Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympic Challenge - Americas – Nanaimo Bars




Okay, on with another continent of the Olympics – the Americas. I have had a few suggestions for US and South American treats, but a big thank you to readers Karen and Emmy for their suggestion of Nanaimo Bars, which hail from Canada.

I love Canada. It is a truly beautiful country. I have relatives on the west coast, in Langley, BC but never managed to get across to see them. But I have been to the east coast, several years back, to visit cousins of Disneyboi. We were based in Toronto, visited Niagara Falls and stayed in Montreal for a couple of nights. If you ever get a chance to go visit these places, and have never been, go without hesitation!

I looked into Nanaimo bars and Karen who e-mailed me, told me that these are eaten quite a lot at Christmas time. The ingredients didn’t seem to me to be too Christmassy, else I might have saved them to make toward the end of the year. So, for the Americas I have plumped for these beauties, a chocolate and nut biscuit base, topped with a custardy cream type filling and topped with some plain chocolate. Delish!

Adapted from Canadian Living:
Yield: about 24 bars

Base:
250 grams of digestives, crushed
125 grams of desiccated coconut
75 grams chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
80 grams of granulated sugar
80 grams of unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten

Filling:
120 grams unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons of custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
450 grams icing sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Topping:
110 grams plain chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Base Method:
Preheat your oven to 180oC. Line a 9”x9” baking pan with a sling of greaseproof paper. This will make lifting the bars out easy at the end. In a bowl, combine the digestives, coconut, cocoa, sugar and walnuts. Pour over the melted butter and beaten egg and with a fork work it altogether. Pat this mixture into the baking pan, so it is level. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.



Filling Method:
With an electric mixer, mix the butter, custard powder, vanilla, icing sugar and milk. The filling should be pliable but if too thick add a little more milk. Taking a spatula, spread the filling on top of the biscuit base so it is nice and even. Stick this in the fridge to set for at least one hour.



Topping Method:
Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl, over a saucepan with simmering water in it Stir until the butter and chocolate have melted and are combined. Pour this over the top of the custard filling, spread evenly and pop back into the fridge to set for about another hour.

Remove the block of Nanaimo from the tray (this is where the sling is very handy) and on a cutting board, using a sharp knife, cut into bars. I cut mine into about 24 pieces, you could do as many as you like.

These were a huge hit in my office. The crunchy base, combined with the custard filling is decadent and the final topping of chocolate is great. The darker the chocolate the better, as it cuts through the sweetness of the custard. Now, tuck in!


Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic Challenge - Oceania – Lamingtons




Well, the 2012 games have kicked off and in what style! The opening ceremony was fantastic and made me feel very proud to be British! Can't believe Her Maj is the new Bond girl, but thankfully there were no gratuitous bikini shots! Whilst watching I sifted through the entries for the Olympic Challenge.

For Oceania, there seemed to be one main front-runner to make and that was Lamingtons. Thanks to all those who suggested them, including ‘Laura Loves Cakes’ and  ‘TheCharmed Cupcake’.

To be honest, I had only ever heard of Lamingtons when watching Australian soaps in my mis-spent youth. Bobby always seemed to be knocking up a batch for Ailsa’s Diner I remember. And I never had a clue what they were. But researching several recipes, I discovered they are a sponge cake, cut into blocks then dunked into a chocolaty icing, tossed in shredded coconut.  So I have been feverishly baking today. Olympic Challenge Oceania coming up…


Yield: 24 Lamingtons

Ingredients:

Cake
110 grams unsalted butter, softened
180 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
250 grams plain flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
120 ml milk

Icing
500 grams icing sugar
40 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder
30 grams unsalted butter, melted
120 ml milk
I large bag of desiccated coconut

Method:
Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease and flour a 9”x9” baking pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Next add the vanilla extract and eggs one at a time. Beat until the mixture is smooth and slightly thicker looking. Add the flour to the wet mixture, in three lots, alternating with the milk and ending with the flour. Mix well after each addition. 



