Chocolate & Salted Caramel Gingerbread Man Cake

chocolate and salted caramel gingerbread man cake christmas baking ideas kids birthday

Happy New Year! Hope your festive period was as fun-filled as ours… it says something when it’s taken over 2 weeks to upload this post 🙂

I was tasked (as per usual!) with providing dessert for a pre-Christmas meal with friends. You may remember last year’s Chocolate Christmas Pudding cake – well this was devoured equally as quickly. It’s not necessarily just a festive recipe either; I’d happily have a big slice of this at any time of the year.

As I was trying to think of what to make, a little lightbulb pinged in the back of my mind – I’d bought this gingerbread man silicon mould about 2 years ago, and as you can see had not yet used it.

gingerbread man cake silicon mould chocolate and salted caramel

I’d decided to try another gluten-free cake, and chocolate seemed like a safer option than a more complicated ginger one. I used this recipe from This Cotswold Girl – adding a couple of teaspoons of ground ginger to live up to the name. The mix was actually a little too much for the mould, so I made a few small muffins as well. You can never have too much chocolate cake!

The cake came out rich and fudgy, I’ll definitely be using this recipe again.

fudgy gluten free chocolate silicon moulded cake in the shape of a gingerbread man person

However the pièce de résistance for me was the amazing (if I may say so myself) salted caramel icing. It did catch a bit in the pan, but I think the caramelised sugar flecks give it an even more authentic gingerbread man look.

 

It’s a thick, fudgy icing that goes amazingly with the chocolate cake. The above recipe gives a very generous quantity, but I didn’t struggle to use it all up!

gingerbread man cake covered in salted caramel icing recipe salted caramel icing recipe use for covering cakes thick ginger coloured christmas

I let the icing set a little, putting the cake in the fridge for half an hour, before finishing with some red and white royal icing decorations – sleeves and a belt:

gingerbread man cake decoration piped armbands and belt red and white christmas baking ideas

And a wonderfully wonky little face! Well, nobody likes their gingerbread men perfect, do they?

gingerbread man cake crooked smiley face red and white piped royal

The finished gingerbread man (or Gingy if you prefer!) – a perfect post dinner treat.

gingerbread man cake chocolate and salted caramel with hand piped royal icing decorations

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

christmas pudding cupcakes easy recipe and method happy holidays

I can’t believe this is my first festive post of the year and we’re only just over a week away from the big day – where does the time go?

These little chocolate cupcakes were baked for a charity cake sale that my local Free Cakes for Kids rep sent over the details for. If there’s one thing guaranteed to get me in the kitchen, then a charity cake sale is just that!

The cupcakes were a rich chocolate base, with added white chocolate chunks and candied orange peel. You could easily vary the recipe and add more dried fruit, nuts, or more chocolate.

white chocolate and candied orange peel mix for christmas pudding chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)
150g butter
150g sugar
3 medium eggs
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
75g candied orange peel (make your own using the guide here)
100g white chocolate, broken into small chunks

To decorate
150-200g chocolate fondant
2 tablespoons marmalade or apricot jam
100g white fondant
Red, green and black food colouring

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– Add the eggs and a tablespoon of flour, and beat again
– Sieve in the remaining flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, and add the chocolate and candied peel pieces
– Fold the mixture together with a metal spoon, until all combined
– Spoon into cupcake cases, and bake at 180 degrees C for 14 – 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger
– Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely before decorating

chocolate and orange cupcakes freshly baked christmas wrappers charity cake sale

To decorate
– Heat the marmalade / apricot jam until runny, and using a pastry brush lightly coat the top of each cake
– Cut circles of chocolate fondant (using a pastry cutter), and place over the top of the cupcake, pressing the sides down
– Cut a second circle, of white fondant, and either freehand (using a knife), or with a way shaped cutter, cut about a third off the circle with a wavy edge, to look like dripping icing. Stick this onto the chocolate fondant using a little dab of water.
– Stick or paint on small circles in a dark colour, to replicate the fruit in the Christmas pudding
– Finish with a green sprig leaf and holly berries – and a little edible glitter if you feel the need!

