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Chocolate Cake and Chapel Down

Most chocolate cakes these days are heavy and rich.  This one is rich, but the cake is light, the richness is in the glazing.  This cake recipe works really well as a double layered cake, but I made it as just one layer and made a rich chocolate glaze. But if you want a double layer cake you could fill it either with a chocolate ganache or a fresh cream and sprinkle with icing sugar.  Or if you really are a chocolate lover make double layer, fill with ganache and coat in the glaze…

Ingredients:thumb_IMG_3534_1024

110gms Self raising flour

3 Tbsp Cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

110gms butter

2 eggs

110gms Sugar

Method:

Grease a small round cake tin and line tin in baking parchment paper.  Heat oven to 180degrees on fan bake.

Cream butter and sugar, beat eggs and gradually mix in to butter and sugar to make sure you don’t split the butter.

Sieve together flour, baking powder and Cocoa and fold into butter mix.  Add 2 tbsp of boiling water and mix gently.  Pour into cake tin and spread  evenly.

Cook for 25-30min – until top bounces back and skewer is clean.

Chocolate Glaze:

1. Mix together: 2 Tbsp Sugar & 110mls thick double cream, Boil sugar and double cream in a pan.

2. cut finely 100 gm dark chocolate and put in a bowl with 20gms of butter

3. Add boiled cream mixture to dark chocolate and butter and mix until smooth

4. Let it cool slightly and then pour over the cake and spread evenly over top and around sides.

Decorate however you like!

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Chocolate cake and Chapel Down

Chocolate cake and Chapel Down

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Lemon lavender drizzle cake

I have been working on my garden this summer and planted a lot of lavender and it smells amazing! I’m going to harvest it at the end of summer to make little smelly sachets. Well – it is on my list of things to do – but we will see!

light and fluffy.. perfect combination of two great flavours

light and fluffy.. perfect combination of two great flavours

Anyway, it inspired me today to make a little twist on the lemon drizzle cake with lavender. Lemon and lavender are both strong flavours so what better than a Lemon lavender drizzle cake.

Ingredients:

175gm butter

175gm golden caster sugar

3 eggs

175gm self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cooking lavender

2 tbsp lemon zest

2 tbsp lemon juice

Syrup:

4 tbsp caster sugar

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp lavender

Instructions:

Cream butter and sugar

Gradually add egg, careful not to split the butter mix

Add the lemon, mix in

Sieve flour, baking powder and mix lavender with dry ingredients, mix into butter mix with metal spoon.

Add a little water (tbsp) to loosen batter and pour into greased/lined tin.

Bake at 180 for 30-35min.

Let cool and pour syrup over top.

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Simple vanilla cupcakes

I am funny about cupcakes. I don’t like them masquerading as afternoon tea. They have their place, and are tasty, but don’t belong in afternoon tea.

Having said that, I made some wonderful vanilla cupcakes last week.

They are so easy, in fact almost the same as my Victoria sponge recipe.

I made them in the evening, baby was asleep, dog had his bone. Husband at the pub.

One mistake was not hiding them as seems someone got the munchies after the pub and my dozen cupcakes were a lonely 8 by morning.

Ingredients:

110gm butter

110gm caster sugar

110gm self raising flour

2 eggs

1-2 tbsp milk.

Vanilla

1. Cream butter and sugar

2. Beat eggs and gradually add to butter/sugar mix.

3. Add vanilla

4 fold in flour with metal spoon

5. Add a little milk to give it a smoother texture

6. Spoon into cupcake tins and bake at 180degrees in fan oven for 12-15 min – or until skewer is clean when tested.

7. Ice with whatever you fancy!

Done!

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Yummy Tiramisu

Last night we had friends for dinner, an Italian themed menu, of course it had to be Tiramisu for dinner. As there is no gluten free lady fingers (that I have found), I made a gluten free sponge in its place.

Gluten Free Tiramisu

Recipe Instructions:

Make the sponge (as per my Victoria sponge recipe)

Instead of using a cake tin, put the cake mix into a piping bag and pipe out some ‘fingers’ on a tray.

Cook for 15min or until brown.

Leave to cool (ideally overnight).

To make the Tiramisu:

Mix together 150ml of Marscapone with 300mls of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar and 50mls of Disaranno. Beat until thick.

Soak sponge fingers one at a time in cold Espresso, lay into your dish or glasses (i used old cut glass brandy glasses).

