Black Cherry Cheesecake Topped with Kirsch Soaked Black Cherries

Black Cherry Cheesecake

There are some desserts that I just cannot resist and cheesecake is one of them. Maybe it’s because it’s something I’ve grown up eating or maybe it’s just because cheesecake is the best dessert ever.

Not only is cheesecake the best dessert ever, this cheesecake is the best blackcherry cheesecake ever.   The secret is all down to some natural flavoured black cherry icing sugar from Sugar and Crumbs.

sugar and crumbs black cherryI tasted a little before mixing it into the cheesecake mixture and it had a lovely intense black cherry flavour – I could have eaten it in spoonfuls out of the pack!  Even when mixed with the cream cheese and cream there was still a very definite black cherry flavour.  It would have been hard to find black cherry flavouring so using flavoured icing sugar was a perfect way to get the taste I wanted.

The finished black cherry cheesecake was delicious, not too rich and perfect as an adult dessert, although you can omit the kirsch soaked black cherries and the extra juice if you want.

This icing sugar would be perfect to make a black cherry flavoured buttercream icing too and so I may use the rest to decorate some little cupcakes.  There’s a recipe on the pack if you’re not used to making buttercream.  The icing sugar is white but if you wanted it to look more like how it tastes, you could easily add a little food colour.  If you have a look on the Sugar and Crumbs website there are so many delicious flavours – pineapple, peach melba and pistachio are just some of the ones I am tempted by at the moment.

Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar comes in 250g or 500g resealable bags and costs from £2.99.

black cherry cheesecake 3

Ingredients – Serves 10

8 digestive biscuits (120g approx)

75g butter

300g cream cheese

60g black cherry flavoured icing sugar

250ml double cream

Jar of black cherries in Kirsch or something similar (optional)

How to Make Black Cherry Cheesecake

1. Crumble the digestive biscuits between your fingers to make crumbs.  Alternatively blitz them in a food processor or put them in a food bag and bang them with a rolling pin.

2. Melt the butter in the microwave or a small saucepan.   Pour it over the biscuit crumbs and stir till them are all coated in the butter and the mixture is clumping together.

3. Put the crumbs into the bottom of a 20cm springform or loose bottomed cake tin.  Press them down with a spoon.

4. In a food mixer, beat the cream cheese until light and creamy.   Beat in the icing sugar.

5. In another bowl, whisk the cream until it stands in soft peaks.   Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture then spoon it on top of the cheesecake base.

6. Smooth the top and put it in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours.

7. To serve, remove the cheesecake carefully from the tin and top with some of the cherries.   When you serve, drizzle with some of the liquid from the jar of cherries.

Disclosure: I was sent some sample packs of Sugar and Crumbs Flavoured Icing Sugar but the views here are my own.

Recipe Redux: Pesto Crusted Sea Bass

Grilled Sea bass with a pesto coating

I’ve made lots of different pestos over the years.   Some of them have featured on this blog, some of them haven’t.   Until now they have all had one thing in common – cheese.   This pesto is the first one I’ve made without cheese as I was aiming for a lighter and fresher pesto recipe.

The reason for that is that this is my first month taking part in the Recipe Redux, a food blogging challenge set up by dietitians where the focus is on creating delicious but also healthy dishes.   This month the theme was double dinners and we were challenged to either make a healthy meal from the leftovers of a dish on our blog or to cook a new dish but to show how the leftovers could be used to make another delicious dinner as well.

I chose to make two meals with coriander pesto but adapted the recipe on my blog to make it less oily.  For my first meal of parmesan crusted sea bass I wanted the pesto to have quite a thick consistency so it would coat the fish like a crust, keeping the fish moist but also adding lots of pesto flavour.   This meant not adding too much olive oil to it.

It worked.   The fish was moist and the pesto made it so yummy.   Avoiding adding cheese was definitely the best option for this dish.   It just doesn’t need it – the flavours from the lemon, garlic, chilli pepper and coriander are perfect for the sea bass.  Or any other white fish you choose to use.

For my second dinner we just mixed the pesto with pasta.   As the pesto was quite thick I left quite a bit of the cooking water in with the pasta before stirring in the pesto so that the sauce would be liquid enough to coat all of the pasta and although you can’t see it in the picture further down, I then topped each plate of pasta with a small handful of grated parmesan, making a slightly richer but just as delicious pesto dinner.

