24 February 2010

Week 6 - Chocolate Cake

Drum roll please...

...well I'm sorry to say we didn't win the award last week :-( It was a tough category & unfortunately we lost out to a tea brand, but we were one of only 5 finalists so that in itself was an achievement to be proud of. If you're curious to find out more about the nominated product then click here. Never mind there's always next year...

So I realise this weeks recipe isn't particularly Lent friendly, but we're back on the sweet stuff with a good old traditional Chocolate Cake! This recipe is one my Mum has had for years, I think it originally came from a freebie cookbook Be-ro gave away years ago. I've tried & tested many different types of chocolate cake recipes, but always come back to this one, the evaporated milk gives the cake a lovely, moist, rich texture. I like to sandwich it together with chocolate butter cream & top it off with a thick coating of chocolate. For me, it's ultimate decadence! I'm taking this cake to a meeting this week, so I'll have a brand new set of tasters, we'll see what they think!

100g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
100ml evaporated milk mixed with 50ml water
Few drops vanilla essence
175g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder

For the butter cream filling
50g butter
100g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa
2 tsp evaporated milk

For the topping
150g milk chocolate
2 tbsp evaporated milk

1. Cream together the butter & sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then finally beat in the evaporated milk, water & vanilla essence

2. Sift in the flour & cocoa powder, then fold together until combined

3. Grease 2 sandwich tins approx 18cm across & divide the mixture between them. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for about 20 minutes until they feel soft & springy to the touch

4. Leave to rest in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then tip out on a rack to cool thoroughly

5. To make the filling, cream together the butter & icing sugar, then add the cocoa powder & a couple of teaspoons of the left over evaporated milk to help it combine. Use this to sandwich together the 2 cakes

6. To make the topping, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. Then add a couple of tablespoons of the evaporated milk & quickly give it a good stir. The texture will turn quite thick, almost like fudge! Using a table knife warmed in hot water, spread a thick layer of the chocolate fudge over the top of the cake.

I love a generous slice of this cake with a big mug of tea, alternatively it makes a fab dessert if you warm it gently in the microwave & serve it with vanilla ice cream...yum!

Hope you enjoy this weeks recipe, see you in 7 days for the next creation. I'll also tell you about the other challenge I've taken on for 2010! Rebecca.

16 February 2010

Week 5 - Cheese & Marmite Scones

I'm posting a day early this week as Wednesday is a busy day for me for 2 reasons. As much as I'd love to spend my days doing nothing but baking, I do actually have a day job! I'm part of the Douwe Egberts marketing team & I'm excited to say one of my new products is up for an award. So, tomorrow I'm off to the awards ceremony with everything crossed that we win, otherwise my boss says I'm being sent into exile! I'm also off to Havana Rakatan at Sadlers Wells to celebrate my friends birthday - Happy Birthday Gem x

Back to the baking & I said you'd either love or hate this weeks recipe, so hopefully you got the hint it was Marmite related! Sorry, I know it's not cake, but 4 weeks in I needed a break from the sweet stuff. Marmite is one of my most favourite things in the world, but if you're a hater, you can easily leave it out & you'll still have delicious cheese scones. I also like to add a dash of Worcester Sauce as it goes really well with the cheese.

225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g butter chopped into rough chunks
100g grated cheese
150ml milk
Dash of Worcester Sauce
1 rounded tsp Marmite

1. Sift together the flour & baking powder, rub in the butter with your fingertips until you're left with something that looks like fine breadcrumbs, then stir in half the grated cheese

2. Put the milk into a jug, add a dash of Worcester Sauce & a spoonful of Marmite. You'll need to give it a good stir, but it dissolves into the milk eventually!

3. Add the milk to the dry ingredients a little at a time & stir well until you get a squidgy dough

4. Roll out the dough to about 1.5-2cm thick, then use a round cutter about 5cm across to cut out the scones. Place the disks onto a greased baking tray, brush the top with a little milk, then sprinkle over the rest of the cheese

5. Bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for about 10 minutes until the cheese on the top just starts to brown

These are delicious if you serve them whilst they're still warm, cut in half & smothered in butter! They also freeze really well, just put them in the oven to warm them up again.

