29 November 2011

Turkish Delight Brownies

There are some days in a girls' life that can only be saved by chocolate.  Today I had one of those days and opted in favour of turkish delight to cure my ailment instead of my usual chocolate peanut of choice - the packaging is so pretty and pink!

Having made (and been obsessed with) snickers brownies earlier this year (please excuse the terrible iphone photos), I pushed my chocolate boundaries by using turkish delight instead of snickers as the brownie filling.

turkish delight brownies

The result?  Delicious, naturally, but the flavour was really light from the turkish delight and was almost lost in the brownie because I used dark chocolate instead of plain chocolate.  Also where the turkish delight didn't melt or do whatever it may have done at high temperatures, there are lumps of it through the middle of the brownie rather than a layer like the snickers ones had.  Didn't effect the taste but it did look kind of weird...

turkish delight brownies

Brownies (from http://bit.ly/hsO5ZG)
4 oz plain chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter
280g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 cup plain flour
around 250g of your chocolate bar/sweetie of choice; suggestions include snickers, bounty, creme egg and percy pigs (haven't tried but it would look pretty)

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease an 8x8 square tin
2) Microwave the chocolate and butter until the butter has melted; stir together until the chocolate has melted.
3) Stir in sugar, eggs, extract and salt.
4) Gradually add in the flour and stir until combined.
5) Pour half the mix into the tin, cover with chopped chocolate of choice and cover this with the remaining mixture.
6) Bake for 30 minutes and try to let them cool a bit before eating because they have burnt me many a time by tempting me with their chocolatey snickersy filling.

20 November 2011

Happy Birthday to me!!

Its a sad day when the desire for a non-bloated tummy and the subsequent hangover stop you making and eating your own birthday cake until two days after your birthday, but needs must and so I have stuffed my face tonight quite happily with my favourite cake; coffee and walnut.

coffee and walnut cake

Beautiful!  The butter in the icing makes it so shiny and velvety looking, wonderful.

coffee and walnut cake

Its a 7" cake which is now my new favourite sized cake (is it weird to have a favourite sized cake?) so its nice and tall but chunky and the slices come out short but thick, so many short descriptive words.  Also the icing isn't coffee buttercream, its made with cream and melted, sort of burnt butter, and I like it (I like everything it appears).  I made it before a while ago and ate the whole thing with a fork, like a real lady.

coffee and walnut cake slices

Coffee and Walnut Cake (from the Great British Book of Baking)
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
75g walnut pieces, chopped
175g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water or 1tbsp coffee essence

1) Heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line two 7" cake tins; you can use 8" tins for a larger cake but I think they're cute in the smaller tins.
2) Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Beat in the eggs one at a time
4) Sieve in the dried ingredients and fold in with a metal spoon; fold in the coffee essence and nuts.
5) Bake for 25 minutes until the sponges spring back when you poke them.

125g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
3 tbsps instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tbsps boiling water or 2 tbsps coffee extract
4 tbsps double/whipping cream
25g walnut pieces + extra if you want to decorate with them

1) Melt the butter until it goes frothy; heating it for slightly longer until it goes a pale brown colour gives it the stronger nutty taste I go on about liking.
2) Sieve the icing sugar into a heatproof bowl and add the melted butter, coffee and cream and mix together until smooth; stir through the chopped walnut pieces.
- The icing will need to cool before it can be used.

Chocolate Banana Bread for breakfast

It was my birthday on Friday, I spent Saturday asleep so Sunday still counts as my birthday as far as I'm concerned so today I am doing my 'birthday baking' (I'm so fun).

chocolate banana bread

Breakfast was chocolate banana bread - AMAZING.  I love chocolate (obviously) and banana and the only thing missing from this is peanut butter, so I covered some slices in it which only made it even more amazing than it already was (not a claim, a fact).

The recipe asks for walnuts but I decided it would be exciting (over enthusiastic from too much sugar too early in the day) to use pecan nuts instead, it just gives it a bit of a different taste and stops Geoff from casually stealing slices because he is 'allergic' to nuts.....  I also used wholemeal flour instead of plain; not sure why I just quite like the taste and this time my loaf didn't go weird, it was in fact exceptionally delicious - my last loaf went all crumbly and I blamed the flour, not me, its never my fault anyway.

large dog surveys the mess I have made and considers what to steal first...
large dog looks a bit guilty...

Chocolate Banana Bread  (from the Great Book of British Baking) 
250g self raising flour
a good pinch of salt
150g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 medium eggs, beaten
250g peeled mashed banana (2 large bananas)
75g dark chocolate + extra to eat whilst baking
100g walnut pieces

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a 900g loaf tin.
2) Put some good music on, James Blake is a good option for early on a Sunday morning, Bon Iver would also work well.
3) Mix the flour, salt and sugar together and add the butter and eggs.
4) Roughly mash the banana so its still a bit lumpy; add this to the mix with the chopped chocolate and nuts and mix it all together.
5) Press into the tin and bake for roughly 50 minutes until the loaf is golden brown.
6) Probably wait until its cooler before trying to eat it because, from experience, you will burn your tongue and this hurts.

11 November 2011

Latte Layer Cake

I must admit that the idea for this cake came completely from http://sweetapolita.com/blog/, a blog I am totally obsessed with, mines just a bit different.... I love lattes and when Dad asked me to make a cake for a family friend I thought this had to be a safe bet because I don't know anyone who doesn't like lattes (massive claim).

The sponge is just a simple victoria sponge, nothing fancy but I like it, its' reassuringly simple and perfectly flavoured when made well (obviously mine is always made well) so it acts as the vanilla element to the flavours of the cake.  The swiss meringue buttercream is lightly flavoured with both vanilla extract and a little coffee essence to give it a slight coffee kick and the pale latte colour.

The flavours are very delicate and the coffee and vanilla compliment each other nicely in the icing; I used 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1tsp coffee. Its worth playing with the taste as the icings mixed to make sure both elements are strong enough.  I am a fan of this cake.

Victoria Sponge (makes 2 x 7" cakes)
6oz butter
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
small glug of milk (technical measurement)

1) Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
3) Sieve in the dry ingredients and fold in carefully, adding the milk towards the end.
4) Spread evenly between the tins and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degress

Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe here; add 1 tsp coffee essence and 1tsp vanilla extract for flavour (change these according to taste) + a small glug of milk to help the icing soften a bit