Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Cake That Saved The Weekend Hangover.

When I think of the ultimate Sunday afternoon cake, it normally consists of a decadent chocolate filled extravaganza which oodles happiness in a bite.  This Sunday was no exception, running on a two day hangover I needed something that would lift those blues away. This is where the Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Chocolate cake came into play. It's basically a Snickers in cake form but ohhhh so much more pleasing. 

An indulgent three tiered chocolate sponge slathered in a light fluffy peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache, filled with salted caramel and sprinkled with extra peanuts. It's just so naughty, it's nice. 

I did have every intention to take the cake into work as Ted has been complaining that he is getting fat from all my baking. However apparently this cake was an exception, this cake was not to leave the house. 

The recipe is actually pretty simple, just takes a bit of time and patience. But that is what Sunday baking is about, relishing in the baking mode, enjoying every moment, trying not to think of the week ahead.

There are about four different elements to the cake: The chocolate sponge, the peanut butter frosting, Chocolate ganache and the salted caramel. 

The chocolate sponge is my ultimate go to recipe that has never failed on me. It is rich, chocolatey but light and fluffy at the same time. It is taken from the Hummingbird Brooklyn Blackout cake. I have simply adapted it to suit my needs.

For the sponge you will need

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
260g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
170g plain flour
160 ml whole milk

Salted Caramel- this beauty is by Nigella Lawson. 

  • 75unsalted butter
  • 50soft light brown sugar
  • 50caster sugar
  • 50golden syrup
  • 125 ml double cream
  • tsp sea salt flakes (I personally use maldon)

Peanut Butter Frosting

110g salted butter
220g smooth peanut butter ( I used SunPat)
400g icing sugar
a few splashes of milk (depends how malleable you want the icing to be with how much milk you add, I normally add a bit at a time and then judge)

Chocolate Ganache

100g good quality dark chocolate
50ml double cream


1. Preheat oven to 170c.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a handheld electric whisk) and cream until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
4. Turn the mixer down down to slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
5. Add half the flour, then all the milk, and finish with the remaining flour.
6. Mix well until everything is well combined.

7. Pour the mixture into three prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins.

8.Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
9. Whilst the cakes are in the oven, make your peanut butter frosting. 
10. In the mixer add your butter and peanut butter and mix until combined, then slowly add the icing sugar a bit at a time. 
It took a lot not to dip a spoon in the bowl and not eat it there and then.
11. Once all the sugar is added, add a few splashes of milk and beat for a good two minutes to get it really light and fluffy. 
12. Check the consistency, add more milk if you want it looser, then beat for another two /three minutes. 
13. Now for the salted caramel, in a pan add the golden syrup, butter and sugars and leave to muddle together over a low heat. Stir every so often. Then add the cream and salt to taste. Leave to cool.
14. The chocolate ganache is probably the easiest part, simple put a glass bowl over some water and let the chocolate melt over a steady heat (the bowl should not touch the water below). Once almost melted pour over the cream and take off the heat, stir until you have a lovely smooth thick chocolate sauce. 

15. Once the cake has completely cooled, pour a puddle of caramel on to each layer of sponge, spread with a knife and sandwich together. 
16. Then carefully ice the top and edges of the cake with the icing. 

17. Once the icing has started to set, pour over the chocolate ganache and spread over the entire top of the cake. stopping at the edges. 

18. Drizzle with more caramel, smooth the edges and then sprinkle those bad boy peanuts on top. 

19. Take a plate, knife and slice yourself a big fat slice- go on you deserve it! 

P.s contains nuts. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

For The Love of Cheese

I have started to notice a bit of a theme running through my blog at the moment. Homely comfort food. The sort that will warm your heart in these cold dark days that have abruptly arrived. I got the inspiration for the dish in this post from The Londoner and her recipe for fondue Mac and Cheese. I had some Chorizo and courgette nocking around in my fridge so I threw that in as well just cause I have a small big obsession for those two goodies at the moment. Chorizo also adds that lovely golden hue to dishes that you don't get with anything else, the garlic paprikary flavours infusing the cheese. Oh stop it. 