Back to the sweet stuff next week, something chocolaty I think? I'll also let you know how we got on at the awards!

Enjoy, Rebecca

10 February 2010

Week 4 - Cosmo Cake

This week is the first of my cocktail inspired cakes. I'm a big fan of Sex & the City, so I'm starting with Carrie & friends favourite, the Cosmopolitan! I've used a basic sponge mixture as the base & added the key flavours from a classic Cosmo, cranberry, orange & lime. I love the rich colour of a Cosmopolitan cocktail, so I thought I'd try & recreate that in the cake. I must admit I don't normally use any artificial colourings in my baking, but it is Valentines week, so it seems apt to have a red cake! For the frosting I've made a Cointreau butter cream which really helps bring all the flavours together. You can leave the Cointreau out of the recipe if you like, it'll be just as good. I hope you like it...

100g butter
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
2 eggs
75g dried cranberries
Juice & grated zest of 1 orange
Juice & grated zest of 1 lime
Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)

For the frosting
140g icing sugar
60g butter
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)

1. Cream the butter & sugar together in a large bowl, beat in the eggs one at a time to make a smooth batter

2. Mix in the cranberries, Cointreau & the juice & zest of the orange & lime, keeping a little of the orange zest back for the frosting

3. Fold in the flour until it's all combined, then add a few drops of red food colouring until you get to the desired shade of red!

4. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin & bake at 190c for 30-40 minutes until well risen & the top just starts to crack. Leave to rest in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool

5. To make the frosting, cream together the butter & icing sugar then add the orange zest & Cointreau. If you're not using Cointreau, add milk instead to help make it smooth. Mix well until you end up with a lovely fluffy frosting you can smother over the cake with when cooled

I'm not sure I'd make a red cake again, it feels too un-natural! But I have to say it tastes good, the juices & Cointreau give it a lovely moist texture. There will be more cocktail cakes in the weeks to come. I think I'm going to like this new theme, cocktails without the hangover!

Next week I have a feeling you'll either love or hate the recipe, Rebecca

3 February 2010

Week 3 - Lavender Shortbread

This week I have to thank Vicki for her suggestion of what to do with the lavender sugar, make shortbread! It was a bit of an experiment, I really wasn't sure how much to use or how pungent it would be once cooked. When I first put them in the oven & the dough warmed up a bit, the lavender smelt so strong I thought they might end up tasting like a bar of soap! I must admit I was pleasantly surprised, the taste is quite subtle, almost like rosemary? I substituted the quantity of normal sugar for lavender sugar, but then paniced it would be too much & added some extra plain sugar! I don't think it needed it & it probably made my biscuits a bit too crunchy.

175g plain flour
50g lavender sugar
100g butter cut into rough chunks
Dash of milk
Caster sugar to sprinkle

1. Sift the flour & stir in the sugar. Work in the butter using your fingertips until it starts to bind together to a dough. I'd normally just blitz it in my food processor, but it would destroy all the lavender flowers. If it's difficult to get it to bind, add a little dash of milk to help it along.

2. Once it's all combined, knead it until you have a smooth dough. Roll it into a sauage shape, wrap it in foil or cling film & put it in the fridge for 30minutes to chill.

3. It's up to you if you want to roll it out & use a cookie cutter. I'm a bit lazy & just slice the sausage shaped dough into 5mm thick discs.

4. Place the biccies on a greased baking tray & sprinkle a little caster sugar over the top. Bake in the oven at 170c/GM3 for around 10 minutes until the edges are just golden.

So...it was an interesting variation, but honestly I think I'll stick to plain shortbread...what to do with the rest of the lavender sugar though!?

3 down, 49 to go! See you next week, Rebecca

24 February 2010

Week 6 - Chocolate Cake

Drum roll please...

