Chocolate Orange Rock Buns

When it comes to food and eating out, I often like to try something different, but I am  prepared to admit that sometimes the classics shouldn’t be messed with. I don’t think there’s much that needs changing when it comes to Rock Buns; they’re one of my favourite easy recipes when you want something comforting to eat alongside a nice cup of tea. However, I’ve recently been tempted to try something a bit different and it did make a nice change, so here’s my suggestion for Chocolate Orange Rock Buns

Chocolate Orange Rock Buns (makes 12)

487D3477-9A38-49E0-A7C0-673F2E0B9AE7

200g self raising flour
25g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
125g butter
50g granulated sugar
115g sultanas
1 egg
Finely grated zest of ½ an orange
3 tbsp Orange juice
Demerara sugar for sprinkling

 

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly oil two baking trays.

2. Soak the sultanas in 2 tbsp of the orange juice.

3. Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to a bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Add the sugar, egg, sultanas and any remaining juice and orange zest and mix well. The mixture needs to be stiff, but not too dry. Add a splash more orange juice if needed, only adding a little at a time.

5. Use two teaspoons to dollop the mixture in 12 rough heaps on the baking sheets, remember they are meant to look rugged! Sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

These are best eaten soon after baking.

It’s easy to make vegan rock cakes too. I just substitute vegan vegetable spread for the butter and 3 tbsp non-dairy milk for the egg.

Advertisements

Holy mole – Mexican Sauce

This Mexican sauce recipe is loosely based on mole poblano, but this is a store cupboard version that’s quick and easy.

Mole

1 onion, finely chopped
1 chilli, preferably a dried chipotle chilli that was been reconstituted in hot water and finely chopped, but I’ve also made this with a finely chopped fresh red chilli.
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp for the sauce, 1 tbsp for garnish
1 tbsp chopped almonds (I use flaked almonds and chop them into small pieces using a mezzaluna. I would use ground almonds if that was what I had in the cupboards)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp tomato purée (you could alternatively use 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, but I don’t always have fresh tomatoes in the house)
1 tbsp peanut butter
25g plain chocolate
350ml vegetable stock

(An authentic mole poblano would also have a handful of raisins in, add them if you want, but I prefer this without.)

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, garlic and chillis gently until soft.

2. Add the sesame seeds, almonds, ground cinnamon, cloves and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well.

3. Add the tomato purée, stock, peanut butter and chocolate and stir well. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, I would usually throw in a selection of vegetables and legumes to cook.

If you would prefer to make a more traditional mole poblano sauce, there are recipes on the BBC website that you could adapt.

Chocolate Caramel Cake

This started out life as a Mint Chocolate Cake from the Jamie Oliver magazine. I had such a lot of complements for my version of that cake, that I wanted to adapt it for my friend’s birthday cake, by trying a different flavour combination.

A7E53AD9-058F-4067-BBF4-B101EB459A78

Cake

175ml vegetable oil
425g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
375g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
500ml milk

Icing

300g caramel sauce from a jar or tin
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
At least 1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a line three 20cm round cake tins.

2. Mix together the oil and sugar using an electric mixer. Mix for at least one minute, until smooth.

3. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk for a further 3 minutes until the mixture is pale.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and Bicarbonate of soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the oil and sugar, along with the milk. Be careful as the mixture is quite sloppy – I’ve found it has a tendency to slosh out of the bowl!

5. Once the mixture is well combined, divide between the 3 cake tins. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. Test to see if 5he Cake is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If the skewer comes out clean, then it’s cooked. Allow the cakes to cool.

6. To make the icing, in an electric mixer thoroughly mix 200g caramel sauce and the butter until completely smooth. Add a splash of milk and half the icing sugar and mix together for 3 minutes. Continue to add the icing sugar as needed until you get the right spreadable consistency. If you add too much icing sugar, you can add a splash more milk.

7. Construct the cake by sandwiching the layers of cake together using a dollop of the remaining caramel and a generous amount of the icing. Use the remaining icing to cover the top and sides in your desired style. I also added some Caramac, cake crumbs and some crushed Werther’s Originals as extra decoration.

3A1F4702-1915-472A-87C7-40E9211CA8EF

Here’s a picture of the mint chocolate version.

