Kick-Back Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

Why, I’m now wondering, have I never made Black Forest gateau before? It’s a fabulous bake; not only is it very tasty but it’s also relatively simple to make.

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Berry and Rose Kefir Smoothie

Rose Berry Smoothies

Following on from the success of my Red Berry Smoothie in a Bowl, I thought I’d try a smoothie in a sundae glass and eat it with a spoon. If you are going to eat something with a spoon, it encourages you to sit down – and a sit down breakfast is a rare treat for me.

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Chocolate Chilli Berry Mincemeat

Christmas, Preserves | 29th November 2013 | By

 

Homemade mincemeat is a revelation, once made it’s hard to go back to a commercial product. Even inveterate mincemeat sceptics like CT are happy to partake of this. In fact it was hard to keep his hands off the Chilli and Chocolate Mincemeat Slice I made last year.

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Chocolate Amaretto Biscuit Cake

No Bake | 27th November 2013 | By

 Now I do love a good biscuit cake and here, as promised in my persimmon chocolate cakes post, is the recipe for the Chocolate Amaretto Cake guaranteed to enhance any gathering. It’s certainly guaranteed to put me in a good mood.

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Sour Cherry Brownies – A Miracle

This is another post that’s been sitting in my archives for a very long time and one I keep thinking I must post as it might be useful to others. I call these miracle brownies, because just as I thought they were a complete flop and I was panicking about running out of time to make a substitute, a long shot paid off and they came together quite miraculously.

Sour Cherry Brownies

In my humble opinion, no self respecting cake display is complete without some brownies. So when I was planning what to bake for my friend’s house party, I knew some sort of brownies would need to be included. As it happened, I came across a recipe for Chocolate and Cherry Brownies in Green&Black’s Unwrapped when I was looking for another recipe. Brilliant, I had two bars of G&B’s sour cherry chocolate I’d bought at some point just waiting for the right occasion. I have a particular fondness for this bar, it’s a 60% dark chocolate packed full of sour cherries. The bitter, sweet and sour makes for a terrific combination. So substituting this for the dried cherries in the recipe, adding some cocoa and scaling it down by a third, this is what I did:

  • Melted 200g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat with 2 x 100g bars of dark cherry chocolate.
  • With electric beaters, whisked 300g vanilla sugar (granulated) with 4 eggs (1 duck & 3 medium hen’s) and a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt for several minutes until thick and tripled in volume.
  • Stirred the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Sifted in 130g flour (half wholemeal, 1/2 white) and 1 tbsp cocoa then folded in until just incorporated.
  • Poured into a 9″ sq cake mould and baked at 180C for 25 minutes.
  • Left to cool and tried to cut into 36 squares BUT disaster, the mixture had not only sunk but was still liquid! Having spent the day baking cakes, I’d had enough at this point, so covered them up and went to bed.
  • In the morning with a clearer head, I thought there was nothing to lose by attempting to rebake them. So back into the oven they went for a further 12 minutes.
  • Amazingly, the mixture rose again – it was a miracle!
  • At this point, I was convinced I’d overdone them, but on cooling and cutting this time, they were just about perfect.
Sour Cherry Brownies

So, I learnt a really useful lesson here. Brownies can be doubly baked with no harm coming to them at all. The brownies were so good, I vowed I would make them again as soon as possible – nearly two years on, I still haven’t done so.

Apple & Cherry Wensleydale Chocolate Chip Cake

Loaf Cakes | 10th December 2012 | By

Earlier in the year, the more than occasional baker made an apple cake using Wensleydale cheese with added cranberries. Well, I was intrigued by this and her description had me bookmarking the recipe immediately. As with most of the recipes I bookmark, it’s taken me some time to try it out, but try it out I eventually did. The Wensleydale I used was one studded with cherries. With my recent discovery that chocolate and cheese go very well together I also added some chocolate, but this could of course be left out if it is deemed to be overkill.

I was recently sent a few Fairtrade goodies from the Fairtrade Foundation and I was keen to try them out.

This is how I did it:

  • Placed 150g unsalted butter in a bowl and left it on our storage heater for an hour to soften (the kitchen has gone into it’s no need for a fridge phase).
  • Sifted 175g flour (half white, half wholemeal) into a bowl together with 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Peeled, cored and chopped 1 large tart apple (unidentified Cornish variety) and tossed into the flour ensuring all surfaces were coated to prevent browning.
  • Chopped 50g of Traidcraft dark chocolate (70%) into chips.
  • Crumbled 125g cherry Wensleydale cheese into small bits.
  • Creamed the butter with 175g golden caster sugar until it was really pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs, one by one.
  • Folded in the flour and apple, mixing in 3 tbsp milk when the mixture became too stiff.
  • Gently stirred in the chocolate and cheese.
  • Spooned into a 2lb loaf mould.
  • Cored, peeled and sliced a small tart Cornish apple (variety unidentified) and laid over the cake.
  • Sprinkled over 1 tbsp demerara sugar and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
  • Allowed to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack and cutting a slice immediately!