Ingredients – Makes enough pesto to make both meals

Large handful of coriander including stalks and leaves (approx 60g)

50g cashew nuts

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 dried green chilli pepper, crumbled

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 sea bass fillets

How to Make Coriander Pesto Crusted Sea Bass

1. Put the cashew nuts into a dry frying pan and toast them until they are turning golden.  Keep tossing the pan so they don’t burn.

2. Put all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blitz until everything is well combined.

3. Put a tablespoon of the pesto on each sea bass fillet and press it down so it coats the whole of the top of the sea bass.   Grill for 10 minutes.

Coriander pesto on pasta

Click on the link below to see what other Recipe Redux bloggers have made for their double dinners.

Beef and Egg stir Fry

beef and egg stir fry

I have the Sainsbury’s magazine and Ken Hom to thank for this recipe.   I am a recent convert to the magazine after picking up a copy at the end of last year.   I always find about 4-5 recipes I really want to make and this month was no exception.

I often make stir fries but I have to admit that I am a bit stuck in a rut.   I use the same flavours and sauces and apart from different vegetables, the basic flavour tends to be the same.   I was attracted to this particular stir fry as it had egg in as well as meat and the way it was added was some thing I’d never tried before.   Of course, I’ve made stir fried rice with egg, but never put egg in with the meat and vegetables.

I also hadn’t used  black bean sauce at home for a long time, although it is my favourite takeway choice.  The fact that you just use a tiny bit but then the jar says to use up within a certain number of days always puts me off.  We like Chinese food but we are unlikely to eat it every day!

I really liked this but did find it slightly salty so next time I wouldn’t add the soy sauce in step 5 and I would also use a smaller amount of black bean sauce.   I’d probably add a tiny bit in step 3 then just add a little more at the end if it needed it. Of course, the saltiness could be down to the particular brand I was using, but I think it would make sense to do that next time anyway.  Apart from that it was a really good discovery and a nice way of using mince rather than making it into burgers or bolognese.

Ingredients

For the Beef Marinade

200g beef

2 tsp soy sauce

1.5 tsp shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp cornflour

For the eggs

2 eggs

1 tsp sesame oil

Pinch of salt

Other Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed

Small knob of fresh ginger, finely diced or grated

1 tbsp black bean sauce

3 spring onions, diced

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp caster sugar

1 large tomato

1 tsp sesame oil

How to Make Beef and Egg Stir fry

1. Put all the marinade ingredients for the beef in a bowl.   Mix together and then add the beef mince and mix it in quickly with your hands.   Leave for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the eggs by beating the eggs, sesame oil and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside.

3. Add a little oil to a wok or large frying pan.  When it is hot, add the garlic, ginger, black bean sauce and spring onions.

4. Cook for about 30 seconds then add the beef.   Keep stirring and breaking up the beef as it cooks.

5. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the extra soy sauce(optional), shaoxing rice wine and sugar.   Stir in then add about 60ml of water and the tomatoes.

6. When the water has reduced and the beef is cooked, drizzle the egg in and stir slowly.   As soon as the egg is cooked, serve the mince with rice and drizzled with a little more sesame oil.

I am linking this to Bunny Eats Design’s Our Growing Edge, hosted this month by Cynthia from Eat Munch Love and also linking to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.Tasty Tuesdays

Our Growing edge

Cranberry Oat Streusal Muffins

Cranberry oat streusal muffin

I was determined to make something healthy this month for Secret Recipe Club.   I planned to make this tasty looking salad but when my shopping arrived the romaine lettuce was missing.   Never mind, I thought I would wait until I was out at the shops and buy some lettuce then.   I forgot.   It seemed that I was not meant to make that salad, although it is still on my list.

Instead, I opted to make these delicious sweet oaty cranberry muffins flavoured with cinnamon.   The attraction?   That dark sugary streusal topping.   I love streusal and can never resist a muffin or cake with a streusal top.   Usually it’s not me who’s made it though.   These are the type of muffins I see when I’m in a cafe and just have to have.   They are normally my can’t resist impulse buy.

This time though, I found the muffins on It’s Yummi, a blog by Chef Becca Heflin, who was my Secret Recipe Assignment this month.  I actually saw them before I saw the salad but cranberry streusal muffinsI just kept being drawn back to them. I couldn’t go out and buy them and as Becca lives in Wisconsin and I am here in the UK, there was little chance of her making them for me in person.  I would just have to make some streusal myself!

