Mocha Birthday Cake: Chocolate Chip Coffee Sponge, Dark Chocolate Ganache and Coffee Mascarpone Icing

IMG_3664I really believe that you should make the most of your birthday. Whether you’re 1 or 101, it should be a real celebration. I no longer do these one day birthdays, I need to eek it out for as long as possible. Preferably spanning a week; book a holiday, plan meals, research the birthday cake you’re going to bake for yourself months in advance…

It’s a day to eat whatever the hell you want, wear whatever the hell you want and say whatever you want because its your birthday.

Besides, you’ll only turn 22 once. This day only comes once a year so why not milk it for all its worth? You’ve waited 365 days for this.

I hope you’ve caught on by now and have realised, it was MY birthday. My celebrations consisted of a takeaway in my pyjamas, a massage, meals, a trip to the cinema and a four-day adventure to Iceland (more about that soon.)

It was only a week ago and I miss this cake already. I miss Iceland already. I spent a really long time debating what kind of route I wanted to take. I was torn between a simple apple cake or a really indulgent five layered chocolate cake. After what felt like days and days on Pinterest, I finally settled on this Mocha inspired number.

By putting chocolate chunks into a coffee sponge, I didn’t need to decide between a chocolate sponge or a vanilla one. I got the best of both worlds. A mascarpone icing is a great alternative to butter icing as it keeps the sweetness down. Layering the sponge with rich, silky, chocolate ganache was a no brainer and just needed to happen.

A voila! A twenty-two year old coffee addicts dream birthday cake.

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Blackberry, Orange and Chocolate Bread Pudding for one

IMG_3340One thing that really bothers me about living on my own, is buying food for one. I hate leftovers and, more than anything, I hate wasting food. I admit that some leftover meals are crazy delicious, like christmas leftover sandwiches or bubble and squeak, and they do have their place when it comes to time-saving. But eating a three-day old soggy lasagne just doesn’t do it for me.

One of my favourite things to buy is a crusty fresh loaf of bread from a local shop. I can’t think of many things more satisfying than the smell of a freshly baked loaf. Accompany some pungent ripe cheese with that and I’m yours. However, 9 times out of 10, I won’t eat all of it before it becomes stale beyond any saving. And this is with me eating it at every opportunity, trying to avoid this. Life seems to get in the way and this happens with a fair amount of food in my house.

I honestly think someone should create a supermarket for singles. Everything should come in single sized portions. I really don’t like eating the same meal over and over again, so buying a pack of six sausages means I have to eat sausages for three days in a row. All of the dishes I bake in on a day-to-day basis are single sized or two portion maximum, for this reason exactly.

So here I am, saving all you fellow single gals and guys out there from leftovers and throwing away old food; because you really can’t face the thought of another lacklustre pasta dish hanging around your fridge for days again.

Bread pudding uses up leftover milk, berries, croissants and anything else you feel like throwing in there. Make this what you want. It’s all about taking out what I’ve put in and changing it for what tickles your fancy. Nothing screams Autumn like a steaming dish of hot, creamy bread pudding just for you.

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Malted Milk Ice Cream and Double Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches with Cocoa Nibs

IMG_2966I’ve been obsessing over ice cream sandwiches for a few weeks now. I craved them after finding a food truck (Blu top Ice Cream Sandwiches) which made large cookie sandwiches filled with wonderful ice creams. Flavours such as; toast and jam, builders tea and bourbon whiskey feature on their menu. I’ve been dying to visit them at one of their weekly markets but for various reasons, I haven’t been able to go. A future post will pop up when I eventually go.

What does one do in these kind of dire situations? One recreates the desired treat at home!

Why not? Nothing better than a day spent in the warm hug of your kitchen; a treat like this waiting at the finish line.

One down side to having a blog is constantly attempting new recipes. Whenever I bake something, it’s always new. It’s very rare that I ever make something twice. Its my dream to have a cookie or pudding recipe that is my signature bake. I imagine my friends coming over and begging me to ‘make those cookies you make.’ Or I’d have that bread that I bake every week without fail. A constant supply of fresh bread in my house.