...well I'm sorry to say we didn't win the award last week :-( It was a tough category & unfortunately we lost out to a tea brand, but we were one of only 5 finalists so that in itself was an achievement to be proud of. If you're curious to find out more about the nominated product then click here. Never mind there's always next year...

So I realise this weeks recipe isn't particularly Lent friendly, but we're back on the sweet stuff with a good old traditional Chocolate Cake! This recipe is one my Mum has had for years, I think it originally came from a freebie cookbook Be-ro gave away years ago. I've tried & tested many different types of chocolate cake recipes, but always come back to this one, the evaporated milk gives the cake a lovely, moist, rich texture. I like to sandwich it together with chocolate butter cream & top it off with a thick coating of chocolate. For me, it's ultimate decadence! I'm taking this cake to a meeting this week, so I'll have a brand new set of tasters, we'll see what they think!

100g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
100ml evaporated milk mixed with 50ml water
Few drops vanilla essence
175g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder

For the butter cream filling
50g butter
100g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa
2 tsp evaporated milk

For the topping
150g milk chocolate
2 tbsp evaporated milk

1. Cream together the butter & sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then finally beat in the evaporated milk, water & vanilla essence

2. Sift in the flour & cocoa powder, then fold together until combined

3. Grease 2 sandwich tins approx 18cm across & divide the mixture between them. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for about 20 minutes until they feel soft & springy to the touch

4. Leave to rest in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then tip out on a rack to cool thoroughly

5. To make the filling, cream together the butter & icing sugar, then add the cocoa powder & a couple of teaspoons of the left over evaporated milk to help it combine. Use this to sandwich together the 2 cakes

6. To make the topping, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a simmering pan of water. Then add a couple of tablespoons of the evaporated milk & quickly give it a good stir. The texture will turn quite thick, almost like fudge! Using a table knife warmed in hot water, spread a thick layer of the chocolate fudge over the top of the cake.

I love a generous slice of this cake with a big mug of tea, alternatively it makes a fab dessert if you warm it gently in the microwave & serve it with vanilla ice cream...yum!

Hope you enjoy this weeks recipe, see you in 7 days for the next creation. I'll also tell you about the other challenge I've taken on for 2010! Rebecca.

16 February 2010

Week 5 - Cheese & Marmite Scones

I'm posting a day early this week as Wednesday is a busy day for me for 2 reasons. As much as I'd love to spend my days doing nothing but baking, I do actually have a day job! I'm part of the Douwe Egberts marketing team & I'm excited to say one of my new products is up for an award. So, tomorrow I'm off to the awards ceremony with everything crossed that we win, otherwise my boss says I'm being sent into exile! I'm also off to Havana Rakatan at Sadlers Wells to celebrate my friends birthday - Happy Birthday Gem x

Back to the baking & I said you'd either love or hate this weeks recipe, so hopefully you got the hint it was Marmite related! Sorry, I know it's not cake, but 4 weeks in I needed a break from the sweet stuff. Marmite is one of my most favourite things in the world, but if you're a hater, you can easily leave it out & you'll still have delicious cheese scones. I also like to add a dash of Worcester Sauce as it goes really well with the cheese.

225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g butter chopped into rough chunks
100g grated cheese
150ml milk
Dash of Worcester Sauce
1 rounded tsp Marmite

1. Sift together the flour & baking powder, rub in the butter with your fingertips until you're left with something that looks like fine breadcrumbs, then stir in half the grated cheese

2. Put the milk into a jug, add a dash of Worcester Sauce & a spoonful of Marmite. You'll need to give it a good stir, but it dissolves into the milk eventually!

3. Add the milk to the dry ingredients a little at a time & stir well until you get a squidgy dough

4. Roll out the dough to about 1.5-2cm thick, then use a round cutter about 5cm across to cut out the scones. Place the disks onto a greased baking tray, brush the top with a little milk, then sprinkle over the rest of the cheese

5. Bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for about 10 minutes until the cheese on the top just starts to brown

These are delicious if you serve them whilst they're still warm, cut in half & smothered in butter! They also freeze really well, just put them in the oven to warm them up again.

