the golden caster sugar together. Whisk in the eggs, brandy and almond extract. Fold in the ground almonds and self raising flour
  4. Spoon a jar of mincemeat over the part baked pastry base
  5. Gently spoon the sponge over the top and spread it out. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds
  6. Bake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until it is a lovely golden brown
  7. When fully cool, mix the icing sugar with some water and pipe it over the sponge in a zig zag pattern
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Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins

Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins
A few weeks ago when attending the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show I watched Cathryn Dresser, a former Bake Off contestant, make these muffins on stage. Now I don’t like courgette, I dislike the taste and texture of it when cooked into a stir fry or pasta dish for example. But strangely I was intrigued by the idea of it in cake. I thought it was a great way for me to eat a vegetable I don’t like by hiding it! I have altered Cat’s original recipe slightly as I wanted to make these more healthy (she tops hers with buttercream!) and more suitable for an ‘on the go’ breakfast or quick snack.

I started by grating one courgette. I used a food processer to make
this easier but you can grate by hand too. Squeeze the water out of the
grated courgette then put it in a mixing bowl. This gave me about 150g
courgette. I also added 115g golden caster sugar, and the zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange.

I then added 60ml vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 2 tbsp greek style yoghurt. I mixed everything together.

In a separate bowl I measured out 25g golden linseeds (also called flaxseeds), a pinch of salt, 100g self raising flour and 50g wholemeal self raising flour.

I added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed together.

I put the batter into muffin cases in a tray and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until golden brown.

I’ve been enjoying these muffins from breakfast and have made a couple more batches since. My boyfriend really loves them too and handing him a couple of these in the morning stops any unhealthy McBreakfasts!

I’m entering into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly baking challenge Treat Petite, he is hosting this month and the theme is ‘Thank you’. Baking is one of the ways I thank my boyfriend for all the wonderful things he does for me and this bake in particular was to help him save money and also be healthier.

 
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Courgette, Linseed & Lemon Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 Courgette
  • 115 g Golden caster sugar
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Orange
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 60 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 25 g Golden linseeds
  • 100 g Self raising flour
  • 50 g Wholemeal self raising flour
  • A pinch of Salt

Instructions

  1. Use a food processer to grate the courgette. Squeeze the water out of it then put it in a mixing bowl. Add the golden caster sugar, and the zest of the lemon and the orange
  2. Then add the vegetable oil, eggs and greek yoghurt. Mix everything together
  3. In a separate bowl measure out the golden linseeds, salt, self raising flour and wholemeal self raising flour
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together
  5. Put the batter into muffin cases in a tray and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until golden brown
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Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake with Exploding Truffles

Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake with Exploding Truffles
I was recently approached by Waitrose to make a chocolate cake from a list of Ultimate Chocolate Recipes that they have compiled. They told me that there are 90,500 searches online every month for the phrase ‘chocolate cake recipes’. We sure like our chocolate cake! Being a cake and chocolate lover there was no way I wasn’t getting involved. Even when I heard about the additional element to the challenge… they were going to send me an extra surprise ingredient that I had to incorporate into the recipe somehow.

And this is the surprise ingredient I got – popping candy! Heston Blumenthal has brought popping candy back into our lives. I remember making his chocolate ganache cake a couple of years ago that has popping candy in the biscuit base. I had to go to a small local newsagents to buy sachets of it. It is also known as ‘pop rocks’ and I’ve seen it a lot more readily available recently in supermarkets. However, popping candy is very difficult to use in baking because the minute it comes into contact with any kind of moisture (i.e. cake batter, buttercream) it pops! So you can’t mix it into batters or buttercreams. I did a lot of internet research on popping candy and then decided on the Waitrose Ultimate Chocolate Recipes I was going to use. I picked two recipes in order to incorporate the popping candy. Firstly I chose the Duchy Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake, and secondly I chose the Dark Chocolate Truffles, which I was going to roll in the popping candy and decorate the cake with.

I started making the truffles by gently heating up 87ml Waitrose extra thick double cream. I used half the original recipe quantities as I only needed 8 truffles to top the cake, but you could double or even treble the recipe for extra truffles! I poured the warm cream into a bowl containing 112g plain chocolate. I left the chocolate to melt for a few minutes and then stirred well until the cream and chocolate were fully incorporated. I refridgerated the mixture overnight.

For the truffle covering I mixed about half the tub of popping candy with 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder. As moisture causes the popping candy to pop, I decided the cocoa powder would be an extra barrier to reduce the level of popping before the truffles were eaten.

I scooped out the mixture and rolled it between my palms, then pressed and rolled it in the popping candy and cocoa powder mixture before placing on a chopping board covered in cling film. I recommend rinsing your hands in cold water between each truffle roll. Keeping your hands clean and cold gives the best results when rolling. I put them in the fridge to firm up again. You will hear some popping!

To make the cake the recipe called for Duchy Organic Golden Ale.

I heated 250ml of the ale in a pan with 250g butter until the butter was completely melted.

