Packet Cake Mix

Being the cake snob I am, I wouldn’t normally think about buying a packet mix. I even have issues eating ready made cakes unless they are from reputable bakeries or I’m just desperate! That’s probably why my family find it so hard to buy me a birthday cake to the point it’s now just a no go area :|  Anyhoo, while going grocery shopping with my sis abroad, she was in the ‘isle’ looking for a dumpling mix. Suddenly, this caught my eye:

20140831_134859-1

At first I didn’t notice how photoshopped the image was. All I saw was a delicious looking cake. And it was pineapple flavor.  I like pineapples in cake (and on pizzas) and so a couple of boxes ended up in my sisters trolley. I thought I’d try one and give one to my niece.

‘I should follow the instructions’ I thought, knowing that I don’t trust anyones instructions fully but my own! So I set off trying to make this marvelous looking cake. I was nervous. The instructions were vague. There wasn’t any fillings with the cake, it was just the dry mixture for the cake itself.  Great(!) I needed to figure out what would go best with a packet cake mix Id never made before. I didn’t know how sweet the cake was going to be or what the texture would be like, nor how strong the pineapple would be. So, I played it safe by employing fresh double cream to act in as my filling and frosting. Sorted.  So lets begin!

Wait..I just remembered another reason why I don’t like store/packet cakes..

20140831_134929

..hmmm…its a one off…let’s pretend this list of ingredients really translates to butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

I had no idea how much mixture it would make, should I line two pans or one? The instructions said one so I lined and cuffed it incase there was overflow while baking.

The dry mixture looked ok but boy was the pineapple frangrance strong. That is, the pineapple hubba bubba fragrance.  Lets just get this done..

I followed the intructions EXCEPT there was NO WAY I was going to beat the mixture for two minutes on medium speed.  I want cake not bread!  Even the 30 seconds I gave it was agonizing. Moving on, I baked it.

20140831_152240

It was very domed. I liked the colour.  It didn’t brown like a butter based cake. Smelled better now it was cooked. I wanted that dome gone so I turned it upside down to cool on a wire rack and waited a couple hours.  I cut as much of the dome off as I could, sliced it into three and sandwiched it with whipped unsweetened double cream.  The cake was quite sweet and flavourful and so fancy fillings would’ve been too much.

20140831_173010-1

 

I finished it very simply with covering in cream and garnished it with sliced almonds and chocolate ganache

20140831_201624-1

After setting in the refridgerator for one hour, I cut a slice eager to see the inside and to taste it.  It cut well, neatly.  It was spongy and kinda flakey but just not as crumbly as a butter cake.  It was moist too.  After taking a quick pic I tasted it.

20140831_202155-1

It tasted okay actually! Definitely a little artificial.  The double cream balanced it somewhat. My family were in mixed opinions.  My dad loved it. My daughter did not like it (she prefers bird seed muffins remember!). Mum ate it. Did I go back for seconds? Well, only a tiny slither as I was putting it away for the night ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

20140725_164548

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These amazingly soft but not too chewy cookies are based on the following bbc goodfood recipe:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2459643/vintage-chocolate-chip-cookies

I’ve made them a few times now and everyone comments on how they resemble those from a well known cookie place.  I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to make them larger and more tasty!

Makes 18 jumbo cookies

Ingredients

150g softened butter

70 g soft light brown sugar

70g granulated sugar

Beans from 1 vanilla pod

1 egg

225g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

100 g plain chocolate chunked!

100g milk chocolate  chuncked

I cut my own chunks into about 1 cm cubed pieces.  That way I can use the best chocolate and customize the size.  Plus it just looks better on the cookie!

20140725_153056

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170C.  Line two trays with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter, vanilla and two types of sugar like you would for a cake.

3. In a separate bowl sieve the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

4. Add the egg into the creamed butter-sugar batter and whisk until combined.

5.  With a wooden spoon, mix the flour into the batter until it forms a sticky cookie dough. Add most of the chocolate chunks and mix to distribute throughout the dough.

6.  Use an icecream scoop to scoop and plop about 18 cookies onto the baking sheets. Press the remaining chucks on top of each cookie. I used about 3 or 4 on each cookie.

7. Bake for 11-13 minutes and for a few minutes longer on a lower heat if you like them with a slightly roasted flavor which I do.  They will still be soft and flexible even if you cook them to a medium brown colour. It’s all about preference.

These are really easy to make and credit goes to the original chef on the above link.  I’ve been making chocolate cookies using famous recipes like the classic Hersheys cookie recipe and they turn out pretty good but I find this recipe is always consistant with with taste, softness and perfect chewiness and for now I don’t need to look anywhere else for the perfect chocolate chunk cookie recipe.

Go on and make your kitchen smell like it should!

Chocolate Wedges

20140714_190941

I’ve been making these delights for over 20 years. The original recipe was given to my mother by a neighbour.  They are a huge hit with my family and friends and I have had many requests for the recipe so here it is!

Ingredients   Makes 30 pieces

For the base:

500g / 17 oz digestive biscuits

210g / 7.5 oz butter

6 tsp cocoa powder

3 1/2 tbsp. golden syrup

For the icing topping:

150g / 5.3 oz milk chocolate

2 tbsp. evaporated milk

2 tbsp. icing sugar

To garnish:

Nuts

Method:

1) Thickly grease a suitable tray/cake pan or flat pyrex dish.  I used a 15 inch round tray.  You can use two smaller trays if you do not have a big one.

2) Crush the digestives  leaving few larger crumbs for texture.

3) In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the cocoa and golden syrup and stir until smooth.  Take off the heat.  Add the digestives and mix until combined

4) Tightly press the digestive mixture into the tray using a clean spoon. The base should be about 0.8 to 1cm thick. Place in the fridge while you prepare the icing.

5) For the icing, place the chocolate and evaporated milk into a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate has almost melted into the milk.  Add the icing sugar and mix until glossy.  Quickly spread this over the biscuit base.

6) While the chocolate is still wet, add chopped nuts to garnish. Set in fridge for one hour

7) Cut into wedges or rhombi. Then carefully remove from the pan with a suitable flat utensil.

Hints and Tips:

The wedges should be stored in the fridge

You can replace some of the butter with spread.  I generally don’t like using spreads but in this recipe I occasionally use a ratio of  5.5 oz of butter to 2 oz olive oil spread. Do not replace more than this as the wedges will become too soft.

For nut free versions, garnish with rice crispies, crushed cornflakes or leave plain.

For added crunch, replace 1/3 of the biscuits with finely crushed cornflakes.

If you want more intense chocolate flavor, add more cocoa powder to the base and replace half of the milk chocolate with plain/dark chocolate in the icing.

Enjoy!