Desserts


Kieran and I are big fans of real ale and craft beer. We’re lucky enough to live around Manchester city centre, quite close to some amazing micro breweries.

One of these is Marble Brewery, which is our local pub and also happens to produce a beer called ‘Chocolate Marble’ which as well as being my favourite beer of theirs to drink, is also great to bake with. Just a happy coincidence that I chose to make a marble cake!

This cake turned out really well. The trick with bundt cakes is to wait until they are completely cold until you turn them out. I’ve learned the hard way that cakes will crumble to pieces if you try and turn them out too early. Thankfully this one remained in one piece.

This is a good cake to have with a brew in the afternoon, but you could easily turn this into a dessert if you added a little hot chocolate sauce.

Stout & Chocolate Marble Cake

Stout & Chocolate Marble Cake

Recipe from Olive Magazine

Serves 12

PER SERVING 513 kcals, carbs 66g

This was obviously made pre-diabetes diagnosis, but if were to make this again I would reduce the carb count by cutting out the glaze completely and using a mixture of sweetener and sugar.

chocolate cake

  • butter 100g, softened, plus a little for buttering
  • self-raising flour 150g, plus a little for dusting
  • 72% dark chocolate 75g, chopped
  • chocolate stout 150ml
  • light muscovado sugar 250g
  • eggs 2
  • good quality cocoa 25g

vanilla cake

  • butter 125g softened
  • golden caster sugar 180g
  • eggs 2
  • self-raising flour 180g
  • soured cream 150g
  • vanilla extract a few drops

chocolate glaze

  • icing sugar 6 tbsp
  • cocoa 3 tbsp

step 1

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter a 2-litre Bundt tin and dust it with flour. Melt the chocolate and stout together. Beat the butter with the sugar then beat in the eggs, followed by the chocolate mix. Beat in the flour and cocoa.

step 2

In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then beat in the eggs one by one, adding a little flour after each egg. Next, beat in the soured cream, remaining flour and vanilla. Add a spoonful of milk if you need to.

step 3

Spoon alternate blobs of chocolate and vanilla cake into the tin and, when it is full, drag the handle of a wooden spoon through it once. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack.

step 4

Mix the icing sugar and cocoa with enough leftover stout to make a smooth, runny glaze. Brush all over the cake while it is still warm.

I often like to take on a ‘challenge bake’ over a weekend, where I can spend a few hours attacking a complex sounding recipe – hopefully producing something delicious at the end. This one has a few processes, so takes a couple of hours, not including chilling time.

I can’t say I’ve nailed the presentation here (do I ever?) as my custard is slightly too runny and my choux buns are a little too big, but I couldn’t complain about the flavours. Crispy choux pastry, with vanilla cream custard and strawberries. There’s not much to wrong with there.

This was made pre my type 1 diabetes diagnosis, so if I made this again, I would remove the sugar from the pastry base, add splenda to the custard in place of the sugar, leave out the sugar drizzle and and use raspberries rather than strawberries in order to cut the carbs.

Strawberry gâteau St Honoré

Strawberry gâteau St Honoré

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Serves 12.

  • Cals per slice: 419
  • Carbs per slice: 38g

For the pastry base

  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 85g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, separated

For the choux pastry

  • 50g butter
  • 70g plain flour, sifted into a bowl
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp flaked almonds

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • 2-3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 284ml pot double cream

To finish

  • 750g strawberries, hulled and halved if large
  • 100g caster sugar
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Make the pastry for the base: whizz the flour, almonds, butter and sugar in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk (reserve the white for later) and a few drops of water if necessary, then pulse until the dough comes together. Wrap in cling film, then chill for 1 hr.
  2. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll out pastry on a large square of baking parchment, then trim to a 26cm round using a cake tin or plate as a guide. Carefully transfer the pastry still on the paper to a large baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden. Cool on the paper, then transfer to a large, flat serving plate. Can be made 2 days ahead.
  3. To make the choux pastry, line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Heat the butter in a pan with 125ml water until melted, then increase heat until boiling. Remove from the heat, then add the flour in one go, quickly stirring until everything comes together as a thick paste. Leave to cool for 10 mins. Beat the eggs in to the paste, using a wooden spoon, a little at a time, until you have a thick, glossy mixture. Spoon 12 equal-size blobs of choux, a little apart, over the baking sheet. Lightly whisk the reserved egg white, then brush over each blob of pastry. Sprinkle with flaked almonds.
  4. Bake the buns for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, carefully split each bun, then return to the oven for 5 mins more to dry out the insides. Cool on a rack, then scoop out any soft insides. Can be made 2 days ahead – if they go soft, briefly crisp them up in the oven.
  5. To make the filling, mix the custard powder and sugar in a pan, then blend in a little milk to a smooth paste. Add the rest of the milk, then gently bring to the boil, stirring, until you have a thick custard. Remove from the heat, then stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl, then cover the surface with cling film. Cool. Can be made 2 days ahead.

