Decadent Chocolate Bundt. 

Just before Easter I finally managed to get round to using my Nordicware Elegant Party Bundt pan. Easter was weeks ago but my blogging has gone by the wayside.  Life has just been too hectic recently.  The Elegant Party pan was a Christmas present and I’d wanted to use it for a while. What better than to bake a mouthwatering chocolate cake in it and decorate it with any Easter chocolates and mini eggs I had to hand?

As mentioned in my previous post, I had a bit of a fiasco with my turn doing supper for my local WI meeting.  Luckily three ladies took the three cakes off my hands for me and paid me to cover the cost of the ingredients.  I was so grateful, after all I had spent a lot on extra chocolate to give this cake the wow factor!

To bake the actual chocolate bundt itself I started off by greasing the pan with some trusty Wilton Cake Release.  I made sure it went into all the nooks and crannies of the pan so the cake would slide out easily and the pattern would stay intact.  Once this was done, I preheated my oven to 160oC (it’s a fan oven).

Then to start on the cake. I melted some dark chocolate in the microwave carefully then left it to cool down but not to set.  As this was happening I creamed together some soft unsalted butter and some golden caster sugar.  Once this was soft and fluffy I then added in some eggs one at a time.  In between adding the eggs I also added a tablespoonful of self raising flour from the flour already weighed out to mix in.  This prevented the mixture from becoming curdled.  The rest of the flour along with some baking powder was folded in afterwards.  In a third bowl along with the cooled down melted chocolate I also had some natural yoghurt and some vanilla extract mixed up.  To combine all the ingredients I put in about a third of the flour mixture, then folded it in and then repeated that with the chocolate mixture.  I did this again twice more so all the ingredients were combined.

The mixture was then carefully spooned into the pan and went straight into the oven.  Luckily the base of the Elegant Party pan is quite stable so I didn’t need a baking tray underneath to stop it tipping all over the floor of my oven.

After about an hour’s baking time the bundt was ready to come out of the oven.  At home by this time it was lunchtime and the smell was making me desperate to eat something.  I was so tempted to raid the chocolate stash and unfortunately the temptation was too great.  A mini creme egg slipped into my mouth, closely followed by about four min Milky Bar eggs.  The embarrassment of not having enough chocolate to decorate the cake was enough to stop me working my way through the rest of them, though!

Then to the moment of reckoning- the dreaded will the bundt come out of the pan in one piece moment? All cake bakers feel like this! But I usually find its typical when a cake has to look perfect, it doesn’t come out in one piece and most of it sticks to the bottom.  And when you don’t have to worry about a perfect cake, it slides out immaculately.  Thankfully I knew that any mistakes could be covered up with chocolate ganache on this cake.

Out if slid in one piece! Yayyyy! I left it to completely cool and went off to get some lunch for myself and my two teenagers.  Only both of them at lunchtime had only just got out of bed and had just eaten breakfast.  This means that at 3.00pm when I’m slap bang in the middle of something they’ll saunter into the kitchen to see whats for lunch and wonder why I can’t drop everything and cook something.  Or they’ll start making something themselves taking up space and making my cake baking space in a mess. So I ended up with beans on toast just for myself.

After the cake had cooled down it was time to add a chocolate ganache to the cake.  This was made by melting three bars of dark chocolate in the microwave and then pouring some double cream over the top of it. This made a beautifully runny and smooth icing.  To get the ganache into the grooves of the bundt cake I got a disposable piping bag and snipped off a tiny corner of the tip. The ganache was poured into the bag and piped over the top of the bundt, coaxing the drips so they went down in between the grooves.

As it was nearly Easter and I needed all those Easter treats using up without me gobbling them, I went completely over the top.  Starting off with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, I filled the middle of the bundt until the eggs reached the top. Then on top I stuck Malteser bunnies, Galaxy mini eggs, Oreo mini eggs, Milky Bar mini eggs and mini Creme Eggs. Definitely not a cake to eat if you are on a diet.  But the original idea was that each person would have a tiny sliver with a couple of mini eggs. 

