Category Chocolate

Orange and passionfruit fondant fancies

A shop-bought fondant fancy is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are fun to make. And of course when making them you can go for whatever flavour you want, going for flavours that are not sold in the shops! Fruity, tangy and fragrant, these fondant fancies have a light orange sponge and a tangy […]

Crispy gingerbread cake bites

If you ever have left-over cake (“why would I?”, you might ask!), or have cake that is starting to go stale, these very easy bites will use up the cake for a delicious sweet treat. These are essentially cakey croutons, made by simply drying them at a low temperature in the oven very gently for […]

Salted caramel shortbreads

This is my take on Millionaire’s Shortbread, but slightly jazzed up: a real excuse for indulgence – but is an excuse ever needed? Essentially, you have a buttery shortbread base, topped with a generous amount of salted caramel and coated in thick milk chocolate. A real treat for chocolate lovers and caramel lovers. It’s salted caramel all […]

Cashew nut & cocoa nib snaps

These biscuits, which are a cross between brandy snaps and florentines, are incredibly easy and quick to make, with a batch made and ready to eat in under 30 minutes. The snaps are perfect eaten just as they are, or served with coffee or tea after a meal. They also make excellent edible gifts. About […]

Quick & easy Cherry, walnut & maple syrup pastries

These are very quick and easy treats: small sweet pastries that are crisp, buttery and wonderfully sticky: quite fabulous served with coffee or tea! Measurements not essential here! For pastries such as these, whether sweet or savoury, I confess that I do not measure out the filling ingredients; I just sprinkle over enough to give a light covering […]

Smoked salted honeycomb

This is my take on honeycomb, playing up to my absolute love of salted caramel by incorporating a little smoked sea salt – an ingredient that is now readily available in supermarkets here in the UK. Honeycomb is fabulous eaten just as it comes, sprinkled over ice cream, added to a rocky road, used to […]

Lemon, strawberry & Prosecco cake

Although I made this particular cake for a colleague’s wedding, I have made smaller one-tier versions of this cake, without much in the way of elaborate decorations, on many an occasion. A case of when simplicity absolutely reigns! The sponge is a standard Victoria Sandwich, with the addition of finely grated lemon zest. The buttercream is […]

Spiced chocolate and orange bundt cake

Deeply chocolatey, with the sharp citrus kick of candied orange and a warming hint of spice work together very well in this easy, no fuss cake. Sticky bundts! This is my first ever bundt, so I feel I am coming very late to the bundt party that has been something of a craze for the past […]

Mocha walnut pavlova

I have not made a pavlova for a few years, but it is always lovely to re-visit an occasional bake such as this. Rather than go for many layers of meringue, I went for one thick layer as the base, which was then topped with the cream and the wonderful coffee, walnuts and dark chocolate. […]

Pimms cocktail jaffa cakes

Very much an adult jaffa cake, this version of jaffa cakes uses Pimms as the base for the jelly, along with fresh orange juice, a hint of mint, a touch of lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten it without taking away from the flavour of the Pimms and the fruit. A real taste of […]

Cinnamon & orange Viennese biscuits

Melt-in-the-mouth is never more the case than with Viennese biscuits or Viennese whirls or any variation on this classic biscuit. They can be served simply dusted with icing sugar, dipped in chocolate or sandwiched together with jam and a little vanilla buttercream – although they can take any flavour combination within! I went for several […]

Coloured Mirror glazes: as simple or as elaborate as you want…..

NB: while some of these attempts are practices done on a flat surface, the spiced orange & rum cake, the blood orange & raspberry cake and the planet cake are real cakes. I will post recipes for these in due course, but feel free to contact me in the meantime about any of them. As its name […]

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cake: chocolate cake with Earl Grey tea buttercream

Sections in this post Tea with the Mad Hatter Layers of cake Shaping the hat Hiding cracks & blemishes on a fondant-iced cake Assembling the cake Recipes for the cake and the Earl Grey tea buttercream Other recipe links Clandestine Cake Club This post gives the recipe for the cake, the buttercream as well as how to […]

Simple roasted coffee shortbread – with no rolling out

Shortbread is the first thing I ever made as a young boy and I love coming back to it, either making a very traditional shortbread (what can beat that?) or a flavoured variation. A bake for all! Shortbread is also a very simple thing to make and is a particularly great bake for people who are […]

Strawberry & lemon dacquoise: with a cheat’s version!

