Friday, 30 November 2012

Banana & Chocolate Mini Cakes with Cream Cheese Glaze

HOORAY, she says in monotone. I am finally past my first ever university deadline that actually meant something towards something important. You all know what I mean, first years, attend as many lectures as possible inebriated whilst you’ve still got that chance. I know, I’m acting as though it’s May and I’ve just handed in the last assignments of the year and I’ve just strolled through the Northern Line with a spring in my step because I don’t have to use it for at least another 4 months.

Cloud and gloom. That’s not at all the case. The sun might be shining but it’s accompanied by this bitter, evil chill of the night that is pretty much with us all day long and guess what? The year has only just begun…more deadlines to follow…more temperatures to drop.
You might not have guessed but my Miserable-omita (clearly just made that up) is actually quite low this time of year, maybe it has something to do with being born in December, winter baby galore I say. Second reason why I like NOW is because at last, the winter fruits are coming to play. This means the bananas are going to be extra mouldy and that’s bloody perfect for a loaf or a cake because that’s just what you want for a tasty banana bake!

Finally, time to introduce to you my very bananary, chunky chocolate mini cakes with a runny cream cheese glaze. They will seriously make you feel like you’re somewhere in the Caribbean lying on a hammock sized banana with a spliff in one hand, on looking a sea full of melted chocolate. Plus, this is a very flexible recipe – add as many bananas or as much chocolate as you darn well please. But please, keep the fats, eggs, and sugars the same, we don't want biscuits.
The Recipe:
For the cakes:
3 small or 2 large eggs
125g unsalted butter
200g coarsely chopped dark chocolate (or as I like to call it - chocolatte's)
4 very ripe bananeeeeees
250g caster sugar - you can part with a bit of caster and throw in a little soft brown if you like, it really compliments the bananas!
250g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
300g icing sugar
100g cream cheese at room temperature
Cold water (A tbsp and beyond, depending on what consistency you want)
The Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease - muffin trays.

Cream the butter and sugar together until very pale, light and fluffy.

Mix the eggs separately in a glass and slowly pour them into the butter - this will hopefully avoid curdling. Beat until well combined and almost...foamy. Set aside.

Get your bananas together in another bowl and either mash together with a fork or use a fancy hand blendy to get a lovely creamy consistency.

Add pureed (or not) bananas into eggs and combine.

Fold in the flour, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Next fold in the vanilla until fully distributed.

Lastly, chuck in the chocolate and give a final fold!

Using an ice cream scoop plop the batter into each, they should be two thirds full.

Bake  for 30 mini cakes and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, sift icing sugar and mix with cream cheese till nice and thick. Use as much water as necessary to thin the glaze to your desired consistency and then carefully pour over each cooled cake.
What have you been baking this week, amidst the new chilly weather? Love Em xx

Friday, 23 November 2012

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

When you’ve got essays and news stories on the brain and deadlines looming from out of nowhere (who ever thought going to uni would be a good idea??), the last thing you wanna do is bake something amidst all of that, that’s going to take up a WHOLE day. The thing is though, I am the queen of procrastination, as soon as I get the laptop out to do some work, Foodgawker or Pintrest find their way into each and every one of my open tabs. 

These cookies were a Sunday treat for the Hassan’s, but also served as a ‘bake and go’ snack a week thereafter. Reason being, I have recently discovered the wonders of the (universe) freezer. God. Why didn’t I listen to my mother sooner? It’s such a handy device! Apparently you can just prepare a load of cookie dough/cakes/whatever and whack’em in the freezer for 3 months!!! WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN! So these white choc and cranberry cookies are perfect for that, or any cookie for that matter. When you want that cookie hit, just defrost a small slab of dough and pop in the oven for a gooey, chewy and fruity fix. How wonderful. I am truly delighted. So who else is suffering with uni work blues? I've got a great milk choc cookie recipe saved for later... 

The Recipe:
113g unsalted butter
113g shortening (Trex)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
74g dried cranberries
200g white chocolate chips

Note: Freezing the cookie dough will indefinitely give them more of a crunch and less of a 'chew'. So, if you want more of a chew, simply half the recipe and bake it all at once, or just bake it all at once and go crazy. 
The Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C Fan or equivalent.

Beat the butter, shortening and both sugars until very well combined.

Next, crack the eggs in along with the almond extract, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is mixed.

Add the flour, bicarb and salt till just incorporated.

Using a metal spoon/spatula, fold in the white chocolate and craberries till everything looks even.

Bake for 10/12 minutes on baking parchment.

Leave to rest on the tray for 1 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and enjoy!
White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookie Dough
White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
Love Em xx

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Peggy Porschen Heavenly Double Chocolate Cupcakes

For months I’ve been meaning to try out the mother of all chocolate frostings. The one that combines an ultimate taste explosion with absolutely every single fatty component you can possibly imagine. We’re talking butter, DOUBLE cream AND cream cheese - all in one semi technical recipe that is well worth the washing.

I’ve always felt positive about the fact that I am missing half of my brain, which making this recipe pretty much confirmed for me. The original ingredient list called for glucose and for some reason (the inadequate contents of my skull) I bought glycerin, after noticing the very moment the G was going into the saucepan that I bought the wrong stuff, I took a risk and just put it in and guess what? The results were still fabulous!
The Recipe:
Adapted from Peggy Porschen's Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes
For the sponge (makes 20 cupcakes):
8g good quality cocoa
125g dark chocolate
160ml milk
100g unsalted butter
2 large, free range eggs
Half tsp baking powder
Half tsp bicarb of soda
285g light brown sugar
180g plain flour
For the topping:
450g icing sugar
200g cream cheese
200g unsalted butter
1 tbsp glycerin/glucose 
140ml double cream
160g dark chocolate
The Method:

Start with the frosting. Heat the cream until simmering in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate and glycerin/glucose into a bowl and pour the cream over the top, stir well until nice and smooth. Let cool. 

