Having joined forces with Dashing Dom this month, I was excited to see what random chocolate recipes everyone selected. Combining my two favourite challenges meant the result was more than the sum of its parts or, as CT put it, had hybrid vigour. Two for the price of one; you can take a look at this round-up and then go over to Belleau Kitchen to see how differently it’s done there. Variety is the spice of life after all. Thank you all 37 for taking part, it’s been fun.
Here we go:
And the very first to get randomly cooking was Dom himself over at Belleau Kitchen with this rather good looking chocolate courgette cake taken from the Riverford Farm Cook Book. Dom admitted he was a tiny bit disappointed with this bake as it wasn’t sweet enough. I don’t like overly sweet cakes, so I think this would have suited me fine. He says though, that eaten hot with custard, this would make a great pudding.
After first getting a book without a single chocolate recipe in it, Galina of Chez Maxima got lucky on her second attempt. She dipped into the glorious Green & Black Ultimate Chocolate Recipes and pulled out chic chip madeleines which proved to be very popular with the little ones. I have the book, I haven’t made the recipe – yet!
Gerbeaud slice is a new one on me, but it sounds absolutely heavenly. It was named after the cafe that created them in Budapest apparently and is a layered yeasted dough filled with apricot jam and nuts, then topped off with chocolate. Cheryl of Madhouse Family Reviews was lucky enough to pick this from the Hairy Bikers’ big Book of Baking.
Of the two chocolate book’s in Ren Behan‘s collection, she selected Rococo Mastering the Art of Chocolate. Poignantly, vegan chocolate cake that was selected had been dedicated to Mott Green, the found of The Grenada Chocolate Company who died so unexpectedly last year . Made with prunes and plenty of chocolate, it is a fitting tribute.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Debby of Cooking up a Storm in a Teacup picked a recipe for Nigel Slater’s chocolate truffles from his book Real Food. These, her first venture into chocolate making, were a complete success – chocolate truffles at their simplest and their best.
It seems that many people’s first whoopee pie experience comes with making their own. This was true for me and also for Corina of Searching for Spice when she got a recipe for Made-In-France-Whoopies from Le Cookie. French whoops? Really? Goodness, these chocolate caramel whoopee pies sound good though with their caramel mascarpone filling.
This chocolate and beetroot cake is another random pick that turned out to be a perfect Valentine’s recipe. Caroline from Caroline Makes selected this from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook and baked it in a lovely heart shaped bundt mould and decorated it with pink icing – perfect for Valentine’s Day and healthy too 😉
The next pick was made for a tree hugger’s pot luck dinner. I love the sound of this and would have loved to go along to try out these adorable chocolate rugelach. Susan of The Spice Garden had the luck to get this recipe from Nigella’s book Feast, a book I’ve heard a lot about, but haven’t yet seen.
Manjiri of Slice of Me also picked Feast. She decided to modify her random recipe, Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, to make it into a Coconut Cake with Coconut Flavoured Icing for a Valentine’s treat as well as a birthday and wedding anniversary cake.
Another Valentine cake was picked by Grace of Life Can Be Simple. Taken from Carol Walter’s Great Cakes, this deceptive looking simple sour cream chocolate loaf cake has a not so simple surprise inside. BTW Grace, I was unable to leave a comment on your blog as you have Google+ turned on.
And the Valentine theme rolls on with more chocolate truffles. These were also a first for Vikki over at The Kitchen Adventure. Her recipe came from Sweets & Chocolates, one of the few books she could actually get at.
Kate over at Veggie Desserts made red velvet beet chocolate mousse, using the beetroot as her red velvet colouring – so much preferable to artificial colour.
A charming story involving florentines comes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen. These came after a first recipe was selected, baked and deemed not to pass muster. With true dedication Elizabeth selected another recipe from the same book, Green & Black’s Chocolate Unwrapped and found these florentines to be much more successful, if rather time consuming to make.
Some more stunning dipped chocolate biscuits were the result of Rebecca’s selection over at Bake n Quilt. I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers is only just out of season and perfect for the month of chocolate. Her chocolate dipped pistachio lace cookies also proved to be a bit fiddly, but worth the effort.
Over at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, we have a very swish looking Chocolate Truffle Tart. Chosen by Camilla’s boys from Chocolate: Cooking with the World’s Best Ingredient by Christine McFadden and Christine France, they were more than happy to help her eat it too – this despite forgetting to put the cocoa powder in the tart case – oops!