Cake it to the limit 🎂

I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks. We had a wedding in the family, and the bride and groom asked guests to bring cakes for a ‘cake-off’ and I made this toffee apple cake.

 

IMAG1393

There was also an event at work  where we were asked to provide cakes. I made this lemon and almond cake, which went down a storm and tasted fabulous, but was a little crumbly when trying to cut into slices.

IMG_1235

My final contribution was a chocolate mint marble cake.

IMG_1237

Chocolate Mint Marble Cake

175g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Peppermint extract
Green food colouring

Glacé icing
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
75g chocolate mint bubble-style chocolate bar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a deep 20cm baking tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time.

3. Add the flour and baking powder and gently mix in. Divide the mixture into two. For the mint mixture, stir in a few drops of peppermint essence and the green food colouring. For the chocolate mixture, blend the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Stir well into a smooth paste. Thoroughly fold this into the cake mixture.

4. Add the two sets of mixture to the tin in a random fashion to make the marble effect. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Ensure the cake is cooked through and is well risen before removing from the oven. Allow to cool. Remove the baking parchment from around the cake.

5. Once the cake is completely cold, you ice the cake. To make the glacé icing, mix the icing sugar, cocoa and 1 tablespoon of hot water thoroughly to make a smooth paste. Pour over the top of the cake. Crumble the bubbly mint chocolate bar and use to decorate the top of the cake, covering the icing.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cake when sliced to show you the inside, but it’s definitely worth the effort for the fun effect.)

Happy Easter

IMG_0870I think it was 2016 that I first come across the concept of the Creme Egg “Scotch Egg”. As a vegetarian, I often find myself adapting traditionally meat-based dishes into something using different ingredients, but I loved the idea of taking something savoury and making it sweet too.

I found lots of recipes online, but I wanted to do things slightly differently as I wanted to achieve a crumb coating, rather than a chocolate based coating. The steps below are less of a recipe, more construction suggestions.

 

Creme Egg Scotch Eggs

  • I used 2 packets of mini Creme Eggs. A lot of the recipes I looked at online used full size Creme Eggs, but for me the smaller size was perfect.
  • For the covering, I went for a cake pop style mixture, I crumbled 200g chocolate cake and mixed in 150g of chocolate icing. This creates a mixture that is easy to mould around the eggs. After coating the eggs I put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the mixture firm up.
  • For the outside coating I went for a biscuit base. I crumbled 75g of shortbread biscuits, getting the crumbs as fine as I could. I melted 75g milk chocolate. I dipped each covered egg in the chocolate and rolled this in the biscuit crumb to fully coat. I would recommend using one hand to get the egg coated in chocolate and the other hand for the biscuit mixture. Let the chocolate set before serving the eggs.

2017 so far – the year of Chocolate?

The start of 2017 came with a trip to London to see the stage show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also indulged my sweet tooth with a trip to Fortnum and Mason for cream puffs (expensive but amazing!), a Baileys Hot Chocolate on the Carousel Bar at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and a Red Velvet cupcake from the Primrose Bakery.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cupcake, but I DID take a picture of the delicious Bermondsey Porter Cake that I had from Peyton and Byrne when we popped back to London to see The Lion King a month later.)

On returning to Yorkshire, I went with some friends to see The Witches in Leeds.

I was feeling inspired to work on some sweets of my own (not ones laced with Formula 86 or with the ability to transform you into a blueberry!) and, luckily, for Christmas I received a copy of Hope and Greenwood’s Sweets Made Simple. I decided to have a go at English Almond Butter Toffee. I’ll definitely make this again. It was a bit of a challenge, but it was so tasty and moreish.

Love is … Chocolate Chilli mug cake

Mug cakes cooked in the microwave were really popular last year, which I found amusing as we’ve made cakes in the microwave at our house from being children. My sister’s favourite was chocolate sponge, mine was golden syrup sponge. I thought I’d update the flavourings with something she likes as an adult; chocolate and chilli.

img_0796

Chocolate and Chilli Microwave Mug Cake (serves 1)

30g chocolate
25g butter
1 tsp chipotle Chilli powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
5 tbsp self raising flour

1. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave in a large mug, heating slowly and stopping to stir frequently, so the chocolate doesn’t burn.

2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, stirring well.

3. Microwave for 1.5 minutes.