Double Trouble Chocolate Fudge Cake

One I made for easter – featuring Cadbury’s mini eggs on top.
Also beautiful when decorated simply with chocolate butter cream iced roses, sadly forgot to photograph that!

This is a tried and tested classic in my house.  The stepson loves it.  The husband loves it.  The work colleagues love it.  It’s rich and gooey and has load and loads of chocolatey butter icing – scrumptious.  Be naughty and have it with a little ice-cream – oh go on!

And it’s so easy.  What’s handy is when you just fancy rustling up a quick cake, you don’t need any soft butter to get the job going as it uses sunflower oil (also cheaper these days) – you just need some for the icing, which can soften up whilst you’re baking.  Easy!

ingredients

  • 175g Self raising flour
  • 2  Tbsp  Cocoa  Powder
  • 1  Tsp  Bicarbonate  soda
  • 150g  Caster  sugar
  • 2  Eggs  Beaten
  • 150  ml  (1/4  pint)  Sunflower  oil
  • 150  ml  (1/4  pint)  Semi  skimmed  milk
  • 2  Tbsp  Golden  syrup

For  the  chocolate butter icing – loads of it!

  • 150g  Unsalted  butter
  • 350g  Icing  Sugar
  • 4  Tbsp  Cocoa  Powder (or to taste)
  •  Drop  of  Milk

The Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.   Grease two 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins.
  2. Sieve the flour, cocoa and Bicarbonate of Soda into a bowl.  Add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk. Beat well with electric whisk until smooth.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the two tins and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from oven, leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  5. To make your butter icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft.  Gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder then add enough milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable.
  6. If the cake has risen a little to high then use a serrated knife to even off the top*, now sandwich the two cakes together with the butter icing and cover the sides and the top of the cake with more butter icing.

*here’s the best bit.  Whilst no-one is looking, use the leftover icing (if any) and make you’re own mini cake using the dodgy tops, and gobble it up before anyone notices!  Cook’s prerogative!!!! ;o)

 

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National Cupcake Week

For National Cupcake Week – thought I’d publish my very quick, very easy, tried and tested Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

Here goes:

Ingredients

150g unsalted butter, softened

150g caster sugar

1/2tsp vanilla extract (or to taste)

3 medium eggs

150g self-raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/Gas 3.
  2. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with cases.
  3. In a large mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat between each addition.
  5. Sift the flour, add to the mixture and mix carefully until just combined.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the mixture gently through with a spatula and then spoon/pipe into the cases.  You can use an ice cream scoop to help get even quantities.
  7. Bake the cupcakes for approx. 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Butter cream icing

Ingredients

150g unsalted butter, softened

275g icing sugar (sifted)

2tsp vanilla extract (or to taste)

dash of milk

Method

  1. Plop everything into a mixer and whizz until light and fluffy.  Add a dash of milk at the end to loosen the mix and make easy for piping.
  2. Ice/Decorate as desired.

September – Garden Tasks Top Ten

As I slowly adapt to my new green fingers, I’m trying to understand how certain tasks can only take place at certain times of the year.

So. Welcome to my monthly top ten things to do in your garden. Hopefully there won’t be any in December as it will be bloody chilly!

  1. Plant evergreens
  2. Plant tulip bulbs.  If they are “dry” bulbs you should leave them in a cool, airy place  out of reach of mice until you can  get them planted. If you haven’t ordered your bulbs yet, make it snappy before stocks sell out.
  3. Lift and pot up tender perennials
  4. Clean out water butts and check downpipe fittings
  5. Clear away faded summer bedding and annuals
  6. Sow hardy annuals in borders for earlier flowers next summer
  7. Prune roses
  8. Tidy borders by cutting down perennials past their best
  9. Trim lavender as it finishes flowering so it looks like a grey hedgehog – just 2-3inches tall. Then in February (or March if the weather is revolting), they will need another light trim and away they go.
  10. Prepare ground for any new grass seeds or turf

“T’is the last rose of summer . . .”

“T’is the last rose of summer, Left blooming alone.”

–  Thomas Moore, 1779-1852, The Last Rose of Summer.

September, the month of Indian summers, making the most of the last moments of warmth and for the home, getting ready for hibernation.

I have only just started to garden.  I really don’t know anything. Over the summer I managed some fairly simple tasks.  Planted some pots.  Didn’t kill anything.  Started a herb planter.  Moved some gravel.  But I didn’t realise how much there is to do in Autumn just to prepare for the year ahead.  So this month I’ll be giving you top 10 things to do in Autumn.

Lyon

Food wise, this month we’ll be mostly dining Lyonnaise.  We’re off to the food capital of France for a weekend so I might be food bloggy and post some pics from our break.  Bring on the offal.

National cupcake week 16-23 September

Check out the fancy decorating techniques I learnt at Carroll Cupcakes in Chelmsford

Like it says on the tin. Gobble up all-you-can-eat cupcakes and enjoy baking and decorating them too.

Harvest Festivals

It’s that time of year to reap the rewards of our local farmer’s hard work.  So many beautiful fruits and vegatables will be in stock at supermarkets and best, the local country produce stores.  Plus, get on down to the local blackberry bushes and rustle up a blackberry and apple crumble.  Delish!

Food.Glorious.Food

Amazingly Optomen spotted my Simnel Cake recipe on this little blog and now I’m going to be attending the filming of ITV’s new food based tv show Food.Glorious.Food.  I won’t be allowed to say much but I will post a little about the day on here.

 

But mostly, I wish you all an enjoyable September.  Enjoy the last of the sunshine.  And apparently we’re supposed to have a wonderful autumn for colour – so indulge in some autumnal walks amongst the ever changing landscape. xx