Monday, 29 July 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Firstly, huge apologies to my fellow Secret Recipe Club members for this late posting. It's been a busy, stressful month with work and travel and I just completely forgot although I did make this recipe quite early on in the month as I knew I would not have time later.

This month, I was assigned Oh! You Cook! which is a lovely blog written by Dena who is a librarian by day and a recipe blogger by night. Her recipes have step by step photos which I love and also publish on my posts. She has a vast array of recipes which are helpfully indexed and of course I headed straight for the dessert section. I spotted this recipe - chocolate sour cream bundt cake in the pies &  cake section and knew I had to make it. It sounded simple yet delicious and it was a definite hit at work. I didn't make the glaze in the end as the cake was good enough on its own. The sour cream made the cake really moist and I'll definitely be making this again.

Other delicious recipes that I've bookmarked to try are blueberry  banana bread, no bake mini chocolate puddings, strawberry shortcake and decadent chocolate mousse.

  melt butter,chocolate, cocoa powder and water 

 whisk the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture

 add the eggs, one at a time

 add sour cream and vanilla extract

 ready to go in the oven - my silicone tin does not require flouring but if yours does then use a mixture of 1 tablespoon plain flour and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to coat 


Recipe adapted  from Oh! You Cook!
(I added chocolate pieces, reduced the amount of cocoa powder and sugar)

250g plain four
45g cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate pieces
225g butter
1 cup water
300g sugar
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Place the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate and water to cook over a medium heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together.
  • Carefully add half the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time and continue whisking. 
  • Then add the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • Pour into a bundt tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake has pulled away from the edges and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Fennel and pistachio cookies

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that I love creating recipes. Sometimes they work and other times they don't. I usually start with ingredients that I want to use and make it up as I go along. This month's AlphaBakes letter is F. One of the ideas I brainstormed was fennel so I started thinking about flavour combinations that would work. I had some pistachio nuts left over from making my first AlphaBakes entry so I knew I definitely wanted to use those. One of my colleagues at work can't eat sugar but is ok with honey or agave so I started thinking about a healthy-ish, no sugar recipe that incorporates fennel and pistachio and came up with this. There was a bit of experimenting in the kitchen but I think I finally got it right. 

It's quite a soft, crunchy cookie which seems a little dry when you first bite into it but the flavours slowly come alive in your mouth and you are left wanting more. The fennel complements the pistachio very well and the honey added a very subtle fragrance and pleasant sweetness. The wholemeal and spelt flour made it feel healthy with a satisfying crunch. 

As mentioned, I am entering this to AlphaBakes as F is for fennel. It's hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes this month and co-hosted by myself on alternate months. 

I'm also entering this to Made with love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior where the idea is to make everything from scratch. 

As fennel is a herb, I'm also entering it to Cooking with Herbs/Herbs on Saturday hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage

 olive oil, fennel seeds, honey, wholemeal flour, pistachios

 blitz the pistachios briefly until it's coarsely ground. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. 

 top with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios


An original recipe by bakingaddict

Makes 26 cookies

200g wholemeal flour
50g spelt flour
80mls honey
60mls olive oil
1.5 tablespoons water
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
70g pistachios
1 egg

  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Place the pistachios in a food processor and blitz in 10 second bursts until it's coarsely ground. 
  • Set aside approximately 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top of cookies before baking.
  • Add the remaining ingredients into the processor and blitz until you get a dough like consistency - the dough will be quite sticky. 
  • Place a small scoopful of cookie dough spaced apart on a lined baking sheet. 
  • Sprinkle some of the reserved chopped pistachios on top of each cookie and bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes until it's golden brown at the edges. 
  • Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Fig, yoghurt and walnut cake with pomegranate and pistachio

July is a busy month for me as I am off travelling ... again! So I wanted a versatile recipe that I could enter into multiple blog challenges and came across this amazing recipe on dailydelicious. I modified the recipe a tiny bit and the result was sheer perfection. The cake was moist and flavourful and I love the toppings on this cake! It's visually stunning and would be perfect for a party as it looks like you've spent hours in the kitchen but in reality it's fairly simple and straightforward to put together.

I'm entering this to AlphaBakes which is hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and by myself on alternate months. The letter this month is F for figs.

Next to Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked. Karen who is hosting this month chose Fresh Fruit Treats as the theme for this month. This cake contains figs, pomegranate and lemons so I think it definitely counts!

Fortunately for me, Calendar Cakes hosted by Laura from Laura loves Cakes and Rachel from Dolly Bakes chose fruity bakes for their theme this month. As mentioned the cake is full of fruit so I think it would definitely qualify.

As this cake is made with fresh ingredients and with plenty of love, I am also sending it to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior.

Addendum 4/8/13 - Fiona from London Unattached has created Fabulous First Fridays - a linky to share your special/significant/favourite post from the previous month so in this case July 2013. I'm submitting this lovely cake as it's really quick and easy to put together especially if you need something with a wow factor but don't want to spend hours in the kitchen.

 main ingredients 

 ready to go in the oven 

 cooking the syrup for the cake 

 cooking the pomegranate syrup 

 fresh from the oven with syrup glaze

 with toppings - love the vibrant colours! 

 Perfect for my glass cake stand :) 

Recipe modified slightly from dailydelicious

75g plain flour
80g fine semolina
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g walnuts, roasted, finely ground
2 eggs
260g caster sugar (divided into 110g,110g & 40g)
70g unsalted butter, melted
30ml  vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain yoghurt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1½ lemons
90ml + 2 tbsp water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 pomegranate, seeds removed
4 green figs, quartered
1-2 tablespoons of pistachios to decorate 

  • Preheat the oven to 170C. 
  • Roast the walnuts in the oven for approximately 8-10 minutes then set aside to cool. Grind the nuts into fine pieces. 
  • Sift the flour, semolina, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
  • Whisk 2 eggs with 110g caster sugar until thick and pale.
  • Add in the flour mixture then the ground walnuts. 
  • In a jug, mix the butter, oil, vanilla extract and yoghurt and pour into the egg and flour mixture and mix well. 
  • Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Now make the syrup by placing 110g sugar, 90mls water, zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.
  • In a separate saucepan, place 40g caster sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon and 2 tbsp water and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add the pomegranate seeds and continue cooking for a few minutes.
  • Once the cake is ready, remove from the oven and prick holes all over the top with a fork or skewer (do not remove from cake tin yet).
  • Gently pour the spiced syrup all over the cake and allow to cool in the tin. 
  • Once completely cool, place cake on a cake stand and slowly pour the pomegranate syrup on top.
  • Sprinkle with pistachios and place the quartered figs on top.