Friday, 22 June 2012

Caribbean Brownies

I am one lucky girl. I'm heading off to New Zealand and Australia for 6 weeks tomorrow. All through college my friend and I promised each other if we got some money together we'd head off and now it is finally happening. It's all a bit surreal!! I've been obsessively stalking the internet looking up activities, accommodation, food, reviews etc. I love organising and planning and it makes me think what did we do before the internet? I'm officially an information junkie.

I'm counting down the days and these brownies were an exercise in whittling away the days. These are my favourite brownie recipe, so moist and gooey. Enjoy!!


250g butter
250g chocolate
5 eggs
350g dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp rum
150g plain flour
125g pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped
4 pieces stem ginger from a jar or crystallised ginger

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until glossy. Allow to cool
2. Beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl under paler. Approx 6 minutes.
3. Stream in the butter/chocolate while beating to incorporate. Add the rum and mix.
4. Fold in the nuts and ginger.
5. Fold in the sifted flour.
6. Bake at 180oC for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out slightly sticky.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I feel like this post is going to an uphill battle... Some people have already seen the title and thought I've lost the plot, that I'll be changing my name to "Sun and Rain", handing out flyers outside Tescos about how vegetables have feelings and striking the downward dog pose in public places. I know Beetroot in a cake is weird. In fact it sounds completely disgusting but let me propose that this is the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. Because it is. No lie. I was as hesitant as you are now. Only for my complete trust in the pure wisdom of and I would never have even tried it. But it is good, it is so so good.

Quite literally the proof is in the pudding. You don't taste the beetroot at all, but it makes the cake so moist and fudgy, dense and chocolately. Plus beetroot has low calories so it really is the healthiest chocolate cake you can make with no compromise on taste. 

Probably best not to mention to anyone that there is beetroot in it. Not until they tell you how amazing it is anyway. Because they will. Guaranteed. 

This is from Joy the Baker with slight amendments by myself 

2 medium beetroots washed 
6 oz unsalted butter 
1 cup of soft brown sugar
3/4 cup of caster sugar 
2 large eggs 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 cups of plain flour sifted
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
50g good dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids preferrably)
1 cup of buttermilk, at room temperature 

1. Put the beetroot unpeeled in a pan of boiling salted water and boil for 45 minutes until a knife runs through them. Leave to cool then peel and chop roughly. Put in a food processor or with a hand held blender pulse them until there are no lumps. Then measure 3/4 cup for this recipe. 
2. Beat the sugar and butter together for about 5 minutes until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating briefly until all incorporated. Add a heaped tablespoon of the flour with each egg to stop the mixture curdling. Fold in the beetroot. 
3. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix lightly. 
4. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 20 seconds or until fully melted. 
4. Put your buttermilk (at room temperature or else it will cause the chocolate to re-set), chocolate and vanilla essence in a jug. 
5. Add half the dry ingredients and half the milk and fold in gently but thoroughly. Continue with the rest of the dry and wet ingredients. 
6. Spoon into non-stick baking tins that have been lined with greaseproof/baking paper (this is worth your while!). It will make a three 6-7 inch pans or two 8-9 inch pans.  Your mix should look like this.

The fabulous hue of the beetroot doesn't come through in the cooked sponge so much. Which is actually a shame because it would be such an amazing coloured sponge!!
7. Bake for 27-30 minutes at 180oC. Use a skewer to tell if the cakes are done. The skewer should come out clean.
8. Leave to rest in the tins for 10 minutes then invert and sandwich with cream cheese frosting recipe to follow!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Topped with dried banana and pink sugar

Oh my I am in LOVE! With hummingbird cupcakes. A sexy banana cake. More stylish, more sweet, with all the flavours of paradise in cupcake- pecan, coconut, pineapple, banana, cinnamon. Yes we've gone from sunshine paradise in Ireland to bone-chilling rain but it won't get me down with these cupcakes bringing me to a Caribbean beach I've never been too. Better make a cup of tea to warm me up all the same...

Adapted From Martha Stewart Recipe
Makes 24 large muffin sized (pictured on individual stand), 30+ 'standard' cupcakes (pictured below)

3 cups of plain flour sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 salt
8oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 large overripe bananas mashed
1 cup and half of chopped pecans
10oz tin of pineapple, drained and finely chopped
3/4 cup dessicated coconut

1. Put melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat on high for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Beat for a further 3 minutes.
3. Fold in the coconut, pineapple, mashed banana and the pecans
3. Sift the baking soda and flour into a bowl and add the cinnamon and salt.
4. Fold in the flours until just combined.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes in a 190oC fan oven. The tops might not be too brown but that is OK. If you overcook they will be dry rather than moist. Inserting a skewer is the easiest way to check if they are cooked.

Decorated with Dr Oetker wafer daisies

On my Newbridge silverware cupcake stand, a much loved present
from Baby in a Corner!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The BEST Chocolate Malt Frosting

To accompany chocolate malt cupcakes below!

150g butter softened,
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
40g ovaltine
4 tbsp caramelised condensed milk (you can buy this in tins from Nestle)
1 tbsp milk

1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
2. Beat together all the ingredients except the milk for 3-4 minutes with an electric beater until smooth.
3. Add the milk a little at a time if the frosting is too thick.
4. Try to actually spoon/pipe onto the cupcakes and not to eat straight with a spoon!