Thursday, 17 April 2014

Nutella Cake {Gluten Free}

I feel like I should rename this blog ‘mbakes with chocolate’. 

EVERYTHING has chocolate, I’m sorry if you’re getting sick of it. Am I trying to assert my femininity by using it? Dear god I hope not. 
Sometimes, just sometimes, I have visions of rubbing chocolate into the pores of my face and I fear it may actually be cheaper than my Lancome ‘Tient Idole Ultra’ (what?) - which makes it all the more feasible and non-weird. 
I polished off a poor man’s Magnum and a crème egg half an hour before falling into sleep induced coma yesterday. It may or may not have been my lowest point, albeit the moment I forgot how to write a good sentence.

This cake is definitely an ode to Easter, it would be perfect as an alternative to simnel cake or hot cross buns if you’re gluten intolerant, but I’d risk it for a bite of these fried hot cross donuts
The Nutella cake is very rich in flavour and every scant forkful is as decadent as the next. Perfect reasoning for massively underexposing the photographs! You can can taste the darkness, yes?

This is a proper adult’s cake, by the way. We gave a hefty slice to my eight year old cousin and I could almost feel her dismay when she clocked on to the (sweet) bitterness. Oh, to be young.  Happy Easter!  

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Beetroot Crème Egg Brownies

In October I spoke about brownie baking being at the top of my list of things to do when I should actually be doing something else. I’ve been doing quite well, then, considering those salted caramel fudge brownies were the last I blogged about. 
Fast-forward seven months and a dissertation due in May. 

Behold crème egg brownies. 
With not a single word written and three other projects to hand in, if I don’t over indulge in the teeny stresses of student life on my blog, I fear there *might* be internal chaos. 

Tell a lie, I distinctly remember blagging on about my dissertation “idea” to two very patient ladies at the London Coffee Festival last weekend. They gave me such a good piece of advice that I’m going to share it with you even if pointless university degrees are not your thing: narrow your focus!! I suppose that could be interpreted into some sort of life lesson, too?
Taking that on board, here’s me trying to un-narrow my baking repertoire by adding a vegetable to brownies. And here’s me again trying to un-narrow my waistline by adding a vegetable to brownies. And heres me again topping each brownie portion with half a crème egg…. 

It’s Easter soon and therefore completely relevant and not weird, okay? 
Let me just round this off by saying that beetroot and crème eggs go REALLY well together. Admittedly, grated beetroot folded into a brownie and then topped with an overly sweet (and therefore only acceptable at Easter time slash all year) confection is a far cry from perfect - think savoury chunks that, better welcomed in a summer salad. 

But if you puree the beety goodness it isn’t so nuanced. Its there, but the only thing hitting you in the face with flavour will be the caramelized fondant from the crème egg. 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Chocolate Rum Éclairs

Éclairs always remind me of our “female” family gets togethers. Auntie A is on her way round, then maybe auntie B will follow suit an hour or so later and she’ll bring the custard tarts from Tesco’s whilst we might provide the fresh cream and jam doughnuts from Morrison’s. Auntie A will be pouring the stovetop Turkish Tea into our tiny glass vessels in abundance and there will always be a whiff of brewed cloves to be smelt in the air. 
There’s nothing wrong with sharing and enjoying something sweet and mass packaged whilst having a good old moan from time to time, don’t you think? 

Most of our teatime favourites have one thing in common and that’s sweetened whipped cream, with added gelatin to help thicken and plump things up a bit and worryingly prolong its shelf life.

Sickening, really, how processed cream can taste so damn good.
But it’s the beginning of April, dissertation deadline is looming so I’m steering clear of processed cream, hoping it will promote- a ‘can do’ attitude (still cant do). 

The filling in these éclairs isn’t made with coconut milk residue. Make them with a cream with the highest fat content you can find, sugar and a touch of rum to round off the sweetness. It’ll take you back to the best bitching session you’ve ever had with your family.
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