This cinnamon coconut chocolate crunch traybake is a real crowd pleaser. It’s ideal for parties where both children and adults will love it. It has less sugar than similar bakes, but its nutty crunchiness will have you coming back for more. It’s quick and easy to make; the hardest part is waiting for the chocolate crunch to cool and set.
Today is the first day of National Chocolate Week. It’s caught me completely unawares this year. I’m worried I’m losing my chocolate grip. In a panic, I’ve just had a look through my draft posts to see if I have anything suitable. Well, I sort of do, a post from 18 months ago! These caramel chocolate chip bars may not be overloaded with chocolate, but they were rather good.
When I saw a recipe for banana ginger cake chez The Caked Crusader the other day, I knew there was nothing to be done but make it as soon as I could. Banana and ginger is not an obvious pairing by any means, but the cake just sounded so good – and it was.
A Basbousa is an Egyptian classic. It’s a dense semolina yoghurt cake flavoured with burnt butter and honey and doused with rose, lemon and cardamom syrup. You’ll find it in every pastry shop in Egypt and it’s often served with cream. But it’s not very easy to find here in the UK, so here’s an easy recipe for you to make your own.
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℃.
- 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℃.
- 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.
A classic oaty traybake with added chocolate chips and pecans, layered with nectarines marinaded in Amaretto. This nectarine pecan slice is perfect for high summer when nectarines, plums, peaches and apricots are almost dripping of the fruit bowl.
If you are anything like me, you will have odds and ends of recipes scattered around the house, used as bookmarks, scribbled on scraps or in piles somewhere or other and never to be found when needed. I keep meaning to get organised and to collect my favourite not to be forgotten recipes in one place, but somehow don’t seem to have managed it – yet.
Recently, I was sent A Cake Lover’s Recipe Notebook by Jane Brocket which would be perfect for this exercise or at least for keeping all my favourite cake recipes together. Published by Jacqui Small, it comes as a spiral bound hardback measuring roughly 20 x 23cm with a pretty vintage style textured cloth cover. The notebook is divided into sections, mostly categorised by type of cake and separated by tabs. It starts with an introduction, encouragingly entitled, let’s eat cake which celebrates the joy of baking. There then follows a chapter on baking essentials, which usefully outlines essential ingredients, equipment, methods and techniques. At the back of the book, you can find a list of addresses for suppliers. Each section includes two pre-prepared recipes. These are not meant to be particularly innovative, but classic cakes which, we are assured, are failsafe and perfect for the beginner. The recipes are all accompanied by beautiful vintage type illustrations that make me want to throw a tea party immediately.
Each section has about 16 recipe cards with space for ingredients, method and what size cake it makes or how many. It also has a handy little tick box for “make again”. There is a page to list the shape, size and number of your baking tins (or moulds in my case). I think I shall find this particularly useful as I don’t have the room to have them all in one cupboard or even all in the kitchen and often lose track of what I’ve actually got. At the back of the book, you will find pages for notes as well as favourite cake and baking shops, an idea I felt was particularly appealing.
Out of the twelve recipes included, I was relieved to see that three of them were chocolate ones: brownies, mocha cake and bûche de Noël. However, after considering making fondant fancies and covering them with chocolate icing, I decided to adapt the almond slice recipe instead. I had a jar of my chilli chocolate mincemeat left over from the Christmas before last and it was in need of using up. I thought it would make an ideal substitute for the raspberry jam in the recipe. I made only half the quantity as sadly, I had no tea party to give.
This is how I made:
Almond Mincemeat Slices
- Poured 100g flour (half wholemeal, half white) into a mixing bowl together with 25g ground almonds and 25g cardamom sugar (caster).
- Added 60g cubed unsalted butter and rubbed this into the flour until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
- Added 1 tbsp of cold water and stirred with a knife.
- Poured the mixture into a 7″ sq silicone mould and pressed it down with a spoon to form an even layer on the bottom.
- Baked at 180°C for 10 minutes.
- Creamed 70g unsalted butter with 70g cardamom sugar (caster) until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 1 duck egg.
- Sifted in 70g ground almonds, 40g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and ½ tsp baking powder.
- Stirred until just combined.
- Spread a layer of mincemeat over the shortbread base (about 8 tbsp) then covered this with the frangipane topping.
- Scattered a handful of flaked almonds over the top and baked at 180°C for 18 minutes until the top was risen and golden.
- Left to cool in the mould, then cut into 12 slices.
