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Chocolate Lovers’ Chocolate Cake

I don’t often make chocolate cake, and I’m not really sure why. Because really, a chocolate cake is a wonderful thing – a rich, moist, chocolatey cake that can go from morning tea through lunch and on to afternoon tea, and end up as a dessert at dinner time!

A former work colleague gave me this recipe a while back – thank you Pauline – and I’ve been waiting for a suitable time to make it.

Well that time came today. A friend was having a birthday and I wanted to bake a cake for her. We’re in lockdown in Sydney, and sometimes we need a bit of cheering up. So I made this cake for Margaret.

And just to see what the cake was like, I made a little sample cake just for me!

It’s so easy! Another one bowl, all in one mix. The cake is rich, dark and moist. Smother the cake with lots of beautiful chocolate buttercream, and voila! A lovely looking and tasting cake!

Ingredients

Cake

200g self raising flour

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

65g cocoa

3 free-range eggs

250g sugar

125g very soft butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

250 ml milk

Chocolate Buttercream

100g very soft butter

200g icing sugar

25g cocoa

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter a 20cm 9 inch round cake tin or a 20cm 9 inch square tin. Line the base of the tin with baking paper.

Put all the cake ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. On low speed, beat all the ingredients until combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing the mixture into the tin.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate buttercream, cream the soft butter, icing sugar, cocoa and boiling water until the buttercream is soft and easy to spread on the cake. You can do this by hand or you can use an electric mixer.

Once cool, generously spread the chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.

You can decorate with anything you like – I used silver almonds, rose petal sweets and fresh flowers.

Serve on its own or with a dollop of cream as a dessert!

Vanilla and White Chocolate Fun Cake

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Here’s one from the vault – a simple vanilla and white chocolate cake pimped with some hundreds and thousands or sprinkles.

Usually these are just used as decoration on the icing on top of the cake, but I folded a few through the cake batter too – for a bit more fun!

This is a beautiful moist butter cake with a rich vanilla and white chocolate flavour. It is a colourful cake with hundreds and thousands baked into the mixture and sprinkled on top.

Lots of butter cream icing flavoured with vanilla paste makes it really yummy!

Butter Cake

Ingredients

250 gms butter softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups caster sugar

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup milk

100 gms white chocolate, melted

A handful to taste of hundreds and thousands

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin.

Beat butter, extract and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and milk in 2 batches.  Stir in melted white chocolate. Gently mix in hundreds and thousands.

Spread mixture into the tin. Bake about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of  cake comes out clean. Stand in cake tin until cake is cool. Turn out onto wire rack.

Butter Icing

3 tbls softened butter

Enough icing sugar to make a butter cream

1 tbs milk

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tsps hundreds and thousands

Method

Cream butter with icing sugar, adding more icing sugar and the milk to make a smooth paste. Add vanilla paste.

The main thing is to add as much icing sugar sugar as is necessary to reach the required icing consistency that will be thick enough to stay on the cake but not too stiff.

Ice the cake, top and sides, and scatter hundreds and thousands on top of the cake.

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Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with Lemon Cream

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My oldest  friend recently asked me to dinner. And no, she’s not 105  – I have known her the longest of all my friends – since kindy!

It was one of those serendipitous meals where everything was wonderful – lovely flavours, beautifully cooked, everything hit the right note. The wild barramundi with preserved lemon, crisp potatoes and chilli mayonnaise was amazing.

However the piece de resistance was the dessert – Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with Lemon Cream. What was unusual about this flan was that it was more “cakey” than “tarty” with a lovely texture half way between a curd and a cake crumb. The standout flavour was the passionfruit – this was an inspired ingredient in this cake.

The recipe comes from the magazine New Idea.

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My friend used her own recipe for lemon curd that she has been cooking for ever, handed down from her grandmother, a wonderful cook most fondly remembered by me.

Here it is:

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

1 free-range egg

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 oz butter (28-30 g)

1 tbls cornflour ( a heaped spoon if the lemon is a big one!)

Rind and juice of 1 lemon

Method

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until thickened. Cool before using.

 

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Serve the Baked Passionfruit Ricotta Flan with the lemon cream as topping and with ice cream!

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If you would like to see more of my friend’s recipes, (Dr Rosemary) check this post:

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/03/11/breakfast-with-the-doctors/

 

 

 

Caramelised Quince and Almond Cake


Read the rest of this entry

Salted Caramel Cake Bar

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Salted caramel cake bar began life as a blondie, but on making it for the first time it was clear that the baking powder and the eggs make it much more cake like, and I have re-named it. Maybe it’s a cakey slice? Or a blondie cake?

Ingredients

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup salt reduced butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups light brown sugar
2 free range eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel * (warmed in microwave)
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line a 22 cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Put melted butter and brown sugar in a food processor and whizz until completely dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and fold gently with a rubber spatula into the mixture.

Press half of the mixture into the prepared tin (it will be quite soft), smoothing the top with a spatula.

Stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt over the caramel. Pour the  caramel on top of the mixture and spread in an even layer, leaving about a 1centimetre of space around the edges.

Drop the remaining mixture in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread with the spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the mixture with a little sea salt if you want a really salty  taste.

Bake the cake bar for about 20 minutes, or until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the bar comes out with just a thin coating of caramel. Cool the bar to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set. Cut into squares to serve.

*Nestle Top Fill is great for the caramel.

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Strawberry on Strawberry Shortcake

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I cook lots and lots of cakes and this new recipe is very, very more-ish! Easy to make and great for afternoon tea or as a dessert.

Bill Granger cooked a Pear, Blueberry and Almond Shortcake on the first episode of his television series Bill’s Kitchen Notting Hill, see below for the link to the series.

http://www.bbcnordic.com/bills-kitchen-notting-hill/episodes/

I decided that the recipe would work just as well with strawberries. For a double strawberry hit, I cooked whole fresh strawberries and also added in a good dollop of my home made strawberry conserve.

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Ingredients

Filling
30 g unsalted butter, softened

40 g caster sugar

150g strawberries, whole

1 tsp vanilla paste

2 tbsp strawberry conserve*

Milk, to brush the pastry

1 tbsp demerara sugar

2 tbsp flaked almonds

Shortcake pastry


125 g unsalted butter

125 g castor sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

175 plain flour

50 g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

Method
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until the butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the strawberries and cook over low heat for 8 minutes or until the strawberries are soft. Remove from the heat and stir through the strawberry conserve, being careful not to break up the whole fruit. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

For the shortcake, beat the butter and castor sugar until thick and creamy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour, almond meal and baking powder, then stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to just bring the mixture together. Divide the dough in half, pat in to discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a round about the size of the tin, then press one round into tin. Spoon the strawberry mixture and any juices over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge. IMG_9880

Top with the remaining dough round and press the edges together to seal. Brush with milk and sprinkle with demerara sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 30 minutes or until until golden (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cool in tin for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.

*My Strawberry Conserve recipe: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/09/06/strawberry-conserve/

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