Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.” Bonfire night, celebrated here in the U.K. on November 5th, each year remembers the over thrown plot, lead by Guy Fawkes, to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Bonfires are lit and fireworks set off in remembrance of this foiled attack. Standing around a bonfire with a hot chocolate and something sweet on a cold Autumn night only enhances the celebration.  While these Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes are ideal for eating, watching fireworks explode in the night sky.

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

While s’mores are traditionally eaten around a bonfire, this is not possible if attending an organised event. Something the Fire Services are increasingly urging us to do for safety reasons. Yet these Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes can be eaten wherever you are. Even indoors watching through the windows, whilst keeping pets calm from the loud bangs and crackles. An edible bonfire that can be taken anywhere, without fear of danger.

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

Using Wright’s Chocolate Fudge and Orange Cake mixes, marbled together creates a delicious cupcake. Topped with flame like, piped orange butter cream, jelly lemons, chocolate orange matchmakers and a sprinkle of edible glitter, not only are these cupcakes tasty to eat, they are also fun to make and look at! Also the ‘bonfires’ do not need to be checked for hedgehogs or other small mammals. Something that should always be done by anyone hosting their own bonfire party.

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

While the sparkles, whooshing sounds and spectacular colours of fireworks are stunning, for me, being close enough to feel the warmth of a bonfire on my face really is my favourite part of bonfire night. The crackle, hissing and spitting of wood as it burns is mesmerising. Also, wrapping jacket potatoes in foil and placing in the fire itself is so much fun. Unwrapping piping hot potatoes, slathering with butter before tucking into them with a fork is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

Meanwhile, while the potatoes are baking, mugs of steaming hot chocolate perfectly accompany these delicious cupcakes. Since juggling a hot drink and a cupcake can be challenging, may I suggest removing the wrappers before serving. Hot drink in one hand, cupcake in the other, with no finger acrobatics needed to enjoy both.

Recipe: Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes makes 24

1 packet each of Chocolate Fudge and Orange Cake Mixes available from Wright’s Baking 

Note: If you are unable to obtain the cake mixes, alternatively use the recipe for Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes 

adding finely grated zest of one orange to the cake batter.

450g/1lb Icing Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature

Scant Pinch of Salt – I use Maldon

Orange Food Colouring

1 Box Chocolate Orange Matchmakers

Optional – small lemon jellies and red/blue edible sprinkles

To make 12 cupcakes, use half of each bag of cake mix and icing.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • First of all, fill 2 deep muffin tins with 24 cupcake/muffin cases.
  • Make both the Orange and Chocolate Fudge cake mixes up in separate bowls according to the packet instructions.
  • Spoon half a dessert spoonful of orange cake batter into each cupcake case. Now scoop a whole dessert spoonful of Chocolate Fudge cake batter on top of the orange. Follow by adding another half of a dessert spoonful of orange batter on to the top of the chocolate.
  • Using a cocktail stick, swirl the two different cake batters together.
  • Place the cupcake tins, spaced evenly apart, into the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Filling, marbling and baking the cupcakes.
  • As soon as the cupcakes are well risen and spring back from a light touch they are baked.
  • Remove the cupcake tins from the oven and immediately transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack. Leave until completely cooled before decorating.
  • To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the softened butter, salt, vanilla extract and food colouring to the same bowl.
  • Next add one tablespoon of very hot water. Immediately start whisking the ingredients together on a slow speed, increasing the speed as they combine.
  • Continue whisking until the buttercream is pale and creamy, adjusting the colour if necessary.
  • Once fully whisked transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle.
  • Staring in the centre of a fully cooled cupcake pipe a dot and pull away the piping bag. This will leave a small peak which will resemble flames.
  • Continue until the top of each cupcake is covered.
FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Make buttercream and piping flames on to Cupcakes.
  • To create the bonfire effect, break up 2 or 3 matchmaker sticks and push into the icing so they look like logs on a bonfire.
  • Follow by adding the jellied lemons. Angle them outwards from the ‘logs’ to give the effect of flames licking at the wood.
  • Finally, to finish sprinkle first with red edible glitter and then again with slightly less blue edible glitter.
FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Finishing touches added to create the Bonfire effect.
  • Display the finished cupcakes on wooden boards, or slabs. Chopping boards and cheese boards can also be used to great effect.
FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes

The marbled combination of chocolate and orange can be seen and tasted with the first bite into a cupcake.

The marbling effect in the cupcakes.

Easy to make and ideal for any firework party gathering. These cupcakes are sure to induce as many ooh’s and aah’s as the firework’s themselves.

Make ahead and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes then you may also like these:

 

Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars

Spicy Sausage Rolls

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Spicy Sausage Rolls

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

FF Marbled Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cupcakes
Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Democracy is of upmost importance here in the U.K. Since this is exactly why we celebrate Bonfire Night. Since the very night that our democracy was due to be blown to pieces, by a group of men with different ideas, our freedom and democracy are celebrated and not taken for granted. While the very same can be said of terrorists and terror events in the modern day. People seeking disrupt and create chaos in countries where their ideas are not followed. Our privilege to speak freely, practice our own faith, without causing harm to others, is something that we must and should hold dear.

If you would like more information please see Important Stuff

Whatever you are making, baking and creating have fun preparing your feast. Also have a safe Bonfire Night.

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking provided the cake mixes to create this recipe. All thoughts, opinions and content are my own. I was not paid to write this post.

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy

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Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies

Cookies and biscuits are a food group all of there own, here at home. Everyday is started with a cup of tea and a cookie. A tradition started by my Grandad ever since I was a little girl. And something that has been carried on with our children. Each of us have our personal favourites, however we all agree that these Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies are perfectly delicious.

