Recipe: Triple Chocolate Loaf Cake with Chocolate Icing

As you probably know by now, tea time has become a very sacred ritual for us, mainly because my boyfriend is British and loves (!!) his cup of tea in the late afternoon early evening. And as we all know (right?), tea and cake go very well together. I grew up with tea and cake most evenings after supper so I obviously like it too. Sometimes we have biscuits but loaf cakes are a favourite because one can easily eat just a slice and pick it up with one’s hands.

This cake is my regular chocolate cake recipe scaled down to a loaf tin size, with added chocolate chunks and an icing, so more tried and tested than groundbreaking Because the batter is quite thin all the chocolate sinks to the bottom while baking, but I quite like that. The top is crunchy and has the icing and the bottom is soft but hides all the chocolate pieces.

My favourite thing about this cake though is that it lasts. It doesn’t get dry after two days, so there is no rush to eat it, just enjoy it when you want a slice. I would say it lasts well for up to a week, but it will probably get eaten much sooner than that! It also freezes well. Such a good cake!

Triple chocolate loaf cake with chocolate icing, serves 6-8

400 ml caster sugar

330 ml plain flour

4 tbsp cocoa

2,5 tsp vanilla sugar

2,5 tsp baking powder

135 g melted butter

3 eggs

200 ml recently boiled water

40 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

40 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Icing:

100 ml icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp cocoa, sifted

1-2 tbsp water

Mix the dry ingredients. Add eggs, butter and water, stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate. Pour into a greased loaf tin, lined with parchment paper. Bake in a low oven, 175 C for 35-45 minutes. Leave to cool.

Mix the ingredients for the icing in a bowl and spread onto the cake while it’s still warm but has cooled down a little.

Recipe: Raspberry and White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Tea and cake has become almost a sacred ritual for us since the first lockdown. Although it’s not conducive to eat cake every single day (or is it?!) we do treat ourselves quite often and always when we have friends to stay.

I made this cake for the first time one rather stressful day before our friend Ravi came to stay with us and I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would turn out alright. Luckily it turned out beautifully, apart from the icing which was a bit lumpy, but I can live with that.

The chunks of white chocolate that almost caramelise in the oven is my favourite part, but I like every aspect of this cake. It has a nice crumb texture (I did base it on a Mary Berry recipe so would expect nothing less!), just enough moisture and flavour from the raspberries, a little hint of lemon to cut through the sweetness of the chocolate and a simple icing on top. Do try this at home and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea! Or it can easily be turned into a pudding by adding a generous dollop of lightly whipped cream and some fresh raspberries to the plate and maybe grate some white chocolate on top.

Raspberry and white chocolate loaf cake, serves 8

175 g caster sugar

175 g self-raising flour

175 g softened butter

3 eggs

finely grated zest from 1/4 lemon

3/4 level tsp baking powder

80 g white chocolate, roughly chopped

80 g fresh raspberries

For the icing:

100 ml icing sugar, sifted

1-2 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest until smooth in a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate and raspberries and mix. Pour the batter into a buttered and lined loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins, or until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.

Leave to cool a little, then make the icing by mixing together the sugar and water and pour over the cake. Leave to cool and loosen the sides of the cake, then lift the cake out of the tin.

Recipe: Easter Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

No Easter without chocolate, am I right?! So for the Easter cake this year I made sure it was super chocolatey! I used my go-to chocolate cake recipe (courtesy of mamma and granny) but made it gluten-free (so we could share it with friends) just substituting plain flour with Doves Farm gluten-free flour blend. For the filling I made a chocolate buttercream with both melted chocolate and cocoa and it was so delicious I will definitely make it again and again.

Chocolate cake, serves 10

600 ml (480 g) caster sugar

500 ml (300 g) plain flour 

6 tbsp cocoa

4 tsp vanilla

4 tsp baking powder

200 g melted butter

4 eggs

300 ml just-boiled water

1 batch chocolate buttercream – recipe below

Decorations:

2 bags Cadbury mini eggs

1 Lindt milk chocolate bunny

Pre-heat the oven to 175C, butter and two springforms and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa and baking powder in a large bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, egg and water and combine. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool completely.

Chocolate buttercream

100 g dark chocolate, chopped

300 g softened salted butter

400 ml icing sugar, sifted

2 tbsp cocoa, sifted

1 tsp vanilla

approx 2 tsp lemon juice

Melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a Bain Marie until melted. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Set aside.

Make sure the butter is really soft. Add it to a large mixing bowl and add the sifted icing sugar. Beat together with an electric whisk until well incorporated. Add the cocoa and vanilla and incorporate. Add the melted chocolate and beat well until well incorporated. Season to taste with lemon juice to cut through the richness.

Assembly 

Remove the cakes from the tins and remove the baking parchment. Place one cake round upside down on the cake plate and cover with half the buttercream. Place the next cake round on top and cover with the rest of the buttercream. Decorate with mini eggs and chocolate bunny.

