Thursday, 28 November 2013

Triple Chocolate Merlot Bundt Cake

Recipe from Restless Chipotle (LINK)

Beautiful, extremely indulgent, chocolate cake

Requires around 600g of chocolate chips, and half a bottle of merlot for the cake and ganache.

I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate chips, pretty much 1:1.

The bundt tin I used was too small, so the cake rose above the edge, fortunately it didn't spill over. I felt this affected the baking time (1hr 10 minutes). I will get a larger tin for the next time I try this cake (which I will be doing)!*

My first ever Bundt

Whilst I appreciate that browned butter adds to the richness and depth of flavour, I think I will choose when to go through this process, depending on the intended consumers. My colleagues will probably not discern the difference between the flavours beyond 'chocolate', so if it is for them, I doubt I will go beyond just melting the butter.

The Cut
*I made my second attempt at this cake in March 2015, and following my notes, reduced the amount of batter in the tin. I may have been a bit too heavy handed with my reduction, as the cake that came out was pretty pitiful. I made cupcakes with the 'left over' batter, and they were pretty nice. I need to work out that happy fill point of the batter...

2nd attempt - March 2015

Monday, 25 November 2013

Pumpkin Butter and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Butter using recipe from OhSheGlows (LINK)

I used two prize 'Zumpkins' grown by a colleague. I don't have a cleaver, so had to use a lot of energy with my 'Psycho' style chef's knife to cut it into manageable pieces.

Roasted them at 170°C for around 1h and 20 minutes.

I didn't sieve the water out of them however I did leave the flesh to sit in a bowl after I scooped it out, went out to buy a hand blender, and some of the water had naturally seeped out by the time I returned, so I discarded the fluid.

I used light brown muscovado sugar instead of Sucanat or brown sugar as suggested.

The result was delicious, and indeed did taste wonderful on toast.

Butter, butter, everywhere

The seeds were another matter! Removing them from the flesh was a tedious affair, and at several points, I nearly gave up, however I could not bring myself to waste them.

I followed the recipe for roasting them from OhSheGlows yet again, and they turned out wonderfully. I roasted them at 170°C for 19 minutes, tossing them after 10 minutes, and they came out lovely and crisp; well worth it.

Good Snackin'
Should any more pumpkins come my way, I will definitely put them to use in this way again.

Stem Ginger and Oat Biscuits

Beautiful recipe based on (LINK).

Comments added as Baking Fanatic from first attempt:

Absolutely fantastic recipe! I completely agree with cookielover below; I used 1tsp of ground ginger, and half tsp of cinnamon, and it didn't hurt the recipe.
I wasn't sure what 'balls' of ginger were so I used about a fat index finger's worth - approx 2.5" - of root ginger, grated it, and squeezed the juice out through a tea strainer (not sure that clarifies anything!).

I have since looked up through the shopping list what was meant by stem ginger.

I did not bother to cube the butter seeing as it was to be melted.

Lovely chewy consistency - a much more comforting biscuit compared to the hardness and harshness of a 'regular' ginger snap. I managed to make 18 biscuits from this recipe.

Mine did not turn out as golden as the ones in the picture; perhaps my syrup was not golden enough, however I have a huge bottle to work through, so maybe I will try using some dark muscovado sugar next time to give a bit more colour... maybe replace 10 - 20g of light muscovado with dark muscovado.

Second attempt - I found Stem Ginger! Amazeballs!

The biscuits turned out lovely and chewy, however as it has been a while since the first attempt, I cannot compare the two.

They had disappeared by 9.30am in the office anyhow!

Will definitely do again.

Alongside Double Chocolate Cookies
Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Pumpkin Butter Cake

Recipe base from Baked Bree (LINK)

Substituted pecan nuts for pumpkin seeds to make the cake nut-free

Converted all cup measurements (with the exception of the pumpkin butter) to grams

2 cups of flour - 250g (used plain flour)

1/2 cup of butter - 113g (unsalted)
1 cup of sugar/1 cup of brown sugar (200g each)

I couldn't be bothered to grind my nutmeg so used 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg from the jar.

I forgot to buy baking soda, so used 4 additional teaspoons of baking powder, and omitted the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 

I used my own homemade 'Zumpkin' butter following the recipe from Oh She Glows (LINK).

I accidentally added 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin butter rather than 1 1/3, however it doesn't appear to have hurt the cake; I will update this once I have cut it tomorrow.

The batter seemed quite lumpy - mainly because I was impatient and didn't wait for my butter to become soft enough, so I couldn't cream my butter and sugar together properly. To be honest, I even if I had waited, I couldn't see how it would cream together due to the high sugar:butter ratio; I imagine it would have been more of a breadcrumb textured mixture.

The batter also seemed a lot more fluid than the picture on Bree's site, however this is probably down to the overage of pumpkin butter, plus the butter itself was a little bit fluid - I was too scared to boil it down further for fear of burning it!

I baked the cake for 50 minutes at 170°C, and it was a lovely burnished colour, however the cake tester was looking a little sweaty, so I covered the cake with foil, and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes. The cake looked done after this point, however just to rest my mind, I returned it to the oven with its foil hat with the heat off for another 10 minutes.

Total baking time: 1 hr 10 minutes.

I'm not sure why my icing wasn't as thick and white as Bree's... I'm not someone who really focuses on decoration, but one day, I will be bothered enough to find out!

As you can see the cake was a little bit moist on the inside. My oven is not fan-assisted, and most of the heat is around the edges due to the element within it, so this does not surprise me.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to alleviate this issue, please comment!