Layer with cream mix, add another layer of espresso soaked sponge.

Top with final layer of cream mix.

Use a sieve to cover with cocoa powder, top with shaved dark chocolate

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The light and fluffy Victoria Sponge

A fantastic Victoria sponge can be the best cake. Light and fluffy, jam centre, nothing beats it.

This recipe is as light as it gets. I think the real trick to getting a light vic sponge is soft butter to start.

In this recipe I have used half rice flour and half potato flour in place of the self raising flour. I have added a teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of xanthar gum.

It is wonderful. I have fought off the urge to eat the whole thing!!

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Recipe:

115gm butter
115gm caster sugar
2 eggs
115gm self raising flour
2 tablespoons of water

Beat butter and sugar til light and fluffy. Make sure the butter is really soft before starting.

Beat eggs in a bowl. Slowly add eggs a tablespoon at a time to the butter mix, continue beating butter each time you add the egg.

Sieve flour into mix, mix through and then add water, mix again.

Pour into the sandwich tin (lined with paper and greased).

Bake at 180-200degrees for 20 min or until golden brown.

Good luck!

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My Macaron secrets

flamingo-and-roseMacarons are my signature, but since moving house and building a new kitchen I had had some major fails!  Macarons are notoriously difficult – when I first started making them in 2011 i remember going through about a dozen eggs before i got a batch that was edible.  Now my fails recently were down to forgetting some of my tricks, so I thought i would share my exact method and tricks for all of those who want to try these.

My recipe:

3 egg whites (or 93grams of liquid egg white)

85 gms Ground Almonds

150gms Icing Sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

colouring

Firstly, one of the most important factors of success is the egg white.  They must be aged.  This means you separate them from the yolk and leave covered in a dish for 24-48 hours.  cover in clingfilm and leave a little hole in the clingfilm.

I sometimes use liquid eggwhites, when using these, it is important that they are room temperature.  aging them for 24hours still helps. but if not then the alternative is 10secs in the microwave.

Secondly, oven temperature is a major factor.  I set my oven at 140degrees on Bake (i have a range oven and bake is the two lines (top & bottom elements).  I bake for 7minutes at 140 then reduce to 110degrees for 7minutes.  You must watch them carefully.  They must be in the middle of the oven.

Thirdly, you must double tray.  This is either two trays one on top of the other, or use a silicon matt on top of your oven tray.  ALWAYS use baking paper.

Fourth Trick: Once piped, bang them hard on the bench, this gets rid of air bubbles.

Fifth trick. Drying the tops.  If you do not get a skin within an hour of piping they are unlikely to work.  The skin forming depends upon the ambient temperature of the room.  I find if there is humidity they don’t try.  My trick (not energy friendly) is to place them under a halogen light or lamp.  the heat of the halogen helps them form a skin in good time.  If it takes too long to form a skin then you don’t get a ‘foot’ on them as they dry too much and then the top cracks.  Don’t be tempted to put them in the oven when they are not dry as they will just crack.

So you have my tricks, here is the recipe basics:

1. Put your sugar and almonds in the food processer and blend until fine.  i leave it on about 3 minutes on high.  Then pass through a seive.

2. Beat your egg whites to stiff, then add sugar, half at a time.  Beat until very firm.

3. Add colouring.  Gel is best as liquid colour can affect the egg consistency.

4. Mix in your almond and sugar mix. Half at a time, with a rubber spatula.  Fold it in, when the first half is folded in add the second half.

5. Macronage time: Beat/fold/press into the bowl, 10-12 times.  when it is flowing like lava (i can’t believe i said that as the books annoyed me when they say that, but it is the best description, then it is ready for your piping bag.  flowing like lava test – when you dribble it into the bowl the dribble marks will dissolve and flatten within a few seconds.  (so when you pipe your circles the peaks on top will soften down to a flat top).

6. Pipe onto your trays, bang on the surface and leave to dry.

7. bake once dry – but remember to test the baking temperature and duration.

Good Luck!

(Macrons are naturally gluten free so a fab treat for anyone!)

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Remember my Chocolate Roulade?

Remember my Chocolate Roulade?

The best thing about a roulade is that it is naturally Gluten Free. The roulade is going to be the centre piece for my upcoming tea party! Since I am going to be officially British on the 28th October, I figure what better way to celebrate than with my own tea party (not for anyone else this time!)

I used the Leith’s recipe for the Roulade, it is so lovely and chocolatey.  You can view it here….