Nutella Brownie Cake

You’re going to start thinking I’m sponsored by Nutella soon.   I wish!  I just love seeing really really easy recipes and as I don’t have much time to bake, when I do see something I want to make, I grasp the opportunity as quickly as possible.  I wasn’t planning to do any baking at all yesterday.  I know it was father’s day and maybe my husband deserved a cake for being such a good dad to our little girl, but the thought of making a cake had not crossed my mind until suddenly, looking on Facebook I saw a recipe that a friend had shared – 3 ingredient Nutella Brownies.   I love Nutella and I do love brownies.   And I could not believe how easy this recipe looked.   Despite having cheesecake in the fridge already, I could not resist making this cake.

So did it live up to expectations?  Well, it wasn’t quite a brownie but it did taste like one.  It was a bit drier than I’d have liked but that may have been my fault as I could have taken it out of the oven a little earlier.  I’d say, if you were expecting brownies, you would be a little disappointed, but if you were expecting a chocolate cake, you’d be perfectly happy.   I would like to make it again and next time I will take it out of the oven earlier and hopefully have a more brownie-like cake.

I am linking this to Sugar and Slice Sunday.

Nutella cake slice (500x458)

Ingredients – serves 8

250g Nutella

62g self-raising flour

2 eggs

How to Make Nutella Brownies

1. Mix all the ingredients together.

2. Line a tin with baking parchment and grease the sides.  Pour the mixture in.

3. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C.  This will give you a cake-like texture.  Next time I will cook it for just 20 minutes.

Cinnamon Apple Cake

I have had such a busy month and I realise writing this post just before the deadline that the last post I did was also for the Secret Recipe Club.  I really will have to try and do better in the next month.  So, this month I was paired with Heather from Join Us Pull Up A Chair.  She also began blogging as a way of organising her recipes and there were lots of delicious recipes to choose from.  I was torn between trying her sweet potato hummus and this recipe for apple and cinnamon cake.  In the end, the apple cake won as I had some apples that were turning a bit soft and as I don’t like to throw things away, a cake seemed the best way of using them up.  I also love the combination of apple and cinnamon, as you can probably tell from my baked apple pancake, apple and cinnamon and raisin scones and apple and cinnamon crumble.

The finished cake was really delicious, really soft and moist.  Just as delicious as I’d imagined.   The only change I would make next time would be to use slightly less sugar as I found there to be a little too much cinnamon sugar on the top and so a large piece felt just a little too sweet for me.

I am also linking this to Sugar and Slice Sunday.

apple cinnamon cake (500x390)

Ingredients

200g + 100g sugar

115g room temperature unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

170g room-temperature cream cheese

2 eggs

200g self-raising flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

390g chopped peeled apple (5 apples, peeled, cored and diced) (much less than in original recipe)

How to Make Cinnamon Apple Cake

1. Put 200g sugar, the butter, vanilla extract and cream cheese in a bowl and beat together.  Then add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each one.

2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and then add to the wet mixture.  Beat until combined.

3. In another bowl mix the cinnamon into the rest of the sugar.   Add 4 tablespoons to the chopped apple and stir to coat.

4. Add the apples to the cake batter.

5. Line the bottom of a 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment and coat the sides with oil or butter.  Spoon the batter into the cake tin.

6. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the cake and bake in the oven at 180C for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

To see what other Secret Recipe Club participants have made, click on the link below:



Mastic Cake and a Baby

She’s finally arrived – Little Miss Spice was born on 22 April, weighing 7lbs 4 (3.3kg).  We’re now back at home and trying to get used to our new life which seems to be full of an endless cycle of washing, changing nappies, crying, feeding, sleeping and starting all over again so I’m not sure how much blogging is going to get done over the next few weeks (I have been writing this post for almost a week!).   But, she’s worth it, and absolutely gorgeous.