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies

White spelt flour has a slight nutty flavour to it that is accented in these cookies with the addition of toasted hazelnuts. While white chocolate chunks provide pockets of sweetness in the dark chocolate. Also finished with a white chocolate drizzle, giving each cookie that extra special touch. Resulting in a perfectly flavoured, nutty chocolate cookie that satisfies any Cookie Monster craving.

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies

Since these cookies are not only delicious but also easy to make, why not bake a double batch and give some away? A gift of freshly baked cookies would surely be very welcome. A new mum and dad, sleep deprived with their first baby, or elderly neighbours that don’t get out very often. It isn’t hard to find people that would love to receive a surprise cookie hamper.

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies

Recipe: Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies makes 24-28

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

225g/8oz Dark Brown Sugar

1 Large Free Range Egg

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

225g/8oz White Spelt Flour – I use Craggs and Co.

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate Chunks

200g/7oz White Chocolate for melting

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, 325F gas mark 3

  • First of all, line 2 or 3 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Place the butter, sugar and salt into a bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add the egg and vanilla extract. Whisk together until combined.
  • Sift the spelt flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into the same bowl.
  • Add in the chopped, roasted hazelnuts and white chocolate chunks.
  • Mix everything together until just combined.
FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Preparing the cookie batter.
  • Using a one inch/5cm ice cream scoop, portion each cookie and place on to a parchment lined tray.
  • Space each cookie well apart. Press down with clean hands to slightly flatten each cookie.
  • Place the baking trays into the oven and bake for 20 minutes exactly.
FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Portioning, shaping and baking the cookies.
  • Once baked remove the baking trays from the oven.
  • Leave the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the trays before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • While the first batch of cookies are cooling, scoop and bake the rest.
  • Chop the white chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Heat on medium power for 30 second bursts, stirring after each heating session. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until completely melted.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate into a small piping bag.
  • Snip off the end, leaving a small hole. Pipe white chocolate zig zags across each cookie.
FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Decorating the Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies.
  • Once all of the cookies have been decorated, set them aside to allow the chocolate to set.
FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies

As soon as the white chocolate drizzle has set these cookies are ready to be served.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Refrigerate during warmer weather.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies then you may also like these:

Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Double Chocolate Nut Spelt Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

 

Baking for others is such a rewarding experience. Especially when you know that the gift will be lovingly received. Some people may be too proud to ask for help, yet stopping by, having a chat and handing over a food gift can break down many barriers. Simply knowing that they have been thought about may brighten someone’s day more than you or I could ever know. One thing I am sure of is this,  I have never had a well intended food gift turned down.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating, have fun prepping your feast and remember, food always tastes better when shared.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard

Custard, we British adore it. Poured over hot fruit pies, puddled around steaming puds. We simply cannot get enough of this delicious dessert accompaniment. Easily bought ready made in cartons, or from the chilled cabinet in supermarkets. Also deliciously made using ‘Birds’ custard powder. While all of these are good options, the very best is to make your own, from scratch, at home. Let me show you my simple, yet Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard.

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard

Since this recipe uses fresh egg yolks and cornflour, it is virtually foolproof. Indeed, it takes no longer to create this fresh custard from scratch, than it does to make a jug of ‘Birds’ custard by hand. Yet the taste is far superior in every single imaginable way. Creamy, with a distinct vanilla flavour. Also known as Creme Anglaise, this is THE custard to serve alongside a hot dessert.

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard

As egg yolks are essential to a great custard, it really does make sense to buy free range or organic eggs. While you are rewarded with deeply golden yolks, it’s handy to know that the whites can be frozen for up to one month. Simply defrost, bring up to room temperature and bake a Pavlova, such as my Mixed Berry Pavlova.

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard

Homemade Amazing Apple Pie cries out to be covered in creamy, delicious, Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard. Also, if you, like me, enjoy the hot/cold combination of custard and vanilla ice cream. Well, let’s just say I’m absolutely not going to judge. If you haven’t tried it, you are seriously missing out!

Note: To make a thicker custard for trifles, increase the cornflour to 3 teaspoons.

Recipe: Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard makes 500ml

300ml Double Cream

200ml Whole Milk

4 Large Free Range Egg Yolks – the whites can be frozen for up to one month

1 Vanilla Pod or 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 tsp Cornflour also known as corn starch – I use Doves Farm

4 tbsp Caster Sugar

Method:

  • First of all, pour the milk and cream into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over a medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear around the edge of this liquid. This is known as the scalding point. Once scalding point is reached, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • While the cream mixture is heating, make the egg base. Separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks into a large, heatproof bowl.
  • Next, add the cornflour, sugar and seeds from a vanilla pod, or vanilla bean extract.
  • Whisk the ingredients in the bowl together until fully combined.
  • With the whisk on slow, pour the scalded cream mixture slowly into the bowl, increasing whisking speed at the end.
FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Creating the Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
  • Pour the hot, liquid back into the saucepan and place back over a medium/low heat.
  • Stir continuously and the custard will start to thicken. DO NOT heat the custard until it bubbles vigorously, as could will result in a burnt, scrambled egg like mixture.
  • When the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon remove from the heat.
  • Pour the custard through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. If making ahead, place cling film directly on top of the custard, to stop a skin from forming. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. To reheat, pour the custard back into a saucepan and heat over a low/medium temperature, stirrring continuously until it is hot. Don’t reheat in a microwave, as the custard may scramble.
  • To use immediately, pour the hot custard into a jug.
FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Cooking, sieving and preparing the custard to serve.

To serve, simply pour the custard over, or around your favourite dessert.

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard

Store freshly made custard, cling filmed as above, in the fridge for up to 2 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard then you may also like these:

Boozy Berry Sauce

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Boozy Berry Sauce

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

Toffee Apple Crumble

FF Luxury Homemade Vanilla Bean Custard
Toffee Apple Crumble

Since I use cornflour that is guaranteed to be gluten free, people with certain dietary restrictions can also enjoy this custard. Hot, homemade desserts are made more delicious when accompanied by this easy to make custard. There will always be a time when it’s pre-made alternative is necessary. Yet special occasions, such as Christmas are the perfect opportunity to treat your tastebuds to the very best.

