West Cork Coffee Cake
Coffee Cake, Kilcoe Style.
Well so much for yet another New Year’s resolution. Sugar and butter producers worldwide are breathing a sigh of relief as February dawns and all us poor eejits fall off the wagon. The health kick wagon that is. Bring on the cake I say. So in my rush to get you all to join me in my road to perdition, here is a slight repeat, if fact a total cog of the Chocolate Cake in my first blog. But this dear reader is the sticky edged coffee version. I am not going to make you trawl back through the blogs to find said choccy recipe so I’ll re-write the basics and changes here in full. This one calls for two 9” cake tins or two loaf tins as the cake, in my opinion, requires two types of icing. And two smaller cakes are perfect for a yummy layer in the middle.
What You Need:
• 230g/8oz butter at room temperature.
• 500g/18oz brown/Demerera sugar.
• 3 eggs.
• 310g/12oz of white spelt flour (you can use regular white flour)
• 2 teaspoons of baking soda/bread soda.
• half a teaspoon of salt.
• 120ml/4fl oz buttermilk (if you haven’t got any add 2 tspns of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and leave for 5 minutes)
• 240ml/8 fl oz hot strong coffee
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (please do not use the fake one, it will make the cake taste shop-bought)
For the top make up a coffee icing by adding hot extra-strong coffee to sieved icing sugar. Add it a tablespoon of coffee at a time to about 4oz of icing sugar, mixing as you go until it is oozing/runny. This will do for the top.
For the middle layer, go all out and add 2oz of butter to the above mixture. Not the exact above mixture, duh! Repeat the mixture, slightly less wet, and then add the butter.
What You Do:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand if this time you remembered to have it at room temperature. With the mixer on a slow speed add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. If at this point the whole thing looks like curdled mush, fear not, it will be just fine. Dense and moist is what we are looking for. No offense to the light fluffy cake brigade.
Combine, using a sieve, the flour, bread soda and salt in a medium bowl (That’s a bowl that will actually hold the volume, nothing fancier) Now add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the wet mixture alternating both. Blend gently and then add in the hot coffee slowly and the vanilla. This will be a very wet mixture. Don’t over-mix, but do scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula before the next step as mentioned before in the chocolate cake recipe. And if you didn’t heed my first warning and you now have a new phone, tough!
Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake in your pre-heated oven until a toothpick comes out clean. Again, if you don’t have a toothpick or a skewer use something thin and sharp. This can be anywhere from 30-40 minutes depending on your tin size and oven. Open the oven at twenty minutes and gently turn the cake 180 degrees. After 30 minutes check again and if still gooey close the door gently and check again every five to seven minutes. The beauty of this cake is, that it is better if it sinks. Dense, moist, delicious and you get sticky edges to boot.
Now, if you are using 2 x 9” cake tins turn the first cake out and spread the butter icing on it. Then top with the second cake and spread the plain icing on top letting some run down the sides. Decorate with chocolate coffee beans for special occasions.
If however you are using two loaf tins, be sensible. Did you really think we would be putting those on top of each other? A rectangular Leaning Tower of Pisa springs to mind. Nope. The beauty of this shape is you get two cakes. Bonus. Split horizontally (that’s the lying down equator direction) and follow instructions above for icing.
I have to admit here that this is my most favourite cake in the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that it is worth falling of the aforementioned wagon for.
Happy New Year.
Serious indulgence on my own behalf over the festive season has led me to admit that ‘something’ has to be done to get fit and healthy. So as the season of joy and good will to all men ends, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma. If I mention the word diet I will immediately start over-eating in my bodies bid for
survival. If I just ignore the reality of the situation the same thing happens, funnily enough. This is going to have to be a team effort. And that team is you dear reader. So join me in a non-diet/get fit/nutritious food sort of health kick. Misery loves company.
Don’t worry, the healthy recipes will be liberally sprinkled with indulgent ones. But let’s start with the basics. A good home baked brown bread cannot be beaten. And if it’s made with spelt flour it’s even better, as white spelt has the same whole grain content as processed brown flour. Triple the goodness mixed with brown spelt. Keep up now!
Yes, as this loaf comes steaming out of the oven I know you want to lather it with butter and jam, but remember our resolution, moderation, moderation, moderation. So scrape on a little butter or peanut butter and top with sliced banana. Not necessarily low calorie but very good for you, and tasty to boot.
Brown Soda Bread.
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
What You Need:
600g whole wheat spelt flour
600g white spelt flour
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of bread soda/baking soda
850ml butter milk.
Optional extras: a couple of tablespoons of porridge oats, quinoa (pronounce keen-wah so pleeeease stop saying quin-o-ah) nibbed oats, oat bran etc etc. These give the bread great texture. You can add a beaten egg for richness or a tablespoon of molasses for colour and flavour. And just for good measure and keeping in mind our healthy eating you could throw in a handful of mixed seeds or put some on top before baking.