Recipe: The ABSOLUTE best chocolate chip cookies!

I made these at the beginning of the first lockdown, and although my largest bowl was barely large enough to hold the full batch, they gave me so much joy those few weeks in solitude.

The recipe calls for a whole 36 hours of rest in the fridge, which was really difficult for this impatient cook to adhere to, so I made sure to bake the dough after a few hours of rest, after 24 hours and finally after 36 hours. All in the name of research, of course. And this highly scientific empirical study showed that the dough that had rested the longest in the fridge indeed made the best cookie. So have patience, my friends!

Typical lockdown activity, attempting a self portrait with the cookies one just baked 🙈

Also in the name of research, I made sure to microwave a few balls of cookie dough until gooey and heavenly and ate with vanilla ice cream. Highly recommend!

Please note that the recipe below has been halved, to easier fit our medium sized mixing bowls. Just double it if you want the full batch. I would recommend making two smaller batches though – easier on the arms (when mixing) and on the tummy, as these are really difficult to resist!

A final tip; instead of baking them all immediately, I froze a few dough balls and kept in my freezer for when I wanted still warm cookies (is there anything better than those bits of melted chocolate?!) straight from the oven, which I have to admit was quite often…

The ABSOLUTE best chocolate chip cookies, makes about 20 cookies

Adapted from David Leite’s (phenomenal) recipe.

410 ml plain flour

3/5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

140 g unsalted butter, softened

145 ml light brown sugar

130 ml caster sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla

280 g chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa, chopped

sea salt

Mix flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients bit by bit while stirring. Add the chocolate and mix well. Press cling film against the dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.

To bake, pre-heat the oven to 175C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto the baking sheet, pressing down on chocolate pieces sticking up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18-20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Recipe: Buttery Almond Biscuits (Bondkakor)

During lockdown I did a lot of baking. Like a lot a lot. Our 5pm tea time break was holy and I tried to make sure we had nice treats to enjoy each day.

It was a fun game of finding ingredients and trying to think of what to make with them. I made these particular biscuits when we were low on eggs. It felt so satisfactory to be able to make something delicious (and trust me when I say these biscuits are buttery and scrumptious!) even when you can’t get hold of something as basic as eggs.

But I urge you to make them even if you have plenty of eggs on hand, because they are so so good! I baked half in the Aga and half in a regular oven at a later time (the dough freezes really well!), and they were definitely best when baked in the Aga, so if you have or have access to one, don’t hesitate to make these!

Bondkakor (Buttery Almond Cookies), makes about 60

Translated from and adapted after Ica’s recipe.

30 g whole almonds

150 g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80 g caster sugar

1/2 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp water

100 g butter

Chop the almonds roughly. Pour the flour and bicarb into a bowl and mix. Add sugar, syrup, almonds, water and butter. Work the ingredients into a dough. Shape into two rolls, each approx 3 cm in diamanter. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C. Cut the rolls into 5 mm thick slices and place on parchment paper covered baking trays. Bake in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe: The Easiest Scones!

When I saw Rosie make these on her Instagram in the middle of lockdown, I decided to try them straight away. I already have a great scone recipe on the blog, courtesy of Paul Hollywood, but these seemed a lot easier and quicker to make.

I even managed to get hold of clotted cream, so two days in a row we had freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream with our tea. So yummy!

These are definitely your everyday type of scones. The ones you whip up just before eating them, and I think they are intended that way. If you’re putting on a whole afternoon tea spread I would make the Paul Hollywood ones though, as they are more like the ones you get in a nice restaurant. Less rustic.

I can’t stress enough how easy these are to make! If you haven’t made scones before or are a bit scared of baking, this is the recipe to try. Line up the ingredients and have the tea, clotted cream and jam ready!

The easiest scones, makes about 16

Adapted from Rosie The Londoner’s recipe.

8 heaped tbsp self-raising flour

quarter pack of butter (about 62 g), cubed

150 ml milk

pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and add in the cubed butter. Use finger tips to break up the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs in texture. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk. Use a knife to bring it together into a sticky dough. Dust a surface with flour and place the dough on it. Sprinkle some flour on top and pat the dough until approx 1.5 inches thick, taking care not to knock the air out of it or work the dough too much. Cut out scones with a cookie cutter or a glass. Keep going until all the dough has been used. Place the scones on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes and let cool on a wire rack. Split the scones open to serve.

Recipe: Rhubarb Pavlova

When I put this on the table at a dinner party before lockdown (the last dinner with friends in fact) I got so much praise. To me, a pavlova is easy to make, and even more importantly, to make ahead! But I agree it looks impressive and inviting with it’s fluffy white meringue and pillowy whipped cream topped with gleaming pink pieces of just-soft-enough-rhubarb.

That dinner in March seems forever ago now, but thanks to the forced Yorkshire rhubarb, it was rhubarb season both then and now, giving us a link back to that more carefree time.