I only adapted the recipe slightly, partly through being in a hurry to weigh out the ingredients before Master Spice demanded attention again!   I also changed the measurements to metric to make it easier for me to make the muffins.   There was a long list of ingredients but as they are just mixed together that doesn’t translate into a long preparation time.   The finished muffins were really tasty, especially when still warm with a bit of ice cream.

The recipe called for dried cranberries although there were fresh ones in the picture on Becca’s blog and I think the muffins would be even more delicious with fresh cranberries.   They are very sweet so the tartness of the cranberries would be a nice contrast, at least for me as I don’t have a very sweet tooth.   You could also adapt them by using different dried fruit.

As Becca is a chef she has so many delicious looking and sounding recipes on her blog.   There are a mix of sweet and savoury recipes and most recipes are healthy, involving cooking from scratch using easily available unprocessed ingredients.  I promise you, especially if you like cupcakes and have a slow cooker, you will definitely find some inspiration so do take a look.

Cranberry oat streusal muffin

 

Ingredients – Makes 10

90g rolled oats

240g whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2tsp ground cinnamon

100g dark brown sugar

100g white sugar

2 eggs

60ml vegetable oil

60ml milk

80ml natural yoghurt

120ml applesauce (I used two stewed apples)

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dried cranberries

Ingredients for the Streusal Topping

60g whole wheat flour

2 tbsp rolled oats

80g dark brown sugar

40g white sugar

60g butter, melted

How to Make Cranberry Oat Streusal Muffins

1. Prepare the streusal topping by melting the butter and then stirring it into the rest of the ingredients with a fork.

2. Put all the dry ingredients except the cranberries in a large bowl and mix together.

3. Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk together.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.   Add the cranberries and stir in.

5. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin lined with muffin cases.   Fill the cases almost to the top.  Top each of the muffins with some of the streusal mixture.   I had some leftover.

6. Bake the muffins in the oven at 180C for about 18-20 minutes.   Cool the muffins on a wire rack.

 

I am also linking these to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

Tasty Tuesdays

Beef Bourguignon

beef bourguignon

On a cold winter’s day in February, what you need to eat is a stew.   You could make one with meat, vegetables and stock.  A simple stew like that would be delicious, but on certain days you need to push the boat out a little and not hold back on the red wine.   On days like that a rich beef bourguignon is the stew to go for.   I read somewhere that a real bourguignon doesn’t contain any stock, just red wine, and so that’s what I’ve gone for here.  Thanks to Tesco, my trusty food and drink supplier.

The key to a good bourguignon is not to skimp on the wine.   I have to admit that I rarely use quite as much wine as this.  Normally I use a little bit, about a glassful.   After all, we want to have the rest of the bottle to enjoy with the meal.   This time I went to the other extreme pouring half the bottle into the pan and saving just a large glass each to enjoy with the meal.   At least I wasn’t cooking for more people, then there would have been none left!

The bourguignon itself is rich and tasty.   The bacon, beef and mushrooms are a perfect match for all that red wine and you’ll be tempted to lick the plate.  Although I did just cook this at home for me and my husband, it would be a perfect meal to serve for friends too as you can prepare it in advance and just heat it up to serve.   Like lots of stews, it’s even more tasty the next day.

Ingredients – Serves 2

300g beef

2 rashers of thick smoked bacon, diced

150g mushrooms, cut in half

About 8 shallots, peeled but left whole

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried parsley

1 bay leaf

400ml French red wine

How to Make Beef Bourguignon

1. Heat a little oil in an ovenproof saucepan and brown the meat on both sides.   Remove the meat from the pan.

2. Cook the bacon until it is browned and then add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic.  Cook for another few minutes until it’s beginning to brown then add the herbs, tomato puree and a dash of the red wine.   Scrape the bottom of the pan so that any bits that are beginning to stick to the pan go back into the sauce.

3. Return the beef to the pan and top with enough red wine to just cover the contents. Bring to the boil and then put in the oven at 150C.  Cook for three hours.

4. Take the pan out of the oven.  If there is too much sauce, take the vegetables and meat out of the pan and boil the sauce to reduce.  To keep the meat and vegetables warm, put them in another oven-proof container and return them to the oven until the sauce has reduced.