A dacquoise is a wonderful dessert in its own right. I made this one for my partner’s birthday cake as a more dessert-type feel was wanted. It is essentially pavlova with more bite to it: meringue with toasted nuts in the mixture. A real melt-in-the-mouth dessert with a deep nutty flavour. This version, with the nutty meringue being […]

Earl Grey Tea cupcakes: cupcakes with attitude!

Cupcakes need two key things to work, in my opinion: a light and nicely flavoured sponge and a very well-flavoured, not-too-sweet icing that melts in the mouth. Those dry sponge affairs with a mass of sickly icing that tastes of nothing other than sugar and cheap fat (mass-produced cupcakes: j’accuse!) are best only for the […]

Cocoa brownies with browned butter & walnuts

  For my second assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was allocated Erin’s wonderful The Spiffy Cookie blog from which to choose a recipe. Erin has a magnificent blog; it is a great source of foodie inspiration and is packed with recipes you just want to make. And the name The Spiffy Cookie is wonderful. Erin also […]

Easy bitter orange pains au chocolat

England and France unite in this English breakfast variation on pains au chocolat, with the addition of a bitter orange kick from a little marmalade inside the pastries, as well as being used to glaze them. These are quite easy to make (thanks to a short-cut croissant dough, which lends itself very well here) and are wonderful […]

Tangy blackcurrant chocolates

  I have such a weakness for chocolate: mass-produced chocolate often hits the spot but the exquisite ones you can buy in artisan chocolate shops are always a treat. And with good chocolates, you only need to eat one or two to get that lovely, all-is-well-with-the-world feeling! Well, maybe three…….. However, I do like to make my own because […]

Passion fruit & peach tarts (lower-fat!)

Inspired by a passion fruit pannacotta I had a few months ago, these are very simple fragrant tarts that I made for a friend’s birthday: the tarts have a full-on passion fruit flavour, a kick of rum-soaked peaches and the richness of white chocolate in the background. Ideal for a party, buffet or any occasion when you […]

Simple raspberry chocolates

I love making use of left-overs and these simple chocolates hit the spot perfectly! Quick to make, they use the remains of some raspberry buttercream and some chocolate from a recent cake I had made (below). Filling I would normally make a ganache for filling chocolates (or use fruit curd, salted caramel sauce etc….), but here the buttercream is […]

Chocolate & cherry brioches

This is my chocolate and cherry version of a brioche: very rich, with a buttery interior that is actually very light to eat and practically melts in the mouth. A filled brioche might not be the done thing but I will not lose any sleep over that! As I wanted dark chocolate and rum-soaked cherries […]

Smoked salted caramel & bitter chocolate macarons

Post updated: August 2016 At the risk of tumbling shamelessly into the world of the melodramatic, I would go so far as saying that these particular macarons are to die for. The shells, which have some walnuts in them (just enough to give a hint), are sprinkled with smoked sea salt before baking. Now I love salted […]

quick and easy galangal & lime cake (gluten-free)

This is a very simple and quite speedy cake that can made and iced within an hour. The sponge is flavoured with galangal, which gives a lovely subtle spicy flavour, although you can use ground ginger for a more potent kick. I have gone for a very simple and quick rich cream cheese icing, flavoured […]

Salted mocha & walnut battenberg cake

Updated: April 2016 (new photos) This is a return to the classic Battenberg, a cake that is right up there in my list of top 5 cakes. While I love to ring the changes with Battenberg cake, time and time again I get drawn back to coffee & walnut; for coffee & walnut cake is right at […]

Oscars-themed drip cake: “death by Chocolat”