But as we are now allowed to see friends again, let’s celebrate it with a really good pudding!

Rhubarb Pavlova, serves 6-8

140 g egg whites (4)

220 g caster sugar

8 g / 1 tbsp corn flour

4 g  / 1 tsp white wine vinegar

3 dl whipping or double cream

400 g rhubarb

400 g rhubarb, ends trimmed

200 ml water

200 ml caster sugar

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by bit while beating until stiff peaks. Add corn flour and vinegar and fold it in with a spatula. 

Divide the meringue in two, shaping two circles on two parchment clad baking trays. 

Bake in the middle of the oven, for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the cooling oven with the door open until the oven has cooled down. 

Cut the rhubarb into 4 cm long pieces and place in an ovenproof sig with sides. Bring sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb and place in a 100C oven for 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Lightly whip the cream. Place one meringue round on a cake plate. Spread with whipped cream and drizzle with rhubarb syrup. Place the other meringue round on top. Spread with whipped cream and top with rhubarb pieces and syrup. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Recipe: The Perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake

In these strange times I have baked more than ever. Partly because tea and cake in the late afternoon every day has been a lovely ritual in an otherwise chaotic and strange time.

I’ve made some old favourites (my favourite chocolate cake, the yummiest carrot cake, tosca cake and of course a classic Victoria sponge) but I’ve also tried some new recipes. And this lemon drizzle cake recipe, courtesy of baking queen Mary Berry, was of course perfect in every way.

It’s incredibly easy to make (place all ingredients in a bowl and mix) and utterly delicious. I love the crunchy top (finally that substituted bag of granulated sugar was put to good use!) and the perfectly balanced lemon flavour.

My only problem was that I was out of self-raising flour, but it was easily substituted by plain flour and baking powder (2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g plain flour) and worked perfectly.

Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake, serves 8

Adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe.

175 g caster sugar

175 g self-raising flour

175 g softened butter

3 eggs

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

¾ level tsp baking powder

For the lemon drizzle topping:

100 g granulated sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest until smooth in a large mixing bowl and pour into a buttered loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins, or until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.

While the cake is still warm, make the lemon drizzle topping. Mix together the sugar and lemon juice, and pour over the warm cake. Leave to cool a little and loosen the sides of the cake, then lift the cake out of the tin.

Recipe: Gingerbread Sponge with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pomegranate Seeds

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I first made this cake for a book club meet-up and it went down so well I made it one December weekend as well. And that’s also when I tweaked the recipe to what it is below. The original recipe called for lingonberry jam which I omitted even the first time, but I thought the spices could come through a bit more as well and after my tweaks I’m very happy with it!

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So next time you want a festive cake, try this! I promise it’s a welcome change from mince pies and other cakes heavy on dried fruit. This is still a spiced cake but much lighter and, dare I say – fresher – with its cream cheese frosting and juice bursting pomegranate seeds!

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Gingerbread sponge with cream cheese frosting and pomegranate seeds, serves 8

Adapted from Brinken Bakars recipe.

75 g butter

1 1/2 eggs

135 g caster sugar

125 g plain flour

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp ground cloves 

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150 g buttermilk 

Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Butter a baking tin. Melt the butter and put aside. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs and sugar pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the buttermilk and lastly the melted butter and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Cream cheesefrosting

75 g softened salted butter

80 g icing sugar 

1 tsp vanilla

150 g cold cream cheese (preferably full fat Philadelphia) 

110 g pomegranate seeds

Cream the butter for approx 5 minutes using an electric whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. 

Let the cake cool and put it on a cake plate. Spread the frosting on top and decorate with pomegranate seeds. 

 

 

Recipe: chewy chocolate cookies (gf)

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These deliciously chewy chocolate biscuits happen to be gluten-free, and that’s why I decided to make them in the first place; for a friend who can’t have gluten, but as I suspected they were so lovely that I will keep making them for myself as well.

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Because they don’t contain gluten-free flour they’re not a regular cookie made into a gluten-free version. Instead the technique is completely different using eggs and corn flour to bind a mixture of mainly melted chocolate. Yes, they’re THAT chocolate-y!

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Gluten-free chocolate cookies with sea salt, makes 20-25

Translated from and adapted after Brinken Bakar’s recipe.

135 g caster sugar

40 g butter, softened

2 eggs

45 g corn flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

250 g dark chocolate 

120 g white chocolate, chopped

sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan. Melt the dark chocolate in a Bain Marie and leave to cool slightly. Whip the butter with electric beaters fir approx 2 minutes, then add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs; first one, then whisk and then the other and whisk. Mix corn flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add to the egg mixture. Add the melted chocolate. If the mixture feels too runny leave it to thicken for while. When the mixture is cool, add the white chocolate. Spoon out the mixture onto baking tray covered with parchment paper. Scatter with sea salt and bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Leave to cool. They are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge.