Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

I reviewed a recipe book recently called Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World and as part of my review I made an Amarula Cake from the book. I really enjoyed it as it contained some of my favourite flavours – chocolate, caramel and whipped cream. I also have a new love for Amarula! It’s similar to Baileys in that it’s a cream liquor, but it’s made with a fruit from South Africa called the marula fruit. I really wanted to make the cake again but I wanted to amp it up and really make it indulgent and special, so this Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake was created!

I started by mixing 120g cocoa powder with 250ml boiling water, then left it to cool. I whisked up 6 eggs, 440g caster sugar and 120ml vegetable oil with an electric hand whisk until it was frothy. I added the cocoa powder mixture and whisked it in.

Then I added 500g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp Amarula and folded it in. I separated the mixture into three 22cm cake tins and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar. I stacked up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some buttercream.

I covered the sponge in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

I took it out and covered it again with the rest of the buttercream and I smoothed it out as best I could.

To decorate the cake I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, then covered the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel. I whipped up 200ml double cream, 3 tbsp Amarula and 2 tbsp icing sugar and piped it around the edges. I added bronze sprinkles and white chocolate stars in the centre, then cut some chocolate squares I got from The Chocolate Trading Co into triangles and stuck them into the cream. Finally a spritz of gold glitter finished it off!

This cake was everything I had dreamed of! Rich chocolate sponge, sticky caramel drizzle and sweet buttercream with Amarula flavour. It would make a fabulous cake for a celebration, or the ultimate way to treat yourself!

I’m linking these cake up with some blogger link ups this month. Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Servings 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 120 g Cocoa powder
  • 250 ml Boiling water
  • 6 Eggs
  • 440 g Caster sugar
  • 120 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 500 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 12 tbsp Amarula
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 900 g + 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 450 g Baking spread
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • 10 Chocolate Duo Panels
  • Gold Edible Glitter

Instructions

  1. Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and leave to cool

  2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric or hand whisk to mix the eggs, caster sugar and vegetable oil until frothy. Then, add the cocoa powder mixture and whisk it in
  3. Gently fold in the self raising flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp of the Amarula
  4. Separate the mixture into three greased and lined 22cm cake tins and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes (check they are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife into the centre, it should come out clean). Leave them on cooling racks to cool completely

  5. To make the buttercream mix together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar until smooth
  6. Stack up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some of the buttercream
  7. Cover the cake in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set
  8. Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream and smooth it out as best you can using a palette knife or scraper
  9. Put the Carnation Caramel into a piping bag and carefully pipe blobs on the edge of the cake so it drips down. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel
  10. Whip up the double cream along with 3 tbsp of the Amarula and the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, pipe it around the edges of the cake
  11. Add sprinkles in the centre of the cake, then cut the chocolate duo panels into triangles and stick them into the cream. Finally spritz with gold edible glitter

 

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Plum & Limoncello Tart: GBBO Week #6

Plum & Limoncello Tart: GBBO Week #6
Before I start with my review of this week’s episode of The Great British Bake Off, you may recognise this tart if you follow my blog as I already posted it back in May. I am having to cheat a bit with my GBBO challenge this week because… I’m going to Hong Kong today!! So I obviously don’t have time to bake anything, and this tart was the closest thing to what the bakers made this week. Hopefully I can still catch up on GBBO when I’m away on iPlayer, and I’ll post reviews on the next couple of episodes when I’m back. Anyway, on to the review…

It was pastry week on the Bake Off and the signature challenge for the bakers was to make a frangipane tart, which involved making shortcrust pastry. The tarts had to be open topped, which meant lots of pretty patterns with fruit on top. Paul warned the bakers not to overwork the pastry, and Mary warned against getting a soggy bottom!

