Celebration cake – cherry filled ultimately chocolate cake & vanilla and raspberry cake


I have an important celebration coming up tomorrow and decided to bake cake with two tiers. The bottom layer is a very stable chocolate cake filled with cherries and covered in chocolate ganache. The cake mixture itself is adapted from the BBCs Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe. It is a super moist and chocolatey cake but I have slightly reduced sugar and adapted it so German supermarket stocks.

For a 28cm cake:

400g good quality dark chocolate
400g butter
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules ( I used Douwe Egberts Pure Gold from the UK - my absolute favourite, also for drinking!)
250ml milk
340g plain flour
1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda (Natron in German supermarkets)
400g caster sugar
50g good quality cocoa powder (the bitter one, not the sweet drinking stuff!)
6 eggs
150ml buttermilk

sweet cherries in juice (in Germany we get them in glass jars) -  400g cherries and 250ml of the liquid required.
6 sheets of gelatine

for the ganache:
450g dark chocolate
150-200g cream

I prepared the ganache the night before making the cake. You can make it on the same day but make sure it gets time to cool down completely:

Chop the chocolate into small chunks and heat the cream in a pot at medium heat. Stir until the cream starts to bubble up. Remove from the heat and wait until the bubbles stop appearing. Add the chocolate chunks, leave for 2 minutes and stir together to get a smooth and glossy ganache. Leave to cool and store in a microwavable container until use (at room temperature, fridge is also fine).

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan / 180°C conventional oven.

Chop the chocolate into chunks, cube the butter  (keep the paper for greasing the tin) and dissolve the coffee granules in cold milk. Add all three to a pot and warm up at medium heat. Stir until dissolved completely and leave to cool. In the meantime sift flour, sugar, cocoa, and bicarbonate soda into  a large mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk and start whisking.  While whisking, add the eggs to the mixture (one at a time). When mixed well, add the liquid chocolate mixture to the batter. Line the bottom of a spring form with baking parchment, clip into the form and grease the sides with a butter paper. Pour the chocolate mix into the tin and place in the oven. Bake for about an hour. Check whether its done by inserting a toothpick  – it should come out clear if its done.

Leave the cake to cool completely. Cut the cake into two slices. For that you can use a ruler and toothpicks for marking where to cut or a conventional cake cutter (this metal string, I don’t particularly like it but many people do). If the cake has risen unevenly cut of the top to make it look straight before cutting it in half.

Line the spring form bottom with baking parchment again. Place one half of the cake into the tin (with the browner/harder side down). If necessary, heat up the ganache again in the microwave. It should have a consistency of Nutella/peanut butter. Pipe around the edges of the form onto the cake to create a barrier for the filling to leak out later. Place the cherries into the middle. In the meantime, heat up the cherry liquid. Prepare gelatine according to packet instructing (for sheets usually soaking in cold water until wobbly). Add the gelatine to the cherry liquid and stir to dissolve. Leave to cold down until it starts to set. Check whether the chocolate ganache has set and pour the setting cherry sauce onto the cherries to create a smooth surface. Add the second half of the cake on top.

Cover the top of the cake with chocolate ganache while its still in the spring form. Leave to set. Remove the cake tin and coat the sides in ganache, too.  Rinse your palate knife under hot water to get a really smooth finish on the sides or top of the cake. If you want more info on how to coat a cake check out this tutorial that I found very helpful.


Leave for the ganache to set overnight for further fondant decorations or decorate to your liking 🙂 Enjoy pure chocolate indulgence ❤

Vanilla and Raspberry Cake

The upper tier of my celebration cake is a vanilla cake filled with panna cotta and raspberry. One of my favourite desserts to make is panna cotta topped with a raspberry sauce so I thought why not put this inside a cake. I love the sweetness and creaminess of the panna cotta and the tartness of the raspberry – I hope it also works in this cake.

For one 20cm cake:
250g  butter
250g caster sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar for the German bakers ;)
4 eggs
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
75ml milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the panna cotta:
300ml cream
3 vanilla pods 
about 50g caster sugar

For the raspberry layer:
500g frozen raspberries
6 sheets of gelatine
some caster sugar

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
125g butter
teaspoons vanilla extract

Prepare the two fillings first. If you have two 20cm cake dishes you can prepare them in parallel. Line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment and clip into the spring form. Heat the cream and raspberries in a pot over medium heat, each. Scrape the inner lining of the vanilla pod with a knife and transfer into the cream and add sugar to taste. Remove from the heat and add gelatine according to packet instructions. Leave to cool down to room temperature and pour into a baking tin. Leave to set in the fridge. Then the raspberries are hot, sift them and collect the puree in a bowl. Add sugar to taste and gelatine according to packet instructions. Leave to cool to room temperature and set in a baking tin. Store both fillings in the fridge until further use.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.

Cream butter and flour with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add one egg at a time while whisking. Sift in flour and baking powder and continue whisking. Finally, add milk and vanilla extract.

Line the base of a cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with a butter paper. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for about an hour (until toothpick comes out clear). Leave to cool completely.

