The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake

This really is the ultimate chocolate fudge cake. I couldn’t improve it if I tried. It is the sort of cake you’d want to eat the whole of when you’d been dumped.

Four gorgeous layers of light, moist, cocoa-laden cake come together with a generous coating of thick, luscious chocolate frosting and rich dark chocolate ganache. This cake is truly indulgent, and every chocoholic’s dream! (Just don’t think about the amount of sugar involved….)

Recipe

For the cake

3 cups self- raising flour

2 + 1/2 cups caster sugar

1 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp + 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 + 1/3 cups vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 cup boiling water

1 cup soured cream

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

For the icing

300g good quality dark chocolate

300ml double cream

400g salted butter

700g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees(c) and line 8″ tins with greased proof paper then set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Add the oil and milk and mix until well combined, the mixture should be quite thick at this stage.
  4. Gradually add the boiling water, mixing carefully after each addition.
  5. Add the sour cream.
  6. Mix in the vanilla essence and whisk in the eggs one by one until all of the ingredients are well combined. At this stage the mixture will be very runny so don’t worry that the consistency isn’t the same as other cake recipes.
  7. Divide between baking tins and bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean. This may be between 30-45 minutes depending on how many tins you’ve used and how deep you’ve filled them.
  8. Once cooked remove the cakes from the oven, cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. To make the icing, first make the ganache. Put the cream and chocolate in a pan and heat gently until all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool.
  10. In a separate bowl, combine the softened butter with 1/3 of the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add another 1/3 of the icing sugar along with 1/2 of the cooled ganache and mix until incorporated.
  11. Add the remaining icing sugar gradually, tasting after each addition until the icing is sweet enough (if the mixture becomes too stiff add a little milk).
  12. Layer the cake with icing, ganache and raspberries, leaving enough to put on top of the cake at the end.

x

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

These light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes are suitable for any occasion and a perfect recipe for anyone new to baking!

Vanilla cupcakes are something that I’ve been baking with my mum ever since I first stepped into the kitchen, they’re one of the basics and a pretty important recipe for any baker to have in their repertoire.

The recipe is pretty basic so I’d be impressed if anyone managed to go drastically wrong making these cupcakes, however, I’ve put together a few top tips to ensure that a perfect bake is achieved every time:

  1. Make sure to cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes to ensure that your mixture is really pale and airy with no big lumps of hard butter.
  2. Always bake with room temperature eggs. I never refrigerate my baking eggs, so they are always ready to go.
  3. Remove the butter/ margarine from the fridge a couple of hours before baking to take the chill off it. When baking margarine and eggs that are at room temperature should combine without curdling.
  4. Remember to sift your flour – to avoid lumps of flour in your cupcake batter.
  5. Always fold your dry ingredients into the mixture, this will stop you knocking any air out of the batter.

Recipe

For the cupcakes

6oz caster sugar

6oz butter or margarine

3 eggs

60z self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

For the butter icing

250g salted block butter

500g icing sugar

2 tbsp mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (c) and fill a cupcake or muffin tray with cases and set aside. It should make 12-16 cupcakes depending on the size of cases you use. I tend to make 12 large cupcakes using the larger muffin cases and a muffin tray.
  2. Beat the butter/ margarine, sugar and vanilla essence together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1-2 tbsp of flour each time to avoid the mixture curdling.
  4. Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Spoon in to the prepared cases and bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown in colour and a skewer comes out clean.*NOTE* Baking times will vary depending on your oven, so don’t be afraid to leave them in for longer or take them out earlier than I’ve recommended.
  6. Once the cupcakes are baked transfer to a wire rack to cool down before icing.
  7. To make the icing, start by cutting the block of butter into slices and microwave in a bowl for 20-30 seconds to soften (or leave out at room temperate overnight).
  8. Transfer the softened butter into a larger bowl, add then add the mascarpone, vanilla essence and  1/4 of the icing sugar. Beat well.
  9. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar mixing well after each addition until the butter icing is pale in colour, light and fluffy. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through creaming and using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. *You may not need to use all of the icing sugar, just keep tasting the icing until it’s sufficiently sweet.
  10. Fit a large disposable piping bag with your favourite nozzle – I use the star shaped tip for cupcakes. Fill the piping bag with the butter icing and then pipe even swirls on the top of each cupcake.
  11. Decorate the cupcakes as you wish, the base flavour is vanilla so it’ll go with pretty much anything! I’ve chosen to top my cupcakes with strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries, but raspberries, blueberries or any other fruit would work well!

Ideas:

*Add a little cinnamon to the cake mixture and top the cupcakes with fresh blackberries.

*Top the vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing, raspberry or strawberry sauce and a flake to look like the 99 ice creams you get from ice cream vans in summer.

Mary Berry’s Banana Bread

Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, however once they start to turn brown I won’t touch them. I like them almost under ripe so that the fruit inside is still firm.

So, what are you meant to do with all of those bananas that you forgot about in the back of your cupboard or in your fruit bowl that are now past their best by quite some way?

For me, the answer has to be banana bread. It is utterly delicious and the natural sweetness of the fruit lends itself perfectly to baking! While it’s still not as healthy as eating bananas by themselves,  it’s at least slightly better than a cupcake smothered in copious amounts of butter icing or a deep fried, sugar coated doughnut.

When I told one of my friends that I was making banana bread they threw up a bit of a par-larva about the name. Which to be fair is understandable seeing as, strictly speaking, banana bread is more of a loaf- shaped cake.

Personally I’ve never understood the difference between banana bread and banana cake, and seeing as I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation I’m guessing that it probably isn’t all that significant! In fact, categorising it as a bread rather than a cake just legitimises it’s consumption at any time or hour of the day (i.e. making eating cake for breakfast socially acceptable), explaining why this is such a popular and successful recipe!

 

 

The great thing about banana bread is that it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been sitting in the back of your cupboard for forgotten about. In fact, in order to make the best banana bread it’s a well known fact that your bananas should be so ripe that they practically dance into the oven by themselves.

When I’m in need of a recipe quite frankly there’s only one person to turn to, and that is of course the queen of baking Mary Berry. This recipe has everything you’d want from banana bread, it’s moist, hearty and packed full of flavour!

I’ve added blueberries to the recipe but this isn’t strictly necessary, it just depends on how adventurous you are with your banana bread. Feel free to stick to the classic recipe or make your own additions such as chocolate chips, raspberries, peanut butter chips etc etc…

Mary Berry’s Banana Loaf Recipe

Ingredients

100g Softened Butter

175g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs

2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)

225g Self Raising Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

2 tbsp. Milk

150g blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
  2. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin, then line the base and sides with greased proof paper.
  3. Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
  4. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface. At this point you can sprinkle a few oats on top before baking.
  6. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean if the loaf is ready.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, peel of the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Happy Baking! x