Black Forest Cupcakes

Hello there, today we are talking birthdays. Birthdays mean cake – lots of it. Shared amongst family and friends in a celebration of us getting another year older. Yeah, I hear you – cakes could also be seen as a comfort food, for those of us notching up the years!

When I was younger, every year for my birthday I would ask for a Black Forest Gateaux. The best, best part was having a slice for breakfast, the day after my birthday. Ooh it tasted so good and my love for this dessert inspired me to make these Black Forest Cupcakes.

Black Forest Cupcakes chocolate sponge topped with mascarpone, cherries and drizzled in syrup.
Black Forest Cupcakes chocolate sponge topped with mascarpone, cherries and drizzled in syrup.

 

I have added my own little twists, but the basic components stay the same; lighter than light chocolate sponge, dark cherries in glorious deep ruby syrup and a mascarpone cream topping. Have I got your attention now?

Black Forest Cupcakes perfect chocolate, cherry treats.
Black Forest Cupcakes perfect chocolate, cherry treats.

 

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I actually don’t bake cupcakes very often. Such was my craving for the taste of Black Forest Gateaux that I finally conceded to make these Black Forest Cupcakes. 

Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa herself is famous for saying she likes “Rembered flavours.” Our tastebuds can transport us to various places and times the instant they are tantalised with a remembered flavour.

Black Forest Cupcakes so do that to me. Memories of birthdays past flooded my brain as I took the first bite. Delicious does’nt even begin to describe how good these cupcakes are!

Black Forest Cupcakes cherry-chocolate heaven in a bite.
Black Forest Cupcakes cherry-chocolate heaven in a bite.

 

Using mascarpone/cream for the topping gives these cupcakes a rich, deep, creamy flavour. You can see I haven’t overloaded these cupcakes with topping. A small swirl, topped with a syrupy cherry, is the perfect compliment to the moist, light, chocolate, sponge.

Ok confession time!!! After these Black Forest Cupcakes had been assembled and had their beaity shots taken, I unashamedly face planted, straight into one. Mmm what’s life without a little fun?? So I had to wash my face, hands afterwards – it was totally worth it. If you make these, I encourage you to do the same – have some fun!!!

Black Forest Cupcakes www.feastingisfun.com
Black Forest Cupcakes www.feastingisfun.com

 

Recipe : Makes 18 Black Forest Cupcakes

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa

2tsp Baking Powder

4 Large Eggs – free range if possible

50ml/2fl oz Milk – whole or semi skimmed

250g/9oz Mascarpone Cheese

150ml/5fl oz Double Cream

1tsp Caster Sugar

375g/10of Pouch or Tin Good Quality Cherry Pie Filling

Method : Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan

Place the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in to a large bowl.

Whisk the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and creamy.
Whisk the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and creamy.

 

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together into a seperate bowl (dry mix).

Add one third of the dry mix to the creamed butter mixture, whisk briefly and then add 2 eggs and whisk again. Repeat the last 2 steps again and then finish by adding the milk and the last of the dry mix. Whisk until fully incorporated.

Mousse like chocolate batter for the Black Forest Cupcakes
Mousse like chocolate batter for the Black Forest Cupcakes

 

Place 18 cupcake cases into the cupcake pans.

Use a standard ice cream scoop to fill the cases evenly with the chocolate batter.
Use a standard ice cream scoop to fill the cases evenly with the chocolate batter.
Continue until all the cases have been filled.
Continue until all the cases have been filled.

 

Place the pans into the preheated oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when pressed lightly on top, the sponge springs back.

Black Forest Cupcakes all even the beauty of using an ice cream scoop!!
Black Forest Cupcakes all even the beauty of using an ice cream scoop!!

 

Remove the cupcakes from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Black Forest Cupcakes cooling on a rack.
Black Forest Cupcakes cooling on a rack.

 

To make the topping, whisk together the mascarpone, cream and caster sugar until stiffened. This process can easily done by hand, it takes very little time – beware of over whisking!!

Black Forest Cupcakes whip the mascarpone, cream and sugar together.
Black Forest Cupcakes whip the mascarpone, cream and sugar together.

 

Fit a large piping bag with a large star tip. Fill with the mascarpone mixture and pipe small swirls on top of each cupcake.

Black Forest Cupcakes pipe a small swirl of mascarpone cream onto the chocolate sponge.
Black Forest Cupcakes pipe a small swirl of mascarpone cream onto the chocolate sponge.

 

Tip the cherry pie filling into a bowl. Using a spoon place a cherry on top of each of the cupcakes. Then go back and drizzle a little of the syrup over each cupcake.

Black Forest Cupcakes topped with a cherry and drizzled with the syrup.
Black Forest Cupcakes topped with a cherry and drizzled with the syrup.

 

If not eaten immediately, these Black Forest Cupcakes need to be kept refridgerated in an air tight container, where they will keep for up to 3 days.

Do you have a favourite ‘remembered flavour’ from your childhood?