Whatever you are baking, making and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of its owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

The past fortnight has been a busy one here at home. Hospital appointments for me, rugby matches for our son and both of our girls working hard on their studies. Life has been hectic. Yet, during this time, we have also celebrated two special birthdays in our family. Amidst the coming and going, we made time for what is important. Spending time together. Celebrating birthdays and enjoying the company and love that we have for each other. Laughing, catching up, chatting, more laughter and sharing this delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake.

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

For me, nothing is more important than spending time with those that I love. Whether family, friends or both. Yet due to the continued frequency of seizures see here, these occasions have been few and far between over the last two years. While I was able to attend the wedding of my amazing nephew and my new niece, there have been very many missed opportunities, simply due to my health. Hopefully, this trend is on the turn and change is afoot!

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

Since our son and my sister celebrate their birthday on the same day, it has become a tradition for them to see each other on their special day. While last year this event was cancelled, we more than made up for it this year! We gathered and celebrated this very special day together. Presents were unwrapped, cards opened, cuddles given. Most importantly we were a family celebrating together. Is there anything that is better?

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake sliced with a cool glass of milk

Since having made our, not so little boy, a fruit cake for his birthday over the past couple of years, change was definitely needed! Knowing his love for Reeces Peanut Butter Cups I suggested a chocolate and peanut butter cake. A suggestion that was met with much agreement. Light chocolate and peanut butter sponges, sandwiched together with peanut butter icing, along with hidden, chopped peanut butter cups in the centre. Frosted all over with the same icing and decorated with a milk chocolate drip and more peanut butter cups. Finally, a sprinkle of bronze crunch added elegance to the finished cake.

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

The cake of our son’s dreams. Utterly thrilled with both the look and taste of his birthday cake, oohs and aahs escaped from everyone’s lips. While delivering completely on taste, as it did looks, this cake proved to be a huge hit. Most importantly from the birthday boy himself. Resulting in a day full of happy shared memories.

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake serves 10-12

Cake:

275g/10oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

275g/10oz Light Brown Sugar

50g/2oz Peanut Butter smooth – I use Reeces available from Amazon

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

5 Large Free Range Eggs

75ml/5tbsp Whole Milk

200g/7oz Plain Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

75g/3oz Cocoa – I use Callebaut

Frosting and Decoration:

250g/9oz Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature

75g/3oz Peanut Butter smooth

1/4 tsp Sea Salt

500g/1lb 2oz White Icing Sugar

2 tbsp Very Hot Water

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

20 Mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cups plus additional to place around the base of the cake

6 Regular Reeces Peanut Butter Cups

200g/7oz Good Quality Milk Chocolate

Bronze Crunch Sprinkles available from Waitrose

Method: Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

Baking the cake:

First of all, you will need 2 x 20cm/8″ sandwich tins that are 5cm/2″ deep. Grease thoroughly with butter and line the base with baking parchment.

  • Into a large bowl add the butter, peanut butter,  sugar and salt. Whisk until pale and creamy, this will take around 5 minutes. Creaming the butter and sugar together properly helps create a light sponge.
  • Next add all 5 eggs, the milk and vanilla extract. Whisk briefly to break up the eggs.
  • Now sift in the dry ingredients, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  • Finally, whisk or beat all of the ingredients together until they become a smooth batter. Over whisking will create a tough cake sponge.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Making the Chocolate Peanut Butter cake batter.
  • Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two prepared tins.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate peanut butter cakes ready for the oven.
  • Place the cake tins evenly spaced apart, into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • The cakes are baked when they spring back from a light touch. as soon as they are baked remove from the oven.
  • Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out on to a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Cooling cakes.

Frosting the cake:

  • First of all, chop 20 mini peanut butter cups into small pieces. See the photograph below as a guide. Set to one side.
  • Into a large bowl add the butter, peanut butter, salt, vanilla extract and icing sugar. Next pour the very hot water down the inside of the bowl.
  • Starting on a slow speed whisk the ingredients together, increasing in speed as they become combined. Continue whisking until the buttercream is light and creamy in consistency, with no visible lumps.
  • Check the cake is completely cooled before frosting.
  • Place one cake sponge, flat side up, on to a cake board or plate. Spoon 3 heaped dessert spoons of frosting on to the sponge and spread evenly across the sponge with a palette knife.
  • Next, sprinkle over the choped peanut butter cups so they create an even layer across the frosted sponge.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Making the buttercream and filling the centre of the cake.
  • If you have a turning, cake decorating stand place the cake on it’s board, on to it. Alternatively place the cake board on to a cake stand. The cake can then be rotated on the board, making the frosting process easier.
  • Place the other cake sponge, flat side down, on top of the bottom sponge.
  • Scoop three quarters of the remaining frosting on to the top of the cake.
  • Using a palette knife spread the frosting across the top of the cake and over the sides. Add the remaining frosting as needed.
  • Rotate the cake, spreading the frosting, until an even finish is achieved.
  • Fill a jug with very hot water. Place a clean palette knife into the water, for a couple of seconds, remove and wipe away the water. Smooth the frosting using the hot pallet knife. Repeat this process until you have a smooth and even finish to the cake.
  • Refridgerate the cake for at least one hour. The cake may be left in the fridge overnight at this stage.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Covering and smoothing the outside of the cake.
  • While the cake is finishing chilling, prepare the chocolate.
  • Break up, or chop the chocolate and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Heat in the microwave, on medim power, for 30 second bursts. Stirring after each heating burst.
  • As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl and continue to stir until completely melted.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Frosted, chilled cake ready to be decorated.