I got very lucky and picked chocolate brownies from Chantal Coady’s Real Chocolate. Brownies have to be one of the easiest and tastes chocolate bakes ever and these were no exception. In fact they were some of the best brownies I’ve made.
I am so enjoying all this chocolate decadence. This deep dark chocolate cake over at The Law Student’s Cookbook looks to continue the theme, but looks can be deceptive. This cake replaces the butter with cashew nuts and beetroot are used too. I’m not sure the scoop of chocolate ice-cream won’t have undone the good work though! Taken from Cook Yourself Thin.
Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than … has found a full proof recipe for dark chocolate muffins. Her only concern was that there maybe wasn’t quite enough chocolate, but with 275g of the stuff in only six muffins, it sounds fairly well stuffed to me. Her pick came from Roger Pizey’s World’s Best Cakes.
Much as I love chocolate, it’s nice to see a bit of fruit. Chris from Cooking Around the World picked Peach Shortcake from Jamie’s America. He didn’t have any peaches, which is not really surprising at this time of year, so substituted apples instead to make apple shortcake with chocolate chip cream. Some mascarpone in need of using up found it’s way into the chocolate chip cream which sounds like a wonderful dessert in it’s own right.
Karen of Lavender and Lovage picked a bake that is very close to her heart – Yorkshire puds. Only these mixed berry and chocolate popovers, taken from the Reader’s Digest Baking Bible, come in a sweeter American form. I’m rather taken with the perles de prune and the forks as well as the popovers themselves. Do take care when checking out her post though, you will find so many stunning photographs to gaze longingly at, you might never leave.
I never imagined Pooh was going to make an appearance in this round-up, but fabulously he does with these chocolate rock cakes over at Dragons and Fairy Dust. I foolishly thought I was the first to add chocolate to rock cakes, but I should have known better. These “provisions” were randomly selected from The Pooh Cook Book by Katie Stewart.
This chocolate tea bread from Antonia of A Little Bit Greedy, sounds as though it should work, but sadly didn’t. It was taken, rather reluctantly, from Chocolate by Jacqueline Bellefontaine. However, the flavours sounded good and I suspect with a little adaptation, this would be a delicious loaf.
True dedication to this month’s challenge was shown by Nat of HungryHinny who picked chocolate pithiviers from Green & Black’s Ultimate Chocolate Recipes. This not only involved making her own puff pastry but also creme patissiere. Luckily, all the hard work paid off as you can see from the gorgeous photo – now if only I’d got to try one …
I’m desperately hoping that Hannah of Corner Cottage Bakery will not be put off joining in again as her magic chocolate mud pudding proved to be anything but magical and was in fact a total disaster. The recipe’s fault not hers she assures us. Taken from Chocolate Ecstasy by Christine France, I suspect she might not be using it again.
Alexandra from The Lass with the Apron, was at first disappointed with her random recipe as she thought it a bit boring. Luckily, she soon saw the error of her ways and ended up really enjoying both the process of making and of eating this maple-chocolate roulade taken from American Cooking: New England, part of Time-Life’s Food of the World series.
Ooh chocolate fig cakes. This is a recipe I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s from William Curley’s Couture Chocolate and I have the book. Jill over at Lapin d’Or and More has given a very favourable review and being the chocolate master she is, I’m inclined to take her word for it. After all figs soaked in red wine has got to be good.
That Nutty Tart ended up with a recipe that assumed when it comes to making caramel, you pretty much know what you’re doing, which isn’t a good start when you don’t. Add to this the lack of chocolate in the house when you are specifically making a chocolate recipe, things didn’t quite go according to plan. However, all came right in the end and these chocolate pralines from Creole, Cajun and Mexican Recipes by Mirjaliisa Nuuttila and Elinor Schildt were by all accounts like delicate cloudy fudge that were far too easy to eat.
Undiscovered in Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries Craig from The Usual Saucepans was both shocked and delighted to have it selected as his random recipe. Shocked because he thought he knew this book inside out and delighted to discover such an excellent recipe as chocolate melting pots complete with nutella and amaretto – mmm.
Lime and chocolate is a favourite combination of mine. Combine that with salted chocolate and I’m sure I’d be in foodie heaven. Gary from Exploits of a Food Nut was lucky enough to pick salted chocolate lime mousse from River Cottage Fruit Every Day. Not having made mousse before, he was rather pleased to be made to do so.
My eyes opened wide when I read chocolate-filled chocolate cookies, the recipe picked by Stacy of Food Lust People Love. As you know I don’t believe there is such a thing as too much chocolate. The results, not surprisingly, were pronounced to be delicious. The pick came from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef. Amazingly, I don’t have a single JO book.
