Thursday, 20 June 2013

I just don't give a damn chocolate cake.

I started to get into baking in 2010 and Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy was one of the first Baking books I brought, and remains a close favourite in my baking book collection. I have tried several of her recipes from this book, and all have been easy to make and the results were delicious. A lot of my blog posts for cakes is a variation of some form of chocolate cake, but I was on the hunt for a super easy and super quick chocolate cake using my favourite all in one bowl method. Lorraine Pascale described this cake as "I just don't give a damn chocolate cake" due to the quickness, easiness and simplicity of this cake. I decorated with white chocolate buttons as this was a nice contrast against the milk chocolate ganache. Also, for super quickness, I baked this cake in a square tin instead of two cake tins, and omitted slicing the cake into two and spreading the ganache in the middle (I certainly was in a rush that day).
Here is how my cake turned out:
I just don't give a damn chocolate cake

I first started by mixing the butter and sugar together in a bowl.
Butter and sugar mixed together
Once this was combined I added the remanding mixture (flour, coco, eggs, milk) until all was combined.
Remaining ingredients
I then placed the mixture in a square tin and left to bake for around 30 minutes.
Mixture in cake tin
Once baked and left to cool (in the fridge admittedly) , I made the ganache, placed this over the tops and sides of the cake, left to set slightly before decorating with white chocolate buttons.
Crumb layer

Recipe for I just don't give a damn chocolate cake.

Vegetable oil, for oiling
140g creme fraiche (I used semi-skimmed milk)
130g butter
230g soft brown sugar (I used muscavodo)
Vegetable oil
230g self-raising flour
4 eggs
40 cocoa powder

For the ganache
80g dark chocolate,
130 g butter, softened
250g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease the tin and place baking paper inside the tin.
Put all the mixture for the cake into a bowl and beat well with with a hand-held mixture of by hand until everything is in-cooperated. Place the mixture in the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool before turning int out onto wire racks.

To make the frosting, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and leave to melt. Once the chocolate has melted set aside to cool. put the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate and beat until combined. Spread the ganache over the cake and enjoy.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cookies and cream brownies.

Many will remember this brownie recipe from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy. It seems such a long time ago since Lorraine bumped onto the cooking/baking scene with her simple, easy and delicious bakes, and for me, this is one of her best recipes. The name "cookies and cream" is from the Oreo cookies that are used, these American cookies have a layer of cream in the middle (please correct me if I am wrong!). I used 2/3 of the recomended Oreos given in the recipe, but  Istrongly suggest you use the full amount as the cookies in the brownies were so nice, I wished they were more in the brownie mixture.
To make the brownies were simple enough, but a word of caution, the recipe states to use 2 tbsp of plain flour, I thought this was a mistake as never used so little flour in a brownie mixture. I instead used 3 tbsp of self-raising flour and this worked fine for me.
Here is how my version of the Cookies and Cream brownies turned out:
Cookies and Cream brownies

I first started by melting the butter and chocolate over a medium heat, but unfortunately deleted this picture from my camera. I then whisked the eggs, sugar and then folded in the dry ingredients before adding the broken Oreo biscuits.
Oreo combined in the brownie mixture

Once everything was in-cooperated I paced this in a brownie tin and let bake for 25-30 minutes.
Brownies pre bake
Once baked, I left to cool before cutting into small pieces.
Brownies baked.
The link for this classic brownie bake can be found here.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lorraine Pascale's Quiche Lorraine minus the "twist"

I love quiche lorraine. It was the first tart I ever made, and I probably make quiche lorraine more than any other pie or tart. For the last ten years I followed my nan's Successful Baking cards but I wanted to see whether a new recipe could enhance my loved quiche lorraine. I turned to Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy as she has a recipe for "creme fraiche quiche lorraine". Now I'm not French but I don't think quiche lorraine with creme fraiche is very authentic so I adhered to my staple of double cream. I followed the recipe to the latter but removed the "twist" on a French classic.
Here is how my quiche lorraine turned out:

I would have taken a picture of the slices but I was bringing this to my church anniversary service and wanted to present the quiche whole, uncut.
I first started by making the pastry. Once the flour, salt, butter and water was combined I kneaded into ball and chilled for 30 minutes. I then rolled out the pastry and placed in my flan dish.
Pastry case before being blond baked.

I then blind baked for 20 minutes before adding the filling.

Overall a nice quiche lorraine and as good as my staple recipe. If I were to make this quiche again I would have to reduce the recommended 5 rashes of bacon and use 4 as the dish was a bit too salty for my liking, although my family disagreed.
Recipe for quiche lorraine from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy.
For the pastry
220g plain flour
125g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
large pinch of salt
1-4 tablespoons water, if needed.

Put the flour and butter in a food processor and blitz to breadcrumbs. If using your hands, rub the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs/ Add the egg yolks and a pinch of salt and stir together with a knife.
Squidge the mixture together into a ball, pop it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove it from the fridge and let it warm up a ;little (if using straight from the fridge). Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured board and use as required.