Both Paul and Tamal went for Christmas flavoured tarts. Paul’s had pears poached in orange and cinnamon, and Tamal’s had pears poached in mulled wine. They both got great feedback from the judges! Ian used his guinea fowl eggs to make a pear and raspberry frangipane, however the judges thought it needed glazing and the pastry was not crispy enough. Alvin had a big disaster due to timing issues and his tart was not cooked when the judges tried it.

Mat made a pina colada tart, which I thought sounded so fun! And I loved how he made the pinapple look like the sun on top of the tart. The judges thought it looked good, but they couldn’t taste the rum! Not everyone blind baked their tarts, which I thought was dangerous behaviour. I always blind bake for big tarts like this. It seemed to me like some of the bakers weren’t actually that experienced with pastry as some of them seemed confused about blind baking, and when to trim the pastry.

The technical this week was pretty bizarre! They were asked to make flaounas, which are a Cypriot pastry with a cheese and sultana filling. They have two very weird ingredients in them: mastic, which is hardened reisin from a tree and is used to flavour various foods in Greece and Cyprus. And mahlepi, which is a spice made from ground up cherry stones. The Greeks add it to breads. Strange stuff! Of course Paul did not give the bakers much help at all and even Mary, who hadn’t heard of flaounas either, said he was being totally unfair (but she still grinned evilly with him).

The pastry had yeast in it, so the bakers all got confused and didn’t know whether to knead it or not. The next confusing step was how they should look and they all folded them differently. Everyone was looking around in desperation to see what everyone else was doing, but none of them had a clue! Paul laughed as soon as he approached the gingham altar, most of them were well made, but they just didn’t look like they were meant too. Tamal was 7th, Alvin 6th, Paul 5th, Nadiya 4th, Ian 3rd, Flora 2nd and Mat won!

The showstopper this week was the 80s classic dinner party canape – vol-au-vents! The bakers had to make their own puff pastry from scratch, make two different types of vol-au-vents, and make 24 of each kind. Paul was looking for a good rise, for them to be nice and straight and be equally golden. Mary wanted to see beautiful layers in the pastry and for them to be well filled. Thinking about making any pastry (apart from shortcrust) from scratch makes me feel tired as it’s so time consuming, I really feel for the bakers during challenges like this! Tamal made a pulled pork vol-au-vent that was inspired by a sandwich he’d had that he said was one of the top two sandwiches of his life, his other flavour was spicy chicken and coriander. They were a bit pale and topsy turvy according to Mary, but both of the judges adored his fillings.

 

Ian went a bit fishy with some squid ink, bacon and scallop vol au vents. His wife didn’t like the filling and neither did Paul and Mary. His pastry had risen well and they did really like his mushroom ones. Flora made chocolate puff pastry vol-au-vents filled with ganache, as well as savoury asparagus and parma ham. The judges loved both the appearance and flavours. She is certainly good at presentation and making all of her bakes look very atractive.

 

Mat was definitely the vol-au-vent star with his full english breakfast and smoked trout filled delights. Paul said the lamination, shape and bake were all perfect, the flavours were gorgeous and well thought out. Mary loved the runny egg in the english breakfast vol-au-vent. Paul wasn’t so lucky as the judges said his garlic and chilli prawn with risotto vol-au-vents were underbaked and his sweet vol-au-vents with creme pat, raspberry coulis and cream looked ‘hideous’. I thought they looked really pretty!

Nadiya made bengali korma and cod and clementine vol-au-vents. She had problems with her first batch of pastry so she made another batch, which put her behind on time. She ended up presenting them ‘deconstructed’ to the judges. They absolutely loved her fillings though! Alvin made chicken ala king and smoked salmon encroute. Unfortunately his pastry was raw, but they liked his fillings. He was so sweet apologising to the judges for his mistake.

