Category: Cakes

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

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Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

Oki so I have my first exam on Thursday (*insert panicked stress noise*). I’m sure it’ll be fine but I’m still  in a roller coaster state of ‘oh it’ll all work out’ and ‘oh man I have so much work to do!!!’. I guess this isn’t helped by the fact that my levels of motivation have hit rock bottom and I’m currently in a state of perpetual procrastination. So I’m going to leave this post short (again) and try to do some work – little and often right?

(Just as a heads up though – these are great revision snacks! They also work really well with jam or fresh berries in the middle instead of the caramel if you’d rather!)

Recipe

Makes 16 squares

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 210ml Vegetable oil
  • 320g Light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Medium eggs
  • 80g Cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate, as it has added sugar and less cocoa, and so has much less flavour)
  • 130g Plain flour
  • 50g Milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 170g Caramel
  • ½ tsp Salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line a small, square tin (mine was 20×20 cm) with butter and baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined. Add the cocoa and whisk again (go slowly here as the cocoa will go everywhere if whisked too fast). Then add the flour and the chopped chocolate and whisk until fully mixed
  3. Pour half the mixture into the lined tin and smooth out with a spatula.
  4. Mix together the caramel and the salt in a bowl and then blob it over the brownies. Top with blobs of the remaining brownie mixture and then use a knife to swirl the two a little.
  5. Bake the brownies in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Be careful not to over bake here, as you want brownies to be slightly gooey in the middle. If you’re used to baking cakes I’d say take them out 5 minutes before you’d think it’d be ready if you were making a cake.
  6. Cut into 16 squares and serve! (They’re especially good with fresh berries and cream!)

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Cookie Dough Cake

Cookie Dough Cake

So I’m officially in my 20s and the wide road of young adulthood lies before me yada yada yada. I’m starting to realise that no matter how old you get you still have no idea what’s going on – you just learn to ride the sinking boat a little better than before. But at least we’re all on that boat together and there are life savers like cookie dough and cake to keep us going. I’m talking cookie dough, in a cake, in cookie dough with cookies on it!!

So here I am, a slightly confused 20 year old with a big pile of cookie dough cake in m’ kitchen and another year of comfort cookery to come. In the meantime I still have 3/4 of this whopping cake so if anyone local wants some hmu!

 Recipe

Serves 12-16

Time: 3 hours

Ingredients

For the cookie dough

  • 75g Butter
  • 20g Brown sugar
  • 25g Caster sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp Milk
  • 65g Plain flour
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 20g Milk chocolate chips
  • 20g Dark chocolate chips

For the cake

  • 200g Butter
  • 430g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 120g Greek yogurt
  • 220ml Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 420g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175g Milk chocolate chips

For the buttercream

  • 300g Butter
  • 105g Brown sugar
  • 975g Icing sugar
  • 200g Plain flour
  • 8 tbsp Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla bean paste

To decorate

  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 100g Double cream
  • Small cookies to decorate

Method

  1. Begin by making the cookie dough. Put the butter and sugars into a bowl and cream together until pale and creamy. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Then add the flour, salt and chocolate chips. Stir to make a smooth dough.
  2. Take the dough and split it into 12 balls. Then chill the balls in the fridge for 2 hours (or in the freezer for 1 hour).
  3. Now start the cake. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and grease and line 3x 7.5inch cake tins with butter and baking paper.
  4. In a large bowl mix together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Whisk in one egg at a time, then whisk in the yogurt. Next whisk in the milk and vanilla, followed by the flour, baking powder and salt. Finally fold in the chocolate chips to make a smooth batter.
  5. Evenly divide the mixture between the lined tins and spread them out to make an even layer. Take the cookie dough balls out of the fridge and squash them to make ‘patties’. Then put 4 bits of cookie dough in each tin, pressing them down slightly so they’re covered in cake mix.
  6. Bake the cakes in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool down for 30 minutes and then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile make the buttercream. Put the butter and brown sugar into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the icing sugar and flour and mix again until smooth.
  8. Slowly add the milk and vanilla to the mixture, beating constantly with a spoon to make a smooth icing.
  9. When the cakes are completely cool you’re ready to start assembling. Put one of the cakes onto a board or plate and then spread 1-2 tbsp on top. Layer another cake on top and repeat with icing and cake layers.
  10. Once stacked blob half the remaining icing on top of the cake and use a palette knife to work it around the sides of the cake. This is your crumb coat so you want it to be smooth but don’t worry if you can still see the cake as you’ll put another layer on it later. Leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
  11. Take the cake out of the fridge and blob the rest of the icing on the top. Again, gently smooth the icing round the side of the cake to make a smooth finish. Leave in the fridge until needed.
  12. Now make the chocolate drips for the decoration. Finely chop the chocolate and put it into a heat-proof bowl. Then heat the cream in a small saucepan until just about to boil.
  13. Pour the hot cream onto chopped chocolate and stir to make a smooth ganache. Leave to cool until pourable but not hot.
  14. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and use a spatula to gently push it over the side of the cake to make drips. Pipe extra icing in rosettes on the top of the cake. Then cut the cookies in half and place them around the edge of the cake and serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