Taken from a NZ vintage 70s Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, this recipe for chocolate cornflake roughs, is one I suspect we can all relate to. This was Lucy’s lucky dip over at The KitchenMaid. She suggests NOT sharing them with the children and I think I’m with her on that 😉
And here is a recipe very much in the style of my own recent baking, although this one is without yeast – chocolate stout bread. Jenny over at The Lazy Vegan Baker picked this from one of her favourite vegan baking books. Luckily for her stress levels, it was a simple mix and bake affair.
Beetroot must be an incredibly popular ingredient, for here is yet another chocolate beetroot cake. Admittedly, this is more of a random recipe than a randomly picked one, but I think we’ll let Mr Pork Belly off as he has long wanted to try making a dairy chocolate beetroot cake. You can read all about it over at Rosemary and Pork Belly.
Kate over at Gluten Free Alchemist selected a recipe she was luckily able to adapt easily to a gluten free one. The Chocolate Box from Marks & Spencer gave her chocolate-peanut butter oath slices. Strangely I made something similar myself recently and can attest that it’s truly delicious.
Is it a cake or is it a Yorkshire pudding? Having just moved into a new house Sally of Recipe Junkie had rather a lot on. Amazingly, she dipped into this challenge and ended up not having quite enough time to bake the cake she’d selected from her Great Aunt’s notebook. The resulting slightly stodgy cake, she has renamed Chocolate Yorkshire Pudding.
And here is yet another chocolate stuffed recipe – my cup floweth over. Amanda from Dancing Veggies selected these chocolate stuffed muffins from 1000 vegetarian recipes. Having made them, she thought they might work even better stuffed with Nutella or brownie batter or any number of other things. Inspiring ideas all.
Chocolate scones I have made many a time, but never chocolate chip scones with marmalade in. This was the recipe picked for Nikki over at Yummy! Mummy Cooks the Books by her teenage son. The recipe came from Great British Bake Off Everyday, but Nikki wasn’t too impressed and reckoned her own version was better. Having baked for her brother’s coffee shop, she sounds like she knows what she is talking about.
To me waffles have always seemed the height of elegance and sophistication. I’ve never eaten them here in the UK, but I have fond memories of the light and crispy delights offered to us at elegant establishments in Europe. On our visit to Ghent we had them served mit slagroom. Slagroom for the uninitiated is the Flemish for whipped cream. Jolly delicious they were too.
I think of waffles as a 3D pancake, with their neat little reservoirs which hold lots of butter, cream, syrup or whatever else you fancy to shorten your life. When I was sent some silicone waffle moulds from Lékué to try out, it didn’t take me long to drop those eggs and flour into a bowl and start mixing.
My enthusiasm for Lékué remains unchecked with this, the third product I have tried. You can read my previous posts on the bundt mould and the bread maker by clicking on the links. Having used silicone bakeware for years, I have experience of the good and the bad. The performance of cheap silicone moulds I’ve used in the past really isn’t that good. Thin material results in uneven baking with the bottoms getting burnt and the batter not being properly cooked. The Lékué silicone is sturdy and you can tell the products are of good quality by the look and feel of them. To boot, they come with a ten year guarantee. The pack contained two moulds, each with 4 waffle patterns. The waffle indentations were well defined and turned out perfect looking waffles. I found the moulds very easy to use and they gave a good result with a fluffy interior and a nice crispy exterior. I was slightly concerned about how easy it would be to release the waffles, but they slipped out of the moulds with no trouble at all. Not only that, but you don’t get all the smoke associated with hot metal, grease and batter – or is that just me?
I’d also been sent some Clarks maple syrup to try out and waffles seemed the perfect vehicle to do so. Just in time for Pancake Day, I was sent four small 180 ml plastic bottles with squirty tops. These were nice and easy to use, though I found the syrup to be rather more liquid than I was expecting. Two were pure maple syrup and two were blended with carob fruit syrup, which seemed a little odd and unnecessary to me. I would rather have my syrup pure and dilute or mix it in whatever way I wish, rather than have it done for me. In this instance, I didn’t want to adulterate the pure syrup and simply drizzled it over some of the waffles and served with a little whipped cream and pomegranate seeds. However, I had designs for the vanilla version, which I thought would help to make a luxurious chocolate sauce. For the chocolate sauce, I was also keen to use some of the premium couverture dark chocolate I’d been sent from Cacao Barry, 70% Ocoa pur noir, which I thought would give a particularly rich and fulsome flavour. The aroma wafting up from the packet was of chocolate, caramel and tobacco and the taste lived up to the promise that these smells evoked with multi layered notes hitting the palate in succession.