 

It makes me very sad to say that Alvin left this week. I absolutely love him, he is such a sweetheart and seems like the most lovely man. As much as I love him, I do think it was the right decision as he did not have a great week. Mat won star baker which was really nice and he definitely deserved it for those vol-au-vents! Next week looks like another change from the normal theme with old fashioned techniques, recipes from the past and Victorian bakes.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I have no time to bake anything from this week’s episode as I’m going on holiday! So I’m re-posting this tart from back in May, but it’s pretty yummy so I hope you don’t mind. I love baking with plums as it makes them extra juicy and delicious. I guarantee this tart will really delight your friends and family if it’s presented at the end of a meal.

I started by making some pastry. I have a recipe for shortcrust pastry that I stick to religiously as it always works. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter. I rubbed the butter into the flour, I then added in two eggs and mixed until a dough formed. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the pastry had been chilled I rolled it out onto some cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift and line the tin with.

I lined a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry and peeled off the cling film.

I lined the pastry with baking paper, then filled it with baking beans and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins.

I removed the baking beans and baking paper and put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the pastry was fully cooked on the bottom.

I cut up 8 plums into thin wedges (you will need 6 – 8 plums depending on size) and arranged them in the pastry base. They do shift during baking and when the custard is poured in, but I liked the effect of having
them arranged.

I made the custard while the pastry was baking. I whisked together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 4 tbsp double cream, 100g ground almonds, 100g melted butter, 5 eggs and 200g golden caster sugar. I whisked it
well, then gently stirred in 8 tbsp limoncello.

I placed the pastry with the plums in onto the oven shelf, then poured the custard in. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard was set, but still had a slight wobble.

Once it was cooled fully, I dusted it with icing sugar. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and I love the effect of the plums on top and their vibrant colour.

The juicy plums were a perfect accompaniment to the nutty sweet custard. This went down a storm when I took it into work, it was a rather large tart and disappeared very quickly! It would be a perfect tart on a sunny
day, or you could warm it up with some custard.

I’m entering this into The Pastry Challenge, hosted by Jen’s Food and United Cakedom. This month’s theme is anything goes.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

Recipe from BBC Good Food.

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Plum & Limoncello Tart

Ingredients

  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter
  • 7 Eggs
  • 6-8 Plums
  • 2 Lemons
  • 4 tbsp Double cream
  • 100 g Ground almonds
  • 100 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Golden caster sugar
  • 8 tbsp Limoncello
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the plain flour. Add 2 of the eggs and mix until a dough forms. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
  2. Roll the pastry out onto some cling film, then line a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with it
  3. Line the pastry with baking paper, then add baking beans and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins
  4. Remove the baking beans and baking paper, put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until fully cooked on the bottom
  5. Cut the plums into thin wedges and arrange them in the pastry base
  6. Make the custard by whisking together the zest and juice of the lemons, the double cream, the ground almonds, the melted butter, 5 of the eggs and the golden caster sugar. Whisk it well, then gently stir in the limoncello
  7. Place the pastry with the arranged plums in onto the oven shelf, then pour the custard in. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard is set, but still has a slight wobble
  8. Once it is cooled fully, dust it with icing sugar
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Mini Black Forest Cakes: GBBO Season Six Begins!

Mini Black Forest Cakes: GBBO Season Six Begins!
My favourite baking show was back on TV last week and I was excited as always to see who the new bakers were and what challenges they would be faced with. I actually applied for GBBO this year, but when they called me I turned into a bit of a bumbling idiot and rushed my answers. I think the excitement and nerves got to me! If I decide to apply again next year, I will definitely be remembering to calm down and take my time.

There is a real variety amongst the bakers this year in terms of backgrounds and experience, we’ve got a prison officer that likes to make sugarcraft flowers, an anaesthetist that likes to inject his cakes, and a body building Lithuanian woman. I think this year is going to be a lot of fun!

For the first challenge the bakers were asked to make a Madeira Cake. A very simple cake, of which Mary is a huge fan. She wanted to see a dome on the cake with a crack in the middle, and didn’t want the bakers to stray too far from the classic flavours as it can’t be beaten in her eyes.