chocolate fondant covered cupcakes round cutter for christmas puddings christmas pudding base cupcake decorated with fondant icing leaf and berries sprig on christmas pudding cupcake recipe christmas pudding cupcake recipe and method easy to follow make with kids

All packaged up and ready to go. I don’t like Christmas Pudding but could happily devour a big plate of these after dinner!

christmas pudding cupcakes festive baking ideas

Ruby Wedding Cake

john and claire ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant decorations flowers edible glitter

This weekend just gone, Rob’s parents, John and Claire, had a celebratory lunch for their upcoming ruby wedding anniversary. 40 years – what an achievement!

Claire had asked me months ago to make a cake, and specifically the Tropical Fruit Cake with coconut icing that I made for CCC last Christmas. Coincidentally it was exactly a year since I last made this cake!

I used 1 1/2 times the recipe to make a huge square cake, and a good thick layer of coconut icing, which set in the fridge before I started decorating.

Using red fondant throughout, I personalised the cake with a sparkly name plate, and ‘Ruby Wedding Anniversary’ lettering on the edge of the plate. To finish – some sparkly ruby-red flowers.

ruby wedding anniversary winter christmas tropical fruit cake red floral glitter john and claire name plate personalised ruby wedding anniversary cake red fondant festive flowers on coconut iced cake decorated with edible glitter john and claire ruby wedding anniverary cake tropical fruit christmas cake with coconut icing and red decorations

Rob had mentioned that his parents wanted to give some of the cake to friends who couldn’t be at the lunch – so | made some matching cupcakes to ensure there was plenty to go around. Sticking with the theme, they were a (ruby) red velvet chocolate cake base, topped with a swirl of vanilla butter cream, and coordinating red flowers.

winter floral ruby red flower cupcakes with vanilla icing swirl for wedding anniversary ruby flower cupcake for wedding anniversary party ruby red flower cupcakes with edible glitter vanilla buttercream swirl for wedding anniversary celebration

It was a great lunch and lovely to be able to celebrate with them. Happy Anniversary John & Claire!

Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

halloween spooky pumpkin face cupcakes decorated

Happy Halloween! This bake is another inspired by my baking calendar (as was my lemon & lavender cake back in the summer). Spiced pumpkin cake with ginger icing? Yes please!

baking calendar cake a month october halloween pumpkin cupcakes recipe inspiration

I altered the recipe a little, to include more pumpkin, no sultanas, and added some cream cheese to the icing. Finished with a glittered pumpkin fondant topper – scary and sweet all at the same time! A slight confession – hopefully you’ll forgive – as these cakes are made with oil rather butter, and mixed rather than creamed and folded, they’re actually more muffins than cupcakes. But they still taste as good!

Ingredients (makes approx. 15 medium muffins)

350g mashed pumpkin
125ml olive oil
150 light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Method

– In a large bowl, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla
– Sieve in the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined
– Spoon into cupcake / muffin cases, filling to about 2/3
– Bake at 180 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean

pumpkin cupcakes easy recipe and method for autumn or halloween baking

Spiced cream cheese icing

50g butter
125g cream cheese
275g icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth
– Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Don’t beat too much or the cream cheese will start to melt.
– Refrigerate for 15 minutes before using to top the cooled cakes. Keep the cakes in the fridge until they’re ready to be eaten

pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting autumn recipe

The lovely My Cake Decorating Halloween special came with this great pumpkin plunger cutter, perfect for making scary-faced pumpkins every time!

orange fondant pumpkin shapes for halloween cupcakes

I used a little black + red edible glitter to fill in the eyes, nose and mouth for extra spooky effect.

painting fondant orange pumpkin faces with edible glitter for halloween baking Trick or treat! What do you think?

halloween pumpkin cupcakes spiced recipe using vegetable flesh cream cheese frosting halloween pumpkin cupcake flavoured and decorate spooky glitter face halloween pumpkin cupcake spooky face orange fondant and edible glitter

GBBO Pièce Montée

ferris wheel piece montee coloured spun sugarwork wheel profiterole stack

Well it has come to the final week of #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – and here is my final showstopper!

