Recipe Post: Old School Chocolate Tarmac / Chocolate Concrete / Chocolate Crunch

I think this old school cake has a different name depending on where you went to school and when.  I know it as Chocolate Tarmac, or just plain old Tarmac.  If you’ve not experienced this cake before then you’ve missed out.  The only way I can describe it like a chocolate shortbread but less biscuit like, and more cake like – great description huh!!

What you need:

1 greased and lined 8″ sandwich tin
200g plain flour
200g granulated sugar
50g cocoa powder (don’t be tempted to use hot chocolate powder)
100g butter

 

 

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • In a mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar and cocoa.
  • Melt the butter (either on a hob or in microwave) and add to your dry ingredients.
  • Using your fingers rub in the butter until you have a crumble consistency.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pat it down so it becomes compacted.
  • Bake for 20 mins.
  • Sprinkle on a little extra sugar, if required, straight out of the oven.

Serve as a dessert à la school with chocolate or pink custard or on its own with a nice cup of tea!

Not gonna lie this is the one of the best things I’ve baked in flippin’ ages and got the thumbs up from my overly cake fussy daughter!

Do you remember having this at school? If so, what did you call it? 

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Blueberry and Lemon Scones

Hey…I’m back with a novice baker baking blog on this fine Sunday! My lovely daughter bought me the National Trust Book of Scones for Christmas and this is my first tried and tested recipe from that book.

This blueberry and lemon scone recipe is a favourite of Hanbury Hall and Gardens in Worcestershire.  I visited here back in April 2015 but can’t recall if I sampled their scones.

So…is it scone to rhyme with cone, or scone to rhyme with gone?  I tend to sway to cone myself 🙂

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
125 butter (diced)
Zest of 1 lemon
100g blueberries
150ml milk

To decorate, if required
100g icing sugar
Lemon juice

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter.
  • With your fingertips rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs.  I tried using the dough hook on my freestanding mixer but it didn’t work so I had to use the old-fashioned method!
  • Add the lemon zest and blueberries, stir in.
  • Add the milk a little at a time to make a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 3cm thick.
  • Stamp out your scones using a 7cm cutter and place on baking tray.  I brushed on a little milk here.
  • Bake for approx 12 – 18 minutes until golden brown.  Mine took the full 18.
  • Cool on a wire tray.
  • If required, make some lemon icing by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cooled scones.
  • Serve with a cuppa 🙂

These lightly-scented lemon scones are really delicious.  I wasn’t sure whether to serve them with butter and jam etc as you normally would a scone but I decided to go without.  Wise decision as they weren’t dry and didn’t need the butter/jam added.  Next time I need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Eton Mess Cake

This recipe is courtesy of the BBC Good Food website which I picked as I had some end of life strawberries to use up and was perfect for afternoon tea with the family when they recently visited.

What you need:

225g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter
5 tbsp double cream
1 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs
400g strawberries – ½ roughly chopped, ½ finely sliced
4 meringues nests (roughly broken up)
Sprinkle of icing sugar, to serve

What you do:

  1. Grease and line a deep traybake tin (ideally 20x30cm, although mine isn’t quite that).  Heat your oven to 160°c.
  2. Melt the butter then take off the heat and stir in the cream and the vanilla.
  3. Mix the flour, almonds, baking powder and ¼ tsp fine salt and set aside.
  4. Put the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, and whisk with electric whisk until very thick and foamy, this takes about 5-6 mins.
  5. Pour in the butter mix, whisk, then add the flour mix and whisk briefly again until mixed.
  6. Stir in the chopped strawberries, then pour the batter into the tin and level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the sliced strawberries and meringue over the cake.
  8. Bake for 40-45 mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean.  I did end up increasing my oven’s heat to 180°c for the final 15 mins as it wasn’t baking or rising.
  9. Cool for 20 mins in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar if required.

There’s nothing particularly healthy or reduced anything about this recipe so I had a day off from the dieting plan!

Until next time….happy baking!

Baked Waffles #Recipe

Last weekend I stayed with a friend who is following the Slimming World weight loss plan (wow… the other side) and she introduced me to baked waffles…yum yum yummity yum!  So I got myself a waffle mould from Ebay for the bargain price of £1.69 and here’s what you do!

What you need:

40g porridge oats
1 egg
2 tsp Canderel sweetener
3 tbsp fat free natural yoghurt or Quark
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
Fresh fruit to accompany
Syrup of your choice

What you do:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c
  • Blend the oats using a food processor until fine
  • Add the sugar, egg, vanilla and yoghurt/Quark (if using Quark, add a little water to make a more runny consistency).  I mixed using an electric whisk but you can just use a spoon
  • Mix together and spoon into waffle mould that has been sprayed with a little Fry-Light
  • Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes
  • Serve with yoghurt, syrup and fruit as desired

These made a really lovely treat for a weekend breakfast, ideal for when you have the extra time for the prep and baking.  They reminded me of French Toast and are very filling.

As I’m still following the Weight Watchers plan I calculated these to be 7 Smart Points per serving, not including any syrup or yoghurt topping.  I tend to play the system and use just under any amount that will mean I need to count it 😉 I believe these are Syn free on the Slimming World plan excluding any additional syrup you add…enjoy!

Until next time Happy Baking!

#Recipe – Apple & Cranberry Traybake

So, who’s watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off then? Me, me, me! I admit, I miss Mary in particular but I’m not bothered who’s presenting it as long as it’s on the tele, ok the adverts are a pain but does anyone watch live tv anymore? That’s why we have recorders (or whatever they’re called).  Anyway, this week was fruity cake week and they were warned that they’re hard to get right.  And oh weren’t they right.

I was given a windfall of fruit this week, mostly apples and rhubarb so then went scouring the Weight Watchers site for a suitable recipe (because I’m still on that diet..sorry lifestyle change) or something that I could adapt and therein lay the problem – I thought I could adapt an established recipe and get away with it and so , I could have named this post several titles: Recipe for Disaster, When Things Don’t Go To Plan, How to Waste Time and Food or Disaster Baking to name but a few.

If you’re interested this is the recipe:

You need:
50g caster sugar
100g low fat spread (I used Flora light)
1 medium egg
250g apple sauce (chunky, from a jar)
150g white self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp level ground cinnamon
40g dried cranberries
2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to gas 4 or fan 160°c.  Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Keep back 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar for topping the cake later, beat the remainder with the low fat spread until creamy.
  • Add the egg and the apple sauce and beat again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Stir in the cranberries, then turn into the prepared tin.
  • Arrange the apples on top in four rows.  Sprinkle on the reserved sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes .
  • Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack and cut into 16 squares.

Now, I had so many apples and was looking for a way to reduce the calories so I thought hey I’ll make my own apple sauce! Good hey! I used about 8 apples of varying sizes and types, peeled, cored and sliced into chunks, put them in a saucepan with about 1/4 pint water and 50g caster sugar, boiled, then simmered until the apples were mushy.  This was a success! Yummy apple sauce.

The cake was a disaster!

I substituted the jarred apple sauce for my own, ensuring all excess water was drained off and swapped the cranberries for a bit of rhubarb.  Sounds ok doesn’t it? Nothing too dramatic going on here!

What I wanted

What I Got

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cake didn’t rise, it took over an hour to ‘bake’ (after I’d taken it out and then put it back in) and it looked vile.  I did try a bit and whilst it was edible I wasn’t prepared to serve it up to my work colleagues.

So what went wrong?

The oven probably needed to be at a higher temperature other than that I don’t know.

So let’s hope for something better next time….