For the filling
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced.
5 rashers of streaky bacon
430g creme fraiche (I used 200g double cream)
4 eggs, lightly beaten.
Freshly ground pepper.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190C/375F
Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper from the pastry case, then return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven down to gas mark 2/150C/300F
The filling can be prepared while the pastry is baking. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and fry until soft and translucent with no colour. This can take a good 15 minutes.
Remove the onion from the pan and set aside. Add the bacon to the pan, turn up the heat slightly and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add half of the bacon to the base of the flan dish.
Place the flan dish on a flat baking tray.
Whisk the creme fraiche (or double cream) and add the eggs together gently in a large bowl, then season with pepper. Stir in the onions. Pour the mixture into the flan dish all the way to the top. Sprinkle the remaining bacon on top of the quiche and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling no longer wobbles.
Good to eat hot but best eaten cold giving the mixture a chance to settle.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Low fat skinny tarts

I decided last month that I was going to embark on a low calorie, low fat, low carb diet (I thought this whilst I was stuffing my face with chocolate). I planned my Sunday desserts and decided at least 2/4 desserts must be relatively harmless calorie wise. I'm not a big fan of Weight Watchers desserts recipes and the only other low fat book I have that doesn't have all fruits for desserts, Gino D'accampo I diet didn't appeal to me either. I remembered Lorraine Pascale did a recipe for skinny tarts in Baking made easy, and as she is still skinny after consuming her high calorie feasts, she can't be wrong. The recipe can be found here Recipe for skinny tart.

The tarts were nice, easy to make and looked pretty. The only negative about these skinny tarts, is that they weren't enough to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. I made her "I can't believe you made that cake" the following week (last Sunday)..... pictures to follow.


Monday, 30 July 2012

Lorraine Pascale book review

This is the book that made me appreciate the art of baking and made realise that baking is quite simple.  This has been my favourite cook book purchase of 2011 alongside  Nigella's Kitchen and Gino's Buonissimo.  I remember purchasing it in around April 2011, I did not watch her programme series as I was too busy with my uni work, but I was impressed by her apparent easy baking recipes. Prior to purchasing this book I did not realise that baking was a science; you can't just bung in everything and hope for the best, as I do when making a one pot dish. Anyway, back to the book, I started baking some of her easier traybakes or biscuits recipes - all turned out to be delicious.
Double chocolate cookies
These were very lush, gooey and an easy bake,

Chocolate flapjack
Again a very easy bake, with milk chocolate melted on top.
Shortbread, I shouldn't have picked at the crusts.

Almond cookies, I wasn't that keen on this bake, but am sure it will go down well for almond lovers.

I also made my first non-chcolate cake, after discovering LP's three tier carrot cake. I made this cake for my uni amigos, but only cut it once (a whole cake into two) as I thought it may have been tricky cutting a cake three times. Also, I was unsure what to decorate the cake with and as a novice baker I plonked smarties on the top. If I were to make this cake again I would decorate with walnuts.

I made LP's Italian Genoise mojito cake recently for my dad's birthday and was unsure how a cake with no raising agent could rise? I must admit, I did not follow the recipe the first time (I bunged all the ingredients together in a free standing mixer) which resulted in the cake not rising. I made the cake again the following day and ensured I followed the recipe to the latter. As the mixture volumed up, I knew I was on the right track. Unfortunately I do not have a food processor so I could not ground the pecan nuts (I used Brazil), but I think it still looked good, it certainly tasted amazing !

I have made some savoury bakes from LP's book too. For my uni recall xmas lunch I made lazy sausage rolls. This has to be the easiest recipe ever! Buy some sausages, make some pastry and assemble.

A prefect book for a new baker. 


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Prosciutto, mozzarella and fig pizza

From the onset I must declare I did not use fig, due to me already having a packet of dates in the cupboard and me wanting to use the dates, instead of buying the figs. Anyway, this recipe comes from the wonderful Lorraine Pascale's Baking made easy - my core baking book and is very easy to make. Once you make the the pizza dough, which is easy, this pizza is fairly simple. If you do not have the time i'm sure ready made pizza dough would work just as well.
The tomato base is lovely and fresh, and the three core ingredients I used - prosciutto, mozzarella and dates all added a different flavour to the pizza. I'm sure you can substitute the topping ingredients to what you have in the cupboard. Here is how my pizza turned out.

For all pizza lovers this is the recipe for you prosciutto pizza
P.S it is helpful if you purchase a pizza tray, and to ensure the pizza base is round, I place a bowl over the rolled dough to make sure the pizza is in a circular shape.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

I can't believe you made that cake

After last weeks Sunday dessert being a skinny tart, I thought I would go to the extreme the following week by making a chocolate cake, with frosting and chocolate fingers for decoration. I watched Lorraine Pascale make this cake last April on her show, Baking made easy and was impressed on how simple the recipe looked. I decided not to use the chocolate cigarellos as they would cost over £20, not worth it when I could buy three packets of fingers for £1 each (thanks Asda).
I didn't take pictures of the pre baking stage, as I was unsure whether it will turn out ok. Luckily for my very sweet taste buds, it did. The recipe for "I can't believe you made that cake" can be found here: I can't believe you made that cake.

Cake with the chocolate frosting.

Chocolate cake with the three packets of milk/white chocolate fingers.

The finished cake, the fruit counts as one of my five a day !
The next thing to make from Baking Made Easy is the prosciutto and fig pizza, yum
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