Chocolate & Coconut Cake

Chocolate?  Yes! Coconut?  Yes!  In a cake?  Yes!! This recipe for Chocolate & Coconut Cake in Sainsburys Magazine caught my eye.

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It is a chocolate cake batter, but with coconut milk, plenty of desiccated coconut, and ground almonds which really work well and give it a lovely texture.  The method is standard – cream butter and sugar, add eggs, fold in dry ingredients.

The resultant batter was quite stiff but I put it in the baking dish and into the oven.  The recipe suggested to bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  At 35 minutes I checked the cake but it was still wobbling, nowhere near done!  I added 10 minutes to the time and checked again, inserting a skewer into the cake, but it was not cooked through, I left it in for another 10 minutes and finally, it was cooked.  Unfortunately the top was quite cracked – I think this is either an oven temperature issue, or too much sugar?  In any event, ingredient-wise I had followed the recipe exactly.  You can see the flecks of coconut in the cake.

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I left it to cool for 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

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Cracks?? What cracks?!!  Yes, I turned it upside down (crafty move).

Once the cake was cooled I set to work on the fudge topping.  With ingredients of chocolate, butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar, it seemed it would be a fudgy buttercream style icing.  Once it was all mixed the recipe said “…pour over the cake…

Pour???? Something has gone wrong….

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This was more like chocolate cement…I felt like giving up.  I added a bit of milk as the recipe suggested but this didn’t help significantly.  I had no more chocolate, so the option of making a second batch of fudge icing was out of the question.  Out of desperation I mixed up a small batch of chocolate buttercream, using the cocoa powder and mixed this with the stodgy mess I had created.  It was marginally better.  I was determined to somehow ice the cake and take photos.  I spread the icing on the cake, but the texture was awful.  My guess is the chocolate had split, which would explain the “graininess”.  Not to be outdone, I remembered I had some edible glitter.  Let’s be honest, there is not much that cannot be improved by a little glitter!!  And so I sprayed the surface with gold glitter.

And, so, there we have it.  The glittery chocolate and coconut cake.  The taste test? The cake is good, nice flavour and texture.  The icing?  No.  It is perfectly edible, but it is not what it should have been (though I suspect this is not the recipe’s fault, but rather my own).  I’m disappointed about that.  Would I make it again?  No, there are too many other options which I prefer.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Orange & Walnut Shortbread

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This is really just an update on last week’s post where I baked Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread.

I mentioned that I’d like to try a version using orange and walnut instead of the chocolate.  And so I did! I tweaked the recipe slightly (you knew I would!!) and I have to say, I am happy with the result. So here follows my new version:

Ingredients:

250g room temperature butter (I used salted butter, but unsalted would be fine too)

110g demerara sugar

45g light muscovado sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Zest from a large orange

80g Walnut halves, broken into small pieces (unless you want larger chunks)

355g plain flour

20g rice flour

Method:

Using an electric mixer / whisk, beat together the softened butter, sugars and orange juice until light and fluffy.  With a spoon, mix in the orange zest and walnuts, and then fold in the flours until well combined.

Divide the dough into two, placing each half on a separate piece of clingfilm.  Fold the clingfilm over and gently roll the dough into a log shape with your hands so that it is about 5 cm in diameter.  Place in the fridge until firm (approximately an hour).

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Slice the cooled dough into rounds about 1.5cm thick and place on the baking tray about 3cm apart (they won’t spread much during baking). Bake for 12 – 20 minutes, keeping an eye on the cookies.  They are ready when the edges are just slightly turning brown.

Remove, and cool on a rack before eating.

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I find the addition of rice flour really helps with the texture, it keeps it light, and crumbly, yet not falling apart.  The orange flavour is subtle and the walnuts add good texture.  This can be baked in batches, or you can keep the extra dough in the fridge for up to a week.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂

Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

I have seen this recipe mentioned in various magazines and online.  Everyone (everyone) raved about it.  I love recipes that are not complicated, and, to be honest, you had me at “salted”…………..if you don’t get that salt/sweet thing, you are really missing out!

I got this in Sainsburys Magazine, but the recipe (see here)  was originated by Alison Roman.

I don’t have a free-standing mixer, or a mixer with a paddle attachment, and so whilst I could mix the sugars and butter well, and I could add some of the flour, I had to give up at some point and mix in the rest of the flour and chocolate with a wooden spoon, and eventually my hands (I couldn’t get the  mixture to stick together….)

Sugars, butter, and vanilla are whisked until light and fluffy and then the flour and chocolate chunks are added.  The dough is then divided in half and covered with clingfilm and rolled into a log shape.

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The recipe says this makes 24 cookies.  I couldn’t see how I would be able to get 12 cookies out of my dough. Anyway, onwards and upwards, so I put the dough in the fridge to firm up.  I decided to only bake half the dough this time, leaving the other half for another day.  I like that about cookie dough, once you’ve gone this far, it’s so easy just to bake a fresh batch of cookies with minimum effort whenever the need arises – just slice and bake!!

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I didn’t roll my dough in sugar.  Personal preference, just like my intolerance for rolling doughnuts in sugar……….I think it’s not necessary.  On slicing my rounds, I had problems with some of the dough “breaking away” because of all the chocolate pieces.  Strange as it is for me to say, I actually think there is too much chocolate………..(please don’t shoot me).  As a result once the dough rounds were on the baking tray, I ended up mashing some pieces of chocolate into the rounds, rather than throwing away the bits that had broken off.  I managed to get 7 slices from the piece of dough that I used.  I realise that in fact my estimation of 5-6 cm was somewhat out (no jokes please) and I should have rolled the dough out into a thinner log.  This too, will explain why I ended up cooking it for almost double the recommended time.

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The finished cookies are delicious.  I do love the sprinkling of sea salt on the top.

Would I do anything different next time?  I would form the dough into a thinner roll, I would add less chocolate.  I would love to try it with orange zest and walnuts instead of the chocolate. I definitely think there are plenty of options!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful weekend 🙂