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Cover: Loco for cocoa

Recipes with cake

30Jul 12

Flake-y Fruit and Nut Slice

Flaky Fruit and Nut SliceSo called because it contains Flake bars…. Mmmmmm – yummy! Flaky fruit and nut slice is a crumbly and crunchy treat for the whole family.

This is a modified version of a recipe that I found long ago.  It gives you something really easy to do with those Flake bars that we all love!  Cooking this cake slowly results in a beautifully moist texture which holds together the crumble and crunch of the other ingredients.  I normally let it cool and eat it cold as a cake slice – but you could also try it warm with a dollop of ice cream or single cream.  To play with the flavour some more, try adding a couple of tablespoons of rum to the mix!  If you do this, you may need to add a tiny bit more flour so that this mixture is not too wet before it goes into the oven.

If you have friends coming to stay, especially if they have children – this is a good cake to make together in the kitchen one rainy day.  Just be sure the kids are OK with the nut pieces first; then get stuck in to some fun food creation together. (Also try this pear and hazelnut mess with chocolate shavings recipe.)

Flaky Fruit and Nut Slice
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
So called because it contains Flake bars…. Mmmmmm – yummy! Flaky fruit and nut slice is a crumbly and crunchy treat for the whole family.
Ingredients
  • 230g softened butter or margarine
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 3 Flake chocolate bars
  • 145g hazelnuts, chopped into random sized pieces
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 150g raisins
  • 75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • Icing sugar and cinnamon powder for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
  2. Lightly grease and then line a cake tin.
  3. Chop the flake into pieces about 1.5cm long, and put to one side.
  4. Mix the sugar and butter together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  5. Combine in the cocoa powder.
  6. Separate off half of the flake pieces, 50g of the broken hazelnuts and 50g of the dark chocolate. Keep them to one side for now. Add the remaining quantities of all 3 to the mixing bowl and stir in.
  7. Add in the raisins and the apricots and mix gently.
  8. Spoon the mixture out into the prepared cake tin, and then scatter the nuts and the chocolate that you had kept to one side, over the top.
  9. Pop the cake mixture in the oven and bake for around 2 hrs, testing that the cake is cooked with a skewer or sharp knife that should come clean out of the mixture.
  10. Once ready, remove the cake from the oven and let it sit to cool in the cake tin.
  11. Once cool, dust with icing sugar and cinnamon powder and serve with a hot cup of tea and some good conversation.

 

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24Jul 12

Crunchy Chocolate Button Cake

Crunchy Chocolate Button CakeDelectably rich, with the crunch of biscuit, and the hidden surprise of milk chocolate buttons…

Here’s the second no-bake featured cake recipe I want to share with you.  Crunchy chocolate button cake is a great treat to create with children.  It’s really quick to prepare, but takes a minimum of 4 hrs to set.  In fact, it’s better chilled overnight, and even better the day after that as it begins to harden further – but do you think it will actually last that long before your hungry gobblers devour it all? (I also suggest trying this No-bake Anzac slice.)

Ingredients:

  • 150g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 150g good quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 130g digestive biscuits
  • 130g unsalted butter
  • 1 packet of milk chocolate buttons (standard size pack)

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Grease a 17-20cm cake dish, and line with baking parchment.
  2. In a large heavy-based saucepan, melt the dark and milk chocolate together with the milk and the butter.  Put the mixture to one side to cool down, but don’t let it start to re-set.
  3. Meanwhile, place the digestive biscuits into a clean sandwich bag, lay the bag on a wooden board, and bash gently with a rolling pin to break the biscuits into fairly small pieces (but not crumbs).  Empty the biscuits into a large mixing bowl and stir in the milk chocolate buttons.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled (but is still pliable) mix the biscuits and buttons into it, combining the ingredients well.  Using a spatula, put the mixture into the greased and lined baking tray, lightly pressing it down over the entire surface until nicely packed, and levelling the top.  Pop it in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hrs, or even better, overnight, until entirely set.
  5. When set, you can turn the cold cake out of the tin, remove the parchment paper and slice to serve.

