Brown Butter Cake with Chocolate and Cherries

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I absolutely love this cake for its deep, toasty notes. It’s a cake, beautifully light, infused with brown butter and studded with bitter bits of chocolate.

The brown butter needs to be prepared ahead of time as it takes time to solidify.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 150 g butter
  2. 180 g all purpose flour
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. a pinch of salt
  5. 120 ml milk
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 150 g granulated sugar
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 70 g dark chocolate, chopped

For the chocolate frosting:

  1. 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
  2. 75 ml hot water
  3. lots of ice
  4. handful of fresh cherries

Method:

  1. Place butter in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir until it melts completely. Continue cooking, stirring continuously until the butter turns brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Pour the butter  into a heat-proof bowl and chill until almost solidified.
  2.  Preheat oven to 180°C . Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside. Mix milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, set aside.
  4. Whisk the browned butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Alternately add flour mix and milk mixture. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
  7. Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from tin to cool completely.
  9. To make the frosting, add the chocolate into a large  heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Leave the chocolate to melt, then stir until smooth and silky. Remove from heat.
  10. Pour the hot water into the bowl of chocolate and mix until nice and smooth.
  11. Place the bowl in a dish filled with ice cubes.  Using an electric whisk, and quickly whisk the chocolate and water mixture thoroughly and quickly until stiff peaks form.
  12. If you don’t get peaks, melt some more chocolate and whisk in quickly.
  13. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and top with the cherries.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

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There is nothing more comforting than freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. And these cookies are just perfect. They’re crisp on the outside yet soft and chewy on the inside. The kind of beautiful fudgey chewiness that just melts away in your mouth.

Ingredients:

  1. 90g white sugar
  2. 200g packed brown sugar
  3. 110g unsalted butter
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 200g all purpose flour
  8. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  9. 7 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Add the butter to a small saucepan and place over low heat. Cook the butter until it is brown and gives off a toasty aroma. Immediately transfer to a heat-proof bowl to stop the browning. Let the butter come to room temperature.
  2. Now add in the white and brown sugar and whisk well for at least 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add in the egg and egg yolk and whisk well. Now add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking soda and fold to combine.
  4. Finally, fold in the chopped chocolate pieces.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably over-night.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  7. Scoop the cookie dough using in ice-cream scoop, leaving enough space between each of the cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes. At the end of 7 minutes, take out the tray, sprinkle some sea salt on each cookie (optional) and bang it on you counter. Repeat the banging process every two minutes till the end of baking time. Leave the cookies to cool completely.

Tips for the perfect cookie:

  1. Whisk your butter and sugars very well. This results in the perfect crisp on the outside, soft in the middle cookie.
  2. When you chop your chocolate, make sure you have uneven sized chunks. This adds a nice variation to your cookie are creates beautiful pools of chocolate.
  3. Let your dough rest in the fridge. The longer you leave it to rest, the better the flavour will be. You can even leave it to rest for up to 3 days.
  4. Do not over-crowd your tray when you bake the cookies, they need space to spread and cook evenly. With an ice-cream scoop you may only be able to fit 4-5 cookies on one tray.
  5. Bang your tray every two minutes after the 9 minute mark! It sounds crazy but it works.

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Ginger Cake with Pomegranate Buttercream

Spicy, warm ginger is one of my favourite things to add to cake. This time I paired it with zesty orange and bright pomegranate, which turned out to be an excellent decision. Not only is the cake delicious, the pastel pink buttercream is absolutely to die for!

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 135 g flour
  2. ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  4. 87 g salted butter
  5. 60 g brown sugar
  6. 50 g granulated sugar
  7. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 egg
  9. 120 ml greek yogurt
  10. 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  11. 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

For the buttercream:

  1. 30 g unsalted butter
  2. 6-7 tablespoons pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed
  3. 60 g powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 7 inch cake pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Add in the flour mixture, greek yogurt, ginger and orange zest. Fold together until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile to prepare the buttercream, in a small saucepan add the pomegranate juice. Cook on a low flame until the juice has reduced to about half and looks syrupy.
  7. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add in the pomegranate juice and whip until light and airy. Add more sugar or milk until you are happy with the consistency.
  8. Let the cake cool completely. Frost and enjoy!

 

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Pistachio Chocolate Cookies / Vegan + Gluten Free

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These cookies are highly addictive. Made with just a handful of ingredients, they are chewy, nutty and downright delicious. Pistachio and dark chocolate is a ridiculously amazing combination, but the addition of coconut just takes it to a whole new level!

