How much do you love chocolate brownies? Well let me tell you as I sit here typing I’ve had both daughterlings come and ask me when they can eat these soft cherry brownies? They’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes but they’ve made the whole house smell all chocolatey. “They’re for New Years Eve” I told them as they skulked off as if they had to wait an eternity.
Brownies rock NYE
I’ve found that with this recipe these brownies taste good when still warm with a dollop of ice cream but if you can bare to wait they improve in richness if eaten a day after baking. I made these to take to a New Years Eve party this year where there will be other chocolate loving kids so I wanted to add a soft cherry flavour. Usually I add glacè or natural morello cherries but for this one I decided to make them quick and easy and used a tin of pitted cherries in juice. I drained the juice completely so they wouldn’t make the cake all gooey – well more gooey than it should be. I also didn’t cut them in half so when you eat them you get all that juicy flavour in one hit.
The result? Pretty good I’d say.
3 medium eggs
275g caster sugar
175g salted butter
200g dark chocolate
175g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tin of pitted cherries (about 230g)
Line a 20x 30cm baking tin with silicon paper and pre-heat your oven to 180*C (160*C for fan ovens).
Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk up then add the sugar and combine. Set to one side.
Place the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and when melted remove from the heat and add the broken up dark chocolate until it melts. Place over the heat if necessary but be sure to watch that it doesn't burn.
Measure and sieve the flour and cocoa into a separate bowl.
Add the chocolate to the egg and sugar mix and combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold in.
Stir in the drained pitted cherries then transfer to the cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes. The top will start to form cracks. That shows it's ready to be removed from the oven.
Leave the tin on a rack to cool completely before removing the cake from the tin.
To cut neat portions place a large knife in hot water then dry before cutting each slice. The heat from the blade will slice easily through the whole brownie if you re-heat it each time.
So what are you baking for New Years Eve then? Last year I made a tart and the year before I made Tiramisu. Anything goes as long as it sees in a sweet new year and brings you plenty of joy and happiness.
Happy New Year.
Lemon Drizzle cake with Flora Buttery
When someone asks you if you’d like to do a sponsored post the chances are you’re going to say yes. When that post involves you baking- and lets face it, demolishing a Lemon drizzle cake in almost one sitting the answer is definitely a double yes!
Flora asked me to choose a recipe from their website and I have to say I was surprised at just how many recipes there were (gazzillions!) From their selection the Lemon Drizzle cake was the one that I fancied eating most right at that very moment. But I had to wait for the weekend food shop to get my hands on a tub of the Flora Buttery (it’s available in all supermarkets). By the time I had a tub arrived I was craving chocolate so I gave the Flora buttery it’s first baking test run on the choc chip cookies from a few weeks ago. Normally a softer butter (or margarine) would make a really gooey-not-in-a-good-way cookie but these were delish. I’ve already made them again.
Lemon Drizzle cake – everyone’s favorite.
When I used to work at Woman & Home magazine and we had a cake sale it was always the Lemon Drizzle and the banana cakes that sold out first. For that reason I though that it would be a good idea to make this Lemon Drizzle for when I was visiting a friend. It was the perfect balance of sweet and zingy. I baked the cake but I always worry I’m going to drown the cake in the lemon sugar syrup so I just brushed it on liberally when the cake came out of the oven. There’s something very satisfying about watching syrup seep into a cake. As the cake is hot it literally disappears in milliseconds. There was tons of syrup left which made me think I’d made the cake wrong. In hindsight I could have added a lot more syrup at this stage but it still tasted great without it. Really light and the texture of the cake was so soft and springy.
After I had ‘taste tested’ the cake I decided that rather than waste the lemon sugar syrup I would brush most of what was left over on top of the cooled cake. Oh – my- goodness!!!! That’s when it all came together for me. So good. So zingy. So deeeelish! In fact the true test of whether a cake is good is when Tim comes into the office peers over my shoulder while I’m writing this post and says “Mmmm that looks good. Can you bake it again?” – I should note that as my official taste tester he is a bit rubbish. He has amazing will power and will eat just one slice of cake, whereas I will eat till it’s gone (that’s why Monday’s are so good. No kids, no Tim, just me and the freshly baked goods!) I only saved one slice of this for Tim before I headed off to my friends – obviously it was not enough!
