Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate and beetroot cake

Slice of home-made chocolate and beetroot cake | H is for Home

We’re still in the throes of our love affair with the humble beetroot! The two previous recipes we shared here were savoury bread products. Today it’s a chocolate and beetroot cake.

Grating fresh beetroot | H is for Home

I borrowed a recipe from Jamie Oliver – it’s a ‘healthy eating’ one that he devised for cooking with children.

Melting chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water | H is for Home

Instead of flour, it contains ground almonds and there’s a minimal amount of sugar as the beetroot gives sweetness.

Separated egg yolks, grated beetroot and dry ingredients | H is for Home

The beetroot also gives it a deep and slightly earthy flavour – and works surprisingly well with chocolate.

Chocolate and beetroot cake batter in a loose-bottom cake tin | H is for Home

It doesn’t have a light and airy consistency, it’s more like brownie than sponge cake – even with carefully folding in the egg whites…

Cooked chocolate and beetroot cake cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

…not that I’m complaining – it was really, really good!

Home-made chocolate and beetroot cake with chocolate drizzled over the top | H is for Home

If you have kids (or even adults!) that won’t eat their vegetables – this is a wonderfully clandestine way of sneaking some into their diet!

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest for later!

Chocolate and beetroot cake
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  2. 250g/9oz raw beetroot
  3. 4 large free-range eggs
  4. 150g/5¼oz golden caster sugar
  5. 120g/4¼oz ground almonds
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  8.  
  9. Home-made chocolate and beetroot cake ingredients
  10.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
  2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm/8" spring-form cake tin
  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. Break 200g of the chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl
  5. 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
  6. Once melted, carefully remove from the heat and set aside
  7. Peel & grate the beetroot then tip it into a large mixing bowl
  8. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot
  9. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and combine well
  10. Whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks
  11. Using a spatula, fold ¼ of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen then, once combined, fold in the rest trying not to over mix
  12. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula
  13. Bake for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through
  14. To check if it's done, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes away clean the cake's cooked
  15. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely
  16. Once cool, melt the rest of the chocolate (in the same way as above), and drizzle over the top
Notes
  1. Serve with crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies

Home-made chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies with mug of tea | H is for Home

The focus is back on Rio this week with the start of the Paralympics. Which made me remember that I still have half a bag of Brazil nuts in the cupboard leftover from making a double espresso brazil nut cake a few weeks ago.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough mixture | H is for Home Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough and reserved chocolate chips | H is for Home

I’ve been in something of a cookie & biscuit frame of mind recently, so I thought I’d use them up by making some chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough portions on a tray | H is for Home

I use quite a lot of chocolate in my baking – cocoa, dark chocolate, mocha – but I’ve never used chocolate chips before. In most recipes that call for chocolate chips, I’ve always just used chopped up chocolate pieces.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Chocolate chip cookies I’ll make an exception for, because those perfect little dots of chocolate are just essential!

Stack of home-made chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies | H is for Home

The recipe makes over 2 dozen lovely, soft cookies. They’re quick & easy and the perfect thing to get the kids involved in making.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies
Yields 30
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 115g/4oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp baking powder
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 75g/3oz butter, softened
  5. 150g/5oz golden caster sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1tsp vanilla extract
  8. 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips
  9. 75g/2½oz brazil nuts, chopped
  10.  
  11. Home-made chocolate chip brazil nut cookies ingredients
  12.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper
  3. In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt
  4. In another larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar (using an electric mixer is best)
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat well on a low speed
  7. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 70g of the chocolate chips and the chopped brazil nuts
  8. Drop teaspoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheet. Space them 2½-5cm / 1-2 inches apart as they spread quite a bit in the cooking
  9. Dot the top of each cookie with 3 or so of the reserved chocolate chips pressing lightly into the dough
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they just begin to turn a golden brown
  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the next batch. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used (My large baking tray took 3 batches to use up all the dough)
  12. Store in an air-tight lidded container for up to 3 days
Adapted from The Great Big Cookie Book
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Gypsy Creams

Home-made gypsy creams | H is for Home

We needed some treats for our biscuit barrel so that was the subject for today’s Cakes & Bakes… but which kind of biscuit?

Butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan | H is for Home Gypsy creams dough mixture | H is for Home

Justin started reminiscing about Gypsy Creams – and commenting on the fact that they seem to have disappeared from the shops. I have to admit that growing up in Trinidad, I’d never heard of Gypsy Creams – but they certainly sounded good enough to try.