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Plum and Amaretto traybake

Plum and Amaretto traybake

There’s this weird tradition in Oxford (and Cambridge) where once someone’s finished their end of year exams they get ‘trashed’ – aka they get pelted with whatever their friends can find at the local Tescos. Being Oxford based my whole life I’ve seen numbers of students crawling onto the high street covered in shaving foam, silly string and paint, but it wasn’t until the past few weeks that I got to do some trashing of my own. After a slightly surreal shopping trip we arrived at exam schools, belted up with prosseco, honey, ketchup, party poppers and confetti, ready to celebrate the freedom of some of our friends from the clutches of revision! This was the result… (RIP Nik’s sub fusc)…

Afterwards came the jumping into the river, the crash back to reality, and then a growing chorus of ‘food?’ being passed around. That’s where this fab amaretto plum cake came in. At uni I didn’t have the chance to bake as much as I would have liked as I was short on time, ingredients and equipment, so since coming home I’ve been going a little crazy in the kitchen and have been making way more than I can feasibly eat. Therefore when I headed back up to uni I thought something like this tray bake would be the perfect thing to share with lots of de-stressed students – and it was!

Recipe

Serves 16

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ tsp Almond extract
  • 180g Self-raising flour
  • 85g Ground almonds
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • 100ml Milk
  • 2 tbsp Amaretto (optional)
  • 3 Plums

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Line a roughly 20 x 15cm cake tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs one by one and whisk them in. Then add the almond extract, flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Then add the milk and amaretto, and whisk it all  together to make a smooth batter. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and smooth it over so it evenly fills the tin.
  4. De-stone and then cut the plums into 1/8s. Then scatter them over the top of the cake, pressing them into the mixture a little. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.
  5. Leave to cool and then cut into 16 squares.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan Cake

After 8 weeks of crazy term-time mania we’ve finally hit the vac once more. As our tutors never cease to remind us we’re on vacation, not holiday, and therefore we;re merely vacating our rooms and are expected to continue working just as much back home, but even so there’s going to be a lot more time for baking now!

Some of my friends are hanging around in college a little longer as they have exams, so yesterday we did some group procrastination and got back into the kitchen. Of course we could have made something simple like pasta or cupcakes, but alas no. After such a long time out of the kitchen I wanted to make a dramatic entrance back into the world of baking, so I drew up a recipe for this Neapolitan cake: 3 layers of chocolate and vanilla marble cake, sandwiched with a strawberry cream-cheese frosting and wafers on top!

It might be a little preemptive to make an ice-cream inspired cake in early March, but hey. Summer is well and truly on the way so what’s the harm in looking forwards a bit? It may be wet, windy and dark outside, but we’ve got enough Neapolitan cake to go around so everything’s OK!

Recipe

Serves 12

Time: Around 2 hours

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake

  • 175g Unsalted butter
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 100g Self raising flour

For the vanilla cake

  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 100g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste

For the strawberry icing

  • 400g Cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp Strawberry jam
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

To decorate

  • A handful of fresh strawberries
  • A few Ice cream wafers
  • Chocolate sprinkles

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Then grease and line 3x 20cm loose bottomed round cake tins with butter and baking paper.
  2. Now start make the chocolate cake mixture. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and whisk in until the mixture is smooth. Next add the flour and cocoa powder and whisk again to make a smooth batter.
  3. Using a tablespoon dollop the mixture equally between the 3 tins, leaving gaps to be filled in with vanilla mixture later.
  4. Now make the vanilla cake. Put the butter and sugar into another large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Then add the flour and vanilla and whisk again to make a smooth batter.
  5. Again dollop the mixture between the 3 tins. Then gently smooth the mixture over so it evenly fills the cake tins, but try not to mix the two cake batters too much.
  6. Bake the cakes in the oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile make the icing. Put the cream cheese into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to soften it a little.
  8. Add strawberry jam and lemon zest to this and then mix again to make a smooth icing. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a round or star shaped nozzle.
  9. Take your strawberries and take off the green tops. Then cut them into 1/8s and put them to one side until needed.
  10. Once cooled place one of the cakes onto a plate. Arrange some strawberry pieces around the edge of the cake, making sure they’re all facing the same direction. Then spread 1/3 of the icing over the middle of cake. (The strawberry barrier will help keep the icing neat if it’s a little runny!)
  11. Place the 2nd cake on top and repeat with the strawberries, icing, and final layer of cake. Pipe the rest of the icing in rings of blobs over the top of the cake.
  12. Pile the remaining strawberries in the centre of the cake. Halve and then place wafers evenly around the edge and then finish with a sprinkle of chocolate sprinkles!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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