Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Rhubarb Bundt Cake with Ginger Glaze

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake

It was a friend’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and we had been invited over for lunch. This was to be followed by a walk from Respryn Bridge at Lanhydrock to Duchy Nurseries  so we could indulge in a cream tea. But first a cake was in order.

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Surprise Easter Egg Cupcakes

Easter Egg Cupcakes

4 Star, Cupcakes, Easter | 24th March 2015 | By

Who doesn’t love a good Easter egg hunt? Well, I’m not actually sure I’ve ever been on one, but I love the idea and I’ve certainly witnessed a few with the excited squeals of children ringing in my ears. So when I was asked to create an Easter recipe for Sainsbury’s, I thought I’d hide a few Easter eggs inside some cupcakes.

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Chocolate Jam Doughnut Muffins and a Taste Test

4 Star, Small Cakes | 8th October 2014 | By

Doughnut Muffins

When I saw the recipe and accompanying pictures for baked jam doughnut muffins over at Lavender and Lovage, I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried them myself. As ever, Karen’s photographs are beautiful, but it was the recipe itself that enticed me. I love doughnuts, but never buy them as they are, somehow the epitome of junk food. I’ve been wanting to try some of these baked doughnut style muffins for ages, but as soon as I come across a recipe, I lose it again. This time I bookmarked it.

Although my cupboards are overflowing with my own home made jams at the moment, I wanted to try these doughnut muffins with a very special jam I was recently sent by the queen of jams herself, Vivien Lloyd. Following on  from my blackberry chocolate jam, I was keen to see how the real thing compared, in this case a raspberry chocolate version. A taste testing was in order.

Raspberry Chocolate Jam

The first thing I noticed was the deep red colour, just a little darker than you’d expect a raspberry jam to be; it looked enticing. On opening the jar a zingy aroma leapt out – raspberries in their full fruity glory. The consistency was perfect, it stayed where it was put – not too runny, but not too firm either. It was the taste I was keen to try however. Getting the balance between fruit and chocolate is a tricky one; you want to taste both and not have one overwhelm the other. Raspberry was the first flavour to hit my tongue and it was glorious, but hot on its heels came the chocolate, adding depth and strength to an already delicious jam.

Mine was a very different sort of jam. I’d sieved the blackberries for a start as I find blackberry seeds rather more annoying than raspberry ones. Despite this, I think I will try them whole next time as it’s nice to get some texture. My jam has a soft sett, so was runnier than Vivien’s, but the real difference was in the flavour. The aroma wafting up from my jam was pure chocolate and that was the taste that first hit the palate. The blackberry came through very soon after, but the balance was the opposite to the raspberry jam. I was very pleased with my jam which is quite delicious, but it doesn’t have the subtlety I now see would be desirable. I’ve been lucky to learn from a master.

Jammy Doughnut Muffins

I found there was too much mixture for the suggested six muffins in Karen’s recipe and ended up making eight very large ones. I used only a fraction of the butter and sugar for coating at the end as neither CT nor I like our bakes to be overly sweet and I didn’t want them to be tooooooo unhealthy! As it tuned out, it was plenty.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Jam Doughnut Muffins

  • Added 1 tbsp cider vinegar to 175 ml milk and left for a few minutes to turn into “buttermilk”.
  • Sifted 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) into a bowl along with 2 level tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stirred in 150g vanilla sugar (golden caster sugar infused with vanilla pods) and a pinch of salt.
  • Made a well in the centre and broke in a duck egg.
  • Stirred from the middle outwards, gradually adding 80 ml sunflower oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract and the buttermilk until everything was just mixed. It’s important not to over stir a muffin mixture as it may make the muffins heavy.
  • Filled 8 silicone muffin moulds to about ⅓ full. Nestled a large teaspoon of raspberry chocolate jam in the middle of each one, then topped with the remaining mixture.
  • Baked in the middle of the oven at 180℃ for nearly 25 minutes, when the muffins were well risen, firm and golden.
  • Allowed to cool for a few minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack.
  • Melted 25g unsalted butter in a little pan and weighed out 25g vanilla sugar (golden caster sugar infused with vanilla pods) into a small shallow dish.
  • Whilst still warm, lightly brushed the muffins with melted butter then rolled them in the sugar to lightly coat.

