Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 I’ve loved banana bread for a long time. And not because it makes me feel pleased with myself for eating a fruity cake. It’s a great one to have in the cake tin, as it’s simple, delicious and keeps moister for longer than your average Victoria sponge. Ironically, you have to bake it for longer!

The chocolate added to this isn’t necessary, but it adds a bit of another dimension, making it altogether much more luxurious. 
 

You will need:

125g butter, at room temperature 

150g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

2 large, ripe bananas

1 egg

190g self-raising flour

60ml milk

75g chocolate chunks or chips 
  
  1. Grease and line a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 160C fan. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Crack in the eggs and whip them into the mixture until airy and moussey.

 
  2. Break the bananas in, mushing a little with your thumb. 

 3. Add the vanilla. Mix in well  

4.  Add the flour and fold in gently. Being careful not to overwork the mixture. Overworking will make the cake dry and heavy. Mix in the milk. 

5. Add the chocolate and mix gently.  
 
  6. Pour evenly into the loaf tin and put it into the middle shelf of the oven. 
  7. Bake for an hour, then check if the loaf is cooked by inserting a skewer or narrow knife into the centre. It can be hard to check, as sometimes traces of banana will cling to the skewer which might look like raw cake batter. If in doubt, bake for an extra 5 minutes. If this user cooked enough, it’ll collapse in the middle. 

 
  8. Slice and serve. It is especially delicious still warm from the oven. (Particularly if the chocolate is still slightly melty!). 

This loaf, if well covered, will keep for around a week.

Malteser Refrigerator Cake

We had a massive family barbecue last weekend and I was in charge of desserts and sides, whilst my uncle was king of the grill. I can’t begin to describe how incredible his food always is – in fact he was the first person, other that my Nana, who I actually sat and watched cooking when I was a child. His ability to turn out a banquet for 5 in no time at all fascinates me to this day.

   
Anyway I put this together quickly after work one evening to serve alongside chocolate tarts, strawberry tarts, chocolate dipped marahmallows, strawberries and cherries and, of course, a mighty summer berry pavlova. I’m afraid it was a bit of a frantic day so I forgot to take a lot of the photos I mostly would to let me share the progress of my recipes, but not to worry, this one was done ahead! 

Whilst this type of baking isn’t really baking as there is no oven involved, I still think there’s a time and a place for a chocolatey slice, whether it’s for a charity baking sale, an extra to keep in the tin or just something messy to make with kids, traybakes will always be around. 

  
You will need:

100g salted butter

200g good quality milk chocolate, or a mix of milk and dark 

3 tbsp golden syrup 

225g digestive biscuits

225g maltesers 

200g milk or dark chocolate (for the topping) 

100g white chocolate, for drizzling. 

   
1. Line a traybake tin or rectangular baking tray with greaseproof paper.

  
2. Place the digestives in a freezer bag and bash up, making sure you don’t have huge lumps, but you need a variety of sizes of pieces, not just powder.

   
3. Find a glass bowl and saucepan which are the right size to allow the bowl to be suspended in the saucepan in a way that will allow you to hold a couple of inches of simmering water in  the saucepan without the bottom of the bowl sitting in the water. Break the first quantity of chocolate into the bowl along with the butter, which should be cubed. Set the hob to a low to medium heat and put the saucepan on the hob, with the bowl suspended over boiled water as described. Stir the chocolate, syrup and butter together as they gently melt then remove from the heat.

   
4. Meanwhile, carefully slice a few of the maltesers in half to decorate the top, but leaving most to be mixed in. 

5. Once the melted chocolate mixture has cooled a little, stir in the digestives then the maltesers – I find it’s better to make sure the chocolate isn’t hot enough to melt the malteser chocolate at this point.

   
6. Once mixed together, pour into a tray and spread evenly. Repeat the melting routine with the rest of the milk chocolate (melt only until just melted to ensure a shiny finish) and pour over the top. Place the malteser halves on the top to decorate.

