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Hello Friends!

It’s been a long while since I have put anything up.

With getting married, applying to a graduate program and everything else it’s been a hectic couple of months.

But here’s a fabulous little recipe that grabbed my attendtion as soon as I saw it.

I bought a bundt pan a long while ago but only really used it once or twice, this recipe is perfect for the pan.

It’s a simple concept, two different types of batter poured into the pan alternately to create a zebra-like effect once you cut into it. DELICIOUS.

Zebra Bundt Cake

Ingredients:
Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk

Glaze

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream

Instructions:
To make cake

  1. Sift flour baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl add in ½ cup of sugar, the cocoa powder, and water then whisk until mixture is smooth; set aside.
  3. Place melted butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium high until mixture is blended, about 1 minute. Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Add and beat eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition. Once all eggs are added, beat mixture until it becomes light and fluffy (it will resemble pancake batter, but slightly thinner).
  4. Turn mixer speed down to low and add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions and mixing just until blended.
    Add 2 cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, pour two scoops of vanilla mixture into pan. Now alternate and pour one scoop of chocolate mixture on top of vanilla mixture. Continue to alternate between vanilla and chocolate layers until bundt pan is filled.
  6. Bake zebra pound cake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely.

To make glaze

  1. Place chocolate and cream in a pan over low heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes before using.

Assembly

  1. Pour the glaze on top and let glaze set, about 30 minutes. Slice and serve.
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I am a very very bad blogger. Awful, infact, you may say.

But here is a great recipe, no, better than great, a super lovely recipe from my favourite baking slut, Nigella Lawson. I’ve gone on a bit of kick with chocolate cakes recently, they’re relatively simple to make but you end up getting something quite impressive (that is if they don’t self-destruct, as quite often happens..)

Make this and share it (or not) with people you like.. they will then like you more.

Devils Food Cake

(from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • for the cake:
  • 50g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • for the frosting:
  • 125ml water
  • 30g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter cubed
  • 300g best-quality dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Method

Serves: 10 – 12
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  3. Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy; I find this easiest with a freestanding mixer, but by hand wouldn’t kill you.
  5. While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
  6. Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
  7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
  8. Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
  10. But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
  11. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
  12. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
  13. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula. You can go for a smooth look, but I never do and probably couldn’t.

I am so happy with this cake! The cake was moist, the frosting was easy to coat the cake with, and  overall taste was completely brilliant. A huge success! I think Carrot Cake might be my most favourite cake…

It actually looked presentable! I was proud. And it didn’t stand a chance once I’d brought it into work…

Carrot Cake

(adapted from Nigella Lawson and Hummingbird Bakery…again!)

Cake

  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 orange or 1 satsuma
  • 150 (approxiametly 2 medium carrots, grated)
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 200degreescelcius
  2. Beat the sugar and oil together, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, bicarb, cinnamon, salt and zests, then fold in the grated carrot and walnuts. Spoon the mixture evenly into a 9 inch cake pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a rack while you get on with the icing.

Icing

  • 600g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g cream cheese, cold
  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use an electric wisk or a bowl and spoon) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

Assemble the cake

  1. One the cake is cool. Slice in half to form two separate layers.
  2. Sandwich cake layers together with around 1/3 of the icing then finish off the cake by coating the entire thing in the remaining icing.
  3. Optional – top with chopped walnuts.

Eat many slices of this cake and you will be fat and happy.

 

This banana bread is most definitely more akin to some sort of brownie loaf. It’s dense and fudgy and full of delicious things like chocolate chips and nuts. It tastes better the next day, when it’s all perfectly moist.

I used the Hummingbird bakery recipe as the starting point, then took some tips from Nigella to make this delicious loaf of heaven.

Banana Brownie Bread

(adapted from Nigella Lawson and Hummingbird Bakery)

Makes 8 to 10 slices

  • 270g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g peeled bananas, mashed
  • 255g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 140g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 60 g chopped walnuts

– a 23 x 13-cm loaf tin, greased and dusted with flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 170DegreesCelcius.
  2. Put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (I used a bowl and a wooden spoon) and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas.
  3. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. Mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the chopped walnuts and chocolate and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rach to cool completely.

EAT.

 

I used to watch a bit of Desperate Housewives when it first started, all I can remember really is – Teri Hatcher being thin, Eva Longoria being small, a fire, bones in a trunk…

Waiting in the checkout line at Safeway I spotted a special cooking with the stars version of People magazine. On the cover was Eva Longoria mixing bowl in hand, red dress and not a hair out of place. Not looking so much desperate housewive and more like domestic goddess.