Jam Doughnut Muffins

Disappointingly the jam sank and looked nothing like Karen’s lush blob of jam in the middle of hers. However, I won’t let this put me off making them again as they were delicious warm and equally good cold. The butter and sugar coating gave a crusty texture to the outside which contrasted well with the soft and fluffy inside. As I suspected it would be, the jam was the star of the show and worked exceedingly well (apart from sinking). CT, the doughnut connoisseur, felt these were a good substitute for the cheap and cheerful version he snaffles when allowed out on his own.

Halloween face

I wasn’t quite sure, if the jammy smile was a cheeky chappy or a ghoulish face just right for Halloween – I’ll let you decide.

I am so glad I remembered to bookmark this recipe as it’s one well worth having. I’m sending it off to Bookmarked Recipes, normally found at Tinned Tomatoes, but this month it over at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.

I’m also sending this over to Supergolden Bakes for Cook Blog Share.

Blackberry and White Chocolate Melts

Blackberry & White Chocolate Melt

4 Star, Pudding, Wild Food | 17th September 2014 | By

When I was leafing through Chantal Coady’s book Rococo: mastering the art of chocolate a few weeks ago, I was struck by her recipe for White Chocolate Heartbreakers – a white chocolate cake served warm with a melting raspberry and white chocolate middle – rather like a chocolate fondant. I bookmarked it straight away as I thought it would be an excellent dessert for the upcoming blackberry season, producing a surprise purple melting middle rather than a pink one.

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A Trifle Rushed

4 Star, Dessert | 3rd August 2014 | By

When CT requested a trifle for his birthday, I was just a little relieved. Time and I don’t seem to get on so well these days and the day before his birthday was a particularly busy one. I’d been concerned that I might not be able to fit a cake in, but a mere trifle?

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Whisky and Walnut Cakes for Father’s Day

4 Star, Small Cakes | 14th June 2014 | By

Walnut Whisky Cakes

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Father’s Day tomorrow and if you’re still wondering how to celebrate this or what to give the man in your life, Dr Oetker has the ideal solution. These whisky and chocolate cakes are quick and simple to make and taste quite delicious. You can find the original recipe here on the Dr Oetker site. Containing more than a dram of whisky, made with ground walnuts and covered in dark chocolate, these cakes are manly fare.

I didn’t have the mini loaf tins stated in the recipe, so used muffin moulds instead. The only whisky I had to hand was a high quality Scottish malt, so these cakes really did taste extra special. I used my usual half wholemeal and half white flour mix and decided to toast the walnut decorations for extra flavour.

This is how I made:

Whisky and Walnut Cakes

  • Melted 125g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat. Allowed to cool a little.
  • Ground 100g walnuts in a coffee grinder then mixed with 100g golden caster sugar in a large bowl.
  • Sieved in 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white) with 2 tsp Dr Oetker baking powder and stirred into the walnuts.
  • Made a well in the centre and broke in three small eggs. Started to stir this from the inside out, adding the butter, 45ml whisky and 45ml milk as I went along until just mixed.
  • Divided the mixture into 8 large unlined silicone muffin moulds and baked at 180℃ for 22 minutes when they were well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle came out clean.
Meanwhile
  • Dissolved 75g golden caster sugar in a pan over low heat with 45ml water, then bought it up to a boil and simmered for 3 or 4 minutes to give a syrupy consistency.
  • Left to cool slightly, then stirred in 45ml whisky.
  • Poured this over the hot cakes and allowed them to absorb the liquid and cool in the moulds for 5 minutes or so, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Melted 75g Dr Oetker 72% dark chocolate in a pan over low heat with 25g unsalted butter.
  • Stirred until homogenised and glossy, left to cool slightly, then spooned over the cooled cakes allowing the chocolate to dribble down the sides.
  • Toasted 8 walnut halves in the oven, then placed these on top of the melted chocolate and left to set.
Whisky Walnut Cakes

True to my assertion that these cakes were manly fare, CT was quite enamoured and he doesn’t even like whisky that much. The cakes rose high and resembled volcanoes without the craters when they emerged from the oven. This made adding the melted chocolate a little tricky, but I was pleased with the final result. The cakes were quite substantial, but had a great texture and flavour and were not overly sweet. I found I too was not averse to having seconds.