Pour the batter into the baking pan and pop into the oven for around 30 minutes, until lightly golden and when a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. Let cool and remove from pan. Leave for a few hours to harden up (If you have the time, make the cake the day before as it will go slightly drier and makes it easier to ice) then cut into approximately 24 blocks.









To make the icing combine the cocoa and icing sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter, in a saucepan with the milk until warm. Pour onto the icing sugar mix and stir well. To create the lamingtons, dip each sponge cake block into the icing and then in a separate bowl, roll the iced block into the coconut. Transfer to a wire rack to dry. And when dry they are ready to eat!



The lamingtons are lovely with a cup of tea. The icing melts in your mouth and tastes great with the coconut and buttery sponge. Very moreish – now tuck in….


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Banana Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats




Now, no bananas were harmed in the making of this recipe! It should actually read Banana flavour and Butterscotch RKT’s, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it! I had actually purchased a bottle of banana essence a few months back, not really sure what to do with it. But I just love artificial banana flavour. That may sound weird, but I never feel that banana sweets or banana milkshake flavour has any correlation to the real taste of bananas. Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, especially very ripe ones, but the fake flavour variant cannot be beat.



So, in my never-ending quest for a new flavour of krispie treat, I looked in the store cupboard to see what I had. I came across my butterscotch chips and the banana essence and thought that might just work (with the help of a milk chocolate drizzle).

Yield: About 20 treats

Ingredients:
180grams of mini marshmallows
30 grams of butter
2 teaspoons of banana essence
125 grams of rice krispies
100 grams of butterscotch chips (now available in ASDA, I’ve seen them!)
50 grams of milk chocolate, broken into chunks, or use chips

Method:
Okay, we’ve been here before, so I’ll rush through it for the initiated (if you are not, check out my other treat recipes). Spray a glass dish with veg oil spray, or pour some veg oil on a paper towel and wipe over the dish (I use my lasagne dish remember!). Melt the butter and marshmallows in a saucepan over medium heat, and add the banana essence, stirring it through the molten mallow mass. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice krispies. 








Then when the rice and mallow have combined, add the butterscotch chips carefully stirring through. With an oiled spatula, spoon the mix into the glass dish and flatten down until level. Leave to cool for a good couple of hours. When set, using a knife, run around the edges of the krispie block, loosening it from the dish, onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut into blocks, your own size of choosing.
I melted my chocolate in the microwave, in a bowl. I let it go for 30 seconds, stirred, another 30 seconds and then stirred again. This should be nice and melted now and ready to drizzle over the treats. Let the chocolate harden and they are ready to eat.



These are for the sweet toothed only! The sweet banana flavour and butterscotch make a great pairing. And I liked the sweet milk chocolate here, but you could substitute plain if you prefer. But whatever you choose…enjoy!


Monday, 23 July 2012

Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins




Blueberries. Funny to think that in the UK these were quite an unknown quantity several years ago. I remember in my teenage years being obsessed with making blueberry muffins – I heard about them all the time on TV, but you couldn’t get them for love nor money in the 80’s - well in North East Scotland anyway! I remember my mum and I going for a day trip through to Edinburgh and going into the food hall in Jenners. There I found a tin of blueberries in syrup. I was well chuffed, even though they were extortionate (If you know Jenners, you won’t be surprised). And the funny thing is, I cannot even remember the muffins I might have made with them. But of course blueberries are everywhere now. I love them and they are such a versatile ingredient.



The other week I was having a look around the baking section in TK Maxx and came across a cute square muffin pan. I picked it up, thinking it would be a good buy, but not for anything inparticular. Then this week, I had some ripe bananas left over and I saw that my beloved blueberries were on special at the supermarket. And it hit me – why not make banana bread, which I love, but cross it with blueberry muffins. The square tin would be perfect, although not necessary if you would like to embark on this delicious concoction…

Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins

Yield: approx 15 medium sized muffins

Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas
150 grams fresh blueberries
250 grams granulated sugar
120ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
250 grams of plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

Method:
Preheat your oven to 180oC and line or grease a muffin pan.



