Sunday, 11 September 2011

#3 Quick and Easy Sticky Toffee Puddings

I got this recipe from my friend Amanda. She cooked them for a dinner party one night and I couldn't believe how tasty they were, considering how incredibly easy they were to make!! Couldn't get over it so I asked for the recipe, and here it is. I cannot recommend it highly enough - if you're needing a quick fix or suddenly realise you've run out of time for a pudding for a meal at your friends house, go for these. They look impressive, taste delicious and couldn't be easier.


150-200grams of dates, chopped
1 Teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
375ml boiling water
60grams butter
220gram brown sugar
130grams self-raising flour
2 eggs


Pre-heat the oven to around 180degrees (C).
Place dates and bicarbonate of soda into a food processor, add the water, place the lid on and allow to sit for five minutes - this should make the dates soften.
Chop the butter and add it to the mix, and pulse it until the dates are coarsely chopped and the butter has melted.
Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse until mixed.
Pour the mixture into a pan - either a 20cm diameter cake tin, or into individual muffin cases. I like to do individuals cos I think it's just a nicer way of presenting them, especially if it's at a dinner party or something. Little individual desserts are always nice!!

For the Sauce:

220grams brown sugar
110grams butter

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan, slowly melt, and then bring to the boil. Let it stand for a few minutes before serving by pouring over the delicious mini sticky toffee puds!! Yum. I fancy making it now actually! Will post a picture next time I make em.

Monday, 29 August 2011

#2: Easiest Quickest Chocolate Cake Ever

This is a recipe that's on the one hand totally amazing but on the other hand totally dangerous. It's amazing cos in less than 10 minutes, you can have a tasty little chocolate cake, with very very little effort. On the other hand, it's dangerous because you're never more than 10 minutes away from a chocolate cake! These cakes are delicious fresh, but don't last long, so you pretty much need to munch it straight away. You can have it just as it is, but I like to add something extra in the middle as a little yummy surprise while I'm eating. You can use a standard sized mug, but I tend to find that the mixture often rises too high, and you run the risk of it exploding all over the microwave - so I usually use a pint-sized mug. If you can get one, they're great for this purpose, AND a pint of tea is always the right amount!

4 Tablespoons Self-Raising Flour
4 Tablespoons Sugar (preferably caster, but granulated is fine)
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder - NOT drinking chocolate!
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Milk
3 Tablespoons Oil

This could not be simpler to make. Add all the ingredients into the mug, give them a really good mix. Make sure that there's not lumps, as they'll make little pockets of flour or cocoa in the cake otherwise. If you have a mini-whisk, that works the best, but otherwise just using a fork will do well. Once it's all mixed up, pop it in the microwave at high power for 5 minutes; it may well take less time, so keep an eye on it. If it looks like it's gonna explode all over the microwave, I'd take it out! Pop a skewer in, and if it comes out clean it should be fine.

Like I said, I like to add an extra something into the mixture to make the middle a little more interesting.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake: Add a dollop of peanut butter to the mixture before you put the mug into the microwave. I love this, because the peanut butter melts somewhat and it goes all gooey and delicious. Take note that, if you do this, the peanut butter gets much hotter than the rest of the cake, so take care to not burn your mouth!

Choc Chip Choc Cake: Add two tablespoons of chocolate chips to the mixture before you put it into the microwave, any colour - mixing white and dark ones is delicious. You can either mix them into the mixture, and they'll be distributed in the whole cake, or you can just leave them at the top, and they'll create a lovely layer of chocolate chips at the top of your cake.

Jam: Add a dollop of strawberry or raspberry jam to the mixture. Like the peanut butter, this will get hotter than the cake itself, so take care when eating it.

Chocolate Fudge Cake: Squeeze a portion of caramel sauce into the mixture, and mix it in. If you want it to be even fudgier and heavier, leave out the egg from the mixture, but this will mean that it won't rise as much and will be a much heavier cake.

You get the idea - it's a very quick and easy cake to make, and there are so many different variations of it! remember to eat it straight away, though; it's not like a standard cake that will last - after an hour or so this cake won't taste so good cos it will have collapsed a bit!!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

#1: Basic Cupcakes

125grams butter, or margarine
125grams sugar (caster sugar is best, but granulated will do!)
2 good-sized eggs
125grams self-raising flour
Pinch baking powder
Vanilla Extract (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas 4, and place cupcake cases into a muffin tin. Paper ones can look cute but I prefer the silicone ones you can buy - they're reusable, and are really hard wearing. They're a bit pricey, but well worth the cost if you're likely to be making cakes regularly.

First, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Use either a food processor or a wooden spoon to mix until they're combined.

Next, add the eggs and use the wooden spoon to mix it into the butter mixture. Hint; to make the cakes extra light and fluffy, beat the eggs lightly before you add them.

Once the eggs are added, sift in the flour and baking powder gradually and mix until combined. If you can't be bothered sieving (which I never can!) use a whisk and quickly whisk the flour in a separate bowl - it does pretty much the same thing with much less effort! And sieves can be a bugger to wash up.

Now, the exciting part! Put a heaped dessertspoon-ful (or so) of the mixture in each cake case, or more if you have excess mixture. Remember, the more you put in, the longer they'll take to cook. Keep in mind if you put too much in the outside may burn before the inside is properly cooked. Place them in the oven for around 15-20 minutes; they should be springy to the touch and a skewer should come out clean (i.e. no uncooked cake mixture in the middle of the cake!). When they're cooked, place them on a wire rack to cool.

You can make these cakes a bit more exciting and yummy by making really simple but effective variations.

For vanilla cupcakes: add a few drops of vanilla essence (to taste - I would usually use 4-5) to the end mixture and mix well.

For chocolate cupcakes: substitute the 125grams of SR flour for about 100grams of flour and 25grams of cocoa powder. DO NOT use drinking chocolate as it doesn't work. Also, I always tend to be a bit generous on the cocoa powder front; I'd rather put in too much and have a really chocolatey cake!!

For lemon cupcakes: once all the ingredients are combined, add several drops of lemon flavouring, or grate the rind of a lemon into it. Similarly, the rind of an orange may be used. I love to grate the rind of an orange into chocolate cupcakes, and add a splash of orange juice. I usually add a chocolate orange icing, and maybe a slice of Terry's chocolate orange on top. They're divine!

For choc-chip cupcakes: Add chocolate chips to the end mixture, to taste!

For magic cupcakes: Add a few drops of food colouring, along with a packet of popping candy. These are great for kids, who won't expect the little explosions in their mouth!