Amaretto Chocolate Cake

Inspired to make this by something similar that Nigella makes. My version has a variation on ingredients and no ground almonds as my girls can’t eat them. The delicious end result of a dense Amaretto chocolate cake is the same though. It’s hardly the most pretty of cakes but what it lacks in aesthetic charm it makes up for in flavour. I recommend chilling overnight and serving straight from the fridge the next day with creme fraiche.

Ingredients

250g dark chocolate

4 eggs separated

110g of caster sugar

3 tablespoons of warm water

2 tablespoons Amaretto

Cocoa powder for dusting

Creme fraiche to serve (optional)

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C. Grease and line a loose bottomed tin approx 20cm.

Break up the chocolate into little squares and melt gently either in the microwave in short bursts of a few seconds, stirring occasionally or in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. I prefer the microwave method as its quicker. Allow to cool for a while.

Whilst the chocolate is cooling crack your eggs into two different mixing bowls, whites in one and yolks in another.

Add the caster sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk for a couple of minutes. You want them looking pale in colour. I’d recommend an electric whisk for this.

Gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture which should be a smooth and runny consistency and then add the water bit by bit and finally the Amaretto. Try not to eat any of the chocolate mixture!

Lastly whisk up your egg whites in your separate bowl for a minute or so until they start to hold their shape. You want them looking almost marshmallowy. Finally fold them bit by bit into the chocolate mixture.

When you have a gooey, chocolatey liquid pour into your baking tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow too cool. The cake will look a bit wobbly but don’t worry, just leave to cool in the tin as this will soon set. Once the cake has cooled transfer in the tin to the fridge and leave overnight. You don’t have to leave overnight but it really is best that way. This is meant to be a rich dense cake rather than a soft spongey one so it works best straight from the fridge.

When you remove it before serving it will have turned into a gorgeous, chocolatey, dense cake which you then need to dust with the best cocoa powder you can find and serve with creme fraiche or if that’s not your thing then, ice cream or fresh double cream.


Triple Chocolate Toblerone Cookies

I made these cookies in a bid to use up the Christmas chocolate. I always buy way too much!

I’m so delighted with how they came out. Big chunky triple choc cookies using miniature milk, plain and white Toblerones. When you make yours and take a bite you will want to marry them. Dip them in milk for extra happiness.

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients

200g mini Toblerones – mix of milk, dark and white snapped into pieces

120g butter – softened

120g caster sugar

120g light brown sugar

1 large egg – beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

220g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Half teaspoon bicarbonate soda

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Line 3 baking trays. For best results cook each tray separately in the centre of oven so you can keep re-lining the same tray if you wish.

Beat together your butter and sugars until light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl.

Beat in your beaten egg bit by bit and then your vanilla.

In another large bowl sift your flour, baking powder , bicarb and cocoa. Gently fold into your butter mixture along with your snapped up mini Toblerone pieces.

When you have a doughy mixture divide in half, roll into two balls and cling film. Pop in the fridge for around half hour to an hour.

Split the dough between your 3 trays and roll into golf ball sized mounds. Pop in the centre of the oven for approx 10 minutes. The cookies will spread so space at least 2 inches apart.

Allow to cool for a few minutes on the tray as they’ll still be cooking a little when they come out the oven. Best not to overcook them as they won’t be so gooey and delicious.

Transfer onto a wire baking rack.


Brownies

Brownies are amazing any time of year but especially at Christmas. I sieve over a little icing sugar to make them look all snowy and festive. They’re the perfect treat for those that turn their noses up at mince pies which incidentally I could never comprehend the thought of doing!

These are fudgey, gooey and everything a brownie should be. Thank me later!

Makes 16

Ingredients

185g butter

185g milk chocolate

100g dark chocolate

85g plain flour

40g cocoa

275g caster sugar

3 eggs

Teaspoon icing sugar to sieve over when baked.

Method

Pre heat oven to 180C / 160C and line and grease a shallow 20 x30cm tin.

Melt your butter and milk chocolate together. I do mine in short bursts in the microwave. Stopping every now and then to stir. Once it’s fully combined and runny set aside.

Measure your flour and cocoa and sieve into a large mixing bowl.

Weight out your caster sugar in a separate bowl and whisk in your eggs. When the mixture is pale and fluffy and looks like it’s almost doubled in size it’s time to pour over the chocolate mixture.

Now gently fold in your flour in a figure of 8 motion. We don’t want to whisk in or go mad here as we don’t want to knock out the air.