My first real “drip cake”, this was made for recent Clandestine Cake Club meeting, with the theme being a cake with a take on Oscar-winning films……. Clandestine Cake Club If you like cake – making, eating and talking about cake – you must join   CCC; most towns in the UK and many areas of the […]

Salted caramel pretzel rocky road

Post updated: June 2016 A rocky road is a very guilty pleasure of mine – one of many, admittedly! It is very rich (and rightly so) but moreish. It is also one of the easiest things to make and can be varied in so many ways. I made this take on rocky road with ingredients that […]

Raspberry cascade cake

With baking I am a firm believer that simplicity, done well, can often give the best results. And while I occasionally go for over-the-top-looking creation with cakes, for me it really is flavour that is has to be at the heart of the cake: after all, once a cake has been cut into and has lost some of […]

Ginger snowmen macarons

Although I make macarons frequently, it is a first for me to do a macaron shape that is anything other than circular, so having seen meringue versions of snowmen in a shop recently I felt I had to make some as macarons….well, why not?! Looking online, it is little surprise that macaron snowmen and other quirky […]

Chocolate & salted caramel éclairs

Salted caramel and chocolate éclairs: nothing too extreme flavour-wise, but two flavours that are nonetheless stunning together. A white chocolate crème pâtissière and a little salted caramel make a lovely filling here but you can, of course, use whipped cream. And while a topping of dark chocolate would be excellent to use, I prefer a sticky, rich chocolatey […]

Black forest gateau with caramel glazed cherries

Another version of my favourite over-the-top dessert cake; although I am well aware I have blogged about a few Black Forest Gateaux I have made, with little tweaks to the recipes here and there! I still argue, though, that a good Black Forest Gateau is a joy to eat in all of its retro kitsch-ness! I used Callebaut […]

Cranberry, orange & fennel seed biscotti

I adore a good biscotti, but have never been a fan of the (ridiculously expensive!) ones you can buy in coffee shops and the like that can be little more than an expensive work-out for the jaw! Flavour and texture are crucial in any biscotti: the taste should certainly pack a real punch as you eat […]

My take on Bourbon biscuits – with mocha ganache & caramelised sugar

A bourbon biscuit is one of my favourite biscuits, but I had never made them fully before. What I crave in a bourbon biscuit is: a very crisp biscuit (it has to be crisp) a nice chocolate flavour through both the biscuit and the filling and  “something else” flavour-wise that makes it not just a chocolate biscuit! And I […]

New Sainsbury’s “Bake Magazine”

A new, inspiring magazine: Recently launched, Sainsbury’s have created their new Bake Magazine: an exciting collection of recipes, tips and treats. This issue is packed with mouth-watering recipes from several of the Great British Bake Off favourites including Jo Wheatley, Frances Quinn and Howard Middleton, as well as stunning bakes from industry legends that include […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate cake

This is one of the cakes I made for decorating at a demonstration I gave recently. The cake is a Victoria Sandwich, flavoured with a little orange zest and filled with a very light, tangy raspberry buttercream. The recipe for the cake, with general tips on cake making and decoration is on my post here: Making, flavouring & decorating cakes Buttercream […]

Elmbridge Food Festival & my first cake decorating demo!

Wow! My 2nd visit to the annual Elmbridge Food Festival, held at the glorious Painshill Park, Surrey. This time, however, on top of enjoying the many delights of the Festival, I had two additional thrills: I was able to assist on the Clandestine Cake Club stall I gave a cake demonstration session on the Sunday. […]

Dark chocolate & orange gateau

Made for the Macmillan Coffee Morning, this cake is a chocolate Victoria Sandwich cake that had been flavoured with grated orange zest. The layers are filled and thinly coated with an intense, but light, orange buttercream, with the cake surrounded by a chocolate drizzle wrap – one of my signature cake decorating flourishes! I topped the […]

Mocha & salted caramel Angel food cake

This is my take on the divine Angel food cake, a cake that is like eating sweet bites of airy cloud! I went for a sponge that was speckled with chocolate, coated in a dark chocolate and coffee ganache and finished with salted caramel and caramelised hazelnuts. I actually made two cakes: one for a Clandestine Cake […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate mousse domes

