Mississipi Mud Cake

This cake has a soft middle, brownie-like, but a firm and delicious crispy outside.  The main difference with a brownie is the higher flour content (and the booze).

This is the very first cake I ever made and, like your first lab experiment, that’s something you don’t forget.

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Mississipi Mud Cake

  • 250 g butter
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 440 g caster sugar
  • 250 ml hot water
  • 80 ml rum
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 260 g flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs

Preheat the oven at 140 °C fan and grease and line a 20 cm cake tin.

Add the butter, chocolate, sugar, water, rum and coffee in a medium saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are melted and well combined. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.

Incorporate the eggs and the sifted cocoa and flour. Transfer the quite liquid mixture into the prepared tin and bake around 90 minutes. Once out of the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with whipped cream and fruit. Delicious!

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Palmeritas de Chocolate

Cakes rising (or rather, not rising) is a common problem during backing.  Puff pastry, though, always works so easily.  From the supermarket straight to success.  There is a scientific reason, of course:  puff pastry is made of very thin layers of dough separated by thin layers of butter.  In the oven, the water in the dough turns to steam “puffing” each layer separately and multiplying the effect with no bouncing back.

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Palmeritas de Chocolate

Homemade sweet stuff, fast.  As easy as:

  • puff pastry 30 x 26 cm
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 90 g sugar
  • 10 g vanilla sugar

First, mix thoroughly the cinnamon and sugars, then unfold the puff pastry sheet and fold it to give the shape of the palmeritas whilst adding sugar everywhere. I like how this man does it, it’s in Spanish but you just need to see what he does 🙂

Now bake at 200°C for 15 min, and then turn the palmeritas around and bake them for another 2 or 3 minutes on the other side. Done!

You can eat them like this but I like them with chocolate… so just melt some and dip them in, let them cool and voila!

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Dulce de Leche Argentinian Cake

Never heard of Maillard reaction right? What about if I said it helps you wake up everyday? Yes, the Maillard reaction occurs during coffee bean roasting. And it is also involved in the creation of this delight: dulce de leche (obtained by slowly heating sweetened milk).

There are very few things tastier than dulce de leche but funny enough, Argentinians say that to “row in dulce de leche” might not be the best thing. I must strongly disagree…

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Dulce de Leche Argentinian Cake

Ingredients:

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g butter
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 40 g sugar
  • 250 g Dulce de leche
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and butter together.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then beat in the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites until stiff  and fold into the other ingredients.

Pour into a 23 cm round tin, spread uniformly and flatten the surface.

Bake for 30 minutes at 140 °C fan.

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla extract

When the cake is cold, spread the dulce de leche on top and finally cover with cream.

Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownies

The sweet-savory combination seems to be something most of us really enjoy, isn’t it? We were taught in school how the taste receptors are distributed in different areas in the tongue, remember that? Well, guess what, it’s a lie.

Something I find fascinating about Science (in the bad way) is how some scientific discoveries work their way into textbooks sort of by mistake. The tongue map is a hilarious example of this: the whole tongue maps originates due to a mistranslation of the 1901 paper by D.P Hänig “Zur Psychophysik des Geschmackssinnes“.

Not that it made any difference when we took care of these brownies… enjoy!

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Salted caramel stuffed brownies

The original BBC Good Food recipe seemed to sweet for me, so I reduced the sugar to half and used only 70% chocolate.

  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g 70% chocolate
  • 397 g can Carnation caramel
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 100 g golden granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 130 g plain flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and grease and line a 23 cm square traybake tin.

Melt the butter in a pan, break in all the chocolate, remove the pan from the heat and wait for the chocolate to melt.

Mix 175 g of the caramel with the salt and reserve.

Beat the rest of the caramel with the sugar and eggs until even. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture and sift on top the premixed flour and cocoa. Beat just until smooth.

Now assemble the brownie: pour half the batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, dollop 1/2 to 3/4 of the salted caramel on top of the batter layer in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top and smooth it out.

