Seriously Chocolatey Sunday Cake

 

Cake making on a Sunday is one of our favourite things to do. We have our breakfast and then the kids are ready to make the cake for our after dinner treat. I haven’t made a chocolate cake for a while as we have concentrated on making cupcakes over the last few months. The kids love making cupcakes because they are quick and they like to decorate them and eat as they are going. I wanted something a little more naughty this sunday and I had some leftover ingredients perfect for this cake from easter. I had some seriously good dark chcocolate as a gift and it’s always nice to do a dessert with great ingredients.

I have history with chocolate cake…a few years back I made the best chocolate fudge ever! Beginners luck though as I totally winged it. Chucked a bit in there and a little bit more there and hey presto! One. Amazing. Cake. Rookie mistake though as I didn’t write it down and tried to repeat it for my son’s first birthday….needless to say, it was awful the second time. It was dense and eggy – no where near the lusciousness of the first one I had made a week earlier. My friends and family were very kind and gulped nearly all of it down with a smile on their faces. I gaurantee you they didn’t like it. My wife is a very honest, straight talking woman and she had no qualms in telling me how bad it was. It has become one of those ‘remember that cake you made ‘ stories which will haunt me forever. Luckily, I have learnt the errors of my ways and now write down everything I experiment, discard the bad and improve the good. This cake is a top notch recipe that I have been playing with for a while. It’s fudgy, rich and moist – everything you want it a seriously good chocolate cake.

If you’re on a diet you might want to look away. I try not to eat that much chocolate nowadays but I need a good fix to keep the choccie monster at bay. This is a chocolatey, fudgy, and ultimately a gorgeous Sunday cake. I hope you enjoy! It’s an absolute belter of a cake.

Ingredients 

Cake Mix

200g Self raising flour

200g sugar

90ml olive oil

110ml boiling coffee water  ( 3tsp instant coffee)

2 eggs

1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

60g cocoa powder unsweetened

1 1/4  tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

Filling 

250g mascarpone

2 tbs nutella

2 tbsp cocoa powder unsweetened

Topping 

100g dark chocolate – finely chopped or grated

1 tbsp heavy cream or 75ml of double cream if you haven’t got the heavy stuff

 

Method

  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius.
  2. Add and mix the flour, cocoa powder and vanilla together.
  3. Add and beat the oil in until smooth and thick.
  4. Make the coffee water. It has to be boiling water and added when just made. Again beat this into the mixture.
  5. Add the milk and beat the mixture until fully incorporated.
  6. Crease a large cake pan. I used a 10 inch cake pan for my cake.
  7. Cook in the oven for 40mins. Check the cake at 30 mins. It should be a fudgey cake so the cocktail stick will be slightly covered but not runny.
  8. Let the cake cool for at least 20 mins before completing the filling and topping of the cake.
  9. For the filling, mix the mascarpone, nutella and cocoa powder together. I then put in to a piping bag and keep in the fridge until I am ready to complete the cake.
  10. For the topping, make a rich chocolate ganache by warming the cream on the hob on a low to medium heat. Do not boil the cream. Add the chopped chocolate to the cream and stir whilst off the heat. It will become a thick ganache and spreadable.

 

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Arancini

Oven Baked Arancini

Oven Baked Arancini

Whenever I make risotto I make too much. I do it on purpose! I love it so much and I know I am going to get those flavours in a slightly different way the day after. Arancini is my wife’s favourite dish to order as a starter or light lunch when we go out for dinner. If it’s on the menu, she is going to order it. I never made it the conventional way in a deep fryer but I have tasted the full fat version when nicking a taste from the wife’s plate. The acidity of the feta and cream cheese sit lovely with my homemade arancini dip. I am usually lost for words when I eat these lovely creamy rice balls. I just wished I had tried more of them before I couldn’t go near the deep fried kind. That doesn’t mean that the oven baked variety I now make are lesser vessels of loveliness. Yes, you can tell they haven’t been deep fried – there’s no way around that, but in this case (and mine) it’s a good thing. All the taste and crisp breadcrumbs, but without all the nasty, hip hugging fat.

As you can see in the photo, arancini make a cracking lunch or dinner. This time I make it with a side salad, roasted mini portobello mushroom and a simple serrano wrapped chicken breast. Yum!

