Chocolate Squares

Whilst hunting around for the chocolate spice cake amongst my old recipe scraps, I came across one I had written down at least 15 years ago, but have never made. So, when unexpectedly invited to a BBQ this evening, I actually had something in mind. It not only looked like quite an easy recipe, but was also designed to be served as squares, so convenient for eating outdoors.

This is what I did:
  • Melted 5oz unsalted butter with 8oz soft brown sugar, 100g dark chocolate and 100g white chocolate
  • Sieved 4oz wholemeal and 4oz white spelt into a bowl with 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Chopped 3oz walnuts and stirred into flour.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured chocolate mixture into this.
  • Stirred in together with two duck eggs and 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • Spooned this into a 9in square silicone cake thingy and baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 20 mins (original recipe stated 30 mins, but I wanted a brownie effect).
  • Allowed to cool, sieved over some cocoa powder and cut into 16 squares.
If you like sweet (and I unfortunately do), the result was truly delicious – just like a brownie in fact – dense and fudgy with a nice cracked top.

Chocolate Spice Cake

Large Cakes | 29th May 2009 | By

When I first got into cake making in my teenage years, the one I made most often was this Chocolate Spice Cake.  I haven’t made it for years, but must have had a sudden yearning for my youth or something as I woke up this morning with the certain knowledge that I wanted to make this cake today.
This is what I did:
  • Melted 50g dark chocolate
  • Creamed 4oz butter and 7oz Rapadura (soft brown sugar).  Oh the joy, the day was warm, the butter softened almost immediately and it was finally not a chore!
  • Beat in 2 duck egg yolks.
  • Sieved in 3oz wholemeal spelt, 3oz quinoa flour (experimented with this instead of using plain old flour), 1 heaped tsp of baking powder, 1 heaped teaspoon of allspice and a pinch of salt.
  • Mixed this in alternately with 4fl oz milk
  • Mixed in 1 oz of crystallised papaya (meant to be mixed peel, but I didn’t have any of that)
  • Whisked 2 duck egg whites until stiff, then folded into the cake mixture.
  • Spooned into a 21cm round cake thingy and baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 30 mins.
  • Meanwhile, melted 50g dark chocolate and 2oz butter and left to cool for a bit.
  • Mixed in 4oz icing sugar.
  • Realised the icing was way too stiff, so hunted around for some sort of liquid.  Could have used water, but found some orange liqueur lurking at the back of a cupboard so added a sloosh of that.  This did the trick.
  • Spread on top of cake.
All the good work of making the cake as healthy as possible was blown, of course, in the icing – hey ho!  For some inexplicable reason, my super duper non-stick silicone cake thingy didn’t work, so I had to patch the cake up as best I could.  Not sure if I shall use quinoa again in cakes.  The cake turned out to be beautifully light and rose well, but the consistency was a little crumbly and the quinoa added a slightly bitter taste.  The orange liqueur icing I made, serendipitously, was fantastic and I shall for sure be making that again.  The cake didn’t taste quite as scrumptious as I remember, but was still pretty damn good and had the added bonus of flooding my memory with a long ago camping trip down at Sennen Cove.

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tart

I’ve had my eye on this recipe from Green and Black’s for some time – the salted caramel sounded rather exotic and the three impressively rich layers clinched it. So with friends coming to dinner this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate time to hopefully give them a real treat!

