Thursday, 2 June 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rock Cakes

Peanut butter is like marmite in my world, you love it or you hate it. Hubby would sit and eat a whole jar, whereas it makes me retch and gives me a mildly itchy tongue. Which made it the perfect ingredient when I felt like baking but didn’t want to be tempted by the results!

I was actually trying to make cookies, but they didn’t melt correctly in the oven, I think more butter was called for. The recipe below has upped the quantities of butter to make more cookie like rock cakes, as these were an odd cookie-rock cake-brownie combo that wasn’t quite hard enough to be a rock cake, flat enough to be a cookie, or damp enough to be a brownie. Recipe is adapted from an American one, so very easy to measure if you have a set of cups.


1¼ cups plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup peanut butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup peanuts
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180ͦC. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Beat together the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and peanuts.
Drop by two heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart.

Sprinkle a small pinch of coarse salt on top of each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the outside of the cookies are set but the middles are still a little soft. Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Back with a bang! Proscuitto wrapped chicken, leek and mushroom terrine.

It's been a very long time since my last post, but I've been missing it so I'm back! I've been really pushing myself in the kitchen recently, and I'd like to share some of the results. I'm trying to eat more healthily at the moment, and cut back on the carbs. So the blog will no longer be just about baking, but cooking generally too. I've been taking a lot of salads to work as the weather pretends summer is here, but there is only so much plain chicken and ham a girl can look at before I run screaming for the biscuit barrel! So I decided to try to liven it up a bit, and the result was this:

I have to say it's one of the nicest lunches I've ever taken! It feels quite indulgent without being carby or high in fat.


2 leeks , sliced
125g mixed wild mushrooms, or I used shiitake, sliced
A garlic clove
few thyme sprigs
2 gelatine leaves
150ml strong chicken stock
10 slices proscuitto
600g cooked skinless chicken meat

  • Cook the leeks over a very low heat in a little oil for 15 mins until soft, then set aside to cool. 
  • Fry the mushrooms with the garlic and thyme in a little oil and a generous knob of butter (the vitamins in mushrooms are fat soluble, meaning the best way to release them is to cook in butter otherwise you're only getting a fraction of the goodness) until soft, then set aside to cool. 
  • Soak the gelatine in cold water, then heat the stock. 
  • Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then dissolve the gelatine in the stock, season, then set aside.
  • Line a terrine dish or loaf tin with cling flim. Line with slices of prosciutto so that they overlap to cover the base and sides, and overhang the edges.
  • Arrange a layer of chicken so that everything is even then pour over stock.
  • Scatter over the mushrooms, then add some more stock
  • Add more chicken followed by the layer of leeks, the pour over more stock
  • Add the rest of the chicken and press down firmly. 
  • Pour over the rest of the stock and tap the tin to work it into any gaps
    Fold the prosciutto over to encase the terrine. Fold the cling film over and press down gently. Weigh down with a few tins.
  • Chill overnight. Remove the terrine from the tin and peel off the cling film. Slice and serve.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, so simple to make yet absolutely delicious.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Gluten Free, Vegan cupcakes

This was an experiment of mine. One of my friends is vegan, her brother is on a gluten free, dairy free diet. None of these things are condusive to good cake. So I decided to try to make a cake without any eggs or butter, and while I enjoyed the challenge, I wasn't happy with the results really. Very, very dense, and a bit savoury tasting. I wouldn't really choose to have one, and thats my test of a good cake. Might be worth a try for a vegan though, as my friend seemed pretty happy with them.


4 Tablespoons dairy free spread
2 cups Granulated Sugar
500g passata
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
3 cups rice flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Ground Cloves

150g icing sugar
Teaspoon lemon juice/lemon extract
Water to form a thick paste

  • Cream together spread and sugar. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the passata and baking soda. Once combined, mix into the creamed sugar mixture. 
  • Add all other cake ingredients in the order listed. 
  • Spoon into cupcake cases and fill almost to the top.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes
  • Place on a wire rack to cool
    Add the lemon juice to the licing sugar, add water until it forms a thick paste, then drizzle over the cooled cupcakes

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pineapple cake with lime soured cream frosting

Firstly appologise for the photo! This cake was made for my Grandma's birthday on Saturday in a bit of a rush - and everyone was keen to tuck in as soon as it was finished.

I loved the sound of this cake, fresh, moist and with a tartness that suits spring. It should have had lime zest on the top, but one of the bunnies got into my carrier bag and was away with the second lime!

The recipe for this cake comes from Gizzi's Kitchen Magic This book is fast becoming my new kitchen bible. Not nessisarily for baking things, but for general cooking its fantastic. It goes right back to basics, showing you how to make simple sauces like hollandaise, gravy and mayonnaise, and then how to vary those sauces to make something a bit moe interesting. Recipes are easy to follow, well tested, and most importantly, photographed. They're also appetising and fresh, something I really rate. I'm quite experienced in the kitchen, but I still find the quality of these recipes second to none.

Anyway, back to the cake in hand. I messed up a bit by completely forgetting to put the pineapple in and had to take it out the oven after 5 mins to add it in! This is likely to have made it a bit more solid and less light and fluffy as obviously I let the air out of it. Despite this is was still a lovely, light cake, and very moist. I was dissapointed that I couldn't taste the lime in it at all, maybe the second lime zest would have made all the difference! I also found the recipe made far too much frosting, I think you could comfortably knock 1/3 off the quantities here and still have enough.



