Archives for posts with tag: chocolate

I can’t believe we are in the home stretch to 2013. 2012 has passed way too fast for my liking. Looking back through the photos which have documented this year, I haven’t been baking or blogging about baking nearly enough.

And though this has been a recurring sentiment, I’m getting back in the proverbial (blogging) saddle. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. There’s going to be a whole lot of baking, eating, sharing and best of all a big trip to the motherland.

Stay with me, dear readers… but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what went on in the downtime:

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. Recipe from Primrose Bakery Baking Book, although I used fresh strawberries in place of jam and Earl Grey/Lemon whipping cream. This was my first go at the traditional British cake. I was happy with the way it turned out and will most likely bake it again when tradition calls.


My baking book of the year is definitely ‘Baked In America‘ – maybe it’s because I’m American, but mostly because this is one AMAZING baking book. Recipes from this book are featured many times throughout the blog in 2012 and will continue to be featured in the future. One day I’ll finally make it to Chiswick to Outsider Tart and hopefully meet my baking heroes – the two Davids.

The brownies above are called Hepburns (Kate, rather than Audrey) and probably the best brownie recipe around. They make ideal treats for any occasion – school fetes, birthdays or general parties.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake brownies

Brownie tower

These Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies were made especially for my mother in law’s un-birthday party. As her party food was served buffet-style, I wanted to make a special desserty treat that attendees could eat as little or as much as they like. So these brownies were cut into 1.5 in squares and served on cake stands mixed with the Hepburns featured above.

Orange polenta cake

Another series of books which have inspired breakfasts, dinners and baking alike are the Leon books. The Orange Polenta Cake is from Leon – Baking & Puddings, book three, as featured in the ‘Teatime’ section. This cake is an ideal accompaniment to Earl Grey tea and also gluten-free!

Trish's Two Cents

Martin has been working on building a set of speakers over at his dad’s house. I like to take a baked treat when we go over. One weekend in September, Trish’s Two-Cents from Baked In America caught my eye and I had to give it a go. This is the best ‘pound-cake’ type cake I have ever had. It is definitely going to be in regular rotation for when cakes are called for.

Pumpkin pie

And last, but not least, in the baking recap is Pumpkin Pie. This is a recipe traditionally served at Thanksgiving, in fact was featured in my Thanksgiving blog post from 2011, but I am not celebrating Thanksgiving this year so it was moved to Bonfire Night. While this recipe is from the back of a Libbys can, it is home-made with love and reminds me of autumnal days past.

Watch this space for Christmas treats to come soon…


Hands up, who loves chocolate? *hand raised high up* Yep, I love chocolate. I was also lucky enough to be approached by a new chocolatier Chocolate by Genevie to review chocolates available from her new online shop.

Last week, I was welcomed home by a very pretty package. Thankfully, my husband saved the unboxing until I got home from work.

Pretty package

shiny box

unboxing chocolate

Inside were eight beautifully crafted chocolates.

Eight is enough

close up chocolate

Not only did these chocolates look beautiful, they tasted beautiful. Just rich, indulgent cocoa each teamed with pistachio, marzipan, coffee, or just more chocolate ganache. This ‘Silver Box 8 Chocolates’ is only available from the website for £8.99 and would make a perfect gift for someone who enjoys chocolate. Thanks, Genevie!

There are a few competitions from other bloggers to win Chocolates by Genevie, if I were you I’d make sure to enter!

*I was sent a box of chocolates for review, but these thoughts are my own.*

Christmas has come a bit early this year with the arrival of Hotel Chocolat’s ‘Christmas at Santa’s House’ – a cute little house shaped box filled with individually wrapped milk chocolate Santas, reindeer and penguins.

Hotel Chocolat review

These went down a treat (pun might or might not be intended) with my family. We love chocolate in our house. Mini G even tried to sneak some behind my back! He had a different favourite each day and enjoyed choosing between the penguin or Santa or a reindeer. The fact that they are individually wrapped helped with keeping us from just eating them all in one go.