Madeira Cake is traditionally flavoured with lemon and a lot of the bakers opted for citrus fruits for flavouring, as well as making candied peel to decorate. Ugne paired lemon with thyme, Nadia paired orange with cardamom, and Ian paired lime with rum and ginger – all with varying results! Paul and Mary were not pulling any punches with their judging in the first round.

For the technical bake the bakers were asked to make Mary’s classic Walnut Cake. For me this was horrifying as I can’t stand walnuts! It was also pretty complicated for a first time technical. They had to make sure the walnut pieces were evenly distributed throughout the sponge, that the frosting was spread in an even layer all over the cake, and they had to caramelise sugar to dip walnuts in for the decoration. Caramelising sugar can be tricky, my first time doing it was a disaster!

Alvin and Stu both had a lot of trouble making caramel, Nadia didn’t ice her whole cake, and several of the bakers had problems with grainy frosting. Stu and Nadia came bottom, Marie came third, Alvin second and Ugne first.

The final showstopper challenge was a Black Forest Gateau. Mary wanted to see something special which included chocolate work. Paul wanted a light sponge, chocolate in particular.

Stu got a bit controversial by using beetroot in his sponge. Ian decided to show off his macaron skills. Tamal made a tempered chocolate collar for his cake and several of the bakers made chocolate tree decorations. I was really impressed by everyone’s skills and creativity. If this is the standard already, I’m excited to see what else they come up with as the series progresses.

Dorret had a disaster with her chocolate mousse as it did not set, she was very upset but Sue did an excellent job of comforting her. I bet the camera crew had a great time devouring all 12 cakes once filming finished! Marie won star baker this week. I’ve heard some ‘controversy’ recently about her having professional training, however upon further research I found out she did one pastry course back in 1984… So I think we can let her off with that!

The first baker to leave us was Stu. I felt really bad for him as he is clearly a very talented baker who just had a bit of bad luck. He was perhaps a bit too alternative for Mary and Paul! Check out his blog The Alternative Kitchen. Next week is biscuit week!

I decided to make Mini Black Forest Cakes this week for my bake along, however I miniaturised them! I’ve never made anything Black Forest before and I really don’t know why not. I mean, chocolate, alcohol, cream and cherries – bliss!

I headed to Aldi to get my ingredients for this bake as they contacted me recently to let me know about their selection of baking ingredients. I used to shop there a lot in the past, but I don’t get the chance much these days. Which is something I need to remedy as their baking ingredients are great quality and such a bargain! I particularly like the cupcake cases.

I started by whisking together 5 eggs and 140g caster sugar with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer.

I whisked for 5 minutes until the mixture grew in size and was pale and thick.

I gently folded in 100g self raising flour and 25g cocoa powder that I sieved first with a metal spoon. Finally I folded in 25g melted butter.

I poured the mixture into a lined tray, any baking tray with a lip will work, but a Swiss Roll tray would be perfect.

I baked the sponge on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes. I turned it out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely.

Once fully cool I cut out discs using a 7cm diameter cutter. I got enough for 7 mini cakes.

I brushed kirsch over the cake half that would be the bottom layer, which is cherry liquor, and I found this bottle in Tesco. I used about 1 tsp per cake.

I whipped up a 200ml pot of double cream and piped it onto the bottom half of the cakes. I cut out an extra half for a baker’s snack!!

I sliced some cherries in half and put three halves onto each cream topped cake.

I brushed the underside of the top layer of cake with a bit more kirsch (why not?!) then placed it on top. I piped on more cream, sprinkled over some grated dark chocolate and placed a cherry in the middle.

I was really impressed with the final look of the cakes! I took them along to a family meal and everyone loved them and commented on how professional they looked. I devoured mine and could’ve eaten another easily! The sponge is so light and the cherries, which were from Aldi, were gorgeously juicy. I had a few problems with some of the cakes being a bit wonky, I think extra cream on top of the cherries in the middle would’ve helped the sponge stick to it more. I’ll also add more kirsch next time as I think it could’ve been stronger, but that depends on personal taste.