You may also enjoy these recipes Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes

Sammie x

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Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies


Hello lovelies. Do you need a chocolate hit? Do you want to sink your teeth into something chocolatey, fudgey and studded with nuts? Good. I’m here to help! Welcome to my Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies - they taste soooo good www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies – they taste soooo good www.feastingisfun.com

 

 

So, the other night I was craving, I mean really craving chocolate. Not in the bar form, in a Brownie! Am I alone in my craving? Thought not!! Anyway it was too late to bake, so I settled down to sleep, thinking about Brownies.

It was still there, the craving, in the morning. Not so much the craving for chocolate, more the need to bake Brownies.

Now I have a couple of Brownie recipes Nuts About Brownies & Triple Chocolate Brownies already on this site, but I was in the mood for experimenting. Given that I’d had a couple of baking disasters during the week I knew this could be risky business!! Still I ploughed on, wading through my collection of cookbooks in search of inspiration. As usual I took a bits and pieces of information from here and there and came up with an idea-ish of a recipe!!

I love looking through cookbooks, however, I can honestly say there are very few recipes I follow completely from the start. The books are more a visual and written inspiration for how I like to cook/bake. I still have much to learn, what I know already serves to help me put a recipe together. It’s fun too, coming up with flavours, textures etc. on my own. It’s also how I learn and that is a big part of the enjoyment I get from cooking and baking.

So to the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies – melted chocolate was top of the list in creating this recipe. Lots of it. Having a new bag of Macadamia Nuts in the cupboard meant they were guaranteed a starring role. Chocolate Chunks obviously, because – more chocolate!! The rest, well I know that brown sugar lends a depth to chocolate recipes, yet I still wanted that shiny, crackled top, synonymous with a good, fudgey brownie.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies look at the top, all shiny and yum! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies look at the top, all shiny and yum! www.feastingisfun.com

 

 

These Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are everything I wanted and more. Fudgey, dense, intense chocolate flavour, with whole, buttery, Macadamia nuts for added crunch. So pleased am I with them I am sharing the recipe with you.

Recipe : Makes 20 Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

150g/5oz Dark Chocolate

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

4 Large Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4tsp Salt

125g/4.5oz Dark Brown Sugar

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

225g/8oz Macadamia Nuts

175g/6oz Chocolate Chips – plain or milk

Method : Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan

Break up the chocolate (or chop) into individual squares, dice the butter and place both into a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a simering pan of water (a double boiler) ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Yep, I know. My bowl was too small, even for my smallest pan. Duh!!! So I improvised by using a steamer on top of the pan and placing my bowl in the steamer. This way you definetely won’t have the bowl touching the water. If you do try it make sure the water is just simmering, otherwise your hands could be burnt by the steam.

Stir the chocolate/butter until two thirds melted.

Improvised double boiler using a steamer!
Improvised double boiler using a steamer!

 

Then remove the bowl from the pan and continue stirring until the chocolate and butter are completely melted. Using this method may be a little more labour intensive, it does stop the mixture heating up too much, thus less time for it to cool down. Me impatient? No I like to call it efficient!!!

Set the melted chocolate and butter aside to cool.
Set the melted chocolate and butter aside to cool.

 

Line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) tin with aluminium foil. This makes it so easy to remove the brownies once baked and less time cleaning up. Win win.

Place the eggs, vanilla extract and salt into a bowl. Mix until combined.

Add the two sugars into the mixed egg and vanilla.
Add the two sugars into the mixed egg and vanilla.
Stir the sugar and egg mixture until combined.
Stir the sugar and egg mixture until combined.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture slowly into the bowl stirring slowly.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture slowly into the bowl stirring slowly.
Ooey gooey chocolate brownie mixture.
Ooey gooey chocolate brownie mixture.

 

Sift the flour and sodium bicarb. into the bowl.

Add the macadamia nuts on top of the sieved flour.
Add the macadamia nuts on top of the sieved flour.
Then add the chocolate chunks.
Then add the chocolate chunks.

 

Fold all the ingredients together, resisting the urge to taste a spoonful – or not!!!

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownie batter.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownie batter.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies pour the mixture into a lined pan. Rap the pan onto the worktop a couple of times to allow any air bubbles to rise to the top.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies pour the mixture into a lined pan. Rap the pan onto the worktop a couple of times to allow any air bubbles to rise to the top.

 

Place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are cooked when the top is set and shiny, there should still be a hint of wobble when you gently shake the pan. Always better to slightly undercook Brownies than overcook. Once cooked remove the Brownie pan from the oven.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies leave to cool in the tin.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies leave to cool in the tin.

 

Once completely cooled it’s so easy to remove the Brownies from the pan, in the foil. Peel away the foil and slice into 20 squares.

These Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are soo good. I’m not kidding, I was blown away by how dense, fudgey, chocolatey and more-ish these brownies are.

I shared them with friends, neighbours and of course our crew. All the feed back was good, so now I’ve shared them with you!