As well as using the maple syrup on the waffles and in the sauce and subsequently in a number of other ways, we tried them neat to get a real sense of their individual characters.
Original (blended with carob fruit syrup) – strong smoky, caramel, rich. Wouldn’t want to eat too much at any one time. Very sweet.
Vanilla (blended with carob fruit syrup) – reminded me of cough medicine that I used to have as a child – something I always viewed as a treat. Aromatic, with a strong vanilla flavour. Very sweet. I used this one in the chocolate sauce to good effect.
Pure Canadian (No.1 Medium Grade) – less runny than the previous two and not as overpoweringly sweet. Smoky and tanniny with a drying-in-the-mouth feel. It was this one that we used on our waffles and it worked well.
Pure Canadian (No.2 Amber Grade) – this proved to be my favourite. It was sweeter than No 1 with a more rounded “maple flavour” but still with the tannins coming through.
The moulds came with instructions and a recipe for sweet waffles and one for savoury. The savoury waffles sounded quite delicious with an addition of Parmesan, oregano and paprika. I am quite keen to try these, but for my first attempt I decided to make waffles that were neither sweet nor savoury so we could add the maple syrup and chocolate sauce without them becoming too sweet. I based the batter on the recipe provided, which gave the perfect amount to fill the eight waffle moulds.
|Just out of the oven – see that steam rising?|
This is how I made:
Waffles with a Maple Syrup Chocolate Sauce
- Sprayed the moulds lightly with oil (not something I normally do with silicone, but it is recommended for the first time of use). Placed them on an oven tray.
- Melted 110g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat.
- Sifted 240g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white) into a bowl with 2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of pink rock salt.
- Made a well in the centre and broke in 3 medium eggs.
- Started stirring this, slowly adding 410 ml milk until a smooth batter had formed.
- Added the butter and stirred until incorporated.
- Ladled the batter into the moulds – there was just enough to completely fill them, but with none left over.
- Baked in the lower half of the oven at 200°C for 10 minutes or until set.
- Removed from the oven and turned out onto the oven tray. Placed back in the oven with the pattern side up for a further 5 minutes or so until the waffles were crisp and golden.
- Melted 150g 70% good quality dark chocolate (Ocoa pur noir) with 200g double cream in a pan over low heat.
- Added 2 tbsp maple syrup and stirred until all incorporated and smooth.
- Poured the warm sauce over the hot waffles and scattered some pomegranate seeds over the top.
We just loved these. Two each was plenty, but very greedily and because we had them for brunch, we polished off all eight of them. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, I shall be making these waffles again very soon. Next time, if there are only two of us, I shall try freezing half of them for a quick and easy breakfast, brunch or dessert another time. The chocolate sauce was indeed rich and quite delicious too with a faint hint of maple that gave it an air of added luxury. Having said that, we also enjoyed eating them with cream and pure maple syrup.
Pancake Day is on the 5th of March. I’m seriously thinking of renaming it Waffle Day. maple syrup is, of course, a must – as is chocolate.
Lékué also sent two fabulous stretchy covers that will fit over various sized containers from a half used tin of tomatoes to, in this instance, a bowl of chocolate sauce. They are also good for covering half eaten pieces of fruit such as an orange or melon. The reusable covers act as temporary lids creating a vacuum seal to keep leftovers fresh – a much better option than clingfilm in my opinion. As there was plenty of chocolate sauce left over, I used one to cover the bowl. It was both easy to put on and easy to take off. The remaining chocolate sauce was used to make the truffle icing for my chocolate Valentine cakes.
Thanks to Lékué for sending me the waffle moulds and stretch tops to try out and to Clarks and Cacao Barry for the maple syrup and chocolate. I was not required to write positive reviews and as always all opinions are my own.
It’s been a long time since I participated in Celia’s wonderful In My Kitchen series over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Since then I’ve had many comings and goings into my kitchen and store cupboards, the majority of course I haven’t documented. Here are a few of my favourite things … which are currently sitting in my kitchen.
A newly purchased block of Willie’s Indonesian Black -180g of solid 100% chocolate. This is a bit of a luxury, but it’s useful and I use it sparingly.
A vase of scented Cornish narcissi, a gift from yesterday’s visitors.
A few quails eggs remaining from this basket, given to me by fellow Cornish food blogger Jane Sarchet over at The Hedge Combers when I visited her earlier this week.
Some jars of blood orange curd I made a few days ago – bloody marvellous, though I say it myself.