At first I laughed at the ridiculousness of the photographs, seeing as I am definitely not the image of composure and grace that Eva portrays here in her photoshoot kitchen. However, when I saw the recipe for her Mom’s Carrot Cake, I couldn’t get it out of my head and decided that I MUST bake that cake as soon as humanly possible.

It most definitely did not disappoint. Such a deliciously moist cake with such scrummy cream cheese icing. My cake is most definitely not a looker though, it more resembles a sort of jellyfish or ghost.

So good job, People magazine – star power does work.

Mom’s Carrot Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups peeled and grated carrots (about 5 carrots)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Then in another bowl, beat oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  3. Add the flour mixture and just stir until blended. Add carrots in small amounts, folding them in.
  4. Pour into the cake pans and bake until they’re lightly browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean (about 45 minutes.)
  5. Cool in pans for about 5 minutes. Run a thin knife (butter knife) around the outside remove from pan and cool right-side-up on wire racks (if you don’t own wire racks, you can let your cakes cool in the fridge and when completely cooled, touch bottom of pan for coolness, remove cake from pan). With a serrated knife shave ends and bottom of cake  then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, blending between each addition. Mix in the vanilla and beat until very smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Seeing as my finished cake was aesthetically a little bit of a disaster, I present to you an image of a bag of oranges.

But beauty is more than what’s on the outside and the taste of this cake was divine. I’d been craving an orangey chocolatey baked good for some time, and this delivered.

Dark Chocolate & Orange Cake

(from bbc good food)

Ingredients

  • 1 Seville orange
  • a little melted butter , for greasing
  • 100g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • orange candied peel , to decorate

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  • 200g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 225ml double cream

How To Make

  1. Pierce the orange with a skewer (right through). Cook in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft. Whizz the whole orange in a food processor until smooth; let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for 2 minutes on High, stirring after 1 minute. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, discarding any pips, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. (Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache: put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside until firm enough to spread over the cake – up to 1½ hours.
  5. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate with strips of candied orange peel.

 

See those beauties up top?! they arrived in the mail from my awesome aunt Christine, boom, best day ever, and look what came with them…

Happiness, joy, elation – and the Fenwick bag just topped it all off. It’s sad how a plastic bag can really make me miss Newcastle. Thankyou so much Christine!

I’m slowly working through these treasures but that’s not going to stop me baking, especially when I saw a recipe on the BBC website that looked too good to pass up and it meant I could use my shiny new pans!

This fudge cake was a relative doddle to whip together and the taste was so chocolatey and perfect. Not one bit of this cake was dry or boring (which I fear when making cakes).

Luckily I was able to give some away to some friends who enjoyed it too. Perfect with a large glass of milk.

Also, here’s a bit of math for the week:

Swimming = Hunger = Cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake

(from the BBC’s Great British Bakeoff)

Ingredients

For the cake
  • 200g/7oz good-quality plain chocolate, chopped
  • 200g/7oz butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
  • 100ml/3½fl oz water
  • 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  • 125g/4½oz plain flour
  • 25g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 200g/7oz light muscovado sugar
  • 200g/7oz golden caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 75ml/2½fl oz creme fraiche

 

For the chocolate buttercream icing
  • 50g/1¾oz good-quality plain chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • milk, to loosen

 

For the chocolate ganache
  • 150ml/5¼oz double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 150g/5¼oz plain chocolate, plus extra chocolate shavings, to decorate

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas 3. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate, butter and water together in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, sift the flours and cocoa powder into a bowl and mix in the muscovado and caster sugar.
  4. Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a separate bowl, then beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour mixture until smooth.
  5. Divide the cake batter between the tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch.
  6. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, for the chocolate buttercream icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the surface of the water.)
  8. Beat the butter in a bowl until soft, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract and fold in the melted chocolate until smooth (add a few drops of milk if the mixture is a little stiff).
  9. For the chocolate ganache, heat the cream, vanilla extract, butter and chocolate in a heavy-based pan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth and thickened.
  10. To assemble the cake, run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the cake tins to loosen the cake. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins.
  11. Spread the chocolate buttercream over the top of one of the chocolate cakes, then carefully top with the other cake.
  12. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and spoon the chocolate ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle over the edge. Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve in slices.

DEVOUR.