 

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies delicious.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies delicious.

 

How do you like your brownies?

Frosted, plain, with nuts, without?

I’d love to hear from you.

Sammie x

 

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Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake

Hi, thank you for stopping by. I have a question for you, do you like Maltesers? You know, those lovely chocolate covered balls of malted loveliness that are almost impossible to stop munching on, once the packet/box is opened. Well, I’ve come up with a cake – yep, a cake that incorporates all of those lovely flavours. Welcome the Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.

 

I was really pleased with this cake as I made the recipe up completely from scratch! Apart from adjusting the cooking temperature/time I am pleased to say it was a success!

Having been given some Wilko products to review (post coming soon) I decided to make this Malted Marbled Chcolate Cake in the square cake tin I had been sent. I already have a Nutella Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake on my site, so by switching up the recipe and including the yummy malt flavour I hoped I was onto a winner.

Topping the cake with swirls of milk and white chocolate couldn’t hurt, could it? Well obviously not in our house. This large cake lasted two days, although it was shared with Grandparents and friends. Cake is meant for sharing, don’t you think?

The swirled chocolate topping perfects finishes this Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.
The swirled chocolate topping perfects finishes this Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.

 

Recipe : Serves at least 18 slices

350g/12oz Unsalted Butter – plus extra for greasing your cake tin

300g/11oz Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

2tsp Vanilla Extract

6 Large Eggs – pref. Free Range

350g/12oz Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

100mls/4floz Whole Milk

5tbsp Powdered Malted Milk Drink – Horlicks/Ovaltine

6tbsp Cocoa Powder

For the topping:

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

100g/4oz White Chocolate

Method : Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan

I used a 24cm x 24cm square cake tin (approx 9″ tin).

If using a round cake tin you will need an 11″ or 25cm tin.

Grease your cake tin (I use butter) and line the base with parchment paper.

Use either a stand mixer – with the beater attachment or an electric whisk.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl.
Whip until light and fluffy.
Whip until light and fluffy.

 

Next  sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. Then crack all the eggs into a jug – I actually crack them individually into a small bowl, then transfer them to a jug. Add the vanilla extract to the eggs.

Add one third of the dry mixture to the bowl, mix in lightly. Now add half of the eggs and continue mixing until just incorporated. Repeat again, finishing with the final third of dry mixture. Mix until just combined.

Add the malted milk powder and milk, mix until combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.

 

Once the mixture has been scraped down into the bowl give everything a final mix.

Remove half of the cake batter to a separate bowl.
Remove half of the cake batter to a separate bowl.
Add the cocoa to the mixer bowl.
Add the cocoa to the mixer bowl.

 

Mix in the cocoa powder.

Once the cocoa is completely incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix.
Once the cocoa is completely incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix.

 

To build the Malted Marble Chocolate Cake add the two separate mixes as shown.

Add the cocoa batter in three separate dollops to the cake pan.
Add half of the cocoa batter in three separate dollops to the cake pan.
Add the vanilla batter on and around the cocoa batter.
Add the vanilla batter on and around the cocoa batter.
Add the rest of the cocoa/vanilla batter in rough layers.
Add the rest of the cocoa/vanilla batter in rough layers.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - using the handle of a wooden spoon swirl the two batters together, without mixing them into each other.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – using the handle of a wooden spoon swirl the two batters together, without mixing them into each other.
Perfectly swirled - Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake!
Perfectly swirled – Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake!

 

Place your cake tin into the preheated oven.

Bake for 1hr – 1hr 15 mins, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow two thirds of the cooking time to elapse before checking your cake.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - fresh from the oven.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – fresh from the oven.

 

Allow the cake to cool in its tin for 15 minutes. Then run a palette knife around the outside edge of the cake to loosen it. Tip out and allow to completely cool on a rack.

When the cake is cool it is time to create the gorgeous, swirly, chocolate topping.

Break up or chop each chocolate and place in separate bowls. I melt the chocolate using the microwave on medium setting in 30 second bursts. Remove the bowl from the microwave when there are still a few lumps in the melted chocolate and stir continuously until the chocolate is smooth. Be extra careful with white chocolate – it is very easy to overheat in the microwave.

Set the bowls of chocolate aside to cool.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - cooled with cooling, melted chocolate, ready for decorating.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – cooled, with cooling, melted chocolate, ready for decorating.

 

Cool the chocolate until it has thickened but is still pourable.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - pour over the melted milk chocolate.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – pour over the melted milk chocolate.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - use a spoon to smooth the melted chocolate over the top of the cake.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – use a spoon to smooth the melted chocolate over the top of the cake.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - drizzle the white chocolate on top.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – drizzle the white chocolate on top.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - use a skewer to swirl the two chocolates together.
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – use a skewer to swirl the two chocolates together.
The swirled chocolate topping perfects finishes this Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.
The swirled chocolate topping perfects finishes this Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake.

 

Place the cake somewhere cool until the chocolate has set (if it is a really hot day you can pop it in the fridge until the chocolate has just set).

