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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Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love a bit of cheesecake, especially when it’s got Oreo cookies in the mix and the base.

I made this for our family Easter dinner. I made the usual roast dinner but as always, the best part of special dinners is the special dessert.

After a few botched desserts recently, I needed this one to regain some of my reputation and bolster my cooking ego.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t be putting this one in the blog if it hadn’t gone down well. I made individual cheesecakes on this occasion but cooks just as well in a 12 inch cake pan. I love the feeling of having a dessert all to my self and using a medium to large size ramekin was perfect.

 

As it was Easter I decorated the top with come chocolate ganache and some crushed and whole mini eggs. You can decorate this with whatever you like.

Recipe

300g mascapone

300g cream cheese

1 large egg

75g icing sugar

12 Oreo cookies

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

100g good quality chocolate (I’ve used 70% cocoa dark chocolate here)

1 tbsp heavy cream ( I used a slash of milk to thin the ganache slightly)

Bag of mini eggs ( as much or as little as you want)

Method

Base

  1. Place the Oreo cookies in a food blender and process until they are like crumbs.
  2. Add the honey and mix. You can use a little melted butter which is the most popular method. I like the hint of honey in the base.
  3. Line the ramekins with half to two thirds of the cookie crumbs. Press the mixture in firmly to create the base. Place in the fridge whilst making the cheesecake mix.

Cheesecake mix

  1. Combine the mascapone and cream cheese with a hand mixer.
  2. Whisk the egg and add to the mix a little at a time. Do the same with the icing sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and mix until little and fluffy.
  4. Spoon and fold in the remaining cookie mixture left over from the base. Be careful not to add too much as it will end up making a very thick mix.
  5. Spoon in the mixture to the ramekins. Fill to about 1 – 1.5 centimeters from the top of the ramekin. This leaves space for the ganache.

The Bake

  1. Fill a large roasting pan with the ramekins and fill the pan with water so that the ramekins are half to two thirds submerged in a water bath. This helps cook an even cheesecake which I find is even more important when cooking in the ramekins. I tries it without and found the sides got too much heat and resulted in a pretty awful cook.
  2. Cook in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water and cool on a rack before adding the ganache

Ganache

  1. Heat the cream and dash of milk on a low heat until warm.
  2. Chop or finely grate the chocolate.
  3. Add chocolate to the cream and stir whilst off the pan is off the heat until it has combined and is a velvety and moderately thick consistency. I like it to be able to run easily off the spoon a bit like honey does.
  4. Add to the ramekins and decorate with crushed and whole mini eggs.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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.

Dave’s Food Corner

Before I started this online adventure I was diagnosed with LPR. Without going through a detailed explanation (click on the link if you want) I was told to lose weight and eat a very different diet – a low acidity, low-fat one. I have been on that diet for 8 weeks and lost 30 pound so far. No money jokes please! A few people have noticed and I do feel better because of it. Many of my friends and family have asked how I have done it and I attempt to explain to them my diet. It is low acid, low fat and I originally thought no fun and no taste. I was wrong. I had to rethink things quickly and being a decent cook,

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Told you I can cook! Homemade pasta

I set out to try to create my favourite foods without all the naughty bits . Thankfully it has worked pretty well and I thought it would be awesome to share it.

 

When I first started this diet there was not much information out there for recipes – well I couldn’t really find them that easily! I have had a few food disasters along the way, but as with all experiments there’s always a few hiccups to getting the results you want.

I love food. Simply put, bar my wife and kids, food has been the love of my life. It has never failed to make me happy at that those most desperate ‘life moments’. However, like any long-lasting relationships – my relationship with food has had its up and downs, just like my weight. The two are inextricably  linked. It’s just not fair…

I’ve been nagged by a few people to write my diet down and then a friend of mine (shout out to Nikki Walsh) said to put it in my blog. So to sound a little cliché – as I go on my food journey, I am going to share what works and hopefully some may be able to add to my recipe collection. I am a great believer in sharing ideas so if anyone has any more recipes that I can eat, please send them my way.  But before that I wanted to say a little bit about the one thing I have had to say goodbye to….

My Chocolate Divorce

‘Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays’ 

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Chocolate is most certainly the most delicious and the most evil substance on this earth for me.  Believe it or not, I have driven miles in the middle of the night to satisfy a craving for this sweet delight! I have specific memories linked and triggered by chocolate..sounds silly and over exaggerated I know…sadly it is completely true! When I think of a Mars bar, I think of a school trip when I was 11 and going on a 5 mile walk. I ate three on the way round. When I think of Cadbury’s Fuse, I think of Friday nights watching Fawlty Towers with Basil Fawlty. There’s many more but I won’t bore you. By my own admission, it is ridiculous and weird, but also mildly fascinating to discover how my mind works. I hope I am not the only one, in fact I am sure I’m not. Needless to say, giving up this lovely has been difficult – more difficult than giving up fags and developing an exercise habit (still working on the latter).

Like many divorces, there has been a splitting of assets: I have lost pounds, saved £££’s on avoiding expensive shopping excursions and I am now left bitter and twisted. I am kidding obviously. For those of you that enjoy chocolate and can still eat it, I envy you! Yet I am still glad I can’t eat it anymore  – in fact it is easy when you can’t eat it for medical reasons. For those of you that want to lose some weight like I am at the moment, putting this item on hold for a little while is obviously a sensible idea, or at least, eat smaller amounts. As I wrote that last line, I had a memory of when going on a school trip and spending £28.65 on chocolate to eat on the way to Alton Towers. Told you it was a weird thing. Anyway, I can tell I am starting to waffle on so I will end with this. Farewell my dear friend chocolate…you were fun!

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I will post my first recipe soon….. Spice Friendly Curry (Low Fat) – I can’t eat spicy food anymore. This was a breakthrough recipe!!