Mary Berry’s Malted Chocolate Cake

I was asked to make a cake for my daughter’s boyfriend’s family and I’d had my eye on having a go at this one for a while.  I was intrigued by what difference the malted chocolate would make to the taste of the cake.

What you need:

2 x 8″ round sandwich tins – greased and lined

For the sponge

30g malted chocolate drink powder (I used Horlicks light, you know…watching the calories!  Anyway, for info Sainsbury’s sell them in handy 30g sachets if, like me, this isn’t something you usually buy)
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
225g self-raising flour
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
4 eggs

For the icing

3 tbsp malted chocolate drink powder
250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids), melted (Aldi, 99p!)
1½ tbsp hot milk
125g butter, softened
1 tbsp boiling water
Approx 20 Maltesers for decoration

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4.
  • Put the malted chocolate drink powder (Horlicks) and cocoa powder into a large bowl, add 2 tbsp of water and mix to a paste.
  • Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until smooth.
  • Divide evenly between your tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes.
  • Set aside still in the tins to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing, put the malted chocolate drink powder into a bowl,  add the hot milk and mix until smooth.
  • Add the butter, icing sugar and melted chocolate and mix again until smooth.
  • Add the boiling water which will (hopefully) give a gloss to the icing.
  • Put one cake on a plate and spread over half the icing.
  • Sandwich with the other cake and spread (or pipe, if you’re feeling brave) the remaining icing on top (if you’re feeling extra creative, use a round edged knife to create a swirled effect from the centre to the edge of the cake).
  • Decorate as you wish with the Maltesers over the top and dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.

Enjoy!

The cake is very easy and relatively quick to make.  The sponge was light and fluffy and the icing wasn’t really sickly or overpowering.  However, this isn’t a really chocolatey cake (not like a fudge cake), it has a very subtle chocolate taste…so you can just eat more of it without making yourself feel ill 😉

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Mary Berry’s Whole Orange Spice Cake

A very similar recipe appears in the Great British Bake Off Everyday recipe book which uses mascarpone cheese for the filling and also divides the cake into 4 layers however I was looking for a simpler recipe as I was baking in the evening after work and I found this one on Mary Berry’s website.  This is a perfect alternative to a traditional Christmas cake and can be decorated to suit with a little adaptation.

What you need:

For the cakeimg_2526
1 small orange
4 eggs
275g self-raising flour
225g butter, softened
3 level tsp baking powder
275g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice

For the orange filling
50g butter, softened
2 level tbsp orange pulp, saved from the cake
175g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

What you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c. Grease and line two deep 20cm tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the whole orange in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer until soft, for about 20 minutes.  Leave to cool.
  3. When the orange is soft and cold, cut in half and remove any pips. Blitz the whole orange, including the skin in a blender until medium chunky.  Save 2 level tablespoons of the orange pulp for the icing.
  4. Add the remaining cake ingredients to the orange pulp and mix until smooth (I mixed for approx. 2 mins).  whole-orange-spice-cake
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Although mine took more than this so adjust to suit your oven but check at 25mins.whole-orange-spice-cake
  7. Leave to cool in the tins for a few moments, then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Make the orange filling by creaming the soft butter, adding the sieved icing sugar and the reserved orange pulp. Sandwich the cakes together with the icing.whole-orange-spice-cake
  9. Decorate by sieving icing sugar over the top of the cake.  I used a doily as a template!

This is a lovely moist cake that has the texture of carrot cake.

whole-orange-spice-cake

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Mary Berry’s Wonderful Apple Cake

Further to my reading and reviewing of Mary Berry’s autobiography (review here), I was keen to try one of the recipes from her book.  It’s easy to make but has a long bake time of over an hour so allow plenty of time.

What you need:

225g self-raising flourimg_2490
1 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g melted butter
350g apples, peeled, cored and sliced
(I used regular eating apples as I had some to use up)
25g flaked almonds

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 160°c and grease and line a 20cm baking tin.

Put the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl.

Stir in the eggs, almond extract and butter.  Beat well either in freestanding mixer or with electric whisk.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin.  Arrange the apple slices on top and then cover with the remaining mixture.

mary-berrys-wonderful-apple-cake

This does make quite a stodgy thick mixture so is quite difficult to spread in the tin without dragging the apples or the baking paper.

