Tag Archives: chocolate

Easter cake

Chocolate Fudge Marble Cake

I had a bit of a baking fest weekend with my sister this year for Easter, our creations were some pretty huge and tasty hot cross buns and this giant of an Easter Cake. Rather than an Easter cake in the traditional sense it is a chocolate fudge cake but we gave it some Easter-style decorations to suit the occassion! It is a 2 layer cake, made with pink and chocolate marble cake, filled with raspberry jam and chocolate buttercream. It is then covered in chocolate buttercream using a petal technique and finished off with some fondant icing flowers and butterflies and some chocolate mini eggs. I think it is rather pretty!

Easter cake

If you would like to recreate this cake then here is how you do so. We made this in a 6 inch cake tin as I wanted height for the cake but equally it would work in an 8 inch cake tin, it would just be a bit shorter.

For the sponge you will need:

12oz butter or margarine
12oz caster sugar
6 eggs
12 oz self raising flour
milk
cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl and add the eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Fold in the flour, 4 tbsp milk and the vanilla to the mixture. Now halve the mixture into 2 separate bowls. To one half add pink food colouring until you reach your desired colour. The other half will be the chocolate cake, I like to add the cocoa powder as I go rather than add a set amount, when I reach a chocolate colour I am happy with I stop, so play it by eye when adding the cocoa.

Pour the mixture into two 6 inch cake tins that are greased and lined. I used this tiger stripe technique for the cake marbling, it gives an effective stripy effect and I have posted instructions on how to do it here. You will need a wetter cake mixture than usual, so add more milk to the cake mix until you get a pourable consistency but not too runny. Another option is just to dollop the mixture in alternating pink and chocolate and give it a quick whirl with a skewer to marble it.

Bake the cakes at 180C for about 1 hour, they are done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before trimming the tops so they are nice and flat.

Marble cakes

Cover the top of one cake with raspberry jam (or other jam of your liking).

Jam

To make the chocolate fudge icing you will need:

500g unsalted butter (room temp)
1kg icing sugar (seived)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk
cocoa powder (seived)

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until well combined. Ad the vanilla and milk and cocoa powder, again just add as much cocoa powder as you need to get the chocolatey-ness that you want, adding a little at a time. Beat well.

Cover the top of the other cake with chocolate icing and sandwich the two together.

two layers

Then cover the whole cake in a thin layer of chocolate icing.

Iced cake

Now time to cover the cake in chocolate petals. This is a really easy technique and very effective. Fill a piping bag with icing and snip off the end. Pipe blobs of icing onto the cake  and use a spatula to spread it out to create a petal style. Just push the spatula onto the icing blob and spread in one direction. Repeat until the cake is covered!

Petal technique

Petal icing

Finish off the cake with some chocolate eggs and some fondant flowers and butterflies to make it look pretty!

Chocolate easter cake

Lottie xx

I am linking this post to the We Should Cocoa challenge for this month – Easter. It is hosted by Chocolate Log Blog and Rachel Cotterill.

we should cocoa

Cardamom cake

White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Cake

Hello bakers! I’m back with a blog for you all! After a busy couple of months I haven’t posted since this mega Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake in February but I have still been very busy baking and have some lovely new recipes to share with you! Today’s recipe is a White Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Bundt Cake. It is light, sweet and zesty and the addition of cardamom gives it a subtle spicy grown up flavour. I made it in a bundt tin as the cake itself is simple and using a bundt tin makes it still look special and is very effective. I glazed the cake with a white chocolate ganache and topped with pistachios and orange zest.

Cardamom cake

 

To make this cake you will need:

250g white chocolate (melted)
250g butter
260g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
15 cardamom pods (or 1tsp ground cardamom)
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
160ml natural yogurt

Start by preheating the oven to 160C and grease and flour a bundt tin.  Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time and mix in the orange zest. Crush the cardamom pods open and use a pestle and mortar to crush the seeds inside so that you have approx 1tsp ground cardamom. Add the flour, cardamom and baking powder and fold into the batter. Now add the juice of an orange and the yogurt and fold in.