These slices were a true delight. The shortbread base was short and crumbly, the frangipane top was light and almondy and the chocolate mincemeat held it all together very nicely.
As my mincemeat was about to walk out of the cupboard and into the bin, I just got there in time. So I’m submitting this to the No Waste Food Challenge, normally hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen but this month by the wonderful Chris of Cooking Around the World.
Thanks to Jacqui Small for the notebook. There was no requirement to write a positive review and as always all opinions are my own.
Jacqui Small have kindly agreed to give two of my readers a copy of A Cake Lover’s Recipe Notebook. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated or invalid entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this will result in another winner being picked.
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.
Rose and raspberries are the quintessential essence of summer. The flavours go together extraordinarily well too. This raspberry, rose and white chocolate traybake is a wonderful sweet and fruity cake for summer. It’s simple to make and can easily be cut into squares and still look good.
I’m sure most of you will know Ruth Clemens as the highly accomplished finalist in the first series of The Great British Bake Off on BBC television three years ago. I expect most of you will be familiar with her engaging and informative blog The Pink Whisk. But did you know that she has published not one, but two print books as well as several e-books? The Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating which I have to confess I have not seen, came first. I was, however, recently sent a copy of her second book, The Pink Whisk Guide to Cake Making to review. Published by David & Charles it is priced at £12.99 and is available in most book shops as well as from The Pink Whisk’s very own online shop.
I have been following The Pink Whisk blog since its inception back in 2010 and have found it interesting, thorough and informative. I’ve tried a few of Ruth’s recipes in the past and they have worked really well every time; she is not a ‘fling it all together and hope for the best’ type of girl. She has her readers very much in mind when writing and delivers well researched, practised and reliable recipes. This approach carries through to her book. In the introduction Ruth explains how she made 25 versions of her golden syrup cake before she was satisfied enough to include this recipe in her book – see what I mean about thorough?
Aimed primarily at the novice or unconfident baker, this 127 page step-by-step guide leads the reader gently but smartly through the art of making cakes. There is a guide to equipment, a comprehensive guide to basic ingredients and a few pages of techniques such as how to tell when a cake is properly baked, how to line a tin and how to rescue your cake when it looks as though it’s gone wrong. The main part of the book contains the recipes and is divided between the three main methods of creation: creaming, whisking and melting. Top tips are given throughout and whilst the reader is given explicit technical instructions to follow, they are also encouraged to be adventurous and play with different flavours. Although there are only 28 recipes in total, they are by no means standard fare. Ruth has come up with a diversity of types and flavours and there are bakes here to interest the more experienced cook as well as the beginner. The rhubarb and custard bombe sounds particularly fun and quite a technical challenge as well – it’s rhubarb season at the moment …..
As you’d expect from the pink whisk, pink is the dominant colour of the book with either text or pages in pink with flourishes of pastel blue which gives a bit of contrast. There are plenty of pictures to give an idea of what the final bake should look like, something that is lacking in most cookbooks these days. Many of the recipes have photos to accompany the step-by-step instructions. These recipes are then followed by something similar, so the same method can be used – a nifty way of providing interest without having to photograph every step again. Once a Victoria sponge has been mastered, for example, a whole world of combinations is opened up.
The banana and cardamom chocolate brownie cake grabbed my attention and I fully intended to make it. But when I was ready to start baking, I realised I didn’t have any bananas. I did, however have some fudge made by my aunt and given to me at Christmas, so I rapidly changed track and turned my hand to Ruth’s choc chip and fudge Madeira cake. I made a few adjustments of course – I just can’t help myself (sorry Ruth!). For a start, I decided to make this as a traybake rather than a loaf cake.
This is how I made
Choc Chip and Fudge Madeira Squares
- Creamed 150g unsalted butter with 150g vanilla sugar (caster) until very light & fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs.
- Sifted in 180g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half white) and 3/4 tsp baking powder.
- Added 60g dark chocolate buttons and 50g chopped fudge.
- Spooned into an 8″ (20 cm) sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 25 minutes, when it was risen, golden and an inserted skewer came out clean.
- Melted 25g dark chocolate and drizzled it very inelegantly over the top of the cake.
- Scattered 25g chopped fudge over the top.
- Allowed to cool then cut into 12 rectangles.
I had complete confidence in Ruth and knew this cake would turn out well and it did. It rose well, cut well, looked good and tasted good. It was not as sweet as I thought it might be, which I take to be a bonus. It’s a real crowd pleaser that I suspect would go down well at any cake sale. That banana and cardamom chocolate brownie cake is definitely on my radar.