Feel Good Chocolate Cake

I am leaving this rainy country for sunnier climate, I am off to Spain tomorrow. One week of Sunshine and beach… hopefully. Beach and sunshine also means bikini and my body hasn’t been so forgiving to the scones, cookies and cakes I have been filling it with. Before I go I would like to share this feel good chocolate cake. I spent a while coming up for a name for this cake, I didn’t want the word healthy in the title as that suggests some tasteless, dry chocolate cake, which this is not. It is decadent and fudgy cake almost like a brownie. The wholemeal flour adds a nutty flavour and the honey creates a light sticky sweetness. It is not a low fat, weightloss cake but more of a whole food cake you eat to feel good. Its decadent but you feel happy after eating it plus their is no sugar or white flour. Enjoy and adios por ahora!!

Feel Good Chocolate Cake

I created a new way for adding chocolate to the chocolate cake. I finely ground the chocolate in a food processor until it resembled powder almost like cocoa powder. It adds to the fudgyness of the cake. I also use wholemeal flour but feel free to subsitute it with all purpose flour,

45og of wholemeal flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

3/4 tsp of salt

1/2 cup of oil

2 eggs

1 cup of honey

1 cup of yogurt/buttermilk

200g of chocolate powder (see above) or cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 170C degrees with a rack in the middle. Butter and flour an 20×20 square cake pan (I used a le crueset square stone dish 23cmx23).

Put the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the egg, honey and oil in a jug. Add the yogurt and mix. Then pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Then add the chocolate powder and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and place in the oven for 40-50 minutes. The cake will be fudgy and slightly sticky so the skewer test wont work .Leave to cool and make the chocolate cream to frost.

Chocolate Cream

1 cup of cream

150g of dark chocolate

80g of icing sugar (omit if not using very dark chocolate)

Melt the chocolate. Whip the cream to stiff peaks (but be careful you want it thick and creamy but you don’t want butter) Pour the chocolate over the cream and stir it in until all the chocolate is incorporated. Then fold in the sugar.Top the cooled cake with the chocolate frosting and spread evenly over top. Use a n offset spatula to create little swirls on the top.

Gay Pride Buns

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So it was Gay Pride week here in Dublin last week and the Gays and Lesbians of Dublin took to the streets and filled the City with colour.Image

 The theme of this years parade was show your through colours and that certainly happened on the streets of Dublin last week. The festival was a huge success. Dublin is said to have more gay or bisexual per capita. Although Ireland has come along way in the last twenty years we are still have a long way to go. Same sex marriage is not recognized in Ireland although Civil Partnership entitles them to similar rights as married couple. This reminds me of a slogan I saw on the subway in New York ” If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. It’sissues like this that make me embarrassed to be part of the Catholic Church who have a zero tolerance of gay rights. To celebrate how far Ireland has come on the issue of LGBT rights, and to hope we can go further to allow these men and women equal rights, I made multicolored buns (not cupcakes)

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Gay Pride Buns

makes 12 buns

I use imperial units as it is easier to remember for the buns

6oz self raising flour

6oz caster sugar

6oz of margarine

3 eggs

two to three drops of food colouring red, blue, yellow and green (I had no blue)

for the frosting

3 egg whites

280g of caster sugar

1 tsp of cream of tartar

Put 12 bun cases in a bun tin. Preheat the oven to 160C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve in the flour and mix well.  Divide the mixture into five bowls put more in the first bowl and less as you go down the bowls. In the first bowl put the red colouring, the second put yellow (or orange), third put green, fourth put blue and fifth make purple with blue and red. Put a small spoonful of red into each case then using your finger make a little hole in the base to put the second colour in, repeat with each colour until you get to the purple. Then put in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes. Take out and leave to cool on a wire tray.  Meanwhile make the frosting, Beat the sugar, cream of tartar and egg whites, in a heatproof bowl,unitl volumised ( I think its a word) and stiff. Then put it over a double broiler ( saucepan of hot water on the cooker) and continue mixing for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then pipe on cooled buns.