In a bowl sift together the flour, bicarb, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, mash the bananas down with a fork, add the sugar and vegetable oil and mix until combined. Next add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each one fully into the mix. Stir in the vanilla and then add the flour mixture. Combine until no streaks of flour can be seen, but try not to over beat as you don’t want tough muffins. Add the blueberries and gently fold into the batter.



Next, fill your muffin cases two-thirds full with the batter. Pop your tray into the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the centre clean. Allow to cool and remove each muffin from the pan.

These are fine on their own, but I added a final flourish with some icing on top. For the icing recipe click here.



These muffins are delicious eaten cold or warmed up. The unmistakable taste of banana bread is there, albeit in muffin form with the gentle hit of cinnamon, and with the unexpected pop of the blueberries. A firm favourite, these keep for a few days in an airtight container. Enjoy…


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cookbooks a-gogo! Random Recipes


Since starting my blog, I have seen all of these wonderful challenges that other bloggers have on their sites. And I have been wanting to take part in some, but what with getting things set up, baking and working I really haven’t had the time - yet.

But I happened upon one challenge over at Dom’s Belleau Kitchen that I could squeeze into my schedule (!). Usually his monthly Random Recipes challenge has people making and submitting random dishes from cookbooks. But this month he has asked people to take photographs of their cookbooks. As a Random Recipe virgin, I thought this would be a good place to dip my toes into the water…



My cookbooks all fit snugly on a shelf in the living room. And you may be forgiven for thinking that it is quite a paltry amount I have. However, my love of recipes goes far beyond cookbooks, because I am actually a cook magazine junkie. I don’t know if magazines are allowed in this particular challenge (and my few cooking DVD’s) but thought I would chance my arm anyway.



Regular followers of Cakeyboi may surprised to see that I do not have just books/magazines from the sweet side of life! I do actually cook savoury, quite adeptly actually (must be the Italian genes).




You may also know that I have a love affair with American food, so will not be surprised to see that a lot of my books are American or American inspired. As for the magazines, I used to live in ‘Borders’ going through all the US import mags. But since they shut, I settled for subscribing to them and having them shipped over. Now though, thankfully for the sake of space and my bank balance, I can download magazines to my IPad, hence I have included that in the pics. I actually have a few cookbooks on there too.




One of my favourite books isn’t American inspired however. It’s my Fanny Cradock book, a cross between a biography and a cookbook. I love Fanny, in fact I don’t feel Christmas has started until I see Fanny on the TV. Her Christmas cooking repeats are the funniest thing ever. The woman used to scare the bejesus out of me as a child, but time has mellowed her and she is a bit of an idol of mine along with Martha (yes I have Martha books and magazines by the dozen!).



So there we are, my Random Recipe cherry has been popped…


Friday, 20 July 2012

Double Stuff Custard Creams




‘Americanos – Blue Jeans and Chinos, Pepsi Cola and Oreos – whoa oh ho!‘ Or something along those lines. Some people might recognise that, others won’t, but they are lyrics from a song by  Holly Johnson – formerly of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame. Back in the 1980’s when this was a hit, I knew what Pepsi was, but really wan’t quite sure what Oreos were. But over time, and through visits to the US and Canada I became very well versed in Oreos! And what did I love even more than Oreos? Double Stuff Oreos, double the white creamy filling – delish!! When they were brought out here in the UK, I was a happy bunny (even though they don’t taste quite as good as the North American version!).

Anyways, I wondered about applying the Double Stuff method to some of our UK biscuits. There are many to choose from, but a little straw poll carried out in my office proved that Custard Creams were a big favourite of many people. So how would I go about double stuffing them?? I have never been a huge fan of them myself to be honest. I like the filling, but I’ve usually found the outer biscuit to be a bit dry and lacking in a great amount of taste.

So I cobbled together a few biccy recipes and with the help of a custard cream type filling – which is super easy to make – I concocted Double Stuff Custard Creams!

