Category: Chocolate

Happy New year

Well this is a first. I’m blogging in the car on our way to Hertfordshire for a New Years Eve dinner with our lovely friends. (Tim’s driving- obviously)

I’ve made a kid friendly chocolate cake, a very adult tiramisu ( thanks Frugal Feeding) and we have wine, champagne and Dr Pepper so were set.

All that’s left to do is wish you all an AMAZING 2013. I know it’s going to be a good year.

See you on the other side.

Love

EmmaMT
xXx

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Fail safe Donut recipe for Channuka

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Last week my sister asked me if I was making donuts for Channuka. They’re the traditional cake for this festival and I’ve not got a good track record with them. But, this year is different. I’m not frying them -which means the batter isn’t getting welded onto my hob and they aren’t going to end up so hard that you need a drill to break them up! That’s all in the past.

This year I have gone to my reliable friends at Lakeland and used not only their fantastic mini donut mould but their recipe too! Just look at the results. Mouth watering aren’t they?

donut recipe
Such a bargain at £4.99

Donut ingredients

FOR 12 DOUGHNUTS

  • 75g (2½oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 60ml (2¼fl oz) milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil (If preferred 10g (½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting

How to make donuts

IMG_2699Pre-heat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas 3. Lightly brush the doughnut pan with cooking oil.

IMG_2703Take a large roomy bowl, and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Add the sugar and give it a stir round to combine.

IMG_2704In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, beaten egg, olive oil and vanilla extract together and add this to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.

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Mix till it looks like a smooth batter

IMG_2711Using a teaspoon carefully fill each of the doughnut cups around ¾ full with the batter. I used an icing bag because I make a lot of mess!

IMG_2712 IMG_2713Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until firm, but springy to the touch. Cool slightly.

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The best thing about these silicon moulds is how easy it is to make your donuts pop out effortlessly! Just a gentle press from beneath et Voila! IMG_2720

Leave to cool if you are adding chocolate ganache or dip in a mix of sugar and cinnamon straight away. IMG_2722

I made a lot of the chocolate ones…..

Make sure you put some greaseproof paper underneath your cooling rack to catch the dribbles.
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But the cinnamon ones were pretty delish too!

You don’t have to use a silicon mould. I did a trial run in a small cupcake tin and they popped up really well too. Just make sure you oil the tin really well.  I’m going to attempt to put some jam in these later on today when there are no kids that I have to share with! donut recipe

Happy Channuka everyone! 

Squires Kitchen ‘BAKE School’ magazine review

Have you seen this magazine on the shelves yet? I got my hands on the second issue this week and it’s really, really good. I don’t buy many baking magazines – if I started I don’t think I’d stop and what with all the interiors titles I buy for work I’d be drowning in piles and piles of paper!

Squires kitchen, for those of you who don’t know, is a baking shop/school/ haven. It’s based in Farnham in Surrey and has people coming from all over the world to learn how to master the art of decorating cakes and cookies, modelling, sugarcrafting and much, much more. Their baking ingredients and equipment are so readily available the chances are you already have a ton of it in your baking cupboard without even realising it. They have had a fantastic  Wedding magazine for a while but this new ‘Bake school’ is right up my street and so probably yours too.

So what’s in it?

Recipes to start with, and lots and lots of them. Most are by the Squires tutors but there’s also a few experts thrown in for good measure, Mary Berry, Edd Kimber and Carlos Lischetti to name but a few. There are also tons and tons of tips. Really simple things that make a difference to being a successful baker. How to line a cake tin, how to colour icing, how to pipe a cupcake, which nozzle give which effect etc

The features in this issue

Biscuits

There are loads of recipes as well as beautiful decorating ideas from stencilling and embossing to flooding and stained glass effects

Cupcakes

Recipes including very vanilla, triple chocolate and some basic how to’s on piping buttercream to more complex designs. I love the butterfly cupcakes with the iced cookies in them and the cupcakes that really look like roses. They’re incredible.

Cakes

Raspberry Victoria Sponge anyone? Or a pretty layered cake, like the one on the cover? Yes, please!  There are also some dairy free, wheat and gluten cakes as well.

Chocolate

Well what can I say. You will want to make all of these recipes from Mud cake to chocolate chilli cupcakes, Chocolate fondant puddings to chocolate and walnut brownies to name but a few.

Dessert

I love desserts. In fact I nearly love them more than cakes – but don’t tell anyone! This is one chapter that I have folded down the page corners on every page! Swiss Meringues that are so pretty, Eaton Mess Meringue cakes, Mango tart, yum, yum, yum!