An empty bottle of Cornish sparkling perry – drunk yesterday with friends. Or should I say, we drank it yesterday with friends. It was our first bottle of Polgoon Peren, but was so good, I hope it won’t be our last.
A half eaten loaf of a no-knead spelt & rye bread made with my new silicone bread maker.
My favourite Cornish Red side plates sitting in the drying rack, having been used for tea yesterday.
A jar of my mother’s just made Seville orange marmalade.
A Passion 4 Juice – a wipe clean booklet of juice and smoothie recipes that I won from Vanesther’s Family Foodies blogging event over at Bangers & Mash. It arrived in the post a couple of days ago.
Some drinking chocolate from Cornish company Mugz given to me before Christmas, but still awaiting review – oops!
As some of you have probably gathered, this month We Should Cocoa has teamed up with Random Recipes for a decadent extravaganza of chocolatey love. My pick really was decadent. I decided to put all of my books into the mix as most of them will have a chocolate recipe or two. I adopted my usual method of generating a random number and then used Eat Your Books to get the selection. Real Chocolate by Chantal Coady was the result. CT did the honours of picking a page number and low and behold I got a nice easy recipe, Chocolate Brownies – hooray. Not only do I love to eat brownies, but they are a joy to make too. Simple and quick, but with delicious results. The recipe originated from someone called Mandy who married an Italian and went to live in Italy. All I can say is, if she took this recipe with her, she will have made herself one very popular woman.
Astonishingly, this blog is five years old today. To celebrate, rather than a St Valentine’s Day Massacre, I’ve engineered something all together more festive.
The simple truth is, that despite the many, many things I’ve baked and prepared over the past five years, I’ve hardly scratched the surface of chocolate cookery. This is a good thing, I reckon, because, unlike Valentine’s Day ephemera, chocolate will never ever lose its appeal. Drawing on the collective brilliance of contributors to We Should Cocoa, the many excellent food blogs and chocolate cookbooks, my own creations and adaptations, there is not a chance that I will run out of things to make in the next five or even fifty years.
Another year on and I and my Chocolate Log Blog have notched up a few more achievements. I was chuffed to bits to reach #3 in the Foodies100 Top Twenty UK Food Blogs for 2013. Not only that I was also in their Top Twenty Food Bloggers on Twitter too. I didn’t think things could get any better, but it turned out they absolutely did. The January edition of Cornwall Today featured Chocolate Log Blog as one of the best five Cornish blogs – wow and I didn’t even bribe them with cake. You can see the article on the author’s site at Saffron Bunny. I had another recipe published, this time in the Plymouth Herald, maybe not quite as prestigious as the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, but still very pleasing.
Two big events stood out: I baked an astonishing number of things both for a grand party and a market stall. It was a lot of hard work, but very satisfying to see it all disappear with complimentary comments all round. I continue to attend Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club whenever I am able and try to take part in as many blog challenges as I can. This past year has seen a prodigious proliferation of these, so I’m amazed to have done as many as I have. Living in remote Cornwall, I don’t get out very often, but I did manage to make it up to Cheltenham to meet some of my food blogging chums in June last year. We’ve also had a few events down in this part of the world where I’ve got to meet-up with bloggers old and new. The trip to Riverford was a particularly good one and the chocolate workshop with Nicky Grant was a real pleasure. Cornwall has food festivals aplenty, but scattered as they are, I don’t get to many of them. Having heard from Fiona of London Unattached just how good the Boscastle one was, I made it there last year for the first time. She was right, it was a great festival with plenty to see and do and the setting is lovely. I had the added bonus of meeting up with her as well as Nat from the HungryHinny.
So to celebrate Chocolate Log Blog’s Birthday as well as Valentine’s Day and give CT something to munch on (he has offered both me and my blog invaluable support after all), I have made these little chocolate cakes – dark and lush as befits this day of love. The cake recipe I adapted from one in Treat Petite by Fiona Pearce, a newly published book I shall be reviewing shortly. The whipped dark chocolate ganache, however, I made up myself from some leftover chocolate sauce I’d made for another recipe (soon to be appearing on the blog).
Just in time to make these and as a wonderful Valentine’s gift, I received a lovely bundle of chocolate goodies and hearts from Dr Oetker, including some heart-shaped marshmallows which were fun. Fancy decorating has never been my strong point, but for this special occasion, I thought I’d pull out the stops and pipe the ganache on top of the cakes, using my new Lékué silicone decomax (review to follow in an upcoming post).