This is the second Dr Oetker Father’s Day recipe I’ve made and I’ve been really pleased with how both of them turned out. If you haven’t already seen them, do take a look at the coconut chocolate bars I made a couple of weeks ago.

I am sending these over to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w’Luv – a weekly event where everything must be made from scratch.

As a celebration of Father’s Day, these are also being sent off to Bake Fest – a month long feast of all baked goods over at Cook’s Joy.

This month’s Baking with Spirit is all about reinventing a classic. Well this may not have been me that’s reinvented it, but I reckon this is a very good take on the classic Coffee and Walnut Cake. Janine of Cake of the Week has allowed Craig of The Usual Saucepans to take over the reins this month.

These may not be biscuits, but they could possibly be squeezed into a Biscuit Barrel, so I’m sending these off to Laura of I’d Much Rather Bake Than … who has chosen summer as this month’s theme. As Father’s Day falls in June, it must surely count as summer.

Dr Oetker Coconut Chocolate Bars for Father’s Day

4 Star, Traybakes | 1st June 2014 | By

Father’s Day will soon be here, falling on Sunday 15th of June this year. Baking something for dad is a gesture many people are keen to make. Dr Oetker have come up with a few chocolate recipes they feel would be suitable for the occasion. The recipes focus less on the sugar and more on the chocolate – of the dark variety. They include a chocolate Guinness cake and an ale chocolate layer cake – hmm, I think I can see a theme developing here. I opted to try out the recipe for Coconut Chocolate Bars which I knew would appeal to CT.

I didn’t, of course, stick entirely to the recipe as given. For a start, I didn’t have any powdered egg white, Dr Oetker or otherwise, but I did have two egg whites sitting in the fridge leftover from making raspberry muffins. I used wholemeal spelt flour for the base along with vanilla sugar. I  added a little butter and maple syrup to the chocolate at the end as I opted for the 72% and thought this might be a little too hard to work on its own. I also wanted a nice shiny top and as I still haven’t really got to grips with tempering chocolate properly, this seemed a good way of achieving it. You can find the original recipe here.

This is how I made:

Coconut Chocolate Bars

  • Creamed 100g unsalted butter with 50g vanilla sugar (golden caster sugar) until the mixture was smooth and creamy.
  • Sieved in 115g wholemeal spelt and 15g of cocoa powder and mixed until just combined.
  • Pressed into an 8″ sq silicone mould trying to make it as evenly spread as possible.
  • Baked at 180℃ for 15 minutes then reduced the oven to 140℃.
Meanwhile
  • Whisked two egg whites with a pinch of cream of tarter until peaks formed.
  • Slowly whisked in 100g golden caster sugar until stiff peaks formed.
  • Gently stirred in 1 tsp of vanilla paste and 150g desiccated coconut.
  • Spread this over the biscuit base and baked for 25 minutes at 140℃.
Meanwhile
  • Melted 150g Dr Oetker 72% dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water together with 20g unsalted butter and 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
  • Stirred gently until smooth.
  • Poured over the coconut spreading it into the corners and ensuring all was covered.
  • Left to set, removed from the mould and cut into 18 bars.

If, like us, you are fond of the UK confectionery Bounty bars but find them too sweet, you will love these. They have all the flavour and texture of a Bounty and more and they are not tooth achingly sweet. They weren’t as pretty as I was hoping; I was unable to cut them cleanly, but they held together well and still looked quite striking with the alternating layers of dark, white and dark. They were light in texture but quite rich, so we found ourselves unable to gorge on them as we thought we might.

I’m sending some of these off to Nayna over at Simply Food for her Let’s Cook for Father’s Day event.

Likewise I’m sending some bars off to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv.

There should be just a few of these chocolate coconut bars to send off to #recipeoftheweek with Emily over at A Mummy Too.