It’s hard to remember life before she arrived but a few weeks ago I was reading a post on Katrina’s blog, Culinary Flavours, about a Greek mastic flavoured pastry.   I’d never heard of mastic and so was delighted when Katrina very kindly offered to send me some.  It is a resin from the mastic tree and has an unusual pine/cedar type flavour.  Have a look at Katrina’s blog for more information about it.

Well, when I received the mastic I was in a cake baking mood and so I decided to make a mastic scented cake.  I researched flavours that go with mastic and came up with cardamom and decided to make a mastic and cardamom cake.   I was advised that mastic is a very strong flavour and can be an acquired taste and so to use very little to begin with.   I found a basic recipe and halved all the quantities to make a smaller cake and used less than the recommended amount of mastic too. I added cardamom hoping that it would balance out the mastic and go well with the ground almond, but in the end I couldn’t taste the cardamom as the mastic overpowered it. Overall, it was a lovely soft almondy cake but I couldn’t decide whether I liked the mastic or not.   It was different and interesting but part of me thought, I would rather just eat almond and cardamom cake as the mastic left a slight aftertaste.  Maybe I overdid it a little.   Next time I will add just a pinch of ground mastic and will up the cardamom. So, even though this was not a complete success, I’m pleased to have tried something new and especially grateful to Katrina for sending the mastic.

Ingredients

125g ground almonds

125g icing sugar

110g butter

2 eggs

75g self-raising flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

2g mastic(but would use much less next time)

1 tsp caster sugar

2 cardamom pods

How to Make Mastic and Cardamom Cake

1. Put the mastic, caster sugar and the seeds from 2 cardamom pods in a spice grinder.    Grind to a powder.   Put this powder in a large mixing bowl with the ground almonds, icing sugar and butter.    Cream together.

2. Add the egg and beat with a whisk.  Then add the self-raising flour and baking powder and whisk until everything is combined.

3. Put the mixture in a greased cake tin and bake in the oven at about 170C for 45 minutes.

Ginger Cake

This looks like ginger cake and tastes like ginger cake, but I’m not really sure if I should call it that.    The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of ground ginger but as I was in the middle of making the cake I discovered I only had half a teaspoon left in the jar.     Well one of the ingredients in mixed spice is ginger so I just added a bit extra, hoping it would do the trick, and yes, it seemed to work.  Maybe I should have called it mixed spice cake or even just called it golden syrup cake, seeing as that is one of the main ingredients.   And maybe that is one of the reasons this stays so moist and maybe also the reason why you get the lovely slightly gooey layer on top of the cake.   In looks it is very similar to the carrot cake I made a couple of weeks ago, but I managed to claim the carrot cake was fairly healthy as far as carrot cakes go.   Unfortunately I can’t claim the same for this, but as long as you cut it into small squares to serve, it really doesn’t feel so bad.

I made this cake as part of Dom’s Random Recipe Challenge.   As Belleau Kitchen is celebrating its second birthday we had to randomly choose a recipe from a baking book or the baking section of a book.  I don’t actually have many baking books but I picked Step by Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton and I have to admit, I fancied making a cake so I did severely limit the section of the book too to be sure I picked something I wanted to make.  I have to say, I’m fairly pleased with all my baking efforts recently.   I used to say I wasn’t really a baker but I’m already thinking of what sweet treat I can make next!

I am also linking to Sweets for a Saturday and Cookbook Sundays.

Ingredients – serves 12 (slightly adapted from Step by Step Baking)

225g self-raising flour

110g unsalted butter or margarine

200g golden syrup

110g soft brown sugar

200ml milk

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

How to Make Ginger Cake

1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large mixing bowl.

2. Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and milk into a small saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.

3. Pour the liquid from the saucepan into the mixing bowl with the flour.    Whisk well and then beat in the egg too.

4. Line the bottom of a square 18cm cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides.   Pour the mixture into the tin.    Bake in the oven at about 170C for 35 minutes.   Test with a skewer and bake for a bit longer if it comes out wet.

5. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

CookbookSundays

Chocolate Microwave Cake

A few years ago someone asked me if I’d ever made a microwave pudding before.  I hadn’t.  They raved about it, how easy it was, how good it tasted and I thought it was worth a try – they even printed out the recipe for me.  Somehow or other though, I never actually got around to making it.   I suppose I thought it was cheating a bit.   Microwaves are for heating up soup or making porridge in my little world and I usually feel if I’m going to make something, I should make it properly, not that I very often do make puddings or cakes so even a microwave pudding is adventurous for me.

Anyway, it’s a long time since I was unsuccessfully encouraged to give microwave puddings a go and I have long ago lost the recipe I was originally given to try.    In fact, I might have forgotten about these puddings altogether, except for the fact that just before Christmas I was looking at one of my favourite blogs, Culinary Flavours, when I came across this recipe, called Mug Cake or Five Minute Cake and it reminded me of that conversation I’d had a few years ago.

I made a few small alterations to the recipe.   I only had olive oil, which I thought might flavour the cake in the wrong way so I used butter instead.  I also used one tablespoon less sugar and added some milk chocolate.  When I turned out the pudding on a plate there was a lovely hot chocolatey sauce on the top of the pudding.   I’m not sure if this was supposed to have all turned to sponge in the original recipe, and whether it was that it needed 30 seconds more in the microwave, or maybe it was just all the melted chocolate.   Whatever caused it, I am certainly not complaining,  it turned the cake from a plain chocolate sponge to a more impressive dessert.  Of course, it’s not as good as a homemade chocolate fondant, but it is just as good as something like Gü, as well as being far cheaper and easy to throw together at the last minute.

I am sending this to Tina’s Crazy Cooking Challenge.  The theme this month is chocolate cake.

I am also linking it to Chocolate Lover on Daily Cuppa ,La Cocina de Leslie for Food of the Month, which this month is chocolate and Lisa at Sweet as Sugar Cookies for Sweets for a Saturday.

Ingredients – serves 2-3

1/4 cup self-raising flour

4 tbsp sugar

40g milk chocolate

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 egg

3 tbsp milk

3 tbsp melted butter

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

How to make Chocolate Microwave Cake

1.Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave.   Chop the chocolate into chips.  Then put all the ingredients in one bowl and mix until there are no dry bits and you have a thick batter.    Pour the mixture into a microwave-proof soup/cereal bowl.

2. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.

3. Put a plate on top of the bowl and turn it upside down to turn out the pudding.    Serve immediately while still hot.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Photobucket