I wanted to challenge myself, as the bakers had done in the tent, so embarked on the very final challenge of the series. This was the pièce montée – a decorative celebration or centrepiece cake, featuring different baking elements, decorations, and techniques.

Well this certainly was a learning experience for me – planning shapes and sizes and doing things in the right order are just two points to note! Nevertheless, everything came together to create, kind of, my ferris wheel pièce montée (what do you mean you can’t see it!)

ferris wheel pièce montée showstopper greatbloggersbakeoff2014 sugar work macarons ombre cake biscuits choux profiteroles ferris wheel pièce montée cake profiteroles choux white chocolate biscuit macarons sugar work

The different elements I used were as follows:

– Ombre chocolate cake base (adapted from Nigella’s recipe), filled and covered with raspberry butter cream
Macarons, decorated with a light dusting of edible glitter
– Chocolate and ginger biscuits (adapted from a Christmas gingerbread house recipe)
– Profiteroles, filled with raspberry cream and decorate with white chocolate
– A golden and red sugar decoration, to represent the wheel (simply made by creating a sugar syrup in a heavy bottomed pan)

white chocolate mud cake ombre gbbo showstopper raspberry buttercream macarons on pièce montée cake raspberry buttercream finished with edible glitter raspberry cream profiteroles decorated with white chocolate biscuit and choux profiterole constuction on pièce montée cake gbbo ferris wheel spun sugar pièce montée with biscuit and profiterole supports great bloggers bake off

The individual elements I was very pleased with – the putting together a little less so! I had not filled and iced my cake early enough, so it was not set enough by the time I came to build everything up, and things started to slide a little…
I had also vastly over-estimated the size of the sugar wheel, it was too large for the cake and dwarfed the profiteroles and biscuit behind!

white

Nevertheless, everything tasted good, and pulling it to pieces and eating was definitely the most fun part 🙂

piece monte chocolate ombre cake with raspberry butter cream and edible glitter macarons inside raspberry cream profiteroles white chocolate decorations foodporn greatbloggersbakeoff chocolate and ginger biscuits decorated with white chocolate lines leaning cake in background spun sugar ferris wheel decoration Thank you to Jenny for hosting the GreatBloggersBakeOff again this year – it was great fun and I definitely learnt some new techniques, watch out for some more choux pastry coming soon!

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Sprinkles & Checkerboard Birthday Cake

inside pastel checkerboard cake method and how to

This weekend just gone was the 3rd birthday of Derby’s Clandestine Cake Club, which I have proudly been a member for 2 years – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

What better theme to celebrate with, than big, sticky birthday cakes. I’d been wanting to try a checkerboard cake for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity.

I started off with three different flavoured round cakes, tinted with pastel colours to match the sprinkles I wanted to use on the outside. The peach-coloured cake was flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar, the green had the juice and zest of a small lime, and the yellow a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice. I baked them in foil trays as 1) I don’t have 3 tins of the same size and 2) I wanted to minimise on washing up!

tricolour cake batter lime lemon raspberry pastel foil trays

Once cool, I scouted round the kitchen for suitable crockery to cut the circles. Posts I’d read online suggested cups, bowls, jam jars, but then had the brainwave of using my concentric circle cookie cutters. The largest and smallest were the perfect size to cut 3 even-thickness bands out of each cake.