Cut the cake into three layers with the help of a ruler and toothpicks (to mark to cut above). In case the cakes break (like mine did 😉 ) use the most stable one as the bottom. Place the panna cotta filling on top of the bottom, line with the second layer of sponge, raspberry jelly and the top sponge – I noticed that it can be difficult to line the outside of the cake with buttercream. Next time I would cut the jellies into slightly smaller circles and pipe some buttercream around it (inside a baking tin). 


For the buttercream, whisk icing sugar and butter until creamy. Add some vanilla extract to taste. Crumb-coat the cake with buttercream on top and sides. Due to the jelly fillings the cake is very wobbly, coat it as well as you can and continue after a night in he fridge if it’s too difficult…

 Leave to set in the fridge overnight. If you want to cover the cake in fondant spray with some water or add a thin layer of buttercream for the fondant to stick.


I coated both my cakes in white fondant and decorated using the Wilton letter cutters, silicon moulds for coloured and self-coloured fondant decorations and the remaining buttercream with some food colouring.

Roasted Veg Couscous

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For two portions:

1 small Hokkaido pumpkin (or butternut squash)
1 small sweet potato
1 medium aubergine
3 slices halloumi cheese
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil, lemon juice
300g couscous
250ml stock (vegetable or chicken)
fresh mint
yoghurt to serve with

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan).

Dice the pumpkin, sweet potato and aubergine without removing the skin. Spread out evenly on a baking tray. Top with chopped onion and garlic and drizzle with some olive oil. Season with pepper and salt and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Toss the vegetables and roast for another 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool.

In the meantime, panfry the halloumi in a griddle pan. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Chop into small chunks.

Roast vegetables and halloumi can be stored in the fridge until use.

Bring stock to a boil and pour over the couscous. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before adding some chopped fresh mint.

Before serving, mix couscous with vegetables and halloumi cheese. Serve topped with some yoghurt.

The Ultimate Supersandwich

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For two portions:

2 Finnish rye breads (pita bread shape)
4 tablespoons hummus (I used sundried tomato hummus)
2 roasted red peppers
1 large avocado
4 slices of halloumi (about half a packet)
optional: garlic roasted vegetables, baby spinach

Toast the rye breads and spread the hummus on the inside of the breads. Panfry the halloumi from both sides (use a griddle pan if available). Prepare the sandwich with roasted red peppers, vegetables, halloumi, and sliced avocado.

 

Lamb Tagine with Couscous

For two portions:

200-300g lamb, diced
1 large onion
1 small red chilli
2 heaped teaspoons of tagine spice mix (including cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger)
400g chopped tomatoes
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
4 dried apricots, diced

150g couscous
1 tomato, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
fresh mint, chopped
stock powder/fresh chicken stock

natural yoghurt to serve with

Preheat the oven to 140°C.
Heat some oil in a casserole dish and brown onions and meat. Add the red chilli and cook for 2 more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and the tagine spices. Fill up with chopped tomatoes and add the fruit. Cover with the lid and transfer to the oven. Leave to cook for at least 2 hours (3-4 hours are even better).

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For the couscous: Cover the couscous in stock (about 200ml) and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato, pepper, and mint to the couscous and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. FullSizeRender-2

Serve the tagine with couscous and top with some natural yoghurt. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Hey there, I am back! I have started writing a few posts in the last year but I never found the time to finish them… But I shall post more frequently again now 🙂

  
I love autumn and pumpkin soup is definitely one of my highlights every year. This time I adapted the recipe slightly and here its is :

For 2-3 portions:

400g potatoes

400g pumpkin (preferably Hokkaido)

3 medium onions

500ml vegetable/beef stock

100ml coconut milk 

150g crème fraîche (crème légère)

juice of 2 medium lemons 

Dice the potatoes, pumpkin and onions into rough chunks. Heat a pan and melt the  butter, pan-fry the diced vegetables until they start to brown and soften. Transfer to a pot and add the stock, coconut milk, curry powder, and cinnamon. Leave to simmer for about 15 minutes (until vegetables are soft). Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Blitz in a food processor. Add the crème légère and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, pepper, dried red chilli, and cayenne pepper.

Serve with crispy pancetta/bacon/Schinken, pumpkin seeds and some pumpkin seed oil. Enjoy 🙂

Christmas Cookies

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For quite a lot of cookies ;):

150g caster sugar

250g butter

2 eggs

vanilla sugar

500g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

300g icing sugar 

juice of 4 lemons

food colours

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Cream the butter with sugar and add one egg at a time. Sift in the flour and baking powder to make a sticky dough. Rest in the fridge for an hour or freezer for 20-30 minutes until it is firm.

Roll out on a dusted work surface and cut out different shapes. Bake until they turn golden (about 10 minutes) and leave them to cool before decorating.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and stir in some lemon juice. Stain the icing with your favourite colour and decorate the cookies.

Venison Casserole

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For 3 portions:

500g venison, diced

3 tablespoons flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 shallots, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 small parsnip, finely diced

2 tablespoons red currant jelly

250 ml red wine

300ml game stock

Cover the venison cubes with flour from all sides. Heat about 40g butter in a pan and cook the meat until brown from all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and add shallots, carrots, and parsnip. Scrape off all the flour stuck to the pan and add wine and stock. Place the meat back into the pan and add the red currant jelly. Let it simmer for 1.5-2 hours with occasional stirring.

Serve with some fresh Spätzle and Red Cabbage with Apple, enjoy 🙂