5. Serve with baked or mashed potatoes.

Disclosure: Written for Tesco

Raspberry Pavlova

Raspberry pavlova

My mum makes a fantastic pavlova with crisp crunchy meringue on the outside and soft sticky meringue on the inside.   From now on, I can say that I make a fantastic pavlova too!  Well, I like to think I am fairly modest so I will have to rely on the people who ate this raspberry pavlova with me to spread the word.   And if it slips their mind?   Well, I’ll just have to rely on this blog too.

For years my mum has made a pavlova for family gatherings. The fruit is sometimes different – sometimes berries, sometimes grapes, sometimes kiwi fruit – but the pavlova itself is always the same and it always has that delicious chewy middle underneath the crunchy meringue.  She recently told me proudly that Mary Berry’s recipe was exactly the same as her one.  You would almost have thought she’d given the recipe to Mary Berry!

This was my first attempt at a pavlova and I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out, despite the pedigree of the recipe.   I feared that somehow I would mess it up and it would all turn out hard and crispy.   I needn’t have worried.   After making this I would say that a pavlova is just about the easiest dessert to make and still manage to impress.   As long as you have an electric whisk you just cannot go wrong.

There are so few ingredients – eggs, sugar, cream, fruit.   Oh and just a tiny bit of vinegar and cornflour.   Why not make it straightaway?

Of course, If you don’t like sugar then you’d best avoid this.   If you don’t like cream then I’d also stay away and if you have an egg allergy then it might not be suitable, but if you have a sweet tooth and a love of sweet sugary desserts but with a bit of fruit thrown in, just to make you feel it might be healthy, then go for it.

When buying any eggs in the UK it’s always worth checking that they have the British Lion stamp on them.  These eggs have had to meet stringent food safely and welfare standards, which has led to salmonella being almost completely eradicated from British Lion eggs.

I chose to decorate my pavlova with raspberries as we all really like them but any fruit would do.  Strawberries would be perfect, as would blueberries.   I like the idea of peaches or mango too. Yum.  In fact, I think I’m going to have to make this again soon, especially as I rather cheekily ate the last piece while my lovely husband was out of the house.  I thought he might just forget that we had some left.  He didn’t.

Ingredients – Serves 8

3 egg whites

175g caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white wine vinegar

400g raspberries

200ml double cream

2 tbsp icing sugar

How to make Raspberry Pavlova

1. Put the egg whites in the bottom of a mixer bowl and whisk until they begin to form soft peaks.

2. Add the sugar gradually, whisking as you add it.

3. Mix the cornflour and vinegar together and whisk in too.

4. Draw a 20cm diameter circle on a piece of baking paper and spoon the meringue onto it.

5. Put in the oven, preheated to 150C and turn it down to 140C straightaway.   Bake for 45 minutes and then turn the oven off.   Leave the pavlova in the the oven as it cools.  I took it out an hour later.

6. Whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks and then whisk in the icing sugar.

7. Put the cream in the middle of the pavlova and top with the raspberries.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.

Tasty Tuesdays

 

 

 

 

Disclosure:  This is a featured post for British Lion Eggs.  However, the views it contains are my own.

Microwaved Marmalade Sponge Pudding

Microwaved marmalade sponge pudding

Sometimes you just want to eat something sweet.   Maybe a cake.   Maybe a pudding.   What a shame that those type of treats usually involve heating up the oven, baking and then, only then can you enjoy eating them.   Now that’s usually ok.   Usually you can wait that long.   Usually you can be prepared.

However, there are times when you are a bit peckish and nothing but a pudding will do and there is no way you can wait an hour to eat one.   Those desperate times call for microwave baking.   Don’t turn up your nose if you’ve never tried it.   A microwave pudding can be a beautiful thing, a thing you can mix up in a just a few minutes and a couple of minutes later transform into a light airy sponge, which is even better if topped with something sweet and tangy and even a little bitter.  Something like marmalade.

Of course, you could use any jam for this pudding, or even stewed fresh fruit, but there is something that brings back memories of childhood, at least for me, that makes marmalade all the more attractive.

I used Duerr’s half sugar marmalade, a fine cut marmalade made with Seville oranges.   I wasn’t actually very keen on marmalade until recently but have been using it quite a bit in baking and it has definitely grown on me.   I love the orangey tang, the slight bitterness and the fact that it isn’t too sweet.   WIth jam this would be for children, but with marmalade it’s definitely a pudding that adults will enjoy too.