You now have a beautiful Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake to share! This cake is perfect for a celebration, family gathering, a houseful of friends as it feeds a lot of people. Perfect for feasting, sharing and having fun.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake - I'll take a slice please?
Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake – I’ll take a slice please?

 

The pretty marbling is shown when the cake is cut. I cut this cake in half and then sliced each half as needed. I really think this is one of the prettiest chocolate cakes I’ve ever made. It’s also absolutely delicious. This cake is Maltesers in cake form. The malted flavouring adds another layer to a traditional Marble Cake, whilst the milk ensures this was NOT a dry cake.

Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake THE perfect cake for feasting, sharing and having fun!

Have you ever added an extra ingredient and been wowed by the results?

Sammie x

This post contains items sent to me by Wilko all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake

Hello lovelies, if you’ve got the Monday, back to work blues, or just fancy cake, then I have the ultimate solution, my Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - light and moist.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – light and moist.

 

This Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake is so beautiful thanks to the Bundt tin moulding and the delicious topping of chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. It is so easy to make and delicious to eat!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - delicious!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – delicious!

 

Making this cake was only my second attempt at using a Bundt tin. I gotta tell you, I love them!!! The beautiful moulding of the finished cake makes it look way more professional than I could take credit for. I also made sure I used a skewer to check the cake was cooked through (something I never normally do). The only potential problem with using a Bundt tin, is that it’s hard to specify a size, for example if I’m baking a cake in a regular cake tin I can give you it’s dimensions, with a Bundt tin that’s not possible. It’s all curved and moulded, with a hole in the middle!!! Fortunately the tin I used had a 6 cup measurement mark on the outside. So I just kinda winged it with the ingredient quantities and prayed for the best – and it worked!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - what's not to like?
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – what’s not to like?

 

Recipe :

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

Pinch of Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs – free range if poss

100g/4oz Blanched Hazelnuts

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

50ml/2fl oz Whole Milk

150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green&Blacks

Method : Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan

Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.

 

Take half of the hazelnuts and process/chop them until they are very fine – similar to ground almonds.

Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts,milk and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

 

Using a rubber spatula give the cake batter a couple of good stirs to ensure all the ingredients, especially at the bottom of the bowl, are combined.

Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.
Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.

 

Place the Bundt tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked remove the cake from the oven.

Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - soo pretty!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – soo pretty!

 

Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Lightly chop the remaining hazelnuts and dry roast them, on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, after removing the cake from the oven. Remove and allow to cool.

To decorate the cake :

Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake - yum!
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake – yum!
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

 

Next sprinkle the toasted chopped hazelnuts over the top of the cake. Now all you have to wait for is the chocolate to set – enough time to pop the kettle on, phone a friend and get ready to dive in and enjoy!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - slices into portions perfectly.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – slices into portions perfectly.

 

I really am so pleased with this cake, it’s scrumptious and easy – what more could you ask for??

Do you know a way of measuring Bundt Tins??

Sammie x

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Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers

Hello there lovely people, regular readers will know just how fond I am of Cookies! So it should come as no surprise that I also love biscuits and all variations in between. Actually what is the difference between Cookies and Biscuits? Anyway I digress – these Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers definitely fit in the biscuit category (whatever that is??!!).

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers

 

The Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers have a light, buttery crumb, which is complemented by the high quality chocolate dipped ends. This is definitely not a biscuit that I would dunk!

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers accompanied by Viennese Whirls!
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers accompanied by Viennese Swirls!

 

I also made some Viennese Swirls, which had their bases dipped in chocolate. Oh my, the biscuity, chocolatey, deliciousness in the shape of a swirl. Both Viennese fingers and swirls look so pretty. I imagine them adorning high tea cake stands, alongside scones and little triangle sandwiches with their crusts cut off! Oh hang on, is that the Ritz on the phone putting in an order? As if!!!!!

Cup of tea anyone? Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.
Cup of tea anyone? Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.

 

These fingers and swirls are piped, using the largest star tip you can get your hands on! They literally take moments to cook and cool, then you can get a-dunking in the gorgeous melted chocolate. If you have children in the house you will instantly have them in the kitchen the minute you start dunking! I guarantee it!!!

In fact I made 6 swirls and 19 (so annoying that it wasn’t 20!) fingers yesterday and they’ve all gone. Next time I’ll make a double batch – or hide them!!! That kinda goes against the sharing theme of this blog – oops!  Looks like a double batch then.

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls - that's a lot of biscuits munched!
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls – that’s a lot of biscuits munched!

 

Anyway, let me show you how I made these –

Recipe : Makes Approx 30 Fingers

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – very soft

50g/2oz Icing Sugar

15g/ 1/2oz Corn Flour (also known as corn starch)

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1/8tsp Salt

100g/4oz Self-raising White Flour

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green and Black’s as it has 37% Cocoa, most chocolate bars have 20%-25%

Method : Piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan.

