NOTHING beats chocolate! To me, the ultimate treat is sweet and contains chocolate in some shape or form. These days, cupcakes are all the rage. That’s probably got something to do with the easy preparation -anyone can do it-, ingredients – anyone can get it- and ready to eat serving portions -everywhere can these be served, no plates or cutlery neccessary-.
So here’s hoping this recipe for chocolate cupcakes will inspire you to get baking — from scratch! Yesterday I once again checked the package of one of those cupcake mixes offered in every store now: It really is nothing but self-raising flour and sugar. Please don’t waste your money on those, try this recipe instead!
For the cake
140 g flour
50 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder (7 g)
220 g sugar
pinch of salt
120 ml coffee (cooled) – I used instant coffee
60 ml (butter)milk – the sourness of buttermilk aids the baking powder
60 ml sunflower oil – but peanutoil or another plain vegetable oil will work just fine
1 vanilla pod’s seeds – I used approximately 2 teaspoons of artificial vanilla flavoring
For the topping
250 g butter (at room temperature)
60 g powdered sugar
250 g custard pudding (in Dutch also known as ‘banketbakkersroom’. You could use instant pudding, custard powder cooked in milk, or make it from scratch)
150 g dark chocolate, melted or nutella, at room temperature, amount to taste
Mix the dry cake ingredients together, mix the wet cake ingredients together, and eventually mix them all together.
Bake the cupcakes in paper liners in a cupcake baking tray – otherwise they will not have the proper shape: 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix together the butter and powdered sugar for at least 10 minutes.
Add the custard gradually, and keep mixing until your chocolate buttercream is nice and smooth.
This variation on a traditional pound cake recipe is really easy to make (really! I’m not just saying that) and easy to get rid off. You can keep the finish basic, with a little powdered sugar, or give it a little extra, like I did: I cooked some coconut cream together with sugar (amount: to taste) until it had a nice cream cheese-like consistency, and smeared this on top.
100 g raisins/sultanas, soaked (15 min. in boiling hot water) and drained
200 g butter
175 g white muscovado sugar
55 g grated dried coconut
2 tbsp syrup
200 g self-raising flour (or flour with a teaspoon of baking powder)
some powdered sugar, or coconut cream + sugar
Melt the butter (on low heat in a small pan, or in the microwave). Mix together all other ingredients, and add the butter last. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, in a 24 cm diameter cake pan, at 180 degrees celcius. You know it is done when a skewer comes out clean.
In my experience, in the US, especially the larger cookies are often kind of soft. I think chocolate chip cookies should always be crispy, which is why this is my favourite recipe.
142 g flour + a pinch of salt
102 g butter
160 g white muscovado sugar (a.k.a. bastard sugar)
80 g nuts (walnuts/hazelnuts/macademia/pine nuts or a combination; you can do whatever you like, go nuts!)
160 g chocolate chips (milk or dark)
Knead together the flour, butter, egg and sugar, and then add the chopped nuts and chocolate chips. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 13 minutes. Keep an eye on these babies, because the baking process can go really fast, depending on the temperature of the dough and thickness of the cookies.
And here’s a few tips: If you like some extra sweet & crunchy bits, replace part of the chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. And if you’re a bit of a neat freak, and you want your cookies perfectly round and evenly sized, you can bake them in a muffin pan.
If you’re looking for a light treat that looks great on the table –but doesn’t take too much time to make– this is it. All this cake needs is a little powdered sugar on top to bring some rustic glamour to your brunch, tea or coffee.
The base is formed by a classic sponge cake [or, in Dutch, biscuit cake], which is very light & fluffy and doesn’t contain fats like butter or oil. The most important factor in the preparation is handling the egg whites and yolks separately, so you can beat in as much air as possible. As long as you keep the yolks out of the whites, you’re golden!
grated lemon zest – to taste, but at least from 1 lemon
poppy seeds – to taste (and tasting the batter is fortunately not too unpleasant)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy (and tripled in volume), and add the vanilla & lemon zest
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to a fluffy foam.
Gently spoon together the mixtures, add the flour and salt (through a sieve) and also gently spoon the flour into the mixture. Make sure it is mixed thoroughly, but try to work the batter as little as possible to keep in the air bubbles.
Poor the mixture in the (buttered) bundt cake pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes.
When finished, the cake should feel elastic and a toothpick should come out clean.
Baking brownies is always a recipe for succes. After making your family, friends and/or collegues happy, you’re guaranteed to return home with an empty box and a lot of new best friends.
Most people I know would bake their brownies using in instant mix. I’m always finding myself on the same side of this argument: It really really really is not easier (let alone cheaper) to use those packages. In the end, you’re still adding and mixing together the same amount of ingredients. Especially with brownies, the difference in taste, appearance and consistency is enormous. Those mixes will get you your ordinary chocolate (pound) cake. Sure, that’s not bad at all, but brownies are in a whole another league!
That’s why in my first post on this baking-fanatic blog I’m revealing my brownie recipe. It is the one thing I have baked most over the last few years, and it is the one thing I will be baking most for the rest of my life, since I’m marrying my brownie’s #1 fan.
For the brownie
180 g chocolate, extra dark
150 g butter
150 g flower
200 g sugar (a combination of, for instance, granulated sugar and brown sugar)
pinch of salt
For the topping (optional)
½ a can of sweetened condensed milk (+- 200 g)
10 dates, peeled and chopped
50 g brown sugar
pinch of salt
This brownie does not contain baking powder, which makes it beautifully rich and dark. It’s a fairly easy recipe (you don’t need a mixer; just a fork will do), but if you feel like going the extra mile, you can add a caramel topping.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
Melt the chocolate and butter au bain marie, and in a second bowl, mix together the flower, sugars and salt.
Let the chocolate-butter mixture cool for a couple of minutes, add it to the flower-sugar mixture and add the eggs, one at a time.
Poor the batter in a squared oven pan (lined with baking paper, just to be sure). Optional: press coarsly chopped macademia nuts in, and bake it for 20-25 minutes.
Cook the condensed milk with the dates and brown sugar (and a pinch of salt) in a small sauce pan. Keep stirring vigorously, preferrably with a silicon spade, to make sure you don’t get burnt bits, sticking to your pan. After a few minutes, the mixture turns a nice caramel-brown, and is ready to be poored onto the brownie. After cooling, it will become nice and firm.