Decorating the cake:

  • Remove the chilled cake from the fridge and make sure that you have everything needed to hand.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate on to the middle of the top of the cake, gradually working towards the outside edge.
  • As the chocolate reaches the edge add more to encourage it to drip down the side.
  • Continue all the way around the cake until you have the desired ‘drip’ effect.
  • Place the larger peanut butter cups in a pattern and set into the still molten chocolate.
  • Follow by placing mini peanut butter cups aroung the base of the cake.
  • Finish with bronze sprinkles around the outside edge of the cake.
  • Leave the cake to set. This can be achieved more quickly by chilling in the fridge.
FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Sprinkles added to finish the Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake.

To serve, remove the cake from the fridge. Place a sharp knife into a jug of very hot water for a couple of seconds. Wipe the knife dry and then easily slice through the set chocolate and cake.

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake.

Store the cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep refridgerated during warmer weather.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake you may also like these:

Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Chocolate Heart Cake

FF Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake
Chocolate Heart Cake

Homemade cakes are so much better and far more delicious than their mass produced counterparts. Since each cake made at home is individual in both style and flavour. Knowing that someone has taken the time to create and bake a cake makes me personally feel very special and loved. That is exactly the same feeling I hope to invoke when baking for others. Seeing a big smile is my motivation and reward.

What motivates you to bake?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be copied or replicated without written permission from the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

Another week and another theme. #ChocolateWeek is upon us, demanding chocolate bakes from all who are part of the Twitter baking community. How fortunate for me then that I made this beautiful Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake yesterday. Since it is always chocolate week here at home, this hidden chocolate cherry cake fits the bill perfectly.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

First of all, I absolutely adore Bundt pans. Their beautiful designs and intricate moulding create the most exceptional looking cakes. While my cake decorating abilities are improving, especially as I am practicing more, using a Bundt pan really does take away the need to decorate. A simple sprinkle of edible glitter is all that was needed to finish this cake.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake

Cherry and chocolate are a classic flavour combination. Using chocolate cherry naturally flavoured cocoa powder gives this cake the base flavour. The addition of tinned cherries and ground almonds creates a moist cake with surprise, hidden cherries inside. During baking the cherries drop to the bottom of the cake, which when turned out, becomes the top. Resulting in a jammy like topping.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake up close.

The looping scalloped design of the Chiffon Bundt Pan is very elegant. Flickers of light from the glitter, sparkle and accentuate the design. Aside from covering in a very thin glaze, as done here, this cake really is best left as is. Indeed, left un-iced, dare I say this would be utterly delicious eaten with hot custard.

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake serves 10-12

275g/10oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

275g/10oz Light Soft Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

5 Large Free Range Eggs

4 tbsp/60ml Whole Milk

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

75g/3oz Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder* – available from Sugar and Crumbs

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

*If you are unable to obtain chocolate cherry flavour cocoa powder, use plain cocoa and add cherry flavouring available from Foodie Flavours

Half of a 400g Tin of Cherries or Cherry Pie Filling

1/4 tsp Edible Glitter to decorate

Method: Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

For this recipe a 10 cup Bundt Pan is needed. I have used the Chiffon Bundt Pan available from Nordicware.

To ensure successful release of the cake from the pan cake release is highly recommended. This is available as a spray, or a liquid that is brushed on with a soft pastry brush. I recommend Wilton.

  • First of all add butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Whisk until the sugar is fully beaten into the butter.
  • Next add both vanilla and almond extracts. Also add 5 eggs and milk.
  • Now add ground almonds, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.
  • Whisk everything together until fully combined. Take care not to over whisk as the resulting cake will be tough.
  • Prepare the Bundt pan, spraying, or brushing liberally with cake release.
  • Spoon the prepared cake batter into the pan, pushing the mixture into the base to avoid air pockets.
  • Finally, spoon half of tin of cherries on to the top of the cake batter, making sure that none of the liquid touches the side of the Bundt pan.
  • Place the Bundt pan into the lower middle part of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour 20-30 minutes. Low, slow baking results in an evenly baked cake.
  • The cake is baked when it feels firm to touch and an inserted skewer comes outs clean.  Note: the cherries sink to the bottom (top when turned out) during baking.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Making and baking the Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a cooling rack.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Turning out the baked Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.
  • Leave the cake to cool completely.
  • Finally when cooled, place the cake on to a board or stand. Using a teaspoon, carefully sprinkle with glitter from a height.
FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake ready to serve.

Since this cake is so elegant, it could be used for any celebration, such as Christmas. Alternatively, if someone you know has a birthday, this would be a delicious surprise. Adding candles would simply make the cake sparkle more.

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake.

Serve sliced on a plate with a cake fork and a smile.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. Keep refrigerated if the weather is particularly warm.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake you may also like these:

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake.

Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake.

Lemon Lime Gin Heart Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Chiffon Bundt Cake
Lemon Lime Gin Heart Bundt Cake.

Bundt pans are available in a variety of different shapes. Creating a beautifully shaped cake without any extra effort required from the baker. While also allowing for creativity when decorating. From a simple dusting of icing sugar or glitter, to more precise icing, accentuating the features of each Bundt cake. Resulting in an exceptional, celebration worthy, unique cake every time.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be replicated or copied without the express written consent on the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars

As much as I enjoy baking, sometimes it is nice being able to whip up a sweet treat, without putting the oven on. My Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars require nothing more than a spot of microwave melting and chilling before being ready to eat. Resulting in a perfect, last minute party contribution, or satisfying Saturday evening hunger fest.

FF Caramel Crunch Rock Road Bars
Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars.

Using two packs of the ‘relatively new’ digestive nibbles gives these bars a really satisfying crunch. While the addition of Rolo’s add a not too sweet caramel bite. Mixed with mini marshmallows and set within a delicious chocolate base, every possible texture pops in the mouth. Crunchy, chewy and melting. The combination of all of the ingredients is incredible. Finished with the perfect white chocolate drizzle.

FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars.

Quick and easy to make, perfect for sharing.

Recipe: Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars makes 12 large or 18 small

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter

2tbsp Golden Syrup

150g/5oz Mini Marshmallows

3 packs Rolos approximately 150g

2 Packs McVities Digestive Nibbles – 240g combined available from Waitrose, Sainsburys, Ocado, Tesco.

200g/7oz White Chocolate

Method:

  • Line a 20cm x 28cm x 5cm tin (8″ x 11″ x 2″) with baking parchment.
  • Into a large, heatproof, microwaveable bowl add the butter and broken up milk and dark chocolate. Heat in the microwave, on medium power, for 30 second bursts. Stir after each heating burst. As soon as the chocolate and butter are melted remove the bowl from the microwave. Add the golden syrup and stir continuously until the mixture is fully combined and glossy.
  • Next add 2 packets of Digestive nibbles.
  • Follow by adding the marshmallows and Rolos.
  • Stir until everything is slicked in chocolate.
FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Combining ingredients for Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, taking care to fill evenly.
  • Now break up the white chocolate and place into another heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Again, heat on medium for 30 seconds stirring after each heating burst. Take care not to overheat the chocolate. As soon as it starts to melt remove and stir continuously until it is completely liquid.
  • Using a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the rocky road mixture in the tin.
FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Filling the tin and drizzling over white chocolate.
  • Place the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has completely set.
  • Once set, remove the slab of rocky road from the tin using a palette knife to lift beneath the baking parchment.
  • Using a sharp knife cut across the width, creating 3 evenly sized portions. Then cut through the centre. For smaller bars divide each half into 9 squares, as on the left. Divide into 6, as on the right, for larger bars.
FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Slicing into bars.

If you are making these for a party, place in a baking parchment lined, airtight container and hide them!

During warm weather keep in the fridge. They will keep for up to one week, however I very much doubt, if you have children or teenagers around that you will have any left after 48 hours. I speak from experience.

FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars.

Incredibly delicious and surprisingly not overly sweet, these Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars are perfect for parties and family gatherings.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars, then you may also like these:

Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies

FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Chocolate Fudge Double Hazelnut Brownies.

Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

FF Caramel Crunch Rocky Road Bars
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares.

Chocolate Vanilla Vienesse Finger Biscuits

FF Caramel Crunch Rocky
Chocolate Vanilla Viennese Finger Biscuits.

Over the years I have made many different versions of this recipe. Digestive biscuits work well, when broken up. Their slightly salty, wholemeal flavour balances the sweetness from marshmallows and chocolate. Digestive Nibbles have that same quality. While they also bring a uniform shape to the cut bars, resulting in less crumbling when handled.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be replicated or copied without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

Bread is the recipe most often baked here at home. Aside from the infinitely better quality of a home baked loaf, the flavour is superior in every way to its mass produced, plastic wrapped, shop bought counterpart. At home, a variety of different flours are available to the home baker. Spelt flour produces a lighter wholegrain loaf that is nutty and delicious to eat. I thoroughly recommend my Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

While this loaf is 100% wholegrain, it lacks the heaviness of a wholemeal wheat grain bread. Yet it loses none of the delicious, hearty, wholegrain flavour. Also quicker to make, in the kneading and dough proving stages, than a regular loaf. This is the loaf to make when you haven’t got all day to linger over making bread and yet, nothing about it feels rushed. Resulting in the same feeling of relaxation and accomplishment one feels from baking any bread at home.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread Sliced.

Spelt is an ancient grain that can prove tricky to grow. Craggs & Co grow spelt here in the U.K. where it is also milled. Initially grown by request from a chef, they now sell both wholegrain and white spelt flour online, or it can be ordered and collected directly from the farm. Due to its claimed health benefits, it is becoming more popular with bakers.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

While I don’t have independent evidence to corroborate the health claims from eating spelt, as opposed to wheat, I can give my opinion. Eating any wholegrain flour is always going to be better for our bodies due to the fibre content. Helping to keep our digestive system healthy. Finally, personaly I found the bread to be lighter on my stomach and more quickly digested than wholemeal bread, it did not lay heavy on my stomach, at all.

Recipe: Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

325ml Water at room temperature

5g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson Flour

1tsp Clear Honey

500g Wholegrain Spelt Flour – I used Craggs & Co

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

3-4 tbsp Mixed Seeds

Method:

Initial mixing of the dough is carried out using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment. While mixing by hand is possible, the dough is very wet and sticky to start with. Should you wish you start your dough by hand please see here for step by step instructions, remembering to follow this recipe!

