Tag Archives: cake

Chocolate and Beetroot Loaf Cake- Just Mix it

My Father in law was going away recently and gave me some items from his fridge to use up. There were three cooked and peeled bulbs of beetroot in a bowl. Hmm I said. Salad? nah. Cake? Yes! And I’m not a fan of the hiding vegetables-in-cake brigade, as

a) My family EAT vegetables

b) I’m hesitant about the nutritional value of the said vegetable post bake

Anyway, in this case the beetroot needed using, so chocolate cake ensued. Beetroot is almost always organically grown as it is resistant to most pests. Good News.  But grows best in cooler climes, so with the onset of climate change definitely starting to affect us here… Bad News.

9/365 Beetroot

Chocolate and Beetroot Loaf Cake

Ingredients:

150g of cooked beetroot (simply boil in it’s scrubbed skin until soft, then peel)

140g plain white flour

1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder

60g good quality cocoa powder

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

140g sunflower oil

50g dark chocolate, chopped

Method:

Heat your oven to 170oC.  Grease a good quality loaf tin, and line with baking paper, bringing it well up the sides. Unusually I am using my Kenwood food processor, that I normally wouldn’t DREAM of making cakes in.  (and yes, since you’re asking I dream about making cakes ALL the time)
Beetroot Cake

Anyway, I digress.  “Blend” the beetroot until like little grated chunks. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla, eggs and cocoa.  Blend again slowly then add the oil down through the chute until you get a nice sloppy cake consistency.  You may need to scoot around the sides with a spatula to make sure everything is nicely blended.

Pour/ scoop into the prepared tin and sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top.

Beetroot Cake

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes or until the skewer comes out almost clean.  Leave in the tin to cool down completely.

This is a rich, dense cake that lends itself to be eaten with some softly whipped cream. And no, you don’t taste the beetroot.
Beetroot Cake

 

Valentines Day Treats

I’ve been asked to make some Valentine treats for customers and I thought I would share some ideas. Many people don’t want to go out Valentine’s night, and this year, being a Tuesday, it might suit you better to spend the evening.

“Take 6 Small Kisses

         Throw in 2 mahoosive hugs

                 A heaped cup of kindness

                              And a whole lot of love

                                          Mix together with happiness

                                                         And share between two hearts”

 

I’ll be putting the recipe for these in this months newsletter- but biscuits are always a nice gift.  Either munch on them with a cup of tea, or serve with a light chocolate mousse as a dessert.

Valentines Gifts

Valentines Gifts

Of course, with a chocolate theme comes, for me, one of my secret pleasures- Brownies.  Here I’ve made them in the shape of hearts, but they taste the same in slabs!
Monday 0602 076

And if all comes to all, you can just go all out and have a heart shaped cake…

Valentines Cake

Valentines Cake

Let me know if you want to order any of the above, or are looking for ideas to cook yourself for a special dinner-

Hampers, Hampers everywhere

As it’s getting a little closer to December I’m taking orders for my hampers, Christmas cakes and other goodies.
All are available for collection or delivery within reason!

Jen's Kitchen Hampers

There is a sweet hamper containing:

Jams, Cupcakes, chocolates, meringues, biscuits etc.

Christmas Cupcakes
And this year I am also introducing a smaller savoury hamper, with chutneys, breads and dips.

You can of course, have a mix of both.

Hampers

Christmas cakes, both chocolate biscuit cake, and traditional fruit are also available to go into the hampers. They are finished to a high standard and painted in a Christmas scene.

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

Hampers:
Sweet Delight 50.00
Food Lovers Feast 30.00
Cakes:
6″ Hand painted luxury fruit Christmas Cake 30.00
8″ Hand painted luxury fruit Christmas Cake 40.00
6″ Chocolate Broken Biscuit Christmas Cake 30.00
8″ Broken Biscuit Chocolate Christmas Cake 60.00
Mince Pies 6 7.50
12 12.00
24 20.00
Christmas Themed Cupcakes 12 15.00
24 20.00

Contact me jeni@pims.ie , or by Facebook.  By phone 0879295673 is best by text due to the whole coverage issue!