The receipe advises bake for approx 1 1/2 hours but I took mine out after 1 hour and 1/4 and it was slightly overdone then – crispy edges etc.  So I’d recommend check from an hour onwards.

mary-berrys-wonderful-apple-cake

Leave to cool before turning out of the tin.  Ideally best served warm and in my opinion with lashings of custard!  One small criticism, it needs more apple, a lot more apple as the almond taste if quite overpowering.

mary-berrys-wonderful-apple-cake

Until next time….Happy Baking!

Mary’s Religieuses

also known as miniature nuns is a technical challenge from the Great British Bake Off Everyday recipe book.  I baked these last weekend for a family tea.

This was the first time I’ve ever made choux pastry and this went rather well.  Quite often, my baking lacks something in presentation, but usually makes up for it in taste, however this time I was sure it was going to be the opposite as I had issues with the crème patisserie in that it was so lumpy I had to sieve it!!

I also think the recipe advises you to use too much chocolate, after decorating the Religieuses there was half a cereal sized bowl left over and they had been generously covered.

What you need:

You will need 1 large baking sheet, or 2 medium ones, lined with baking paper

For the choux pastry
60g unsalted butter, cubedIMG_2162
150ml water
75g plain flour
2 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

For the crème patissiere filling
500ml full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
6 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
20g cornflour
25g plain flour

For the chocolate ganache
150ml double cream
200g dark chocolate (about 36% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

For the collar
150ml double cream, well chilled

What you do:

Prep – heat your oven to 220°c.  Draw eight 5cm circles and eight 2.5cm circles on the paper lining the baking sheet

Make the choux pastry – put the butter and water into a heavy pan and heat over a medium heat until the butter has completely melted, then bring the mixture to the boil, taking care not to burn the butter. Remove from the heat and tip in the flour.   *note, at this point it looks like slop and you’ll think it’s all gone wrong…just keep stirring and then it just happens!

Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Set the pan back on low heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough.

From this >> to this!

From this >> to this!

Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth, shiny paste.

Spoon the choux dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube. Pipe discs inside the drawn circles on the baking sheet. Dip your finger in water and gently smooth the top of each disc. Place in the heated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until a good golden brown.

For once, my piping went rather well 🙂

choux buns

Remove the buns from the oven and pierce each one to allow the steam to escape. Return the choux buns to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes so they dry out. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Make the crème patissiere. Pour the milk into a heavy-based medium pan. Using the tip of a small knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds from the split pod and add to the milk. Slowly bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof mixing bowl and whisk together until pale, then add the cornflour and flour and whisk in. Continue to whisk as you pour on the hot milk in a thin steady stream. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly.

*I don’t know what happened here but my custard was horribly lumpy and I had to sieve it to make it usable

What you don't want!

What you don’t want!

Cook for 1 minute until smooth and thick. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the crème patissiere with clingfilm (this prevents a skin from forming). Leave to cool, then chill

Make the chocolate ganache by bringing the cream to the boil in a small pan, then remove from the heat. Add the pieces of chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, then cover and chill until the ganache has a thick coating consistency.

Assemble the religieuses by spooning the crème patissiere into a piping bag fitted with a long thin tube ( or use a jam or icing syringe) and fill the choux buns through the ‘steam hole’ made earlier.  It’s a good idea if the custard is quite thick otherwise it’ll just run out the holes when you fix together later…mine went everywhere!

This is a really messy bit >> dip the tops of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat them halfway up the sides. Set a small bun on top of each large bun.

choux buns

Whip the cream until it will stand in peaks. Spoon into the clean piping bag fitted with a star tube. Pipe a line of cream around the join where the two buns meet to form a white collar. Serve as soon as possible after assembling.

choux buns

Despite my previous worries, these actually were rather delicious and the family loved them.  In all honesty, they’re a faff and I’m not entirely convinced that spending 2-3 hours doing this for 9 buns was really worthwhile when you can pick up a pack of 12 profiteroles in Sainsbury’s* for a quid!

*other supermarkets are available 😉

Mary's Religieuses

Until next time…Happy Baking!