In a large bowl I mixed together 250g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 300g golden caster sugar.

In a seperate bowl I beat 2 eggs and added 125ml milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I added the ale and butter mixture to the flour mixture and whisked well, then the egg mixture and mixed again. I poured the batter into two sandwich tins, using a ladle for an even split. I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

Whilst the cake was cooling I made the buttercream by mixing 200g butter and 400g icing sugar. When it came together I mixed in 25ml of the ale. I also melted 50g dark chocolate and mixed in only slightly to created a marble effect, but this was lost when I spread the buttercream on the sponge so I just drizzled some of the chocolate over the top of the cake instead.

After spreading on the buttercream and sandwiching the cakes together I placed eight of the truffles around the edges. They really gave the cake that extra wow factor!

This cake is deep, dark and delicious, with a fantastic exploding surprise! The sponge is really moist and reminded me of the Chocolate Guinness Cake I have made several times now. It went down a storm with my boyfriend and colleagues. I was very happy with it too, both in appearance and taste!

I am entering this cake into Jibber Jabber UK’s November Love Cake challenge, this month’s theme is ‘In With A Bang!’ and this cake certainly fits with it’s exploding popping candy truffles!

NB. I was supplied with the ingredients to make this cake by Waitrose, all opinions are my own.
 
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Golden Ale & Dark Chocolate Cake with Exploding Truffles

Ingredients

  • 187 g Dark chocolate
  • 87 ml Double cream
  • 30 g + 1 heaped tbsp Cocoa powder
  • Popping candy
  • 275 ml Golden ale
  • 450 g Butter
  • 250 g Self raising flour
  • 300 g Golden caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 Eggs
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 400 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the truffles gently heat up the double cream. Pour the warm cream into a bowl and add 112g of the dark chocolate. Leave the chocolate to melt for a few minutes and then stir well until the cream and chocolate are fully incorporated. Refrigerate the mixture overnight or for several hours until solid
  2. Mix the popping candy with the 1 heaped tbsp of cocoa powder
  3. Scoop out the truffle mixture and roll it between your palms to make a ball, then roll it in the popping candy and cocoa powder mixture before placing on a chopping board covered in cling film. Put them in the fridge to firm up again
  4. Heat 250ml of the Duchy golden ale in a pan with 250g of the butter until the butter is completely melted
  5. In a large bowl I mix together the self raising flour, 30g of the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and golden caster sugar
  6. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, milk and vanilla extract
  7. Add the ale and butter mixture to the flour mixture and whisk well, then add the egg mixture and mix again. Pour the batter into two lined sandwich tins, bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes
  8. Make the buttercream by mixing 200g of the butter and the icing sugar. When it comes together, mix in 25ml of the ale and 50g of the melted dark chocolate. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the cake
  9. Spread the buttercream on the cakes, sandwich them together and place eight of the truffles around the edge
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Google Science of Food Event

Google Science of Food Event

I recently went along to a Google City Experts event themed around the science of food. To become a Google City Expert all you have to do is write 50+ high quality reviews on Google. You will then receive special benefits like contests to enter, and a invite to special events like this. The event was held at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester. The perfect venue for a science themed event!

We started with a blue cocktail and some salted caramel ice cream made with liquid nitrogen in an edible chocolate cup. The ice cream is made by pouring the liquid nitrogen into the ice cream ingredients whilst they are churning. It is instant ice cream!

We were served some science themed canapes such as mozarella wrapped in parma ham served in a petri dish, and risotto balls with pumpkin sauce filled pipettes.

We listened to Professor Charles Spence tell us all about the science of food and the psychology behind the way we eat. He has done several experiments into how we perceive food depending on the environment we eat in. For example heavier cultery will make people willing to pay more for their food, and eating from a white plate makes food taste sweeter. The Professor works closely with Heston Blumenthal, who serves a beetroot jelly and an orange jelly in his restaurant. Except the colours are reversed because he uses orange beetroot and blood orange. A similiar experiment is performed with the chocolate pictured above. The yellow chocolate is actually mint in flavour and the green chocolate is strawberry flavoured.

Heston Blumenthal is known for his weird and wonderful experiments with food. He serves a seafood dish in his resturant that comes with headphones so you can listen to the sounds of the sea as you eat. This is meant to make the food taste better. I definitely needed these headphones when eating the french onion soup served in snail shells above – not pleasant! A lot of restaurants are using the technique, such as one in Singapore that projects rain on the wall and has a union jack tablecloth when serving fish and chips.

There were a selection of chillies to try which were labelled with there SHU numbers. SHU is the Scoville Heat Scale. A regular chilli you see in the shops is 2500 SHU. You may have also seen Scot Bonnet Chillis, which are 350,000 SHU. The chilli above is the hottest chilli around, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion! It even has a scary name. It is rated at over 2 million SHU! I didn’t have any myself (I am not crazy) but a surprising amount of people did (I blame the free cocktails). And suffice to say from their reactions it was HOT.

It was a really fun evening and I learnt a lot. I will definitely think twice next time I’m eating out!

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