Bread

I’ve only recently discovered the fun of baking bread. I have loved making pizza bases this week. They are so much better than shop bought ones. George Thomopoulos, Squires expert bread baker, shares his tried and tested recipes for brown malted loaf, bloomer and rolls and Focaccia – this is what I’m making next.

Also worth checking out ….

  • Susanna Righetto’s sugarcraft flowers. You could sell them in a florists shop they look so real.
  • The interview with Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of The Great British Bake off.
  • Plum chutney and a jam recipe to accompany other recipes.
  • In the kitchen with Carlos Lischetti – this man makes models from modelling clay that are incredible. They are so beautiful you could put them on a shelf as an ornament. They are the epitome of perfect.

Bake school is available from WHSMith, Sainsbury’s and selected newsagents for £5.99 or you can buy it directly from the Squires on line shop, but beware, you’ll come away with a lot more than you bargained for if you let yourself loose in the shop. It’s a treasure trove of baking goodies!

Do you buy baking magazines? Which ones are your favorites and why? I’d love to know what to look out for.

enjoy!

Cakes Espanol!

We’ve just returned from a relaxing holiday in Mallorca. It was lovely to be just the four of us as we haven’t been away without friends or family for years. It was absolutely boiling and we returned to a freezing, wet London, but I have to say I was really happy to be home.

This was the first time that we had gone all-inclusive and I have to say that the food was pretty good. Tim and I set out with really good intentions. ‘We won’t drink too much, we won’t stuff our faces at every meal and we will be walking all over the place and be in the pool loads so we could make it quite a healthy break.’

That lasted 2 days!

You see the problem was that there were so many amazing desserts on offer (yes there was fresh fruit, but that just isn’t enough for me!) and when you consider that I eat continuously all day everyday at home I was getting pretty ratty. We worked it out that I wasn’t eating enough. No snacking between meals really isn’t for me! So, I went to check out the snacks on offer and there were these really cute, individually wrapped cakes and biscuits (I really wish I had taken a snap of them to show you) There were mini donuts – which Beau loved, swiss roll type cakes with the bottom dipped in chocolate which Darcey loved and made a lot of mess with in all that heat and then the pièce de résistance, puff pastry layered square cakes which were literally dripping in syrup. They were like Baklava.  I just couldn’t leave them alone! I have to say that Tim was really good and resisted all of them. He knows that once you start you can’t stop so he just didn’t start. Such will power!

So at every lunch and dinner there was a whole host of choices on offer -jelly, mouse, ice cream, dried fruit and then the cakes. Each meal had two cakes. We tried them all! Some we recognised, some we didn’t. The cream fillings were like that fake cream you get in cheap cakes and it was a bit sweet for us but the layers of sponges were incredibly light (and pink!)

One dessert that I couldn’t leave alone was the rice pudding. It was really deeelish. Lots of people were saying that they couldn’t face cold rice pudding but I loved it. It had cinnamon on the top and I had to limit myself to just one small spoonful each time. The apple pie was a bit too much pie and too little apple for me, but where they really excelled was the pastries.

The Mallorcan delicacy of the Ensaïmada de Mallorca. It tastes like a combination of croissant and brioche, but lighter. It’s baked in a large circle and then it cut up into pieces. You can have it plain, with a creme filling which was like a custard, chocolate filling or an almond centre. They all tasted great – every last one!

So now we are back and it’s nearly time to go back to school. I think a new fitness regime is in order…… or maybe just some more baking Mallorcan style!

enjoy! 

How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache

I made a really yummy chocolate and cherry cake last week and finally had a go at covering it with chocolate ganache. Up until now whenever I have made ganache it’s always been mixed in with buttercream for a cake filling or just as a really delicious layer of chocolatiness before a fresh cream filling but this time was different!
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Chocolate ganache is basically dark chocolate mixed in with double cream and some butter. It’s rich and seriously best when licked straight from the mixing spoon…. I mean when added to a cake!
Anyway, here’s how I did it.

How to cover an 8″ cake in Chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

Buttercream Ingredients

  • 100g butter – at room temperature
  • 200g icing sugar
  • a drop of vanilla essence
  • 50g cocoa powder (add more if you want it really chocolatey)

