Baking Tips 1: Flour

Ingredients | 30th October 2009 | By

Whatever flour a recipe states, I tend to substitute a different one! This is mostly because I try to turn rather decadent baking offerings into something that can be as healthy as possible whilst still remaining delicious. I very rarely use plain old white flour when baking. Nor do I use self-raising flour as I prefer to add a good quality gluten free raising agent myself.


Dark Chilli Chocolate Cupcakes

5 Star, Cupcakes | 23rd October 2009 | By

And here follows the other promised cupcake recipe. I have long been wanting to try a cake using chilli and as I was on a spicy cupcake role, I again used a recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess as my starting point – Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake this time.

This is what I did:
  • Cut a fresh scotch bonnet chilli into pieces and then brought to boil in a covered pan with 100ml water. Left to infuse for a couple of hours.
  • Melted 4oz unsalted butter with 200g muscovado sugar and 2oz 85% dark chocolate.
  • Sieved 4oz flour (1/2 wholemeal & 1/2 gluten free) with 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Made a well in the centre, poured in chocolate mixture and mixed together with 1 large egg.
  • Reheated chilli water then poured this into cake mixture through a sieve to catch chilli pieces (which I discarded) and stirred well.
  • Divided this mixture between 12 cupcake recipes and baked in a preheated oven at 180C for 22 mins.
  • Melted 90g 70% chilli chocolate with 50g unsalted butter.
  • Left to cool until thick enough to pour onto cooled cupcakes without running, but not so thick it wouldn’t easily spread.
  • Decorated with remaining 10g chilli chocolate – grated.
I was really pleased with the outcome of these – just what I had been hoping for. Not so hot that they were overpowering, but enough of a residual heat left after eating to know the chocolate cupcakes were unusual. They were light, chocolatey and completely delicious – definitely one for the grown-ups though.

Cardamom & Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

5 Star, Cupcakes | 22nd October 2009 | By

Here is the first of the promised cupcake recipes. I’d recently indulged in some cardamom chocolate and it was so delicious and worked so well, I was keen to try it out in cake format. I took Nigella’s Cappuccino Cupcakes recipe as a starting point and adapted it somewhat. This is how I did it:

  • Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g soft brown sugar
  • Ground seeds from 8 cardamom pods in a pestle & mortar then beat into butter mixture with grated zest of 1 orange.
  • Beat in 2 large eggs (had run out of duck eggs) one after the other.
  • Sieved in 125g flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 gluten free) with 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp cocoa powder.
  • Mixed in 3 tbsp milk.
  • Divided this between 12 cupcake cases and baked at 180C in a preheated oven for 18 mins.

Whilst these were cooking, I made the icing.

  • Melted 100g milk chocolate (35%) and allowed to cool slightly.
  • Creamed 75g butter with 75g icing sugar.
  • Mixed in chocolate and 1 tbsp orange liqueur.
  • Iced the cooled cupcakes and decorated with a Minstrel.
As I’d hoped the flavours here worked really well together. The texture was good although not quite as light as the chilli cupcakes. The icing was so good I could have eaten the whole bowl. Luckily for those concerned, I managed to restrain myself.

National Chocolate Week

Chocolate Chilli Cardamom Cupcakes

I’ve had such a fun day. First making some chocolate goodies, then distributing them around town and seeing the delight on people’s faces and finally trying them out myself. Well, it is Chocolate Week and I couldn’t let it pass without doing something! So, I thought I’d make some cupcakes for the good burghers of Liskeard and brighten up their day. It certainly brightened up my day.


Apple & Cider Chocolate Cake

Large Cakes | 11th October 2009 | By

Having adapted one apple and cider cake last week, I was keen to make the most of the apple glut and have a go at another this week. This time I thought I’d adapt my own version of apple and cider cake – substituting chocolate & cinnamon for the walnuts, mixed spice and orange zest.

This is how I did it:
  • Melted 4oz butter with 100g 70% dark chocolate and 1 tbsp honey.
  • Sifted together 6oz flour (5oz wholemeal spelt & 1oz buckwheat), 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Stirred in 4oz demerara sugar.
  • Peeled, cored and chopped 1 large cooking apple (unnamed Cornish variety) into smallish pieces and stirred this into the flour.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in chocolate mixture.
  • Mixed this in together with 2 duck eggs.
  • Poured in 2 fl oz cider and mixed well.
  • Poured this into a 20cm silicone cake thingy and baked at 180C (gas 4) for 40 mins ( which was a few minutes too long as the top got a little bit burnt).
As you can see, couldn’t help tucking into this one before I had a chance to take a picture. It was good and the cinnamon worked well, but I have to say it wasn’t enjoyed as much as last week’s adaptation. Burning the top didn’t help as I do not like the taste of burn and lean towards overly moist rather than overly dry. Don’t let me put you off though, it had a good texture and tasted pleasant.

Cocoa Nibbed Muesli

Breakfast | 8th October 2009 | By

In a bid to have a slightlier healthier breakfast in the mornings than our normal toast, I thought it was time to make muesli again. This time though I wanted to add some highly nutritious cocoa nibs which have the added bonus of giving a nice chocolatey crunch.

Here’s how:
  • Toasted 1lb of rolled oats in oven 175C until very slightly brown and smelling nutty – left to cool.
  • Toasted 6oz mixed nuts (walnuts, brazils and hazelnuts) chopped into pieces in oven at same temperature for about 10 mins – left to cool.
  • Toasted 4oz mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds in oven at same temperature for about 5 mins – left to cool.
  • Spooned these into a large jar, then added: 2oz cocoa nibs, 1 tbsp pollen, 2oz raisins, 2oz dried papaya chunks, 2oz dried pineapple and 2oz goji berries.
  • Gave jar a jolly good shake until all nicely mixed together.
Delicious eaten with yogurt or with kefir, especially if left to soak for a while. As you can see from the, admittedly not so great picture, inroads have already been made on this batch!

Apple Cider Chocolate Chunk Cake

Large Cakes | 2nd October 2009 | By

With the Somerset Cider Apple Cake very much in mind from last week (see previous post), I did some cider shopping this morning! Nothing lacking this time, I set to and started baking. I adapted the recipe to include chocolate – in fact I substituted chocolate for the sultanas as I thought having both might be rather overwhelming.

This is what I did:
  • Creamed 6oz unsalted butter with 8oz light brown cane sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs – one by one.
  • Sieved 10oz flour (5oz wholemeal spelt & 5oz white spelt), 1.5 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp mixed spice and mixed this in alternately with 1/4 pint cider.
  • Peeled, cored and chopped 2 cooking apples (3/4 lb of Cornish unnamed variety) into smallish pieces.
  • Finally mixed these in together with 100g of good quality milk chocolate (34% green & black’s) chopped into chunks.
  • Spooned this into a 22cm cake thingie and baked at 180C for 35 mins.
The result was as good as I had hoped it would be. The chocolate chunks made a good substitute for sultanas, giving that additional sweet hit – and they melt in the mouth better than the average sultana. I shall be making this one again. Thanks go to Giles’s mum for this one.