Friday, 22 August 2014

Marmalade Chocolate Croissant Pudding

There was an opened pack of stale croissants at work sometime ago that was about to be binned. It was only a few days old and I thought it would be a shame to waste it, perhaps I can make something with it. I love bread and butter pudding and have not had one for a long time. So I decided to turn these stale croissants into marmalade chocolate croissant pudding. It's really simple and a great way to use up stale croissants/brioche or bread.

I sliced the croissants in half and spread a thick layer of dark marmalade on each side. I placed them marmalade side up in a dish and sprinkled some dark chocolate chunks on top.Then I soaked it in the custard mixture for about 30 minutes before baking. The result was amazing. The buttery croissant combined with tangy marmalade and hints of dark chocolate was absolutely divine. The eggy custard held it all together and even though we were completely full after dinner, we managed a hefty portion as it was just so good. I'm tempted to buy fresh croissants and leave them for a few days just to make this again!

I'm entering this to the No Waste Food Challenge as I used up leftover croissants for this recipe. This month it's hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

 spread marmalade on croissants which have been sliced in half 

 sprinkle over some dark chocolate chunks 

 soak in custard 

 fresh from the oven 


3 stale croissants, sliced in half 
150mls double cream
75mls milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar 
Dark marmalade 
50g dark chocolate chunks

  • Place the cream and milk in a pan and bring to a boil. 
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. 
  • Pour the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
  • Prepare the croissants as shown.
  • Pour the custard mixture over the croissants and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes or until soft. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Chocolate Marshmallow Muffins

These were originally meant to be chocolate marshmallow cupcakes with a milk chocolate frosting and mini marshmallow topping. However, when I was baking this quite late at night, I discovered I only had about 30g of icing sugar left and it was too late to go out to get more.  As this does not have icing, I feel it's wrong to call it a cupcake hence chocolate marshmallow muffins. 

I used a chocolate sour cream cake recipe that I've used previously. I debated about how to incorporate the marshmallows and in the end decided to put 2 large marshmallows at the bottom of the muffin case before filling it with cake batter. What I didn't know but should have guessed was that the marshmallow would rise during baking and give a toasted marshmallow topping. Result! To be honest, these were so good on their own they didn't require any frosting. The cake was moist and chocolatey and the toasted marshmallow on top gave extra sweetness and gooeyness to the cake. 

I created this recipe for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge which is guest hosted by Rebecca from Bake N Quilt. She chose the theme marshmallow and chocolate. The challenge is run by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog

 I bought micro marshmallows for the cupcakes but I'm sure I'll find another use for it. 

 cook butter, cocoa powder and water 

 whisk in the eggs

 followed by the sour cream 

 place 2 large marshmallows on the bottom of each cupcake case 

 cover with cake batter until almost full 

 toasted marshmallow! 

 I also made a medium loaf cake with the remaining batter which is covered in melted milk chocolate (I prepared it for the icing) and sprinklses 

Makes 12 mini cakes and 1 medium loaf as shown.

250g plain four
45g cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate pieces
225g butter
1 cup water
300g sugar
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 large marshmallows

  • Place the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate and water to cook over a medium heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together.
  • Carefully add half the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time and continue whisking. 
  • Then add the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • Place 2 marshmallows in each cupcake case. 
  • The cake batter is quite liquid so I'd recommend pouring it into the jug and pouring the cake batter into each cupcake case until it's almost full.
  • The marshmallows may float but not to worry. 
  • Bake for about 18 minutes or until the marshmallows are toasted and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Cherry and Coconut Bundt Cake

Back in Feb this year, I was invited to attend a French Glace Cherries Masterclass. It was great fun and I discovered new recipes using French glace cherries. They contacted me recently to ask if I was interested in entering their competition by creating a recipe using French Glace Cherries as the star ingredient. It takes about 10 days to make French Glace Cherries where the fruit's natural water content is replaced by sugar. They use natural fruit and vegetable juices to give the cherries different colours. These cherries retain their flavour, shape and texture throughout the baking process. 

I started thinking about flavours that pair well with cherries. Almond and chocolate immediately sprung to mind but I wanted something a little different. I decided on a cherry and coconut combination even though I'm not a huge fan of coconut. I was going to add chocolate to the mix but decided less is more and I really wanted to highlight the cherries in this bake. After lots of thinking and experimenting, I came up with this cherry and coconut bundt cake with a cherry jam filling and a cherry glaze on top. 

The bundt cake looks stunning on its own and this particular shape called for a glaze. My glaze was quite thick  but I think it still achieved the desired effect. The cake was moist and you get a real hit of coconut. The cherries were evenly spaced throughout the cake which ensured that each slice had some cherries in it. I particularly liked the jam layer in between which was supposed to be in the middle but ended up near the top during the baking process. I gave J the cake to take to work and the feedback I received was 
  • Very moist sponge
  • Jam and cherries work well 
  • Not too sweet which is nice, not overpowering 
  • Nice to have a good cake that's not reliant on butter cream or icing 
  • Tastes just as good the day after 

The lovely people at French Glace cherries have kindly agreed to offer one of my readers a selection of French Glace Cherry goodies which includes a branded timer, kitchen scale, an apron and samples of French GlacĂ© Cherries. For your chance to win, just leave a comment saying what you will use the cherry samples for and a winner will be selected at random. Prize is only available to UK residents. I will contact you via the comment section on this blog and announce the winner after the closing date so please remember to check back on 3rd September to see if you are the lucky winner. Another winner will be selected if the first winner is not contactable after 72 hours. 
The closing date is 12 midnight GMT 2nd September 2014. 