 Chocolate Ganache ingredients

  • 75ml double cream
  • 125g Unsalted butter,
  • 250g plain chocolate  broken up into little pieces
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Start off with your baked cake. Mix up your buttercream by adding the sieved icing sugar and cocoa powder to the butter and whisking till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and whisk again. If it’s a little too stiff you can add a few drops of milk to loosen it up a bit.
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Use a pallet knife to spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This will be your base layer so make it as flat as you can.
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganacheI use an icing smoother to get the sides nice and even. (This is a great way to discuise a bumpy cake!) If you drag the smoother along the edge of the cake whist resting on a flat surface you’ll get a nice 90° edge.)Pop the cake in the fridge to firm up the buttercream. This will take around 20 minutes.
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
While the cake is in the fridge make the ganache. You can melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water but I just heat up the double cream in a pan until just before it’s going to boil. Then take it off the heat and stir in the chopped up chocolate pieces until it’s all melted and combined. Add the butter till that’s melted and incorporated too and leave to cool a little.
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Once the buttercreamed cake is firm remove it from the fridge and place it on a wire rack which is over some greaseproof paper.
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Pour the ganache over the cake so that it fills up the whole top and flows over the sides. I found this strangely good fun. I always did love messy play! Use a spatula to create a soft ripple look if you want. This is my little trick which means that the top layer doesn’t need to be perfectly flat!
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Leave the cake till the ganache stops dripping. I added the cherries at this stage so they would sit firmly on the cake as it had to travel in the car later that day.
 How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Leave the ganache to set. Weather dependant this can take between 30 – 60 minutes. It will firm up quite a bit, but will remain soft so don’t be tepmted to stick a finger on it to see if it’s done. You’ll ruin the look!
How to cover a cake in chocolate ganache
Once set carefully transfere it onto your cake plate.
I was pretty happy with how this turned out. It’s really fun.  I made double the amount of ganache – just in case I had to start again! But you can scoop up the overspilled ganache and keep it in an airtight container for a week in the fridge if you need to. When you are ready to use it again just warm it through slowly in a pan but make sure it doesn’t boil or burn.  I pretty much spooned my leftovers – with some small people’s help, straight into my mouth. I couldn’t leave it alone!

enjoy!

Cake pops for The Poopah


It was my dad’s birthday last month. I’m not quite sure now where the nick name originated from but I call my dad ‘The Poopah’ and mum is ‘The Moomah’!

Anyway, my dad has always worn glasses and has always had a moustache (except for a small interlude where his face was bare for a couple of months and he had a full beard for a couple of months – both of which The Moomah hated and he went back to being moustacheo man!) So it’s quite easy to get his character with just a few cake decorating touches.

My dad’s birthday is always celebrated with a family gathering in his garden- usually a BBQ, but what with the summer we’ve been having it was an indoor event this year!  My aunt was visiting from Israel and my 93 year old grandma came too, so I offered to make a cake. Mum always does the decorated cakes for family so I  made some cake pops instead.

How to make the cake pops

1. I keep larger off cuts from cakes I’ve made and had to chop up (or level the top) and freeze them just for making cake pops with. I hate to waste food. ESPECIALLY cake!

2. Pop the cake in a food processor and whizz it till it’s crumbs. I used the off cuts from a one bowl chocolate cake.

3. Add buttercream and whizz again. I don’t measure anymore I just add the buttercream until it sticks together. (To make the buttercream use  a 1:2 ratio  i.e 50g butter, 100g icing sugar, and a drop of vanilla essence all blended together until nice and fluffy)

4. Roll into balls and pop into the freezer for 5 minutes to harden.

5.Mix up some royal icing and colour it using colouring pastes. Add just a tiny bit at a time. Use a toothpick for the ultimate in colour control.

6.Place the royal icing in an icing bag. I printed out a load of pictures of glasses and moustache onto a piece of A4 paper and placed the sheet inside a new, clear, plastic pocket – the kind you would use in a ring binder. Wipe it with Trex so that it isn’t too sticky then ice the shapes over the top of the print out.

7.Leave them to harden up. I would usually leave them over night but you can leave them for a few hours. Test a corner to see if they are going to be strong enough to handle. Remove them with a thin pallet knife VERY CAREFULLY. I broke so many of these that most of the cake pops had smarties all over them (as Beau was helping me!)

8.Push the sticks into the cake pops and dip into the melted candy melts. I thought I had some pink melts when I started making these but when I pulled the lock and lock box out of the cupboard it would appear that it was just pink packaging! It turned out that they were all chocolate. Oh well never mind! I melted some white chocolate to put on the top of each cake pop instead. While they were still wet I added the glasses and moustache decorations onto the top of the pops so when you looked in the box you could see the Poopahs looking out!

So, what do you think? Do they look like my dad then?

There was a bit of a Poopah theme running throughout the afternoon. None of us kids or mum discussed what we were doing/ baking with each other for the lunch. My mum made a cake of his face complete with glasses and tash and mmmm nice chocolate hair and a nose made out of marzipan. Always our favorite bit! When we were kids we used to fight over who got the most marzipan.

Even my 2 1/2 year old niece Sara got in on the action. How cute is the card she made?

Have you made any personalised cake pops recently? I’d love to know how you got on!

EmmaMT

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