Archives for posts with tag: Green & Black’s

Cake.  As much as I love cookies … and scones … and pastry … I ask you: is there anything that is just flat-out nicer than a slice of cake?  It’s the thing that we always seem to have for big occasions – weddings, birthdays, christenings and anniversaries.  But, it’s one of the easiest things that you can make to make every day feel special.

One of the things I really love about living in England is that they are all about the “everyday” cake.  Of course, they like their “show-stoppers” that are iced and decorated, just like everyone else.  But, they also like their simple, work-a-day cakes that you make when you have someone coming around for tea, or just for a little mid-week pick-me-up.  Much like an American pound cake, these cakes are simple but substantial and perfect for anything like a school bake sale or just having someone over for lunch.

Perfect for this type of simplicity is the bundt cake – whether they are a plain circular or if they have extra decoration (me, I’m a HUGE fan of NordicWare’s fantastic designs!!), they are a little more fancy-pants than a loaf tin or plain round traditional cake pans.  With the built-in “decoration”, all that’s left for you to do is to dust it with powdered sugar or maybe push the boat out with a flavored drizzle.

This cake is the result of about a month if research – oh, the things I do for you people!  The pain!  The toil!  But, I’ll be honest with you – I couldn’t be more pleased with the final result.  And, I think you’ll like it, too.

Mocha Bundt Cake

Cake

  • 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup Green & Black’s cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 bar Green & Black’s dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk, soured with the juice of one lemon
  • 5 oz butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup super-fine sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp hot espresso
  • 4 squares dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a bundt pan by buttering it well.  (I’ve never had a good results from the baking spray – I warm butter until it’s mostly melted butter and use a pastry brush to make sure it gets into every nook and cranny – don’t forget the middle!)

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly, then add vanilla and melted chocolate and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides.  Reduce the speed to low and alternate the flour mixture and the soured milk, starting and ending with the flour (I do 3 flour additions with 2 milk additions in the middle).  Once you add the last bit of flour, stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand.

Pour into the bundt pan and smooth across the top, tapping once against the counter to make sure it’s settled into all the decorative bits.  Place on the middle rack of the oven and back 50 minutes – 1 hour, until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, using a knife to loosen a bit before turning out onto a plate.

Once the cake is cooled, make your glace by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and mix until the chocolate is melted and everything is thoroughly combined.  Drizzle over the cake and serve!

Mocha Bundt Cake

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This is my 5th 4th in London.  I’ve always loved 4th of July – not out of feelings of patriotism (is that bad?), mostly because it’s always been so fun.  When I was a kid, we all went to the Elks Club, where the kids spent the day in the pool playing sharks and minnows and Marco Polo and the dads threw horseshoes.  The moms would sit around and gossip, taking the occasional dip in the pool to cool off, breaststroking around the shallow end, doing their best not to get their hair wet.  The days were filled with cokes, hotdogs right off the grill and ice-cold watermelon.  At the end of the day, we’d pile into the car to go home, tired, sunburned and happy.

In my 20s, I moved to Washington, DC, and I can honestly say that there is no place on the planet that does the 4th better – as you would expect.  There is always a festival atmostphere on the Mall during the day – no matter how hot and humid it is – followed by fireworks and the National Symphony Orchestra playing John Phillips Sousa.  I’ve lived in a number of different cities and have seen firework displays in some beautiful scenic places, but there is nothing like seeing the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pond lit up by fireworks.

So, now, I’m living in London and, on Monday, I’ll be in the office with my head down, doing my job.  No sunscreen on.  No watermelon.  No hamburgers hot off the grill.  So, this weekend, I’m having friends over for dinner and we’ll look out on the garden, with the beans on their climbing frame and the tomatoes in their bamboo stakes.  Maybe I’ll ask my husband to pick up some sparklers.

At any rate, here is a fantastic – and fantasticly easy – recipe for any picnic, barbecue or day by the pool.

Red, White and Brownies

  • Around 20 cherries, pitted and halved (strawberries and raspberries work well, too, but cherries are my favorite)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I like Green & Black’s)
  • 12 oz chocolate – I use a combo of dark chocolate and bittersweet – 1 full bar of Green & Black’s baking chocolate and about a bar and a half of their dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 8 oz butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz white chocolate

Prepare a 24-cup minimuffin pan by buttering the sides – even if it’s non-stick – so that these little babies will pop right out easily.  This recipe makes about 30 bite-sized brownies.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place a medium-sized bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.  Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl and sprinkle the espresso powder over it.  Melt it down and whisk thoroughly, then remove the bowl from the heat and add the sugars, whisking to combine – this will help bring the heat down.  When it’s cooled a bit, add the first four eggs and whisk them in, then add the last one and the vanilla.  Mix them in, but don’t beat the heck out of it – you want a fudgy final texture, not cakey.  In a separate, smaller bowl, sift the flour and cocoa together with the salt, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture, using a spoon to stir in (rather than a whisk) until there are only a couple of traces of flour remaining. 

Drop a tablespoon of batter at a time into the mini-muffin holes, then press a half of a cherry into each and pop into the oven for about 16 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so, then remove the brownies from the tin – if they don’t lift right out, gently lever them out with a butter knife.  Cool completely on a bakers rack, then top with the white chocolate – use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate, then either dip the brownies into the chocolate or dollop on top.

The basic part of the brownie recipe comes from Baked and can be made in a regular square pan, as well.

I’m not going to bury the lede on this post.

These.  Are.  The.  Best.  Chocolate.  Cupcakes.  EVER.

Seriously, they’re so good, one of the mister’s coworkers described them as having angels dancing on his tongue.  And, hey, they’ve got Guinness in them, so if you didn’t give up chocolate for Lent, they can make a nice St. Patrick’s Day treat – something a little different from the traditional soda bread.

My friend, Penny – owner and Cupcake Goddess at Hello Cupcake in DC – introduced me to this recipe in the months before she opened her fab shop (if  you’re in DC, drop whatever you’re doing and GO NOW!).  She serves hers with a Bailey’s Irish Cream frosting while I prefer mine with a dark chocolate frosting.  Either way, the cake itself is rich without being heavy, chocolatey without being too sweet and has a moist crumb that will make it hard – if not impossible – for you to stop at one cupcake.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 cup Guinness (don’t include the head – make sure it’s a full cup of the actual stout)
  • 8 oz unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two dozen cupcake cups.  In a large pot, melt the butter with the Guinness and whisk in the cocoa, then let sit until cool.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and mix in the sour cream and vanilla before stirring into the cooled Guinness mixture.  In a large bowl, toss the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together before pouring in the liquids.  Mix gently but don’t overbeat, then fill the cupcake cups 2/3rds full (I pour some of the batter into a 2-cup measuring cup – it’s easier and a lot less messy than using a spoon).  Bake 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in the cupcake tin, then remove onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

  • 16 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz dark chocolate – 70% cocoa – I like Green & Black’s dark chocolate bars, melted and cooled
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (measured then sifted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp milk (optional)

In a standing mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy and start to add your powdered sugar.  Add about half, then pour in your cooled chocolate and continue to beat, scraping down the sides periodically.  Add the vanilla and the remainder of powdered sugar and taste. If you like it, you can keep it like it is, or you can lighten it a bit with a tablespoon of milk.

look at all that chocolatey yumminess ... you don't even need frosting!

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