Category: Cakes

Banoffee Opera Cake

Banoffee Opera Cake

 

Recipe

Serves 8-10

Time: 2-3 hours

Ingredients

For the banana cakes

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 75g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 180g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the banana caramel

  • 100g banana chips
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 397g condensed milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

For the chocolate ganache

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200ml double cream

To assemble

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 50g white chocolate
  • A few banana chips to decorate

Method

  1. Begin by making the cakes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 24x30cm swiss roll tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. Peel the bananas, put them into a small bowl and blitz with a hand blender (or mash with a fork) to make a smooth puree. Set aside until needed.
  3. Separate the eggs and put the egg yolks into a bowl with the sugar. Whisk with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the oil, chopped pecans and banana puree to the egg yolk mixture and then sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold everything together until a smooth batter is made.
  5. In a spotlessly clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add these to the cake mixture and fold until uniform in colour.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and tilt the tray to get the cake mixture to evenly cover the tray. Bake the cake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then turn the cake out onto a chopping board lined with baking paper and slice the cake into thirds horizontally so you have three slices of cake about 10x24cm in size. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Now make the banana caramel. Put the banana chips into a food processor and grind into a coarse powder. Set aside until needed.
  9. Put the butter, sugar, syrup, and condensed milk into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted.
  10. Bring the mixture up to the boil and keep it there for about 10 minutes, stirring the whole time, until thick and golden brown (look at the photos above to see what the caramel should look like before and after being cooked).
  11. Mash the banana with a fork in a small bowl. Add this mashed banana and the salt to the caramel just before it’s taken off the heat and stir to mix it in.
  12. Take the caramel off the heat and leave to cool for 2 minutes. Then stir in the banana powder.
  13. Re-line the tin you used to make the cake layer with butter and baking paper.  Then pour the caramel into the tin, smooth over to make an even layer and leave to cool in the fridge until set.
  14. Once the caramel layer has set make the ganache. Roughly chop the chocolate and put it into a metal or glass bowl.
  15. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat up to just below boiling.
  16. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a piping bag and leave in the fridge until needed (but not too long or it’ll set too much).
  17. Finally put the cream and vanilla for the topping into a bowl and whisk to make soft peaks. Spoon this into a piping bag and leave in the fridge until needed.
  18. When ready to start assembling the opera begin by turning the caramel out onto a chopping board and cutting it into 3 like you did the cake.
  19. Take one of the banana sponges and place it on a board or plate. Pipe a layer of the whipped cream over the sponge and then smooth it out with a palette knife.
  20. Carefully lay one of the pieces of caramel on top of the cream and then pipe a thin layer of ganache over that, smoothing it again with a palette knife.
  21. Repeat the layering until you’ve pipped the final layer of ganache on the top (making sure it’s super smooth!). Put the cake in the fridge for about an hour (ideally longer) to set all the layers.
  22. Melt the white chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag. Cut a little bit off the end of the piping bag and practise piping ‘opera’ several times on a piece of greaseproof paper. You want the chocolate to be cool enough that it’s not pouring out of the pipping bag in a wiggly line, but still melted enough to pipe smoothly.
  23. When ready pipe ‘opera’ onto the top of the cake. Take a sharp knife and trim the edges of the cake to make it look clean. Then top the cake with a couple of banana chips and serve!

 

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
Lemon and Coconut Madeleines

Lemon and Coconut Madeleines

 

 

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 50g coconut oil
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ lemon, zest and rind

For the decoration

  • 3 tbsp Lemon curd
  • 50g Desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Put the coconut oil into a small pan and melt over a low heat.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Brush a 12-hole madeleine tin (or a muffin tin) with a little coconut oil to grease. Sprinkle a little flower over the tin to coat the moulds, then turn the mould upside down to tap out the excess flour.
  3. Put the sugar and egg into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the baking powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour and melted coconut oil. Fold everything together with a spatula until smooth and then leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin. (If using a madeleine tin you’ll want to fill it up to jus below the top of the mould). Then put the madeleines in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
  6. Bake the madeleines in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Leave them to cool in the tins for 2 minutes and then turn them out onto a wire rack.
  7. Whilst the madeleines cool prepare the topping. Put the lemon curd into a small pan and heat gently to loosen. Pour the lemon curd into a small bowl. Put the desiccated coconut into another small bowl.
  8. Pick up one of the madeleines and dip the base in the lemon curd and then in the desiccated coconut. Repeat with the rest of the madeleines. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
Mocha Hazelnut Madeleines

Mocha Hazelnut Madeleines

 

 

 

 

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 50g butter
  • 40g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 egg
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 8g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp honey

