Sunday, 28 June 2009

White Chocolate & Strawberry Cake


Tis the strawberry season - hoorah! So, with a picnic in mind, what could I do but make another strawberry cake. I'd actually been long awaiting the opportunity to try a rather gorgeous looking cake in Divine. I mostly managed to follow the recipe, although I creamed the mixture rather than whisked it (reluctantly been well and truly won over by this method) and accidentally added a bit more sugar than I should have done. This is what I did:
  • Melted 150g white chocolate (used Green & Black's as this is still the best I've come accross).
  • Creamed together 200g unsalted butter with 175g soft brown sugar.
  • Beat in the slightly cooled chocolate together with 3 duck eggs and the grated zest of 1/2 an orange (I only use organic lemons and oranges for this as I don't trust what is otherwise sprayed onto the skins).
  • Folded in 200g sifted flour (1/2 wholemeal & 1/2 white spelt) and 1 heaped tsp baking powder.
  • Divided this mixture between 2 23cm cake thingies (again rather too big for this quantity, but I use what I've got) and baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 20 mins.
  • Washed a punnet of strawberries and left to drain.
  • Selected 12 of the best looking strawberries and sliced the remainder into a bowl.
  • Added juice and grated zest of 1/2 orange and mixed in 1 heaped tsp granulated sugar.
  • Melted 40g white chocolate.
  • Whipped 200ml double cream until stiff.
  • Mixed in slightly cooled chocolate.
  • Spooned strawberries and juice over one of the sponges, then covered with cream and placed remaining sponge on top.
  • Quartered the remaining strawberries and decorated the top.
  • Covered whole with 10g grated chocolate.
Yummy as this cake was, I have to say it wasn't as good as last week's offering. My feeling is that the fruit and cream are better offset by dark chocolate. But we all enjoyed strawberries and cream outside AND the weather was fantastic! What could be better?

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Orange and Strawberry Chocolate Cake


I had some strawberries and I had a birthday cake to make, so following the path of least resistance, I combined the two.  Couldn't easily find a chocolate cake recipe using strawberries, so I made this one up.
  • Melted 100g dark chocolate flavoured with orange and spices (I used Co-op's Fairtrade, but I expect Maya Gold would work really well).
  • Creamed 200g butter with 200g light muscovado sugar.
  • Mixed in chocolate and 3 duck eggs
  • Stirred in 200g flour (1/2 wholemeal & 1/2 white spelt) and 1 tsp baking powder
  • Stirred in 3 tbsp milk
  • Divided mixture into 2 23cm cake thingies (smaller ones would have been better, but I only have a single one at 21 cm) and baked for 25 mins at 180°C (gas 4).
Meanwhile:
  • Washed a punnet of strawberries and left to drain.
  • Selected 8 of the best looking strawberries and sliced the remainder into a bowl.
  • Stirred in 1 tbsp orange liqueur and a sprinkling of caster sugar.
  • Whipped 200ml double cream & combined with strawberries.
  • Used this to sandwich the two cakes together, then sifted some icing sugar over the top of the cake and decorated with the selected strawberries cut into halves.
The result was delicious.  The strawberry and orange combination worked well, the two flavours complementing each other.  The cake was not so rich or sweet that it impinged on the fruity creaminess of the filling.  I shall definitely be making this one again.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Dark & White Cookies


Off to Sterts tomorrow with a group of friends and we're all meant to be bringing along some food to share for a picnic during the interval.  Needed to make something that I could knock up quickly after work this evening, that would keep well and was easily portable.  It had to be biscuits!
  • Creamed 125g butter with 75g caster sugar and 75g brown sugar (as was not organised enough to take butter out of fridge before leaving for work this morning, it was of course hard work - hey ho!).
  • Mixed in 1 large free range egg with 1/2 tsp vanilla essence.
  • Sifted in 150g flour (100g wholemeal and 50g white spelt), 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda, 30g cocoa and a pinch of salt.
  • Mixed this in together with 100g white chocolate broken into chunks and 50g mixed nuts cut into largish pieces (brazils, walnuts, almonds hazelnuts and cashews).
  • Put large spoonfuls (13) onto two lined baking trays - spaced well apart (but not quite well apart enough).
  • Baked at 180°C (gas 4) for 12 mins.
We had to do a quality test, of course and they were jolly good warm from the oven.  Time will tell if they are as good properly cooled on a cold and probably wet evening.

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