Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I can’t help but think of cake. I feel something light and spring like is needed. I know, how about a lavender honey cake scented with lemon and smothered in honey cream cheese icing? Sorted.
Dark, decadent and delicious these black velvet cheesecake swirl brownies with stout caramel sauce are not to be missed. If you’re expecting guests any time soon, switch the oven on.
A rich decadent three layered chocolate cashew pie for a special occasion. It’s a biscuit crust, filled with dark chocolate ganache and topped off with a creamy confection of cashew nut butter, cream cheese and whipped cream.
A delicious light-textured and mousse-like chocolate cake with crunchy pecan pieces and hidden veg. This chocolate pecan pumpkin cake is covered in a rum flavoured cream cheese icing. Halloween decorations are entirely optional.
Vegetable cakes are nothing new. They’ve been popular for a very long time now. But have you ever tried a Jerusalem artichoke cake? It’s chewy, crunchy, moist and abundant with a very pleasing nuttiness. A sharp lemony cream cheese icing sets it off beautifully.
My mother asked me back in November (oh dear where does the time go?) if I would make a cake for her. She volunteers at her village community centre and wanted the cake as a leaving and thank you present for her boss. I knew it was time to make Ruth Clemens’ (aka The Pink Whisk) Tiramisu Cake. This is not a natural choice for me as I am in a small minority of non-coffee lovers. However, I do know it is considered to be one of the most popular flavours ever and I have supporting evidence. When The KitchenMaid chose coffee as the We Should Cocoa special ingredient, we had a record number of entries and Lucy had to do the round-up in two parts. Tiramisu, everyone assures me, is a delicious dessert, so transformed into cake form, how could it fail to please? That was my reasoning anyway.
Ruth is one of those bakers whose recipes I trust. I’ve made a number of her bakes and not once has she let me down. However, as I am completely incapable of following a recipe, I did make a few adaptations. As it was meant to be tiramisu, I used cream cheese in the icing. I wanted to use the classic mascarpone, but when I went down to our local co-op, I found it had stopped selling it, which was mighty annoying. I had to make do with Philadelphia instead. I didn’t cover the cake with ganache either as I wanted the contrast between the chocolate and cream colours to stand out. I reduced the amount of icing sugar in the icing and also used slightly less sugar in the cake.
This is how I made:
- Brewed a strong batch of filter coffee and left to cool.
- Creamed 165g unsalted butter with 250g soft brown sugar and 70g dark brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs, one at a time.
- Sifted in 260g flour (100g wholemeal, 100g white, 60g self-raising white), 70g cocoa and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- Stirred this in gently, alternating with 220 ml of sour milk.
- Added 4 tbsp of the cooled coffee and stirred until just incorporated.
- Divided the mixture between 2 x 20 cm cake moulds and baked at 180°C for 30 minutes until the cakes were well risen and an inserted skewer came out clean.
- Left to cool for ten minutes, then turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Creamed 60g unsalted butter with a couple of large spoonfuls from 250g icing sugar.
- Beat in 100g cream cheese, then slowly added the rest of the icing sugar.
- Added 1 tbsp Marsala and 3 tbsp strong coffee. Beat until all smooth and a good spreading consistency achieved.
- Spread one cake with half the mixture, placed the other cake on top and topped with the remaining icing.
- Sprinkled with whatever chocolate bits I could lay my hands on.
I wasn’t expecting it to turn out to be such a stonker of a cake, but petite it was certainly not. CT was rather upset to find his tasting services were not required; unlike me, he enjoys coffee flavoured cakes. Nevertheless, the feedback I received via my mother was very positive and was most gratifyingly demonstrated by an empty plate.
I’m sending this off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays
I’m also entering this into Emily’s Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too.
This month’s Random Recipes has been restricted to puddings, cakes and bakes, which suits me fine. I picked my book the usual way using Eat Your Books and got Seaweed and Eat It: a family foraging and cooking adventure by Fiona Houston and Xa Milne.
My mind went into a bit of a frenzy trying to imagine what seaweed and chocolate would taste like and in what form I could possibly put them together. I had a look through the book and really there wasn’t a great deal I felt I could make from it – not that included chocolate anyway. So, I cheated a little, just a tiny bit. Before giving up on the book entirely, I thought I’d look to see if there was a suitable recipe I could adapt and I found one – Yummy Muffins. These muffins were unlike anything I’d made before as they used cream cheese and lemon juice so I was keen to try them. One of the ingredients was foraged berries. Well I didn’t have any of those to hand, but I did have plenty of windfall apples, so I used those instead. And of course, I added a bit of chocolate.
This is how I made:
Apple Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Sifted 300g flour into a bowl together with 1½ tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of sea salt.
- Stirred in 175g cardamom (caster) sugar.