Time: 20 mins to prepare, a minimum of 4 hrs to chill

Cocoa Treats: 12-20

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07Jul 12

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble cakeChocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake is a classic cake for afternoon tea with friends and family.  If you have a pretty tea set, this is the perfect moment to get it out of the cupboards and use it.  Invite the grandparents round and enjoy a family gathering in good old-fashioned style. (Also try this Marvellous Marble Cake.)

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp and 3 drops of vanilla essence
  • 30g cocoa powder

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Grease a 28cm long, oven-proof, glass plum cake dish with a little butter.
  3. Melt the butter very gently over a low heat.  Take it off the heat as soon as it is melted.  Stir it and leave it to one side.
  4. Separate the egg whites and yolks into 2 different bowls.  Put the egg yolks into a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar to the egg yolks and combine well with a wooden spoon, and then stir in 3 drops of the vanilla essence.
  5. Add the flour to the sugar and yolk mix in small quantities, alternating with adding the melted butter bit by bit, stirring each addition in well until completely combined.
  6. Whisk the egg whites to a firm consistency, until they are peaking.  Work them into the cake mixture with a wooden spoon.
  7. Portion the cake mix by halves into 2 bowls.  Add the cocoa powder to one bowl, stirring it in well.  Add the teaspoon of vanilla essence to the other bowl, mixing it in well.
  8. Take the prepared plum cake dish, and using two teaspoons, alternate adding the chocolate and vanilla mixtures to the dish, in 4-5 cm strips across the width, and 3 layers high.  Start the first layer with chocolate, the second with vanilla, and the final layer with chocolate.  As you alternate the mixtures, you will naturally create a marble effect.  Don’t worry about being very precise; it’s going to look great!
  9. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about an hour.  Test that the cake is cooked by inserting a sharp knife or skewer into the centre.  The knife should come out of the mixture dry.  Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool, or enjoy some warm straight away with cookie dough ice cream.

Time: 30 minutes to prepare, about an hour to cook

Cocoa Treats: 8 slices

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09Jun 12

Pure Pleasure Chocolate Cake

Pure pleasure chocolate cakeYou may have noticed by now that I’m not much of an advocate of cooking chocolate used specifically for baking. I see it like this; the better the chocolate, the greater the eating pleasure.  Simple really.  And there’s certainly no exception to that rule when it comes to this incredibly moist and rich pure pleasure chocolate cake. (Also try this chocolate beetroot cake.)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g good dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 130g self-raising flour
  • 55g light muscovado sugar
  • 80g ground almonds

For the creamy chocolate covering and filling:

  • 155g good dark chocolate, chopped into fairly small pieces
  • 155g double cream

Preparation Guidelines:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.  Grease and line a circular tin as I did.
  2. Gently melt the chocolate with the butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the eggs and the sugar together until they begin to firm.
  4. Sift the flour into the mixture; add the ground almonds and the buttery chocolate mixture and stir everything together until completely combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and pop it in the oven for around 35 minutes, or until the mixture is just firm.  Timing is everything here so keep an eye on the cake and when ready, remove it from the oven and delicately transfer it onto a cooling rack.

For the creamy chocolate filling and covering:

  1. Whilst the cake is baking, you can make the chocolate cream covering and filling.  Take a saucepan and pour in the cream, bringing it up on the heat until it is just about to boil.  Take the cream off the heat and add in the chocolate.  Leave the chocolate sitting in the cream until it melts and then stir it all together into a smooth mixture.  Pour it into a cold bowl and leave it to cool and thicken.

Putting it all together:

  1. Once the cake has cooled, slice the top off if it has risen in the centre and then cut it in half horizontally.  Sandwich the creamy chocolate inside the two halves of the cake – use about one third of the chocolate cream for this.  Finish the cake by spreading the rest of the chocolate cream over the top and the sides.  Slice it and serve with a refreshing cup of tea.

Time: 20 minutes to prepare, plus cooling time, 45 minutes to cook

Cocoa Treats: 12-14 slices

Note: The picture is of my cake is the pre-icing stage so you can see how chocolaty the cake is!