Cake mix

Finally add the melted white chocolate and fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skew inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Bundt cake

 

Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake is cooling in the pan make an orange syrup to flavour the cake. You will need 100ml orange juice and 2tbsp sugar. Heat the orange juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Use a skewer to make holes in the top of the cake and spoon the syrup over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool

 

Now to make the white chocolate ganache glaze. You will need 100ml double cream and 100g white chocolate, as well as pistachios and orange zest to finish.

Heat the cream gently in a pan, once almost boiling take off the heat and stir in the white chocolate until completely melted. Spoon the ganache over the top of  the cake and leave to drip over the sides. Sprinkle with pistachios and orange zest.

White chocolate orange and cardamom cake

Sliced cake

 

Enjoy and happy baking!

Lottie xx

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

Valentine’s Cupcakes – Renshaw Baking Competition

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, time to get thinking about what gifts you are going to buy/make/bake your loved one. Cupcakes make the perfect present so maybe these Valentine’s themed cupcakes will give you some inspiration to make your own! I was recently contacted again by the lovely people at Renshaw Baking who invited me to take part in their Valentine’s Day Baking Competition. Last year I took part in the Royal Baby Competition and made this ‘From Cradle to Crown Cake‘, so I was ready for another competition! The challenge was to ask a loved one to bake something special for Valentine’s Day using Renshaw Baking products we were sent. I asked my lovely sister Rose, who jumped at the opportunity to test out some icing and make some cupcakes! I’m sure you will agree that what she came up with is fabulous! She couldn’t decide which products to use so she went for several of them and came up with three different Valentine’s cupcakes.

So here we have it – Valentine’s Cupcakes for the Renshaw Baking Competition made by my lovely sister Rose!

Valentine's Cupcakes

To make the vanilla cupcakes :

6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz unsalted butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

These are really easy to make, just put all the ingredients in one bowl and use an electric mixer to combine all the ingredients together. Spoon out into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 180C for about 15 minutes. Then it is time to ice and decorate!

These first cupcakes are my favourite, they are iced with the Renshaw Baking snip and swirl milk chocolate flavour icing. It is a lovely chocolate fudge flavour and texutre. They are decorated with Renshaw mini chocolate beans, hearts made from Renshaw ready to roll red icing and finished with a sprinkling of edible glitter.

Chocolate valentine cupcakes

These next ones are iced with a delicious Renshaw snip and swirl strawberry flavour icing, decorated with Renshaw Pink and white pearls and finished with a foil wrapped chocolate heart. Beautiful!

Strawberry Valentine's Cupcakes

Finally we have these ones decorated beautifully with a rose. These are iced with Renshaw snip and swirl vanilla icing, decorated with dots of red icing and finished with a handmade rose made from Renshaw ready to roll icing.

Vanilla cupcakes

Here are the beautifully iced cupcakes and the decorations she used.

Iced cupcakes

Renshaw

I hope you agree with me that she has done a fantastic job! Here she is with her cupcake creations:

Rosie and her cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Baking!

Lottie xx

Thanks to Renshaw Baking for sending the icing and decorations.

renshaw

 

 

 

 

Pastries fresh from the oven

Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries

Danish Pastries are a recent addition to my baking repertoire, but after my success with croissants moving on to danish pastries was a natural progression. Again I turned to Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake‘ for advice on how to make a basic danish pastry dough and then I filled them with whatever I wanted. These particular ones are filled with vanilla creme patissiere, flaked almonds and dark chocolate chips. My favourite danish pastries are Pain aux Raisin, really just because I love the shape, so I opted to use the snail shaped swirl for these pastries too. They make take time to make but homemade croissants and danish pastries really are so much better than the ones you buy in the shop, the smell they fill your kitchen with when they are baking is also wonderful and the bonus is that you can add to them whatever you want. You can see my chocolate orange croissants here. Just be prepared as to how much butter both of these doughs really do use!