  • Into the bowl of a stand mixer weigh 325g of room temperature water. 1g = 1ml water.
  • Next add the yeast and honey.
  • Add the flour on top, so that it entirely covers the water, yeast and honey.
  • On top of the flour add the sea salt and butter.
  • With the dough hook attached, mix on a low speed until the dough forms a smooth ball. At this point you can stop the mixer, remove the dough and continue to knead by hand until it passes the windowpane test*, see below.
  • Continue to mix on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 6-10 minutes. Stop the mixer, lift the dough hook and pull at the dough. As soon as the dough can be stretched thin enough so that light can be seen through it, it passes the windowpane test*.
  • Scrape the dough from the hook into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove at room temperature until doubled in size. 45-60 minutes.
  • While the dough is proving lightly grease a large baking tray with butter.
  • When doubled in size, scrape out the dough on to a very lightly floured worktop. Ensuring the top of the dough in the bowl, now becomes the bottom and is in contact with the worktop.
  • Next it is important to create tension in the dough. Pull one side out and press diagonally across to the opposite side. Repeat, turning the dough after each pull and tuck, shaping the dough into a rough log as you do so. The dough should look like the picture below, without any sticky dough present.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
The proved dough ready to be divided into three for plaiting.
  • Weigh the dough and then divide the weight by 3.
  • Cut the dough into 3 equal sized pieces.
  • Roll out each piece until it measures 35cm/14″.
  • These will be numbered 1, 2 and 3 from left to right.
  • Place 3 on top of 1 and press together to secure.
  • Next place 2 on top of 3 and again press to secure. You are now ready to start plaiting the bread. Note, each time a dough strand is moved, ensure that the plait  is tight. If the plait is too loose it will be difficult to transfer to the greased baking tray. Also the plait definition may become lost during the second prove and baking.
  • Each strand will have a new number when moved. The middle will always be 2, left 1 and right 3. The pattern is 3 over 2 then 1 over 2. Otherwise known as right over middle, left over middle.
  • To start plaiting place 3 over 2. Moving 2 to the right as it becomes 3.
  • Next 1 over 2. Moving 2 to the left as it becomes 1.
  • Continue until the plait is complete.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Showing the plaiting process.
  • Gently tuck and press the ends together, in the same pattern, at the bottom of the plait.
  • Place the plaited bread diagonally on to a baking tray. Use both hands to support the plait as it is moved.
FF Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
The completed bread plait.
  • Brush the plait lightly with room temperature water and then sprinkle over the mixed seeds.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread ready for its second prove.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave until doubled in size, 30-40 minutes.
  • While the dough is having its second prove preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan, gas mark 9.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread ready for the oven.
  • Just prior to placing your bread on the oven, add a small pan with 1cm water to the bottom of the oven. This will help the crust expand before it sets and hardens.
  • Once doubled in size remove the tea towel and place the bread into the centre of the oven.
  • Bake at the hottest temperature for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Allow to bake for a further 30-35 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  • When baked remove the bread from the oven and immediately transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread

Such a beautiful loaf. Tempted though you may be, leave the bread to cool completely before slicing. Doing so allows the bread to slice properly and cooling bread is also better for digestion.

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Sliced Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread.

Slice and serve the bread as you would any other loaf. Accompanying soup, a hearty Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole, or as toast and sandwiches.

Double wrap in cling film and freeze for one month. Allow to defrost at room temperature, place in a moderately hot oven for 5 minutes and it will taste freshly baked.

To store, place in a bread bin or wrapped in baking parchment. Eat within 4 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread then you may also enjoy these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Plaited Seeded Top Wholegrain Spelt Bread
Seeded Cob Loaf

Baking bread at home is a deliciously rewarding experience. Even if you live close to a great bakery, the aroma of home baked bread only comes from making your own. Recipes can be tweaked for those with dietary restrictions. For example, leaving the seeds off of this loaf still results in an amazingly light, healthy, wholegrain bread. Your adaptations make each loaf baked suitable for sharing.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the express written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes

The popularity of cupcakes, since their meteoric rise to stardom, has not waned. Pinterest has thousands upon thousands of boards dedicated to these individual portion sized cakes. Type cupcake recipes into the browser on your computer/phone/tablet and you will find endless recipes, for every type of cupcake you could ever want. Or so I thought! While there are recipes for Caramac cupcakes, including a fantastic recipe by my friend Jane, there weren’t any chocolate/Caramac combinations. Resulting in the creation of these Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.

Caramac in itself is a lightly caramel flavoured white chocolate. While it is completely delicious, it tends to be rather sweet. Combining Caramac frosting with a dark chocolate cupcake balances both flavours out. Similarly, with the drizzle. Slightly bitter dark chocolate is enhanced by the sweet caramel from the Caramac. Resultying in a perfect flavour combination.

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.

Delicious and very more-ish. Could you stop at one?

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.

Pretty, individual portions of caramel and chocolate in a cake. These cupcakes are elegant enough to be served for dessert, or alternatively, handed around at a party.

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.

Recipe: Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes make 18

For the cupcakes:

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/8tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Ree Range Eggs

150g/5.5oz Plain White Flour

1.5tsp Baking Powder

30g/2.2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

3tbsp Milk – whole or semi-skimmed

For the frosting:

275g/10oz Icing Sugar

125g/5oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/4tsp Sea Salt Flakes

2tbsp Very Hot Water from a recently boiled kettle

110g Packet Caramac Buttons

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

For the drizzle:

110g Packet Caramac Buttons

100g/4oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate minimum 70% cocoa solids – choppedinto small chunks

Method: Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

You will need two, deep, 12 hole cupcake/muffin tins. Line one tin completely with cupcake cases and the central 6 holes in the other with cupcake cases.