To Decorate

  • 25g milk chocolate
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and then lightly flour 12 hole madeleine tin (or a muffin tin if you don’t have one). Turn the tin upside down to tap out the excess flour and then place to one side.
  2. Put the butter into a pan and leave to melt over a low heat. Take the butter off the heat and add the coffee granules, stir to dissolve. Leave to cool to one side until needed.
  3. Put the egg and sugar into a bowl and whisk until pale and thick (an electric whisk will save a lot of elbow grease here!).
  4. Sieve the flour and cocoa into the whisked egg mixture. Then add the honey and the melted coffee butter. Fold everything togetehr with a spatula to get a smooth batter, being careful to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, filling each hole to just below the rim (1-2 tbsp tends to work). Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  6. Bake the madeleines in the oven for around 10 minutes, until soft and risen. Leave to cool in the tin.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Whilst waiting for the chocolate to melt put the hazelnuts into a small roasting tin and put into the oven for 5 minutes to brown a little.
  8. Dip the bottom 1/3 of each madeleine into the chocolate and then into the roasted hazelnuts. Leave on a sheet of baking paper to set and then enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
Chocolate Koala Cake

Chocolate Koala Cake

Recipe

Serves 8-10

Time: 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients

For the chocolate cakes

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml crème fraiche
  • 100ml water

For the coffee buttercream

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 ½ tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the grey buttercream

  • 675g icing sugar
  • 300g butter
  • A few drops of black food colouting

To decorate

  • 200g white chocolate
  • Black and pink food colouring
  • 200g Fondant icing
  • 100g Icing sugar

Method

  1. Start by making the cakes. Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Grease and line two 17.5cm cake tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a sauce pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. Next put the flours, cocoa powder, and sugars into a bowl and mix together.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, crème fraiche and water. Then add the cooled melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the flour to the mixture and fold with a spatula to incorporate.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the two tins, making sure an equal amount goes into each. Then bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, until the top is springy and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then take them out of their tins and leave to cool on wire racks until room temperature.
  8. Meanwhile make the icings. To make the coffee icing, put the icing sugar and butter into a bowl and mix until smooth. Put the coffee granules into the milk and stir until dissolved. Then add the milk to the icing and stir until it reaches an even colour.
  9. Spoon the icing into a piping bag and leave in the fridge until needed.
  10. To make the grey icing beat the icing sugar and butter together like you did for the coffee icing. Add in a little black food colouring and mix again. (It’s best to add the food colouring in very small amounts – a drop or two at the most each time – as it’s very easy to over-colour). You want the icing to be a nice grey colour.
  11. Cover the bowl of grey icing with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until needed.
  12. Now make the decorations for the top of the cake.  To make the ears begin by melting the white chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.
  13. Split the chocolate into three bowls. Colour one lot pink, one lot dark grey and the last one light grey. Spoon each lot of chocolate into it’s own piping bag.
  14. At this point it might be helpful to draw your design for the ears onto some greaseproof paper with a pencil so you can use it as an outline. I like to make 5 or 6 ears so if they break you have back ups. You also need to make sure that for every design you draw, you also have another drawn flipped into the mirror image so the ears match when on the cake. Once you’ve done this, turn the greaseproof over, so the pencil marks are on the other side, and place it on a baking tray.
  15. Pipe with the dark grey chocolate first to make an outline of the koala ears, tracing the lines you made earlier. Fill in the middle of this outline with the light grey chocolate. Then pipe a small circle of pink chocolate in the middle of each ear.
  16. Take a cocktail stick and, whilst the chocolate is still warm, drag it through the layers of chocolate, from the middle to just before the outline, to merge the colours a little and give them some texture. Leave the ears to dry at room temperature.
  17. Now make the nose. Add a few drops of the black food colouring into the fondant icing and then knead the icing to mix it all together. You want the nose to be as black as possible so you might need to do this several times, adding a few drops each time, to get the right colour.
  18. Roll the fondant into a chunky oval, making it as smooth as possible. Then take a cocktail stick and make two little nostrils in the base. Set aside to dry out at room temperature.
  19. Finally make the black icing that you’ll use to pipe the eyes and mouth. Put the icing sugar into a bowl with 1 tbsp of water and a few drops of black food colouring. Mix to make a smooth, fairly stiff icing. (You want it to be runny enough to pipe, but not runny enough to drip off a spoon).
  20. Pour the black icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle and leave to one side until needed.
  21. Now start to ice the cake (only do this when the cakes are completely cool!). Pipe a little bit off coffee icing onto a presentation board and then put one of the cakes on top (this will stop it sliding around). Pipe an even layer of coffee butter cream over the cake (I like pipping around the edge into the middle in a spiral). Use a palette knife to smooth it over a little and then top with the other coffee sponge.
  22. Take the grey icing and put a huge dollop on the top of the cake. Use a palette knife to work it round the sides of the cake into an even layer. This is the crumb coat so what you want to do is fill any gaps and make sure there is an even coating across the whole cake. Don’t worry at this point about it looking neat or if there’s bits where the cake is poking through.
  23. Put the cake to chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours to allow the icing to set.
  24. Once the icing is set (you can check this by touching it lightly and feeling if it’s hard) take the cake out of the fridge. Plonk another blob of grey icing on the top and, again, work it round the cake with a palette knife.
  25. When there’s a good layer of icing surrounding the cake take your palette knife, hold it parallel to the sides of the cake and then pull it round the sides of the cake to smooth it out. Wipe the excess icing you’re taking off on the side of an empty bowl as you go. Then tidy up the top of the cake by pulling the palette knife (this time parallel to the top of the cake) in confident strokes, from the edge of the cake into the centre.
  26. Leave the cake in the fridge for another couple of hours to set again.
  27. Now is time to build your koala! Begin by attaching the nose. Snap a cocktail stick in half and press it into the underside of the nose. Then press it into position in the cake.
  28. Next pipe the mouth and eyes. You can either do this free hand or score your design into the icing before you pipe, with a knife. Pipe two downfacing hemispheres for eyes, either side of the nose, and add some eye lashes. Then pipe two larger upfacing hemispheres from under the nose, and a little chin underneath that.
  29. Finally, carefully peel the chocolate ears off the baking paper and place them upright on either side of the cake. (You may need to score little holes into the cake to put them into or add a little butter cream to hold them in place). Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...
Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