making checkerboard cake with round biscuit cutters orange yellow and green

A quick reorganisation later and I had 3 dart-board-esque cakes:

checkerboard cake layers like target boards

Using a vanilla buttercream, I layered up the three tiers…

buttercream layering with pink palette knife checkerboard cake

… and gave the outside two good coats of icing, refrigerating in between.

butter cream on sides of checkerboard cake

After the second coat of buttercream, it was time for the sprinkles! And one of the trickier, stickier steps – rolling the sides of the cake in the bowl of hundreds and thousands. It took a bit of patching up but actually was quite effective, even if my kitchen was left covered in the sprinkles as well!

covering cake in sprinkles rolling sides in hundreds and thousands

cake covered in hundreds and thousands

The top was much simpler, a final coat of buttercream with hundreds and thousands poured and smoothed over. There were quite literally hundreds and thousands of them too – two whole packs for the entire cake!

sugar sprinkles hundreds and thousands cake topping

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, although it does remind me a little of a giant liquorice allsort 🙂

sugar sprinkles and checkerboard birthday cake clandestine cake club derby sugar sprinkle covered cake hundreds and thousands looks like a liquorice allsort

Our cake club birthday party was a great feast of sugar and everything gooey and good, we gossiped for hours over tea and cake.

clandestine cake club derby third birthday party

And the checkerboard looked great inside!

checkerboard cake pastel layers hundreds and thousands covered outer inside checkerboard cake lemon lime and raspberry with sugar sprinkles covering birthday ideas

Or at least… what brief snaps I had time to take, before the cake-clubbers demolished the lot!

empty cake plate ccc

I’m entering this post into the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 showstopper. This is not the last of my GBBO entries though – watch this space (and cross your fingers!) for a finale pièce montée in the next few days.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

 
This post is also part of Celebration Cakes and Bakes – click the image for more info.

CelebrationCakesAndBakes

Schichttorte

schichttorte 20 plus layers finished cake with chocolate glaze

The semi-final of Great British Bake Off and indeed #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – my kitchen will be distinctly less chaotic after the final this week.

This week I was caught up in the grilling frenzy that is the 20 layered Schichttorte. Developed from the traditional German Baumkuchen (tree cake), the cake is made by cooking thin layers of batter under the grill, to create the distinctive layered inside.

I followed the BBC recipe for my cake, although am a little dis-inclined to say that is Paul Hollywood’s as I’m certain he’s not a traditional German!

The recipe is certainly fitting for a technical challenge, starting with 10 eggs…

start of recipe for german schichttorte 10 eggs layered cake.

… and going through the stages of beating, sieving…

sieving flour into cake batter home baking

… whisking…

kitchenaid whisking egg whites soft peak stage black and silver

… and finally folding:

folding whisked egg white into cake batter schichttorte recipe greatbloggersbakeoff2014

With the batter finished it was time to start layering up. Placing the bowl on the scales I calculated each layer should have about 50 grams worth, and barely covered the surface!

schichttorte finished batter and first thin layer in tin to bake gbbo

After a couple of minutes under the grill, it came out, resembling, well, a pancake!

schichttorte first layer pancake like lightly baked

The next layer and a little darker…

grilled layers in german traditional schichttorte gbbo

.. and the cats soon got to wonder what was going on in there.

cat watching oven home baking grilling schichttorte

I must admit I lost count of the layers around the 6 mark, as I was trying to do a million other things at once. I kept going until all the batter was used up, and finally reached the top.

nearly full tin of schichttorte baked layers

A short while cooling and I was glad for it to come out in one piece, albeit looking slightly ombre…!

baked layers ombre effect of schichttorte schichttorte freshly baked layered cake gbbo

After all those layers the finishing and icing was surprisingly simple. A quick coat of apricot jam (to help the icing stick):

covering cake in warmed apricot jam for glaze to stick schichttorte recipe

And a generous coating of dark chocolate glaze:

pouring dark chocolate glaze onto jam covered cake dark chocolate glaze covered schichttorte

