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Food

Black Forest gâteau recipe

Make a genoise sponge for the lightest, fluffiest Black Forest gâteau filled with cherries and cream. Absolutely classic.

Ingredients

  • 6 free-range eggs
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 100g/3½oz plain flour
  • 60g/2¼oz cocoa powder
  • 150g/5½oz butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g/3½oz morello cherry jam
  • 425g tin pitted black cherries, drained
  • 500ml/18fl oz double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of three 20cm/8in sandwich tins with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk until very light and fluffy. The mixture should leave a visible trail when you lift the whisk (ribbon stage). This will take around 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder together before folding it into the egg mixture, being very gentle so as not to knock the air out.
  4. Gently pour in the cooled melted butter down the inside of the bowl and carefully fold it in.
  5. Divide the mixture equally between the three tins and bake for 20–25 minutes, until springy to the touch. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, peeling off the baking paper, and allow to cool completely.
  6. Heat the jam in a small saucepan to melt. Reserve eight of the tinned cherries for the top of the cake, then mix the remainder into the jam. Set aside to cool completely.
  7. Whisk the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.
  8. When the cake is completely cool, place the whipped cream in a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe a small amount of cream onto the first layer of sponge and spread evenly. Then pipe a ring around the edge and fill the middle with half the cherry mixture. Place the second layer of sponge on top and repeat the process.
  9. Pipe eight swirls of cream on top of the cake, topping each with a reserved cherry.
  10. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the dark chocolate into curls over the top (alternatively, grate the chocolate and sprinkle over). This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made.

Chocolate scones recipe

What could be better than a plate of freshly baked scones? Scones with chocolate in! This simple recipe has cocoa powder and chocolate chunks in the dough and more melted chocolate drizzled on top. Heaven.

Ingredients

  • 400g/14oz self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 25g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 125g/4½oz butter, cubed
  • 75g/2¾oz caster sugar
  • 150ml/5fl oz milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 100g/3½oz dark chocolate, half roughly chopped, half broken into small pieces
  • pinch salt
  • marmalade or apricot jam and whipped or clotted cream, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Blend the flour, cocoa powder, butter and sugar together briefly in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs, then add the milk and blitz to a smooth dough. You can also do this by hand by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients in a large bowl before adding the milk and mixing with a spoon then hands to form a dough. Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface dusted with flour and sprinkle over the roughly chopped chocolate. Gently knead them into the dough then roll the dough out to around 2.5cm/1in thick.
  3. Use a 7cm/ 2¾in biscuit cutter to cut out 8 rounds of the dough, re-rolling the dough as needed. Place the rounds on the prepared baking tray, brush the tops with milk and bake for 15 minutes, or until well risen and nicely browned.
  4. Place the remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just-boiled water and leave to melt for 3–4 minutes, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  5. Arrange the warm scones on a serving plate, drizzle with the melted chocolate and leave for 30–40 minutes. Serve with your choice of marmalade or jam and whipped or clotted cream.

White chocolate and raspberry cake

If you like your cakes sweet and fruity, this white chocolate and raspberry cake will put a smile on your face. Topped with indulgent cream cheese and white chocolate frosting, it’s a cake you can happily serve as a dessert.

Ingredients

  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g/6oz golden caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 100g/3½oz plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 75g/2¾oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 125g/4½oz raspberries, plus a few extra to decorate (optional)

For the icing

  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate
  • 250g/9oz cream cheese
  • 75g/2¾oz icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a deep, 23cm/9in a round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, yoghurt, vanilla extract, and salt into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until lump-free. Fold through the white chocolate followed by half the raspberries. Scrape the batter into the tin and level the top with a back of a spoon. Scatter over the remaining raspberries.
  3. Bake in the middle of the oven for 45–55 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
  4. To make the icing, set aside one of the remaining white chocolate squares, then roughly chop the rest. Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water – or in a microwave using short blasts of low heat.
  5. Mash the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a big bowl. Drizzle over the melted chocolate and use an electric whisk to beat together until just combined.
  6. Swirl the icing over the cooled cake, then grate over the last square of chocolate. Dot a few extra raspberries over to decorate, if you like. Any leftovers will keep in an airtight container for 3–4 days.

Classic carrot cake recipe

Nothing beats a classic carrot cake – this one has a touch of orange and walnuts plus the obligatory cream cheese icing. Delicious!

Ingredients

For the carrot cake

  • 4 free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 200ml/7fl oz vegetable or sunflower oil, plus a little extra for the tin
  • 250g/9oz carrots, coarsely grated
  • 100g/3½oz raisins or sultanas (optional)
  • 100g/3½oz walnut pieces, plus a few extra for decoration
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 200g/7oz light brown sugar

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 150g/5½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 300g/10½oz cream cheese

Method

  1. For the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line a deep, 20cm/8in a round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large bowl, and lightly whisk using a fork. Add the vegetable oil and whisk again. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins, walnut pieces, and orange zest.
  3. In a separate large bowl, sift the flour, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Stir in the sugar. Add the wet carrot mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine, making sure there are no pockets of flour.
  4. Spoon the cake batter into the lined tin and bake on the middle shelf for 1–1¼ hours, until the cake has risen and is golden-brown all over. Remove the cake from the oven and set it aside in the tin to cool for 10–15 mins, then turn the cake out and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. While the carrot cake cools, make the frosting. Place the butter in a large bowl with the caster sugar, beat it for 2–3 minutes until light and creamy, then beat in the cream cheese until smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate or cake stand. Use a palette, or wide flat-bladed, to spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter more walnuts on the top and serve.