I also received this gorgeous Valentine’s gift from Eden’s Gourmet Apples, which was a lovely surprise and disappeared rather quicker than it probably should have done. The apple was crisp and tart which was a great foil for the sweet caramel and chocolate.
This is how I made:
Mini Chocolate Valentine’s Hearts with Whipped Chocolate Ganache
- Melted 60g dark 70% chocolate in a pan over low heat with 160ml strong black coffee. Stirred until smooth, then removed from the heat.
- Creamed 90g unsalted butter together with 225g dark brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs (use large hen eggs), one at a time.
- Sifted in 100g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white), ¾ tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 40g ground almonds.
- Stirred until just incorporated.
- Spooned into 24 mini cupcake moulds filling them to about ¾ full. Spooned the rest into 4 full-sized cupcake cases.
- Baked at 180°C for about 15 minutes until well risen and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Left to cool in the moulds for a couple of minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- About ¾ batch of chocolate sauce which had been left in the fridge and had set – 200g double cream, 150g 85% dark chocolate and 2 tbsp maple syrup all melted together.
- Whipped this up with 2 tbsp of strong black coffee until light and moussy.
- Spooned this into the Lékué piping container and using a large star nozzle piped blobs onto the cooled cakes.
- Decorated with various hearts
The cakes are rich, moist and very chocolatey. The small elegant bite-sized cakes are easy to eat and with no inhibiting cases to dispose of make for perfect finger food. CT has given them his seal of approval by downing several in quick succession and declaring them better than any bunch of roses.
Thanks go, as always, to you my readers and fellow food bloggers. I would most certainly not have had the fortitude to have continued without your support, participation and comments.
As an extra chocolatey treat, I have picked ten super scrumptious chocolatey posts from other UK bloggers to hopefully inspire you over at Foodies 100 – Ten at Ten: the chocolate edition.
Chocolate is quite rightly the theme for this month’s Tea Time Treats over at Lavender and Lovage. This is a monthly event to load a tea table with more goodies than it can possible manage. Karen’s partner in crime is Jane over at The Hedge Combers.
I am submitting these to the No Waste Food Challenge as I had some leftover chocolate sauce that needed using up. It would, er, obviously, have gone to waste if I hadn’t used it up in this recipe 😉 Normally hosted at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, this month Fiona of London Unattached is taking the reigns.
I am also submitting these cakes to Credit Crunch Munch for the same reason as above plus I omitted the cupcake cases and saved a few pennies by so doing. I was really quite pleased with their naked appearance. This challenge is hosted by Camilla of Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours, but is guest hosted this month by Angela over at the wonderful My Golden Pear.
As nearly all of the letters in the alphabet have been used up, we’ve now arrived at the letter Z for AlphaBakes. Initially I was a little puzzled as to what to make as zuccini isn’t in season in this part of the world and I didn’t fancy making zabaglione. Then I remembered the recipe I’d bookmarked ages ago for two-chocolate zebras, but couldn’t actually remember which book it was in. I hastened to my bookshelves and had a quick rifle through. Ah, there it was in Linda Collister’s The Great British Bake Off with a piece of paper marking the page. Now was obviously the time to make them.
This is how I made:
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 100g vanilla (caster) sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
- Beat in 1 large egg.
- Sifted in 250g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white) with ½ tsp baking powder and a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt.
- Stirred this all together until all incorporated. Formed the dough into a ball, then divided into two equal pieces.
- Melted 45g white chocolate (vanillary G&B) gently in a bowl over hot water, then added it to one half of the dough, mashing it together until fully incorporated.
- Melted 45g of 85% dark chocolate (vanillary G&B) gently in the same bowl over hot water then added to the other half of the dough, again mashing together until all incorporated.
- Left in my cold kitchen to harden up for about 20 minutes.
- Rolled both pieces of dough out to form rectangles of 20 x 15 cm.
- Placed one on top of the other, then cut lengthways into three equal pieces.
- Placed these one on top of each to form a long rectangle of six layers. Pressed down gently.
- Cut slices (approx 5mm) and laid them on a lined baking tray. I only got 33 rather than the requisite 40 – obviously didn’t make mine quite thin enough.
- Left in the cool to harden up for a bit then baked at 180°C for 10 mins until the white stripes were just golden (or slightly more so in some cases!)
- Transferred onto a wire rack to cool.
Fiddly biscuits are not really my thing, but I was glad I made these as they looked quite impressive and weren’t nearly as fiddly as I thought they were going to be. They were also quite delicious with the sweet white chocolate contrasting nicely with the less sweet and more intense dark layers. The biscuits were nice and crisp with a buttery taste and it was hard to stop at only one – so I didn’t.
