Saturday 23 March 2013

An Easter Parade of Baking

Here’s an Easter Parade of Grandma’s baking with chicks and chocolate to brighten our mood after the winter months. I'm tempted by these
Chocolate Orange Biscuits 
5 oz/150g margarine or butter
3 oz/75g caster sugar
8 oz/225g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
3 oz/75g  plain chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
Grated rind of an orange
1 tbsp orange juice

Pre heat the oven to 180C(fan 160C), Mark 4,350F. Beat the margarine or butter until it’s light and fluffy. Then sift the flour and baking powder straight onto the creamed mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and work the mixture together until you get a fairly stiff paste. Roll out into a floured working surface, about ¼ inch/0.5cm thick. Using a 2 inch/5cm plain cutter, cut out the biscuits and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them with a little extra caster sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits are a nice golden colour. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack. Decorate with a dusting of icing sugar. Paste a tiny amount of apricot jam in the centre of the biscuit and decorate with a chocolate egg.

And there's more...
Try these irresistible Chocolate Brownies
Grandma's easy ‘all in one’ Simnel Cake recipe

Indulge in Easter baking and you’ll put a Springtime smile on the faces of your friends and families. Tell me about your baking for Easter....

Thursday 7 March 2013

A Tale of Two (or Three) Chocolate Cakes

Chocolate has been in Europe since the early 17th century. The first mention of chocolate in England was in the mid 1600s when bakers started to add cocoa powder to cakes. Everyone loves Chocolate Cake and yet there are as many variations as stars in the heavens!
At my last talk at Hodsock Priory Snowdrops visitors were intrigued by one of the recipes from the Buchanan family’s own compilation of recipes. The Chocolate Cake recipe dated back to 1885 from Emily, Marchioness of Headfort, great great grandmother of the current custodians of Hodsock. It has a denser texture than modern sponge cakes but is surprisingly tasty.  

Emily says that her Chocolate Cake is ‘perfect but extravagant’

The ingredients : sugar, flour, grated chocolate, butter and eggs and Groult’s potato flour.  
The method : ‘Work the butter and sugar together, then work in the chocolate, add the yolks of eggs and lastly the flours and the whipped egg whites. Bake for 1-1 ½ hours according to the oven’.
Harry gave me his Chocolate Cake recipe when I talked to the Independent Living Group he attends. He makes his yummy cake for the group whenever they meet for Afternoon tea. They love it!
Harry’s Chocolate Cake
4oz/110g butter or margarine
4oz /110g sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
5 tbsps evaporated milk
1 oz/25g cocoa powder
7oz/175g self raising flour
5 tbsps water
Few drops of vanilla essence or extract
Beat the butter and sugar to a cream. Then stir in the eggs beaten with the evaporated milk. Add the flour and cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly. Then add the water and vanilla essence. Pour mixture into 2 well greased sandwich tins. Bake in the oven 180C (fan 160C), Mark 4 for around 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool.
20z/50g butter
4oz/110g sieved icing sugar
Mix thoroughly and spread on one of the sandwich cakes. Place the other on top. Decorate the top with sieved icing sugar or melted chocolate.

Grandma’s simple version of Chocolate Cake can be decorated with a dusting of icing sugar or cocoa powder or covered with melted chocolate

Enjoy baking any of these Chocolate Cakes - have you got a special recipe?