After considering this, I looked back through my cookie recipes and chose my rich, dark double chocolate cookie recipe. I remember not being able to resist these. Just pure unadulterated indulgence in cookie form. Both white chocolate chips and dark are required to make the perfect cookie. As is a hell of a lot of butter, dark brown sugar and a good sprinkling of sea salt.

Malt Ice cream is my number one choice for ice cream (honey coming in close second.) It was a no brainer that I’d recreate a Malteser in ice cream sandwich form. Malt ice cream squashed between chewy chocolate cookies, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with roasted cocoa nibs. I’ll leave you to just sit, salivate and think about all that.IMG_2900
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Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cherry Compote

IMG_2540IMG_2533‘What shall I make this week?’ Is probably the question I ask most to family and friends.

Sometimes I sit for hours scouring the internet, desperately clawing for an idea that might take my fancy. I flick through practically new cook books I’ve never used. Shut the book, empty-handed and empty minded, only to remember why I didn’t ever use them before.

Other times, like this sweet time, an idea drifts out of nowhere and flutters into my lap. I stumble upon a thought or, most likely, my appetite leads me to something I don’t often eat. I love creating something I haven’t made in a while. I’m struck with a new feeling of vigour and I relish in my precious time in the kitchen. My little escape.

Nothing makes my mouth water more than an indulgent slice of sugary temptation.

Sitting there like bait. Something that has a humble, rustic quality to it. Something that I don’t worry about eating and basically ruining because it’s too pretty. I read a quote recently that resonated with me; a quote I couldn’t agree more with.

‘Real food means big-flavoured unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice, uncomplicated food.’ – Nigel Slater Continue reading “Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake with Cherry Compote”

A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie

IMG_2106 2IMG_2128Usually when I post on here, I plan ahead. I make whatever delicious treat I crave a week in advance and schedule a time on my days off to sit in front of my computer. Today though, I made something so ideal for this warm summer weekend that I had to post it today.

The weather here has been pure bliss; glistening sunshine that tickles the skin, ocean blue skies and a gentle breeze to cool you. My favourite kind of weather is a crisp spring or autumn morning however, this has some strong competition after today’s perfect weather.

For me, summer is about a plethora of vibrant plump fruits and vegetables. Cooking is so much easier in the warm weather. In winter you need to add other flavours to potatoes and lets face it, kind of boring root vegetables. It requires an effort. In summer though, fruits scream with their bright coloured skins and burst with lively flavours bringing your taste buds to life. No need for extras. Just let their natural, delightful sweetness charm you into long summer nights and the smoky calling of your barbecue. Continue reading “A Summer Weekend Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie”

Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)

Chocolate SauceI feel like I’m loosing it a bit recently.

I’ve gone through this before with the blog, but this time its work. During the week just past, I made two batches of sponge that went wrong. Not completely horrendous but still not right. I made Blood Orange Marmalade that was too thick and syrupy that I had to let it down the next day with more water. I then wrapped up some beautiful Green Tea Chiffon Gateaux’s that I had made, only to find the next day that the paper had stuck to the white glaze like superglue and I lost half of them. Continue reading “Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)”

Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake

Proud slice of banana cakeWhat better way to start the new year than with a beautiful piece of Banana Cake and a cup of freshly brewed coffee?

This recipe really reminds me of when I first started training to be a Pastry Chef. My days were filled with making trays of brownie and cutting shortbread like a robot. One of my favourite things to make was this Banana Cake. It was formed into loaf tins and adorned with a sprinkling of Walnut Crumble. The sweet scent of Bananas always wafted through the kitchen after they were taken out of the oven. I usually had to cut these loaves into slices to be displayed under a large glass dome, but always managed to sneak myself the end slice (inevitably drier, but still tasty.) Continue reading “Happy New Year: Banana, Walnut and Gianduja Cake”

Semlor: Swedish Almond-Cream filled Cardamom Buns

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Ah, Semla.

Where to begin? Firstly, I wish you came into my life earlier. So many years I’ve wasted without your Cardamom goodness.

Secondly, why aren’t you in my life right now?! Why have I eaten you all? Why isn’t there a Swedish bakery down the road from my house, wafting that delicious freshly baked warm bun smell into my house every morning? Continue reading “Semlor: Swedish Almond-Cream filled Cardamom Buns”