Caramel and Chocolate Cake

Have been having a good clear out of kitchen cupboards, including my baking one. Lurking at the back was yet another tin of Carnation Caramel, so had to use it up. Have made this cake many times, but all the family love it. It's easy to make and uses oil, so healthy of course!

75g sr flour, 3 tbspn cocoa, 1 tspn bicarb, 150g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 150ml sunflower oil, 150ml milk, 2 tspn vanilla extract, 125g dark chocolate, 375g tin of Carnation Caramel , 1 tspn icing sugar and extra for the top of the cake

PREHEAT OVEN 180C/GAS4                 Grease and line 2x18cm sandwich tins

Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarb into a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Stir oil and milk together then add the eggs, 1 tspn of the vanilla and beat together. Add this to the dry mixture and beat together. Beat 2 tbspn of the caramel till smooth, then whisk into the batter. It's a wet mixture! Pour into the 2 tins and bake for about 20-25 mins till springy.

Cool cakes in the tins then turn onto a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave and stir till smooth. Add the rest of the caramel and vanilla to the chocolate and beat till smooth. Add the sifted tspn of icing sugar and beat in.

Fill the cakes with the icing then spread it over the top. Leave the cake to set. Sift some icing sugar over the top.

It's a really light and moist cake with a good texture. Lovely caramel icing which contrasts well with the chocolate cake. 


Chocolate Hazelnut Loaf Cake

I found hazelnuts on offer in my local deli, so decided to use them in a loaf cake. I love loaf cakes as they seem to keep longer than other cakes, and are so easy to cut.

For this one you need:

120g hazelnuts, 60g soft butter, 70g light brown sugar, 1 tspn vanilla extract, 1 egg, 225g flour and 2 tspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn cinnamon, pinch of salt, 80g of dark chocolate, chopped, 80ml Nutella or similar spread and 250ml of buttermilk

Preheat oven 180C                    Grease and base line a 900g loaf tin

Spread hazelnuts over a baking tray and put in oven for 8-10 mins till golden. Put into a clean tea towel to rub off skins. Chop roughly.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer till light and creamy. Add the egg and buttermilk and beat again.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together then add to the batter. Fold in, then add the chocolate and 80g of the chopped hazelnuts. Mix well.

Put half of the mixture into the loaf tin then spread over the Nutella. Cover with the rest of the mixture and sprinkle the rest of the nuts over the top.

Bake for about 40 mins till golden. leave in the tin to cool for 10 mins then turn onto a rack.

Sorry, not a very good photo. The loaf has a good texture, with a soft crumb. Nice contrast between the nuts, chocolate and the soft cake. I'll certainly make it again, but will halve recipe and make it in my smaller loaf tin. This will be great for a few days with my afternoon cuppa!

PS Odd, but on my screen the post is all in the same font, but online it's not. Weird!


White Chocolate Fondants

Usually I stay well away from recipes for a chocolate fondant, having seen so many failures on Masterchef! My friend made these as dessert recently and I just had to make them.
The family came for lunch on Sunday, so this was a good opportunity to try them.

100g white chocolate  + 4 extra squares
1 rounded tbspn flour
50g butter
30g caster sugar
2 eggs

preheat oven 200C                   Grease and flour 4 ramekins

Melt the 100g chocolate and butter over simmering water.
Beat the eggs with the sugar in a bowl, then add the melted chocolate and flour and mix together.
Fill each ramekin half full then drop in a square of white chocolate and add more mixture to fill.
Bake for 8-10 mins.
Carefully remove the fondants from the ramekins.

Guess who took the photo? Not me! My daughter decided to add the finishing touches, some cream and blueberries, oh, not forgetting the sprig of mint!
The chocolate doesn't make the fondants too sweet. The sponge has a good texture and the gooey centre is just that, gooey! A delicious alternative to a traditional chocolate fondant.


Norfolk Tart

I needed a quick tart as a dessert to take to a get together. This is one of Mum's recipes so I've added metric in brackets. It's just a variation on a treacle tart.