 

Summer Solstice Cake

It’s summer solstice today from this day forward, we’ll start losing just a bit of that precious sunlight day by day, until we reach the shortest day of the year,  Dec. 21.It’s hard to be in that summery mood since it’s  been raining non stop since five o’clock. Despite that I decided to make a summer to do list ( I didn’t get very far).

  1. Run more
  2. Eat less
  3. Bake more ……..

With the third To Do on my To Do List I got distracted and the list transformed into a To Bake list. I spent hours scrolling through Smitten Kitchen  marking the recipes I want to make this summer. I ended up wanting to make almost everything in the blog – how I am going to fit 6 years of baking into two months beats me. The other problem is my To Bake list didn’t stop with Smitten Kitchen I explored other blogs and soon my list spilled off the internet and into my many cookbooks. This research also began to question my ability to keep To Do number 2. Maybe if I just run more then I can allow myself that extra indulgence after… it is summer after all.

I began my summer baking with fruit and and nut bread which rose unlike last time

Then I moved on to a sort of Swiss roll or Roulade with a summer inspired cream and raspberry filling.

Rolly chocolate cake with raspberry and cream 

3free-range egg whites

15g/1oz granulated sugar

11g/8oz ground almonds

115g/8oz icing sugar, sifted

3free-range eggs

20g/1½oz plain flour

20g/1½oz cocoa powder, sifted

40g/3oz butter, melted

Filling

75ml of cream

two handfuls of raspberries

topping

80g of dark melted chocolate

30ml of cream

Preheat the oven to 200C. Whisk the egg whits until stiff then mix in the caster sugar. Mix the almonds, icing sugar, whole eggs in another bowl for about three minutes until it is thick and has increased in volume. Sift in the flour and cocoa and fold in. Fold in the butter and then the egg whites. Grease and line a 46cm x 33cm/18in x 13in baking tray. Pour the mixture in to the tray and spread to the corners. Bake for 5-7 minutes, firm to touch and cooked through. Remove the cakes from the oven, cover with a large piece of greaseproof paper and carefully turn out the cakes. Peel off the greaseproof paper from the bottom of the tin. leave to cool while you make the filling. Whip the cream until it is thick then spread on cool cake. Scatter the raspberries over the cake and roll up.

Roll up like a Swiss roll, starting with one of the short edges, roll tightly to start with and use the paper to help. Don’t worry if it cracks – that’s quite normal and part of its charm! to make the topping mix the melted chocolate with the cream and pour on top. I garnished the cake with chopped hazelnuts

Daddy’s Day Coffee Cake

Today is the day dedicated to Daddies all around the country, it’s a small way of saying thanks for all the wonderful things they do for us. Th

e first word of most children is Da Da or some variation of the paternal name. As we grow up we begin to use this title to help us deal wit

h our little daily distresses.

When the computer just shuts down I scream “Dad”

When the lawn has to be mowed “Dad”

When we need money to go out “Dad”

When a mouse can be heard scratching
in the walls “Dad”When somebody wakes up at four in the morning and gets sick all over the bed “Dad”

When helps is needed with maths “Dad”

When the rooms need repainting “Dad”

When a lift to match/training/rehearsals is needed “Dad”

Despite all the abuse my daddy receives living in a house with four girls he was perfectly happy to paint the bathroom when it needed painting and didn’t object to the chosen colour….. pink whisper. I think Daddy has accepted the fact he is outnumbered and will just set back and watch desperate housewives or rent the newest chick flick to watch. He is quiet conte

nt at the table as we discuss shoes, clothes, hair ect. He understands that hair clips/bands/bobbins can hurt when you are wearing a helmet playing camogie. Daddy has gotten used to the feminine life that surrounds himbut sometimes he needs a break when we go away he has a shoot ‘m up movie marathon and every day he sneaks away down to the local coffee shop for his daily intake of cappuccino. Daddy loves his coffee and that is why I am dedicating this recipe for Coffee Cake to my daddy who has driven me all over the country for matches, has sat threw my less than pleasant school concerts and will protect me from any harm in the future.