200g butter at room temperature
200g light muscavado sugar
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
225g tin of crushed prineapple or finely chopped pineapple chunks
zest and juice of one lime

200ml soured cream
juice and zest of 1 lime
100g icing sugar
200ml double cream
  • Heat oven to 170C
  • Line a 20cm cake tin
  • Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowland beat together until pale and fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time and mix in
  • Sift over the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir in using a metal spoon
  • Finally stir in the pineapple, vanilla and lime juice and zest
  • Pour into the tin and bake for around 30minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Leave to cool in the tin (stood on a cooling rack to avoid a soggy bottom!) for 15 minutes then transfer directly onto the cooling rack
  • When completely cool make the frosting by whipping the double cream until stiff.
  • In another bowl mix together the soured cream, lime zest and juice and sieved icing sugar. 
  • Fold the cream into the soured cream mixture gently
  • Top the cake with the icing, and grate some lime zest over to decorate.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Lemon & Elderflower Cupcakes

Todays recipe is adapted from my new favourite cupcake book, Eat Me!: The Stupendous, Self-raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes According to Cookie Girl. I like this one because it has cute, vintage inspired piccies, and the recipes are really unusual.

The icing on this cake was a very thin icing sugar, water and elderflower mixture. I decided to try a more fluffy frosting. This wasn't very successful to be honest - it was very runny, and had no taste of elderflower at all, despite trebling the quantities of elderflower stated in the original recipe. I have included the original icing recipe for the icing as I can't really see any way to make a thick frosting have an elderflower taste as either the butter or cream cheese completely overpowers it.

The lemon cake however was brilliant, the texture was really light and fluffy. The lemon taste was very mild however, so I have upped this a bit in the recipe below.


200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g granulated sugar
45g ground almonds
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs
90ml sunflower oil
250ml low fat yoghurt
1/2 tbsp lemon essence
225g icing sugar
1 tsp elderflower cordial
4 tsp water
  • Heat oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 12 cases
  • Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar, almonds and grated lemon zest and mix.
  • In a seperate bowl beat the eggs with the oil and yoghurt. Add the lemon essence. 
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir  until everything is smooth and combined. 
  • Spoon evenly into the paper cases no more than 2/3 full (it rises a lot!) and bake for 20 minutes until a skewer placed in the centre comes out clean. 
  • Place cupcakes on a wire rack to cool.
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the elderflower cordial. Add the water a little at a time to make a thick icing. 
  • When the cupcakes are cool spoon a tablespoon of icing onto each one and spread evenly.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cookie Dough Truffles

I think the picture says it all.

I'm beginning to think my blog ought to have had a less obscure, upmarket title and been a bit more hoenst - chocoholic housewife in training sounds more me! 

I made these last weekend, before starting my new diet (cookies and cupcakes are bad for you, who knew?!) roughly following an American recipe I found online. I can't measure in cups, and I ended up just making it up completely! So the recipe below is adusted from what I made.

Please note the recipe makes around 60 truffles - great for parties or gifts. They also freeze if not coated in the outer chocolate shell, so you could make the full batch and dip into them as required.

I was expecting these to be amazing, but because of my slight knackering of the recipe they were only good. Let me know how you get on with them, any help in refining this recipe is much appreciated.


Cookie Dough Truffles

150g butter
300g light brown sugar
300g sieved plain flour
1 tin of condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g chocolate chips/milk chocolate chopped up very small!
300g dark chocolate

  • Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper
  • In a pan beat the sugar and butter over a low heat until smooth and combined. Do not get it hot enough that it bubbles, this should only take a few minutes, the heat just makes the sugar melt a bit into the butter without the butter melting.
  • Add the flour, vanilla and condensed milk. Mix well 
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • With your hands shape into small balls (around 1.5cm in diameter) and set on the baking trays. 
  • Freeze for two hours until firm
  • Before removing for the freezer melt the dark chocolate over a bain marie and remove from the heat
  • Remove one tray from the freezer, and coat each truffle in dark chocolate, quickly so the truffles do not start to melt. Repeat with the second tray. If they become hard to handle pop them back in the freezer for 15mins. 
  • Place in the fridge for half an hour to set fully, and enjoy.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Best Ever Brownies

I've made a lot of brownies in my time, but without a doubt these were the best ever.Everyone has their own brownie recipe, but this one is definately worth a try. Absolutely melt in the mouth, thick and goey inside, crusty and delicate on the top amazing. I made some as individual brownies in the bottom of cupcake tins, and one giant brownie I cut into wedges, I think the cupcake ones were a little better, but it's a close call!


Chocolate Truffle Brownies

240g dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
100g unsalted butter
3 eggs
135g golden caster sugar
55g plain flour
  • Preheat oven to 150C/Gas mark 2. 
  • Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water)
  • Stir until melted then set aside to cool
  • Put the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. 
  • Stir in the flour and finally fold in the melted chocolate mixture. 
  • Pour the batter into a tin lined with greaseproof
  • Check the brownie's with a knife after 15minutes, if it comes out take them out the oven, I found they took 35 minutes but this will depend on how thick they are.