Monday, 21 March 2016

Two Ice Creams from One Base - Honeycomb, and Coffee Meringue


Coffee And Meringue Ice Cream
It’s finally Spring!! I may have gotten a little excited about winter being over and decided to make two different kinds of ice cream. The base is the same for both – half I added my special honeycomb too, and the other I gave a coffee twist. The original recipes were made by Mary Berry and Nigella (both of which I’ve adapted slightly), so you know they must be good! Both ice creams are insanely tasty, and even better, they require ZERO churning and ZERO custard-making! The ice cream doesn’t crystallize when placed in the freezer, and sets soft, meaning it is always perfectly scoopable.

Makes two 300ml tubs of ice cream

Ingredients:

For the base:
  • One 397g tin of sweetened condensed milk
  • 600ml double cream

For the honeycomb ice cream:
  • 75g caster or granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the coffee and meringue ice cream:
  • 1 shot of espresso coffee, plus extra (to taste)
  • 200g broken meringue pieces (I bought meringue nests)
  • 1 shot of kahlua (optional)

Method:

1. Make the honeycomb. In a medium non-stick pan add the sugar and golden syrup. Place a tray lined with grease-proof paper on a surface near to the pan, and have your bicarbonate of soda and whisk ready.

2. Place on a low to medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved into the golden syrup. Stop stirring at this stage. Leave the mixture bubbling, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is a medium caramel colour – this will take between 4 and 6 minutes, but depends on the heat of your hob/pan (so keep an eye on it).

3. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk vigorously. The mixture will froth up a lot so be very careful! Pour onto the prepared tray and leave to set for half an hour until it is rock-hard to touch. If you are pressed for time, you can place the honeycomb in the fridge after it has cooled down.

4. Make the base ice cream. Pour the condensed milk and the cream into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture to firm peaks – this is easiest using an electric whisk. Firm peaks means that when the whisk is lifted from the mixture, a peak of cream forms that does not tip to either side.

5. Split the mixture into two.

6. For the honeycomb ice cream,  add one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Break up half of the honeycomb into shards. Crush the other half to a fine dust. Add all of the dust and shards to the ice cream, and stir in. Once evenly incorporated, pour the ice cream into a tub and freeze for 3-4 hours.

7. For the coffee ice cream, add the shot of espresso and meringue pieces. Stir and once fully incorporated, taste. If needed, add more coffee and/or kahlua (depending on how much you love coffee). Pour into a tub and freeze overnight (this mixture is softer due to the addition of coffee, so needs longer to set).

8. Enjoy!




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Monday, 14 March 2016

Mega Chocolate Guinness Cake



On Thursday it's St Patrick’s day! To celebrate, embrace your inner irishness. Instead of dressing up as a leprechaun, why not try baking this simple Chocolate Guinness Cake?

Don't worry if you don't like drinking Guinness - I myself am not a fan of Guinness/stout/beer of any kind. However in this cake the Guinness acts to enhance the chocolatey flavour and makes the cake incredibly moist. 

The cake is topped with a not-too-thick layer of cream cheese frosting, which offsets the rich chocolate sensation of the sponge.

It’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made so far. I can’t take credit for the recipe though – I found it in the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Day’s book, and made only a few adjustments to their recipe.

Makes one 23cm cake

Ingredients:
For the cake:
  • 250ml Guinness (half a bottle)
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 400g caster (or granulated) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder

For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 125g cream cheese
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

Method:

1. Heat your oven to 170c/150c fan/gas mark 3. Grease the base and sides of a 23cm round spring form cake tin, and dust the inside with cocoa powder – this will stop the cake sticking. I’ve found that doing this instead of using grease-proof paper gives better results, as you get a perfectly round cake every time.

2. Make the cake. Chop the butter into cubes, and melt in a medium-sized pan with the Guinness.

3. In a large bowl stir together the cocoa powder and sugar. Make a well in the center of the sugar/cocoa and pour in the melted butter/Guinness. Mix until well incorporated.

4. In a jug, beat together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Pour into the large bowl, and beat into the mixture until smooth.

5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Fold in (stir gently with a spoon or spatula) until no more flour speckles can be seen.

6. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of your oven for around 45 minutes. The cake is done when it is well risen, springs back when lightly touched, and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

7. Whilst the cake is cooking make the cream cheese frosting. Place the butter into a large bowl and use a spoon to cream the butter against the sides of the bowl, until it resembles spread.

8. Add the sieved icing sugar and cream cheese and beat with a whisk until smooth. This is easier to do with an electric whisk. I however used a normal whisk and it still worked great (and was a nice little arm workout).

9. Leave the frosting at room temperature to firm up for at least half an hour.

10. Once cooked, take out of the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes. Take the cake out of the tin and leave to cool fully on the wire rack.

11. Once cooled, spread the frosting on the top of the cake using a palette knife. Spread the frosting so that it slightly drips down the side of the cake.

12. Dust with cocoa powder.
13. Enjoy!


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Monday, 7 March 2016

Decadent Sugar-Free Chocolate Orange Cake



Only 20 days to go until Easter Sunday…for those of you who have given up refined sugar, I have an amazing recipe allowing you to enjoy a guiltless chocolate cake! In Bear Gryll's cookbook (Fuel for Life), he has a recipe for a chocolate cake, which I've adapted by adding orange juice to make the cake have a lovely terry's chocolate orange tang (as well as varying some of his quantities of ingredients as I felt his base was way too thick).
This cake is quite cheesecake-like in texture, with the topping soft, smooth and luxurious in it's healthy chocolate-y-ness. It really does pack the shot of chocolate a lot of us need after a hard day.

The cake is really easy to make, and requires no baking. The only requirement is a food processor.

Makes 1 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the base:
  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 55g dessicated coconut
  • 40g dates, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp melted coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt

For the topping:
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 75ml maple syrup
  • 50g coconut oil, melted
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 60ml juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 150g cashew nuts

To finish:
  • 12 cashew nuts

Method:

1. Prepare your cake tin by greasing the base of a 20cm springform cake tin. Line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Make the cake base. Pour the cashews, coconut, dates, coconut oil and salt in to a food processor, and pulse until a sticky ball is formed (you may need to add a little water to the mixture, depending on the dryness of the dates). 

3. Place the ball in the cake tin, and use the back of a spoon (or your hands) to flatten the ball over the base of the tin, making sure it is level. Set aside.

4. Make the filling. In a large bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil, orange zest, juice, vanilla and water, until smooth. Blitz the cashew nuts in a food processor until it is mostly finely ground but some larger chunks remain (you can make it completely smooth if you prefer).

5. Stir the ground/chopped cashews into the chocolate filling until evenly incorporated. Pour onto the base of the cake.


6. Cover the cake tin with cling film and freeze the cake for at 2-3 hours, until set. Top with the reserved cashew nuts. The cake can then be left in the fridge and will last at least one week.



7. Enjoy!




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