Friday 29 November 2013

A plethora of desserts – chocolate fondants and white chocolate and cranberry cake

I have a very sweet tooth, which I’m trying to keep in check, but that is a post for another day. I fell off the wagon this weekend when the family was over, and I made three desserts – I really like having a selection to choose from.
My SiL is allergic to cinnamon, so she couldn’t eat the red fruit and apple crumble I made. She loves chocolate fondants, so I decided to try making some for her, which gave me the opportunity to test out some new molds I’d bought. Aaaand dessert #3 came in as I figured the kids wouldn’t eat either the crumble or the fondants, so I made a white chocolate and cranberry cake for them. Well, in the end, only the adults ate the cake, the kids were the biggest consumers of the fondants and only four portions of crumble went.

Felicity Cloake did the legwork on the fondant recipe – this is from her ‘perfect’ series. I doubled it to make four. This recipe makes two.

60g butter
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
60g caster sugar
1 tablespoon of plain flour

Heat your oven to 200°. Grease the inside of 2 small ramekins or pudding molds, and then put the cocoa in one and turn it to coat the inside, holding it over the second mold to catch any that escapes. Do the same with the other mold.
Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
Whisk the egg, yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter, and then the flour. Spoon into the prepared molds, stopping just shy of the top – at this point the mixture can be refrigerated until needed, or even frozen, as the puddings will not wait around once cooked.
Put on to a hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes (14 if from cold, 16 if frozen) until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the molds. Leave to rest for 30 seconds and then serve in the ramekins or turn out on to plates if you're feeling confident – they're great with clotted cream or plain ice cream.

Chocolate fondant - still in the mold

The cake I made was the one we tasted at the last Clandestine Cake Club. I used this recipe – here is the UK/gram equivalent. It actually looks really festive, so it would be great for a Christmas party. It looks as good as it tastes too.

Cranberry and white chocolate cake

For the jam
350g of fresh cranberries
150g sugar
the rid and juice of an orange
a teaspoon each of ground ginger and cinnamon
a couple of cloves – just remember how many you put in
(if all this is too much, just use a jar of cranberry jam – Carrefour does a delicious cherry, cranberry and red currant (I think…) jam)

For the cake
225g of white chocolate
300g of plain flour
a small sprinkle of salt
140g of soft butter
270g of castor sugar
4 eggs
a good teaspoon of vanilla – I use a jar I got in Ireland of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste. I’ve seen the same brand, but not the vanilla, in the International Home of Cooking at Rue Léopold 3, 1000 Brussels (its near Sterling Books).
A good dash of milk

For the icing
170g white chocolate
100g of soft butter
50g icing sugar
another good teaspoon of vanilla

You start off by making the filling. In a saucepan, mix all the filling ingredients for it and bring to the boil. Once boiling, simmer for 10 minutes and then remove from the heat. Once its cool enough to not scald yourself on, go through it and fish out all the cloves you added. Then, whizz it through a food processor for a few seconds.

For the cake, melt the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water until it is fully melted.
Pop your oven on to 190° and grease and line two 20cm cake tins.
In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light n fluffy and its gone white, or at least a lot paler. This will take about 5-7 minutes of mixing. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition and add the vanilla with the last egg. Finally, mix though the flour, baking powder and salt until it’s just about combined and then mix though the melted chocolate. If your mixture is a bit thick, add a few dessertspoons of milk to loosen it. It should be the consistency of honey.
Spread the batter into the prepared cake tins.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing them and cooling completely.

The vanilla bean paste I use

For the icing, melt the white chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Leave it to cool for about 20 minutes (I didn’t pay attention to this, and added the warm chocolate to the rest of the icing, and well, the whole lot curdled. Bin!). Even after 20 minutes, it hadn’t started solidifying again, so no worries in that department.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, vanilla and the icing sugar until fluffy. When the chocolate is cool, mix it through the icing.
To construct the cake, slice each of the cakes in half horizontally and slather the jam on layer 1, put the other half on, slather that, then layer 3 – more jam – and then the lid of the cake. I only covered the top of the cake with the icing.

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