Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Friday, 27 July 2012

My Version of Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake. Need I say more? Well probably, seeing as this is supposed to be a blog and all but I thought I’d start with chocolate cake just to draw you in. After all, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve made anything for the chocolate lovers out there! Don’t you worry, there are no nuts or fruit in sight, just pure, unadulterated chocolate!

Well...if I’m honest, the intention this week was actually to make a treacle tart but then I realised that I have yet to acquire a blender to create breadcrumbs and couldn’t quite bring myself to buy the pre-made ones...they look horrid! Also, my little sister suggested treacle tart as a Treat Friday idea and then said that she’d be really angry if I made one and she didn’t get to try any...and seeing as I live 100 or so miles from her I thought I’d better wait until our next visit rather than face her wrath.

Now, I know that chocolate cake isn’t exactly anything ground breaking but there is a reason why it’s such a common and popular cake – pure deliciousness. Furthermore while some may argue that a chocolate cake is a chocolate cake, there are so many different things you can do with it; chocolate slab cake, marble cake, chocolate orange, layer cake, dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk get my point!

I’ve decided however just to stick to a plain chocolate cake, partly because it’s the kind of recipe I like making this for this blog. There are hundreds of thousand of different chocolate recipes out there in the world but which one to choose? Well I’ve had a look at and compared a lot of them in order to write this recipe and have tried to put the best of them together. The result was a dense, rich and moist sponge so I think I’ve been successful!

Of course today is a pretty special day here in the UK with the Olympic opening ceremony this evening. Unfortunately I’ll be working so I’ll miss watching it on TV but I suggest there’s no better way to enjoy watching all those super fit, athletic types than from the sofa with a slice of chocolate cake in your hand. Yum!

Some final tips before you get started:

  • While I know when baking with plain chocolate you’re often advised to use a chocolate with a high cocoa content. For this recipe however it’s best to use a standard dark chocolate with a low cocoa content. Something like Cadbury’s Bourneville or similar is best.

Chocolate Cake
175g Unsalted Butter
225 Dark Chocolate (Broken into Small Pieces)
225g Light Soft Brown Sugar
100ml Sour Cream
2 Eggs
225g Plain Flour
5 tbsp. Cocoa Powder

For the Icing
100g Plain Chocolate
170g Condensed Milk
100g Unsalted Butter

22cmx22cm Square Cake Tin.

1)      Preheat the oven to 160◦C, grease and line the cake tin. Place the butter, sugar and chocolate into a large saucepan and place over a low heat until melted and combined.
2)      Remove from the heat for 2 minutes before adding the sour cream and mix well. Gradually add the eggs, stirring well after each addition.
3)      Into this mixture, sift the flour and cocoa powder and mix until a smooth mixture is formed. Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 50-55mins.
4)      While the cake is baking, place the chocolate, condensed milk and butter for the icing into a large heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water and melt until a thick, well combined mixture is formed. Leave to cool and set, stirring occasionally.
5)      Once the cake is cooked, cool completely before spreading the icing over the top. Slice into squares or bars and enjoy!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Coffee Pecan Cake

Apologies for the lack of new recipes, the past couple of weeks have been pretty annoying largely to do with the fact that my car died on the way to get ingredients one day. Luckily it happened right outside my house so at least I wasn’t stranded anywhere! It did however mean that I was unable to make it to the supermarket and therefore no new recipes were created. Since then it’s all been about house hunting again for me. Today we went and looked around 7 houses, 5 of which were awful...barely suitable for human habitation in my opinion! We found a couple of possibilities though so that was something.

This week anyway I’m back to baking ways, bringing into your lives a coffee pecan cake. I know it’s traditionally walnuts that get involved with coffee cake but I had a bag of pecans in the cupboard and decided they could be experimented with. It all worked out deliciously!

I’ve also made a bit of a weird topping for me. Although a lot of coffee cake recipes use a butter cream, I wanted something a bit smoother and firmer like those little coffee biscuits that I can’t remember the name of now. Helpful!

Anyway, a new cake from me for you to treat yourselves with this Friday. It went down very well at work in that it disappeared with about 5 minutes, no exaggeration, so I hope you enjoy it too!

Some final tips before you get started:
  • To crush my pecans I put them into a small sandwich bag and smashed them with a rolling pin – much more therapeutic than putting them in a blender!
  • This frosting, as I’ve already said, is not like the usual buttercreams I make. The inclusion of syrup helps it to set a lot faster than usual and therefore I don’t suggest you beat this for very long at all. It literally just needs beating until smooth and well combined and then immediately spread onto your cake.
  • If your frosting does get a little stiff before you can spread it, simply run your spreading or palette knife under hot water before spreading and it should go on easily.

Coffee Pecan Cake
225g Unsalted Butter (softened)
225g Caster Sugar
2tsp. Instant Coffee in 1tbsp. Boiling Water (cooled)
225g Plain Flour
2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda
4 Eggs
1 tbsp. Milk
50g Pecans (crushed)

50g Unsalted Butter
1tbsp. Golden Syrup
300g Icing Sugar
2tbsp. Strong Coffee
Pecans (to decorate)

1)      Preheat the oven to 180◦C, grease and line two 20cm cake tins. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the coffee until smooth.
2)      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and add the crushed pecans. In a further bowl, lightly whisk your eggs together with the milk. Add a small amount of the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and mix well. Add a little of the flour mixture and again stir to combine. Continue doing this, alternating between the two until all ingredients are incorporated. 
3)      Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Once cooked, leave to cool completely.
4)      To make the frosting, in a small saucepan melt together the butter and golden syrup over a low heat. Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl before adding the melted butter and syrup as well as the coffee. Mix until smooth and well combined.
5)      Spread half of the frosting on top of one cake before sandwiching together with the other cake. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top. Finally, decorate with the pecan halves.