Finally, a finishing touch of piped white vanilla icing:

vanilla icing piped design on dark chocolate glaze schichttorte gbbo semifinal

And the cake was finished! The sides I wasn’t particularly pleased with as the chocolate and icing didn’t stick particularly smoothly.

finished iced schichttorte chocolate and vanilla layered cake

It was then rather a waiting game – I wanted the icing to set a little before slicing up, so put the cake in the fridge until it was ready to eat, and finally the moment of truth:

sliced into schichttorte 22 layers greatbloggersbakeoff

Hooray! I’m so pleased with the layers. And yes you can count them… there are in fact 22 🙂 Big slices were enjoyed and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste – a delicate light cake with a slightly lemon tang, and wonderfully complimented by the chocolate and vanilla icing.

generous slice of gbbo schichttorte layers of grilled cake

So much excitement for the final this week! Who do you think will win? And more importantly, what on earth will they be challenged to bake this week?!

Read more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 over on Mummy Mishaps.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Traditional Black Forest Cake

black forest cake easy dessert recipe chocolate cherry and cream gbbo

I am not normally one for big cream cakes, they can be a bit rich for my tastebuds. But with some cherries in the fridge that needed using up, a hankering for something chocolatey, and guests coming to dinner – well who was I to argue!
I made this cake a few weeks ago when Rob’s parents were over for dinner, using a lighter version of a well-known brand of double cream. It came from the supermarket but I can’t find a link anywhere. It worked just as well as the normal stuff, and being lighter, meant we could tuck into big fat slices without feeling (as) guilty.

For some reason a lot of people think of Black Forest cake/gateau as something best consigned to the recipe books of the 70’s and 80’s. Having made it on this occasion I’m in complete disagreement, it’s tasty, looks good and is easy to make – who wouldn’t want that on their dinner table! The cake is very rich and chocolatey, and complemented perfectly by the sweet, tangy cherries, and smooth fresh cream.
Originally I think you’re supposed to make one big cake and slice it in half, I much prefer just to bake in two separate tins.

Black Forest Cake
175g caster sugar
175g butter
3 eggs
125g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
50g cocoa powder
150g fresh cherries, plus extra to decorate
50g sugar
150 ml cream, whipped
100g chocolate, ideally dark

– To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar, before beating the eggs, and finally folding in the sieved dry ingredients.
– Divide into two greased, lined 7 inch (or similar) sponge tins, and bake at 180 degrees for 20 – 30 mins, until springy to the touch
– While the cake is cooling make the cherry filling by chopping the cherries, adding to the sugar and simmering on a low heat for 5 minutes.
– Use a teaspoon to take a couple of spoonfuls of the liquid from the cherries and spoon over the cakes, allowing it to soak in. Set the rest of the cherries aside and leave to cool.

dark chocolate rich cake for black forest gbbo european Black and red cherry syrup black forest gateau recipe cake

All that’s needed now is to assemble the layers – cake, cream, cherries, cake, and finished with a chocolate topping.

I found it easier to do the chocolate topping and decoration before assembly (melt the chocolate bar one piece, spread evenly all over the cake and quickly press in the cherries):

black forest cake chocolate topping with fresh cherries and stalks and grated chocolate

Once this was set, filling and stacking was quick and easy!

oozing cherries and cream on black forest rich chocolate cake assembled recipe black forest cake fresh cherries and rich chocolate cream filled

I love the way some of the cherry juice tinges the cream purple – so you know it’s delicious and sticky inside!

black forest cake oozing middle with cream and fresh cherries recipe #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 european

As only seems fitting I am entering this into #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 European Cakes week. And a fun fact while I’m at it – did you know that the cake is not named after the Black Forest area of Germany itself, but instead after the cherry liqueur, produced in the region, that was originally used in the recipe.

