A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights

img_5637

It’s approaching that time of year when the sun retreats into the sky earlier and earlier, leaving us in dusky overcast light before we’ve even sat down for dinner. It’s the time when all you want it to do is hide under your covers every morning and leave the responsibilities shut outside where they can’t get you. Its the time when food becomes more than fuel for your body, it fuels your soul. You yearn for those familiar flavours, smells, comforts that somehow got forgotten over the past summer of raw salads.

I’ve been searching for a cake like this for a long time. A cake that you can throw together without much effort. A cake that has that envious gooey, shiny interior that we all thrive for in a chocolate cake. But most importantly for me, that deep rich dark colour. Nothing makes me ache more for a sweet snack than an intense dark brown crumb.

I can wholeheartedly admit to you that all I want after pounding the harsh concrete pavements of London and slugging through the rain is this. This isn’t a pretty cake. It’s not about that. This loaf cake is about cutting out the manners and getting straight to what you came for.

Although however raw, unrefined or informal a cake like this is; there’s still something ever so charming about it. It’s not a slice of cake that’s ‘too beautiful to eat.’ It practically screams at you to devour it. That said, unashamed, that’s what we shall do.

img_5598img_5610img_5612img_5619img_5633

Continue reading “A rich dark and gooey Chocolate Cake for Autumnal nights”

Simple Peach Upside Down Cake

IMG_5428After last weeks failed attempt at getting back in the blogging game, (lets just leave it at a humiliated pastry chef forgetting to add sugar into a carrot cake), I decided to return to the ever comforting and humble side of home baking.

6 months have flown by since I last baked at home; it was a strange nostalgic feeling spending time in my own kitchen again. I’m so used to the pressure and robotic nature that often occurs during work that I forget how serene my own calm kitchen can feel. 90% of my time at work is spent time managing myself and how long it takes me to knock out that batch of mousse I’ve made countless times. That, along with an endless mental repetition of what order I’m going to carry out my mise en place for the rest of the day. The other 10% is spent brainstorming and recipe testing which is a lot more intriguing, creative and fuelled by passionate pastry chefs.

My kitchen though, thats a whole different therapy in itself. Its just me and my space. No bravado, no judgement and most importantly of all, I’m surrounded by a sense of undisturbed tranquil. I adore the thirty minutes I get to sit with a coffee, a book and my music waiting for my little bake to finish transforming in the oven.

For this upside down cake, you really want to try and get some beautiful ripe juicy peaches. All the flavour in this cake comes from those sun burnt fruits. This cake is simple, so you need to make a killer sponge and use good quality ingredients.

Sometimes on my day off I just want a slice of cake and this definitely didn’t disappoint.

IMG_5448IMG_5435

Continue reading “Simple Peach Upside Down Cake”

Stem Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce

1

I’m sat at my desk right now, devouring a hot toasted cheese doused in worcestershire sauce. As I ran into the kitchen five minutes ago (having completely forgotten my dinner was in the oven) there was my housemate, preparing a large bowl of apple pie and custard. More like a couple of mini apple pies floating in a large pool of yellow custard. As much as I found it hilarious when he took his bowl down to his room using oven mitts, all be it with a little shame on his face, I found our mutual food habits more endearing.

This cold weather seems to force me to reach for comfort food, as it does so many like my housemate. Hot dishes laden with butter, cheese, cream or anything to put a bit more warmth in my bones.

After Christmas, I vowed I’d jump straight back onto the health and fitness train but it was much easier said than done. Do you know what? I have no regrets over the endless amounts of doughnuts, pastries and chocolate I’ve eaten. Every mouthful has filled me with joy and comforted me when I’m freezing my ass off in the kitchen at work everyday.

On a side note; nobody told me how hard it would be to run home from work at 8pm, in January when its wet, cold and dark all the time. When I could easily just hop on the tube and be home in 10 minutes and well… warm.

Nothing would make me yearn for home and the comfort of my bed, my duvet and my television more than this sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is amazing on its own, but when you add in stem ginger and brandy butterscotch sauce it creates an even more welcoming bowl. The stem ginger is a lovely hit of flavour against the sweet caramel sponge along with the brandy sauce warming your throat.

Straight after I made this, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. It’s easy, doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is one of my favourite dishes.

I was lucky enough to be asked to post this for Wayfair, a company which sells a vast array of homewares. Find the recipe over at Wayfair.co.uk

3IMG_42974IMG_436256IMG_4420

Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze

IMG_5257IMG_5245I know what you’re thinking right now, because I’m thinking it too. I went way overboard with that glaze. Theres enough glaze there for three times the amount of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve baked.

I read on the internet somewhere that smothering your cinnamon buns in glorious glossy glaze while still hot from the oven, made them irresistibly moist as it settled into the cracks. I obviously took this literally and smothered until my heart was content. Trust me, I’m definitely content.

I have to admit though, that glaze really makes these rolls enticing. Just look at that shine! Its captivating buttery smell and glistening top lures you into the kitchen like a kid looking for the leftover cake batter spoon.

Sometimes when I bake something, I have no idea what its going to turn out like. Other times I know its going to be a disaster from the outset. And on the rare occasion everything goes so perfectly, I know whats going to emerge from my oven is going to be great. Just the smell of these as they were baking away in my kitchen made a smile play on my lips.

