Cakes

There really is nothing better than a cup of tea and slice of cake…

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake

Perfect for a St Patrick’s Day sweet treat! This is a Gizzi Erskine recipe that I tried for the first time two years ago for St Patrick’s Day and couldn’t believe how good it was. Definitely worth a try.

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Ingredients

250ml Guinness

250g unsalted butter, chopped

100g good quality plain chocolate (70%)

35g cocoa 400g caster sugar

1 x 142ml pot plain yoghurt

2 free range eggs

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

275g plain flour

2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the Frosting

300g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

125ml double or whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a 23cm spring form tin. Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the chocolate, cocoa and sugar and stir until the chocolate has melted and everything is combined.

Beat the yoghurt with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the chocolate mix. Finally, fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda a little at a time.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the tin.

To make the frosting lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve in the icing sugar and stir. In a separately mixing bowl, whip the cream until it just begins to thicken and holds its shape. Add the cream to the cream cheese mix and beat until combine. Tip the frosting onto the top of the cake and spread evenly with a pallet knife.

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The Best Chocolate Fudge Cake

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This rich, moist chocolate fudge cake is just heavenly! I’ve made it a number of times now and each time I have tweaked the recipe slightly to experiment with different flavours.  The first time I added the juice of an orange to the ganache for a beautifully rich dark chocolate orange cake.  The second time I added amaretto for an extra indulgent twist! The beauty of this cake is that you can add a huge range of flavours to the basic recipe.  I’ve also tried different toppings each time including a white chocolate spider web for Halloween, a box of chocolates and even Champagne truffles.  Anything goes!

For the cake:

200g good quality dark chocolate

200g butter

85g self-raising flour

85g plain flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g light muscovado sugar

200g golden caster sugar

25g cocoa powder

3 medium egg

75ml milk

For the Ganache:

200g good quality dark chocolate, as above

284ml carton double cream

2 tbsp golden caster sugar

Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g of dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – be careful not to overheat.

While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml milk.

Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cold, cut it in half horizontally. To make the ganache, pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar and heat until almost boiling. Take off the heat and add 200g chopped dark chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Put the mixture into the fridge, this will help it to thicken.  Once completely cool, sandwich the two halves of the cake together with a little of the ganache.  Add the rest to the top and sides of the cake and smooth with a palette knife.  Decorate the cake with chocolate curls, truffles, or whatever you wish!

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Toffee Apple Cupcakes

toffeeapple

Use my basic vanilla cupcake and vanilla frosting (see below) for this recipe.

110g unsalted butter

130g light brown sugar

45ml double cream

2 apples, thinly sliced

Bake the cupcakes and, once cool, pipe or spoon on the frosting and set to one side.

To make the super simple toffee sauce, gently heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until completely melted.  Add the sugar and cream and whisk constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and leave over the heat for two minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the sliced apples to the sauce.  Allow to cool before spooning the apples onto the cakes.  Drizzle over a little of the sauce and add a sprinkling of cinnamon.  A perfect autumn treat!!

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Vanilla Frosting

frosting

This quick and easy vanilla frosting is a perfect accompaniment to your cupcakes.  You can adapt it easily by adding a few drops food colouring and flavouring of your choice.

250g icing sugar, sifted

80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

25ml whole milk

1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Mix the icing sugar and butter together in a free standing electric mixer or using a hand held electric whisk until fully combined.  In a separate bowl mix the milk and the vanilla extract and add to the icing sugar and butter mix a little at a time, mixing slowly all the time.  Once all of the mixture is combined, mix on a high speed for a few minutes until everything is fully combined and smooth.   It is now ready to be spooned or piped onto your cupcakes.

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Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

This basic chocolate sponge recipe makes wonderfully light, moist cakes that are full of flavour.

chocolate cupcaKE

(Makes 10 cupcakes)

70g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

120g caster sugar

11⁄2 tsp baking powder

45g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped

120ml milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F of Gas 3 Sift the flour into a free standing food mixer with the cocoa, sugar and baking powder.  Add the chopped butter and mix on a medium setting until everything is incorporated and the mixture is a sandy texture.  Alternatively, if you do not have a food mixer you can rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture using your finger tips. In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and vanilla extract and add a little to the dry mixture, mixing continually until incorporated before adding a little more.  Repeat this process until all of the wet mixture is mixed with the dry and you are left with a smooth cake batter with no lumps. Spoon the mix into 10 cupcake cases (about two-thirds full) and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden in colour and the sponge springs back when pressed. Leave to cool slightly before tipping onto a wire wrack to cool completely before decorating.

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Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

This basic vanilla sponge recipe makes wonderfully light, moist cakes that are full of flavour.

plain-vanilla-cupcake

(Makes 10 cupcakes)

120g plain flour

120g caster sugar

11⁄2 tsp baking powder

45g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped

120ml milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F of Gas 3 Sift the flour into a free standing food mixer with the sugar and baking powder.  Add the chopped butter and mix on a medium setting until everything is incorporated and the mixture is a sandy texture.  Alternatively, if you do not have a food mixer you can rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture using your finger tips. In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and vanilla extract and add a little to the dry mixture, mixing continually until incorporated before adding a little more.  Repeat this process until all of the wet mixture is mixed with the dry and you are left with a smooth cake batter with no lumps. Spoon the mix into 10 cupcake cases (about two-thirds full) and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden in colour and the sponge springs back when pressed. Leave to cool slightly before tipping onto a wire wrack to cool completely before decorating.

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