Afternoon Tea Part 1- the non posh kind

It’s a given thing in our house, that anyone around the farm at approximately 4 o’clock in the afternoon, heads to Alan’s house for “tea”.  This has been happening for as long as we are in Waterford (15+ years), and I’m sure it happened before then too.  And the tea consists of tea, with a maximum of 2 biscuits.  In fact that was my first foray into speaking Finnish.  My nieces and nephews would ask Liisa (my Finnish sis in law) how many biscuits they could have.  And to this day, she still will say “kaksi keksejä”, which means two biscuits!  But sometimes it involves cake…

Some rather untidy pear tart for afternoon tea

Some rather untidy pear tart for tea

The key ingredient of course, of any afternoon is the tea. I try to use looseleaf when making a pot.  And I’ve lots of teapots. Lots. But sometimes only a bag in a cup will do.  My favourite is Breakfast tea blend, but try to have Darjeeling later through the day. And I know it sounds ridiculously snobby to have a a favourite tea.  But people have favourite coffee don’t they???

Afternoon tea can be fun- but also glamorous, and is a very relaxing way to spend time with friends and family. Afternoon tea, is in the fact the new cocktail hour in many hotels.  At some stage I want to try the one served in the Ritz Hotel in London.  They have served this meal since 1906!! But at £52 per person it’s a bit steep.  The more up to date version in Claridge’s (who have only been serving it for 150 years)  is a more informal setting focuses more on the food.

 Making the Perfect cup of Afternoon tea:

Using fresh water (very important because of aeration) bring the kettle to the boil.

Immediately “scald” the pot, leaving the water in it for around 5 minutes.  

Empty this water out.

Add one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per person into the warmed pot. Reboil the kettle and add onto the tea. Leave for about 3 minutes, stir and serve.

Perfect!

  Time for tea

Darjeeling, as it happens, is a perfect flavour to have with a creamy pastry, so says the king of pastry, Eric Lanlard.  So who am I to disagree? Course now that he’s said that, I’ll have to try it.  Won’t I??

 

Luxury Baileys Chocolate Cake

For me, Baileys Irish Cream is a drink I enjoy every now and then with my sister in law, so I felt it was fitting to make her birthday cake using it.  And as it was  a “big” birthday, I felt it was a good idea to get creative with the decorating.

Bailey's Chocolate CakeBaileys Chocolate Cake Ingredients: 150g unsalted butter, chopped 100g dark chocolate, chopped 100g caster sugar 100g brown sugar 50g good quality (preferably Dutch) cocoa powder, sifted 180ml Baileys Irish Cream Liquor 170g plain flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 3 eggs, room temperature FOR THE MASCARPONE BUTTER CREAM ICING 300g icing sugar 150g butter (soft) Tub of mascarpone FOR THE CHOCOLATE BAILEYS GANACHE 100g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped 50ml cream 50ml Baileys Irish Cream pinch of sea salt 10g butter, softened to room temperature Method: Preheat oven to 160°C.  In a pan over low heat, melt the butter, chocolate, sugars, cocoa powder and Baileys, stirring to get rid of any lumps.  Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Bailey's Chocolate Cake

Mixing the ingredients for melting

Meanwhile, grease and line a 20-21cm round cake tin.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Add the eggs to the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.  Gently fold in the flour mix until free of lumps.  Scrape into cake tin then bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanish.  Remove from oven and cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling it down completely. Trim the tops of the cake to level. FOR THE GANACHE Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Bring the cream, Baileys and the salt to a simmer in a pan. Pour over the chocolate and sit for a minute. Gently stir to combine then beat in the butter. Set aside at room temperature and cool until it is thick enough to spread over your cooled cake. Gently stir the ganache occasionally as it cools to keep the temperature even and the ganache smooth. FOR THE BUTTERCREAM Mix the butter and the icing sugar together, then add the mascarpone, beat very well (I use my kenwood for this) TO ASSEMBLE: Level the top of the cake, make a crumb layer using the cream cheese buttercream, refrigerate for one hour. Further cover the cake with the buttercream.  Smooth with a warmed palette knife.  Refrigerate again. Carefully pour the ganache onto the cooled buttercream coated layer, tilting to give the “dripping” effect.

Bailey's Chocolate Cake

The finished Baileys Chocolate Cake

Looking back. Moving Forward.

2015 was a complete whirlwind for me. I started with Ballymaloe in the first week in January. It finished in March, then it was straight back to the day job and the usual school routine.  I was really hoping to get some time cheffing in a kitchen to bed down the skills, but this didn’t materialise, and I made do with the home cooking practice.  Hopefully this year! (offers welcome!)

Thursday 05 March 021

Making Bisque in the Demo Kitchen

In July I started running demonstrations from our kitchen.  These have been so enjoyable for me, and I have had fantastic feedback.  Click here for the latest schedule-  What I enjoy most about them is meeting new people, helping them realise how important good food is, and how easy it is to cook!