I’ve had this recipe bookmarked ever since I first got the book The Great British Bake Off: Have to Bake by Linda Collister so I’m submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.
I’m also entering these into The Biscuit Barrel with Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than … who has chosen chocolate as this month’s theme.
I have long been an admirer of the stunning bundt creations to be seen over at Dolly Bakes. Being averse to tins for storage reasons as well as sticking ones, I’ve been on the look out for a silicone bundt-type mould to use. I’ve not found anything suitable – until now that is. Lékué do an amazing range of silicone bakeware and it looks to be better quality than some I’ve come across. Recently I received a few items from them to try out. You can see how I got on with the bread maker in a previous post. The bundt-like mould they sent, however, was the very first thing I tried. I was a little nervous and quite excited.
For my first ever bundt, I thought I’d create an orange and chocolate marbled affair with an orange glacé icing. There were no clues as to the quantities needed for the mould, so I had to guess. I thought I was making a generous amount of cake mix, but it barely covered the bottom. As it turned out, this was fine and produced a perfectly sized cake which still looked good. The second time I used it, I upped the quantities, but it still didn’t make a full size cake. I sprayed the mould with oil just to be on the safe side – I really didn’t want it getting stuck. I needn’t have worried, it came out like a dream.
Despite my nerves, I was really happy with the result of my first ever bundt-shaped. It really looked quite striking. The almonds, orange juice and yogurt kept the cake nicely moist and the flavours were clear and fresh and worked beautifully in combination. The Lékué bundt-like mould was so easy to use too: it was sturdy enough to stand up in the oven on its own without losing shape; I had no problems turning the cake out (and the second time I didn’t spray it) and it was easy to wash. Perfect. I can see this getting a lot of use.
A few days later, we had some good news to celebrate and invited some friends around for tea. So impressed was I with my orange and chocolate bundt-like cake, that I decided to make another one. Only this time I added more ingredients and accompanied it with a third flavour – matcha. This was an even prettier cake than the first. It was bigger and had three contrasting colours rather than two; once cut the interesting swirling patterns were revealed and some of the slices were spectacular. No one piece was the same. CT likened it to a metamorphic rock, maybe not marble but it was certainly very “gneiss”, he quipped. The cake was just as delicious as the first and the texture was equally good. Now what ingredients, I wonder, am I going to include in my third bundt-like cake?
My method for the second cake was exactly the same as the first except I had three different mixtures rather than two. See below for the printed recipe for the first cake. The quantities for the second were as follows:
- 240g unsalted butter
- 260g caster sugar (again I used cardamom sugar)
- 4 large eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 230g flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 organic orange – zest and juice
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 rounded tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 scant tbsp matcha powder
Not only are these bundts completely made from scratch but the recipes are my own. With just a little bit of pride, I am thus sending them off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays.
As you can probably tell, I have a new found passion for bundt cakes, so I am sending these off to the very first Love Cake Challenge with Ness over at JibberJabberUK who has chosen the February theme of Baking with Passion.
As already stated, I’ve rather fallen in love with these cakes, so although they weren’t made for Valentine’s Day as such I think they fit into the general love theme for February, so I’m sending this off to Dolly Bakes for her Calendar Cakes – Oh L’amour.
CT is quite keen on these bundt cakes too, so it is possible the next flavour might be a mocha one and he might get it for a special Valentine’s Day treat. As such I am submitting these to Lets Cook Sweet Treats for Valentine with Nayna over at Simply Food.
Both of these cakes were made for loved ones, so I am also entering it into the Four Seasons Food challenge with Anneli Delicieux and Lou at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is not surprisingly Food From The Heart.
Finally, I think, I’m linking this up to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.
Oops, there is another one. Victoria over at A Kick at the Pantry Door has chosen Orange as this month’s Feel Good Food, so really I have no choice but to enter 😉
Thanks to Lékué for sending me the bundt mould to try out. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
- 180g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar as the flavour works well with both chocolate and orange)
- 175g flour (I used half wholemeal, half white)
- 75g ground almonds
- scant 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1 organic orange – zest & juice
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp yogurt (I used honey yogurt)
- 50g icing sugar
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-12 slices
It’s the month of chocolate and Valentine’s Day is not far off. There was no way I was going to disappoint you by not offering some chocolate on the blog. I have teamed up with the House of Dorchester to offer one lucky Chocolate Log Blog reader the chance of winning a box of their luxury assortment.