Coffee Cake adapted from BBC GoodFood 

1 tbsp coffee granules, plus 1 tsp

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g ground almonds

85g light muscovado sugar

50g golden caster sugar

eggs , beaten

250g natural yogurt

75ml walnut oil/canola oil/ sunflower oil

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and bottom-line a 25cm round (6cm deep) loose-bottom tin. For the cake, mix the coffee with 2 tsp warm water and set aside. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the

baking powder, ground almonds, both sugars (use fingers to rub out any lumps from the muscovado)  then make a dip in the center. Put the eggs, yogurt, oil and coffee mix into the dip and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon so everything is evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin, smooth the top to level it, then bake for 40-45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin briefly, then turn it out and peel off the lining paper. Leave to cool completely before serving.

I like to serve this cake plain with a cuppa as a mid morning snack but if you want to serve it as as dessert it would be nice iced with a chocolate ganache or coffee butter cream. The original recipe uses a cream cheese filling which sounds really nice and a coffee fondant to top..

My Very Retro Upside Down Pineapple Cake

My recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin has put a vintage theme on my life. Madison is a quirky town studded with vintage shops and hippies. On returning to the cold and wet Dublin I tried to continued my life in retro style. Yesterday I enjoyed a shopping spree into town with me, myself and I. It was a wonderful experience I could go where I wanted when I wanted, I wasn’t had no time limits or agenda and just wandered from shop to shop. I spent most of my time in George’s Street Arcade which is filled with quirky shops I bought a ring made of a 5p coin in Beaux bows and a vintage style clock pendent necklace in bobay banshee. I also enjoyed wandering around in the other vintage shops along the street including Om Diva which has vintage clothing but also new Irish designers . Apart from having cute shops Georges street Arcade has wonderful foodie outlets I enjoyed a FroYo from Yogism, where if you guess the weight correctly you get the yogurt free I was off by about 100g (maybe next time). I decided to continue on this vintage theme into  my cooking and what screams retro cake more than upside down pineapple cake. I know it’s cliche so I tweaked it a little bit. Instead of the sickening red glace cherry I used raspberries and I used a wholemeal batter for the cake and omitted the caramel topping . Simply because I bought the wrong ones I used cubes of pineapple and not the usual rings that top the traditional rings which are probably nicer. This cake is one of those cakes that you will go for a second slice because it seems healthy despite the butter and sugar and then maybe take serve up another slice the next morning for breakfast because it is wholemeal after all how bad can it be for you. In my opinion cake for breakfast is the ultimate luxury.

Retro Upside Down Pineapple Cake

For the cake adapted from whole wheat pound cake from joy the baker

250g  of white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

30g of   of plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

15og of butter, at room temperature250g of caster sugar
1/2 cup honey

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

for the topping
8 pineapple rings or 200g of cubed pineapple
handful of raspberries fresh or frozenre
prehheat oven to 160 degrees C.  Butter and flour the a 28 cm round tin

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the butter, sugar and honey on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about one minute after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add the d

ry mixture and buttermilk in three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is evenly incorporate. Lay the pineapple rings or cubes in the prepared tin. In the center of each ring place a raspberry dot the spare raspberries around the place. Pour the batter on top in spoonfuls then spread it out.

Put it in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes  . leave to cool slightly before turning up and putting on a wire tray pineapple side up.

Nothing beats good Friends… except a good Brownie

Due to a spanish exchange I have been separated from some of my friends reducing the amount of allies I have from 11 to 5. It wasn’t up until now that I realize how much I take my friends for granted. Despite how bitchy or irritating we become together we have each others back. We can arrive at parties in intimidating numbers. When someone messes with me I know my friends will have my back and when my friends are angry at someone they let you know. As a group we complement each other there is the friend that you spill you troubles too, who by the way is ginger, there is the funny friend who makes you laugh, who also happens to be ginger. The friend who will be honest with you no matter what, and the friend that will tell you exactly what you want to hear, the one that has amazing style and can pull anything off and the one organizes everything. As a group of girls sometimes things can get a little heated and boil out of control but so far things have always managed to cool down. I love my friends who have been so good to me, so for that reason I dedicate this brownie recipe (which I use to make more friends) to them

Friendship Brownies

90g of plain chocolate

150g unsalted butter

125g of plain flour

15g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp of baking powder

150g of caster sugar

150g of soft light brown sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 eggs


1tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C

Grease a baking tin (20cm x 15cm) and sprinkle flour over it, tap the tin to evenly spread the flour. Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the butter. Melt over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl the heat and allow the chocolate to cool slightly. Meanwhile sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. In a third bowl beat the sugars and eggs together then add the vanilla. Fold in the melted chocolate then fold in the flour mixture. There should be no flour visable. Spoon the mixture into a tin and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into 12-16 squares.  Best served a little warm with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Variations: You could add 100g of chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts etc.) or chocolate chips when folding in the flour. You could serve it as a cake and ice it with a chocolate ganache. Although I am not a fan some people love brownies with dried cherries, if you would like this add 75g of cherries in when folding in the flour

Science, A Piece of Cake

I haven’t been in school for about 4 or 5 weeks for various reasons and a whole load of projects have piled up. I have Irish, Maths, Psychology, Religion, Science…. the list is endless unlike the time frame given to do them. Most are due this week. It serves me right I knew I had all the projects but decided to procrastinate (a word I have learned and used a lot since I started secondary school). All this procrastination inspired my idea for my science project. I decided to combine the project with something I love to do BAKING. I am a lazy cook I rarely read the instructions of recipes instead I tend to through all ingredients in together and mix. In most cases this has worked for me, I always do it with Madeira cake and the result had always been fine to me. I was always intrigued to why people creamed the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy sieving flour not only once but twice, I would laugh at these fools wasting their time turning butter white. I decided to do a scientific test to see if all these methods really did make a difference to the end result of the cake. I made two exact same cakes – same size, cooking time and ingredients. I than observed the differences (very scientific). My family agreed this was the best project ever.

The results are in ……………The first two are Cake B the second two are Cake A. Cake A had a smoother top while Cake B’s top was bumby. I was suprised to see that Cake A weighed more and rose less despite looking more airy. Cake B had a closer crumb but Cake A was a little drier. Both Cakes tasted good but Cake A was probobly marginly a better cake especially when it came to looks.

Make cake A –1) Get the Mass of all ingredients (115g of flour, sugar and butter).

                 2) Sieve the flour. Cream the butter for 2 minutes in bowl using electric whisk.

3) Add the sugar gradually and continue to cream until light and fluffy (5 minutes).

4) Crack two eggs in a bowl and mix. Add the eggs to the butter one tablespoon at a time mixing well between each tablespoon. Resieve the flour this time into the butter mix.

5) Fold in the flour gently using a spatula.

6) Grease one 20cm tin with oil and sprinkle with flour. Put the mix in the tin and flatten to the edges.

7)Bake at for 26 minutes.

8) Leave to Cool before taking from tin and putting on wire tray

To make cake B-

1.Get the mass of all ingredients (115g of flour, sugar and butter) and put in bowl.

2.Crack in two eggs. Beat all together for 2 minutes with electric whisk.

3.Repeat steps 6-8 above

Eat as much cake as you need. The test has to be fair after all 🙂

 

Pear Cake

After making the Bircher Muesli  I had a large punnet of unripe pears sitting on the counter top. I debated over what I should do with them….

  1. Let them rot – it seemed like a lazy decision
  2. Make a pear and almond tart – it involved making pastry ughhh…
  3. Poach or stew them – BORING
  4. Make a cake with them
I Googled Pear Cake but nothing inspiring came up. Then a recipe from one of my favorite blogs  101 Cookbooks caught my eye Cele’s Old Fashioned Pear Cake.  I quickly printed out the recipe read over it and adapted it to suite my taste and cupboard . I replaced the butter with olive oil to make it a little healthier. I had no wholewheat flour so  wheat bran a of self raising. I don’t like cinnamon in cakes that aren’t specific cinnamon cakes, so that got ditched. And 6 pears seemed like an awful lot so I reduced the number. I  think I cooked it in the wrong size tin and was too lazy to follow the instructions instead I simply mixed up everything together. When I tipped my Cake out I decided it looked better upside down so it became an Upside Pear Cake on the spur of the moment. Despite all the alterations the cake still got the thumbs up from Mammy, Daddy and Sister Number One. Here is my Recipe for the very easy
Upside Down Pear Cake
100ml of olive oil
50g of wheat bran
50g of self raising flour
1tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
2 eggs
1/2 a cup of sugar
2-3 pears (peeled,cored and quartered length ways )
Preheat the oven to 18oC. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the egg and oil and mix well. Soften the pears in the microwave for about 2 minutes until the hard bite has softened. Place the Pears on a greased 15cm round, loose bottem  cake tin. Arrange them like the petals on a flower with the thin part of the pear facing in. Spoon over the cake mixture and bang the tin so that it spreads evenly over the tin. Cook for about 50 minutes