* Makes about 10 cookies

Ingredients:

  1. ¾ cup pistachios (shelled)
  2. ¼ cup assorted nuts of your choice (I used almonds, cashews and walnuts)
  3. 1 tablespoons cocoa powder
  4. 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  5. ¼ cup brown sugar
  6. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  7. 1 tablespoon almond milk
  8. ¼ teaspoon salt
  9. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  10. 4 ounces dark chocolate (chopped)

Method:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place pistachios and assorted nuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3.  In a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil, sugar, honey and almond milk. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Mix in the chopped nuts and cocoa powder. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes at least. The dough will be wet and needs to harden slightly before baking.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, make small balls and flatten them to about ¼ of an inch. Place the cookies at least 3 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  5. Place cookies in the oven and bake for about 8-9 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown. They will still look soft but will continue to cook when you take them out of the oven.
  6. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. Do not place on a cooking rack!
  7. In a double boiler melt the chopped chocolate, constantly stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Drizzle in about ½ teaspoon of coconut oil.
  8. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate on to the top of the cookies. Decorate with crushed pistachios. Let the chocolate set completely.

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Apple and Strawberry Pie

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With the addition of strawberries, this recipe is a spring-time twist on the classic apple pie. Fresh strawberries bring with them a lovely floral sweetness, pairing perfectly with the tart apples. The filling is spiced with cardamom, which very subtly, like a whisper almost, adds the needed depth of flavour. And of course, this pie is best served warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  1. 200 g flour
  2. 25 g sugar
  3. 100 g butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  5. 2-3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
  1. 200 g apples (cored and diced)
  2. 150 g strawberries
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 40 g brown sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  7. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Use a 8 inch loose bottom pie tin for this recipe.
  2. Sieve the flour, baking powder and sugar.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs. Leave in some pea-sized bits of butter (this results in a flakier crust).
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of ice water water and bring together. Do not knead.
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Put the diced apples and strawberries in a mixing bowl and mix in with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla.
  7. Roll out the dough into two 1/8″ circles. Make one bigger than the other.
  8. Place the bigger one in the pie tin.
  9. Coat the bottom with some egg wash and add in the filling.
  10. Take the smaller circle and cut out strips. Use these to create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. Brush the top with some egg wash. Sprinkle some brown sugar on top.
  11. Bake at 180°C for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

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Banana Upside-down Cake

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A moist cake, with melt-in-the-mouth bananas, spiced with vanilla and cinnamon. It’s the best kind of comfort food. Made with a fluffy and tender cake and buttery, caramelised bananas, this banana upside-down cake is the treat your tables have been begging for. It’s not overly sweet, and lets the caramelly sweetness of the bananas shine. Best served warm, with some unsweetened whipped cream.

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  1. 32 g butter (melted)
  2. 50 g brown sugar
  3. 2 ripe bananas (sliced in half, lengthways)

For the cake:

  1. 100 g flour
  2. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ¼ teaspoon salt
  5. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  6. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 62 g butter
  8. 70 g brown sugar
  9. 1 egg
  10. 60 ml greek yogurt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 7×7 inch square cake tin with butter.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread evenly at the bottom of the cake tin. Lay the banana slices on top, cut side down. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Add the flour and greek yogurt in 3 additions, alternating the two. Fold together until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter over the bananas. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Flip onto a plate.

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Dulce de Leche Swirled Brioche

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Laden with dulce de leche, this swirled brioche wreath is delightful served as dessert, or as an accompaniment to your morning coffee. While baking, the dulce de leche caramelises into a buttery, toffee melt-in-the-mouth heaven, all encased in a tenderly soft brioche.

Makes one large wreath or two smaller wreaths

Ingredients:

  1. 350 g flour
  2. 66 g granulated sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 100 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  5. ¼ teaspoon salt
  6. 6 g instant yeast
  7. 116 g lukewarm water
  8. 6-7 tablespoons store-bought dulce de leche
  9. oil for greasing
  10. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  11. 2 tablespoons water

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, add the lukewarm water and yeast. Stir to combine and set aside for about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Using a stand-mixer, mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Once combined, add in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Then add in the yeast mixture. The mixture should have a dough-like consistency.
  4. With the mixer running, add the butter, one cube at a time until all of it is incorporated into the dough. Work the dough for about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Roll into a ball and transfer to a well-oiled bowl. Leave the dough to rest in the fridge overnight (12 hours minimum).
  6. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a large rectangle onto a lightly floured surface. It should be twice as long as it is wide.
  7. Spread the dulce de leche in an even layer and roll the dough into a log from the longer side.
  8. Using a sharp knife, slice the log in half lengthwise. With the exposed sides up, braid the two halves together and pinch the ends.
  9. Transfer into a baking pan lined with baking paper. Then join the two ends together to make a wreath.
  10. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for about an hour.
  11. Place the baking pan into an oven pre-heated at 200°C. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of sugar and water until all the sugar has dissolved.
  13. Once out of the oven, immediately brush the wreath with the sugar syrup.

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