Yield: Around 30 sandwiched biscuits

Biscuit Ingredients:
110 grams of unsalted butter, softened
220 grams of granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
310 grams of plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
30ml milk

Custard Cream Filling:
120 grams unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons of custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
450 grams icing sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 180oC and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Biscuit Method:
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale yellow in colour. Add the egg and mix well until all is combined and the batter becomes very slightly thicker. Add the vanilla and stir though.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Then add the flour in three lots alternating with the milk to the butter mix, ending with the flour. This will make a thick dough. Taking some Clingfilm, wrap the dough up, pressing into a flat round and pop in the fridge for about half an hour.



Now nicely chilled, roll the dough out and cut oblong shapes about 1.5” by 2.5”, fairly thin, maybe about 1/8”. Make an even amount as they will be sandwiched together. Place onto your baking sheet, and with the tines of a fork dock (or prick) the biscuits a few times. Place the sheet in the fridge for about 10 minutes; this will prevent the biscuits spreading too much when baked. Pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until they have become nice and golden. Keep them in until they are very golden if you want a crunchier biccy ( I did – yum!). Now leave to cool completely.


Filling Method:
In a mixer, combine the butter, custard powder, vanilla, icing sugar and milk. If it seems too thick add a little more milk. Pop this into a piping bag with a large nozzle (I used a food bag, with the corner chopped off) and go to town on one biscuit. These are double stuffed, but what the heck – u could make them triple stuffed if you like! Pop the other biscuit on top to sandwich together and voila! I kept mines in the fridge in an airtight container so the filling stayed nice and firm.



Now, my guinea pigs absolutely devoured these. I can honestly say that these have been the most popular biscuit/cookie I have made. The biscuit is very light and crunchy and very buttery. I added more leavening to make them lighter, but docking them ensured they haven’t risen too much. And the custard filling is nice and gooey, a perfect contrast to the crunch. Enjoy…


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cartoon Time - The Caked Crusader

Since starting my little blog, I have 'met' many other baking obsessed foodies like myself.
And they all have very cool names for their own sites. I happened upon one such blog which gave me inspiration for a Cakeyboi cartoon. And as the new Batman movie is released this week, it all ties in beautifully!
Please visit my new foodie friend The Caked Crusader. She has fantastic recipes to share and I can only hope my site will be as good as hers some day!


Monday, 16 July 2012

Homemade Golden Syrup Marshmallows




One of the sweets I used to love as a child, and a love that has stayed with me, are marshmallows. I remember being excited when mum would occasionally buy a bag of Princes pink and white marshmallows. I loved the soft gooey texture and the instant hit of sweetness. And then there were Flumps – the little cylindrical mallows, also very nice, but a slightly drier crust I remember. And now there are so many different varieties to choose from where is a boi to begin?

And for years I have been trying to come up with the perfect homemade marshmallow, after I discovered you could make them at home. I found a recipe by Martha Stewart that incorporated egg whites and I made these several times, although I was never truly happy with them – they never lasted very long and were too wet. Also the vast majority of recipes call for corn syrup which is not easy to get hold of in the UK. But I recently read that golden syrup makes a good sub for corn syrup in recipes and so I got to thinking. That unique syrup flavour combined with the soft marshmallow texture sounded like heaven! I experimented (with inspiration from www.chow.com) and it worked beautifully.

Warning! Unless you have the arms of Popeye, the stamina of a marathon runner or an electric mixer this recipe isn’t for you sorry!

Now to make the marshmallows, dig out your best sugar thermometer and your mixer and set to!

Yield – as many as you like – big or small!

Ingredients:
Drizzle of Veg Oil (on Paper Towel)
One sachet of unflavoured powder gelatine (about 4 teaspoons)
180 ml cold water
180 grams granulated sugar
120 ml golden syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dusting
60grams Icing Sugar
50 grams Cornflour

Method:
Oil an 8”x8” baking tin using the paper towel and set aside.
In a cup, mix 120 ml of the water with the gelatine and set aside to soften. Meanwhile in a saucepan mix the sugar, 60ml of the syrup, salt and remaining 60 ml water together. Clip on the thermometer and whilst stirring bring it to the boil until it reaches 115 oC. Remove from the heat. Now place the cup of gelatine and water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Next put the gelatine in the bowl of an electric mixer with the remaining syrup and with the whisk attachment in place mix on slow. Take the hot sugar mixture and very carefully and slowly dribble this into the mixer with it still turned on. Continue to whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. 