  • In a large bowl add butter, caster sugar and sea salt. Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Then add the milk.
  • Whisk together until just combined. The chocolate colour should be uniform and no streaks or lumps present.
  • Scoop a heaped dessert spoonful of cake batter into each cupcake case. Do not worry if the batter doesn’t fill 18 cupcake cases. Mine stretched to 17. Most importantly, each cupcake case should contain equal amounts of cake batter.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate cupcakes ready for the oven.
  • Place both cupcake tins, evenly spaced, into the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • The cupcakes are baked when they are risen and spring back from a light touch.
  • When baked remove the cupcakes from the oven.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Baked Chocolate Cupcakes.
  • Leave the cupcakes to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin, then remove and place them on to a cooling rack to fully cool.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream.
  • Place the Caramac buttons into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Heat for 20 second bursts, stirring between each one. Remove from the microwave once the Caramac is completely melted.
  • Into a large bowl add the softened butter, salt and icing sugar. Whisk, adding the hot water whilst the beaters are whisking. Continue whisking until the buttercream is combined, yet still thick in consistency.
  • Add the melted Caramac to the bowl and keep whisking until the mixture is smooth, light and creamy.
  • Into a large piping base fitted with a 1cm round nozzle tip ( I use Wilton number 12 carded round tip ), add the whipped Caramac buttercream.
  • Using both hands to guide, pipe a double swirl. Start in the centre of the cupcake, pipe one swirl, then pipe a second swirl on top. Press the nozzle down into the centre and pull away. Practice on a sheet of parchment paper first and then scrape the buttercream back into the piping bag.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Making the Caramac buttercream and icing the cupcakes.
  • While the frosting on the cupcakes sets, prepare the chocolate and Caramac drizzle.
  • Into separate heatproof, microwaveable bowls place the Caramac buttons and then the dark chocolate chunks.
  • Prepare 2 small, disposable piping bags, as seen in the photo. Open up each bag and place into a small tumbler, ensuring the edge of the bag folds over the side of the glass. Doing so makes pouring the melted chocolate/Caramac into the bags easy and reduces the risk of burning yourself with hot, melted chocolate.
  • Heat the chocolate and Caramac as for the frosting, stirring between each 20 second burst in the microwave. Once melted pour into the prepared piping bag.
  • Starting with the Caramac, twist the top of the bag and then snip the end of the bag off, leaving a small hole.
  • Pipe melted Caramac on to each cupcake using a zigzag pattern. Since this is a drizzle, melted Caramac (and also chocolate) can go over the sides of the frosting on to the cupcake.
  • Repeat the same process using the dark chocolate.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Double Drizzle on Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes.
  • No two cupcakes will look identical. Don’t worry, each cupcake’s individuality is part of its appeal and charm.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Piping the chocolate and Caramac drizzle on to the cupcakes.
  • Place the cupcakes somewhere cool to set. During warmer months pop in the fridge for a few minutes.
FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes

Invite friends over and serve these cupcakes with a smile and a hot drink. Alternatively, package some up in a box and take to work to share with your colleagues. Since these cupcakes are so delicious, it really would be a shame not to share them.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. During very warm weather store in the refrigerator.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes you may also like these:

Black Forest Cupcakes

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Black Forest Cupcakes

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

FF Caramac Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Since the flavour combinations are virtually endless and each cupcake is an individual portion size, it is easy to see how they have remained so popular. In addition, each cupcake, especially when homemade, is unique. Also, they are just so pretty. Whether embellished with sprinkles, drizzles, little figures, flowers or simply piped with buttercream, the appeal of having a cake all to ourselves is such fun. Resulting in the perfect feast.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this blog post may be copied or reproduced without the specific written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy .

 

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Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Those of you who regularly read this blog, will probably know that I am a self confessed Cookie Monster. However, it is not just cookies I enjoy. For me, biscuits, cookies and shortbread all have an equal place in my heart. Well that was until I made these Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars. Crunchy, flaked almond topped bars, studded with a deep, deep, slightly bitter chocolate flavour from the cacao nibs. Everything needed to satisfy a cookie craving.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Since receiving a tub of Cacao Nibs from Food Thoughts, I was interested to see how their flavour would transfer in the shortbread. Each nib is packed with an intense flavour. Similar to very good quality, high cocoa content chocolate. In fact, Cacao nibs are chocolate in its purest form before anything has been added to it. Each nib is a fermented, then roasted part of a cocoa bean. Resulting in the purest chocolate flavour.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

While I am not a fan of very dark chocolate, these tiny nibs give just the right amount of flavour in this bake. Complimented by the almonds, each nib bursts with intense flavour on the tongue, without being cloying or overwhelming. In short, these shortbread bars are incredibly delicious and a satisfying treat.

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Freshly baked Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

As each shortbread bar is a substantial size, smaller squares may be created by cutting each bar in half. Small shortbread squares would be perfect for serving with Afternoon Tea. While the individual bars fit happily into packed lunch boxes. Whichever way you cut and serve this shortbread, be sure to share it. Introducing new flavours into a bake is most definitely an experience not to be kept to yourself.

Recipe: Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

200g/7oz Unsalted Batter at room temperature

100g/4oz Caster Sugar – plus 1tbs extra for topping

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

50g/2oz Semolina

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cacao Nibs – I use Food Thoughts available at Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocado

25g/1oz Flaked Almonds

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

Butter and line a 28 x 20 x 5cm (12″ x 8″ x 2″) Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.

  • Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.
  • Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate.
  • Sift in the plain flour and then add the ground almonds, semolina and cacao nibs.
  • Mix together until just combined.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Preparing the shortbread.
  • Spoon the shortbread mixture into a prepared tin. Press out, using the back of a metal spoon, so that the mixture evenly fills the tin.
  • Dock the shortbread all over with a fork.
  • Sprinkle over the additional tablespoon of sugar and evenly scatter over the flaked almonds.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars ready for the oven.
  • Place the shortbread into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. If you find that the almonds are browning too quickly, either reduce the heat and bake for a little longer, or cover the top of the shortbread with aluminium foil.
  • When golden all over and semi-firm to the touch the shortbread is baked.
  • Once baked remove the shortbread from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Golden baked shortbread.
  • After the cooling period slice the shortbread into 12 bars. Cut across the middle, then down the width, forming 4 squares. Follow by dividing each square into 3. To create 24 squares, simply cut across the middle at 4 even (8cm) spaces.
  • Leave the shortbread to fully cool in the tin.
  • Once cooled, use a palette knife to help lift out the shortbread. Because the shortbread has already been cut it is more flexible and therefore unlikely to crack, when removing from the tin.
FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Sliced, cooled Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars

Serve with a hot drink. Unsurprisingly these bars go well with coffee, tea and of course, hot chocolate.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Since these bars improve in flavour after a day, dare I suggest you hide the tin? It’s only for a day 😉.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars you may also like these:

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars

Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

FF Almond Cacao Nib Shortbread Bars
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

While biscuits and shortbreads are readily available in the shops, there are advantages to making your own at home. Firstly and most importantly, the flavour is far superior to their mass produced equivalents. Furthermore flavour combinations that cannot be bought, are easily made at home. Finally, unless you live close to an artisan bakery, where each product is made with love and care, baking at home is a pleasure. Since you know exactly what ingredients have gone into your bake, including the love with which they are made.