This is how I did it:
  • Rubbed 3oz unsalted butter into 8oz flour (1/2 wholemeal and 1/2 white spelt) and 2oz icing sugar.
  • Added 1 egg and a splash of water & combined to form a dough.
  • Rolled this out using plenty of flour into a round to fit a 9in flan tin.
  • Pricked the bottom and baked blind at 180°C (gas 4) for 10 mins (or until just cooked).
  • Left to cool whilst made caramel.
  • Put 8oz granulated sugar into a heavy bottomed pan and left on a low heat until liquid and the colour of caramel.
  • Brought 4fl oz whipping cream and 1 tsp Cornish sea salt to the boil then poured into boiling caramel (did this gradually as mixture will rise rapidly and could cause burns).
  • Took off the heat, added 1oz unsalted butter and stirred until smooth.
  • Poured this into pastry case and then got on with the Chocolate Ganache.
  • Brought 10fl oz whipping cream to the boil with 1/2 oz honey.
  • Stirred in 100g broken dark chocolate until melted.
  • Stirred in 2oz unsalted butter until melted.
  • Poured this over the caramel then left in a cool place to set for 4 hours.
  • Decorated with Forget-me-not flowers.
Definitely a labour of love this one and rather a tricky recipe to get right. I didn’t manage it! One side of my pastry case collapsed, hence the artfully placed leaf in the picture. I also over cooked the caramel so that it tasted slightly burnt. On top of that, the consistency was more towards the runny side rather than the firm I had hoped for (I used whipping cream when I should probably have used double cream). We still managed to eat it though. It’s very rich and very sweet, so a little goes a long way.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Another “big” birthday to celebrate, so another party to make something for.  I plumped for the sticky peanut butter cake from Divine, but as they were easier to carry, decided to make cupcakes rather than the intended sandwich cake.  This is what I did:
  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 175g brown sugar until mixture really light in colour.
  • Beat in 1 duck egg & 2 large chicken eggs (had run out of duck eggs) alternately with  150g of sifted wholemeal flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 30g cocoa powder
  • Finally stirred in 1 tsp vanilla essence and 2 tbsp milk.
  • Filled cupcake cases to about 3/4.
  • Baked these for 17 mins at 180°C (gas 4).
Meanwhile made the peanut butter icing by:

  • Melting 100g high cocoa content (36%) milk chocolate with 25g unsalted butter.
  • When cooled slightly stirred in 125g smooth peanut butter until mixture was smooth.
  • Poured a good tbsp of this onto top of each cupcake.
  • Decorated all with chocolate coated peanuts.
If making the sandwich cake, you will need two 20cm sandwich tins.  There was more than enough of both mixtures for the cupcakes, so I made a mini sandwich cake with the remainder.  The cupcakes seemed to go down very well with the children.

Vote for Chocolate Log Blog

Awards | 17th May 2009 | By

Seriously sad I know, but I have entered the Dorset Cereals little blog awards where I might get to win an egg cup if I get enough votes and you get entered into a prizedraw to win a case of Dorset Cereals – now isn’t that worth a go?

Chocolate Fig and Almond Cake

Large Cakes | 10th May 2009 | By

This is a splendid cake for a special occasion – in fact with all those figs and nuts it would make a good alternative, or an addition, to a Christmas Cake. It wasn’t a special occasion but I felt like making it anyway.

  • First of all remembered to take the butter out of the fridge early this morning – most impressed with myself!
  • Cut up 5oz dried figs into fairly small pieces and left them in a covered bowl to soak in 3 tbsp of Amaretto for about 4 hours (longer the better I should think).
  • Creamed 9oz unsalted butter with 8oz soft brown sugar – for ages – I just grit my teeth and get on with it these days.
  • Mixed in 4 duck eggs alternately with 3 1/2 oz sieved wholemeal spelt flour.
  • Stirred in 3oz ground almonds
  • Finally mixed in figs and Amaretto
  • Spooned this into a 23cm round cake tin then dusted top with 2 tbsp cocoa
  • Arranged 3 1/2 oz whole peeled almonds on top of cake.
  • Baked at 175°C (gas 4) for 40 mins.
If you are after a chocolate fix, this is not the cake for you. The Green & Black’s recipe I took this from included 7oz chopped dark chocolate, but I decided to give this a miss as I thought it would detract from the figgy nuttiness of it all. How right I was, this is a totally delicious cake and it would have been less so with the addition of chocolate. The dusting of cocoa on the top was enough to make it onto this blog.

Chocolate and Cinnamon Shortbread

Biscuits | 8th May 2009 | By

Completely seduced by a wonderful picture of shortbread in Food, I’ve had shortbread on the brain all week.  So today I thought I’d give it a go.  I’ve never managed to make shortbread which is as delicious as the ones you get at WI markets, so was a bit dubious.  However, adding cocoa and cinnamon gave me confidence because I wasn’t trying to emulate the oh – so – excellent WI product.

This is how I did it:
  • Creamed 175g unsalted butter with 75g caster sugar and a pinch of salt.
  • Sifted in 20g cocoa, 60g semolina, 170g plain white spelt flour and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Mixed this all together, then formed it into a ball with my hands and rolled it out in a round until about 1 1/2 cm thick.
  • Put this on a buttered baking tray and baked for 30 mins at 150°C.
  • Marked surface into squares whilst still warm then left to cool on tray.
  • Dusted with caster sugar.

Luckily, they were delicious with a proper shortbread texture and the added bonus of a cocoa hit – definitely good enough to take with us to friends this evening.