Pistachio, yoghurt & elderflower cake

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Ingredients

  • 250 g butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 250 g sugar
  • 150 g pistachios , plus extra to decorate
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 200 g polenta
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • ELDERFLOWER SYRUP
  • 150 ml elderflower cordial
  • 2-3 tablepsoons runny honey
  • ½ a lemon
  • ELDERFLOWER ICING
  • 200 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons elderflower syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Roughly chop and add the pistachios, then mix in the almonds, polenta, baking powder and yoghurt until well combined.

Crack in the eggs, one by one, and mix in. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir to combine and pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the syrup.

Place the cordial and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes till thickened. Taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice, if necessary.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the syrup for the icing. Make a few holes in the warm cake with a skewer, then gently pour the remaining syrup over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

For the icing, mix the yoghurt, icing sugar and syrup until smooth.

Spread over the cooled cake and top with a handful of chopped pistachios, then serve.

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Chocolate ice cream

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Ingredients

  • 100 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 300 ml full-fat milk
  • 85 g sugar
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 300 ml whipping cream

Method

Recipe by Ginny Rolfe

Put the chocolate pieces and milk in a heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until smooth, then remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until pale and thick. Stir in the cooled chocolate milk, then strain back into the pan. Cook the custard over a gentle heat, stirring all the time, until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t allow the mixture boil or it will curdle. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

Whip the cream into soft peaks, then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Churn in an ice-cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until it’s frozen.

Epic chocolate and beetroot cake

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Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • plain flour , for dusting
  • 300 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 250 g raw beetroot
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 150 g golden caster sugar
  • 120 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality cocoa powder
  • natural yoghurt , to serve

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil.

3. Use scissors to cut out a circle of greaseproof paper, roughly the same size as the bottom of the tin, and use it to line the base.

4. Dust the sides of the tin lightly with flour, then tap the tin to get rid of any excess.

5. Break 200g of the chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl.

6. Place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water over a medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

7. Once melted, use oven gloves to carefully remove from the heat and put to one side – beware of the steam when you lift up the bowl.

8. Use a Y-shaped peeler to peel the beetroot (you might want to wear gloves to do this), then quarter them on a chopping board.

9. Push the beetroot through the coarse grater attachment on the food processor, then tip into a large mixing bowl.

10. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot, then wash your hands.

11. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and mix together well.

12. Use an electric hand whisk to whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.

13. Use a spatula to fold a quarter of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen, then once combined, fold in the rest but try not to over mix.

14. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula.

15. Bake in the hot oven for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through.

16. To check if it’s done, stick a cocktail stick or skewer into the middle of the sponge, remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake’s cooked; if it’s slightly sticky it needs a bit longer.

17. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

18. When you’re ready to serve, melt the remaining chocolate (in the same way as above), then serve each slice with some yoghurt and a little drizzle of the melted chocolate.

Tip:
Flavour wise beetroot is sweet, which is why even though its a vegetable it works really well in cakes. You can grate it by hand using a box grater, if you prefer, depending on how much time you have.

Measuring the ingredients exactly is the key to success, so accurate scales are a very important pieve of equipment. Make sure the scales are set to zero before you start.

Ultimate chocolate & raspberry tart

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Ingredients

  • 200 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 25 g cocoa powder
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 175 g cold butter
  • 1 large free-range egg yolk
  • 1 tesapoon vanilla extract
  • 250 g fresh raspberries
  • CHOCOLATE FILLING
  • 500 ml double cream
  • 75 g golden caster sugar
  • 300 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 2 large free-range eggs

Method

To make the pastry, sift the flour, cocoa powder and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor.

Cube and add the butter and a pinch of sea salt, then pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of cold water and pulse again, until the dough comes together.

Tip out onto a floured surface and bring it together with your hands. Wrap it in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6, and insert a baking tray to warm up.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry into a 25cm circle to the thickness of a pound coin.

Using your rolling pin, lift the pastry and drape it over a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Ease it into place, pushing the pastry right into the corners.

Roll your rolling pin over the top of the tin to cut off any overhang, prick the base all over with a fork, and return to the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

Take the tin out of the fridge and line it with greaseproof paper, then fill with baking beans or rice.

Bake it in the oven on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return it to the oven for 5 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Pop the cream and caster sugar in a pan, place it over a medium heat and bring it to the boil.

Break the chocolate into a bowl, pour over the hot cream and stir until all the chocolate has melted.

Beat the eggs, then stir them into the mixture.

Scatter the raspberries into the cooled tart case, then pour over the chocolate filling.

Return to the oven for 20 minutes, or until the filling is almost set but still has a little wobble in the centre.

Leave on a cooling rack to cool completely, then ease the tart out of its tin, slice and serve.