It’s blackberry season again!! This is such a big thing in my house as we live in the countryside, so we watch the blackberries over the season from mid-August to start of October, by which point they’re juicy and sweet and beautiful. We literally can’t leave the house any more without my mum bringing tubs for foraging (one time we even took a fishing net to catch apples in – it was strangely effective!) So now that we have tubs and tubs of blackberries in the fridge it’s time to start getting creative again!

It’s no secret that I’m a complete brownie freak. I like to make them, smell them, eat them, jazz them up, play around with them and generally appreciate their existence. So it’s no surprise that I ended up making some these swanky blackberry brownies. I’ve also added in some booze in here because it works so so well with chocolate! I’m not much of a drinker (relatively speaking) and so I’m only just discovering it’s value in cooking – but boy does it give this a nice lil’ touch! Of course though, if you wanna make these t-total you can leave out the alcohol and soak the blackberries in some spices (a pinch each of ground cinnamon and ginger are good!) and Ribena to give them a touch up.

As term hasn’t started for me yet (I know we start super late!) I’m in the process of bouncing between home and my uni house to make the most of the time I have free to do that. When I went home the other day I came up with these (as you can’t not appreciate having a fully stocked kitchen when you’re in one!) and luckily I managed to have a few left to take back to Oxford with me. One of the things I love most about baking is being able to share what I make with friends, and it’s something I really don’t do enough of any more. But these went down a treat so I can definitely see them becoming a favourite in our house!

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the Brownie

  • 220g Butter
  • 280g Dark chocolate
  • 4 Medium eggs
  • 280g Caster sugar
  • 60g Plain flour
  • 150g White chocolate, roughly chopped

For the Icing

  • 200g Blackberries
  • 10ml Chambord
  • 40ml Creme de Cassis
  • 175g Icing sugar

To decorate

  • Fresh blackberries
  • 50g Dark chocolate
  • Ice cream to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Begin by prepping the blackberries for the icing. Place the blackberries, chambord, Cassis and 25g of icing sugar in a bowl, mix together and then set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Now move onto the brownies. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 15×15 cm loose tin with butter and baking paper.
  3. Put the butter and chocolate into a metal or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt.
  4. Take another bowl and whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until it leaves a trail when the whisk is taken out (around 5 minutes should do it).
  5. Fold the chocolate into the eggs, sieve in the flour and add the chopped white chocolate. Mix everything together until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and sprinkle over half of the macerated blackberries. Then bake the brownies for around 20 minutes until a crust has formed on top and it feel slightly firm. Set aside to cool.
  7. Whilst the brownies are cooling, move onto the icing. Sieve the remaining blackberries, pressing the berries into the sieve with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Then mix a little of this juice into the icing sugar, 1 tsp at a time until a smooth, pourable icing is made.
  8. Turn the brownies out onto a serving board. Once completely cool drizzle the icing over the top. Scatter over some fresh blackberries and finish with some flakes of dark chocolate. These are really good served warm with ice cream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Social Media Links...