Whisk together the very soft butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Note – as the finished mixture is piped, having very soft butter will make the piping easier.

Add the vanilla extract and corn flour and whisk into the butter/sugar mixture.
Add the vanilla extract and corn flour and whisk into the butter/sugar mixture.
Sift both flours into the bowl.
Sift both flours into the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip - I've used a disposable piping bag.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip – I’ve used a disposable piping bag.

Ensure your piping bag is fitted with a large star tip, Wilton #1M is ideal.

Either use parchment paper lined baking sheets or non stick – I used a combination of both.

Here’s how to pipe the Viennese Fingers in pictures –

The mixture is quite stiff! Use one hand to guide the tip and the other to apply pressure to the bag. Squeeze....
The mixture is quite stiff! Use one hand to guide the tip and the other to apply pressure to the bag. Squeeze….
Keeping the pressure on the bag, pipe slowly, in a straight line.......
Keeping the pressure on the bag, pipe slowly, in a straight line…….
Continue piping until the finger is 10cm/4" long. Release the pressure on the bag and pull the tip away.
Continue piping until the finger is 10cm/4″ long. Release the pressure on the bag and pull the tip away.
Soo pretty! Keep a piped finger's width between each one as they spread a little whilst baking.
Soo pretty! Keep a piped finger’s width between each one as they spread a little whilst baking.

Now if you fancy making the Viennese swirls, this is how you do it!

Pipe a swirl, approx 5cm/2" across.
Pipe a swirl, approx 5cm/2″ across.
Pipe inside the swirl in a circular motion, until the circle is filled in. Bring the piping tip to the centre and release the pressure.
Pipe inside the swirl in a circular motion, until the circle is filled in. Bring the piping tip to the centre and release the pressure.

 

Place the swirls and fingers in the oven. Bake the fingers for 10 minutes and the swirls for 10-12 minutes. They are cooked when they have just turned golden.

Beautifully golden, cooked Viennese Fingers.
Beautifully golden, cooked Viennese Fingers.
A gorgeous, golden, Viennese Swirl.
A gorgeous, golden, Viennese Swirl.

 

Leave to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes and then, using a palette knife, move the fingers and swirls to a cooling rack.

Once cooled the fingers are ready for dunking in chocolate.

Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl.
Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl.
Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, or if you're confident in the microwave - I nuked my chocolate and it was fine.
Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, or if you’re confident in the microwave – I nuked my chocolate and it was fine.
Dip one end of the Viennese finger in the chocolate.
Dip one end of the Viennese finger in the chocolate.
Holding the biscuit in the middle dip the other end in the chocolate.
Holding the biscuit in the middle dip the other end in the chocolate.

 

Place the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – DO NOT place back on the cooling rack as I did. I’ll show you why later!!!

For the swirls I used a spoon to cover the base of the swirl with melted chocolate and then left them to cool, upside down, on the cooling rack.

The swirls are fine to cool, upside down, on the rack.
The swirls are fine to cool, upside down, on the rack.

 

You now can present your Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls!

Ah soo pretty - Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.
Ah soo pretty – Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.

 

I promised to show you what happened when I cooled the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers on the cooling rack…..

Some of the biscuits stuck and broke when I tried to get them off!!!
Some of the biscuits stuck and broke when I tried to get them off!!!

 

Totally my fault and very embarrassing as my previous post stated the importance of reading through a recipe before you start. Guess what, if I’d read the recipe I’d have known to cool the chocolate dipped fingers on parchment paper. My bad!!!

Still we had fun eating the broken fingers and they were amazing! Buttery, not too sweet and with delicious chocolate on the ends!

Have you had an memorable baking mishaps??

Sammie x

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Nuts About Brownies!

Hello, have I baked up something delicious for you? If you love Chocolate and Brazil Nuts then you will be Nuts About Brownies!

Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate - you will love Nuts About Brownies!
Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate – you will love Nuts About Brownies!

 

This Brownie recipe is so easy as it’s all made in one saucepan. Come on we so love a recipe that doesn’t involve a mountain of washing up? Not only that, you line your baking dish/tin with foil – so even that stays clean! Anything to make life easier is very welcome around here!

Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!
Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!

 

Nigella is the inspiration behind this recipe. I’ve tinkered with it a little bit and I’d like to think she would approve. I’ve used Brazil nuts in these Nuts About Brownies, but Walnuts and Pecans work very well too. Whatever nuts I add, these Brownies disappear very quickly in our house!!!

I'm Nuts About Brownies - are you?
I’m Nuts About Brownies – are you?

 

Recipe : Makes 9 – 15 Brownies

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

300g/10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

75g/2.5oz Cocoa Powder

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Sodium Bicarbonate

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Eggs – pref free range

2tsp Vanilla Extract

150g/5oz Brazil Nuts

150g/Dark Chocolate (70%)

Method :

Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan.

Line a 30cm x 20cm (12″ x 8″) baking tin with aluminium foil. Ensure the dish is at least 5cm (2″) deep.

Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan...
Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan…

Melt the butter and sugar gently over a low heat.

Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Mix thoroughly - the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point - don't worry!!
Mix thoroughly – the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point – don’t worry!!

Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the vanilla extract and mix – don’t whisk as you don’t want to incorporate air.

Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.

 

Now the next step is important but might sound a bit odd – rap the baking tin hard against the worktop 3-4 times. This brings any bubbles to the surface, we want our brownies to be dense and fudgey, not light and airy like cake! Rapping the tin also settles the chocolate chunks and nuts into the batter.

Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The brownies are cooked when the top is set, but there should still be a little bit of wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it's always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!
Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it’s always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!

 

Remove the brownies from the tin by simply lifting out the foil. Place on a cooling rack, pulling the foil away from the sides of the cooked brownie. Congratulate yourself on one less item to wash up!!!!!

Once cooled cut into squares. 9 big ones or 15 smaller ones. Pour yourself a large glass of milk and get ready to taste Nuts About Brownies!

These brownies are so simple to make and bake. 30 minutes from start to taking them out of the oven – perfect for when you have a chocolate brownie craving! Or is it just me that gets those???

Brownies are perfect for sharing.
Brownies are perfect for sharing.

Would you share your brownie?

What foods are off limits when it comes to sharing?

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Hi, have I got a treat for you today – Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Ooh if you love cookies and need a chocolate fix then these babies are definitely for you!

These Extreme Chocolate Cookies - perfect with a cup of tea!
These Extreme Chocolate Cookies – perfect with a cup of tea!

 

I’ve been unwell lately, including a 2 week stay in hospital (I’ll save that for another post). Having been home for 2-3 weeks now, today was the first day I really had the energy to bake. So, unashamedly I decided to make these Extreme Chocolate Cookies for our gorgeous children and my wonderful hubby, who has taken THE BEST care of me. I really do love that man.

Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??
Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??

 

I know that I’ve said it before, but baking or cooking for others, especially my family, is one of the ways I like to show my love for them. Chocolate is not my go-to favourite Cookie, I favour nutty, fruity, oat cookies, BUT, I obviously had to try one of these and they are my favourite chocolate cookies to date!

Extreme Chocolate Cookies - my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!
Extreme Chocolate Cookies – my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!

 

Recipe : Makes 18 Extreme Chocolate Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Dark Soft Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg at room temp.

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/8 tsp Sal

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate Chunks

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks

Method : Preheat oven to 170C/155C fan

In a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk until well combined and fluffy.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.

 

Whisk in the whole egg and vanilla extract.

Now chop up the white and milk chocolate into chunks.

These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!
These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!

 

Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb and chocolate chunks to the bowl.

Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!
Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!

 

Mix all of the ingredients together until just combined. Take about a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball shape and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!
These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!

 

Wash your hands, they WILL look like you’ve been making mud pies!!!! Now using your fingers squish the cookie balls, they will still spread a bit whilst cooking.

The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!
The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!

 

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins. I rotated my baking sheets halfway through the cooking process so that the cookies baked evenly. This is fine with cookies NOT cupcakes!!!

Once baked remove from the oven and allow the Extreme Chocolate Cookies to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!
Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!

 

Whilst cooling I sent the children a text (at school – rebel mummy!!!) and put the kettle on for a lovely cuppa!!

I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing I’m getting back to being me. Sooo good.

Am I alone? Why do you bake? I’d love to hear what motivates you?

Until next time have fun, feasting, sharing and smiling.

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

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Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake

Hi there, I hope there is something in your day today that makes you smile.  I’m definitely smiling because I’ve made this luscious, moist Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake!

Nutella and Hazelnut covered, light and moist, Chocolate Marble Cake.
Nutella and Hazelnut covered, light and moist, Chocolate Marble Cake.

Yep I’m back to baking, after being out of action for a few weeks with horrid Migraines – soooo frustrating, painful and boring – but today I did it.  I finally got to remake the cake that I teased you about (see Teasers!!!) and as Nutella has been on special offer, I won’t get blasted by the children, for depleting their Nutella supply!!!

Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Swirled together. Seriously luscious!
Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Swirled together. Seriously luscious!

I will be totally honest, the only other time I made this cake, I ate it 3 days in a row for lunch!! Something about the moistness of the cake, the Nutella topping and roasted hazelnuts just got me, good and proper!!

I should mention, given the number of times I’ve mentioned Nutella, that this is not a paid promotion.  It’s just Nutella is such an easy frosting for a cake and this particular combo is especially yummy.

Recipe :  Makes one 9 inch cake.

12oz/350g  White Caster Sugar

12oz/350g  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4tsp  Salt – I use Kosher (additive free)

2tsp  Vanilla Extract

6  Large Eggs – pref free range

240mls/8fl oz  Buttermilk

12oz/350g  White Self Raising Flour

3oz/75g  Cocoa Powder

5-6  Heaped Tablespoons of Nutella

4oz/100g  Blanched Hazelnuts

Method :

Preheat the oven to 170C (155C fan).

Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together using an electric whisk (or stand mixer with paddle attachment). This actually takes a good 5 mins to get a really pale, light and fluffy mixture (so unless you want a thorough workout I don’t suggest you do this by hand!!).

Pale and fluffy!!
Pale and fluffy!!

Next add the vanilla extract, salt and 1 egg. Whisk until combined.  Then continuing to whisk gradually add the rest of the eggs, slowly, one at a time, until they have all been added.  If it looks like your mixture is going to curdle -DON’T PANIC!!- add one tablespoon of Self Raising Flour and the mixture will come back together.  Now sigh with relief!!!’

All eggs added and no curdling - I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!!!
All eggs added and no curdling – I added a tablespoon of flour, just in case!!!

Add the flour and partly mix in, then add the buttermilk (it’s worth giving the container a good shake, as the buttermilk can settle).  Complete the mixing, by folding in the part blended flour mixture and the buttercream.  Watch in amazement as the batter takes on a mousse like consistency!

This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
This St Ivel buttermilk is the only one I could find!
A lovely mousse type batter, that is really light and airy - and easy to stir!!
A lovely mousse type batter, that is really light and airy – and easy to stir!!

If my batter looks a bit pinky/orange, it’s  because the eggs I used had very orange yolks!!

In a separate bowl (I suggest that you use a larger one than I did!!!) add the cocoa powder.  Place half of your vanilla cake batter on top of the cocoa and whisk until blended – I did try mixing by hand, but it was hopeless as the bowl was too small!

Cocoa.
Cocoa.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
Place half the batter mixture on top.
And whisk!!!
And whisk!!!

This chocolate batter tastes yummy!

Next, in a buttered and parchment lined (only on the base) 9 inch, springform cake pan, it’s time to get creative with dolloping your two cake batters.

First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
First I dolloped chocolate cake batter.
Then I added vanilla..,
Then I added vanilla..,
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.
Finishing with the rest of the chocolate.

Then using a butter knife I swirled the two batters together.  What you’re aiming for is a rippled effect – but there’s no precise way to do it – just don’t get carried away over swirling, as you’ll end up mixing the two batters together!

Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.
Swirling finished, now level off the cake top.

Place the cake in the preheated oven and bake for an hour.  The cake is cooked when it is firm to touch and does not wobble underneath the set top.  You can also insert a skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is cooked.

Put the cooked cake, still in it’s tin onto a baking rack and leave to cool, in it’s tin for 15 minutes.  After 15 mins unclip the springform tin and remove the tin, leaving the cake on the tin base to cool.

Don't worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.
Don’t worry if there are a few cracks on the top. These will close as the cake cools.

Whilst the cake is cooling, lightly toast the hazelnuts.  Place the hazelnuts into a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat for approx. 5 minutes.  Toasting the hazelnuts brings out the wonderful oils and flavour. Once the hazelnuts are toasted remove from the pan and place in a bowl to cool.

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over a high heat.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.
Once toasted the hazelnuts turn a gorgeous golden colour.

As I mentioned, any cracks in the top of the cake will close on cooling, but don’t worry, the top is going to be covered in Nutella!!!!!  Yummy!

Place the cake on a cake stand/board or plate.  Place 5-6 tablespoons of Nutella onto the top of the cake.  Spread the Nutella over the top of the cake right up to the edges – I used an off set spatula to do this.

Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn't set.
Sorry, you do have to spread the Nutella as it doesn’t set.
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Nutella is so easy to spread!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat - but we can add a final touch!
Oooh scrummy, this Nutella covered cake looks ready to eat – but we can add a final touch!

Time to get creative with the toasted hazelnuts!  You can place them randomly or in a pattern on top of the Nutella.  Once finished you finally have a Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.

Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.
Nutella and Hazelnut Covered Chocolate Marble Cake.

So scrumptious looking and the perfect cake for sharing.  Also the Nutella doesn’t set so invite a friend/neighbour round, or the whole family and pop the kettle on.  This cake is ready for slicing, so enjoy!

Remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes.

Hi there, I hope you are having a good day and hopefully this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes will make you smile and encourage you to get baking!!!!

So late (7.30pm – that’s late for me!) the other night, I was in bed and our lil man popped his head round the door and said “Mummy it’s the school bake sale tomorrow.  Do we have anything that I can take in?”.  Looking at me with his angelic, freckled face and gorgeous green eyes, hopeful, expectant.  Mummy’s can sort anything out, at a moments notice – can’t they????

Well of course we can!  Improvisation is one of the most important parenting tools any mum or dad learns.

So, fortunately my cupboards are groaning under the weight of baking ingredients at the mo, due to being unwell over Christmas – see there’s a silver lining to every dark cloud!  If I was going to bake I was definitely going to blog about it.  Only problem with that is, have already posted Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes guaranteed to sell and make the most money!), I needed a different chocolate recipe.  So I invented a new recipe on the spot – Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes!