- Peeled, cored and finely chopped 2 cooking apples making about 200g in total.
- Added this to the flour and stirred to coat.
- Chopped 75g of milk chocolate (35% G&B)
- Melted 90g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat 90g cream cheese with the juice of half a lemon until combined.
- Beat in 2 eggs, followed by the butter.
- Beat in 125 ml sour milk – recipe stated ordinary milk, but I had some to hand that needed using up.
- Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and poured in the wet ingredients. Mixed gently until just combined.
- Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 180°C for 25 minutes.
As we hadn’t been out of Cornwall, I didn’t have anything particularly exotic to offer the team on my return from annual leave, so these muffins went back to work with me instead. They quickly disappeared and the feedback I got was very positive, so I can say these muffins were a success and I shall be making them again.
These muffins were specifically created for Dom’s Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen.
As these muffins were meant to be made with foraged fruit and were in fact made by foraged windfalls, I am submitting them to Credit Crunch Munch which is hosted this month by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. This is a monthly challenge run by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.
Bramble (or blackberry) and apple is such a classic combination, I thought it ought to be tried in cupcake form. I’ve been wanting to make something along these lines for a long time. At last my blackberry and apple cupcakes have come to fruition. Read on for the recipe.
When I was asked if I’d like to bake some cakes as samples for Liskeard’s Fine Food event a couple of weeks ago, I had to come up with something that would be tasty, quick to bake, could be easily cut into smallish pieces and most importantly included chocolate. As apples were in season, I felt honour bound to include these too.
When Dom of Belleau Kitchen asked me to pick a number for his always exciting Random Recipes challenge, I was away from home and unable to follow his exact instructions – that’s my excuse anyway. So instead of counting my books, I picked my lucky number 17 instead. It seems that any blame for what you get sits on my shoulders this month – nice one Dom!
As Dom had honoured me by getting to pick the special number, I thought I really ought to try and do this challenge without cheating. NOT, I hasten to add, that I normally cheat; I’ve just interpreted the challenge to refer to my chocolate cook books only. But not this time, I was going to be intrepid and include all of my many cookbooks scattered around the house, open a page randomly and then take the first chocolate recipe that followed from the page I landed on. If, I reasoned, I got a book that had, god forbid, no chocolate recipes, I would move on to the next book.
Hoist by my own petard. No. 17 for me was Low-Carb Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown. Being a bit of a carb junkie, this book has been languishing on my shelves for many years largely unused. And what I got was something that sounded really quite strange – chocolate marzipan cheesecake. It doesn’t seem like an obvious match made in heaven, but I love marzipan, I love cheesecake, so why not?
CT also loves cheesecake and as he is going through a particularly tough time of it, I was hoping that this would be a welcome treat for him.
Reading through the recipe, I was rather dubious about a couple of things, both revolving around a loose-based cake tin. As some of you know, I’m a big fan of silcone moulds which has really made baking life sooooo much easier. I used to be put off by having to line tins, it just seemed one step too far. Now I don’t even think about it – not very often anyway. Cheesecake I felt really couldn’t be done in a silicone mould so I’d have to chance it using the stated tin. Firstly it didn’t say anything about greasing or lining the tin, so I hoped that only greasing it would be OK. Secondly, I was worried that the butter would just melt and leak out all over the oven. I did prepare for this eventuality by putting the tin on a baking tray just in case.
This is how I made my first ever baked cheesecake:
- Melted 50g unsalted butter in a medium sized pan.
- Added 100g ground almonds, 2 tbsp Rapadura (my chosen sweetener), a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and a couple of drops of almond extract.
- Mixed together than pressed down into a buttered 20″ round loose-based cake tin.
- Placed in the fridge to set.
- Melted 150g Green&Black’s dark 72% cooks’ chocolate in a bowl over hot water and left to cool a little.
- Threw 250g mascarpone, 250g cream cheese, 2 duck eggs and 6 level tbsp of Rapadura (my chosen sweetener) into a bowl and beat with electric beaters until all combined.
- Beat in the melted chocolate.
- Spooned the mixture over the marzipan and levelled the top.
- Baked at 150C for 50 minutes.
I was quite right, the butter leaked out all over the baking sheet. The top also cracked, not nice delicate cracks, but great fissures that really didn’t look very attractive. But it did come out of the tin without sticking too much and it was really quite delicious, in fact very delicious. The filling was smooth, creamy and comfortingly chocolatey. The base was chewy, slightly almondy and really rather nice. The two made for quite a delightful contrast and certainly didn’t detract from each other’s flavours. CT was very well pleased with it and it kept him going for some time.
And as this is the month of mad March baking and contains Marzipan and Mascarpone as main ingredients I am also submitting this to the second ever Alpha Bakes where the letter is M. This is hosted by Caroline Makes this month, but alternates with Ros of The more than occasional baker.