I hope this cake will qualify for a few blog challenges this month.

Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and co hosted by Jane from Hedgecombers. The theme this month is Picnic Food and Picnic Treats. This cake will be perfect for a picnic as it's easily transportable and can be eaten with your fingers. Plus it will impress everyone at the picnic :) 

Celebration Cakes & Bakes hosted by Mummy Makes Cakes as this is a stunning cake worthy of any celebration. 

 Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too.

Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy from Super Golden Bakes

 lovely french glace cherries - red and purple variety 

 I tossed the cherries in the dessicated coconut 

 add a layer of batter 

 followed by a thick layer of jam - be careful not to touch the sides of the tin with the jam 

 cover with remaining cake batter 

 making the cherry glaze 

 fresh from the oven 

 you can see all the cherries dotted around 

 with the glaze 

 you can clearly see the jam layer 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the cake
250g butter
400g plain flour
330g caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
250mls coconut cream
100g dessicated coconut
4 eggs
192g french glace cherries
370g (1 jar) berry & cherry jam

For the glaze
100g glace cherries
1/2 - 3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of caster sugar (or to taste)
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
  • Mix in the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the coconut cream and dessicated coconut. 
  • Cut the glace cherries in half, rinse in cold water and dry thoroughly. 
  • Place the dessicated coconut in a small bowl and toss the cherries through the coconut.
  • Add this to the cake mixture and stir by hand. 
  • Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bundt tin.
  • Place a thick layer of jam on top making sure not to touch the sides.
  • Top with the remaining cake batter.
  • Bake for approximately 50 -60 minutes (it's a large cake!) or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating. 
  • To make the glaze, place the cherries, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the sauce thickens and the cherries soften. You may need to add more water or more sugar depending on consistency and sweetness required. 
  • Place the mixture in a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Sieve the mixture through a medium sized drainer to get a smoother glaze. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake

One of my colleagues went to America recently. I asked if she could get me some duty free items as I had some airline vouchers to use. She kindly bought what I wanted but it cost more than my vouchers and she refused cash before she left in case the items were out of stock or she forgot. When she gave me my goods, I got my purse out but she stopped me and said that her husband (who paid for the item) would prefer a cake. He wanted anything with chocolate in it. The last cake he had from me were my snickers cupcake with peanut butter caramel buttercream and he has been asking for another batch for a while. 

I wanted to make something a little different so I decided to make a chocolate and peanut butter cake. I used my all time favourite Nigella's old fashioned chocolate cake recipe. I added a layer of peanut butter in the middle then covered the cake with a chocolate ganache and decorated it with Reese's peanut butter cups. The cake was moist and chocolatey and I was really pleased that the peanut butter layer remained intact even though it was not quite in the middle of the cake as I hoped. 

I'm entering this to Love Cake hosted by Jibber Jabber UK. The theme this month is savoury and yes peanut butter counts!

 Adding a layer of peanut butter 

 top with more batter

 decorate with chocolate ganache and peanut butter cups

 I was given permission to cut a slice for my blog but I dropped it hence the smudged top! 

For the cake 

200 grams plain flour
200 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40 g cocoa powder
175 g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 ml sour cream
300g smooth peanut butter

For the ganache
150mls double cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped

For the decoration
10 peanut butter cups
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place all the ingredients for the cake in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Alternatively mix everything by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  • Place half the cake batter into the cake tin.
  • Add a layer of peanut butter on top.
  • Cover with the remaining cake batter. 
  • Bake for approximately 35minutes or until cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating.
  • To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. 
  • Continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth, glossy ganache.
  • Once the cake has cooled, pour the chocolate ganache on top of the cake and decorate with peanut butter cups. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pear and Walnut Cake

I made this cake for this month's AlphaBakes which is the letter 'P'. I saw this gorgeous recipe online for a Caramel pear and walnut cake and knew I had to try it. Unfortunately, I burnt my walnuts slightly but the cake still tasted good. You can really taste the pears in this cake as there is mashed pear as well as chunks of pear in the cake.  I've never mashed pears before and it was tricky as my pear was quite firm but it really added to the flavour and texture of the cake. I'm definitely going to try using mashed fruits in baking in the future. The caramel walnut topping was divine and complemented the pear cake very well. 

As mentioned, I am entering this to AlphaBakes hosted this month by Caroline from Caroline Makes and co-hosted by myself on alternate months. The letter is P for pear. 

 adding mashed pears 

 stir in the flour 

 adding chopped peaars 

 ready to bake 

 making the caramel 

 you can still see the chunks of pear in the cake 

Recipe adapted slightly from The Daring Gourmet

For the cake
125g flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking power
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
120g light brown sugar
2 eggs
70g butter, melted
2 medium sized conference pears, mashed
2 medium sized conference pears, chopped 

For the Caramel Walnut Topping
100g walnuts
50g brown sugar
50g butter
60mls double cream

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Prepare the walnuts first by placing on to a baking tray and lightly toasting for 7 -8 minutes - be careful not to burn them!
  • Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and ground spices in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, butter and mashed pear. Mix well. 
  • Sift the flour mixture into the wet mixture and mix well.
  • Add in the chopped pears.
  • Pour the batter into a lined 23cm round springform tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • When the cake has been in the oven for 15 minutes, start making the topping by placing the sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the toasted, chopped walnuts and continue to boil for a few more minutes. 
  • Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and prick the top of the cake with a fork all over. 
  • Pour the caramel walnut topping over the cake.
  • Eat the cake warm or at room temperature.