Vegan chocolate pots

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Ingredients

  • 200 g dairy-free dark chocolate (at least 75% cocoa solids)
  • 700 g silken tofu
  • 160 g maple syrup
  • 1 lime , zest of
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 large pinch of sea salt

Method

Place a small pan over a medium-low heat, half-fill with boiling water, then place a medium heatproof bowl on top, making sure the base doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Break in the chocolate, then allow to melt, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, line a medium bowl with a clean tea towel. Add the tofu, bunch up the tea towel and squeeze out the excess moisture into the bowl. Add the tofu to a food processor with the remaining ingredients, then blitz for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until silky and combined.

Divide the mixture between little bowls (to make it extra special, I like to use a mixture of espresso cups and cute little glasses), pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill, then serve.

Tip: Try serving your chocolate pots with shavings of dark chocolate, or bash up your favourite crunchy biscuits or nuts and sprinkle them on top.

Chocolate ice cream

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Ingredients

  • 100 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 300 ml full-fat milk
  • 85 g sugar
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 300 ml whipping cream

Method

Recipe by Ginny Rolfe

Put the chocolate pieces and milk in a heavy-based saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until smooth, then remove from the heat to cool slightly.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until pale and thick. Stir in the cooled chocolate milk, then strain back into the pan. Cook the custard over a gentle heat, stirring all the time, until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t allow the mixture boil or it will curdle. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

Whip the cream into soft peaks, then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Churn in an ice-cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until it’s frozen

Dairy-free chocolate & nut cookies

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Ingredients

  • 150 g pecan nuts
  • 150 g hazelnuts
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 100 g cocoa powder
  • ½ a teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste
  • 4 large free-range eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Toast the nuts in a large frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool, then roughly chop.

Sieve the icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl, then add the chopped nuts and vanilla paste. In another bowl, separate the egg whites (save the yolks for another day), then whisk for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the dry mixture until combined.

Scoop ½ a tablespoon of the mixture onto one of the prepared trays, then repeat with the remaining mixture, making sure you leave a rough 4cm gap between each spoonful (you may need to do this in batches if your trays aren’t big enough).

Place in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp on the outside, but still slightly gooey in the middle. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dairy-free chocolate mousse

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Ingredients

  • 150 g dairy-free dark chocolate , plus extra for serving
  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 x 160 g tin of coconut cream

Method

Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water. Break the chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt, then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, halve and stone the avocados, then scoop the flesh into a food processor, discarding the skins. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, then pulse again to combine.

Pour in the cooled chocolate, then pulse a final time until creamy and smooth. Divide the mixture between six small bowls, then pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve with an extra grating of chocolate and a fresh fruit salad.

Children’s party cake

 

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Ingredients

  • 200 g butter , at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 large oranges
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 200 ml double cream
  • For the chocolate topping
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) , broken up
  • 100 g icing sugar

Method

Everyone needs a reliable party cake, and this is mine. It looks the business, is delicious served with cream and even has some fresh fruit in it. It’ll keep for a day, so you can make it ahead of time if you like. What more can I say? Just tuck in!

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas 4. Line the bases of two 20cm/8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper, then grease the sides of the tin with a little of the butter.

Add 4 tablespoons of boiling water to the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Grate the zest of 2 of the oranges. Beat the sugar and butter until fluffy, then add the cocoa mixture, eggs, flour, baking powder and the orange zest, and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. To check the cakes are cooked, stick a skewer into the middle of one and leave it for 5 seconds. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and place on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate topping ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Make sure the water isn’t boiling and the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, or you will burn the chocolate. Zest the remaining orange, putting the zest to one side, then cut the orange in half and squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice into the bowl. Stir until melted and mixed, then allow to cool. Whip the double cream until you have soft peaks. Segment the two other zested oranges with a small, sharp knife.

Remove the greaseproof paper from both the sponges and place one on a plate or cake stand. Spread the cream over the sponge and place the orange segments on top. Sandwich the second sponge on top and press down slightly. Drizzle the chocolate topping over the cake and leave to firm slightly. Decorate with the remaining orange zest.

Sticky toffee cupcakes with chocolate topping

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Ingredients

  • 30 g sultanas
  • 30 g dried apricots
  • 30 g dates
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 140 g self-raising flour
  • 30 g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 30 g butter , melted
  • 140 ml water , hot
  • For the chocolate topping
  • 40 g butter
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 40 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 70 ml double cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. In a food processor, blitz the sultanas, apricots, dates, baking powder and a little of the flour (just enough to stop the fruit sticking to the blades). If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop it very finely. Put this mixture into a bowl with the muscovado sugar, the golden syrup, the egg and the melted butter and stir together. Then add the very hot water and the remaining flour and mix well with a whisk. Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake papers (I like to double up the papers to give the mixture a bit more hold) and place on a baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt all the chocolate topping ingredients in a saucepan and bubble for a while until darkened in colour slightly. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool until it thickens. Then put a blob on top of each cupcake.