Gypsy creams dough balls | H is for Home Gypsy creams dough balls flattened with the back of a fork | H is for Home

My numerous baking books didn’t offer a single recipe, but fortunately I found one available online.

They incorporate flour, butter, oats, golden syrup and most importantly chocolate. Two crisp biscuity layers sandwich a moist chocolate buttercream layer.

Gypsy creams biscuits cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Apparently coconut can be added to the recipe too. These are often called Romany Creams, but Justin thinks that the packet Gypsy Creams from his youth had something ‘coconutty’ about them.

Making chocolate buttercream | H is for Home

I have to say that they’re absolutely delicious – and are now a firm favourite of mine having missed out for nearly 50 years!

Home-made gypsy creams | H is for Home

Gypsy Creams
Yields 12
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the biscuit dough
  1. 100g/4oz butter
  2. 90g/3oz golden syrup
  3. 50g/2oz caster sugar
  4. 50g/2oz porridge oats
  5. 10g/½oz cocoa powder
  6. 175g/6oz plain flour
For the buttercream
  1. 150g/5oz icing sugar
  2. 50g/2oz butter, softened
  3. 1tbsp milk
  4. 50g/2oz dark chocolate, melted
  5.  
  6. Home-made gypsy creams ingredients
  7.  
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Set aside
  3. In a large saucepan, place the butter, syrup & sugar melting gently over a low heat, stirring to combine
  4. Sift the flour together with the cocoa powder before adding the oats to the mixture
  5. Add these dry ingredients to the saucepan and mix together well
  6. Leave to cool slightly
  7. Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and roll each into a ball between your palms
  8. Place on the baking sheet leaving room between each biscuit
  9. Flatten each ball slightly using the back of a fork
  10. Bake for approximately 20 minutes
  11. Using a palette knife, transfer the biscuits on to a wire rack to cool completely
For the buttercream
  1. While the biscuits are baking/cooling make the buttercream filling
  2. Put the icing sugar, butter, milk and chocolate into a mixing bowl and combine until smooth
  3. Spoon ½tsp of buttercream on to a biscuit and sandwich together with another biscuit
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Brownie butter cake

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Slice of home made brownie butter cake | H is for Home

We have a very attractive offering for this week’s Cakes & Bakes post – isn’t this layered brownie butter cake pretty? The deep chocolate brown and the warm yellow are very pleasing to the eye. It’s a really good ‘tea & cake’ kind of cake which scores even more points.

Home-made brownie butter cake

It’s the perfect thing for the two of us here at H is for Home headquarters as Adelle loves chocolate brownie and Justin loves butter cake. And both of us think the combination works really well. Correction, make that the three of us here… Fudge loves the crumbs!

Brownie butter cake
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For the brownie layer
  1. 140g/5oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  2. 50g/1¾oz butter
  3. 50g/1¾oz soft brown sugar
  4. 1 egg
  5. 35g/1¼oz plain flour
For the butter cake layer
  1. 120g/4oz butter
  2. 100g//3½oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 120g/4oz plain flour
  5. ¼tsp baking powder
  6. 50ml/3½tbsp milk
  7.  
  8. Home-made brownie butter cake ingredients
  9.  
Instructions
  1. Grease 10cm x 20cm/4" × 8" loaf tin
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
To make the brownie
  1. Put the chocolate and butter into a heat-proof bowl and melt using a saucepan of water low heat. Make sure the water does not come into contact with the bottom of the heat-proof bowl
  2. Remove the bowl and leave to cool slightly
  3. Stir in brown sugar until well combined
  4. Add the egg and mix well
  5. Fold in the flour, again mixing until well combined
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove and lower the oven to 160ºC/320ºF/Gas mark 3
For the butter cake
  1. Beat the butter with the sugar until creamy
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder, alternately adding in the milk
  4. Spread the butter cake dough evenly over the brownie, bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  5. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out on to a serving plate
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Simply Divine!

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Divine Chocolate Fairtrade Fortnight competition | H is for Home

Fairtrade Fortnight logoThis month, we’re linking up with Divine Chocolate to commemorate Fairtrade Fortnight which began yesterday. It runs until 13 March and shines a spotlight on all the farmers around the world who are now thriving thanks to them receiving fair prices for their crops.

Divine is one of a growing number of companies who only use fairly traded ingredients in their products. Not only this, the company is 44% owned by the cocoa farmers so they receive a direct share of the profits.