My reply to Tim was ” I can make another lemon drizzle cake but I was planning on making muffins today” to which he replied “You can make those too!” Hello ever widening hips!
The Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe
You can 🖨 off this recipe here
Disclaimer: Thank you to Flora for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions and ramblings are my own
Delicious Date and Walnut loaf recipe
Sometimes you need a little afternoon pick me up and for me this is it. A slice of date and walnut loaf tastes great on its own but with a little butter spread across it – deeeelishhh!. Oooooh butter! One of life’s little luxuries! The reason I like this loaf so much is because it has a really firm texture. One slice is often enough – who am I kidding one slice is never enough! I wish I could pack it into packed lunches but the whole nut allergy at school thing prevents me so we’ll just have to stick to eating it here at home. (smiles as she types!)
I am a massive date fan. I have them with a cup of tea at the end of the day (instead of another slice of cake or cookie) and the really soft, gooey medjol ones are my favorites. But when you get a regular pack and they’re all a bit hard I bake with them. By soaking the dates in boiling water they get really soft. You can leave them to cool for half an hour and they’re perfectly ready but to make them really moist for your cake leave them over night in an air tight container and give them a shake every now and then.
I didn’t used to like walnuts but over the years they’ve been growing on me. I don’t like it when you can’t taste them in a cake so I often just quarter them so the pieces are big and chunky but you can chop them smaller if you prefer. Toasting them (or baking them in the oven) makes all the difference. It’s like you’re sealing the flavour in. Definitely worth the effort.
You can 🖨 this recipe off here
The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!
After countless emails and comments here on Cakes Bakes And Cookies I am finally happy to share my new Coffee Madeira cake recipe. I’ve tried it so many different ways – with esspresso, with more coffee, with less coffee and this is THE one! It’s a perfect balance of lightly textured cake with a smooth coffee flavour. The buttercream has a delicious coffee flavour but not too strong and when put together the balance is… well, just right.
I made the 9″ Coffee madeira cake mix and split it between five small 6″ tins. Have you seen these tins from Lakeland? They’re a clever set designed for making rainbow cakes and now they do them in an 8″ set too. I wanted to have an impressive layer cake suitable for a coffee morning but you can use this recipe in one 9″ cake tin for a layered wedding cake.
Coffee Madeira cake chart
This chart is for round cakes. For square cakes just go up one inch so an 8″ square cake will use a 9″ round recipe.
How to make Coffee Madeira cake
- Line the cake tin with baking paper. I use sunflower oil to grease the tin so the cake stays soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
- Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
- Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.
- Add the hot water to the coffee and disolve. Set to one side to cool.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour and coffee in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
- Add the walnut halves mixing as little as possible.
- Bake for time stated on the chart for your size cake tin or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
- Don’t open the oven door for the first 30 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
- Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before adding the sugar syrup and turning out of the tin carefully.
How to make the sugar syrup:
- In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
- Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
- Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.
Coffee buttercream recipe
These buttercream quantities are enough to fill each cake when split into two layers and coat the outside with a crumb coat and top coat.
How to make coffee buttercream
- Mix the water and coffee together till disolved then set to one side to cool.
- Start by beating the butter so it becomes light and fluffy.
- Sieve the icing sugar over the top of the butter then mix until well blended. I place a tea towel over my Kitchenaid and hold it carefully in place whilst mixing to prevent the dust from the icing sugar going everywhere.
- Once combined add the coffee and mix for 2-3 minutes so it becomes really light and fluffy. This consistency is good for a filling between layers of cake as it’s thick. I pipe buttercream between layers as it stays thicker than when I used a palette knife. It’s also easier to control and get flat.
- When covering a cake with a buttercream crumb coat before adding sugarpaste or for a decorative finish you need the buttercream to be more fluid. You can get this consistency by adding a drop or two of milk and mixing it in well. Do this slowly as once it’s too soft it’s a pain to get it to firm up again. How soft you want your buttercream is a personal choice. I like to be able to smooth the buttercream on with a palette knife easily and have it come off the sides with a side scraper without breaking the cake, but I don’t want it too soft.