Carob and Chocolate Cake

I have decided that there is nothing I like better than recreating a favourite dish after a holiday. And when that dish is as interesting as this cake then so much the better.
I left Croatia a couple of weeks ago, having made a new discovery.    That discovery was carob.   It wasn’t a completely new discovery.   When I was in my early teens, my sister made something with carob in.  I say something as I have completely forgotten what it was.   It could have been a cake, biscuits, whatever, but it’s not important.   I asked what carob was and was told it was a substitute for chocolate.    Of course,   I was imagining some sort of delicious chocolatey dessert and when I tasted it, and it clearly wasn’t chocolate, I was very disappointed, as would any adolescent be.   I decided carob was not for me, and I would probably not have tried it again except for that fact that in a lovely Italian restaurant in a suburb of Dubrovnik, I fancied homemade cake for dessert.    There were only two types of homemade cakes.   As I peered into the glass cabinet trying to work out which to choose, I asked the waiter what the delicious looking chocolate coloured one was.   He didn’t know the word for carob in English, but it sounded a bit similar.    He showed me a dried pod and told me it grew in Croatia.   He had me hooked.   A local ingredient, something different.   Maybe it was time to try carob again.   After all, it looked so good.
When it came, I wasn’t expecting a chocolate cake, and so I wasn’t disappointed.   I tasted it to see if I liked it, trying to work out what it tasted of, but I couldn’t really say it tasted like anything else I knew, but it did taste really good.   I loved it, but apart from the carob, I couldn’t quite work out what it had in it.
That first night was near the beginning of our holiday, and I kept thinking back to that cake.  We ate in lots of places, in the old town of Dubrovnik and near our hotel, but I didn’t have another dessert I liked quite as much, and I was still mulling over what the ingredients were in that carob cake.   We decided to go back.   Once again we had a lovely meal, with a lovely relaxed atmosphere and at the end of the meal I finished with the carob cake.    Just as good as I remembered.   But I still couldn’t quite work out what it had in it.
A few days passed, we went home, I looked for carob cake on the internet, but all the cakes seemed to use carob as a substitute for chocolate.   I wanted a recipe for a cake that would celebrate carob as an ingredient in its own right.   Also, none of the recipes I found sounded quite right.   And so, having kept the card, I emailed the restaurant, not even knowing if I would get a response.   Then, about 24 hours later, I got a reply.   Srdan had very kindly taken the trouble not only to reply but also to translate the basics of the recipe into English.   I danced around the living room!
I was a little bit unsure of what was meant by some of the ingredients, but I experimented and followed the basic method.   The cake I ended up with didn’t taste exactly the same as in the restaurant, but it was similar.  It still had that carob flavour, distinct from chocolate.   The texture was also different.   Mine was crumblier, not as solid as the restaurant one and the bits of apple were jucier.   I also didn’t have any rum so I decided to substitute it with sloe gin.  I thought it would go well with the fruitiness of the apple and currants, although my cake guinea pigs said they would like to have it with rum next time.   One of my cake guinea pigs thought the apple needed to be cooked more before going in the cake but the other cake guinea pigs liked the little cubes of juicy apple.   Overall, there is room for some more experimenting with this cake before I declare it an absolutely final recipe – I would quite happily make it and eat it again as it is but I think I’ll experiment with preparing the apple in different ways.   There was also one ingredient that  stumped me – flavour.   Was it a misspelling of flour?  Or was it something else?   I could have asked, but I was enjoying the experimental nature of the whole challenge – so I decided to use ground almonds.    After all, why not?
If you ever get the chance to go to Dubrovnik, and if your hotel is in Lapad,  I would strongly recommend the Konoba Atlantic.   There are a lot of hotels in Lapad and a lot of restaurants, many of them on the main pedestrianised road leading to Lapad beach, but this restaurant was a clear step above these.   It was on a very quiet residential road, running parallel but behind the main road.   Unless you knew it was there, you wouldn’t just wander across it, and because of that the quality and service were of a much higher standard and meant we had a much more enjoyable meal out.   Delicious bruschetta, homemade pasta, and of course for me, the star of the meal, the carob cake.
Konoba Atlantic can be found on Kardinala Stepinca 42, Dubrovnik
Ingredients
4 apples, peeled and diced into tiny cubes, about 2mm
4 eggs
30g  currants
100 ml rum, alternative alcohol or fruit juice
100g caster sugar
100g carob powder
100ml oil
60g ground almonds or 100g flour ( as in the real recipe)
50ml milk
120g dark chocolate
How to make Chocolate and Carob Cake
1. Put the currants in a bowl and pour the alcohol on top and leave to stand.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk till they turn white and begin to form soft peaks.
3. Gradually whist in the sugar, egg yolk, ground almond, oil, milk and carob powder.
4. Mix the apple, currants and alcohol together.   Then mix the fruit mixture into the other bowl.
5. Grease the bottom and sides of a springform tin and then add the cake mixture.   Bake in the oven at about 180C for 40-45 minutes.   Check it is ready with a skewer or cocktail stick.
6. When the cake has cooled, melt the chocolate and spread on the top of the cake.
Update: Srdan has since got back to me and the mystery ingredient, flavor, was actually a typing error for flour.  Next time I’ll try it that way and let you know how it turns out.   I imagine it will be less crumbly and with a more similar texture to in the restaurant, but the taste should be almost the same.