Danish Pastries

To make these Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries you will need:

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
2 medium eggs
90ml water
125ml warm whole milk
250g chilled, unsalted butter

For the filling:
100g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
40g cornflour
500ml whole milk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate chips
100g flaked almonds

To finish:
Beaten egg
Flaked almonds
Apricot jam
200g icing sugar

Start the dough the night before you plan to eat the pastries. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl, mix together. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix until well combined. If making in a mixer leave on a medium speed for 6 minutes, if making by hand then knead the dough for up to 10 minutes. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove the dough from the fridge and roll to a rectangle approx 50cmx20cm. Take the butter and flatten it with a rolling pin. You want to make it into a rectangle that will cover two thirds of the dough. You can sandwich the butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use the rolling pin to roll it out. Once the butter is flattened place it on top of the bottom two thirds of the dough, it should come almost to the edge. Fold the top third of dough over a third of the butter and then fold the bottom half up over the top. Pinch the edges and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Flatten the butter

After another hour take the dough out of the fridge and put on a floured surface. Have the short end towards you and roll the dough into a 50cmx20cm rectangle again. Fold up one third and then the other third. Chill for another hour. Repeat this twice more, chilling between each turn.

Dough

Now leave the dough in the fridge overnight to rise.

You can make your creme patissiere ahead of time too. Whisk together the sugar, egg yolks (discard the whites) and cornflour until smooth. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla extract. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Pour a splash of this milk onto the egg mixture and whisk together then pour all of it into the milk and stir over a gentle heat. Stir until it becomes thick and then remove from the heat. If you have any lumps don’t worry, just pour the mixture through a sieve to smooth it out. Add the butter, stir in and then leave to cool and chill.

The next day it is time to put all of your hard work into actually making some danish pastries. Take the dough from the fridge and cut in half, you should be able to see lots of lovely layers.

layers

Take one half and roll into a large rectangle with the long edge facing you. Spread the creme patissiere over the dough, leaving a couple of cm clear at the edge closest to you so it doesn’t leak out too much when you roll it. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and chocolate chips over the creme patissiere.

Sprinkle with chocolate

Roll the dough towards you, rolling as tight as you can. Cut the roll into slices approx 3cm thick and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough (you may wish to use a different filling for the second half of the dough – raisins and cranberries with some cinnamon work well sprinkled on the creme patissiere).

Ready to bake

Leave the pastries in a warm spot for approx 2 hours, they should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C, brush the pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until lovely and golden. While they are in the oven heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam and brush the pastries with it as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pastries fresh from the oven

 

To finish mix the icing sugar with a couple of tbsp water and drizzle over the pastries, sprinkle with flaked almonds and enjoy while still warm!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into this month’s Calendar Cakes as this is me trying something new. This is hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

calendar-cakes

 

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

Chocolate and Blackcurrant Cake

Happy New Year from Lottie’s Bakes! I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year! Now it is January and time to diet … or time to make a delicious chocolate and blackcurrant cake! First though I have some very very very exciting news …. I got a Kitchen Aid for Christmas! It is beautiful and I love it. It is a lovely pistachio green and is the star of my kitchen. I can’t believe how easy it is to use and I’m sure I make much less mess when I use it! So here it is – say hello! Do you think it is okay to give it a name? Any mixer suitable name suggestions very welcome!

kitchen aid

 

Now it is time to bake – this is the recipe for the very first cake my Kitchen Aid helped me to make! If you have had enough of dried fruit and spices now Christmas is over then why not turn your loyalties back to chocolate and make this delicious Chocolate and Blackcurrant cake. Chocolate and blackcurrant pair together so well, I have used them before in this Brownie base Blackcurrant Cheesecake and I had to use them together again. This cake is a 3 layer chocolate sponge cake, filled with blackcurrant jam and dark chocolate ganache and then covered in dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

To make this cake you will need:

220g plain flour
200g golden caster sugar
150g soft brown sugar
90g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
250ml whole milk
125ml sunflower oil
1tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water

Good quality blackcurrant jam

To make the ganache:
400ml double cream
400g dark chocolate

Start by making the ganache first, this can be made the day before and left at room temperature to set. Heat the cream gently in a pan, don’t allow to boil but once hot take off the heat and break the chocolate into the saucepan. Stir the chocolate into the cream until melted and you have a thick, glossy ganache. Leave at room temperature to set to a spreadable consistency.

ganache

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined. Mix in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until the batter is well mixed and smooth. Gradually add the boiling water and mix well until it is all combined. The mixture will be very wet but don’t worry it comes out as a wonderfully moist cake. Pour the batter into 3 greased and lined 8 inch cake tins, dividing the batter equally between them. Bake in the oven at 180C for approx 20-30 minutes. To test if the cakes are done insert a skewer, it should come out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins before removing. Handle the cakes gently as they are very moist.