Put the cream cheese in another bowl and beat for half a second, until just smooth. 

Cream the icing sugar and softened butter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer until pale. 

Slowly pour all of the cooled ganache into the buttercream and mix until combined. 

Take a third of the chocolate buttercream and gently stir into the beaten cream cheese. 

Now add the chocolate cream cheese into the chocolate buttercream and gently stir till combined. Wrap in clingfilm and let set in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 160 C. 

For the cupcakes, using a saucepan (perhaps the same one as earlier?!) heat the milk, half the sugar and chocolate and bring to a gentle boil. Keep the chocolate on the lowest heat whilst get onto the next bit, occasionally taking it off heat so it doesn't burn. 

In the bowl of a freestanding mixer beat the sugar and butter till very pale. Add one egg at a time and mix till frothy. 

Put all of the dry ingredients into another bowl and stir together. Mix into the egg mixture till just combined. 

Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture, scraping the bowl, making sure to incorporate every little bit. 

Pour all of the mixture into a measuring jug and line 2 cupcake trays with muffin cases. 

Gently fill the cucpake liners two thirds full with batter.

Bake for 14 minutes, until they spring back to the touch. 

Let cool on a wire rack and ice with the cooled and scrummy frosting!
Love Em xx

Monday, 12 November 2012

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake 
I made this cake in celebration of getting my car back, which might explain the lack of recipe posts, sincerely sorry, please forgive! It was my first day on the road so I made a quick dash to Morrison’s to pick up the necessities. Cocoa, sugar, olive oil, ground almonds… “did she really just say olive oil? For a cake? AND NO FLOUR? AGAIN? WHAT KIND OF BLOODY BLOG IS THIS?” might be your current thought process, but seriously, it was divine. 

Moist, a little wobbly with this shine that certainly weren’t left from the traces of under cooked cake what-so-ever. The olive oil spoke out for the cocoa-only chocolate cake recipe quite positively; it intensified the chocolate flavour ten fold. I walked into the kitchen after purposefully avoiding it for half an hour (perhaps for a little smelly surprise) and was greeted with a waft of deep and almost savoury chocolatey-ness. 

Another cake plus is that unlike my lemon, almond & polenta cake, this one didn’t sink in the middle! (the addition of cocoa powder means the cake is less like a delicate soufflĂ©, and more like a cake with ground almonds added to it, and not the other way around) Hurrah! I think this unsinkable 8 incher is perfect for a dinner party, maybe you want to wow your guests with some outside the box baking, which this cake delivers, all thanks to that trusty half price bottle of olive oil. 
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake 
Adapted from Nigella Laweson's Chocolate Olive Oil Cake in Nigellissima 
The Recipe:
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g cocoa powder
120ml boiling water
150g olive oil
150g ground almonds 
Half tsp bicarb of soda
Quarter tsp salt
200g caster sugar
3 large, free range eggs
The Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 150C fan, or 170 electric. Spray a loose bottomed 8 inch tin or grease with butter and set aside.
  • Add the cocoa powder, vanilla and boiling water to a measuring jug and stir until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a bowl add all of the dry ingredients and combine. 
  • In a freestanding mixer whisk the eggs for 2 minutes until frothy. 
  • Now alternately add the chocolate mixture and dry mixture until everything is together and looking nice and runny.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin so the cake holds its shape. 
  • Enjoy!
Love Em xx

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Christmas cupcake, Rose Cake and DR Oetker

I haven't had the time to do much baking this week, instead I present you with a few of my fave pics I've taken this week. I lie. They're not my fave, they're actually the only pictures I've taken - but I did take about a hundred of each variation! They do, however, reflect what I've been doing this week and that is...going to uni and working, quite mundane yes. The Christmas cupcake will be being taught at Faircake in 2 weeks time, and the Dr Oetker stuff...well...I just thought they looked pretty all jumbled together like that as opposed to on a cupcake or in a cake. Look out for Peggy's chocolate heaven cupcake somewhere on the blog this week, I'm due on girls so they will DEFINITELY be here!
Love Emxx

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Cocoa Boutique - The Chocolates That Never Made It

Right this second, I am irrationally scared for my life. I think I might have just eaten remnants of dog piss and am on my way to being blind. I can already feel certain pigments deteriorating before my poor, poor sight.  I was just taking some pictures of these choccy’s in my back garden, working quickly – obviously- because my mouth was salivating from the dark tones of chocolate my nose was occasionally catching behind the lens. You can probably guess what happened next. It’s probably happened to you as well, and when it happened to you, you were quick to convince yourself of the 5 second rule just to subside any guilt you may have felt from literally just eating a bit of food covered in a layer of floor dirt. Have you guessed what happened yet? It was atrocious. I even let out a squeal, life is so unfair.

I did get a little taste of the little banana milk chocolate drop though, I didn’t really pick up any banana flavour but bear in mind that the chocolate’s weren't at room temperature so mild flavours would be less easy to spot. I may not have got to taste any of the chocolates (that damn wind!), but I was impressed by the packaging – unfortunately this is where my review ends. It would be unfair to go any further without having a taste! Hope you enjoy looking through the pictures, after being so excited by the elegant packaging; it really was a let-down that my chocolates were subject to a life on the dirty pavements of Belvedere.  
Love Em xx
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