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26Apr 12

Chocolate Caterpillar Cake

Chocolate Caterpillar CakeHere’s the cake that I made for my niece’s 2nd birthday party.  First, you make a chocolate Swiss roll or chocolate roulade, or if you’re pressed for time and energy, you could always buy one; I sometimes do. Then decorate it with molten chocolate and smarties.  It’s fun and colourful and children love it!

Ingredients:

For the Swiss roll cake:

  • 75g flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g dark cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs

For the Swiss roll filling:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 75g milk chocolate, melted

For the caterpillar topping:

  • 300 – 400g milk chocolate for the caterpillar coating, broken into pieces
  • 4 tubes of smarties

You will also need a 23 x 33 cm Swiss roll tin, an electric whisk (ideally) and 2-4 birthday candles.

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.  Grease the Swiss roll tin and line with baking paper.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a large mixing bowl, until the mixture becomes creamy and thick.  Ideally you should do this with an electric whisk to generate as much air as possible into the mixture.  Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder together into a separate bowl before gradually working into the sugar and egg mixture.  Add 1 tbsp hot water.  Mix this in very gently trying not to disperse the air bubbles you created when whisking.
  3. Pour the cake mixture into the tin, tilting in each direction to ensure that the mixture reaches into all of the corners.  Bake in the oven for around 10-12 mins, until the cake is cooked and springy to the touch.
  4. Sprinkle caster sugar onto a large piece of baking paper, turning the cooked cake out onto it.  Cut away any hard edges, and make a dent along the width of the sponge, 1 cm in.  From this end, carefully roll the sponge up with the paper, curling into the middle.  Leave the cake like this on a cooling rack.
  5. Work the icing sugar into the butter, creaming them together until they are fluffy and light, then beat in the melted chocolate.  Uncurl the sponge, and coat the top surface with the butter icing before rolling it up again.
  6. Melt the topping chocolate in a saucepan, adding 1-2 tsp water, or as necessary to make the chocolate begin to turn very slightly crumbly in consistency.  This is how the spiky, textured effect of the caterpillar is created.  Gradually work the chocolate over the entire surface of the cooled roll, using a spoon and a fork to spread and create the texture.  The cake will be fragile so it is worth taking time to do this bit carefully.  Add the smarties as you go, dotted about across the entire surface, so that they stick to the melted chocolate before it sets.  Create a smiley face shape with the smarties at each end of the roll.  You can use candles to make the antennae.

Time: 1 hour and 20 mins preparation time, including decorating, 10 mins cooking time.

Cocoa Treats: 8 slices

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18Apr 12

Fudgy Chocolate Sponge Pudding

Fudgy Chocolate Sponge PuddingFor those still chill evenings in the spring, before the summer comes in, why not delight in making and eating this fudgy chocolate sponge pudding, which you can serve with chocolate custard and ice cream?  These sponge puddings are simple to prepare and very quick to cook for a bit of a posh, midweek pud!

When we were children, we used to go and stay with my granny in the Easter holidays, and she lived by the sea – so you can imagine what fun we had playing in the sand and going to the theme parks! It was an exiting and magical time.  Some days, when we got in from a long day of running and hiding in the sand dunes, she would make this pudding for us after we’d hungrily downed our pesto cod and chips and mushy peas!  So this one’s in honour of precious memories with you, Gran!

Ingredients:

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 400g butter
  • 8 tbsp milk
  • 8 eggs
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • 220g fudge, broken into pieces
  • 220g good dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until light and creamy.
  2. Whisk the eggs well in a separate bowl and then add them gradually to the sugar and butter mix.  Once well combined, add and stir in the flour.
  3. Grease 4 microwaveable ramekins with a touch of butter.  Put a quarter of the fudge and chocolate pieces into the bottom of each pot, and then spoon over the sponge mixture, dividing it equally across the 4 ramekins.  Cook each pot of sponge in the microwave for around 4-5 mins until the sponge is beautifully cooked and the chocolate and fudge have melted.
  4. Depending on you preference, serve directly in the ramekins, or turn the sponge puddings out into shallow bowls so that the chocolate and fudge sit at the top of your presentation.

