This will be my final recipe celebrating Sourdough September – fitting really, that it’s a recipe for a dessert – sourdough coffee chocolate cake. I’ve lifted the instructions from one of my new favourite websites – King Arthur Flour. Their recipes quick-convert between Imperial, metric and US cups – a really useful feature!
As well as Sourdough September, this cake also honours International Coffee Day which happens each year on 1st October… and while I’m at it, why not honour Chocolate Week which runs from 9th-15th October. There… I’ve covered all the bases and no one was left out!
Another good thing about this recipe is that it calls for ripe sourdough or discard. I love using up leftovers! It also lists espresso powder as an ingredient; I ground some espresso beans on the finest setting and that worked perfectly.
The resulting sourdough coffee chocolate cake is HUGE – almost a kilo of icing alone! You may want to halve the recipe. The two of us will be eating a slice every day for a week… not that I’m complaining. It’s soft, moist, sweet and gorgeous!
There are three separate parts to the process; the cake, the icing and the drizzle. If you don’t think you’ll have enough time in a single day to do all three, you can break it up into stages across two or even three days.
This would be a great one to make as a celebration cake. You could even divide the batter into two tins and make a layer cake if you prefer.
- 240g/8½oz sourdough starter, ripe or discard
- 225g/8oz whole or evaporated milk
- 240g/8½oz plain flour
- 300g/10½oz granulated sugar
- 200g/7oz vegetable oil
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1tsp salt
- 1½tsp baking soda
- 65g/2⅓oz unsweetened cocoa
- 1tsp espresso powder (optional)
- 2 large eggs
- 680g/24oz icing sugar
- 170g/6oz butter
- 115g/4oz plain yoghurt or buttermilk
- 1tbsp + 1½tsp espresso powder
- 15g/½oz hot water
- 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 15g/½oz milk
- 20g/¾oz golden syrup
- Combine the starter, milk and flour in a large mixing bowl
- Cover and rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Lightly grease a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13-inch) cake tin
- In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder - the mixture will be grainy
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter/flour/milk mixture, stirring until smooth. It will be gloopy at first; however, the batter will become smoother as you continue to beat gently
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
- Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool while you make the icing
- Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Set it aside
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buttermilk/yoghurt
- Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water, add to the pan, and bring the mixture just to a boil
- Immediately pour the simmering liquid over the icing sugar in the bowl, and beat until smooth
- Pour the warm icing over the cake. If you wait too long and the icing stiffens up, just spread it over the cake with an offset spatula
- Combine the chocolate pieces, milk and golden syrup in a microwave-safe container. Microwave until the chocolate softens, then stir until smooth (a couple of 10-second bursts)
- Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the icing
We’ve got a wonderful recipe for you this week – delicious peanut butter brownies. And there’s a bonus for some of our readers who have certain dietary requirements.
This peanut butter brownie recipe is taken from a cook book of low FODMAP dishes. FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols”. It’s a diet recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, functional bowel disorder, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Coeliac Disease. Don’t let the fact that you’ve got a healthy digestive tract make you think that this brownie’s not for you – it’s amazing!
Slightly crispy on the outside… soft, sweet, chewy and gooey on the inside. Eat it hot or cold… on its own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream.
- 175g/6oz of unsalted butter
- 200g/7oz dark chocolate
- 75g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
- 125g/4½oz smooth peanut butter
- 3 eggs
- 175g/6oz of caster sugar
- ¼tsp of salt
- 50g/1¾oz self-raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
- Grease a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) brownie tin and line it with parchment paper
- Put the butter, chocolate and crunchy peanut butter into a heat-proof bowl on a saucepan of simmering water over low heat and warm until just melted
- In a separate, small saucepan, gently warm through the smooth peanut butter
- Put the eggs, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
- Using a rubber spatula, stir in the melted chocolate mixture and self-raising flour
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin
- Drizzle over the smooth peanut butter in 3-4 straight lines, then 'drag' through the peanut butter with a skewer or toothpick to create a marbled effect
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cake is just firm to the touch, but has a slightly fudgy texture
- Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then lift out the block onto a board using the lining paper and cut it into 6-9 squares
- Serve warm or cold, on its own or with a scoop of ice cream or pouring cream
Another week, another Cakes & Bakes chocolate recipe. But not just any old chocolate, but TRIPLE chocolate chip cookies!
These are truly blow the diet, straight up delectable. Chock-full (see what I did there?) of dark and white chocolate chips, cocoa powder and sugar.
If you’d prefer you can make tiddly little ones using teaspoons of cookie dough rather than dessertspoonfuls. That way, you’re only having a little morsel at a time. Me? I prefer my cookies soft, chewy and the size of frisbees!
Justin tends to prefer savoury snacks to sweet ones, but even he’s contributing to the rapid disappearance of this particular batch.
- 115g/4oz plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 75g/3oz butter, softened
- 75g/3oz golden caster sugar
- 75g/3oz soft brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips
- 100g/3½oz white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper
- In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt
- In another larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar (using an electric mixer is best)
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
- Add the flour mixture and beat well on a low speed
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in 70g of the dark chocolate chips and 70g of the white chocolate chips
- Drop dessertspoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheet and lightly press each with the back of a spoon. Space them 2½-5cm / 1-2 inches apart as they spread quite a bit in the cooking
- Dot the top of each cookie with 3 or so of the reserved dark & white chocolate chips pressing lightly into the dough
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- 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 of the dough)
- Store in an air-tight, lidded container for up to 3 days
Before I begin, I have to share that Justin thinks these marzipan chocolate brownies were the best brownies he’s ever eaten!