I’d love to have tried one of the Princess Torte’s – how amazing did that look? But time was not on my side this week. Maybe next time… I am a princess after all 😉

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

 

 

Super Strawberry Swiss Roll

decorated strawberry swiss roll homemade jam recipe greatbloggersbakeoff gbbo

This week saw the return of the much-loved Great British Bake-Off, and with it, the amazing celebration of all things cake that is #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014, which you can find more details on here.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

My first swiss roll recipe – Simple Strawberry Jam Swiss Roll , is without a doubt the most popular post on this blog. For why, I simply don’t know, but am certainly not complaining!

However simple is not always sufficient – and for this GBBO I wanted to ramp things up a bit. I’ve wanted to try a piped design roll for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Add to this homemade strawberry jam – why do things by half – and you can see why this really is a super swiss roll!

To start with – the jam, so it has time to cool. We are right in the middle of British strawberry season and there are lots of brilliant juicy fruits in the shops at the moment.

fresh british strawberries

Strawberry jam
300g fresh strawberries, hulled
100g sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

– Chop the strawberries – I found quartering gave good chunky pieces in the jam, without them being too overbearing in the sponge

fresh british quartered strawberries jam recipe
– Mix the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan, and put on a low heat until the sugar has melted
– Turn the heat up to medium/high, and set the timer for 10 minutes. The mixture should foam and bubble up; stir often and monitor the heat so it doesn’t boil over

fresh strawberry jam recipe great british summer bake off
– When the ten minutes is nearly up, start testing to see if the jam has reached setting point. This is 105 degrees C on a jam/sugar thermometer, or you can use the wrinkle-test , using pre-frozen saucers to test if it sets.
– If it’s not setting, boil for a couple more minutes and test again. As a last resort you can some more lemon juice to boost the pectin levels.
– Once at setting point, take off the heat and pour into a bowl. Leave to cool whilst you make the sponge.

Swiss roll sponge (with piped strawberry decorations)
3 large eggs
125g sugar
125g plain flour

– Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and beat on high for up to 10 minutes, until the mixture goes from pale and yellow to light, white, and about double in size
(KitchenAid optional… but it really does help!)

kitchenaid swiss roll recipe whisking eggs and sugar

kitchenaid whisked eggs and sugar light and fluffy for swiss roll recipe greatbloggersbakeoff

– Whilst the eggs are beating, prepare your tray. An ordinary baking tray (with sides) is more than sufficient.
– Brush the edges and bottom of the tin with oil or melted butter.
– Cut baking or greaseproof paper precisely to size, it should be completely flat
– Brush the paper with more oil/butter, and sprinkle well with flour and sugar, to prevent any sticking

greased lined floured sugared baking tin for swiss roll no special pan needed

– Sieve the flour and gently fold into the egg mixture.

folding flour into swiss roll recipe

– To make the strawberry decorations, take 3 teaspoons of the mixture, and colour one orange, one red, and one green.
– Using small piping bags, pipe green leaves, orange seeds and fill round with red strawberry shapes

piped strawberrries for swiss roll recipe

– Bake for 2 minutes at 180 degrees, so the strawberries set and don’t mix with the rest of the batter

baked strawberries from swiss roll mixture decorated recipe

– Take the tray out of the oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
– Spread the rest of the batter evenly across the tray, and return to the oven, for 8-10 minutes, at 180 degrees

swiss roll batter in flat tray recipe and how to step by step easy dessert

– After 8 minutes, test to see if the sponge is done by lightly pressing with your fingers. If it springs back, it’s done; if your fingerprints remain indented, return to the oven for another minute

– When it’s ready, run a knife around the edge of the tin, before flipping out onto another baking sheet, sprinkled with a good layer of sugar. I put my baking sheet on top of a damp tea towel which helps stop the swiss roll from cracking

swiss roll tray bake ready to roll with hand piped strawberry decorations

– Using another baking sheet (and I used a chopping board for support), flip the swiss roll over so the decorated side is face down
– Working quickly, whilst it’s still hot, spread the jam all across the cake

homemade strawberry jam spread on swiss roll recipe for greatbloggersbakeoff

– Using the greaseproof paper to help, carefully, and as tightly as possible, roll up the cake

rolling super strawberry jam swiss roll recipe and how to

– Once all rolled up, wrap the greaseproof paper around and tuck in the ends. Leave to cool for at least half an hour before unwrapping and tucking in!

wrapped up swiss roll homemade cooling and setting gbbo super strawberry swiss roll recipe and hand piped decorations

I was really happy with the way the strawberries turned out!

decorated strawberry swiss roll with homemade jam gbbo

super strawberry swiss roll

And the roll itself – Paul and Mary would be impressed – a good swirl, even filling…

strawberry swiss roll tightly rolled homemade jam gbbo

Certainly not simple but stunning and delicious – a good first show-stopper to start the series!
And the best thing about a swiss roll, it’s still fat-free, and with all those strawberries must surely count as one of your five a day 😉

BAKE_ALONG_LOGO

Mint Chocolate Chip Tray Bake

mint chocolate chip traybake recipe easy dessert tea party cake recipe make ahead

An easy-but-wicked summer dessert – easy to make ahead and enjoyed by everyone!

The dark chocolate is wonderfully rich, interspersed with the crunch of the chocolate chips, and finished with a cool, smooth and creamy mint icing. Keep in the fridge until serving for an extra burst of freshness.

Ingredients (cake layer)
100g dark chocolate
125g butter
100g sugar
50g cream cheese
3 eggs
185g plain flour
100g dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Method
– Melt the chocolate via your preferred method – be that microwave, over a pan of hot water, etc. Set aside to cool
– Beat together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese
– Beat in the eggs and milk , with a tablespoon of flour
– Once the chocolate is cool enough – it should only feel lukewarm to touch, quickly but carefully add to the mixture and quickly beat in. Too hot and you’ll cook the eggs, too cold or too slow to beat and the chocolate will solidify in before it’s mixed! It’s not as tricky as it sounds but make sure your wooden spoon is at the ready
– Add the flour, baking powder, and chocolate chips. By putting the chocolate chips in last, they’ll get a thin coating of flour, which should stop them sinking during cooking- Beat together until all combined, but don’t over-mix
– Pour into a well-greased tin, 20 cm / 8 inches square is ideal
– Bake at 180 degrees for 25 – 35 minutes. Test with a skewer, but be wary of mistaking melted chocolate chips for uncooked cake batter! It should also start to pull away from the side of the tin when ready.
– Leave to cool in the tin, so the chocolate chips have time to set

mixing dark chocolate chips into cocoa batter with flour to prevent sinking dark chocolate chip traybake sticky batter ready to bake

tray bake fresh from the oven chocolate crispy crunch brownie top

I find it better to ice within the tin as well – you can ensure an even coating right up to side, and you can even refrigerate in the tin until you’re ready to slice and serve.

Mint icing
75g butter
Few drops peppermint essence
Couple drops lemon juice
200g icing sugar
Green food colouring
50g dark chocolate chips, to decorate

– Beat together all the ingredients bar the chocolate chips. The food colouring is entirely optional but I think adds to the effect
– Spoon the icing onto the cake, and spread evenly with a small palette knife or the back of a spoon, making sure you have even coverage at the sides and the corners
– Sprinkle generously with the dark chocolate chips
– Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve – I’d recommend a minimum of an hour in the fridge, maximum of 2 days
– Cut into squares as large as you please – mine were big and chunky and didn’t last long at all!

mound of mint colour and flavour icing on dark chocolate chip traybake recipe mint chocolate chip traybake icing setting inside tin

mint chocolate chip tray bake ready to be cut into squares easy dessert recipe

mint chocolate chip traybake recipe easy summer dessert

corner section of tray bake mint icing dark chocolate chips brownie cake base

mint chocolate chip traybake big dessert squares easy party summer cooking