Snap up your dark chocolate into cm sized bits and stir gently into the mixture.

Pour into your tin and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Once fully cooked they will be firm without a wobbly centre.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so. Gently ease out of the tin onto a wire rack to cool further.

Transfer onto a plate and chop into even squares. Sieve over a little icing sugar and adorn with anything you have knocking about that’s Christmassy. Enjoy!


Coconut Snowy Rocky Road

Christmas and rocky road are two of my absolute favourites so I thought why not combine the two together to make a snowy rocky road. It contains all the usual suspects but I’ve packed this one full of sweet coconut for all the snowy Christmas vibes.

Ingredients

200g milk chocolate

60g marshmallows

50g coconut – desiccated and extra to sprinkle when serving

80g golden syrup

180g choc chip cookies

135g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Line an 18cm x 18cm tin with greaseproof paper.

Start by smashing up your cookies into small bits ( not crumbs).

Chop up your marshmallows or just use mini ones to save doing this.

Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup over a low heat in a saucepan, stirring all the while and once fully melted and slightly cooled add the marshmallows and cookies. Stir so it’s all combined.

Finally, add your coconut and vanilla extract, mix thoroughly so every bite is full of coconut.

Transfer to your tin, smooth over with a palette knife but still leave it a bit rocky. Allow to refrigerate for a few hours but preferably overnight.

Remove from fridge, chop into pieces and sprinkle over more coconut for more snowy delightfulness.


Chocolate Orange Millionaire’s Shortbread

Oh my, what can I say about this one. I’ve been dreaming of this recipe for ages but wanted to save it for you until Christmas. So the 1st December seems fine. Trust me when I say it’s probably going to be one of the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten. The orange gives it a delightful fragrance and a real festive feel.

Shortbread, gooey caramel, rich chocolate orange. Serve it with a cup of tea and it’s heaven on earth. If you’re a millionaire’s shortbread fan and let’s face it who isn’t, you’re going to be in your element.

Ingredients

Shortbread

100g butter

50g caster sugar

50g cornflour

Few drops of water to mix

For the caramel

1/2 can of caramel – I used Carnation

Topping

1 Terry’s chocolate orange

Method

Pre heat oven to 160c / 140c fan

Grease and line a square tin. You could use an 8″ round cake tin but you will have triangles instead of squares.

Make sure your greaseproof paper overhangs slightly so you can ease out the shortbread.

Cream together your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Now add your plain flour and cornflour bit by bit. I do this in about four stages so it’s easier to mix into the butter and sugar and doesn’t puff all over the kitchen.

Knead the mixture to bring it together into a ball and press it into your tin. Level off with a palette knife and prick with a fork around the edges.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes. Slightly before the baking time is up ( about 5 mins before) gently press on the centre of the shortbread to check that it’s crisp. If not allow it to bake for another 5 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so.

Now pour over your caramel and allow to set in the fridge for at least an hour.

Melt your chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or in a basin over a saucepan on the stove. It won’t hurt if you have a sneaky slice before you melt it. Stir so it’s lovely and smooth and pour over the top of your caramel.

Pop back in the fridge for at least 2 hours. I did mine overnight.

Remove from tin and chop into squares with a sharp knife.

Have yourself a piece with a cup of tea.


Fruit Topped Cupcakes

You can pretty much choose any fruit you like to top these gorgeous little cupcakes but I like berries at this time of year.

These go down surprisingly well with everyone and they are a great idea when you are trying to sneak fruit into the children’s diet albeit surrounded by sugar but there we are!

If they last long enough without being scoffed, I’d recommend keeping them chilled in the fridge to prolong the life of the fruit.

Makes 12

Ingredients

For the sponge

125g butter

125g caster sugar

125g self raising flour

Teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttercream to top

250g icing sugar

85g butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Few drops of icy water to mix

Topping

1 punnet of raspberries

1 punnet of blueberries

1 punnet of blackberries

Method

Preheat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cake cases.

Add all of your ingredients for the sponge to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until you have a smooth and creamy mixture that drops off the whisk.

Spoon evenly into your cases and bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes.

When they are lightly golden and springy to the touch they are ready to come out the oven. I’m obsessed with that saying!

While the cakes are cooling mix up your buttercream.

When the cakes are fully cooled pipe around the edge of your cakes to make a nest in the centre for the fruit to sit in.

Place your fruit in the centre of the buttercream.

Spoil yourself and have one with a cup of tea or glass of fizz.


Peppermint Cream Rocky Horror Road

Happy Halloween!

You might have gathered that I’m slightly obsessed with rocky road. It’s my favourite and I love thinking up new versions. This spooky rocky horror road is packed with crunchy oreos, milk chocolate, fluffy marshmallows and peppermint creams. Too good for the trick or treaters!

Ingredients

100g milk chocolate

120g peppermint creams – chopped into quarters

75g mini marshmallows

80g golden syrup

200g oreos

135g butter

Method

Line an 18×18 inch tin with greaseproof paper

Bash up your oreos so they are in fragments rather than crumbs. I do this by putting them in wax wrap and hitting them with a rolling pin.

Add your butter, golden syrup and milk chocolate to a pan and melt over a low heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.

Now add the oreos, marshmallows and lastly the peppermint cream quarters.

Mix to combine and transfer into your lined tin.

Cool in the fridge for a few hours but preferably overnight.

Cut into whatever size pieces you desire.

Tip: This variety is best served straight from the fridge


Pumpkin Spice Halloween Cake Pops

Perfect for trick or treat. Filled with pumpkin spice cake and buttercream or pickled onions the choice is yours haha!

Thank you to my girls for their input and assistance with this one.

Makes 16 cake pops

Ingredients

For the sponge

125g butter

125g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Buttercream

110g icing sugar

50g butter

Half teaspoon vanilla extract

Drop or 2 of cold water to mix

Decor

150g white chocolate

Black writing icing in a tube

Method

Preheat oven to 180c / 160c fan

Line and grease an 8 inch cake tin.

Add all ingredients for the sponge to a large mixing bowl and whisk until fully combined and you have a smooth and creamy consistency.

Spoon into your cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for approx 25 minutes until lightly golden and springy to the touch.

Meanwhile mix up the buttercream in a separate large bowl.

When the cake is baked remove from oven and allow to stand in the tin for 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool.

Snap the cake into pieces, add to your bowl of buttercream and mix together. Roll into balls ( a bit smaller than a golf ball), pop in a stick and leave to set in the fridge for an hour.

Remove from fridge, melt your white chocolate and dip each cake pop in to fully coat.

Once the chocolate coating is completely dry draw on your ghoul faces with the tube of black icing.

Tip: If you don’t have cake pop sticks just use straws.


Lemon Shortbread

There’s something so delightful about shortbread. I’ve been developing a lovely shortbread recipe for Christmas and along the way I thought I’d try out a delicate lemon shortbread.

I’m so happy with it. Buttery, melt in the mouth shortbread with a subtle zesty lemon undertone.

Get the kettle on quick before it all disappears.

Ingredients

100g butter

50g caster sugar

100g plain flour

50g cornflour

Zest of a lemon

Sugar to sprinkle

Method

Preheat oven to 160c / 140c fan

Line and grease an 8 inch cake tin making sure the greaseproof paper overhands the tin slightly so you can remove the shortbread easily.

In a large mixing bowl cream together your butter and sugar.

Now add your plain flour and cornflour bit by bit. I do this in about four stages so it’s easier to mix into the butter and sugar and doesn’t puff everywhere.

Add your grated lemon zest, stirring to combine.

Knead the mixture to bring it together into a ball and press it into your tin. Level off with a palette knife and prick with a fork around the edges.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes. Slightly before the baking time is up ( about 5 mins before) gently press on the centre of the shortbread to check that it’s crisp. If not allow it to bake for another 5 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so. Remove from tin and chop into slices with a sharp knife and sprinkle over a little sugar. Icing sugar is fine but I like crunchy sugar the best.

Enjoy warm with a cup of tea.


Coconut and Almond Fairy Cakes

I love both coconut and almond so I thought I’d include both in a recipe for some lovely little fairy cakes. They make a nice change and are so light and fluffy.

Makes 12

Ingredients

125g butter

125g caster sugar

125g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons milk

2 eggs

To decorate

Cup of dessicated coconut

6 glacé cherries cut in half

200g icing sugar

A few drops of iced water to mix

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cake cases.

Start by beating together your butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in your flour and baking powder bit by bit.

Add your eggs, almond extract and milk and whisk until you have a creamy mixture that drops off the whisk.

Spoon the mixture into your cake cases as evenly as possible and bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 15 minutes until they have risen and are springy to the touch. You want them to be lightly golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to cool on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling mix up your icing in a large bowl adding your iced water a tiny drip at a time to get a paste like consistency that will be easy to smooth over the cakes. Spoon your icing onto each cake as evenly as possible and while the icing is still sticky scatter over your coconut and top with a cherry. Voila!