Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Chocolate and Ginger Cupcakes

Rich and chocolatey and warm and spicy, with plenty of soft icing, these are a delicious tea time treat.
Equipment -
2 x muffin tins, lined with 14 - 16 paper cases
Electric whisk
Sugar thermometer

Ingredients -
Sponge -
70g butter, softened
170g plain flour
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
210ml whole milk
2 large, free range eggs
4 balls stem ginger, finely chopped

Icing -
170g caster sugar
8 tbsp water
4 free range egg yolks
300g butter, softened
150g dark chocolate, melted

Method -
Sponge -
1. Preheat oven to 170C / 325F / gas 3
2. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
3. Divide between the paper cases in the muffin trays, I use a 50ml ice cream scoop.
4. Bake for 20-25 mins, until the cupcakes are springy to the touch.
5. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Icing -
1. Put the sugar and water in a small pan and heat slowly until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to the boil and boil until it reaches 110C on a sugar thermometer.  Don't let the syrup start to caramelize.
3. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks into a bowl and briefly whisk, then pour the hot syrup into the bowl in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes pale, mousse like and completely cold.
4. Gradually whisk in the butter, followed by the melted chocolate.

To assemble -
Pipe or swirl the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with crystallized ginger.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Mocha Marble Loaf

Coffee and chocolate sponges, marbled together and studded with chocolate chips, then glazed with a white chocolate ganache, perfect with a cuppa, and so easy to make.
Equipment -
900g loaf tin, lined
Electric whisk

Ingredients -
Sponge -
200g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large, free range eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

30g cocoa powder & 2 tbsp milk for the chocolate mix

1 tbsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water for the coffee mix

Ganache -
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
100mls double cream
20g butter, diced

Sponge -
1. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / gas 4
2. Put butter in large bowl and beat until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar, then vanilla, and continue to beat until mix is very pale and fluffy.
3. Gradually add the eggs, a tablespoon at a time, if the mix looks like it's about to curdle, add a tablespoon or two of the flour.
4. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl and gently fold in.
5. Divide the mixture into two bowls and add the coffee liquid to one, mixing well, and sifting the cocoa and adding the milk and mixing well to the other.
6. Add alternate spoonfuls of each mixture to the lined tin, scattering in the chocolate chips as you work.
7. Bang the tin on the work to a couple of times to expel air, then, using a round bladed knife, swirl it through the mixture to marble it.
8. Bake for an 1- 1 1/4 hours until the cake is well risen and a skewer inserted in to the middle comes out clean.
9. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 mins, then remove to a wire tray and leave to cool completely before icing.

Ganache -
1. Place finely chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl.
2. Heat cream, almost to the boil, then pour over the chocolate and butter.  Leave to stand for a few mins, then stir gently until smooth.  Don't over mix or it my separate.
3. Leave to cool until it reaches a thick pouring consistency.

To assemble -
Level the top of the cake if you wish using a sharp knife, pour over the glaze and dust with cocoa powder.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Gingery Plum Cake

Really easy to make and so good to eat!  Delicious served with a generous dollop of Chantilly cream.
It's a BBC Good Food recipe again, here's the link. It's a kind of upside-down cake made with plums, and a melt and mix gingerbread sponge.