I’ve probably said this in the past, but Justin isn’t the biggest chocolate brownie fan in the world. If he was, I’d be making them every few days, because I adooooore them.
The addition of the ganache and marzipan layers give extra dimensions to the dark chocolate gooeyness.
Justin’s usual grumbles about brownies involve words like – stodgy, claggy or even dry. These additions seem to have banished all those worries!
And I followed this recipe simply as a way to use up left over home-made marzipan from last week’s Simnel cupcakes. What a great result – brownie harmony in the house!
The layers make very attractive slices too – very tempting – perfect for having on the counter of our combined vintage shop & café which we sometimes dream of!
Give them a go – I think you’ll love them!
- 175g/6oz butter
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 85g/3oz plain flour, sieved
- 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 75g/2½oz dark chocolate
- 75g/2½oz double cream
- 150g/5oz ground almonds
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- 2tsp almond extract
- 1 egg white
- 100g/32½oz dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease & line a 20cm/8-inch square cake tin with parchment paper
- Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
- Stir to incorporate
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together well
- Mix in the chocolate mixture
- Fold in the flour and cocoa powder
- Pour the batter into the baking tin
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until just baked
- Melt the dark chocolate and double cream together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water)
- Stir to incorporate
- Once the brownie layer has cooled, pour the ganache over and spread evenly. Allow to firm up before embarking on the next layer
- Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, almond extract and egg white into a food processor and combine until a thick ball of dough is formed
- Turn the paste out onto a work surface and knead it a few times. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate whilst waiting for the ganache layer has firmed up
- Liberally sprinkle some icing sugar on a work surface and roll out half of the marzipan to about ½cm thickness
- Cut to size to cover the 20cm/8-inch square brownie layer
- Any unused marzipan will keep - covered in cling film - for a month in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer
- Melt the dark chocolate and pour evenly over the marzipan. Allow to set completely before 'cutting off the crusts' and slicing into portions
It’s Easter in a couple of weeks and this year, Justin’s birthday falls during the bank holiday weekend. I’ve already got him a present however, I’m thinking about getting him an additional one. One of these luxury, ethical Easter eggs will be just the ticket!
- Booja Booja large almond & sea salt caramel Easter egg – 138g: £26, Ethical Superstore
These wonderfully presented handmade Easter egg gifts are created by artisans in Kashmir, India using papier-mâché and hand painted with truly unique designs before being hand packed in Norfolk with Booja Booja’s melt in the mouth superior quality and award winning, dark chocolate, almond and sea salt caramel truffles. A truly beautiful and ethical Easter egg gift for the vegan in your life.
Booja Booja is a UK company with a refreshingly different mindset to its competitors; it strives to be minimal, renewable and of course beautiful! All of Booja Booja’s products are organic; free of dairy, wheat and gluten, are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are GMO free.
- Dark chocolate Easter egg with chocaviar 75%: £50, Venchi
Dark chocolate Easter egg coated with delicious 75% Chocaviar pearls with an elegant jewel gift inside.
To uphold ethics, Venchi buys its raw materials directly from the local community, guaranteeing a fair price that not only ensures the community a stable present and future, but also encourages research and development of the best extra fine cocoa varieties.
- Ostrich egg – dark: £75, Hotel Chocolat
Dark ostrich egg is made with half 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a dash of salt, and half 70% dark chocolate with hazelnuts and another sprinkling of salt. Served with a tray of 27 chocolates – pralines, truffles, caramels, patisserie and more – plus six golden eggs hidden inside the box for you to hunt, all in all this comes to more than a kilo of chocolate!
Engaged Ethics is the name we coined for our direct programme to create sustainable cocoa growing communities. It differs from most other ‘trading fairly’ programmes as it goes beyond simply writing out a cheque and standing back (which is still a great deal better than doing nothing!) It’s a roll-up-the-sleeves, take risks, long-term approach, which has led to a remarkable set of results so far.
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.
I borrowed a recipe from Jamie Oliver – it’s a ‘healthy eating’ one that he devised for cooking with children.
Instead of flour, it contains ground almonds and there’s a minimal amount of sugar as the beetroot gives sweetness.
The beetroot also gives it a deep and slightly earthy flavour – and works surprisingly well with chocolate.
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…
…not that I’m complaining – it was really, really good!
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!
- 300g/10½oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 250g/9oz raw beetroot
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 150g/5¼oz golden caster sugar
- 120g/4¼oz ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm/8" spring-form cake tin
- 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
- Break 200g of the chocolate up into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl
- 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
- Once melted, carefully remove from the heat and set aside
- Peel & grate the beetroot then tip it into a large mixing bowl
- Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot
- Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and combine well
- Whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks
- 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
- Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula
- Bake for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through
- To check if it's done, insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes away clean the cake's cooked
- Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely
- Once cool, melt the rest of the chocolate (in the same way as above), and drizzle over the top
- Serve with crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt
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