Post updated April 2016: recipe tweaked, domes re-made and re-photographed One of the great joys for me when having Afternoon Tea, in addition to eating the most delectable sweet and savoury treats, is the inspiration I get. I shared one of these entremets as part of an Afternoon Tea a while ago and was blown […]

Chocolate, cranberry & orange sourdough

Post updated: August 2016 (re-baked & re-photographed, with tips for a non-sourdough version) This sweet sourdough loaf is stuffed with juicy dried cranberries that have been soaked in orange juice, and chunks of dark chocolate. While the aroma of the dough as you work with it is wonderful, the smells wafting through the house as it […]

Chocolate & Orange Battenberg Cake

When I make a Battenberg cake I usually I go for a coffee and walnut one: my favourite cake flavours! This time, though, I’ve gone for orange and dark chocolate: not a million miles away, flavour-wise, from my jaffa gateau. How to make and assemble: The main recipe is as for coffee and walnut Battenberg (the […]

Apricot shortbread

This is a very simple and utterly delicious shortbread biscuits: rich, crisp and buttery with a hint of vanilla and soft pieces of dried apricots. I used dried apricots given to me by Whitworths. The dried chopped apricots make a classic biscuit even more special; those lovely juicy nuggets set in the shortbread are wonderful: […]

A summer wedding cake

  A wedding cake I made for two of my former colleagues and dear friends from earlier this summer. It was such an honour to have been asked to make the wedding cake for this very special day. The pictures in this post were taken were by their photographer, and also former colleague, David, who has his […]

Pimms macarons with Pimms ganache & minted cucumber jelly

A challenging bake, this is a taste of summer in each mouthful: these macarons are sandwiched together with a Pimms ganache and small pieces of a sweetened cucumber and mint jelly: you really can’t have Pimms without the cucumber! The macaron shells are flavoured with a Pimms reduction, and the fruity flavour coming through the filling gives what I think […]

Very easy cherry & smoked chocolate brownies (gluten-free)

Brownies have to be quick and simple to make, and they are such a versatile mixture that you can add all manner of goodies or replace some of the ingredients eg) replace the nuts with dried fruit or crushed biscuits…….. I use a recipe that I have had for decades, although I do tweak it from […]

Chocolate & ginger viennoiserie & 2 years of blogging!

I cannot believe where these two years of blogging have gone. And what a thrilling learning curve it continues to be. In this “birthday post” I am so pleased to share this particular recipe: if you have never made croissant dough, this simple version, with these particular flavours, is a real celebration. A new camera! […]

Whitworths Blogging Event: fruiting, chatting, baking & tiffin!

I was invited to my first food-related blogging event in London, organised by Whitworths and held at Venturis Table in London. It happened to be held on my birthday, so what better way to spend a birthday than with a fun event such as this. It was a thrill not only to do bake in a terrific kitchen and […]

Chouxnuts 2: chocolate & cherry flavour

I made a savoury version of these deep-fried choux pastry doughnuts a while ago (here) but this time I felt like going down the sweet route. I always have jars of dried cherries, some macerating in Amaretto and some in other liqueurs, and there is always chocolate to be found around the kitchen(!!), so a […]

Floating maltesers Cake with salted caramel ganache

, I made this cake for my 6th formers at school. Maltesers have always been my favourite sweets: honeycomb and chocolate – a perfect match. And with salted caramel being a thing of such beauty, why not use these for a cake? The flavours: This “floating sweets look” is certainly nothing new, but it is fun!  But […]

Black Forest Gateau with chocolate cherry mirror glaze (Gluten-free)

My current version of Black Forest Gateau, or “cake in drag” as Victoria Wood so deliciously put it, is way over-the-top for sure in terms of the adult flavours…..but I make no apologies for that, as it is an adult dessert cake! I have made and posted about Black Forest Gateau before, and each time I make […]

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