Thursday 24 Jul 008

Table set, ready for Demo

My bespoke cake business has also taken off to my delight (and also to the relief of the collective family waistline).  I really love baking.  Of every kind, and this year hope to expand into new avenues and directions.  I regularly supply a cafe in Tramore and love making cakes for people for their special occasions. Here’s a selection- I won’t even say favourites, as every cake I make I love!!!    Monday 28 Sept 2015 031

This tiramisu cake is a favourite, and I know, going forward it will be a winner in 2016 too.

Sugar Plum Cake

This cake was such fun to make!

I just love how this Sugar Plum cake looks and tastes.

Who doesn't look forward in having a tiger to tea?

Who doesn’t look forward in having a tiger to tea?

Cupcakes featured heavily in December- I think I made over 500 one week.  Jords was questioning whether I was cupcaked out!!! But no, I just love baking. My father in law brought me back a mega cupcake baking tray from America.  It certainly makes my life a lot easier.

This year I am going to focus on further selling cakes, and hopefully desserts too.  And bread.  Good bread is very hard to come by, and really is the simplest meal.  My sourdough is going from strength to strength and I look forward to showing and sharing my recipe with others.  They can have some of Sabrina too!

Monday 23 November 2015 064

My beloved sourdough

So looking back I’ve done so much in 12 months.  Looking forward- who knows??? But hopefully much more of the same.  With maybe a small holiday??? Pretty please??

.

Best of Luck in Ballymaloe

This is my “letter” to the new students starting the 12 week course in January 2016.  This time last year I was getting ready to start what turned out to be a life changing journey.  I now cook with more of a conscience, and with more adventure.

Here are my tips for making the most out of YOUR journey.

1. Get the coffee into you.  It’s going to be a long day.

Breakfast coffee

Breakfast coffee

2. Make the most of the days, sign up for all the extras- butchery and bread were my favourites.

White Yeast Bread cooling in Kitchen 2

White Yeast Bread cooling in Kitchen 2

3. Take copious notes.  Believe me, you won’t remember everything.

Ballymaloe Salads

All about salad leaves

4. Go to all the lectures, especially towards the end when often students are tempted to stay at home and cram- you’ll miss them when you’re finished.

Darina working her magic

Darina working her magic

5. Go foraging.  It’s great fun, and a chance to get out and about in the (fingers crossed) sunshine.

Foraging

Foraging on Garryvoe Strand

6. Offer to pour the wine. It gives you a chance to stretch your legs- you’ll need it.

WWW= Wine Wielding Wednesday

WWW= Wine Wielding Wednesday

7. Try EVERYTHING.  It’s your opportunity to taste ingredients from all over the world, and more importantly, top quality produce from the doorstep of the school.

Dishes at the End of Vegetarian Demo

Dishes at the End of Vegetarian Demo

8. Spend time with other students.  I now have friends for life from those mere 12 weeks.

friends

9. Take every morsel of knowledge from the encyclopaedia on food that is Darina Allen.  She is my hero.

Darina showing us the Allium Bar

Darina showing us the Allium Bar

10. From the welcome at the door, to every single teacher and member of staff, to the suppliers that speak with such passion about their products.  Every single person is dedicated to the cause.  I miss them all!

Friday 20th March 070

The enigmatic Rachel Allen

Since leaving Ballymaloe I have strived to put into practice all I learnt.  I use my blog to write about what we grow on our farm, and what I cook with those ingredients.  I enjoy more thatnever making cakes, and now sell them weekly, helping the collective family waistline.  I still get to bake what I love, but don’t have to eat it.  Truly a win win!

I hope to expand this in the new year, and already have bookings for my demonstrations.

So best of luck, you’ll love it.  Enjoy every minute of it.  I wish I was coming back to do it all again.

A Christmas Hamper- what’s the best filling?

A little like a mince pie, the contents of a hamper can be either really good- or really bad.  I love to get a hamper.  It’s the lots of little things that you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself.  Like posh onion marmalade, or some really good cheese.

Marmalade getting ready for the Christmas Hampers

Marmalade getting ready for the Christmas Hampers

A nice basket is also a  must.  And some nice ribbon.  But they are really superfluous to the contents.  What you get with a homemade hamper is the most generous present you can give, it takes time and loving care to match just the right mix of sweet, spicy, nostalgic and novel surprises for someone.  And of course wrap it all up in a big bow. Course you could get this one from Harrods. But it might be outside most peoples budget.