Back to the sweet stuff next week, something chocolaty I think? I'll also let you know how we got on at the awards!

Enjoy, Rebecca

10 February 2010

Week 4 - Cosmo Cake

This week is the first of my cocktail inspired cakes. I'm a big fan of Sex & the City, so I'm starting with Carrie & friends favourite, the Cosmopolitan! I've used a basic sponge mixture as the base & added the key flavours from a classic Cosmo, cranberry, orange & lime. I love the rich colour of a Cosmopolitan cocktail, so I thought I'd try & recreate that in the cake. I must admit I don't normally use any artificial colourings in my baking, but it is Valentines week, so it seems apt to have a red cake! For the frosting I've made a Cointreau butter cream which really helps bring all the flavours together. You can leave the Cointreau out of the recipe if you like, it'll be just as good. I hope you like it...

100g butter
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
2 eggs
75g dried cranberries
Juice & grated zest of 1 orange
Juice & grated zest of 1 lime
Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)

For the frosting
140g icing sugar
60g butter
2 tbsp Cointreau (optional)

1. Cream the butter & sugar together in a large bowl, beat in the eggs one at a time to make a smooth batter

2. Mix in the cranberries, Cointreau & the juice & zest of the orange & lime, keeping a little of the orange zest back for the frosting

3. Fold in the flour until it's all combined, then add a few drops of red food colouring until you get to the desired shade of red!

4. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin & bake at 190c for 30-40 minutes until well risen & the top just starts to crack. Leave to rest in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool

5. To make the frosting, cream together the butter & icing sugar then add the orange zest & Cointreau. If you're not using Cointreau, add milk instead to help make it smooth. Mix well until you end up with a lovely fluffy frosting you can smother over the cake with when cooled

I'm not sure I'd make a red cake again, it feels too un-natural! But I have to say it tastes good, the juices & Cointreau give it a lovely moist texture. There will be more cocktail cakes in the weeks to come. I think I'm going to like this new theme, cocktails without the hangover!

Next week I have a feeling you'll either love or hate the recipe, Rebecca

3 February 2010

Week 3 - Lavender Shortbread

This week I have to thank Vicki for her suggestion of what to do with the lavender sugar, make shortbread! It was a bit of an experiment, I really wasn't sure how much to use or how pungent it would be once cooked. When I first put them in the oven & the dough warmed up a bit, the lavender smelt so strong I thought they might end up tasting like a bar of soap! I must admit I was pleasantly surprised, the taste is quite subtle, almost like rosemary? I substituted the quantity of normal sugar for lavender sugar, but then paniced it would be too much & added some extra plain sugar! I don't think it needed it & it probably made my biscuits a bit too crunchy.

175g plain flour
50g lavender sugar
100g butter cut into rough chunks
Dash of milk
Caster sugar to sprinkle

1. Sift the flour & stir in the sugar. Work in the butter using your fingertips until it starts to bind together to a dough. I'd normally just blitz it in my food processor, but it would destroy all the lavender flowers. If it's difficult to get it to bind, add a little dash of milk to help it along.

2. Once it's all combined, knead it until you have a smooth dough. Roll it into a sauage shape, wrap it in foil or cling film & put it in the fridge for 30minutes to chill.

3. It's up to you if you want to roll it out & use a cookie cutter. I'm a bit lazy & just slice the sausage shaped dough into 5mm thick discs.

4. Place the biccies on a greased baking tray & sprinkle a little caster sugar over the top. Bake in the oven at 170c/GM3 for around 10 minutes until the edges are just golden.

So...it was an interesting variation, but honestly I think I'll stick to plain shortbread...what to do with the rest of the lavender sugar though!?

3 down, 49 to go! See you next week, Rebecca
 

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