Time: 20 mins to prepare, 5 mins to cook

Cocoa Treats: 4 servings

Note:    Try serving with warm chocolate custard, or with pouring cream

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27Mar 12

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava CakeI discovered Chocolate Lava Cakes only recently, and they are a true delight!  They are not like your traditional chocolate fudge cake.  As you bite into the chocolate sponge, the warm, gooey chocolate filling spills out onto your tongue.  A sensuous, and very welcome surprise for those not expecting it – and a treat for those who already know!  In fact, you need to eat these little heavenly parcels with a spoon, unless you want to get messy.  Chocolate Lava cakes are always eaten warm!

Ingredients:

  • 100g bar of good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 large or extra large eggs
  • 1 large or extra large egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • A sprinkle of icing sugar or chocolate syrup to top before serving

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Slowly melt the chocolate and the butter together in a heat-proof bowl that sits in a saucepan of hot water.  Once melted, combine them well.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and the sugar together until light and creamy.
  3. Fold the chocolate mixture into the creamed eggs and sugar until well-combined.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the chocolate and egg mix, and stir the whole mixture together with a spatula.
  5. Line 4 x 140g ramekins or small oven-proof pots with butter before dividing the mixture evenly into them. Give them a little tap on the work surface to release any trapped air bubbles, and put them in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Whilst the mixture is cooling, preheat the oven to 220ºC.  Take a deep roasting tray, and after the chilling time, transfer the pots from the fridge to the tray, and then pour water into the tray around the ramekins until it reaches halfway up the outsides of the pots.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the ramekins from the water and put them on a serving plate.  Sprinkle over a little chocolate syrup or icing sugar and serve the lava cakes warm with a teaspoon.  Alternatively, turn the cakes out onto a plate, serving them warm and with a spoon.

Note:  This dessert is also wonderful served hot with ice cream.

Time: 15 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes cooling time, 15 minutes to cook

Cocoa Treats: 4

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26Mar 12

No-Bake Chocolate Biscuit Crunch

Chocolate Biscuit CrunchThis is a no-bake chocolate biscuit crunch.  I remember making it at school as a child.  I have strong memories of putting the digestive biscuits into a white plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin.  That bit was so much fun for us, though it must have been a moment of pure cacophony for the poor teacher!  I think we were about five or six at the time and we all felt very grown up putting on our little aprons and mixing together all of the ingredients.  Then taking our creation home to share with our proud mummies and the rest of the family – keeping a few big squares for ourselves of course!

This is a great recipe to make with little ones. They love making chocolate cookies, and this recipe is quick and easy. It’s very satisfying for them, and there are no hot ovens for you to worry about.  The only difficult bit is waiting for your chocolate biscuit crunch to set in the fridge before you can eat it!

Ingredients:

  • 175g good milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 175g good dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 115g butter
  • 400g condensed milk
  • 250g digestive biscuits

Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Line a baking tray or cake tin with greaseproof paper or clingfilm.  Choose your tin depending on the shape you want to create.
  2. Melt the butter and the chocolate together very gently in a saucepan, stirring regularly.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Pour the condensed milk into the mixture and work together.
  4. Put the digestive biscuits into large, clean sandwich or freezer bags and crush them by rolling and gently bashing with a rolling pin.  You may need to do this in 2 batches.  You are aiming to end up with small broken bits of biscuit and some crumble rather than all-biscuit crumble!  Stir the biscuits into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the ready mixture into your tin, pressing it well into the corners.  Leave the mixture to cool a while in the tin, and then transfer it to the fridge for setting.  It will take a minimum of 2 hours to set, and this will depend on the settings of your fridge.
  6. When you are ready to serve your chocolate biscuit crunch, take it out of the fridge and cut it into squares or wedges, depending on the tin you chose to make your mould.

Time: 20 minutes preparation time.  No cooking time.  At least 2 ½ hours cooling and setting time.

Cocoa Treats: 10-20 pieces

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