I am entering these cakes into myself and Cakeyboi’s challenge Treat Petite. This month the theme is The Great British Bake Off.

I am also entering this into this month’s We Should Cocoa, hosted by Tin & Thyme and this month’s theme is Anything Goes.

NB. Aldi supplied me with the ingredients for this post, but all opinions are my own. Recipe from BBC Good Food

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Mini Black Forest Cakes

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 5 Eggs
  • 140 g Caster sugar
  • 100 g Self raising flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • 25 g Butter melted
  • 50 ml Kirsch
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • 21 Fresh cherries
  • 6 blocks of Dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the eggs and caster sugar with an electric hand mixer, whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture grows in size and is pale and thick
  2. Sieve the self raising flour and cocoa powder then gently fold it in. Then fold in the melted butter
  3. Pour the mixture into a baking tray with a lip or a Swiss Roll tray
  4. Bake the sponge on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes. Turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely
  5. Once fully cool, cut out discs using a 7cm diameter cutter. Brush the kirsch over the cakes
  6. Whip up the double cream and pipe it onto the bottom half of the cakes
  7. Slice the cherries in half and put three halves onto each cream topped cake
  8. Put the other pieces of cake on top. Pipe on more cream, sprinkle over some grated dark chocolate and place a cherry in the middle
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Pimms Cupcakes

Pimms Cupcakes
I joined my local WI (Women’s Institute) at the beginning of the year as I wanted to meet some new people in my local area. I’ve been attending the meetings every month and I’ve been really enjoying it. So far I’ve listened to the author Rosie Garland read passages from her book out in a entrancing theatrical style, I’ve heard a former sex worker who turned her life around and is now studying for a degree tell her personal journey, and I’ve been inspired by women in business giving advice from their life experiences. It’s been an interesting few months! I decided to bake for this month’s meeting and as the theme was sport and Wimbledon is happening at the moment, Pimms Cupcakes immediately popped in my head!

I decided to use some dried fruit inside the batter so I cut up 60g dried apple and 90g dried strawberry.

I mixed together 245g butter and 245g caster sugar. I added 4 eggs, and the zest of 1 orange, 1 lime and 1 lemon.

Finally I added 245g self raising flour, the chopped dried fruit and 6 mint leaves chopped very finely.

I baked the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. The batter made 18 cupcakes.

To decorate I made icing using 160g butter, 1 and a half tbsp Pimms and 400g icing sugar. I piped it on using a piping bag and nozzle.

I used paper straws, strawberries cut in half and mint leaves to finish the decoration. I thought they looked really cute!

The cupcakes dissappeared fast at the WI meeting and at the end of the meeting I won a bottle of faux Pimms for my efforts! I was embarrassed, but pleased of course!

I’m entering these cupcakes into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly challenge, Treat Petite. This month’s theme is ‘Summertime Special’.

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Pimms Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 60 g Dried apple
  • 90 g Dried strawberry
  • 405 g Butter
  • 245 g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 245 g Self raising flour
  • 25 Mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pimms
  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • 8-10 Fresh strawberries

Instructions

  1. Cut up the dried apple and the dried strawberry
  2. Mix together 245g of the butter and the caster sugar. Add the eggs, and the zest of the orange, lime and lemon
  3. Fold in the self raising flour, the chopped dried fruit and 6 of the mint leaves chopped very finely
  4. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes
  5. For the buttercream mix 160g of the butter, the Pimms and the icing sugar together. Pipe it on using a piping bag and nozzle
  6. Decorate with paper straws, strawberries cut in half and mint leaves
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Plum & Limoncello Tart

Plum & Limoncello Tart
I actually made this tart a couple of weeks ago, but I just got back from a holiday and have finally got round to sharing it with you! Plums are in season right now and I find that baking them makes them even more juicy and delicious. This is a fairly simple tart recipe that will really delight your friends and family if it’s presented at the end of a meal.