This chocolate bundt could be adapted for any occasion where you need a chocolate cake. You could use anyone’s favourite sweets or chocolates to decorate it.  It can be for a birthday or even for Christmas if you fancy something like this instead of a traditional fruit cake.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Double Chocolate Fudge Shortbread

Last week was a very busy one and I found myself going forwards meeting myself going backwards. I’d been away in London for the weekend with my friends watching Wet Wet Wet play at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and then it was a busy week at work.

 On Wednesday though, I had been in a school an hour away from me and when I got home I just wanted to switch off. Baking is one way I do switch off and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Once I’m in baking mode I’m in my own little world where I feel comfortable. When I feel like baking it’s difficult to decide what to make but I love baking biscuits. They’re quick to prepare and don’t take long to bake.

Though there are some times when you think great. I can do this. Then there are other times when life gets busy and you think why did I bother? This last Wednesday was one of those occasions. I’d decided on something chocolatey and started to get the ingredients together only to find my husband and daughter had eaten scrambled eggs at breakfast and used the last of the eggs up. So it had to be a cookie dough without eggs in it as there was no way I was getting in the car and going out to buy eggs especially. I knew my usual shortbread recipe didn’t have eggs in it so I thought that was the way to go. Then I realised it was a crumbly dough so would need chilling. After a bit of experimentation I came up with a double chocolate cookie shortbread dough with chocolate chips in the mixture.

I softened butter and rubbed it together with plain flour and some Cocoa powder. When this was turned into breadcrumbs I then added some caster sugar. The mixture was then worked together into a ball and then I mixed in a bag of plain chocolate chips. The ball of dough was then wrapped in cling film and was meant to be left in the fridge for an hour or so. 

Only it didn’t happen! I put the dough in the fridge and soon forgot about it as I ended up taking my son and his friend to York and didn’t get back home until much later. By that time it was too late to bake the cookies and for the next two days I would be teaching. Baking would be the last thing I would have time for.  

It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that I had the time to do something with the chilled dough.  My son saw it in the fridge and wondered what it was. I rolled it into a long sausage shape which unfortunately looked like a gigantic poo and sliced about 20 equal pieces off it to form identical cookies. 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Dough, don’t laugh about its appearance!
The cookies were then put on three baking trays which I lined with baking parchment. They went into the oven for about 10-15 minutes. 

The unbaked cookies on the baking sheet ready to be put in the oven.
When the cookies came out of the oven I had to leave them to harden slightly before I tried to move them onto a cooling rack. If I’d done it straightaway the cookies would have broken. While they were cooling down I found a bar of plain chocolate in my baking cupboard and I melted this in the microwave. The cooled cookies were dipped in melted chocolate and left to set. As they were setting the melted chocolate dripped down the sides and through the gaps in the rack. I found a plastic mat to stick underneath to catch the drips.  

The cookies were topped with a melted chocolate icing and some chocolate covered fudge pieces.
As a finishing touch I sprinkled on some chocolate fudge covered pieces I’d found in Marks and Spencer’s the other week. They were in a little tub in the food hall baking section and I thought they might be nice on some cupcakes. I found out that the little piggies in my house had opened the tub and a few were missing. I thought I’d better get them used up before the rest ended up being troughed. Though I tasted one and they were so yummy I was tempted to have another.. And another! 

Some edible glitter to add the finishing touches.
With the chocolate covered fudge pieces on top of my cookies there was just one more finishing touch- some edible glitter! 

I’m ashamed to say I had a real diet fail of epic proportions with these cookies. I took one look at them and grabbed one to eat there and then! I was lucky some managed to come off the wire rack and into the biscuit tin!

Though they went down well with my family, I think the cookies would be great plain or with the dipped melted chocolate on top. Decorating is entirely up to you!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Tea Cakes- Great British Bake Off Series 3

I’ve always loved Tunnock’s Teacakes.  To be honest I don’t usually buy packets of chocolate biscuits when I do my weekly food shop as I know once that packet is open, I’ll trough the lot!  I did buy them when my children were at primary school and took packed lunches.  We all love them in our house, so when we do buy a packet of teacakes, it’s a real treat.