Chocolate was a very rare treat when I was a child. Bounty bars were allowed on rare occasions as they were deemed to be less unhealthy because of the coconut. So I am sending these adult versions off to Treat Petite where the theme is childhood memories. CakeyBoi and The Baking Explorer host this monthly event.

Thanks to Dr Oetker for the baking chocolate selection and recipes. I was not required to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.

Caramelised Onion and Cocoa Yogurt Dip

Yogurt Dip

It’s not only National Vegetarian Week, but it’s National Yogurt Week too. Being both vegetarian and passionate about yogurt, I couldn’t let this go without a post. Nayna over at simply food recently mentioned making a caramelised onion and yogurt dip at an event. I was immediately struck by this excellent idea and thought I’d try and create my own version – with a chocolate twist, of course.

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Ren’s Victoria Plum Cake

4 Star, Traybakes | 15th September 2013 | By

A handful of Victoria plums were one of the hauls from last week’s foraging expedition in my mother’s garden. Initially, I was going to make a plum tart with them, but then I saw Ren Behan’s easy English plum cake recipe and thought I would adapt that instead.

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Rhubarb and Rose Polenta Cake – Random Recipes #30

The task this month from Belleau Kitchen was to select our 30th cookbook and then make the recipe from whatever was on page 30 – this is the 30th RR after all. I always approach Random Recipes with some trepidation as you just never know what you might get landed with, but off I went to Eat Your Books to find my 30th cookbook. In case you’ve missed it, I have a giveway running at the moment for a lifetime’s membership of Eat Your Books – I can’t recommend it highly enough. As it happened, I struck lucky and my 30th book was Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. For many years, this was the only book on my bookshelf dedicated to baking, so I know it well. Now that I have many others, I don’t use it as often; I was glad to be persuaded to renew my acquaintance. It also meant, that with any luck I might be able to enter this into Forever Nigella.

The next task was to go and find the book and turn to page 30 – Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake. Now this couldn’t have been more opportune. I made this cake once before, many years ago, so I already knew it was a good one. I was shortly to be baking for Liskeard’s first pop-up cafe and was wondering what gluten-free bake I could include. With a little tweaking, namely substituting the wheat flour for buckwheat, this would do very nicely, I thought. The addition of white chocolate could only improve things and would allow it to appear on Chocolate Log Blog. I’ve already established that rose and rhubarb make for a fine combination, so I wanted to include some rose syrup here for added interest.

So this is how I made:

Rhubarb and Rose Polenta Cake

  • Washed and trimmed the rhubarb, cutting it into ½ cm slices.
  • Placed in a bowl and covered with 100g of cardamom sugar (caster) to extract some of the juice. Added 4 tbsp rose syrup.
  • Melted 50g white chocolate (G&B) in a bowl over hot water.
  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 150g cardamom sugar (caster) until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the cooled chocolate.
  • Beat in 2 large duck eggs, one at a time.
  • Sifted in 150g buckwheat flour, 155g fine cornmeal, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, ¼ tsp salt and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • Stirred in 250g natural yogurt alternately with the flour until just combined.
  • Gently stirred in the rhubarb and juice.
  • Poured into a 23cm cake mould and baked at 180° C for about 50 minutes until the top was well risen and springy to the touch.
  • Covered with tin foil after the first 30 minutes to prevent the top burning.
  • Left to cool for 20 minutes, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dusted with icing sugar and scattered with rose petals.

The bake came an honourable second behind the most popular one, the chocolate cake. Sadly, I didn’t get to try any, but I had very good feedback and all of it disappeared. The very first person to try anything was gluten intolerant, so she was delighted to have something tasty she could eat.

I am entering this into Random Recipes, an excellent if somewhat adrenalin-inducing monthly challenge run by Dashing Dom of Belleau Kitchen.
And I did indeed strike lucky with Forever Nigella, a monthly challenge from Sarah of Maison Cupcake. This month Victoria of A Kick at the Pantry Door is hosting and luckily for me, she has chosen Party Party. I think this is a fitting contribution to any celebration.
It’s been a while since I entered Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge from Javelin Warrior, whereby everything must be made from scratch.

As I used rose syrup in the cake, made with my own roses, I am entering this into Cooking with Herbs with Karen of Lavender and Lovage.