Then increase the speed to medium high for another 5 minutes, add the vanilla and crank up the speed to high for 3 more minutes. The mixture will have, in this time, gone from clear golden liquid to molten marshmallowy goodness.

Next pour the mallow mix into the baking tin and using a spatula smooth until level. Now dust very liberally with about a quarter of the dusting mix. Leave this to set overnight! 

Next day, invert the pan onto a cutting mat and ease out the mallow. It shouldn’t need too much persuasion! Liberally dust the top with another quarter of the dusting mix. It is now up to you how you chop them up. With a knife, just tear at it if you can’t wait(!!) or I used a cookie cutter. Always coat all cut edges in the dusting mix.





These apparently last for a few weeks in an airtight container – but c’mon! Seriously!? They taste so good, like marshmallows with a wee hint of caramel from the syrup and they feel like proper mallows too. Delicious – what more is to be said other than – Enjoy…


Friday, 13 July 2012

Chocolate Cola Cupcakes




The other week, my work colleagues and I were discussing cola. It turns out it’s not something many of us in my office drink on a regular basis. But we all reminisced how, when we were younger (in the days before Diet Coke – eek I’m that old), Coke was only seen as an occasional treat. Nowadays it seems to be chugged down by the gallon load all the time by many -I know, I sound like an old disapproving moan!

In the '70's I would be lucky to get a glass once a week, on Saturday lunchtime. I remember that my mum and I would visit my grandparents for lunch on a Saturday along with my aunt and cousins. My gran would give us each a modest tumbler of the fizzy stuff and if we were really lucky and the weather was hot (we did used to have summers in Scotland) we would get a coke float!

I recently came across a few recipes for cakes that incorporated cola in them. I was very intrigued, and investigated more. They were all essentially a chocolate cupcake with added full-fat cola. Now I thought what a lovely pairing the chocolate and the caramel overtones of the coke would be. I decided to experiment and came up with my own version.

Yield: 12 Cupcakes 

Ingredients:
200 grams unsalted butter softened
200 grams granulated sugar
2 eggs
200 ml full-fat cola (flat, unfizzy is best)
250 g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
100 ml buttermilk

Frosting:
100 grams unsalted butter, softened
400 grams icing sugar
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cola syrup (try Soda Stream concentrate)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180oC and line a cupcake tray with paper liners.

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until pale yellow and smooth. Next add the eggs, one at a time and beat until the batter is slightly thicker and increased in volume a little. Slowly mix in the cola until it is incorporated with the rest of the batter.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Now add one third of the flour to the wet batter, mix until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk, mix until combined and do the same with another third of the flour, rest of the buttermilk and finish with the last third of the flour. Scoop equally into 12 cupcake holders and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cakes. Leave to cool completely.





To make the frosting, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together and mix into the butter thoroughly. Add the vanilla and cola syrup, again mixing until smooth and combined. Taking a piping bag, (or a food baggy with the corner chopped off) pipe the frosting onto each cupcake in a swirl. I kept mines in the fridge to keep the frosting nice and firm.







The cakes themselves don’t have an overwhelming taste of cola. Friends said that they were chocolaty with a certain ‘je ne sais quois’. But the frosting was unmistakably cola tinged with the full-on flavour of the cola syrup. A great sometimes treat for little kids (or big kids like me)!  Now go and teach the world to sing!! Enjoy…


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti




Part of me is Italian – not metaphorically – I am actually a quarter Italian. My maternal great grandparents settled in Scotland in the early 1900’s. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been to Italy – but this is something that my partner (from now on in to be referred to as Disneyboi) and I plan to rectify for our tenth anniversary next year.

Anyhoo, I got the urge to bake my roots so to speak and thought I would whip up a batch of biscotti. Biscotti are very low in fat and the first thing I grab in Starbucks when I fancy a snack. Biscotti actually translates as 'twice baked' which is the method for baking this deliciousness.

