In case you haven’t noticed, summer is here. In England right now it’s hit the kind of temperatures we spend the whole year complaining we don’t get, and then the few days it does we say things along the lines of; ‘can’t function’ and ‘I’m not built for this kind of heat’ while we sit in the shade in a beer garden or lay on top of the covers at night. I decided to bake on what was the hottest day of the year so far, so all of these things were uttered in the first 5 minutes. In all fairness, I baked this cake at about 8am, when the full heat of day hadn’t hit, but the oven was happily sat there making up the difference as it pre-heated. I had decided to make something fit for summer and baked a White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Pistachios.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, *GHOST NOISES*. HALLOWEEN. DEAD THINGS. VAMPIRES. MURDER. HORROR. MATCHA. Wait, what? It’s
everyone’s America’s favourite spooky “holiday” (my parent’s wedding anniversary), and in amongst baking pumpkin into everything possible I’ve actually (accidentally) made something that qualifies as a Halloween bake. I had some leftover Matcha from the cake I baked for my feature in Reveal Magazine and I was just trying to work out what I wanted to put it into. I always knew it was going to be something involving white chocolate, because the two flavours go together so well. I baked these Matcha & White Choc Chip Cookies once and then later that day had an email pop into my work inbox about a Halloween charity bake sale we were having this week. Read more
Biscuits! Chocolatey ones! And shortbread! Oh and then more chocolate! Yes! I’m struggling to work out how to start this post, so just lots of exclamations about the general core factors of this bake will have to do. A friend of mine was holidaying a few weeks back in sunny Brighton and got robbed from her hotel room. That stinks! And in the spirit of Cake Care Package (want one, pop me an email, the site is coming along at the mo) I decided to send her something to cheer her up. I opted for double chocolate shortbread biscuit then grabbed some white chocolate for dipping (I may have ‘accidentally’ dropped a whole biscuit it…).
I’ve had requests from a lot of people for some stuff that’s a bit “different”. Well, that’s not really the right word. To sum it up I’m going to do a series of bakes to fit into a “free from” range. Once a month I will do something that could be classed as “free from” i.e. Vegan, gluten free, diabetes friendly etc. To kick things off I’ve gone for a double whammy, which is Gluten Free Diabetic Friendly White Chocolate and Pecan Brownies. I told my friend Steph ages ago that I’d do her some diabetic friendly bakes so this one took priority. This is the first time I’ve tried my hand at an intentionally gluten free recipe. But damn, it’s good. The brownies are wonderfully chewy and flavourful. The white chocolate (despite being a fairly small amount in comparison to many brownie recipes) comes through well as do the pecans. This is the first time I’ve baked with rice flour. It’s also the first time I’ve baked with just plain margarine instead of butter/oil for ages.
It took me a couple of tries to get these just right and a couple of points I’m going to raise now are these. You *have* to line the bottom of the tray to make sure that you can get these out without them sticking to the bottom. Also, they will look like they are done after about 20 minutes, but make sure you bake them for the full 30 minutes!
- 75g (2¾oz) gluten-free white chocolate
- 75g (2¾oz) polyunsaturated margarine
- 175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- A few drops vanilla extract
- 50g (1¾oz) ground almonds
- 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour
- 100g (3½oz) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan assisted). Grease and line a brownie tray of 18x28cm.
- Melt the chocolate with the margarine (I used a bowl over hot water). Stirring constantly.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients one at a time. Mix well.
- Pour in to the prepared tin and place in the middle of the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- Remove and leave in the tin. Allow to cool in the tin until completely cool.
- Remove and divide up how you please.
Insomnia. Or something. Well whatever I have it’s annoying. Really annoying. I got ill on Sunday night, when I went to bed (tired) and got feverish. I only had an hourish sleep. But it’s extended to 3 nights on the trot now. With little sleep, but now just minus the fever. The third night, Tuesday night, I tried a few things in advance to wear me out. I cycled and I baked. Tried to fill my time up a bit. It didn’t work. I ended up with just a couple of hours again. If anyone has any solutions that may help me to sleep, leave them in the comments below. Please!
However, as I said, I did end up baking, in an attempt to be active. I tried my hands at one of the recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery book that I was given for Christmas (thanks gran!). I opted for the blondies, partly because I’ve never made any before and partly because I already had everything but the white chocolate and pecans already in. I am now without a brownie, so I used my “bar” tray instead, which meant for slightly reduced cooking time and already portioned off blondies. I’ll leave in the timings for both in the instructions below!
- 150g White Chocolate
- 125g Unsalted Butter
- 150 Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 200g Plain Flour
- A pinch of Salt
- 120g Shelled Pecan Nuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 170°C(150°C fan assisted).
- Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Melt these together, stirring occasionally.
- Take off the heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring well. At this point the mixture may split but don’t worry.
- Add in the vanilla and the eggs, beating well as you do to stop the eggs from scrambling.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything has incorporated well and the nuts are spread throughout the mixture.
- Grease the baking tray you are using and add the mixture.
- Place in the oven. If using a divided bar tray like mine, bake for approx.. 20 minutes until the edges are golden but the center still soft. If using a tray then bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tray on a wire rack. Divide up.