baking

Chocolate Orange Brownies

| IrelandAM, Recipe

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I made these simple delicious brownies on Ireland AM on Friday 12th January

Ingredients:

  • 120g milk chocolate
  • 280g dark chocolate (70% is good)
  • 280g butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • 350g light soft brown sugar
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Method:

  • In a microwave or in a bain-marie melt the dark & milk chocolate and butter together, put aside to cool.
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, sugar and eggs and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  • Add the cooled chocolate mix to this bowl and mix until combined. Grate in the zest of one orange and mix in.
  • Pour half the batter into a lined 12in X 8in tin.
  • Chop up 1/2 a chocolate orange and sprinkle on top of the batter.
  • Pour the second half of the batter on top with the second half of the chopped chocolate orange. (Keep some aside for decoration).
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 170 degrees for 30 mins.
  • When brownies are cooled cut into 16 squares.
  • Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle the top with the remaining chocolate orange.

Enjoy!

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12 baking tips for better cakes

| Bakery Life

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Baking can be a case of trial and error. I’ve had many a baking disaster in my time. With practice you will get better and here are a few basic tips and tricks to help you along.

 

 

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven. Before you start baking check the recipe for the correct oven temperature and turn on your oven.
  2. Use room temperature ingredients. Leave out eggs and butter at least 1/2 hour before starting to bake to allow them to come to room temperature. Your ingredients will combine so much easier when they are all at the same temperature.
  3. Check that baking powder is in date and still active. A simple thing to overlook, stale baking powder won’t raise your cake! You can check the freshness by mixing a teaspoon of baking powder in a couple of tablespoons of water. If it fizzes up it should be OK. Be very careful measuring baking powder – too much and the cake will rise up and fall!
  4. Use the best ingredients for the best flavour. Use real butter and free range eggs. Vanilla extract is better than vanilla essence.
  5. Use correct measuring tools. So many recipes go wrong because the ingredients haven’t been measured or weighed properly. Buy a set of measuring spoons and a kitchen scales for exact measuring. Guessing by using a spoon from your cutlery drawer is not a good idea.
  6. Line the cake tin correctly. There’s nothing as frustrating as a beautifully baked cake that won’t come out of the tin, or leaves half the cake behind when you turn it out. Use greaseproof or parchment paper to line the tin, or brush melted butter all over the inside of the tin and sprinkle in some sifted flour tapping the tin to cover all the butter and coat the tin, then tip out the excess.
  7. Use the correct size tin for the recipe. Recipes have been carefully tested so use the exact tin required. Using a smaller tin will result in a deeper cake that will need longer baking, perhaps at a lower temperature. A larger tin will result in a shallower cake that will bake more quickly and could dry out.
  8. Put the mixed cake into the oven immediately. Leaving the mixed cake to sit while waiting for the oven to heat, or putting the cake into a cold oven will affect the raising ingredients in the cake.
  9. Do not open the oven door while the cake is baking! Opening the door before the cake is set may cause the cake to collapse as the rush of cold air rapidly reduces the oven temperature.
  10. To test if the cake is baked see if the cake has come away from the sides of the tin and feels firm and should spring back when you press lightly on top. It should be an even golden brown on top. You can test the inside with a thin skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Please don’t stab the cake with a knife!
  11. If you want to decorate a cake for a special occasion bake the day before. Cool, then wrap in clingfilm leaving it at room temperature to rest. This will firm up the sponge so it won’t fall apart when it comes to filling and decorating. You can brush the cake layers with sugar syrup for extra moistness before decorating. (sugar syrup: place equal quantities of water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Add a few drops of vanilla. Leave to cool and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.)
  12. Finally, do not store a sponge cake in the fridge – unless it is a fresh cream cake. A fridge will make the cake stale quicker (the same happens to bread). Store in an airtight container at room temperature and it will be fine for 2-3 days.

 

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Plum Cake

| IrelandAM, Recipe

plum-cakeThis is the cake I made on TV3’s IrelandAM 3/11/16

This is such an easy bake, using an all-in-one sponge mix base.

The plums can be substituted with lots of other fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, blackberries – the choice is yours!

You could throw on a combination of fruits or use well-drained tinned fruit.

This cake will taste even better the day after baking as the plum juice seeps into the sponge.

Ingredients:

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180g plain flour

180g caster sugar

180g butter

3 eggs 

1 tsp baking powder

Drop of vanilla extract

8 plums (halved)

2 Tbsp caster sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed 

Optional to finish –  melted apricot jam to glaze finished cake, or you can drizzle with an icing sugar and water icing.

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. 

Line the bottom of a 9″ springform cake tin with parchment paper and grease the sides

In a stand mixer (or use a bowl & hand mixer) combine sifted flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, eggs and a drop of vanilla extract. Mix until a smooth cake batter is formed. 

