- Melted 100g bar 85% dark chocolate and left to cool slightly.
- Creamed 4.5oz unsalted butter with 4.50z light muscovado sugar & grated zest of 1 orange.
- Beat in chocolate.
- Beat in 3 medium size eggs, one by one.
- Sieved in 6oz flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt & 1/2 white spelt) with 2 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt.
- Stirred in juice from same orange with a couple of tbsp of water as it was quite a stiff mixture.
- Stirred in 3oz natural glace cherries – halved and 2oz of walnuts – roughly chopped.
- Spooned mixture into a 21cm cake thingy and baked at 180C (gas 4) for 30 mins.
- Turned out onto rack and left to cool.
- Rolled out 8oz natural almond marzipan into a round to fit top of cake.
- Melted 100g bar of 70% dark chocolate with 1/2 oz butter and two tbsp of date syrup.
- Stirred this until smooth then covered cake with the marzipan and then the marzipan with the chocolate mixture.
- Decorated with 12 toasted walnut halves.
After the indulgence of saturday’s Yule log, it was time to knuckle down and make a few presents. In preparation, I’d earlier bought some single cupcake boxes to add to the bags and baskets of various goodies that I’ve made (not quite as many as I’d originally planned, but at least I have something of a selection – medlar jelly, cranberry, walnut and white chocolate cookies (will be posting this one for Sweet & Simple Bakes on 1 January) and most importantly for this recipe, redcurrant vodka. How could I let all those booze soaked redcurrants go to waste? I couldn’t of course, so – stroke of genius – I decided to use them in the cupcakes.
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter with 125g dark brown sugar until pale.
- Beat in 3 smallish eggs (would have used 2 duck eggs, but didn’t have any).
- Sieve in 125g sieved flour (1/2 wholemeal spelt and 1/2 white spelt), 1 tsp baking powder, 1 heaped tbsp cocoa and 1 tsp mixed spice.
- Then stirred in 6 large tbsp of redcurrants marinaded in vodka & sugar for 3 months then drained (alternatively you could use 100g raisins soaked overnight in brandy).
- Divided mixture between 12 cupcake cases and baked in a preheated oven at 180C (gas 4) for 22 mins.
- Left to cool whilst made the topping.
- Melted 100g 70% dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
- Creamed 100g butter with 50g icing sugar.
- Mixed in slightly cooled chocolate and spread on top of the cupcakes.
- Decorated with cranberries and chocolate snowflakes.
A chocolate log blog without a chocolate log recipe? With the Christmas season in full swing, pressure has been mounting to correct this omission. What to bake? Actually, it wasn’t that difficult, a recipe I’ve been wanting to try has been lurking in my pile of dusty magazines & cuttings since 2005 – better late than never! It’s a chocolate chestnut roulade from I’m no longer sure where.
I may not have managed to do much in the way of Christmas baking this year, but I did get to make a rather rich and fruity version of a “no bake cake” today. We may not have mince pies to offer the good folk who drop in to alleviate some of CTs boredom as he continues to languish on the sofa, but I do now have an alternative Christmas offering!
- Melted 200g Maya Gold (dark orange spiced chocolate) with 4oz unsalted butter and 4 tbsp double cream.
- In a large bowl, broke up 8oz digestive biscuits into small pieces (but not crumbs) with the end of a rolling pin.
- Added 4oz walnut pieces (again not too small), 2oz goji berries, 2oz crystallised ginger – chopped and 2oz dried figs – chopped.
- Mixed in chocolate mixture until all thoroughly combined, but taking care not to break up the biscuits and other pieces too much.
- Turned out into a 9″ sq cake thingy and left in the cold for a couple of hours. Normally, one would expect this to go into the fridge to set, but our kitchen is so cold, fridge was not needed.
- When set cut into 24 rectangular pieces.
What a fantastic time I had at Schumacher College and what a great place it is to unwind and meet interesting folk. The course, Baking for a New Food Culture, gave me even more than I had hoped for. I now have a new food hero, Andrew Whitley, the authority on all bread matters!
See Andrew’s site Bread Matters for further information about the importance of real, non-industrialised bread and a short video clip showing something very similar to what we were doing at Schumacher including air kneading. Here, you can also buy a copy of his highly informative book “Bread Matters: why and how to make your own” and / or join the Real Bread Campaign.