The cake looked so tempting with its shiny toffee apple top that I couldn’t wait for it to cool, so I cut a slice whilst still warm. The smell of cheese on toast as I raised it to my lips was slightly disconcerting, but luckily this didn’t put me off. It had a fantastic texture and good flavour, sweet with little bursts of saltiness courtesy of the cheese. As the cake was quite sweet, this worked really well; together with the tart apple and bitter chocolate almost all taste sensations were covered.

I’m submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.

Chocolate Swirled Clafoutis – We Should Cocoa 24

As soon as I heard that Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen had picked cherries as the special ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I had clafoutis in mind. For Christmas I received a beautiful red clafoutis dish from my mother and although much admired, I hadn’t actually used it yet. This was the spur I needed.

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Chocolate Cherry Trifle

Dessert, Top of the Pops | 19th August 2011 | By

Having made one decedent dessert a few weeks ago, I was soon ready for another. I had cherries, I had some crème fraîche that needed using up and some egg yolks left over from the Chestnut Cream Meringue Cake I’d made. Friends from The Viewing Gallery had also just given me a jar of their wild cherry jam. Black Forest sprang to mind.

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Nigella’s Florentines and Spiced Hot Chocolate

The Tin and Thyme Version of Nigella's Florentines

Biscuits, Gifts | 24th March 2011 | By

This recipe is the Tin and Thyme version of Nigella’s Florentines. They’re easy to make, if a bit messy and they are nutty, chewy and delicious to eat. The dark chocolate creates the perfect foil for the sweet biscuits. They make great gifts for family and friends at any time of the year, but particularly at Christmas.

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Chocolate Simnel Cake

Easter, Large Cakes | 17th April 2010 | By


I love marzipan, so I got very excited when I started to see Simnel cake posts appearing on the blogosphere around Mother’s Day this year. This is traditionally served at Easter, although it is also associated with Mothering Sunday where servant girls were given the day off and allowed to take a cake home for their mothers. Not only do you get all that lovely marzipan on top, but you get the most delightful surprise layer of squidgy marzipan in the middle which half melts into the cake mixture as it cooks. The whole is topped off with 11 balls of this delicious almond confection. These balls are there to represent the 12 apostles, minus Judas, for reasons any Christian can explain.

Giles’s post for Simple Simnel Cake was the inspiration I used to create my own chocolate version. I particularly liked this one because of the inclusion of apricots. Unfortunately, when I went to make the cake, there were no apricots to be found. Improvising madly, I ended up using dried papaya and pineapple instead. This is what I did:
  • Creamed 6oz brown sugar with 6oz unsalted butter until pale and well incorporated.
  • Beat in 3 large eggs alternately with 6oz sieved flour (4oz wholemeal spelt and 2oz coconut flour) and 1 tsp baking powder.
  • Stirred in 1 oz ground almonds, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 2 tsp ground ginger.
  • Added 2oz dried papaya, 2oz dried pineapple, 3oz cherries (halved), 2oz raisins and 100g 70% dark chocolate (broken into small pieces).
  • Mixed in 2 large tbsp Greek yogurt (TOTAL 0% fat)
  • Spooned 1/2 of the mixture into a 22cm cake thingie, then covered this with 5oz marzipan rolled out into a round slightly smaller than the cake. Covered with remaining cake mixture.
  • Baked at 160C for 1 hour until firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (ish).
  • Allowed to cool, wrapped well in greaseproof paper and placed in a tin for a couple of weeks.
  • On the day of reckoning, rolled out 6oz marzipan into a 22cm round to cover the cake.
  • Melted 1 tbsp plum jam (didn’t have any apricot) and brushed over the top of the cake. Placed the marzipan round on top of this and gently pressed into position.
  • Divided another 4oz marzipan into 11 equal lumps and rolled into balls. Placed these around the edge of the cake.
  • Brushed the whole with a beaten egg and put under the grill for mins to brown slightly. Unfortunately, like King Alfred, I managed to burn the marzipan at this point.
  • Decorated with chocolate eggs.
Foolishly I made this three weeks ahead of the event – trying to be organised and thinking that, like a Christmas cake, it would improve on keeping. Nearer the time, I realised this was only a light fruit cake with a relatively short shelf life and I started to panic. Luckily when it came to the grand unveiling at my Easter Tea, all was well. The cake was still moist and made a good impression on all that partook of it. The seemingly burnt marzipan added a lovely caramel flavour – phew! I was somewhat dubious as to how the chocolate would affect the cake, but it actually worked really well. The chocolate bits were by no means overwhelming, but they did enhance the flavour and combined particularly well with the marzipan. Now I know it works, I’m keen to try chocolate with fruit cake again.
I’ve kindly just been given permission to enter this for Julia’s Easter Cake Bake over at A Slice of Cherry Pie, even though I’m a little on the late side – oops and thank you Julia!

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