 

Carrot Cupcakes fit for the Easter Bunny

My third post in three days I am on a roll. Easter is just sort of creping up on me and  I really wanted to Share these Carrot Cupcakes before Sunday. When I was younger I always felt it unfair that nobody left out treats for the Easter Bunny, Santa got hundreds of Cookies when he was doing his rounds but the poor Easter Bunny (E.B) had to go house to house on an empty stomach. I decided, one Easter, to make something too give to the E.B. I didn’t take me long to decide upon Carrot Cake as bunnies do love carrots. I also loved, and still do, making Carrot Cake as the raw mixture tastes almost as good as the baked, so licking bowls clean was always a treat.  The cream cheese frosting is an essential on Carrot Cake according to some and I will admit it is tasty but for a little bit healthier cupcake you can omit it.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

makes about 15 cupcakes 12 muffins or one loaf cake

120g of self raising flour

80g of whole wheat flour

2 eggs

200ml of Olive oil or Sunflower or Canola

110g of caster Sugar

.5 tsp of salt

200g of grated Carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

80g of cream cheese

30g of soft butter

120g of icing sugar

Topping

30 mini eggs

50g of dessicated coconut

1-2 tsp of green food colouring

for the cupcakes

Line about 15 cupcake holes with cases. Preheat the oven to 160C Beat the Sugar and oil together until thick and pale. Stir in the eggs one at a time then mix in the sugar.  Sift in the self raising flour and mix in the whole wheat flour n and salt.  Mix in the Carrots until they are well combined in the batter. Divide the mixture between the Cupcake cases with an ice-cream scoop. You could also just put all the batter in a lined 2lb loaf tin. Cook the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes until golden and spongey to touch the muffins will take 25-30. The loaf will take longer between 50 minutes and an hour. Test with a wooden skewer if the skewer comes out clean it is cooked.

Leave to cool completely before icing. Mix the coconut and green food colouring together. Continue mixing until all the coconut is green.

To make the icing mix all the ingredients together . Ice each cupcake generously with the icing.  Place a teaspoon of coconut on top of each cake. Using your finger make a well in each mound of coconut to get a nest shape. Place to eggs in the the well.

When life gives you lemons make Lemon Cake

Although it’s only March the weather has me in a summery mood and this lemon cake (requested by Sister Number one as her Birthday cake) seems like the perfect summer cake. Usually i make a plain Madeira mixture and add lemon zest and juice but a Jamie Oliver recipe caught my eye. “My Nans Lemon Drizzle Cake”. He adds poppy seeds which I love but Sister number one wanted plain lemon cake. Jamie also makes a lemon syrup which he pours over the cake before icing I omitted this.This cake has the addition of Almonds which makes it denser yet moister than regular Lemon cake. I divided the mixture in two tins and sandwiched them together with lemon curd for the photo. Then I made marzipan roses to top the cake.

Lemon Cake

adapted from Jamie Oliver “Cook with Jamie”

makes one 20cm cake

114g of unsalted butter

115g of caster sugar

4 large eggs

180g of almonds

zest and juice of one lemon

125g of self raising flour

for the icing

225g of Icing sugar

juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 160C

Grease a 20cm round spring form cake tin.

Using and electric whisk beat the butter and until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the almonds, lemon juice, zest and flour. Spoon into the tin and cook for 40 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool completely on a rack before icing. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together. Put on a serving plate and pour the icing into the middle of the cake. Then let it flow all over the cake to get the drizzle effect down the side. Gravity will eventually take over and give you this drizzle effect so don’t give it a helping hand or you will end up with too much drizzle.