Recipe

Leftover risotto – Usually about 100-150g

Feta cheese

Plain flour

2 eggs

Breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Refrigerate your leftover risotto overnight.
  2. Prep the flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Preheat your oven to 180 C Fan assisted.
  3. Roughly chop the feta cheese and incorporate into the risotto.
  4. Roll the risotto into evenly sized balls.
  5. Coat the balls in flour and then in the whisked egg. Place directly into the breadcrumbs and gently roll until the balls are covered.
  6. Spray the balls with some low calorie oil. I use a vaporiser to spray a small amount of rapeseed oil.
  7. Cook in the centre of the oven for 20-25mins.

Dipping sauce (Extra)

¼ Chopped tomatoes or passata

1 Shallot

1 tsp Garlic granules or 1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp Light Soy sauce

Chicken stock cube in 75 ml of boiling water

4 Olives

Fresh Basil

Method

  1. Finely hop the shallot and place on a low heat in a saucepan with a small amount of oil. Heat until the shallots are browning. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  2. Use a hand blender to blend the chopped tomatoes or use passata. Add to the onions.
  3. Add the soy sauce and chicken stock and simmer for 10 mins
  4. Crush or roughly chop the olives and add to the sauce. Simmer for a further 3-5 mins
  5. Chop or tear the basil leaves and add to the sauce and cook until the basil wilts.
  6. Serve as a dip or over the top of the arancini with some shaved parmesan.

Low Sugar Brownie Recipe – Chocolate and Banana

Low Sugar Fudgey Chocolate Banana Brownies

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If you’re looking for a treat but don’t want to feel that inevitable guilt afterwards, I recommend this brownie recipe. I did a bit of research before having an experiment on Sunday morning -that seems to be the time I always have a little play in the kitchen. I usually let the kids join in and have a bit of fun whilst doing it. This week we created these yummy little treats that surprised and delighted us.

I have found that most recipes out there have a lot of sugar and aren’t really that healthy. Delicious, but definitely not that healthy. I have tried making one so that I can feel good about indulging in something a bit naughty but not so much that I regret it straight after. I think these hit the mark. My daughter loves them. They are fudgey brownies with a nice glossy finish to them. The dark chocolate makes it rich and the banana gives a fruity twist. I am sure some of you will still prefer the calorific sugary recipes, but for those of you that are trying to keep an eye on the diet, give these a try.

Recipe

One large banana

50g dark chocolate

One teaspoon of brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

150g flour

100g cup of cocoa powder

2 free range eggs (whisked)

2-3 Drop of vanilla extract

2 tsp oil (I use rapeseed oil)

Method

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mash a ripe banana with a fork and combine with the other wet ingredients in another both.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate with some water in a microwave for 20-30 secs. Be careful to stop and start this so you don’t burn the chocolate. Add to the wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.
  5. Preheat your oven to 150C
  6. Line a metal cake tin with a little bit of oil and add the mixture.
  7. Place in the centre of the oven for 25-30 mins.
  8. Allow to cool before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

 

For those you who have read any of my other recipes, you know I haven’t been able to eat much chocolate or fatty foods. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself now and then. I have discovered I can eat dark chocolate without much problem, and treat myself to some 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate on a Saturday night. This weekend I have used that treat in a cheesecake. If you don’t like dark chocolate just change it to a chocolate you do like. If I could, I would, trust me. I have always liked dark chocolate, but I now have a new found appreciation for it, since it’s the only type I can eat without any problems.

I have always been a chocoholic, it is one of those vices that I cannot fully get rid of. As so many people say, ‘Everything in moderation’. I baked an apple crumble cheesecake a couple of weeks ago, and since then have been playing about with a recipe of a chocolate version that is pretty low fat and much less sugar than the ones you can buy over the counter, or the many recipes out there that have a tonne of sugar in them. Since starting my diet my mission has been to create food that I used to eat but with different ingredients and less fat and sugar in order to get healthy without it being too much of a food and taste killer. I knew it was possible, I have lost 3 stone in since March. It’s amazing what you can do with a little effort. The thing is, dieting encompasses your life when you stick to one – that can be incredibly hard to stick to. It’s too intense. My trick is you have got to treat yourself, but the treat has to be worth it or it has to be kinda healthy or lower in fat and sugar. That way you’re not wandering off back into your old food life.

This baked chocolate cheesecake contains far less fat that most baked cheesecakes contain as it uses low fat cream cheese and lighter mascarpone. The chocolate topping is the naughty part of this dessert. Although I have used far less of the naughty stuff than you would imagine by using good quality chocolate that delivers on taste.

We tried this dessert after a steak dinner on Saturday night.

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The Rump Steak dinner was pretty good too!!