If you like chocolate (and who doesn’t?) you can enter to win one of Divine’s tasting hampers – gift boxed & filled with 13 bars of delectable deliciousness! Even if you don’t like chocolate, you can still enter and, if you win, you can give it to a loved one as a present and score some (chocolate) brownie points!

Simply leave us a comment below telling us what is your favourite type of Divine Chocolate.

Divine Chocolate tasting hamper

Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | U Me and the Kids

Cakes & Bakes: Petit fours

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Plate of various petit fours with espresso | H is for Home

We have a few friends coming over for dinner this weekend.

Vegan date & nut petit fours | H is for Home

We must like them because they’re getting 3 courses!

Vegan date & nut petit fours in a vintage tin | H is for Home

We tend to split the cooking – which works out well as Justin prefers to do the savoury dishes and I prefer making the sweets. It looks like it’s going to be poached smoked salmon & asparagus to begin. And he’s just set about making some home-made pies for the main course. They look delicious – and hearty too. Celeriac mash and roasted root vegetables on the side. No one will go hungry, that’s for sure!

Chocolate petit fours with bowls of various toppings | H is for Home

So, after all that, something light to finish seems in order. I often make panna cotta or crème caramel when a big pudding isn’t required. But I thought I’d go even more delicate this time with a selection of three different petit fours. I’m sharing their preparation as this week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe.

Marzipan petit fours | H is for Home

Our guests can have one or ten each, depending on how much room they’ve got left.

Dipping marzipan petit fours into chocolate glaze | H is for Home

Serving them in pretty petit four paper cases really enhances their presentation. They’ll be delicious with an after dinner coffee, port or brandy… a lovely way to end the meal.

Vegan chocolate petit fours
Yields 25
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Ingredients
  1. 300g/10½oz dark chocolate
  2. pinch sea salt
  3. 2tbs coconut oil
  4. 215ml/7½fl oz tinned coconut milk
  5. toasted desiccated coconut, chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and/or cocoa powder to finish
Instructions
  1. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and put it into a large heatproof bowl
  2. Add the coconut oil and the salt
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk to the boil before pouring it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth
  4. Allow to cool, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to set overnight in the fridge (or at least 4 hours).
  5. Put the toasted desiccated coconut chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and/or cocoa powder into separate wide-bottomed bowls
  6. Using a measuring teaspoon, scoop out a portion of ganache before rolling between your palms to form a ball before putting it on a plate or baking sheet
  7. Repeat until all the ganache has been used
  8. Cover the balls in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  9. Toss in the balls equally between the chopped mixed nuts, icing sugar and or cocoa powder, rolling around the bowls making sure each ball is completely coated
  10. Carefully place the balls on to a plate lined with parchment paper, recover carefully with cling film and put them back into the fridge to firm up again
Notes
  1. These can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Chocolate covered marzipan petit fours
Yields 45
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For the marzipan
  1. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
  3. 2tsp almond extract
  4. 1 egg white
For the chocolate coating
  1. 50ml/1¾fl oz whipping cream
  2. 7g/¼oz sugar
  3. 12ml/½fl oz water
  4. 45g/1½oz dark chocolate, chopped
For the marzipan
  1. Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until it comes together into a thick ball (about a minute)
  2. Turn the marzipan out onto a work surface and knead it a couple of times
  3. Form it into a pack of butter shape, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour
  4. Bring cream, sugar, and 60ml/2fl oz water to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves
  5. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and the glaze is smooth
  6. Slice the slab of marzipan into equal sized cubes before rolling each between your palms to form balls
  7. Using a tooth pick, dip each ball into the chocolate sauce before placing it on a tray lined with parchment paper
  8. Cover the petit fours carefully with cling film and chill for half an hour
Notes
  1. Any unused marzipan will keep for up to a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
Date & nut petit fours
Yields 30
A delicious vegan after-dinner treat
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Ingredients
  1. 125g cashews
  2. 40g desiccated coconut
  3. 125g pitted dates
  4. 2tbs coconut oil
  5. ½tsp sea salt
  6. ½tsp vanilla essence
  7. 1tbs water
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process blitz the cashews and desiccated coconut to fine crumbs
  2. Add the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt and process again until the mixture forms large, sticky lumps
  3. Scoop the dough using a measuring teaspoon before rolling between your palms to form balls. If the mixture is too crumbly add another tablespoon of water and blitz again for a few seconds
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet or plate lined with parchment paper
  5. Chill in the fridge for an hour before rolling in toasted desiccated coconut and/or cocoa powder to finish
Notes
  1. These can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 6 months or more
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/