Sammie xx

Food Thoughts sent me the cacao nibs to try. All opinions, content and photography are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced or copied without the specific, written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy .

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Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For me, nothing quite compares to the beauty, taste and smell of homemade bread. Four ingredients, flour, yeast, water and salt, when mixed together, worked, rested, shaped and baked give such incredibly satisfying results. Bread is surely the heart of any feast and therefore, teaching  others to bake it is of upmost importance to me. Using step by step instructions and photographs, you too can learn how to make and bake this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Inspired by a friend on Twitter, who claimed that bread baking was beyond her, I set out to show her she could. While she is a very accomplished baker, far more so than me, bread is her baking stumbling block. Everyone can make bread. Are you wary of baking bread? With this guide and a relaxing cup of tea, read through and then get baking!

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf soft crumb with crunchy crust.

Following the techniques and tips in this recipe will guarentee that you too, can make delicious, homemade bread. Also the more that you practise, the more confident and better you will get a baking bread at home. It is important to remember that occaisionally a loaf of bread will turn out mishapen. Rarely is it inebible though!

Recipe: Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

320mls Water at room temperature

1/2tsp Caster Sugar

7g Dried Yeast make sure that is reasonably fresh (3 months old max) – I use Allinson in the green tub/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Method: For making by hand or using a stand mixer with dough attachment.

You will need a large, buttered baking tray.

Stand Mixer:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer in the order that they are listed. This ensures that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the yeast.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Adding ingredients to the bowl in the correct order.
  • With dough hook attached mix on low speed until all the ingredients are combined.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Ingredients have come together to form a dough.
  • At this point if you wish to knead by hand, scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl. See making by hand method.
  • Continue mixing the dough on medium speed for a further 10 minutes.
  • After the kneading time has elapsed stop the machine and tear off a small piece of dough. Stretch it between your fingers until it is so thin that light can be seen through it. This is known as the windowpane test. If it tears whilst stretching, add back to the dough and continue to mix for a further 2 minutes as before. Repeat the test after each further mixing period until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the covered bowl in a draught free place, away from a direct heat source.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
No shaping, simply leave the dough in a bowl and cover.
  • Leave until the dough has doubled in size.

Making by hand:

  • Place the flour and butter into a large bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flower using your fingertips.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the bowl on one side. Place the salt on the opposite side, so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and then add all of the water.
  • Using your hand, shaped like a claw, bring the dry ingredients into the water and mix them together.
  • Continue mixing in the bowl until the dough has formed a sticky ball.
  • Place the dough on to a clean worktop and push with the heal of your hand to tear and stretch the dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Tear a small piece of the dough and perform the windowpane test as described above. If the dough tears knead for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • Repeat the kneading and testing procedure until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

Shaping and building the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

  • When the dough has doubled in size turn out on to a lightly floured surface, ensuring the top of the dough is in contact with the worktop. What was the top is now the bottom.
  • Weigh the dough and cut off one quarter.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Turning out and dividing the dough
  • Starting with the larger piece of dough, stretch and pull one side and press down into the opposite side.
  • Now stretch and pull the opposite side. Press down as before.
  • Turn the dough and repeat 4 more times, where the edge is rough and untouched, until your dough resembles the bottom right photo.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Building tension into the dough.
  • Flip the dough over and create a ball shape. Cup your hands around the dough, tucking and turning to create a tight ball shape.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Creating a ball shaped dough using your hands.
  • Place the dough ball base of the cottage loaf, on to a prepared baking tray.
  • Repeat the streching/pulling process with the smaller piece of dough, then shape into a ball.
  • Place the smaller ball centrally on top of the base.
  • With two floured fingers push down, through the centre of the top ball, tight into the base. Doing so joins the top and bottom together, creating one loaf.
  • Slash the top 6 times and the bottom 12 times. Cut vertically, from top to bottom.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Assembling the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
  • Cover with a tea towel, leave in a draft free place until doubled in size, 45 – 60 minutes.

Baking the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C or gas mark 9.
  • 15 minutes before the loaf is ready, place a pan with 5cm/1″ of water in the base of the oven. The steam created will delay the forming of a hard crust on the loaf, allowing maximum expansion, also called oven spring, to take place.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf ready for the oven.
  • Once the loaf has doubled in size it is ready to bake.
  • Remove the tea towel and place in the middle/lower part of the oven. Make sure there is enough height room, allowing for oven spring, when placing your loaf in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at the hottest temperature and then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • Continue to bake for a further 35-45 minutes.
  • The loaf is baked when it is a deep golden colour, feels light (not heavy and dense) in your oven glove protected hands and most importantly sounds hollow when rapped on the top and base with a knuckle.
  • Remove from the oven and place immediately on to a cooling rack.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf golden and delicious.

An incredible homemade, home baked artisan style bread.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf with deeper slashes.

Serve sliced as open sandwiches, or toasted. Alternatively serve as an accompaniment to a meal, such as Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Best eaten within a day of making, this bread will keep for up to 4 days in a bread bin, which allows air to circulate. It is better not to keep this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

To freeze, thoroughly cool, then double wrap in cling film. Keep in the freezer for no longer than a month. Defrost at room temperature and refresh by placing in a moderate oven for 10 minutes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf then you make also like these:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Seeded Cob Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Baking bread is such a rewarding experience. Whether you make the entire loaf by hand, or enlist the help of kitchen machinery, each loaf will be far superior in both flavour and quality than it’s mass produced counterpart. Even if you have a great bakery in your local vicinity, baking your own means you can make unusual, rarely seen loaves such as this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

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I am entering my Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in the #GBBOBloggers2017 linky hosted by http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk

 

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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