It went down like a house on fire. My kids had smiley chocolate faces that you really can’t pay for. It’s worth a little bit of extra effort to make the family happy. The bonus of making this cake is that I make it in a large cake tin, which means there is plenty for the next day and also plenty to share out to family and friends. I love hearing what they think of my recipes. I have started a Facebook group for sharing recipes – share some please, I have loved making cheesecake recipes lately. It’s great, considering  they are inspired by a recipe shared with me.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Base:
A half pack of digestives (approx. 10 biscuits)

75g of toasted and blended oats

2 tsp Cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of honey

Cheesecake Filling
2 packets lightest (5% or less) cream cheese
1 packet light mascarpone

2 tsp cocoa dissolved into 1 tbsp of hot water

50g melted dark chocolate
25g sugar

1 tsp of Cornflour

2 tsp honey
2 medium eggs

Topping (optional)

50g dark chocolate

25g chocolate buttons

10 Maltesers

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/320°F
  2. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn the oats as this doesn’t take long. They should smell a little like popcorn when toasted. Yum! Put the the toasted oats and digestive biscuits in food processor and blend until they are just crumbs. Add the cocoa and process again until combined. Add the honey and mix. The mix should be damp and form crumbs. If not add a little more honey until you get this texture. Press into the bottom of a lined, spring loaded, cake tin and refrigerate whilst you get the rest sorted.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. I do this 10 seconds at a time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl over hot steaming water. Also, dissolve the cocoa powder for the cheesecake filling in a tablespoon of hot water. I learnt this little trick by watching Nigella. Like her or not, she has some pretty awesome recipes.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling and pulse until smooth. Use can you a food processor or a hand mixer like I did for this. Empty in the mixture into the cake tin and place in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Once it has baked, let it rest for at least 10 mins before adding your topping.
  6. For the topping melt the buttons and the dark chocolate with just a couple of drops of oil. I used rapeseed oil as it’s lower in fat. It also gives the chocolate topping a nice shine. Once melted use a small spoon and drizzle over the top of your cake. Add the Maltesers for some decoration. The kids had these on theirs. You can use white chocolate buttons – melt a few and drizzle them over the dark chocolate to make a nice visual contrast to the dark chocolate. Its up to you.
  1. Set for at least three hours in the fridge. I l was suppose to leave mine overnight but it looked too good not to try it.

I hope you like it! If you do, let me know what you think.

Bread – Bloomer Loaf

Bread – Bloomer Loaf

This recipe is pretty similar to the previous recipe I posted for homemade bread. The difference is the amount of liquid and the oil I used. Also, I sliced the bread and did not use a loaf tin in order to make the classic bloomer shape. Making bread is far cheaper and much more fun than buying from the shops. The only cost really is your time and effort. Luckily I have plenty at the moment.

Ingredients

500g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

300mll of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

25ml Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

10g Sea Salt

Pinch of Sugar

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast

Method

  1. Combine The the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix and knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrape out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20mins. See this video for an example of how to knead bread dough.
  5. You know it is done when it is almost see through when stretched. I usually hold it up to the window or kitchen light.
  6. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. It will double in size and smell slightly fermented when it’s done. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F. I have a bake setting on my oven so I don’t have to use a fan. I find this gives a better result.
  7. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  8. Shape into an oval shape on baking paper Make slices horizontally across the dough on the top. Oil the top of the loaf. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  9. When baked correctly your bread should sound hollow when tapped. Place your loaf on a cooling rack until cold.

This bread makes amazing toast for those weekend mornings where you need something a bit special.

Poppy Seed Bread

Homemade Poppy Seed Bread

When on holiday in the middle of the countryside in Devon, we came across a bloomer which was creamy and light to taste, with poppy seeds running through it. We all loved it. This is my version of it. It’s not quite the same but it tastes just as good in my opinion.

Ingredients

500g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

200ml of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

100ml of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk

25ml Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

15g Sea Salt

2 tbsp of poppy seeds

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast

Method

  1. Combine The the flour, yeast and salt. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix and knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrap out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20mins. See this video for an example of how to knead bread dough.
  5. You know it is done when it is almost see through when stretched. I usually hold it up to the window or kitchen light.
  6. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. It will double in size and smell slightly fermented when it’s done. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F. I have a bake setting on my oven so I don’t have to use a fan. I find this gives a better result.
  7. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  8. Now add the poppy seeds and knead into the bread
  9. Place in a loaf tin or shape into a rectangle on baking paper. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 mins.
  10. When baked correctly your bread should sound hollow when tapped. Place your loaf on a cooling rack until cold.