Monday, 26 March 2012

Revisited Chocolate Guinness Cake

Sorry for my lack of blogging, I've been unwell with a dreadful cold (3rd one this year and better be the last) and my hubby went on a back to back business trip to Buenos Aires and New York. So not much baking has been done, except for some cookies and muffins for my son and his friends. My hubby arrived back from New York early on St Patrick's Day so I was pleased to have an excuse to bake our favourite Chocolate Guinness Cake again. After 10 days of dining out everyday he was very happy to come home to my home-baked goodies.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

For the cake
250ml Guinness
250g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
75g cocoa
400g caster sugar
142ml sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the topping
300g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream
edible green glitter or shamrock sprinkles

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180˚C/fan oven 160˚C. Line a 23cm/9inch springform tin. Start by pouring the Guinness into a large, wide saucepan and add the butter; heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with eggs and vanilla and then pour in the pan of brown, buttery, beer and finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it's quite a damp cake.

When the cake's cold sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency.

Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint. Sprinkle with edible green glitter or shamrock sprinkles.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Nutty Nuggets of Deliciousness

I was watching This Morning last week and I always enjoy the cooking segment. That day Fay Ripley was making a few recipes from her new cookbook, What's for dinner? and these Nutty Nuggets were one of the recipes. I knew I had to make these asap and was happy to discover I had all the ingredients in my cupboards, yay! I can not begin to describe how absolutely divine these nuggets of deliciousness are, let's just say they are seriously addictive, they melt in your mouth and did not last long. These sweet hazelnut, almond and chocolate nuggets are a must bake!

Nutty Nuggets of Deliciousness

100g whole blanched hazelnuts
100g ground almonds
150g plain flour
60g golden caster sugar
150g butter, softened
0.3 x 400g jar of chocolate hazelnut spread (nutella)

Preheat the oven to 180oc/fan oven 160oc/gas mark 4.

Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Spread the hazelnuts out on a roasting tray and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Leave to cool slightly, then blitz the nuts in a food processor into fine crumbs.

Add the almonds, flour, sugar and butter to the processor and whizz until it all comes together.

Roll little teaspoon-sized amounts of the mixture in your hands to make balls of dough the size of large marbles. Slightly flatten, then space out on baking trays and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely on the trays then sandwich together with a blob of chocolate spread. Store in the fridge and take out shortly before serving.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Tea Brack

I've never baked a Tea Brack but it's really very similar to a tea/fruit loaf which I have baked many times. This traditional Irish cake is normally baked at Halloween and the Irish word 'breac' means speckled, which refers to all the fruit. This delicious tea-time treat is moist and full of flavour, the orange liqueur really adds to that. You can't beat a slice of buttered brack with a hot cup of tea!

Tea Brack

Serves 8-10

300ml hot tea (use 2 normal teabags and 1 Earl Grey)
180g sultanas
180g raisins
100g dried stone dates, chopped (I used currants)
1 eggs, beaten
225g self-raising flour
150g light brown sugar
1-2 tbsp Cointreau or other orange-flavoured liqueur
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp honey, to glaze

The day before you want to make the brack, make the tea and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

Place the sultanas, raisins, chopped dates (currants) into a bowl. Remove the teabags from the pot and pour the hot tea over the fruit. Cover and leave overnight to soak.

The next day, preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oc/gas mark 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment paper.

Add the beaten egg to the fruit mix along with the flour, sugar, Cointreau and mixed spice. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. While the cake is still quite warm, brush the top with the honey.