In series 3 of the Great British Bake Off last summer the Technical Challenge in Biscuit Week was to make Chocolate Teacakes!  I was excited to see this as they have always been a mystery about how you went about making them.  As I had bought the book to accompany the last series How To Turn Everyday Bakes Into Showstoppers, I had the recipe but had absolutely no confidence in making them.  Who can forget the lovely Cathryn and her famous catchphrase “Oh my giddy aunt!” every time something went wrong in the Bake Off tent.  I also loved her comment “I can’t serve Mary Berry green carpet!”  Cathryn was a joy to watch on the TV, her bakes were stunning but the chocolate teacakes and the other biscuit bakes led to her leaving the show.

It has taken me a year to have a go at baking the teacakes for a couple of reasons, mainly because I thought I couldn’t do it and also due to them being time consuming. It wasn’t until I went into my local Lakeland Limited shop in Harrogate and found out that they have started to sell the silicone chocolate moulds that you need to make these gorgeous treats!

To find out more about the Lakeland silicone moulds click here

 

This is what the silicone chocolate teacake mould looks like-photo courtesy of Lakeland’s website.

Last Wednesday my husband was away working up in Scotland.  I was spending a day catching up on jobs and errands but decided once and for all I was going to get on with making these teacakes. I knew I was in for a tricky time but I thought if I followed the instructions carefully then I might be ok.

The chocolate slicone teacake mould was washed out and wiped with a kitchen towel.
The chocolate slicone teacake mould was washed out and wiped with a kitchen towel.
300g plain chocolate were melted carefully in the microwave.  It was meant to cool slightly to stiffen up. It took ages to do this.
300g plain chocolate were melted carefully in the microwave. It was meant to cool slightly to stiffen up. It took ages to do this.
While the chocolate was cooling I made the biscuit base, this was made with wholemeal flour, plain flour, butter, caster sugar and golden syrup to bind it together. The biscuits were very short in texture and kept crumbling. It took all my effort to roll and re-roll the dough to get 6 cookies out of it!
While the chocolate was cooling I made the biscuit base, this was made with wholemeal flour, plain flour, butter and caster sugar. The binding was done with a tablespoon of milk which didn’t work too well!  The biscuits were very short in texture and kept crumbling. It took all my effort to roll and re-roll the dough to get 6 cookies out of it!
The melted chocolate is spooned carefully into the mould and spread around to make the dome part of the chocolate teacake.  The chocolate was still far too runny and kept running down to the bottom of the mould! I kept spooning it back and trying to coat the edge of the moulds.
The melted chocolate is spooned carefully into the mould and spread around to make the dome part of the chocolate teacake. The chocolate was still far too runny and kept running down to the bottom of the mould! I kept spooning it back and trying to coat the edge of the moulds.
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Once the biscuit bases were out of the oven they were covered in the remains of the melted chocolate and left to set. This bit seemed easier than the dome bit but I did struggle with it as I was hungry and could have happily wolfed the biscuits down there and then!

While all the chocolate was setting I had a go at making the marshmallow filling. I have never, ever made marshmallow before and began to get worried once I saw the method. It involved heating the egg whites, golden syrup and salt in a pan rather like an Italian meringue. You needed to add a vanilla pod but I didn’t have one, so a splash of vanilla extract went in here instead.  The one and only time I made Italian meringue to make a topping for lemon meringue cupcakes resulted in me burning my thumb when the meringue splashed on me. I still have a scar about 1cm long 2 years later! I opted for another method, mixing it all in the KitchenAid with my balloon whisk. It seemed to work ok.

By this time it was far too late to be baking. The chocolate in the mould still hadn’t set and I was tired. I thought I would leave it until the morning and assemble the teacakes in the morning when I got up!

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Next morning! The teacakes were assembled. The marshmallow filling was put inside the domes with a tablespoon then the edges of the biscuits were piped with more melted chocolate.
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After a couple of hours I attempted to get out the teacakes out of the mould! As the chocolate in the dome part wasn’t thick enough, only one turned out intact! They also had this horrible streak on the chocolate, not sure what that is as I am not a chocolate expert.
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And here are the rejects! Only suitable to be eaten with a spoon and from a bowl. You could hardly put a foil wrapper around these!

Well, was it worth the effort?  I’m so sorry to say but no it wasn’t. I found the recipe far too fiddly and time consuming.  I will stick to buying Tunnocks as normal!

Here is a link to the recipe if you are brave enough to have a go at making your own chocolate tea cakes:

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chocolate_marshmallow_60410

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx