4/27/2017

Mini Chocolate and Ginger Puddings

I recently bought a set of 4 mini pudding basins, so had to try them out. I love the combination of chocolate and ginger so decided these flavours would be in my little sponge puddings.
The only drawback to these puds is that they need to be steamed.
Maybe you could do them in the microwave? Have made a large sponge pudding in my microwave, so perhaps these little ones would work too?

Lightly grease 4 small pudding basins [ I got mine from Lakeland].

Put 100g soft margarine or butter, 100g sr flour, 100g caster sugar, 25g cocoa powder and 2 eggs in a bowl and beat together. Chop up 25g dark chocolate and 50g stem ginger and add to the batter.
Spoon between the 4 basins  up to 3/4 full. Cover the top with circles of parchment paper then a pleated piece of foil.
Steam for about 45 mins till puddings are springy and cooked.

To serve with them  - chocolate custard.

Beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tbspn caster sugar and 1 tbspn cornflour to make a nice smooth paste.
Heat 300ml of milk in a pan till boiling, then pour it over the egg mixture. Pour back into the pan and cook over a low heat till it thickens.Take pan off the heat and add 100g dark chocolate broken into small pieces. Stir till chocolate melts.

Run a knife round the inside of the tops of the basins then tip out the puddings onto plates. Spoon some of the chocolate over the top and serve what's left in a jug.



I loved the little bits of stem ginger in the soft cakey pudding - gave it a bit of a zing - and the chocolate pieces hadn't quite melted.  The sponge had a soft texture and contrasted well with the lovely chocolate custard. A nice treat!



4/24/2017

Apple Custard Cake - French Style

We all know we can't have enough apple recipes, and my lovely French friend G sent me this one to try. She loves finding new recipes, and often uses ingredients from other countries, including the UK, which she finds in her local Carrefour.
I haven't made any kind of apple custard cake before, so it was just right to make for my family coming on Saturday. I've adapted the recipe as there wasn't a mention of what size tin to use; there rarely is in French recipes, simply says 'moule à manqué', a deep cake tin! G didn't say what apples she used, but I used Bramleys, as I didn't want the cake to be too sweet. She must have got the custard powder at the supermarket [but I always take of tin of it with me when I visit her, together with tea, marmalade and Marmite!]

Preheat oven 180C/gas4               Grease a 20cm springform tin and line base with baking paper

Make the custard for the cake first - mix together 2tbspn custard powder and 55g of caster sugar in a pan then slowly add 250ml of milk, whisking it in then slowly bring to the boil. Stir it over a medium heat till it thickens. Take it off the heat and add 20g butter and 2 tspn vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and cover with some clingfilm and leave to cool.

Mix 40g custard powder together with 185g plain flour and 2 tspn baking powder. In another bowl beat together 200g butter and 110g caster sugar till nice and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, then add the flour mixture, 1 tspn vanilla extract and 1-2 tbspn milk.
Peel core and thinly slice 3-4 medium Bramleys.
Spoon half of the cake batter into the tin and spread the cooled custard over the top. Drop the rest of the batter over the top in spoonfuls, and smooth gently to completely cover the custard. A little spatula is useful to do this.
Put the apple slices over the top of the batter, and sprinkle some cinnamon and demerara sugar over the top.
Bake for about 50 mins.





A very different sort of apple cake. The texture of the main part is very smooth and custardy, then the slightly solid apples with a hint of cinnamon. The top has a crunch from the sugar which contrasts nicely with the other textures. Using the Bramleys it wasn't too sweet. It's a nice tea cake or a good dessert, maybe with s scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of crème fraîche.
Slice the apples thinly or they might not be completely cooked.

4/13/2017

A Duo of Muffins for Easter

As I have already decided to make the chocolate cake in my last post for Easter,  I thought I'd make some small cakes for my grandchildren. They love muffins and they came to visit yesterday so we made them together.
The first one we made was topped with buttercream and my favourite  Cadbury's mini eggs, but the second batch was a great favourite of my 2 older grandsons - Crunchy Peanut Butter muffins.
I always use oil when making muffins - don't think it is really any healthier, but it sounds better than using butter.

For the Easter Muffins:

Preheat oven 200C/gas6           Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or use 12 paper cases.

Sift together 225g plain flour, 55g cocoa powder, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a jug then beat in 250g buttermilk and 6 tbspn sunflower oil.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and carefully stir in the wet ones. Mix till just combined - be careful not to over mix or your muffins will be hard.
Spoon the batter into tin - I use an ice cream scoop.
Bake for about 20 mins till risen and firm. Cool on a wire rack.
For the topping :
Put 85g soft butter in a large bowl and beat till fluffy; then sift in 175g icing sugar and beat together, then adding 1 tbspn milk .
Put spoonfuls on top of each muffin and swirl round, or you could use a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle to pipe the cream on. I did the one in the photo with a nozzle, but the boys just swirled with a fork to their hearts' content!
Decorate with a few of the mini eggs.



For the Peanut Butter muffins:

Same oven temp. and tin as for the Easter muffins.

Make the topping first - finely chop 50g unsalted roasted peanuts and add them to 40g demerara sugar; mix together.

Sift together 280g plain flour, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Beat 2 eggs in a large jug then beat in 175ml milk, 6 tbspn sunflower oil and 175g crunchy peanut butter.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix together carefully till combined, but don't over mix.
Spoon into the tin and sprinkle the topping mixture over each one. bake for about 20 mins till golden.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.



Good crumb on the chocolate ones - firm and moist. Love the contrast between the cake mixture, the soft creamy icing and the hard crispy egg.
Am a great lover of peanut butter so these were also my favourite. The cake mixture is soft and moist with a lovely peanut flavour. It contrasts so well with the crunchy peanut topping.

4/04/2017

Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

I went to a 50th wedding anniversary party a few weeks ago, and this was the celebration cake. It was delicious, so I asked my friend who made it for the recipe.

It's more like a solid mousse than a cake, but the chocolate flavour is so good. I have to say tho' that a slice is very rich. I made it last weekend as a try out for Easter, as I had friends coming for lunch.

For the cake you need ; 330g dark chocolate, 120g cocoa, 350g melted butter, 10 egg yolks, 330g icing sugar and 330g  whipping cream

For the ganache: 200g dark chocolate and 10cl single cream

You need  a 23cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment

Beat the egg yolks together till fluffy. [Freeze the whites in batches for meringues?] Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie then add to the yolks and mix gently together. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. Whisk the cream till firm, and carefully fold into the egg mixture.

For the icing - melt the chocolate and cream over a bain marie. Spoon a thin layer of this chocolate ganache into the bottom of the cake tin, then add the cake mixture, smoothing the top with a palette knife.

Take the cake out of the fridge and cover top with the ganache, using a palette knife to smooth it over.

Put back into the fridge for at least 3 hours, remove when needed and carefully remove from the tin and serve chilled.



As I said earlier, it's very rich. My daughter added the mint and a couple of bits of chocolate for the photo, but it doesn't need any additions. A smooth, creamy mousse cake, perfect for a special occasion. Decorated with some chocolate eggs, it's going to be my centrepiece at Easter!

Note - as the cake contains uncooked egg yolks, it's not suitable for young children or pregnant mums.