Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy holidays

Merry Christmas and a great start in 2012 to everyone out there, wherever you are!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Chocolate Christmas cake

Last weekend we went to a Christmas-do with friends and I wanted to create a fun chocolate cake that also looks festive so it was time to get the gold dust out. Just brush it on the before you place the Maltesers on the cake as you will need to apply some pressure and they would otherwise move around in the soft butter cream. Maltesers are great for this as they look like little Christmas baubles and their malty taste goes nicely with the spices and the rum but even chocolate covered hazelnuts or such could work well.


4 eggs
200g sugar
200g butter (room temperature)
pinch of salt
200g self-raising flour
100g cocoa powder
3 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp all spice
pinch of cinnamon
4 tbsp rum
4 tbsp milk
4 packs of Maltesers
edible gold powder

For the butter cream:
200g butter
100g icing sugar
300g chocolate custard/pudding (follow packet instructions)
pinch of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 200°C and butter your baking tin. Separate the eggs and whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until it forms stiff peaks. In another bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (with a hand-held mixer for about 5 min) and add the butter. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and add to the mixture. When the dough gets too thick add the rum and milk. Now gently fold in the stiff egg whites. Bake for around 30-40 minutes in a 20cm/8 inch baking tin. Rotate the tin after half the baking time so it will bake evenly. If it gets too dark on the top cover it up with baking paper for the last 15 minutes. Let cool and cut into 3 layers. Place the sponge layers in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes before you assemble the cake. Cook the custard/pudding according to packet instructions and leave to cool. Cream the butter until pale and fluffy, add the sifted icing sugar, mix some more, then add the cold custard/pudding and cinnamon powder. Spread an even amount of the icing between the layers, stack the cake and apply a thin layer on the the outside. Place in the fridge to chill before you apply the rest of the icing layer. Brush the malt balls with the gold dust and place on the the top and sides of the cake.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Juicy sweet clementines and my friend the nutcracker. Here comes Christmas!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Chocolate Lebkuchen ice cream

Now the Christmas season has officially started for me. The fairy lights are dusted off and draped around the mantle piece and a freshly baked batch of cookies welcome the festive season in my house. And my first Christmas party. The first of many a drinks and feasts, crackers and toasts and get togethers with friend and family.
In shops Christmas started in October already with the arrival of Christmas pudding, mince pies, gingerbread, mulled wine and Lebkuchen. If you are not familiar with Lebkuchen I should explain that they are one of the classic German Christmas cookies. They can take on different shapes (round or rectangular are classic but there are now stars, pretzels or heart shaped ones too) but they are made with honey and lots of spices, candied fruit, almonds and nuts and are sometimes covered with chocolate. They were invented by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century.
I have never been tempted to make them myself as they are so easily available and usually nice and rather focused on cookie recipes that are maybe more rare as they are a regional speciality or just not as commonly known.
So my twist with Lebkuchen this year is to make it into an ice cream. Not dissimilar to a chocolate chip cookie ice cream just with the Christmassy flavours of Lebkuchen instead. You get the idea. The base is a rich chocolate ice cream with a hint of cinnamon.


300ml double cream
200ml milk
4-5 tbsp cocoa powder
3-5 tbsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon
2-4 Lebkuchen

In a pot heat the double cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder. If you use unsweetened cocoa powder add more sugar according to taste. Take it off the heat when it starts to boil and leave to cool. Crumble the Lebkuchen in to the mixture but discard the oblate on the bottom (unleavened communion wafer) if yours have any and the amount of crumbs depends on how big or small your Lebkuchen are. If they are small use one or two more. Chill the mixture in the fridge. Place in the ice cream maker for about 10-15 minutes or according to instructions for your machine. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.