I made this torte as a treat for my father’s birthday, who, like me, is fan of bitter, dark chocolate. Also, like me, he’s Type 1 diabetic so it works out well for us that we both prefer dark chocolate, since eating a good quality cocoa chocolate is far better for us than eating sugary milk chocolate.

When I made this cake (in December), I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, so wasn’t really aware of how to use sweeteners in baking to reduce the carb count per slice. If I made this again now, I’d definitely experiment using a mix of Splenda and Sukrin Gold to replace the sugar. I would also leave out the ginger preserve.

This torte is very decadent and rich – and you do have to be fan of dark chocolate. If you prefer something sweeter, this may not be the bake for you. I would also recommend that you do not refrigerate – or at least remove from the fridge before serving, or it will be far too dense.

I love ginger and it works perfectly with dark chocolate, so I decorated this with crystallised ginger pieces for the extra kick.

IMG_3943

Chocolate & Ginger Torte

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Serves: 8

  • Cals per serving: 907
  • Carbs per serving: 73g
  • Sugar per serving: 72g

Ingredients

  • 250g unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for the tin
  • cocoa, for dusting
  • 350g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Stone’s Ginger wine
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tbsp ginger preserve
  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3-4. Butter and line a 23cm round springform tin with a disc of buttered baking parchment. Lightly dust the inside of the tin with cocoa and tip out excess.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter into a medium-size heatproof bowl, add the ginger wine and set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
  3. Tip both the sugars into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer and add the egg yolks. Whisk until pale and light. Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the yolks and stir until smooth. With another large, spotlessly clean bowl and whisk, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold a stiff peak.
  4. Sift the almonds and ginger into the chocolate mixture and fold in using a large metal spoon. Add one-third of the egg whites and stir in to loosen the mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites until combined.
  5. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and gently spread level using a palette knife. Gently warm the ginger preserve until it’s just spreadable and carefully spoon onto the cake in small dollops. Spoon over the remaining chocolate mixture, spread level and bake just below the middle shelf of the oven for 50 mins-1 hr until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with a moist crumb attached. Allow the cake to cool in the tin and don’t be dismayed if the top sinks and cracks.
  6. To make the ganache icing, tip the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Then add the cream, butter and ginger wine. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir until melted and velvety smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Carefully run a palette knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, then put on a serving plate. Spread the ganache over the top, and leave to set before serving.

Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?

My answer would usually be yes, everyone. In fact, they can have the whole packet.

You see, I’m not actually a fan of Rolos – toffee has never been my thing and the chocolate isn’t good quality enough to make up for that.

So this brownie recipe was the thing to make my buy my first packet of Rolos since the nineties.

These were nice, novelty brownies. I’ve definitely had better brownies in the past – with a more chocolately flavour and chewier texture, but these were pleasant enough and would be good to make for a bake sale or to bring to a party.

Salted Rolo Brownies

Salted Rolo Brownies

Recipe from Delicious Magazine

Makes 12 large, or 24 brownies

  • 200g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  • 200g plain chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
  • 125g light muscovado sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 4 medium free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • ½-1 tsp sea salt flakes to taste
  • 126g bag Rolos, half chopped, half left whole
  1. Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C/gas 3½. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin so the baking paper comes higher than the tin. Melt the 200g butter and the chocolate together in a saucepan, stirring, over a low heat. Don’t overheat as the chocolate may seize. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. 05.In another mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, eggs and vanilla extract until pale and fluffy, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate to combine. Sift in the flour and cocoa, then fold through the batter with the sea salt to taste.
  3. 06.Mix the chopped Rolos into the batter, then pour into the prepared tin. Press the whole Rolos into the surface. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm to touch but still gooey in the middle – they’ll continue to cook as they cool. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then transfer to a board and slice. If you’re stuck for time, put them in the fridge to set.

I’m a big fan of James Martin. I have a few of his books and his classic recipes never fail me.

This is actually become a running joke in my house, as everytime he comes on the TV he is called my TV boyfriend. I wish. (I really do).

Apparently, the way to my heart is through a great pudding, This sticky toffee pudding is a go to recipe for me and delivers everything you want from a sweet, gooey pud.

The recipe is taken from BBC Good Food magazine and appeared as a dish on ‘Operation Hospital Food‘, where James featured in a documentary that focused in improving the food that hospital patients are served (see, he’s a nice bloke too. *swoon*).