Monday 16th November 056

Christmas Cupcakes

And really from my brief look at it, it’s really just a lot of wine, food, etc.  And nothing particularly special! For me, I like- shortbread, cheese, crackers, a little onion marmalade, and maybe some chocolate.  I don’t really want wine in it either, unless you insist.  But that is the great thing about making up your own hamper.You can have it the way YOU want it.  I’m busy this week assembling hampers here for clients too.  Each is bespoke, and involve LOTS of food.  This weekend will involve copious amounts of chocolate being melted, a little salted caramel, and some jars of goodness, both sweet and savoury.  Thankfully I have lots of willing testers, myself included, to give critical analysis of each  creation.

Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

In the end, when designing any gift, what’s important is that the experience is meaningful.  Making someone feel good.  It’s that simple.

 

Hot Chocolate Cakes. A small taste of heaven

Chocolate cake comes in many different shapes and sizes.  Indeed, I myself bake about 5 different kinds of chocolate cake, and the same for chocolate pudding, depending on my mood.  And how much time I have.  But as the weather gets a bit damper and colder.  And when the hour change reeks havoc on our lives.  I find a hot chocolate cake, with a dollop of softly whipped cream does the soul good.

I think the essentials are:

Good Quality Chocolate-

I use Callebaut. Dark Chocolate is one of THE best sources of natural anti- oxidants on the planet.

A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains approximately

  • 11 grams of fiber.
  • 67% of the RDA for Iron.
  • 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
  • 89% of the RDA for Copper.
  • 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
  • It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Could it get any better? YES! It tastes great, and in small amounts can help reduce blood pressure. It’s a natural mood lifter, which is really a complete win win.

The Start of the Chocolate Pudding

This recipe is easy to make, and can sit either on the counter or in the fridge until it’s time to go into the oven.  I think it’s nicer to serve them in individual moulds.  It also means there’s no arguments at the table.  Everyone gets their own.

Hot Chocolate Cakes

Serves 6- 8

Ingredients:

150g caster sugar

350g Dark Chocolate

4 Large Eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

50g “00” Flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

50g butter

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200oC. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.  Either in a bowl over gently simmering water, or VERY CAREFULLY in a microwave.

Cream together the butter and the sugar, gradually beat in the eggs and salt.  Lastly add the vanilla.  Add the flour, and when this is combined, scrape in the cooled, melted chocolate.

 

 

Divide the batter between the 8 moulds.  At this stage they can be refrigerated until required.  When ready to cook, put a baking sheet in the preheated oven for a couple of minutes to heat.

Put the chocolate moulds onto the baking sheet and cook for 12 minutes (14 if fridge cold).

As soon as they are cooked, turn out onto plates, serve with softly whipped cream, dust with cocoa.

Hot Chocolate Cake

Burnt Butter Crumble Cake

Burnt butter doesn’t sound particularly appealing, does it?  But this simple cake uses it to impart an almost nutty flavour to what is really just a basic sponge.  The weighed butter is melted on a medium heat until the solids start to catch and “burn”, you just have to hold your nerve.  Remember though that once you turn off the hob the residual heat in the pan will keep cooking the butter, therefore it needs to be taken off the heat just before the butter is brown enough.

Butter- nearly burnt

Butter- nearly burnt

This is then put into the freezer to cool for a while.  Meanwhile I made the crumble portion, which I also stuck into the freezer.

Burnt Butter Crumble Cake

Ingredients:

Crumb:

110g butter

150g plain flour

75g caster sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

Cake:

175g butter

300g plain flour

200g caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ baking powder

Scant ½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

110ml of sour cream (or plain yoghurt)

Method:

Combine the crumb ingredients in your mixer and pulse until they look like breadcrumbs. Freeze until required.

In a small saucepan cook the butter (cake ingredients) over a medium heat until the solids start to turn brown.  Transfer to a freezer proof bowl and put into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180oC,  and line a 23cm loose ring tin.

Mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.  Scrape in the butter and mix well.  Add in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla essence and mix well again.

Transfer into the prepared tin and add the crumb to the top using a spoon, leaving it in clumps.

Cook for 50 minutes or until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

Leave to cool in the tin, serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

Burnt Butter Crumb Cake

Burnt Butter Crumb Cake

I subscribe to far too many online cookery newsletters, and this cake is based on one I found in Food & Wine, another good one is Bon Appetit, both are American publications as it happens (I also follow some French and UK ones too for balance!), but find it takes my a few goes at making them to get them right, probably as I’m converting the units of measurement badly!

Burnt Butter Crumb Cake

Burnt Butter Crumb Cake