I started by making some pastry. I have a recipe for shortcrust pastry that I stick to religiously as it always works. I started with 350g plain flour and 170g butter. I rubbed the butter into the flour, I then added in two eggs and mixed until a dough formed. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

After the pastry had been chilled I rolled it out onto some cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift and line the tin with.

I lined a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with the pastry and peeled off the cling film.

I lined the pastry with baking paper, then filled it with baking beans and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins.

I removed the baking beans and baking paper and put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the pastry was fully cooked on the bottom.

I cut up 8 plums into thin wedges (you will need 6 – 8 plums depending on size) and arranged them in the pastry base. They do shift during baking and when the custard is poured in, but I liked the effect of having them arranged.

I made the custard while the pastry was baking. I whisked together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 4 tbsp double cream, 100g ground almonds, 100g melted butter, 5 eggs and 200g golden caster sugar. I whisked it well, then gently stirred in 8 tbsp limoncello.

I placed the pastry with the plums in onto the oven shelf, then poured the custard in. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard was set, but still had a slight wobble.

Once it was cooled fully, I dusted it with icing sugar. I was really pleased with how it turned out, and I love the effect of the plums on top and their vibrant colour.

The juicy plums were a perfect accompaniment to the nutty sweet custard. This went down a storm when I took it into work, it was a rather large tart and disappeared very quickly! It would be a perfect tart on a sunny day, or you could warm it up with some custard.

As plums are in season at the moment, I am entering this into May’s Simple & In Season. Created by Ren Behan and this month hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

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Plum & Limoncello Tart

Ingredients

  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 170 g Butter
  • 7 Eggs
  • 6-8 Plums
  • 2 Lemons
  • 4 tbsp Double cream
  • 100 g Ground almonds
  • 100 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Golden caster sugar
  • 8 tbsp Limoncello
  • Icing sugar to dust

Instructions

  1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the plain flour. Add 2 of the eggs and mix until a dough forms. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour
  2. Roll the pastry out onto some cling film, then line a 28cm diameter loose bottomed tart tin with it
  3. Line the pastry with baking paper, then add baking beans and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins
  4. Remove the baking beans and baking paper, put the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes until fully cooked on the bottom
  5. Cut the plums into thin wedges and arrange them in the pastry base
  6. Make the custard by whisking together the zest and juice of the lemons, the double cream, the ground almonds, the melted butter, 5 of the eggs and the golden caster sugar. Whisk it well, then gently stir in the limoncello
  7. Place the pastry with the arranged plums in onto the oven shelf, then pour the custard in. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes until the custard is set, but still has a slight wobble
  8. Once it is cooled fully, dust it with icing sugar
Recipe from BBC Good Food.
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Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
It may only be March, but these Limoncello Cheesecake Squares bring a touch of summer to the season! I love the bright yellow of lemon, it’s so cheery. And it goes perfectly with creamy soft cheese. I had some leftover Limoncello after making a Raspberry & Limoncello Tart last month, so I wanted to incorporate it into my baking again. This recipe is really easy to follow and quick to make, which is definitely a bonus. The only struggle is waiting for it to cool before you tuck in!

I used a food processor to crush 225g digestive biscuits into crumbs. You could also put them in a bag and bash with a rolling pin. I mixed in the zest of half a lemon (the other half of the lemon zest will be used later).

I melted 85g butter, mixed it into the biscuits, and pressed the mixture into a greased and lined baking tray.

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes, then left it to cool completely.

I whisked up 340g ricotta cheese and 225g cream cheese. I then whisked in 225g caster sugar.

I added 115ml limoncello, 2 tsp vanilla extract, the zest of 1 1/2 lemons, and 4 eggs (added one at a time) and mixed in well.

I poured the cheesecake into the baking tray over the cooked crust.

I baked it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes. It still had a slight ‘wobble’ to it.

Once it was fully cool I removed from the tin and cut into squares, I decorated them with a slice of lemon. Store them in the fridge to keep them fresh. They went down really well with my colleagues and I got some great comments on the flavour!

I am entering these into The More Than Occassional Baker’s monthly challenge, Alpha Bakes (hosted on alternate months by Caroline Makes). This month the letter is ‘S’, and these are ‘Squares’ so hopefully fit the bill!

I am also entering these into Belleau Kitchen’s brand new challenge – Simply Eggcellent! I made these squares using 4 free range eggs.

Recipe slightly adapted from Liv Life.

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Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients

  • 225 g Digestive biscuits
  • 2 Lemons
  • 85 g Butter
  • 340 g Ricotta cheese
  • 225 g Cream cheese
  • 225 g Caster sugar
  • 115 ml Limoncello
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Eggs

Instructions

  1. Use a food processor to crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Then mix in the zest of half of one of the lemons
  2. Melt the butter, mix it into the biscuit crumbs, and press the mixture into a greased and lined baking tray
  3. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes, then leave it to cool completely
  4. Whisk the ricotta cheese, cream cheese and caster sugar together
  5. Add the limoncello, vanilla extract, the zest of 1 1/2 of the lemons, and the eggs (add one egg at a time) and mix in well
  6. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking tray over the cooked crust. Bake it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 30 minutes
  7. Once fully cool, remove from the tin and cut into squares, decorate with half a slice of lemon. Store them in the fridge to keep them fresh
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Raspberry & Limoncello Tart

Raspberry & Limoncello Tart
I am getting a lot of use of my new Tarte Maison tin! I decided to use it again after it’s first Spinach & Feta Tart outing to make this Valentine’s themed dessert. Valentine’s Day can be quite cheesey I admit, but I personally love it! Celebrating love and being romantic is lovely and I think ‘why not?!’ You can enjoy the day whether single or loved up in my opinion, we all have loved ones we can shower with affection. Over the years my friends have been kind enough to send me cards, flowers and baked goods. And I’ve done the same back. Now I have a wonderful boyfriend to focus my affection on, but I still like to surprise my friends with a fun card or Valentine’s treat. This tart would be great to share between friends or enjoy as dessert with a romantic meal.

I started by making the filling. In a bowl I mixed together 450g fresh raspberries, 200g sugar, 60g cornflour, 60ml limoncello and the zest of one lemon. I let it sit to infuse together while I made the pastry.

To make the pastry I used the same method and amounts from my Pumpkin Pie recipe. This is my favourite shortcrust pastry recipe, it does make a little too much but don’t worry I have a great idea for the leftovers later on.

I greased my tin and lined it with the pastry, cutting off any excess
and pricking the bottom with a fork. I then put baking paper in the
pastry and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark
4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges.

I took the paper and baking beans out and baked it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looked fully cooked.

I measured out the lid and cut heart shapes in it. Of course you can do the lid any way you like, lattice works well too.

I filled the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, which was a bit fiddly as the filling is very wet, but I got it on and sealed the edges with beaten egg, then brushed beaten egg all over the pastry lid.

I baked the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until it was golden brown. The lid did split from the sides at either end, which was partly my fault as I think I could’ve sealed it better, but I was still really pleased with the heart effect!

When cut, the filling was much more solid, almost like a jelly or jam. The filling was fruity, sweet and delicious. It’s great with custard and I think would also work well with ice cream! You could do mini versions too if you didn’t want to make a large tart.

I did have a little leftover pastry and filling, so I made these cute Heart Shaped Hand Pies. All you need to do is roll the pastry out and cut out heart shapes. Lay them on a lined baking tray, put a spoonful of filling in the middle and cover with another piece of pastry. Seal the edges with a fork and cut a slit or cross in the middle. Bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20 minutes.

I am entering this recipe into this month’s Alphabakes hosted by Caroline Makes… and The More Than Occassional Baker, where the letter is ‘V’, and I made this tart for Valentine’s Day so I think it’s fitting!

I’m also entering into Cake Of The Week’s challenge Baking With Spirit as this recipe contains Limoncello, an Italian liquor. The theme this month is ‘Fun’ which I think this tart is!

 
 
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Raspberry & Limoncello Tart

Ingredients

  • 450 g Fresh raspberries
  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 60 g Cornflour
  • 60 ml Limoncello
  • 1 Lemon
  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 2 Egg
  • 1 Beaten egg

Instructions

  1. Start by making the filling. In a bowl mix together the fresh raspberries, caster sugar, cornflour, limoncello and the zest of the lemon. Let it sit to infuse together while you make the pastry
  2. To make the pastry rub together the plain flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the eggs until a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Grease the tin and line it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. Put baking paper in the pastry and pour in some baking beans. Bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes
  4. Take the paper and baking beans out and bake it again for 5-10 minutes
  5. Measure out the lid and cut heart shapes in it
  6. Fill the pastry base with filling. Then put the pastry lid on top, and seal the edges with the beaten egg, then brush the beaten egg all over the pastry lid
  7. Bake the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
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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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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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Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce
The night’s are drawing in and getter darker, which makes me feel excited for Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas, but damn does it make it difficult to get any natural light for my cake photos! Oh well, this cake is all about darkness anyway. Made with treacle, dark brown sugar and even some Guinness for good measure. It was described as ‘Bonfire Night in a cake’ by my lovely colleagues which is why I titled it appropriately. It really is the perfect cake for this time of year. Here’s how I made it…

I started with the salted caramel sauce as it needs time to cool and thicken up. In a pan I melted 57g Stork. Once melted I added 165g dark brown sugar and 175ml double cream. I kept stirring and let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. I then added 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 salt. I poured it into a bowl and cooled it in the fridge. It took a good few hours to thicken up.

I baked the cake in a ring bundt tin, you can easily pick one up if you don’t have one. I greased it with butter and dusted with flour to ensure the cake didn’t stick.

In a bowl I whisked together 250ml Guinness (you could also use another dark stout), 340g black treacle, 165g dark brown sugar, 170ml vegetable oil and 3 large beaten eggs.

I sifted together 255g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp salt. I added this to the wet ingredients and mixed in.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until it was a deep rich brown and a skewer came out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes then tip it out of the tin. If it doesn’t come out straight away, run a knife along the edges and around the middle ring. Leave to cool before smearing on the sauce and garnishing with some chopped crystallised ginger.

I ended up making this cake twice, one for the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale at work, and again for my colleagues as I got caught up in organising the bake sale and forget to take any photos the first time round! It was enjoyed both times and I even came second in the Bake Off competition we ran in conjuction with the bake sale. I was pretty pleased! It’s a really moist cake, full of warming smokey flavours and the rich caramel sauce is to die for!

Recipe slightly adapted from Chow.

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Gingerbread Bonfire Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 57 g Butter
  • 330 g Dark brown sugar
  • 175 ml Double cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 340 g Black treacle
  • 175 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 225 g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Crystallised ginger chopped

Instructions

  1. To make the salted caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, then add 165g of the dark brown sugar and the double cream. Keep stirring and let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Pour it into a bowl and cool it in the fridge for a few hours to thicken up
  2. Grease the cake tin with butter and dust with flour
  3. In a bowl whisk together the Guinness, black treacle, 165g of the dark brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix in
  5. Pour into the cake tin and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes until it is a deep rich brown colour and a skewer comes out clean
  6. Let it cool for 5 minutes then tip it out of the tin. If it doesn't come out straight away, run a knife along the edges and around the middle ring. Leave to cool before smearing on the salted caramel sauce and garnishing with the chopped crystallised ginger
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