That’s why this recipe serves 10 people – or two very greedy people over the space of a few days.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

  • 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g pitted dried dates
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tbsp (0.017 litre) bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp (0.0029) vanilla extraxt
  • 2 tbsp (0.03 litre) black treacle
  • 1 tbsp (0.017) golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 25g black treacle
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 300ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5

2. Butter a 20cm / 8” square cake tin with butter and flour

3. Using the food mixer with a bowl and whisk attachment, blend the butter and sugar together

4. Place the dates and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil

5. Slowly add the golden syrup, treacle and eggs to the butter mixture and carry on mixing

6. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and then add the flour

7. Once all the ingredients are combined turn off the mixer

8. Puree the water and date mixture and add the bicarbonate of soda

9. Quickly add this mix while it is still hot to the egg mix

10. Once the mix is combined pour into the buttered and floured cake tin and bake for 40 – 45 mins at 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6 until the top is firm to the touch

11. Leave to cool

12. Put all sauce ingredients except for the cream into a sauce pan

13. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved

14. Add the cream and bring to the boil

15. Stir the boiling sauce until the desired consistency is reached

16. Reheat the sponge in a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

17. Cut the pudding into squares and serve with the toffee sauce

These aren’t the most glamorous looking bakewells ever, since they don’t have the traditional icing/cherry combo.

But I MUCH prefer the flavour of these, given that I love lemon and hate cherry. And marzipan. Bleurgh.

I also think that these are more genteel and dainty than a traditional bakewell. I didn’t have any almonds to decorate the top which, as well as making them look even prettier, would have added another texture.

The best thing about these is the ooze of lemon curd that seeps out when you cut them open, which provides a real lemony hit.

These are incredibly moreish and I’ll definitely be making them again.

Lemon Bakewell Tart

Lemon Bakewell Tart

Recipe from BBC Good Food

For the sweet pastry

  • 85g butter, at room temperature
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling

  • zest 2 lemons
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 25g plain flour
  • 6 tbsp lemon curd
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. To make the pastry, place the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water, then add in the flour until it’s just combined.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten lightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
  3. Roll out the pastry and use to line six 10 x 2cm loose-bottomed tart tins,trimming off any excess. Put in the fridge while making the filling. If pastry breaks or cracks, patch up with any trimmings.
  4. To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter and caster sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When all the egg has been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour.
  5. Spread the marmalade or curd over the bases of the tart cases. Spoon over the filling and smooth with a palette knife or spatula. The tarts will be full to the top, which is fine. Sit tarts on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 mins until lightly golden. Remove from the tins and serve warm or cool, dusted with icing sugar.

 

It probably goes without saying, but you really need to like chocolate orange to enjoy this tart.

It’s not my favourite flavour combination.

So why did I make it, you ask? Because the picture in the magazine looked pretty and I had a load of oranges that needed to be used up.

It was nice enough. The filling was smooth and full of orange flavour and chocolate complemented it well. It’s just not something I’m ever going to get giddy about.

I really like the idea of buying pre-made pastry and sprucing it up with a bit of flavour to get a more homemade effect. I’m going to try this in future with lemon zest or some thyme leaves in savoury pastry.

Chocolate Orange Tart

Chocolate Orange Tart

 

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Ingredients

  • 375g pack sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • plain flour, for dusting

For the orange filling

  • 5 medium oranges, zest and juice kept separate
  • 200ml double cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 85g caster sugar

For the chocolate drizzle

  • 85g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  1. Tear the pastry into a food processor, add the cocoa, pulse until combined, then knead a few times on a floured surface until evenly brown. Use to line a 23cm fluted tart tin, and prick the base several times with a fork. Chill or freeze until very firm. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Put the tart tin on a baking sheet then line the pastry case with overhanging baking parchment. Fill with baking beans, then bake for 15 mins, or until the sides of the pastry have set firm. Remove the beans and parchment, then bake for 10-15 mins more until the pastry feels dry all over. Leave to cool.
  3. Strain the orange juice, then measure 250ml into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Strain again if necessary. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl, then gradually whisk the hot cream into the mix. Wipe out the pan, return the custard to it and cook gently for about 10 mins over a low heat, whisking frequently until steaming and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain into a jug, whisk in the zest and pour the custard into the pastry case. Cool, then chill for at least 4 hrs, or ideally overnight, until set.
  4. Melt the drizzle ingredients together until smooth, spoon some over the tart, then return the tart to the fridge. Serve the rest of the drizzle warm for spooning alongside the chilled tart.

IMG_3844

 

 

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