Chocolate and strawberry valentines heart cake

Chocolate and Strawberry Valentines Heart Cake

Chocolate and strawberry valentines heart cakeMy husband has a habit of accusing me of always making the cakes I want to make and never making the ones he would have chosen.   He does have a fair point, but then again, some partners don’t get any cake at all!  He’s one of the lucky ones.

Even though he may have a case, I decided that with Valentines day coming up I really should design his ideal cake.   After all, he is my Valentine.  He loves chocolate and he loves chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache.   He also likes strawberries.  He does not like me to add dried fruit, apples or marzipan to cakes, but luckily those ingredients are not my first choice for Valentines day either.

If you are wondering where the strawberries are, I will admit that there are no real strawberries in this cake, just strawberry flavouring in the heart shaped layer.   However, if I was making it again I would be tempted to coat some strawberries in chocolate and place them around the bottom of the cake.   I would also be tempted to add a layer of strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream in the middle of the strawberry heart cake.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that as my lovely husband thought this cake was fantastic.  I don’t want him to think it wasn’t as good as it could have been.   I also have to think about the future.   As I get better at making cakes, he may start to expect more, I might then have to try even harder.   I may never be able to get away with making a plain chocolate cake ever again.

Ingredients – Serves 10-12

350g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

250g softened butter or margarine

210g caster sugar

4 eggs

2tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp strawberry flavouring

For the dark chocolate ganache

150g dark chocolate chips

180ml double cream

For the white chocolate ganache

100g white chocolate chips

120ml double cream

For the chocolate flavour buttercream

40g butter

120g icing sugar

1 tbsp cocoa

How to Make Chocolate and Strawberry Valentines Heart Cake

1. Sift the baking powder and flour into a large mixing bowl.   Add the sugar, butter and eggs.   Mix and beat together with a wooden spoon.

2. Take out about 1/3 of the mixture.  Add the strawberry flavouring to this third and beat in with the wooden spoon.   Spoon the mixture into a small 15cm cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper.

3. Add a spoonful of hot water to the cocoa powder and mix to form a paste.   Add this to the remaining cake mixture and beat in.   Spoon this mixture into a slightly larger cake tin that has also been greased and lined.  I used an 18cm tin.

4. Bake the cakes in the oven at 160C for about 50 minutes.   Check they are done by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cakes.   It should come out clean.

5. Cool the cakes in the tins for about 5-10 minutes and then turn them out to cool completely on wire racks.

6. When the cakes have cooled, use a bread knife to slice off the top part of the cake as they will have risen in the middle.   Turn the cakes upside down so they have a smoother top.

7. Make the buttercream by beating together the butter and icing sugar.   Then add the cocoa powder, dissolved in a little water, as above.

8. Slice the chocolate cake in half horzontally.   Before you separate the halves, put a little blob of buttercream on the side so that when you put the cake back together you can see exactly where to put the top layer.   This stops the cake looking wonky if it hasn’t been sliced evenly.   Spread the buttercream over the bottom layer and then put the other layer back on top.

9. Make the ganaches one at a time by putting the cream and chocolate in the microwave together.   Heat for a minute. Stir and then keep heating for 20 seconds at a time then stirring.   Stop as soon as the chocolate has melted and forms a smooth ganache.   Leave to cool and thicken.

10. When the ganache has cooled to a thick pouring consistency, pour over the cake and spread down the sides using a palette knife.   Put the chocolate ganache on the round chocolate cake and the white chocolate ganache on the heart-shaped strawberry cake. Keep the cakes on the wire racks while you do this so any extra ganache drops below the cake and doesn’t pool around the bottom.  Leave to set.

11. Pour some of the leftover chocolate ganache onto a baking tray lined with clingfilm.  Put it in the fridge to set.

12. Put the heart shaped cake on top of the round one.  Cut out a heart shape from the chocolate ganache and place it in the middle of the heart cake.

Chocolate and strawberry valentines heart cakeI am linking this to Love Cake at JibberJabberUK and Alphabakes, hosted this month by Caroline Makes and on alternate months by The More Than Occasional Baker. This is also my Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Love CakealphabakesRecipe of the 'Week


Mary Berry's Austrian Chocolate Cake

Mary Berry’s Austrian Chocolate Cake

Mary Berry's Austrian Chocolate Cake

Last week we were on holiday and I didn’t manage to do any baking along with the Bake Off but this week things are back to normal and with European Cake Week it’s just as well.   I love cake.   I could eat cake every day.   I could even eat it for breakfast, and although that may be normal in some places, it is not a typical breakfast in the UK.

There were so many things I could have made this week.  I used to live in Germany and Poland and both countries have some delicious cakes.  I have also had some very nice almond and orange cakes in Spain so that was another possibility, but at the end of the day, how could I turn down this chocolate cake?  The recipe is from Mary Berry’s Desserts and I’d had my eye on it for a while.

It’s a rich chocolaty moist brownie-like cake and although it is a cake, it’s the type of cake you could serve for dessert with some cream on the side, which we did, or some custard, which we did the next day, or some ice cream, which we eventually managed with our final slice.  Yes, it took me three days to turn the cream from cream into custard and then into ice cream, but that’s another story.

Today, it’s all about cake, and this is indeed a wonderful cake.   You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients – Serves 8

250g dark chocolate

175g unsalted butter

6 eggs, separated

200g caster sugar(60g for step 2, 140g for step 3)

30g self-raising flour

1 tbsp icing sugar

How to Make Mary Berry’s Austrian Chocolate Cake

  1. Put the chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat.  Keep giving it a stir but don’t let it boil.  Take it off the heat as soon as everything has melted.

  2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks.  Then slowly add the caster sugar as you whisk until mixture forms stiff peaks.

  3. Put the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks in another large bowl and whisk until they go very pale and thick.

  4. Continue to whisk and add the chocolate and butter mixture. Then whisk in the flour.

  5. Finally fold in the egg white mixture a third at a time.

  6. Spoon the mixture into a greased loose bottomed or springform cake tin before putting into the oven at 170C.   I used a 20cm tin and baked it for 40 minutes.  The recipe said a 23cm tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

  7. Test the centre of the cake is done with a skewer.   It should be moist and sticky but not runny.

  8. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack.   It will have risen in the oven but it will fall back down and crack a little as it cools.

  9. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top when you are ready to serve it.

Mary Berry's Austrian Chocolate Cake

I am linking this to the Great Blogger’s Bake Off, hosted by Mummy Mishaps as well as My Great #GBBO Bake Along, hosted by Super Golden Bakes.  It is also my Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.



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chocolate cake £1 2 (600x373)

90p Eggless Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake £1 2 (600x373)

Recently many food bloggers have been taking part in the live below the line challenge, attempting to feed themselves and their families for £1 a day per person for 5 days in order to raise awareness of the millions of people around the world who do live in poverty.

Luckily I’ve never had to cope with real hardship.  I’m not extravagant and I don’t spend a lot of money on food, but neither do I scrimp and save.   If I fancy splashing out on expensive ingredients for dinner, I do, but only occasionally and most of the food I feature here is everyday food.

When it comes to cakes, they can be expensive to buy and it is definitely a lot more economical to make a cake than to buy one.   The basic ingredients of flour and sugar can be bought very cheaply, especially if you are willing to use the supermarkets’ own brands, which I often do.  So, when I saw that the We Should Cocoa Challenge for this month was to make a chocolate cake costing one pound or less, I decided to give it  a go.

As I felt eggs would be the most expensive part of a typical cake, I searched for an egg-free chocolate cake recipe and found the recipe for this one on BBC Good Food.  I admit I was sceptical about whether the recipe I’d found would work.  Using lots of water in a cake just seemed a bit wierd, but I decided to trust the reviews.  After all, I’m not an expert baker anyway.

It is actually a good cake, not too sweet, with a light, moist and crumbly texture and I would happily make it again.   When I worked out the costings, it came in at just 90p. I’ve mentioned before that I like cake much more than I like icing and you can see I haven’t decorated it, but if I had, I would probably have struggled to keep it under the £1 mark, unless I’d just dusted it with icing sugar. I could also have sliced it in half horizontally and used the extra 10p on a layer of jam.

Ingredients – Serves 10-12

85g butter – 26p

2 tbsp golden syrup – 7p

1 tbsp vanilla extract – 14p

300g self-raising flour – 11p

25g cocoa powder – 29p

1tsp bicarbonate of soda – 3p

How to Make Eggless Chocolate Cake

1. Put the butter, golden syrup and vanilla in a heatproof jug.  Pour in 300ml of water and stir until the butter has melted and the syrup has dissolved.

2. Put the flour,cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into another bowl and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir until it is smooth and there are no dry bits left.

3. Pour the mixture into a 20cm greased cake tin.

4. Bake in the oven at 160C (140C fan) for 45-55 minutes.

5. Let the cake cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack.

chocolate cake £1 (600x449)


We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog. I am also linking to Bake of the week at Casa Costello.



rich moist choc cake slice (700x532)

Rich Moist Chocolate Cake

rich moist choc cake slice (700x532)

Some people like cake.   Some people prefer ice cream.   I am definitely a cake girl.  I love to eat cake, any cake, but that doesn’t mean I am always in the kitchen baking.  Despite my previous few posts all being about cake,  I actually don’t make that many cakes myself, but each time I make one, I want to make another, and with Easter upon us and chocolate on my mind, what better time to do some baking.

So of course when I was sent a few baking products and asked if I would like to make and a recipe on I could hardly turn down the chance to have a go.  Baking Mad has a huge selection of all types of sweet and savoury baking recipes and you can search for exactly what you want to make, including specifying what ingredients you’d like to include and what ingredients you’d like to avoid, which is a really useful feature, unless you try to be too specific and then there are no results.  I also liked the fact that when reading through the method for the recipe there were extra tips you could click on for each stage, which is a really useful feature for anyone not at all confident at baking.

I chose to make a chocolate cake as I haven’t made one for a long time, well apart from a chocolate cheesecake, and with Easter coming up, it just felt like the right type of cake to make.  I was seduced by the name, rich moist chocolate cake.  It sounded like exactly the sort of cake I wanted to eat. It had good reviews, 4 stars and was described as easy. Perhaps most importantly, it looked good.   The recipe sounded interesting, containing marmelade, which I thought might give it a slight orange flavour, although I couldn’t actually taste it in the finished cake so I would just use any jam or preserve if I was making it again.

The cake turned out really well.  It was indeed rich and moist, as the recipe said.   I didn’t cook it for quite as long as the recipe stated as it was ready after 70 minutes, but maybe my oven was little hot.  The chocolate icing was easy to make and set to just the right consistency to cover the top of the cake easily without running down the sides.  I also used a few wafer daisies to decorate it and give it a spring/Easter look.

rich moist choc cake slice & whole (640x700)

Ingredients – Serves 10 -12 Recipe from Baking Mad

150ml sunflower oil

150ml yoghurt

5 tbsp marmalade (I used rindless)

175g unrefined dark muscovado sugar (I used Billingtons)

3 free range eggs

225g white self-raising flour (I used Allinsons)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Icing Ingredients

175g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

50g unsalted butter

How to Make Rich Moist Chocolate Cake

  1. Heat the oven up to 170C or 150C fan. Grease and line a 20cm (8inch) round cake tin.

  2. Put the first 5 ingredients (oil, yoghurt, marmalade, sugar and eggs) into a food mixer and beat until well combined.

  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda.  Beat them into the wet mixture and stop as soon as there are no dry bits left.

  4. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours but be aware of how hot your oven is.  Mine was ready sooner.

  5. Let the cake cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. To make the icing, either put the chocolate and butter in a bowl above a pan of boiling water or put them in the microwave and microwave for 30 seconds and then 10 seconds at a time.   Keep taking it out and stirring it until all the chocolate has melted and then leave it to cool and thicken but don’t let it harden completely.

  7. When the chocolate has cooled and is a thick spreading consistency, pour it on top of the cake and use a palette knife to spread it around.

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Chocolate Fudge Cake

I haven’t made a cake for a long time, well, not since April. I fancied making a fruity one, maybe with apple or strawberries in it.   My other half however, always asks for chocolate desserts.  As he’s working very hard at the moment, I decided I should go with something  to suit his tastes.  But of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t like chocolate fudge cake.  Oh no, in fact after not eating it for years, I’ve eaten it a couple of times recently in a local restaurant and developed quite a taste for it.  I should really thank the restaurant for this post as if there had been a fruity cheesecake or crumble on the menu I would never have rediscovered how much I actually like this cake and would probably not have been making it now.  You may notice that the icing has melted more in the middle of the cake rather than evenly.   This is not what you should be aiming for, but because our microwave turntable is broken.  Luckily it still works just enough to heat this cake!

The recipe is from Step-by-Step Baking by Caroline Bretherton and so I am linking it to Cookbook Sundays, hosted by Couscous and Consciousness.

Ingredients for the Cake – Serves 8

172g self-raising flour

150ml vegetable oil

25g cocoa powder

1tsp baking powder

150g soft light brown sugar

3 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs

150ml milk

Icing Ingredients

125g unsalted butter

25g cocoa powder

125g icing sugar

1-2 tbsp milk, if the icing is too dry

How to Make Chocolate Fudge Cake

1. Put the golden syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until it goes much runnier but don’t let it boil.  Leave to cool.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl then mix in the sugar.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and milk.   Then pour this mixture into the first bowl and whisk together.

4. Pour the golden syrup into the mixture and fold it in gently.

5. Pour the mixture into an oiled cake tin (approx 20cm) lined with baking paper.  Then bake in the oven for approx 40 minutes at 200C.   Test the centre with a skewer and bake a little longer if necessary.

6. Then make the icing.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.   Stir the cocoa powder in and cook for 1-2 minutes.   Leave to cool.

7. When cool, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and pour the cocoa mixture into it.   Beat together.   If the mixture is too dry, add a little milk, no more than a tablespoon at a time, and beat until the icing is combined and glossy.  Spread the mixture onto the top of the cake.

8. To serve, put a slice of cake in the microwave for about a minute so the icing begins to melt and then serve with ice cream or cream.


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.

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