Top with the rest of the salted caramel in thin waves by using a plastic bag with a small hole as piping bag.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until it shows a firm crust on top. It will still jiggle little when completely cooked.

Let it cool in the tin, then cut into squares.

Cassis Macaroons

It seemed to me today that making macaroons was a perfectly good excuse to avoid going outside and meeting the inclement weather.

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Cake-Pop Cassis Macaroons

For the macaroons

Enough for 60 small shells (30 macaroons)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 210 g powder sugar
  • 125 g ground almond
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • Purple food colouring (Wilton Violet icing colour)

Mix and sift powder sugar and ground almond.

Beat the egg whites. When bubbly, add caster sugar slowly and keep beating until very stiff, dense and creamy (3-4 minutes).

Incorporate with a spatula the food colouring and finally fold in the powder sugar and almond mixture in small additions.

Pipe 3 cm diameter circles of mixture onto a baking tray, leaving some space among them. 

Bang the baking tray a couple of times against the table to remove trapped air bubbles and flatten the shells. Smooth any defects on top with a small spatula. If you want to add some sprinkles on half of them, now would be the moment. 

Leave the trays for 30 mins to form a skin on the top, longer if it is raining like hell outside, like here (I had them 90 minutes or so). Maybe it will start snowing soon 🙂 

Bake at 130 °C fan for 14 min, they are done when they feel firm to the touch. When the shells are cold you can assemble the macaroons, using a pipping bag to dispense the filling gives more precision but it is totally optional.

The video in this blog is excellent, take a look.

 

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For the cassis flavoured whipped cream filling

  • Whipping cream
  • Crème the Cassis

Add a good splash of Crème de Cassis to the cream and whip it.

For the cassis flavoured ganache filling

  • 100 g dark chocolate 70 %
  • 20 g cream
  • 30 g cassis liqueur
Heat the cream and liqueur and pour onto the chocolate – mix until well combined and allow to cool.

 

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Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Our favourite double, Mr. P

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2016-03-27-16-03-06Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting

For the cake tiers

  • 60 g chopped dark chocolate
  • 140 g cocoa powder
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 220 grams flour
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 1.5 tsp  baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250 ml sour cream
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160 C fan. Butter two 23 cm round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.

Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Add the cup of boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. In another bowl, stir together sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients and the melted chocolate to the dry ingredients, and beat for 2 minutes

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the peanut butter buttercream

  • 300 g softened butter
  • 300 grams powder sugar
  • 20 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 g smooth peanut butter

Beat the butter until smooth and then incorporate slowly the powder sugar, beat until smooth, for 3 minutes. Add premixed cream and vanilla and finally the peanut butter. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To assemble the cake

Place the first layer, spread frosting on top, place the second tier. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake (crumb seal) and place it on the fridge to set. Finally frost the top and sides of the cake.

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Pink Marble Cake

Ladies prefer pink, science says so! (or at least a rather small pool of British ladies, although it would be funny to check whether they were all convinced to enrol in the study as they were exiting Juicy Couture…).

This version of science doesn’t seem to convince everyone, but one way or the other, it’s still my first choice for a marble.

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Pink Marble Cake

  • 200 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 200 g powder sugar
  • 200 g rT butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 70 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pink food colouring (I used Americolor)

Preheat the oven to 170 °C fan and line a 450 g loaf tin .

Mix and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. 

Beat butter and sugar until pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until creamy and well combined. Beat in the vanilla and milk, and fold in the flour.

Divide the batter into three portions: stir the cocoa powder into one portion and add some pink food colouring to the second. Leave the third as it is.

Spoon alternate dollops of the mixture into the cake tin (you will have one spoonful too many for each colour), then use a skewer to create a marble pattern by dragging it through the mixture in swirls. Do not overmix, the pattern will be  lost.

Bake around 50 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean from the centre and it looks golden brown. Cover with foil during the baking if the surface is browning up too much. Let cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy!