Tuesday, 25 March 2014


One dark and stormy night I retired to my laboratory intent only on creating the most diabolically delicious desserts. The most wanton, lustful, downright sexual cakes and sinfully sweet treats that offer nothing less that total, unadulterated indulgence. The result of my fiendish endeavours was this. This utterly filthy, unashamedly unrestrained beast of a recipe, that combines the super rich and fudgy brownie with the saccharine sweet and slightly chewy macaron in a veritable red wedding of flavour and texture. Gluten free they may be, but make no mistake virtuous they most certainly are not. They are nefarious, plain and simple and all the better for it.

Prep time: 25 Mins (plus 30 mins drying time)
Baking time: 30-35 Mins
For the Brownie
150g Unsalted Butter (Cut into cubes)
210g Caster Sugar
100g Cocoa Powder

1tbsp Amaretto
2 Large Eggs
100g Ground Almonds

For the Macaron
40g Finely Ground Almonds
50g icing sugar
1.5tbsp cocoa powder
1 Large Egg White
3tbsp caster sugar
1tsp Almond extract

Let us begin with the brownie. Place the unsalted butter, caster sugar, cocoa powder and amaretto into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. When the butter has melted and the mixture can be stirred evenly remove from the heat and set to one side to cool slightly. At the same time grease a 21cm square tin and line with baking paper.

Whilst the mixture is cooling you can prepare the macaron concoction. Mix together the 40g of almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl whisk the egg white until light and fluffy, then continue whisking whilst adding the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Add the almond mixture to the egg white along with the almond extract, then slowly fold through until evenly combined.

Now we return to the brownie batter, noting that this stage should be completed with some haste. Add the 2 large eggs to the melted butter mixture, along with the ground almonds and mix until evenly combined. Spoon into your prepared tin, evening to the edges, then spoon over the macaron mixture, covering the top of the brownie batter (although it is fine if a few gaps remain). Leave in the tin at room temperature for 30 minutes, until the macaron topping is just tacky to the touch. Whilst you are waiting you can preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out slightly sticky when inserted into the middle of the giant brownie. When you are happy the mixture is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. When cool, remove from the tin, carefully peeling away the paper, then slice and INDULGE...

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spiced Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake chocolate cake lovely spicy chocolate cake warm and rich chocolate cake cardamom chocolate cake cinnamon chocolate cake ginger chocolate cake cardamom chocolate cake orange chocolate cake orange blossom chocolate cake gluten free chocolate cake chocolate cake chocolate cake sweet chocolate cake simple chocolate cake satisfying chocolate cake chocolate cake white chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate cake...

Prep time: 25 Mins
Baking time 50-55 Mins
200g Dark Chocolate (In squares)
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Light Muscovado Sugar
25g Caster Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1tsp Orange Blossom Water
Zest of 1 Large Orange
1/2tsp Ground Ginger
1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch Ground Cardamom
Pinch Nutmeg
200g Ground Almonds
1tbsp Cocoa Powder
25g White Chocolate (Melted and slightly cooled)

To the kitchen with you! Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3, grease a 20cm deep, round and loose bottomed baking tin and line completely with baking paper. In a large bowl melt together the chocolate and butter. This can be achieved using a bain-marie or with the microwave (taking care with your timings). Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, set to one side to cool until just warm. You don't want scrambled eggs after all!

Speaking of which, when the mixture has cooled slightly add both sugars and eggs then beat to combine. Add the orange blossom water and orange zest, followed by the spices, then sprinkle in the almonds and cocoa powder. Mix vigourously, then spoon into your prepared tin and even to the edges. With a teaspoon drizzle over the melted white chocolate then bake in the centre of the oven for around 50-55 mins, until a metal skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin. Slice and serve. This one is a real fudgy beast, with the warm tickle of spice and a rich deep flaour. Enjoy!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Banana Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast is certainly the most important meal of the day and a good, hearty and healthy breakfast will steel one accordingly for whatever the day has in store. However that does not mean that an occasional cheeky indulgence is ever out of the question. In fact a little treat can be just the tonic for the morning blues and a really lovely way to surprise your friends or loved ones. These banana muffins are elementary in their creation and can be made with minimal effort the evening before. They are also surprisingly versatile and delicious served on their own, with fresh yoghurt and fruit or warmed through with ice cream or even custard. Oh yes, I fancy a piece of that action right now!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 30 Mins
140g Plain Flour
125g Light Muscovado Sugar
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Cocoa Powder
1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
145ml Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg plus 1 Yolk
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Bananas (Very ripe and well mashed)
25-30g Jumbo Oats
Maple Syrup (For drizzling)

Off to the kitchen we go! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a muffin tray with 8 paper cases. In a large mixing bowl sift in the flour, then add the sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and bicarb. Mix to combine, then set to one side. In a separate bowl or large jug pour in the oil, then add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix together with a fork, then tip into the flour mixture. Add the bananas then mix the whole lot to a consistent batter. Pour or spoon the mixture into your prepared cases, then scatter over the oats and drizzle each with a little maple syrup. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into one of the muffins, then remove. Give each another drizzle of maple syrup, leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then carefully remove each muffin, leaving to cool completely on a wire rack. And there you go, all finished.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

My Baking Adventures - January 2014

Here's a little look at what I've been making, baking and eating over the last month. As always if you have any questions or comments then don't hesitate to get in touch! xXx

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Cheats Black Forest Cheesecake

Ah the good old black forest gateau. It may be kitsch, passée even but by George it's a tasty devil, with almost sickly sweet cherry filling, rich cream and of course a generous hit of chocolate. Here's my cheeky homage to this retro classic, with all the familiar ingredients stuffed into a 'cheats' cheesecake, so called as I have used (shock and horror!) tinned, that's right, tinned cherries in syrup. I won't lie, I only created this one as I was given said tinned cherries and had only deemed them good enough for experimentation. But what an experiment it turned out to be. I can only conclude by imploring you to indulge in a little wanton vulgarity and trying it out for yourself!

Prep time: 25 Mins (Plus cooling and chilling time)
Baking time: 60 Mins (Plus 10 mins for the base)
200g Digestive Biscuits
115g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
600g Full-Fat Cream Cheese (Such as Philadelphia)
1 Large Egg, plus 2 Yolks
300ml Thick Single Cream
150g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
410g Tin of Black Cherry Filling

75g Dark Chocolate (Cold)

Time to bake! Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and completely line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper. In a large bowl pulverise the digestives to crumbs, then add the melted butter and mix. Tip into your prepared tin, press evenly and firmly to the edges and bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set to one side for half an hour to cool.

Preheat the oven again to 190C/375F/Gas 5. In a fresh large bowl beat the cheese until creamy, then add the sugar, cream and vanilla extract and whisk until evenly combined. Tip the cherry filling into a dish, then using a toothpick or small fork carefully remove each individual cherry and place evenly spaced out onto the biscuit base. Don't worry too much if some of the syrup comes with them. Tip over the cheesecake mixture, then finish by drizzling over the leftover cherry syrup with a spoon. You can use as little or as much of the filling as you see fit. Place in the centre of the oven for around 60 minutes, until the cheesecake has a light wobble in the middle and just browning at the edges. You can cover with foil for the final ten minutes if it is darkening too much on top.

When you are happy the cheesecake is baked remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, before covering completely (or placing in a sealed container) and leaving in the fridge for at least a few hours (ideally overnight) to set.

Once the cheesecake has set take it from the fridge and very carefully remove from the tin, peeling off the baking paper. Grate over the cold chocolate and boombangabangarang, your work is complete.