They look and taste soooo good!
Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes. They look and taste soooo good!

Given my desire to get back to bed ASAP I decided not to frost these cupcakes. Sprinkling each individual cupcake top with chopped up crunchy after dinner mints turned out better than I hoped for.  The crunchy mint chocolate shards didn’t melt, or lose their shape and once cooled provided an excellent topping in itself!  Ditching the frosting also made it much easier for my lil man to transport these scrumptious (WHAT?? – of course we had to try them!!!) cupcakes to school.

Recipe : Makes 33-36 Cupcakes

1lb/450g  Unsalted Butter – at room temp

1lb/450g  Light Soft Brown Sugar

8 Eggs – Large, room temp – pref free range

2tsp. Vanilla Extract

1tsp. Peppermint Extract

1/4tsp. Salt – I use Kosher (free flowing and additive free)

12oz/350g White Self Raising Flour

4oz/100g  Cocoa Powder

8oz/225g  Milk Chocolate Chunks (or chips)

4oz/100g  Dark Mint Chocolate

Method :

Preheat oven to 190C (175C fan).

Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk, or beater paddle in a stand mixer) until completely combined (this is called creaming) and light and fluffy in texture.

A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster - it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster – it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully - breathed sigh of relief!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully – breathes sigh of relief!!!!

Add the vanilla/peppermint extracts and the salt. Whisk in thoroughly.  Now add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition – I break each egg into a separate bowl before adding it to the mixture –  it helps keep any errant eggshell out of the batter.  If the eggs are at room temp then the batter shouldn’t curdle, however, if it does start to curdle just add 1 tablespoon of your flour and the mixture will come back together again.

All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.
All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.

Next sift in the flour and cocoa powder.  Fold this in using a spoon/spatula, using a gentle figure-of-eight movement rotating the bowl to ensure the flour/cocoa become fully incorporated. The idea is to keep the mixture light and not lose too much of the trapped air from the whisked in eggs.

Add the milk chocolate chunks and fold these into the Cupcake batter so they are evenly distributed.

This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!
This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!

Line you cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake cases and using an ice cream scoop, fill the  cases 3/4 full (one scoop full).  Remember I’m not frosting these cupcakes so I want them to have a nice rounded top!

Ready....
Ready….
Squeeze.....
Squeeze…..
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case - brilliant - and quick - and much less messy than using 2 spoons!
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case – brilliant – and quick – and much less messy than using 2 spoons!

Sprinkle the crunchy, dark mint chocolate shards over the top of each uncooked cupcake, pushing slightly into the batter.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 mins depending on your oven.  I usually test if cupcakes are cooked by lightly pressing in the middle and if it springs back it’s cooked.   I DON’T suggest you do this – I did, forgetting there would be melted chocolate on the top – OUCH!!  So, when the Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes are risen, with a nice dome shape, lightly press the SIDE of the cupcake top.  If firm remove the cupcakes from the oven, if it’s still a bit sticky and wobbly, leave them in the oven for 3-5 minutes until firm and then remove.

Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.
Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.

If you’ve only got a couple of cupcake tins you can pop them on the garden bench to speed up the cooling process, so you can decant the cupcakes, wash the tins, get the next batch in the oven and get back to bed!!!!

Come on babies, cool quickly please?
Come on babies, cool quickly please?

When the cupcakes are all cool, pack into an airtight container, cupcake box for school bake sale or place one on a plate pour a glass of milk and take it up to bed to enjoy!!!!

All Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes were sold out in 2 minutes the next day, raising £10 for the charity Mencap!!!

The fun bits……..

Who needs a dishwasher......
Who needs a dishwasher……
When you have chocolate loving children
When you have chocolate loving children

You could easily halve this recipe, should you not have a cake sale to bake for, or, here’s a thought – use the recipe, as is, and surprise someone with a tin/box/plateful of scrummy cupcakes!!

Remember Food Tastes Better When It’s Shared. Happy Feasting!

Sammie x

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova chewy, brownie inner to a crisp chocolate meringue, topped with softly whipped Cream and ruby red raspberries.

 

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term – this Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family: hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second, being rowed around the pond, discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute, spending time with our Devon Families, both in church and on the farm.  But most of all being together Feasting and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years, I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that  I could ‘easily’ whip up a Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then??

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

Whilst out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!!!) but couldn’t remember the quantities!!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website  and got the recipe.  Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova,

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

Recipe: Rapsberry Chocolate Pavlova

6  Egg whites. (Pref free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate!!)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if poss, but I’ve used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked!

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it!! You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form satin peaks slowly add the  caster sugar and keep whisking (oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites) the mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!!!!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, onto parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. This acts like glue and stops the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Then using a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova – let your creative, fun side run free!! It’s soo much fun and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 – 1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean – making sure you’ve had a little taste first. It’s GORGEOUS!!  I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse.  You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly – I also wouldn’t  have let my children taste it when they were very young.  Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

 

The perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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