Dark and sumptuous chocolate cake

A vegan chocolate cake to die for from Nigella Lawson’s Simply Nigella. For this recipe, you will need a leakproof 20cm/8in the springform cake tin.

Ingredients

For the icing

  • 75g/2½oz coconut butter (this is not the same as oil)
  • 50g/1¾oz soft dark sugar
  • 1½ tsp instant espresso
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa powder
  • 150g/5½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped

For the cake

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ tsp instant espresso powder
  • 75g/2½oz cocoa powder
  • 300g/10½oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 375ml/13fl oz hot water, from a recently boiled kettle
  • 90ml/3fl oz (or 75g/2½oz if weighed when solid) coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp edible rose petals, to decorate
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios, to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and pop on a baking sheet at the same time.
  2. For the icing, put all of the icing ingredients except the chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan and add 4 tablespoons of cold water. Bring to the boil, making sure everything’s dissolved. Then turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hob. Quickly add the finely chopped chocolate and swirl the pan so that it is all underwater, so to speak. Leave for a scant minute, then whisk until you have a darkly glossy icing, and leave to cool. I find this takes exactly the amount of time the cake takes to make, cook and cool. But do give the icing a stir with a spatula every now and again.
  3. Line the bottom of your springform cake tin (you will need a good, leakproof one as this is a very wet batter) with baking parchment.
  4. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, instant espresso, and cocoa powder in a bowl and fork to mix.
  5. Mix together the sugar, water, coconut oil, and vinegar until the coconut oil has melted, and stir into the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes. Though do check at the 30-minute mark to see if it is already done. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out clean, apart from a few crumbs. This is a fudgy cake and you don’t want to overdo it.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the cake cool in its tin. Once completely cool remove from the tin.
  7. Turn to your icing, and give it a good stir with a spatula to check it is at the right consistency. It needs to be runny enough to cover the cake, but thick enough to stay (mostly) on the top. So pour over the cake, and use a spatula to ease the icing to the edges, if needed. If you wish to decorate, now is the time to do it. In which case, sprinkle joyously with rose petals and chopped pistachios or anything else that your heart desires; otherwise, leave it gleaming darkly and, indeed, sumptuously. Leave to stand for 30 minutes for the icing to set before slicing into the cake.

Chocolate reflection cake

A dazzling cake that’s perfect for any celebration. The cake itself is easy to make, so you can put your efforts into the icing glaze.

Equipment: You will need 2 loose-bottomed cake tins, 20cm/8in wide.

Ingredients

  • 50g/1¾oz cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp boiling water
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 50ml/2fl oz milk
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g/3½oz baking spread, plus extra for greasing
  • 275g/9¾oz caster sugar

For the icing

  • 7 sheets (11g) leaf gelatine
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 75g/2¾oz cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp double cream
  • 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, sieved

To decorate

  • 300ml/10fl oz double cream, whipped until stiff peaks form
  • 10 strawberries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Line the base of two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed cake tins with baking paper and grease the sides with baking spread.
  2. Sieve the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until you have a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk together using an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy. Spoon into the two tins and level the tops.
  3. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and coming away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. To make the icing, put the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for 5 minutes until soft.
  5. Put the sugar, cocoa powder, cream, and 125ml/4fl oz water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted, then bring up to the boil and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Squeeze from the gelatine leaves and stir into the chocolate mixture until dissolved. Pour through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool and thicken in the fridge for about an hour, until it reaches the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
  7. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Put one cake half on a wire rack and smooth a layer of whipped cream on top. Continue this process so you have four layers of cake and three layers of cream. Press the cakes down between each layer so the cream comes right to the edges and the cakes are level at the sides. Smooth around the edges with a palette so the excess cream very lightly covers the sides and gives a smooth edge.
  8. Gently warm the apricot jam and brush lightly over the cake, covering the sides and top. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  9. Put about 100ml/3½fl oz of the icing in a heatproof bowl and gently melt over a pan of simmering water. Dip half of each strawberry in the melted icing. Put on baking paper to set.
  10. Once the cake has finished cooling in the fridge, transfer to a wire cooling rack placed on a large baking tray to catch any excess glaze as you pour it over the cake. Pour the remaining icing over the cake and smooth over the top and sides. Be very careful doing this, you want smooth shiny icing. Leave for an hour or so to set. Arrange the glazed strawberries around the bottom edge of the cake.

Italian strawberry and chocolate chunk cake

A delicious taste of Italy using strawberries makes for a perfect dessert or afternoon tea.

You’ll need a 20–22cm cake tin.

Ingredients

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 175g/6oz extra virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 200ml/7fl oz honey or maple syrup
  • 150g/5½oz ground almonds
  • 150g/5½oz white spelled flour
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, zest only
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 150g/5½oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into large chunks
  • 250g/9oz strawberries, hulled and halved

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Grease the tine and line with baking paper.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, on a high speed for 4–5 minutes, until thickened and increased in volume.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the honey, almonds, flour, lemon zest, vanilla, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the whipped eggs until just combined.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into the cake tin, sprinkle half the chocolate chunks on top, and cover with half of the remaining cake mixture.
  5. Place half of the strawberries on top, cover with the remaining cake mixture, and top with half the remaining chocolate chunks and strawberries.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake feels firm and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
  7. Melt the remaining chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water, making sure the bowl doesn’t come in contact with the water. Drizzle over the cooled cake and decorate with fresh strawberries.