What with all this baking, my waistline was crying out for a low-fat treat, so biscotti it was. And I love the flavour of chocolate and hazelnut together –the Italians call this Gianduja. Who doesn’t love Nutella??

Biscotti are super easy to make, the hardest part was chopping the hazelnuts. If you make this and can find pre-chopped nuts – it is a cinch…

Yield: Approx. 24 biscotti

Ingredients:
250 grams plain flour
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of instant coffee
60 grams plain chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
200 grams granulated sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams chopped hazelnuts


Method:
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and pre-heat your oven to 150oC.
In a dry frying pan, on medium heat toast the nuts. They are done when you can smell them. Take them off the heat and set aside to cool.









In a bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb, salt, coffee and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, egg whites, sugar and vanilla. Now add the flour mix to the egg mix and stir well. Add the nuts and stir through. The dough will look quite wet and sticky – this is normal. Dividing the dough into two, make two low flat loaves on the baking sheet, about 8 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. 
Leave space between the two as they spread a little. 




Pop into the oven for 35 minutes. After this time the loaves should be firm to touch but give a little when pressed. Leave to cool for half an hour. Leave the oven on at the same temperature.

Carefully peel from the baking paper and on a chopping board with a sharp bread knife, cut the loaves into slices – about ¾ inch thick. Place back on to the, now unlined, baking sheet standing up. Pop back into the oven for 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.



The biscotti are very hard and crunchy- perfect to dunk into hot coffee or chocolate. The chocolate chips add a nice hit of sweetness, whilst the hazelnuts provide crunch.
Enjoy…



Tip: Use Starbucks Via sachets for the coffee powder to give a more powerful coffee tang.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Chocolate Mint Chip Cake (with Mint Choc Chip Frosting) Recipe




As promised here is the recipe for the cake I took along to the Clandestine Cake Club. If you want to try it and can't find the mint chips to buy, check out my 'Links' page for online stores.

Cake Ingredients:
200g granulated sugar
180g unsalted butter (softened)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
200g plain flour
I teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarb
40g cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)
125ml buttermilk
100g mint chips

Frosting Ingredients:
250g granulated sugar
3 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
60ml water
pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
100 g dark chocolate chips
Drop of green food colouring.

Cake Method:

Grease and line to 8” cake tins. Pre-heat your oven to 180oC.
In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until they are smooth, creamy and the colour has changed to pale yellow. Next add your beaten eggs and vanilla extract, beating for a few minutes until the mixture does not look curdled and it has very slightly increased in volume.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb to incorporate some air. Mix in one third of the flour mix to your sugar/butter/egg mix. Then add one half of the buttermilk, mix until combined, and repeat with another third of the flour, rest of the buttermilk and finish with the last third of flour. Stir by hand to make sure all the flour has been incorporated if you are using a stand mixer. Now gently fold in the green mint chips to the cake batter. 


Divide the batter between the two cake pans and pop into the oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Remove and leave in the tins for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Leave to cool completely.








Frosting Method:
In a bowl place the sugar, egg whites, water, tartar and salt. Place this over a pan of simmering water and beat on high with a hand mixer for 5 minutes. The mixture will develop into marshmallowy fluff. Remove from the heat and add your food colouring (amount will depend on type used, but use less and you can always add more) and mint extract. Beat for another two minutes. Now this mixture is still warm and I added my chocolate chips at this stage so they melted slightly and gave the frosting a marbled look. If you don’t want this, allow the ‘fluff’ to cool completely before adding the chips.


Place one cake on to your serving plate of choice. Taking a palate knife, spread some frosting on top and down the sides. Take the other cake and sandwich on top. Placing more frosting on top and down the sides. If desired add more chocolate chips on top. At the cake club, I plunged an ice cream cone into the top - not necessary - but fun.

The cake is very moist and very chocolatey, cut with the sharpness of the mint. And the sweet frosting gives it an almost ice cream like quality. Enjoy…
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