Based in Poundbury, Dorset, the House of Dorchester produces chocolates right here in the South West of England and announce proudly that they are “the home of great British Chocolates”. They started off life in 1963 making handmade chocolates in a high street shop in Dorchester, The Dorset Maid. Now with a factory and a whole team of chocolatiers they supply chocolates not only around the UK, but around the world. Admittedly they are not a Cornish company, but I will try not to hold that against them 😉
The Luxury Assortment arrived in perfect condition, with not a single chocolate broken or out of place. The presentation was particularly good with an attractive, yet sturdy keepsake box which I can see being used for a number of different purposes. In fact it is just the right size for gifting a batch of fairy cakes or mini cupcakes – now there’s an idea.
The assortment contained a 400g mix of dark, milk and white chocolates. With 16 flavours and 32 chocolates, this is a box for sharing. I found nothing particularly surprising or innovative in the box in terms of the flavours offered, but they all sounded good. I’m guessing these are aimed more at the traditional market than the new wave of chocolate lovers. However, I was particularly looking forward to trying the violet and rose creams, which are hard to find and for which I have rather an old fashioned penchant. The chocolates were large with a plentiful amount of filling and the chocolate casings were equally generous. I found, they all erred towards the sweet side and when it comes to chocolates I prefer less sugar rather than more. Do take a look at the online shop, where you will find a number of bars, hot chocolate mixes and chocolate selections. This box costs £19.99.
I’ll start off with my favourites – after all, for the purposes of review, what could I do but try them all?
The violet creme was the first one I tried and the flavour was sublime. The sweet filling was offset by the dark chocolate and it looked very pretty with its drizzle of violet over the top.
The sea salt caramel had to be next as this is probably my favourite chocolate filling ever. The caramel was just how I like it, soft but not too liquid with a perfect amount of sea salt. The thick dark chocolate encasing it complimented the caramel well and was nicely proportioned – something that I haven’t always found to be the case.
The rose creme was as delicious as the violet, it tasted of rose and again the sweetness was offset by the dark chocolate casing.
The raspberry caramel wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The flavour of raspberry was very much present, although it wasn’t in the least tart which was a bit of a shame. The caramel was chewy, not in a pull-your-teeth-out kind of way, but in a much more pleasant, stays-in-the-mouth-longer kind of way.
The pecan parfait was another chewy offering. I really liked this one which wasn’t overly sweet due to the dark chocolate casing. The pieces of pecans added crunch, interest and flavour.
The caramel heart was also delicious, although not quite so much as the sea salted one. Again the dark chocolate offset the caramel, which was liquid with a soft vanillary flavour.
The strawberry cheesecake had a good flavour with some tartness coming through. It was firmer than I was expecting, but had a nice chewy texture with pieces of strawberry scattered throughout.
The praline bouchee, whilst being rather sweet had a lovely flavour of roast almonds. You could taste the pistachio in the white chocolate coated pistachio mousse, which in my experience not many chocolates seem to manage. The latte crisp contained real ground coffee which gave a lovely crunch and flavour. CT reckoned the cafe noir had a good coffee flavour too. I enjoyed the combination of fruit and champagne in the strawberry marc de champagne and thought the white chocolate worked well in this instance. The orange creme was covered in dark chocolate and had a good flavour.
Not all of the chocolates were as good as I was hoping. Coconut and chocolate seem to be an under represented combination in the chocolate world, so I was looking forward to trying the coconut creme. Sadly, I found this to be overly sweet and have a rather artificial coconut taste. I enjoyed the texture of the roast nut praline with its pieces of caramelised nuts giving surprise and crunch, but didn’t find it had a particularly nutty flavour. The alcohol in the marc de champagne truffle was noticeable and the flavour was good, but it did leave a rather cloying feeling in my mouth after I’d finished it.
Thanks to the House of Dorchester for the chocolates given to me to try. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
Bread is such a fascinating bake. There is so much variety in taste and texture to be had. Thankfully there has been a revival of interest in real bread in recent years, spearheaded in Britain by the Real Bread Campaign. New techniques and methods are being invented or rediscovered all the time it seems. I’ve been making my own bread since I was a teenager – on and off. But it wasn’t until I attended a bread making course with Andrew Whitley a few years ago that I discovered, when it comes to water, more is definitely best. Wet doughs may be harder to knead, but generally give a much better result. I’ve been hearing about no knead breads for a while now. My own rye sourdough requires no kneading, but could this really work for wheat breads I wondered? I really kneaded (get it) to try it out for myself. Thanks to the unexpected delivery of a Lékué bread maker, I finally managed it.