Individually wrapped

The box design is so festive, it makes a nice decoration even after the chocolates have disappeared. I foresee it sitting on my dresser throughout the Christmas season. A few of these would make ideal Christmas gifts for kids of all ages.  Hotel Chocolat have a fantastic selection of festive edible goodies from stocking fillers to extravagant hampers.

Christmas decoration

*This competition is now closed* For your chance to win a ‘Christmas at Santa’s House’ Hotel Chocolat gift box of your own, just leave a comment below saying which Hotel Chocolat Christmas treat is your favourite, as well as your favourite Christmas song.

Christmas gifts

Christmas at Santa’s House is new to the Hotel Chocolat Christmas range – available for £12 on the website.

You can find Hotel Chocolat on Facebook and on Twitter – @HotelChocolat

** I have been sent ‘Christmas at Santa’s House’ from Hotel Chocolat for review. I am not being paid to do so. These views are my own. **

I was asked by a work colleague to create some cupcakes for her sister in law’s baby shower. The guest of honor knew she was having a girl, so pink was the theme for these delicious treats.

I made half of the order chocolate and the other half vanilla, both topped with vanilla frosting in different shades of pink. Thanks to the colour testing, I knew that the “Claret” shade would help create just the right tones.

The tiny feet made these just that bit more special. I couldn’t resist.

I was intrigued by the chocolate and beetroot cake recipe from the Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache cookbook and wanted to test out the combinations of flavours. I had never made fudge before and am always up for a baking challenge, so I thought this would be a good one. I like chocolate, I like beetroot… let’s see how the two work together.

I followed the recipe closely and carefully.

Melting sugar, butter with the condensed milk and then added the chocolate.

Looking good…

This is where I fell down. I was trying to be careful as to not overcook the chocolate mixture, I don’t think I got it to the right temperature at the end – or – I didn’t mix it hard enough – or – both… The fudge didn’t set quite as much as anticipated and turned out to be “spoon fudge”.

Not to be discouraged, I put it in pretty papers for nice presentation.

The flavour was good right after it was cooked and set. However 24 hours after “maturing”, the fudge became too sweet and cloying. I would be tempted to test out the recipe again so I could get the consistency right and hopefully the flavour won’t be overly sweet. I’m glad I tried it out even though it didn’t come out exactly right. Next up…

I took the cake over to my father in law’s today for an after lunch birthday treat. As chocolate sponge cakes go, this one is at the top.  It was definitely chocolatey enough and not too dry.  I probably could have done with frosting it, but I wanted to try it au naturel the first go round to test the cake on it’s own.

I served it with a fresh vanilla whipped cream (as pictured below), which was a nice accompaniment to the unfrosted cake.

This recipe is a keeper.  Thanks Mr. Lanlard!

For Christmas I received a voucher for Amazon and have decided to indulge in some cookbooks.  After trawling through the many baking books out there, I came across one called Home Bake by Eric Lanlard.  He’s a master patissier who has studied under the Roux brothers, so he instantly had credibility in my eyes.  I have found there are a lot of posers out there when it comes to baking and cooking.  The book arrived on Thursday, giving me enough time to browse through and choose a project for the weekend. When I received it, I was a bit put off by the endorsement by Elizabeth Hurley on the cover, does she even eat cake?  But after reading the recipes, I was confident with my selection of baking book.

Since it was my father in law’s birthday on Wednesday and we are going to see him tomorrow, I decided to bake a birthday cake.  Chocolate cake has always been a tricky one for.  So I set myself a challenge to re-create Eric Lanlard’s “Cake Boy” Chocolate Cake.  The recipe was super easy to follow and well, the proof is in the pudding, or the cake as we have here.  I won’t be able to taste it as the finished product until tomorrow, but if the batter is anything to go by, it’s going to be amazing.

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