One thing that made these so perfect was that I made them solely for me. I didn’t spend days thinking of what I could bake for the blog to make it more diverse, interesting or unique. I had a craving for cinnamon buns and I made them. Just the way I like them. Just for me. Rustic, simple and humble. No fancy presentation, just the cinnamon bun. So ordinary but so charming too.IMG_5171IMG_5177IMG_5209IMG_5262IMG_5198IMG_5268

Continue reading “Soft Cinnamon Rolls with a Coffee Cream Cheese Glaze”

Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

IMG_3768 IMG_3566IMG_3601IMG_3624IMG_3691 Continue reading “Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing”

Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one

IMG_3340One thing that really bothers me about living on my own, is buying food for one. I hate leftovers and, more than anything, I hate wasting food. I admit that some leftover meals are crazy delicious, like christmas leftover sandwiches or bubble and squeak, and they do have their place when it comes to time-saving. But eating a three-day old soggy lasagne just doesn’t do it for me.

One of my favourite things to buy is a crusty fresh loaf of bread from a local shop. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Accompany some pungent ripe cheese with that and I’m yours. However, 9 times out of 10, I won’t eat all of it before it becomes stale beyond any saving. And this is with me eating it at every opportunity, trying to avoid this. Life seems to get in the way and this happens with a fair amount of food in my house.

I honestly think someone should create a supermarket for singles. Everything should come in single sized portions. I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again, so buying a pack of six sausages means I have to eat sausages for three days in a row. All of the dishes I bake in on a day-to-day basis are single sized or two portion maximum, for this reason exactly.

So here I am, saving all you fellow single gals and guys out there from leftovers and throwing away old food; because you really can’t face the thought of another lacklustre pasta dish hanging around your fridge for days again.

Bread pudding uses up leftover milk, berries, croissants and anything else you feel like throwing in there. Make this what you want. It’s all about taking out what I’ve put in and changing it for what tickles your fancy. Nothing screams Autumn like a steaming dish of hot, creamy bread pudding just for you.

IMG_3287IMG_3325 IMG_3376 Continue reading “Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one”

Cheese, Onion and Rosemary Soda Bread

IMG_3219The weather seems to have taken a turn to rain and chilling winds along with the ever increasingly dark mornings and evenings. I’m honestly getting excited for christmas time already. A bit eager, I know.

As the light continues to retreat into the night earlier everyday, I seem to retreat indoors and into my comforts with way too much compliance. I snuggle in bed like its December and I’m cradling my steaming bowl of soup like a hot water bottle. I’m unable to pull  myself out of bed in the morning with any sort of vigour due to the darkness. I need to get a grip. It’s strange how the seasons change you.

Most of the time, all I want to eat is fresh bread. Keep it simple with lashings of slightly salty butter. Before this, I had only made Soda Bread in school. Once. Whenever I’ve made bread, I always immediately reach for my yeast; completely dismissing any thought to soda bread. This is probably partly to do with the fact that the soda bread at school turned out bland, dense and boring.

One of my friends, a fellow pastry chef, makes ‘cheese balls’ for the rest of the team about once a week. They’re made with tapioca flour and have this weird but irresistible stringy, elastic texture that I can only now associate with these bread balls. Theres just something about cheese and bread that is so reassuring and soothing.

This Soda Bread is comforting, quick and most of all; tasty. I absolutely love the combination of Cheese, sweet Onion and fragrant Rosemary. Accompanied by a dash of smoked paprika, you’re left with a warm, sweet but savoury loaf that’s packed with welcoming flavour that oozes temptation.

IMG_3198 IMG_3196IMG_3259

Continue reading “Cheese, Onion and Rosemary Soda Bread”

Malted Milk Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Cocoa Nibs

IMG_2966I’ve been obsessing over ice cream sandwiches for a few weeks now. I craved them after finding a food truck (Blu top Ice Cream Sandwiches) which made large cookie sandwiches filled with wonderful ice creams. Flavours such as; toast and jam, builders tea and bourbon whiskey feature on their menu. I’ve been dying to visit them at one of their weekly markets but for various reasons, I haven’t been able to go. A future post will pop up when I eventually go.

What does one do in these kind of dire situations? One recreates the desired treat at home!

Why not? Nothing better than a day spent in the warm hug of your kitchen; a treat like this waiting at the finish line.

One down side to having a blog is constantly attempting new recipes. Whenever I bake something, it’s always new. It’s very rare that I ever make something twice. Its my dream to have a cookie or pudding recipe that is my signature bake. I imagine my friends coming over and begging me to ‘make those cookies you make.’ Or I’d have that bread that I bake every week without fail. A constant supply of fresh bread in my house.

After considering this, I looked back through my cookie recipes and chose my rich, dark double chocolate cookie recipe. I remember not being able to resist these. Just pure unadulterated indulgence in cookie form. Both white chocolate chips and dark are required to make the perfect cookie. As is a hell of a lot of butter, dark brown sugar and a good sprinkling of sea salt.

Malt Ice cream is my number one choice for ice cream (honey coming in close second.) It was a no brainer that I’d recreate a Malteser in ice cream sandwich form. Malt ice cream squashed between chewy chocolate cookies, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with roasted cocoa nibs. I’ll leave you to just sit, salivate and think about all that.IMG_2900
IMG_2916 Continue reading “Malted Milk Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Cocoa Nibs”