9/26/2016

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

I made these to take to a local coffee morning. Chocolate and spice go so well together. These freeze well, so you're never short of something sweet when the mood takes you!

You need - 200g dark chocolate, 210g plain flour, 11/2 tspn ginger, 1/2 tspn mixed spice, 1 tspn cinnamon, 1 tbspn cocoa powder, 110g butter, 120g dark brown sugar, 4 tbspn golden syrup, 1 tspn bicarb, whole almonds to decorate

Preheat oven 160C/gas3
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

Chop the chocolate up, and in a bowl sift the spices and cocoa together with the flour.

In another bowl beat the butter and sugar till fluffy, then add the golden syrup and beat again.

Dissolve the bicarb in 11/2 tspn boiling water.

Beat half o f the flour mixture into the butter one, beat in the bicarb then the rest of the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chunks and mix well.

Roll into a sausage shape and cover in clingfilm. Chill for about 2 hours till firm.

Cut slices off the roll and place on the baking sheets leaving about 2 cm spaces between each cookie. Push an almond in the centre of each cookie then put in fridge for 20 mins.

Bake for about 10-12 mins, then cool on a wire rack.





Lovely spicy flavour, good crunch. Think I'd like a bit more chocolate flavour, so will use more cocoa next time, 11/2 tbspn.

9/21/2016

Cinnamon and Crème Fraîche Apple Cake

As Autumn is nearly upon us, I thought I'd make an apple cake. I seem to have collected a file full of cakes using apples in various ways, but I haven't made this cake before. It's from a leaflet that came with a French magazine a few years ago. I love cinnamon, and cinnamon and apple are made for each other.

You need:
4-5 apples , 180g butter, 1 heaped tspn cinnamon, 150g golden caster sugar, 50g flaked almonds, 3 eggs, 160g sr flour and 90g crème fraîche

Preheat oven 180C/gas4 Grease a 20cm cake tin

Peel the apples and cut up into dice. Melt 120g of the butter in a pan and add the diced apple. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and leave on a low heat for a few minutes.

Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the bottom of the cake tin. Spoon the apples on top.

Beat together the eggs and the sugar then fold in the flour and add the cream. Spoon this onto the apples.

Bake for about 25 mins. Leave in tin to cool then turn out upside down.

Serve with more crème fraîche or ice cream or just on its own.



A nice soft crumb, good apple taste, good hit of cinnamon and a crunch from the almonds. 

9/16/2016

A Good Family Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake 'fashions' have come and gone over the last 30 odd years. There was the Black Forest gateau, the Sachertorte, truffle torte, lots of poor imitations of the River Cafe's gorgeous Nemesis cake to name but a few. I've tried most of these, but the recipe I come back to when the family want a chocolate cake is this one. I've been making it for a long time, but think it was originally a Delia recipe.
I like using oil in cakes, and this one is really moist and keeps well. It's a good sized cake too, and it can be dressed up for an occasion with ganache or whatever you fancy. Today's version is unadorned except for a filling of Nutella and a smattering of icing sugar on the top.

275g plain flour
3 tbspn cocoa powder
11/2 tspn baking powder
11/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
215g caster sugar
3 tbspn golden syrup
3 eggs [large]
225ml sunflower oil [I use rapeseed]
225ml milk
icing sugar
Nutella

2x 20cm sandwich tins [about 4cm deep], greased and lined

Preheat oven 160C/gas3

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl and mix in the sugar. Make a well in the middle and add the rest of the ingredients.
Beat together well with a wooden spoon till nice and smooth.
Pour into the tins and bake for about 35 mins [ mine took 45 mins]. till well risen.
Remove from tins and take off lining paper. Cool on a wire rack.

You can then do what you like with them. As I've already said, I spread Nutella over one of them, put the other on top and sifted over some icing sugar. They'd risen quite a lot, so I cut the dome off one of the cakes to make it level so I could put the Nutella on it. Cook's perk to eat the slice cut off!


It's a nice moist cake, not too sweet, with a good chocolate flavour and a soft texture.


9/05/2016

Lumberjack Cake

"The Lumberjack Cake is so-called by Canadian lumberjacks because it helps keep the hunger pangs at bay till lunch."
This is one of the reasons I found on the internet for the name of this cake. It's also claimed as an Australian and New Zealand recipe - so who knows?

I wanted something to fill some hungry men who'd helped me by putting up my new side gate. They all love sweet cakes and pudds, so this recipe seemed just the thing. It's more of a dessert than a cake to have with with a cuppa - too sticky.

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, and finely chopped - about 400g
200g chopped dates
1 tspn bicarb
250ml boiling water
125g butter
1 tspn vanilla extract
210g caster sugar
1 large egg
180g plain flour

Topping:
60g Butter
8 tbspn milk
110g soft brown sugar
60g dessicated coconut


Preheat the oven to 180C /gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm spring form cake tin.

Mix together the apple, dates, bicarb and boiling water. Cover with cling film and leave till just warm.

Beat butter, vanilla and sugar till white and creamy; beat in the egg and fold in the flour . Add the apple mixture and mix together.
Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 mins.

For the topping;

Put the butter, milk, brown sugar and coconut in a pan and stir over a low heat till butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

Take the cake out of the oven, pour over the coconut topping and bake for another 30 mins. Let the cake cool in the tin.





It's a sticky, moist cake - somebody describes it as 'squidgy' and that's a perfect description. You have this moist, sticky layer at the bottom and the lovely chewy caramelised, coconut layer on top. I have to admit that it's very sweet. My male helpers loved it, and it soon disappeared!