For the five layer Coffee Madeira cake
To create the coffee morning five layer cake I made the cake mix and placed it equally in each tin – which was around 150g per tin. The cakes only took 25 minutes to bake. To decorate I piped a squiggly line on the outside of each layer and filled the middle of each cake evenly.That way you get a pretty outside edge.
For the top I spread the buttercream neatly to cover the edges then piped another squiggly line around the outer edge. I broke up some extra walnuts and sprinkled them on top of the icing.
This cake was a hit in our house. Beau asked for “just a small slice” for breakfast. You can’t have a small slice of this cake. Whichever way you cut it it’s going to be big. She managed to finish it off no problem!
Another thing about this cake is that I have been testing Madeira cakes made with butter and oil (instead of margarine). The cakes come out really light and much flatter but they don’t last as long. So if you give this a try decorate your cake to seal it (with a complete covering of buttercream) by the day after you bake it. You’ll also want to eat it within two or three days.
Hope you like it
p.s. For all of you asking for a lemon Madeira cake recipe – that’s coming next month with charts too!
Chocolate Torte Madeira Sprinkle Birthday Cake
Where do you get your cake inspiration from? I follow quite a lot of blogs but I only stay subscribed if they keep on delivering great inspiration month after month. If they don’t post for a few weeks I don’t really mind as when they do it’s always amazing new content and that’s how I feel about Sweetapolita. She has a very distinctive style and I always want to have a go at recreating her cakes. Her style was the inspiration for this cake.
BeauBeau is TWELVE!!!!
Where does the time go. I’ve been writing this blog for over four years and each year my daughter’s birthday cake posts seem to come round quicker and quicker. For the first time in ages I actually can believe Beau is twelve. She is so much more happy and mature than she was last year. She’s settled into senior school really well and has a lovely group of new friends who we met for the first time on Sunday. One of them even offered to help carry over the drinks for all the gang while we were at bowling! I mean literally said “Would you like me to help you carry the drinks over“!!! How happy am I that Beau has found such polite and friendly group of girls to hang out with? VERY.
So, when it came to her birthday cake she asked for something simple, chocolatey and pretty. Gone are the days of sculpting cakes into fancy designs. In fact I can’t actually remember the last time I was asked to do that. I knew exactly which of Sweetapolita’s cake designs I was going to make. Lots of soft chocolate ganache buttercream and lots and lots of pretty sprinkles!
Now, I would say that this cake is quick and easy to make and I am sure it is, but not when you are desperate to finish season 4 of Prison Break on Netflix and can’t stop watching it and stay up till 3am to do so! Without Netflix it would have been sooo much quicker!
Chocolate Torte Madeira Cake
Happy Birthday Beau Beau Bob. We love you so much.
Emma (a.k.a. Mamma.xxx)
Why I’m stuck on Friands
I absolutely adore Friands. Have you ever made them? They look like a mini cupcake or a squashed muffin but what they actually are is a little taste of heaven. Now, I know what you’re thinking – really? A taste of heaven?!?!? but bear with me.
I have a minor (read MAJOR) addiction to Dr Pepper which is an almond flavoured fizzy pop drink and marzipan is one of my all time favourite cake ingredients – especially when my mum adds it to her Madeira cake, so it’s no surprise that a little thing like a Friand floats my boat.
Friands are a little French cake made with ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites. This Friand recipe is much more moist than a cupcake and have a beautiful, delicate texture unlike a muffin. They are more of a delicacy in my eyes. But, and that’s a big but, they like to get stuck in the tray. And when I say stuck I mean welded on – can’t get it out even with a knife, spoon or thin spatula -kind of stuck. So, when I baked these last night there was only one thing for it. Tim and I stood in the kitchen – me complaining that even though I coated the tray with plenty of oil those babies weren’t coming out. Tim – with a mouthful of dug out Friand said “They taste great to me” whilst attempting to get his next one out! So lesson learned. Make these delicate bakes in cupcake cases!!!
Needless to say, they didn’t go to waste and the little hits of blueberries were delish! Even baked in a silicon mould didn’t help keep them unstuck!