This dish is a big cheesy hug, which you can throw together in 30 mins after work. Sometimes you just don't want to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours after a long day at work. There is no white sauce making, no baking, just one pot and a good amount of cheesy goodness. Infact three types of cheesey goodness- Parmesean, Cheddar and Gruyere. Yum Scrums. 

To make this dish for 2 hungry people you will need:

2 mugs vegetable stock

1 mug milk

1 good chunk of Cheddar, Gruyere cheese and Parmesan grated. 

300g pasta, I used large shells from Waitrose but any shapes you like will do.

120g diced Chorizo

1 large courgette

1. In a pot put the pasta, milk and veg stock on to simmer and leave until the pasta has cooked through. 

2. Meanwhile fry off the chorizo and courgette. I like my courgette to have a good crunch to it, so I merely toss it in the golden oil from the chorizo. 

3. Once the pasta is cooked to your liking, add the cheese, Chorizo and diced courgette and stir through. 

Plate up and enjoy that creamy cheesy paprikary flavour. 

Look at that little pocket, capturing a puddle of cheese and chorizo. It has eat me written aaaall over it.


Monday, 2 December 2013

Hawker House- A Street Feast

On Saturday night, some friends and I went to the ultimate foodie night market. Think hundreds of fellow food lovers under one roof all enjoying the delights of Street Food.

I have a lot of love for street food. Rediculously fresh and delicious 'fast food' for the most part under a tenner. you really can't go wrong. Every where you turn in/ look/ read in London is another street food vendor. This aint no greasy burger and cuppa tea van, this is where people go to experience incredible food without paying michelin prices. Different cuisines have become more available and nights like Street Feast you end up eating 5 or 6 amazing dishes, often different cuisines with a twist.

Hawker House is on for the next few Friday and Saturday's until Christmas. I urge you to go, go, go, it's just fab.

We rocked up to Hawker House at about 8pm and joined the queue.

Some classy queuing snacks and drinks.

After about 30 minutes we were finally allowed in and we went straight to Smokestak. They have their mean BBQ'ing/ Smokin' machine outside, just behind the queue. I tell you this just makes you want to get inside even more. Wow the smells...

Too excited to taste those Rib Tips (they were errrmazing!)

How cool is that cash register?

A paper bag full of juicy, smoky , sticky rib tips.

We decided the best way to tackle all the stalls was to split between the 4 of us. We were determined to try everything and weren't going to let our tummies defy us!

After our little taste of rib heaven we went to BOB's Lobster for a lobster roll. They have the coolest VW van that has been converted into a little kitchen.

This was really good and we all decided much better than Burger & Lobster. It even came with the most incred dill pickled gherkin. Pickle heaven!

Next it was onto Yum Bun and their fluffy pillows of pork.

Think a rich meaty pork filling with a yummy plum sauce served inside a soft steamed bun. So freaking good.

Next was so spicy jerk chicken wings from Mama's Jerk Station.

These were good, but wow they were spicy and defeated Anna. 

After a 20 minute break we then went to take down The Cooking Cooks Italian Kitchen and Rola Wala.

Not the greatest photo but this was really quite good- beetroot pasta with a gorgonzola sauce. Wow it was filling though. 

These beauties were mini naans topped with organic pulled pork or dahl, beetroot pickled onion, coriander, bombay mix, pickled cucumber and yogurt drizzle. I declared these my favourite of the night until....... 

We went to...

Here we had Chocolate, salted caramel ice cream and homemade marshmallow sundae. HOLY CRAPPERS. This was in- freeking- sane. 

Cutie Pie

I also had to try the Cherry and Praline ice-cream, which was fantastic. 

After about 3 hours of eating we fianlly crawled our way out, declaring how good the food had been.

This place is not to be missed. I have a feeling that they only have 2 weekends left but I really urge you to go. In the summer it is open air, but there was something really lovely about being inside. It has a really good energy about it. Like minded people enjoying, photographing and tweeting enjoying the almost festive atmosphere. 

I will be back! 

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