Ingredients – Serves 2-3

25g butter, at room temperature

25g caster sugar

1 egg

25g self-raising flour

1 tbsp marmalade (I used Duerr’s half sugar marmalade)

How to make Microwaved Marmalade Sponge Pudding

1. Cream together the butter and sugar.    Beat in the egg.    Add the flour and beat until smooth.

2. Put the marmalade in the bottom of round microwave proof bowl.   Put the batter on top.  Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes.

3. Put a plate on top of the pudding and turn it over to turn it out.

4. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

This is my Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Recipe of the 'Week

Disclosure: I received a complementary jar of Duerr’s Half Sugar Marmalade but the recipe and the opinions are my own.

Pig Cupcakes

Pig cupcakes with raspberry jam icing

This will be a very short post.  When I made the marshmallow flower cupcakes the other day I actually started out planning to make pig cupcakes.   Little Miss Spice had a pig cupcake on holiday in summer and it was the most memorable exciting thing (for her) that happened on that particular day.   She still remembers that pig cupcake and so it was only a matter of time before we ended up making them together.

To see the recipe for the cupcakes and the raspberry jam icing have a look at my post for Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes.  For the ears I just cut mini marshmallows in half.  I used chocolate chips for the eyes and writing icing to draw the dots on the noses.   Very very easy and your children will love them.  And anyone else’s children too!

Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry  icing and marshmallow flowers with sparkly coloured sugar

Little Miss Spice loves cupcakes and so most of the cupcakes I make have animal designs on or are aimed at children in some way.   I don’t get much chance to make more sophisticated ones.  It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that my little helper has other plans.

In fact, when I started out making these cupcakes they were all going to be pigs as I had some mini marshmallows, but I started to think about what else I could do with them.   A quick flick through pinterest showed lots and lots of marshmallow flower designs and I began to think maybe I could get away with decorating some of the cupcakes with flowers. If I’d been a little more organised maybe I could have added a hidden pink raspberry heart inside the cupcakes to make them a perfect Valentines treat.

To make the marshmallow flowers I cut the marshmallows in half horizontally and then pressed the cut side into the coloured sugar, which is slightly sparkly.  You can buy coloured sugar but it’s very easy to make your own.   I used  a tiny bit of gel food colouring and rubbed it into the sugar with my fingertips.  You then leave it to dry and when it’s dry, crumble it up to make the coloured sugar.   Apparently it keeps for quite a while in an airtight container so if you make than you need you can just save it for another day.

I have made quite a lot of cupcakes recently and so have been experimenting with slightly different recipes and oven temperatures and this one from Annabel Karmel’s Children’s First Cookbook is my current favourite – or maybe I just managed to bake them perfectly this time.   The cupcakes are very moist and have a lovely vanilla flavour.   They also didn’t rise up in the middle so were perfect for decorating as they had a flat surface.

Using jam to flavour the raspberry icing was an idea inspired by The More Than Occasional Baker.  She used it on an incredible looking chocolate and raspberry layer cake and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to have a go at some similar icing.

Ingredients – Makes 9

125g self-raising flour

125g butter or margarine, softened

125g sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing

50g butter

50g icing sugar

50g seedless raspberry Jam

For the Decorations

Mini Marshmallows

Sugar

Food colour

How to Make Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes

1. Put all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon.   Beat well for a couple of minutes.   Spoon the mixture into a cupcake tin lined with cupcake cases.

2. Bake in a preheated oven at 160C for about 20 minutes.  Leave the cupcakes to cool on wire racks.

3. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the coloured sugar.   Put a couple of tablespoons of sugar in a bowl and a few drops of food colour.   Mix together well with your fingers and then leave it to dry in a thin layer on a baking tray.

4. Beat all the icing ingredients together and spread onto the top of the cupcakes.

5. When the sugar and food colour has dried, roll it between your fingers to break up the lumps and get  coloured sugar again. Put the sugar in a bowl.

6. Cut the mini marshmallows in half diagonally and put them in the sugar.   Press the cut sides into the sugar so it sticks and then place them on the cupcakes to make a flower shape.

marshmallow flower cupcakes I am linking these to Bunny Eats Design’s Our Growing Edge, hosted this month by Love, Live, Life by Kim , and to Treat Petit, hosted by The Baking Explorer and on alternate months by Cakeyboi. The theme is Love is in the Air.  These cupcakes are also my Bake of the Week, hosted by Casa Costello.

Our Growing edgeTreat PetitBake of the Week

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