Transfer the batter into your cake tin and smooth off the top. 

Cut the plums into half and remove the stone. 

Place the plums cut side down on top of the cake batter, covering the top, or you can slice the plums and place in a spiral pattern on top

file-03-11-2016-13-32-12Sprinkle on 2 tbsp of the cinnamon sugar mix

Bake in the oven for 45-50 mins until golden brown and sponge baked all the way through. 

To give the cake a shine you can brush the top of the cake with melted apricot jam. Or you can make a thin icing with icing sugar and water and drizzle over the top. 

The cake can be served warm with custard, or leave to cool, drizzle with icing and serve with a nice dollop of whipped cream!  

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Fresh Cream Roulade

| Recipe

file-16-10-2016-17-53-37

One of my most popular snapchat tutorials, I’ve had so many requests for the recipe that I decided to put it into a blog post. It’s a quick and easy recipe but there are a just a few special techniques that need to be followed.

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Ingredients:
5 eggs
150g caster sugar
135g self raising flour
vanilla extract

500ml sweetened whipped fresh cream and fruits to fill & decorate

Swiss roll baking tin 23cmX33cm (9″X13″)
parchment paper

Method:
Preheat oven to 175C
Place the eggs and sugar into a bowl and using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer (or hand held electric mixer) whisk together until very thick and foamy. This can take 4-5 minutes whisking on high speed. You know it is ready when you lift out the whisk there is a trail of batter sitting on top of the mix for a few seconds before it blends in.

file-16-10-2016-17-54-08

Add in vanilla extract.
While the eggs and sugar are whisking, sift the flour. I find it easier to sift onto a sheet of greaseproof paper, then you can lift the paper to ‘shoot’ in the flour into your bowl in a few stages.
When the batter is thick enough, slowly fold in the flour, breaking it up into 3 or 4 doses. Do not whisk in the flour, cut the flour into the batter (using a metal spoon is better here) to preserve the precious air that has been already whipped in.  Make sure all the flour is mixed in and there are no pockets of flour,
Pour the batter into a swiss roll tin lined with parchment paper, lifting the tin to spread it into the corners rather than spreading with knife (remember to protect the precious air!)
Bake for 12-15 mins until light golden brown and springy to touch.
Meanwhile lay out a sheet of parchment paper slightly bigger than the swiss roll tin and sprinkle with caster sugar.
When the sponge is baked, tip the sponge out onto the sugared paper and starting from the narrow end, roll up the roulade and paper together then leave rolled up on a cooling rack until cold.
Softly whip 500ml fresh cream sweetened with a little icing sugar and vanilla extract. Prepare the fruits for the filling. You can use fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries or you can use drained tinned fruit such as pears and peaches.
When the sponge is completely cold, carefully unwrap the roll, spread with cream and your chosen fillings and then carefully roll again, Don’t worry if the sponge cracks, you can decorate the top of the roll with more fresh cream and fruit to hide them!
Chill the roulade in the fridge, then slice and enjoy!

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Guinness Chocolate Loaf Cake

| IrelandAM, Recipe

guinness-loaf-cake

I baked this cake on IrelandAM on 30th September 2016

This cake is beautifully moist and the Guinness adds a deep richness to the chocolate flavour. Serve plain or add a topping of Baileys flavoured buttercream icing. This recipe bakes 2 x 2lb (900g) loaves, or you can bake it in an 8″ cake tin to make a sandwich cake – it may need to bake a bit longer if you bake in a cake tin.

 

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Ingredients

250g Butter
250ml Guinness
400g Caster Sugar
80g Cocoa powder
140ml buttermilk

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g Plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Method

In a saucepan melt the butter with the Guinness. When butter is completely melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl mix together the caster sugar and cocoa, add this to the  slightly cooled Guinness/butter mix.

In a jug measure out the buttermilk and add the 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Lightly whisk together.

Add the buttermilk mix to your chocolate Guinness mix.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or you can use a bowl and hand mixer) sieve the plain flour and baking powder together.

With the mixer on slow speed, slowly pour the chocolate mix into the flour until combined. Finish by hand to make sure there are no flour pockets in the batter.

Divide your batter between 2 lined 2lb loaf tins.

Bake in a preheated oven 160 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Baileys Cream Cheese Icing

This icing can be used to top the loaf cakes, or used to fill a sandwich cake. You may need to double the recipe if you want to ice the top and outside of the sandwich cake too.

400g Icing sugar sieved
150g soft butter
50g cream cheese
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (more or less to taste!)

Using a stand mixer or a bowl and hand mixer, combine the above ingredients on a slow speed first to mix together and then gradually increase the speed for a couple of minutes to whip it to a soft icing.

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