Once the cakes are completely cool you can start assembling. Use a knife or palette knife to spread a thick layer of blackcurrant jam over one of the layers. Spread ganache over another layer and sandwich the 2 together. Repeat, spreading a layer of blackcurrant and ganache and sandwiching together.

Blackcurrant jam

 

Once the cake is assembled carefully cover the cake in ganache, trying to keep the cake as straight as you can and making sure the icing is spread evenly and smoothly.

Assembled cake

I finished my cake with a dusting of icing sugar using a stencil to create a snowflake design.

Snowflake

 

Happy Baking! Any Kitchen Aid tips and tricks then please send them my way!

Lottie x

Ps. I am entering this cake into this month’s Tea Time Treats. The theme is eggs and guess what, this cake contains eggs! It is hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage.

2 cupcakes

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Someone asked me the other day as we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery just why cupcakes are so popular. It’s true, we really do have an obsession with cupcakes. While macarons, whoopie pies and marshmallows have all had their go and tried to become the ‘new thing’, the cupcake always wins. There are small (well kind of) and everyone loves little individual cakes but I think the real win is in their variation. There is a cupcake to suit everybody. Whatever flavour you want be that lemon, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, the list goes on. Covered in whatever frosting you like …. ganache, cream cheese icing, buttercream. Then of course they can be decorated however you want, be it with a quick dash of sprinkles or more elaborately with little fondant figures. It is no wonder everybody loves a cupcake. And that’s why when we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery we couldn’t help but be tempted inside by row upon row of absolutely perfect looking cupcakes and choose our individual, just what we want, cakes. Another thing…cupcakes are great fun to make at home and with a piping bag and a bit of simple decoration, very easy to make look professional.

vanilla and chocolate cupcakes

This recipe is for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, for that time when you can’t decide which you want. The chocolate sponge is dark and moist and is covered with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. I finished these cakes with simple pink daisy, made from fondant icing.

Cupcake

To make the chocolate sponge (12 cupcakes) you will need:

110g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
125g caster sugar
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
125ml whole milk
65ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, add the sugars, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. In another bowl beat together the egg, milk and sunflower oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The cake mix will be very runny so pour it into a jug so you can pour it out into the baking cases. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one half to two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 -25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cupcakes

Now to make the icing, you will need:

125g full fat cream cheese (cold)
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
450g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. If you are using an electric whisk or stand mixer then you might want to cover the bowl and whisk with a tea towel while you do this bit to avoid getting icing sugar everywhere. Now add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and whisk again. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined, if you whisk it too much then the icing will go runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. Fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (I used the Wilton 1M nozzle – my favourite as I’m sure you know by now!) and pipe big swirls of frosting on to your completely cooled cupcakes. Finish with whatever decoration you fancy!

Tray of cupcakes

2 cupcakes

And while we are on the topic of cupcakes here are a few cupcakes I came across recently:

How absolutely amazing are these gorgeous cupcakes that I found in the Whole Foods Market in Kensington!

Flower cupcakes

And have you ever seen so many red velvet cupcakes in one place as at The Hummingbird Bakery in Soho??

Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Cupcake Baking!

Lottie xx

Chocolate and pear muffin

Dark Chocolate and Pear Crumble Muffins

Dark Chocolate and Pear Crumble Muffins

Apples and pears are definitely autumn fruits and work so well in creating delicious autumnal baking. Not the themed and traditional baking that we do in winter and not the pretty sponge cakes that we do in summer. Autumn allows you to really bake, no need to cover everything in swirls of icing or make fancy decorations, but to really use the great flavours that autumn gives us. It isn’t just pumpkins that you will see appearing in the supermarket at this time of year but lots of delicious apples and pears, and pears are just the perfect ingredient to bake with. They also pair amazingly well with chocolate, if you haven’t tried it before then give it a go. These muffins combine dark chocolate with sweet pears, topped off with a crumble.

Muffins

 

To make these muffins you will need:

300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
1 egg (large)
1tsp vanilla extract
225ml milk
50g butter (melted)
2 pears (fresh or canned)
150g dark chocolate
For the crumble:
75g plain flour
75g butter
50g caster sugar

 

Pear and chocolate

 

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together. Break up the chocolate, saving a small amount to grate on the top of the muffins. Chop the pears into small chunks. Add the pear and chocolate to the flour and stir in. Measure 225ml in a measuring jug, add the egg, vanilla and melted butter and beat together. Add the liquid mix to the flour mixture and combine everything together without overmixing it. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases or use squares of greaseproof paper. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, you will be able to get 12 muffins out of this mixture. Now make the crumble.

Unbaked muffins

 

Combine the flour and butter for the crumble together in a small bowl using your fingers. Mix in the sugar. Top the muffins with a sprinkle of crumble and finish with some finely grated chocolate. Bake in the oven at 200C for 25-30minutes.

Chocolate and pear muffin

Now all that is left is to enjoy your lovely autumn baking!

Chocolate and pear muffins

 

Lottie xx

Chocolate Orange Croissants

Chocolate Orange Croissants

This was something new for me, croissants have been on my ‘to bake’ list for a long time but it is only very recently that I have got round to giving them a go. I am so glad I did, home made croissants are so much better than shop bought ones! I was so pleased with how they turned out. Even my sister, a  true croissant connoisseur said she loved them. They may take time, they aren’t something you can just whip up, but that time that you invest in them is really worth it. When you see them puff up and crisp up in the oven and the smell of freshly baked croissants fills your kitchen, trust me, you will be filled with a sense of pride. I treated my family to a bank holiday breakfast in the garden and baked them chocolate orange croissants and raspberry almond croissants served with fresh orange juice. The recipe here is for the chocolate orange croissants. For the basic croissant dough I used Paul Hollywood‘s recipe and technique from his book How to Bake, it worked very well. Once you can make the basic dough then you can jazz them up however you want!

Croissants galore

 

To make Chocolate Orange Croissants you will need:

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
300ml water
300g cold unsalted butter
1 egg
200g dark chocolate
3 tsp orange extract
orange zest

Chocolate Orange Croissants

 

Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the water and combine. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is quite stiff. Put the dough in a bowl dusted with flour, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a surface dusted with flour, to a rectangle approx 60cm by 20cm and 1cm thick. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter out to cover a rectangle approx 40cm by 20cm (2/3rds of your croissant dough). Put the butter on top of the bottom 2/3rds of the dough. Fold the top of the dough over the butter. Cut off the rest of the butter you can see and put it on top of the folded dough. Now fold the bottom 1/3rd of dough up on top. Wrap lightly in cling film and leave the dough to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Flatten the butter

 

fold the dough

 

Take the dough out of the fridge and dust the work surface with flour. With the short end facing you roll the dough into a 60 by 20cm rectangle again. Fold the top third down and then the bottom 3rd up. Wrap loosely again and chill for another hour. Do this twice more: roll out, fold and chill for 1 hour.

Now leave the dough in the fridge overnight, you will find in the morning that it has puffed up and risen.

While your dough is chilling make the chocolate sticks for the filling. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted add the orange extract. Add a little at a time until you get the strength of flavour you want. Spread the chocolate out onto a piece of greaseproof paper and leave to cool overnight. In the morning cut into sticks.

Chocolate

In the morning roll the dough out again on a floured surface, this time to a rectangle approx 40cm by 30cm, 7mm thick. Divide the dough in 2 lengthways and cut triangles from each strip with a 12cm wide base (approx 12 triangles in total).

triangles

 

Take a triangle, hold down the base and pull slightly on the point to lengthen it. Put 2 chocolate sticks at the base of the triangle and roll it up. Bend the ends of the croissant in slightly. Put the rolled croissants on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper and leave at room temp for 1-2 hours to rise.

add the chocolate

rolled dough

Brush the croissants with beaten egg and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Now it is finally time to enjoy them! Serve with a sprinkle of orange zest and a glass of fresh orange!

Freshly baked croissants

 

Lottie xx

Edit:

I have entered this into November’s Alpha Bakes Challenge – this month’s letter is O!

This is hosted by The More than Occassional Baker and Caroline Makes.

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