8oz (225g) shortcrust pastry
4oz (100g) golden syrup
1oz (25g) unsalted butter
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons of double cream
1 egg
Preheat oven 200C/gas6                      7" or 17.5cm flan tin

Roll the pastry out and line the tin. Prick the base and bake blind for 15 mins.
Reduce oven to 180C/gas4
Warm the syrup till it's runny, then take off the heat and add the butter and lemon rind and stir together. Beat the cream and egg together and mix into the syrup.
Pour into the pastry case and bake for about 30 mins. Serve warm with some cream or vanilla ice cream.

It hasn't got the breadcrumbs like the usual treacle tart. Supposed to have been a favourite of Charles Dickens! Nice crumbly pastry and a soft filling with a hint of lemon. 


Cappuccino Bars

An easy traybake to make for tea or a coffee morning.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                  Grease and line a 24x33m tin

1 tbspn cocoa plus extra to dust over top
2 tbspn instant coffee granules
2 tbspn warm water

225g each of butter, soft brown sugar and sr flour
1 tspn baking powder
4 eggs
cinnamon for dusting top

Icing - 100g white chocolate broken in pieces, 50g butter, 3 tbspn milk, 175g icing sugar

Mix the cocoa and coffee with the water.
Put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or mixer and blitz together. Add the coffee/cocoa and mix again.
Pour into the tin and bake for 30-35 mins. Cool in the tin.

For the icing - Melt the chocolate, butter and milk together over simmering water. Sieve the icing sugar and stir into the chocolate mix.

Spread the icing over the cake and dust the top with a little cocoa then cinnamon.

Cut the cake into bars and if you want, put the bars into paper cases. I just decided to do this as I seem to have a lot of paper cases lurking in the back of the cupboard! The bars have a good texture and aren't too sweet, contrasting well with the sweet white chocolate icing. A handy recipe for a traybake.


Chocolate Truffle Tart

I made this recently as my contribution to a 'get together' lunch. It used up a bar of chocolate I would probably have eaten! It's a recipe I've made many times and is adapted from an old American baking book I picked up on one of my visits. Have mentioned it on here before - 'Favorite Cakes and Tarts my Mom made'.

For the dough you need - 114g cold butter cut into pieces, 150g caster sugar, 1 large egg and 1 egg white, 300g plain flour, 40g cocoa and 1 tspn baking powder

For the filling - 250g dark chocolate, chopped [not more than 60%], 90g cubed butter, 2 large beaten eggs, 85ml double cream, 50g caster sugar and 1 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven 190C/Gas5                         20cm tart tin

Cream butter and sugar together till soft. Beat in the egg and egg white. Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder together then add to the mixture and fold in. Bring together into a disc, wrap in cling film and put in fridge for 30 mins. Roll out between 2 layers of parchment paper or clingfilm then line tart tin. Cover with parchment paper and baking beans and bake blind for 20 mins.

Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and pour into the tin. Bake for 20 mins till filling is set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.

The tart is quite rich, so you only need a small slice! The pastry is quite cakey, but is still a good contrast in texture to the soft filling. Nice served with vanilla ice cream.


Apple Galette de Rois

I love to make one of these traditional French galettes, but wanted to make it a bit different so added some apples.

You need: 2 packs of puff pastry, 3 eating apples, 200g crème fraîche, 200g ground almonds, 100g caster sugar + 40g, 3eggs and 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven 220C/gas7                 A baking tray

Cut the apples up into small cubes and put into a pan with the 40g of sugar. Caramelise for about 10 mins. Add 1 tbspn of the cream and mix together.
In a bowl mix together the rest of the cream and the 100g of sugar, the ground almonds and eggs. Put this in the fridge for 10 mins.
Roll out the pastry sheets. Cut out 2 large circles [I used a large dinner plate]. Put one of the circles on the baking tray and cover with the apples. If you have one, put a bean or little fêve in then spoon over the almond mixture. Cover with the second circle of pastry and pres the edges together.
Dilute the egg yolk with 1 tbspn water then brush over the pastry. Make a pattern on top using the sharp point of a knife.
Bake for 25 mins.

The addition of the apples gave another layer of flavour. I liked the pastry then the soft apple, the almondy frangipane and the final pastry layer. A good galette, but I think I prefer it made in the traditional way.