   
7. Melt the white chocolateand drizzle over. Allow to cool completely then slice. 

   

Mocha CakeĀ 

It was my Dad’s birthday recently and I wanted to make him a birthday cake that was manly enough to qualify for a man’s birthday treat. I spent 3 nights researching exactly the right flavour combination and the best recipes to provide what I was looking for.  I’ve always thought there was something brilliant about a great, moist flavoured cake with real frosting.  This was the result – not too sweet, not too rich, decorated with chocolate shavings and pecans. 

  
For the sponge, you will need:

225g butter, left out at room temperature to soften but not melt

225g golden caster sugar

4 large eggs

200ml espresso or strongly brewed coffee, cooled

4 tsp cocoa powder

225g self-raising flour 

  
For the chocolate buttercream, you will need:

150g good quality 70% cocoa chocolate 

75g salted butter, again softened

150g icing sugar 

1 large egg yolk

  
1. Brew the coffee. Ideally you want enough shots of espresso to measure 200ml. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Grease and line two sandwich cake pans. 

2. Measure out the butter and cream until fluffy, ideally with a hand-held electric mixer.

2. Add in the sugar, and mix again, getting in as much air as you can. 

3. Add the eggs in, one by one, mixing after each addition. Once they’ve all been added, whip up until airy and moussey. Add in the coffee and mix again. 

4. Fold in the cocoa powder and flour until just mixed in. 

  
5. Split the mixture between the cake pans. I like to weigh it as I go along to make sure they are relatively even. 

6. Put in the oven and bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little and then turn out. 

7. While the sponges are baking and cooling (bring mindful of time in the oven) start working on the chocolate buttercream. The first step is to break up the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. The saucepan should be slightly smaller than the rim of the bowl, the right size to keep it suspended over the water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, or you’ll risk burning the chocolate. Stir occasionally until it has all melted then take off the heat and allow to cool, stirring every now and then.

8. In the mean time, weigh out the butter and whiz up with the electric beaters (now clean!) until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and beat once more, before combining the cooked melted chocolate and egg yolk.

 
9. Peel the paper off of the sponges then place one on a cake board or plate, domed top facing down. Use about 1/3 of the buttercream to cover the top of the sponge, spread evenly then top with the second sponge.

 
10. Spread the remaining buttercream evenly over the top and sides of the cake, making sure there are no spaces where the sponge can be seen. 

  

11. Top with chocolate shavings and evenly spaced pecan halves, or your preferred decoration. Chocolate-covered coffee beans would work well. 

  

Serve or give away – perfect with a nice cup of tea or coffee.   

Chocolate Banana Muffins

I had a project meeting to attend in Edinburgb last week, and one of my colleagues requested that I should supply some sort of baked breakfast (he has requested cherry bakewells for next month so watch this space!). Recently, the company has been providing us with weekly fresh fruit boxes, meaning there is often a glut left at the end of the week. This time, there were a gazillion ripe bananas left over. They were just crying out to be baked into something. Banana bread seemed too obvious, and wouldn’t travel as well, so I set about scratching my head and looking through my books. These were the result (courtesy of Nigella), however, if I had my time again I would have added a cup of chocolate chips to the batter. I contemplated it at the time but decided that Nigella knows best!  

 You will need:

3 ripe bananas

125ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

100g soft light brown sugar

225g plain flour

45g cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Muffin tin and 12 muffin cases 

Optional: 1/2 cup of chocolate chips

  
1. Mash the bananas and mix with sugar and oil until thick and creamy. 

2. Crack in the eggs and mix again until you have incorporated plenty of air. 

3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and fold in until just combined. 

4. Optional – add in the chocolate chips and gently mix. 

  
5. Place the muffin cases in the tray and divide the mixture as evenly as you can between them. I usually add a tablespoon to each case and then divide the rest of the mixture between the cases as evenly as possible i.e. half a tablespoon at a time until all used up. 

6. Bake at 190C fan for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch.