Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

24 July 2016


It's always nice to have something sweet for the weekend and this weekend calls for chocolate chunk cookies. There's no rhyme of reason to it, just that.. well I wanted them. So I made them and there you go. Well that's not entirely true...

Cookies travel nicely so they are perfect to pack in my carry on when I go visit my favourite littley nieces in England today! I am so excited to see them, my sister and I have organised it and they have no idea I am coming! I am going to just appear.. and appear with cookies. Hello?? Best plan ever!

Who's winning the "Most Amazing Aunt in the World" award... AAhhhh.. that would be ME!!!


These cookies are incredibly versatile. You can make them as strong or as mellow as you like. I am a fan of the strong chocolate flavour and will usually opt for the darkest chocolate but knowing I was bringing these with me.. I have toned it down.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- makes about 30 cookies ( you can half this recipe)

110g soft, salted butter
90g vegetable fat or shortening at room temperature
200g white caster sugar
200g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
420g self raising flour
40g good coco powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g + of chocolate chunks... I used two bars of dark chocolate, a 56% and 72%.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and fat together until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, coco powder, baking powder and bicarb of soda together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.
Add the chocolate chunks and mix until combined This mix is not sticky, but more of a playdoh consistency.. add a tablespoon of flour to the mix, one at a time, if yours is still a bit sticky. Stop once you get to playdoh!

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls.  I measure mine to be roughly 40g balls. I fit  6 cookies on my sheets, juts space yours about 5cm apart as they spread...

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be and leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15-20 minutes when they come out.




I need to start making things other than cookies and cakes and no bake cheesecakes also.. I am tired of this temperamental weather messing up meringues and macaron and the humidity playing havoc with buttercreams. Either be summer or be winter... you can't be both. You feeling me?

Least I have the cookies to keep things going!! Enjoy the upcoming week folks, will chat when I get back!

Black and White Cake

20 July 2016


So this month.. went by so fast, right?? I can't believe it's Cake Slice Bakers time again and thinking on last month.. uuugghhhh... I had to push the boat out. Had. To. My baking sanity needed to be restored.

I picked what I thought to be the most challenging recipe. To be honest, it was long winded but it wasn't that hard in execution. With that in mind, there are two things before we even get started...this cake takes some time and there's an awful lot of faffing...

Sounds like my kind of baking alright!

This black and white layer cake isn't your usual sponge-mix frosting sandwich. It's a light and fluffy meringue-ish, fat frosting sandwich that got the thumbs up all 'round. I didn't use the chocolate buttercream recipe Maida provided in her book... using 7 egg yolks in a frosting is not something I was ready to commit to. Especially not when I had leftover chocolate frosting in the fridge.

It's a pain step-by-step wise.. (just reminding you) the instructions seem to go on forever and Maida, being Maida, loves to add in convoluted notions... just to make things extra laborious I think. But I've cut all of that out. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Concentrating on the fact I have made this easy for you, it's well worth the bake.

This bake also highlighted my lack of serving trays.. Craziness if you ask me! I really need to catch a hold of myself!!! I don't think I have ever made a rectangular shaped layer cake, so have had no need for a serving tray that shape. I did however have a cheese board, for when I am playing grown ups with my friends and have them over for fancy nights with wine... oh, and cheese* of course!

* cheese may not be included...


Black and White Layer Cake
adapted from Maida Heatters' Cakes pg. 129 

Are you ready, ok... here we go...

You want to cover two rectangular baking sheets in tinfoil. If you turn the pan over and make the shape on the bottom, it'll sit a lot easier into your pan. Spray the whole sheet with cake release of grease the entire thing with some melted butter. Set to one side. Preheat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C or Gas Mark 4.

White Sponge Layer 
5 large range eggs, separated
65g granulated sugar
35g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and vanilla with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat until thick and pale. Fold in the flour, until just smooth. Scrap the sides down of the bowl.

In another bowl, using clean beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the eggs whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar in three installments, until the egg whites are firm, but not stiff or dry.

Add one third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold through until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully until just blended. DO NOT over mix.


Pour the mixture onto a prepared tray and spread it out to the corners. Smooth out the top. Pop into your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and the sides start coming away slightly from the pan.

Flip the cake out onto a wire rack, take off the pan, peel off the tinfoil and all the cake to cool.

Chocolate Sponge Layer
4 large range eggs, separated
65g granulated sugar
45g self raising flour
60ml hot coffee
170g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and vanilla with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat until thick and pale. Fold in the flour, until just smooth. Scrap the sides down of the bowl.

heat the chocolate in the microwave until just melted, add the hot coffee and allow to cool slightly.

In another bowl, using clean beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the eggs whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar in three installments, until the egg whites are firm, but not stiff or dry.

Fold the coffee/chocolate mix through the egg yolk mix until combined.

Add one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold through until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully until just blended. DO NOT over mix.


Pour the mixture onto a prepared tray and spread it out to the corners. Smooth out the top. Pop into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and the sides start coming away slightly from the pan.

Flip the cake out onto a wire rack, take off the pan, peel off the tinfoil and all the cake to cool.




Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
125g soft, super soft unsalted butter
250g sifted icing sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder 
3 tablespoons double cream

Beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. I find that if you give the butter a couple of seconds in the microwave, to when it's almost starting to melt, before you beat it, you end up with the lightest and fluffiest of frosting. 
Add in the icing sugar a few bits  at a time.
Add the double cream and keep mixing until light and fluffy.

Assembly
When cooled, cut the cake into three even strips each... Giving you 6 layers.
Staring with what ever colour you want, layer the cake sandwiching the layers with some chocolate buttercream. Thin layers of buttercream will suffice here. Continue in the same fashion, until all the layers are sandwiched. Coat the tops and sides with the remaining buttercream and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take out and dust over with cocoa powder, serve cold. Or at room temperature for a softer frosting... Either way it's going to taste pretty damn special!








And there you go... A Black and White layered cake with a yummy buttercream frosting filling worthy of any wine and cheese night... Have a look at what the other members of the group baked through the links below! Enjoy!


Red, White and Blue

04 July 2016


A gentle nod to my American friends and readers across the pond today. Wishing all y'all... a little phrase my Texan bestie Tammy taught me... a very happy 4th of July. A very happy day of festivities and fireworks and all things fun and aaahhh... American!

We don't celebrate the day here, obviously, but I wasn't one to just let it pass without doing something in those awesome colours. 

also didn't have a lot of ingredients to hand. Seems to be the story of my life lately.... I really need to restock my pantry. So this is what I came up with.

Blue vanilla cake, layered with a white, creamy vanilla no bake cheesecake, topped with a soft set strawberry eeeehhh.. topping!! I was actually quite impressed with myself for pulling this together and it working out. It look the real deal.. tastes pretty darn decent and basically that's all you need.

It's also in the American colours, in case I needed to point that out, and it's so easy to make! There's no excuse. 



Strawberry Topping

450g strawberries
55g caster sugar
60ml water
1 tbsp cornflour

Mix the corn flour with the water.
Hull and quarter all the strawberries and put them in a pot with the sugar and the water/cornflour mix. Stir to coat the strawberries.
Over a medium heat let the mix bubble up, but not over boil. Take off the heat, pour into a bowl and all to cool to room temperature.


Blue Vanilla Cake

85g caster sugar
1 large free range egg
160g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
80ml buttermilk
80ml vegetable oil
blue food colouring

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4.
Line a 9 inch spring form tin with parchment on the bottom and spray with cake release around the sides.
Beat the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and the baking powder, and give a quick mix. Follow with the buttermilk and oil, mix until just combined.
Add the blue food colouring, I use gel as you use a lesser amount than the liquid colouring, to the depth of blue you want. Mine took 4 good drops.
Cook for 20 minutes, until the top has slightly domed and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

Using a clean cloth/tea towel, push the cake down gently so that you have a flat top. Allow the cake to cool fully in the tin.



No Bake hard to photograph Cheesecake

200g of cream cheese (use the best quality brand you can afford)
150ml single cream
1 vanilla pod
60g caster sugar

Whip the cream cheese until smooth and add the cream and vanilla seeds from inside the pod. Add the sugar and whip until thick, but still light and soft. Be careful not to over whip. 
Put the cheesecake on top of the cooled, blue cake and smooth out the top.

Put the whole pan into the fridge for at least two hours to set up. 

When you think the cheesecake has set up enough, take it out and using a hot, sharp knife, run it around the edge of the tin. Clip open the tin and gently lift it off over the cake. Pour over the strawberry topping,, cut and serve.

You could pour the strawberry topping in over the cheesecake, once it's set up and leave it over night. The jam parts solidify and make for a yummy, sticky topping.  






If you are needing to go to an American themed party and you want to bring dessert or you want to wow your buddies with a patriotic themed easy bake... this has got you covered!!

Have a good day you guys!! Be safe, mind each other.

White Chocolate, Salted Caramel Fudge Chip Cookies

30 June 2016


I don't know if you know but I am a huge fan of baking on a budget.

I think yeah, it's super that some weeks your budget extends to all the finest of ingredients and you can throw gold leaf 'round like it's no big thing, but some weeks.. the budget be non existent. You feel me??

So what do you do when you want to bake something yummy, but your monies say nah-ah, no way..

You bake on a budget of course!!

I spotted Salted Caramel Fudge pieces walking through Aldi last week and genuinely melted at the thoughts of them. Seriously, you know that dessert face everyone makes when they spoon something into their mouths that actually blows their minds.. yeah that happened right there in the aisle. But clearly it had happened to everyone else also because there was only two packets left!! Needless to say I picked up the two and decided, coupled with some white chocolate chips that were also on the same shelf, they would make some bad-ass cookies.

And I was right.

Still have the dessert face too.


White Chocolate, Salted Caramel Fudge 
Chip Cookies

makes 36 cookies... you could half the recipe for half the fun I guess but I don't know why.. just make the 36!! 

Except for the vanilla and the shortening, everything I used was Aldi own brand baking ingredients and they were perfect. 

115g soft, salted butter
95g 100% vegetable fat or shortening
200g dark brown sugar
220g soft brown sugar
2 large free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla
465g self raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 bags of white chocolate chips
1 bag of salted caramel fudge pieces

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and shortening together until it looks like mashed up breadcrumbs.
Add both the eggs and then the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.

Add the chocolate chips and fudge pieces and mix until it's a soft dough consistency. This mix is not sticky, but more like really soft playdoh.


Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls. So.. being the way I am... I weigh these out to be about 40g balls (give or take a gram on either side.) If you think I'm going to pick off a gram or add a gram, you damn near lost yo' mind!

 Space them out on your trays as they spread...

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be. 10 in my oven is crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside. Yum!

Try leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15 minutes. Which let's face it never happens.. Just be careful when they come out. They are hot.






The fudge-y pieces melt in the oven and make this chew-chewiness in the cookie that ohmygod yes... is amazing. Some of them stayed intact so there was this coupling of gooey chewy with soft salted caramel fudgeness that just.. oh my.. the face... you see the face!!! The brown sugars add this dark caramel flavour that just makes them richer than your regular chocolate chip cookie and the white chocolate adds another flavour, just because you know... there's not enough going on here!!

Pretty much all I am going to say on these is make them... eat them. Oh and well done Aldi*!



*I wasn't asked to endorse any of Aldi's products. All the opinions expressed are my own and I have not been paid or sponsored to do this post. This is not a review, more of a look-what-I-did (points to delicious cookies) while saving some pennies and it paid off. Kind of a for your information post, if you like. It's sharing a bargain while baking on a budget. What's not to love!

American Dream Waffle Cake

26 June 2016


There is a cafe in Dublin that I liked to go to when I was studying in Trinity. It's a small place that serves sweet and savoury crepes and waffles, with decent prices and good coffee. I have no idea what anything else tasted like in this place because all I ever ordered was this sweet waffle, with cinnamon butter, pecans, maple syrup and lashings of fresh cream. 

To be honest I am really not bothered by what anything else tastes like there either because I won't order it, and you can't make me. I am ordering an American Dream. Every. Time. You have a lot of offer Lemon Crepe and Coffee Co. .. I just won't ever know.. and I am perfectly OK with that decision.

Seeing as I live so far from Dublin, this waffle is my when-I-go-to-Dublin breakfast. But it also served as the basis for this cake, which became birthday cake for a friend of mine over the weekend. 

I am assuming it's not good for you. It felt like my arteries were closing as I baked it but damn it was good. The cake is really soft and the pecans studded throughout add a welcomed textured layer. 

The maple syrup buttercream is just to die for because everything should have maple syrup in it... I am thinking real life, Canadian maple syrup comes with addiction health warnings on the jars. I only have access to pretend maple syrup, so I can only imagine what the real stuff would do to me!! and then, we have the cinnamon butter fried waffles... awh jeeze you guys.. the best. 

Now... BIG DISCLAIMER... they are store bought and obviously not as good as homemade waffles, or a patch on the real deal from Lemon but this cake had a lot of layers to it and if you can cut a sneaky corner once or twice, why wouldn't you!?



Brown Sugar, Pecan Cake Batter


225g soft butter
225g soft brown sugar
275g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 large free range eggs
100g toasted, chopped pecans
225ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4.
Line and spray with cake release, three 6 inch round cake tins or two 8 inch cake tins. (Mine pictured is with three 6 inch cake layers)
Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 5-7 minutes with an electric mixer.
Dry whisk the flours and baking powder together.
Add the eggs into the butter/sugar mix, one at a time and mix until the yolk has disappeared. Repeat for the other egg.
Add half the flour to the mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the flour. Be careful not to over mix as you want it to stay nice and light and fluffy!
Fold in the pecans and mix until fully dispersed throughout
.
Divide the mixture between three tins and pop into a pre-heated oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden on top and your cake tester comes out clear. 
Pop onto a wire rack and allow cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the tin and allow to cool fully before frosting. 


Cinnamon Butter Fried Waffles

as many waffles as you want to adorn your cake. I used 6. (Fine.... 5 I used 5 on the cake because I ate one waffle, warm off the pan!)
100g soft butter
60g soft brown sugar
1-2 tsps cinnamon

Add everything, except the waffles to a frying pan over a low heat and allow it all to melt and fuse together.
Pop the waffles on top of the melty goodness and turn the heat up to fry off both sides of the waffle. Careful not to burn it!

Pop out onto a plate and allow to cool, go crunchy and taste of absolute deliciousness. Let them stand until you need them.


Maple Syrup Buttercream 

225g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
500g sifted icing sugar
as much maple syrup as you want

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft but not melted)
Add in the icing sugar a few cups at a time. If the buttercream is very thick, add a tablespoon of cream or milk in until the desired texture has been reached. 
Add the male syrup and  just keep mixing until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be.

Lick the beaters and be proud of yourself. We are nearly there. 



Putting it all together...

Once the cake layers have cooled add the first layer, top side down. The underneath part is flattest. Fill the top with layer of buttercream. Add the next cake layer, again top side down and fill in any gaps on the sides and smooth out your buttercream, repeat with the next layer.

Pop the cake in the fridge or freezer for a few moments, to harden the buttercream and make the cake more stable to work with.

Remove the cake from the fridge and add the buttercream to the top and sides and smooth out. I have left this semi-naked because a) I'm a lazy article and b) that's how I like cakes to look these days. I ran my spatula around the edge of the cake to make the little rudges and just kept going to the top. 

very slowly, start pouring the maple syrup at the edge of the cake to create the drips, then fill in the middle for the top coating. It will go EVERYWHERE so be careful and don't be so heavy handed. 

Add your decorations if you haven't eaten them all and store in a cool dry place, like a large cake tin. 

You can keep this in the fridge but I hate cold buttercream so I think it's best eaten with a couple days of making. 




American Dream Waffle Cake... I love you. And it totally counts as breakfast cake also so don't even be thinking you have to wait until after eating a salad or something to have a slice... Get in!!

Have a great week folks!

Oreo Cookies Cake

22 June 2016


Short and sweet today folks. I have a timeline that needs sticking too and writing deadlines that I have set myself with my thesis so it's going to be a flying visit today! I need to to be strong with myself because as you all know I am partial to the aul' warble, but with the warbling not being the best thing for thesis writing I need to check myself. So this post.. another addition to from The Cake Slice Bakers will straight to the point.

This cake. Hmmmm... this cake... bored me?? I think that's right. 

It was received very well by my family, who finished it , not a crumb to be seen within two days of being baked. Husband felt it important to use expletives when describing both taste and texture and Dolly felt it best eaten when partnered with a glass of cold milk. For me... Meh.

Maybe it was because I didn't use the the chocolate glaze atop. I felt the tin was too pretty to cover up. Or maybe because I didn't dust in icing sugar.. again. Tin. Too. Pretty. Or maybe it's because I am used to pushing myself with this baking group and for the last few bakes, due to faults I can clearly rectify, I have chosen easy option, ingredients-in-pantry and just got complacent. Either way this cake didn't do it for me.... Was grand like. 

Maybe you will fare out better. 


Oreo Cookies Cake-
adapted from Maida Heatters Cakes pg 82

15 Oreo Cookies, cut into quarters
330g self-raising flour
1tsp Bicarb of soda
225g butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
300g Caster sugar
3 Large eggs
250ml Sour cream

Pre-heat the oven to 175C/350F Gas Mark 4 and grease a large bundt tin with cake release spray and set aside.
Soften the butter for a couple of minutes in the mixer add the sugar and continue to mix until smooth, creamy and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until just in.
Add the eggs one at time mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bowl with a spatula after each egg goes in.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the salt.
Starting and ending with dry ingredients add the flour to the wet mixture mixing until just combined followed by half the sour cream, mixing until just combined. Once everything has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give a final stir using a spatula.

Add about 1/3 of the batter to the cake tin and smooth over, dump a handful of the Oreo cookies into the mix in the bundt and then add the rest of the cut up Oreo's into the remaining cake batter. Add this cake batter to the tin. Smooth over the top with the back of a spoon and bake for 1 hr or until a cake tester inserted into the deepest part of the tin comes out clean. (It took my cake 47 minutes to reach this point.)




Leave the tin on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes,  then carefully turn the cake out on to a wire rack to cool completely.





You might like it if you tried it, but for me it was a no. Onward and upwards right?


 
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