What You Do:
Sieve the white flour and the baking soda into a large wide bowl. Add in the whole wheat flour and any of the optional dry ingredients. Mix together and make a well in the centre (that’s a big hole or crater). Pour in 90% of the buttermilk and the beaten egg if using. Now make your hand into a live spider (as opposed to the dead one which is up-side-down) and stir the mix gently but with conviction until it is evenly moist, adding the rest of the liquid as you reach that big pocket of dry flour mixture near the bottom. Do NOT over-mix. If it’s a wee bit dry don’t be afraid to add some more liquid, but do it gradually.
At this point you can turn the mix out into either 2 x 1lb loaf tins, onto a cookie tray in a round cake shape or two small rounds. Make sure the tin/tray is greased and floured. If you are using the round shape cut a deep cross in the loaf. If you are Irish and doing this you know exactly what I mean. If you are
foreign, Google it! But no matter what shape or where you are from DO NOT forget to let the fairies out by pricking the surface with a knife several times.
Bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200 degrees and bake for up to 30 minutes or longer until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you are not sure, turn it over and bake for a further 10 minutes up-side-down. Cool on a wire rack or for a slightly softer crust wrap it in a clean tea towel first.
brown soda bread after
Peanut butter and Banana.
Ooey Gooey Butterscotch Pudding.
I am a great believer in breaking away from the traditional Christmas desserts if you just don’t like them. So if you are one to shudder at the thought of all that dried fruit, here is a recipe to die for. At a dinner party lately a friend of mine, who would normally eschew dessert and be Miss Healthy, finished the whole bowl while chatting. Six of us had managed to eat the other half.
What you need:
250g Plain Flour (I use white spelt flour and it works a treat)
5-6 x level teaspoons of Baking Powder.
250g Brown Sugar.
2 x Eggs, beaten.
2-3 x Bananas, mashed.
2 x teaspoons of Vanilla Extract (please use the real one)
2-3 x tablespoons of Whiskey.
170g Butter, melted. (This is not called Margerinescotch pudding, so don’t even think about it……)
For the syrup:
6oz Brown Sugar.
3 x tablespoons Golden Syrup.
8 fl oz boiling water.
10 x 10 gratin dish, large oval gratin dish or something similar (approx 2.5 ltr), buttered.
Oven to table ware is best as it is served in the dish.
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350f, gas mark 4)
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the brown sugar. In another bowl mix together the beaten egg, mashed banana, milk, vanilla extract, whiskey and melted butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix gently until fully combined. Pour into your prepared dish and place the dish into an oven tray. Don’t question this, just do it if you value the cleanliness of your oven floor.
out of the oven
To make the syrup:
Put the brown sugar, golden syrup and boiling water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes. Bring it back to the boil and then drizzle it, yes all of it, all over the pudding. Bake in your preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until it feels firm in the centre. That firmness should not be just a crispy crust. Make sure the inside is firm too. The toothpick test may be misleading as the pudding is very moist.
Serve with whipped cream.
Whatever else you do, make sure you enjoy eating it.
With love, Margie.
Chicken Chutney Dip
It’s Christmas Time…… Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
…… Rockin’ around the Christmas tree……Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland…… Driving home for Christmas…
Aaaaaaargh! Yuletide songs have been driving us mad since October, which means by now they do nothing whatsoever to get us in the Christmassey mood. So let’s try something else. Let’s cook for friends.
This year is all about spending time together as opposed to the Celtic Tiger present frenzy. So why not spoil your loved ones with something they actually need. Give them some time and attention, along with yummy home cooked food.
The following recipe is simple to make and great for sharing. Read it through before you start.
‘Movie Night’ Chicken Chutney Dip and Pita Chips.
A friend of mine gave me this recipe about twenty years ago and I must have made it hundreds of times since then. My sister even insisted on having it for the drinks reception at her wedding. You will find that people hover around the bowl pretending to chat to someone. In actual fact they are hogging the dip. You may find yourself in the roll of evictor. Grab a scoop while you wrestle with the offenders.
What you need:
2 x large Chicken Breasts, poached (that’s simmered gently in a little salty water until cooked through)
The brands I use.
6-8 fl oz of Mayonnaise.
3 x tablespoons of Mango Chutney.
3 x Scallions.
2 x tablespoons of Madras Curry Powder.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
3 oz of Sliced Almonds
For the Pita Chips:
1 or 2 packets of Pita Bread.
An oven to table gratin dish or ovenproof bowl, the right size for the volume of dip. The mixture should be at least an inch or more deep in the dish. A food processor or blender or magic wand (the electrical one not the fairy godmother one)
What you do:
Place all the ingredients EXCEPT the almonds in your available whizzer. Blend until almost smooth. (If you are using a wand chop the chicken and scallions up first) If the mixture seems a little dry add the extra 2 oz of Mayonnaise. You can taste it at this stage to check the seasoning. Put into your oven proof dish. Top with the almonds spread in a single layer and bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes until it starts to bubble a little bit.
Into the food processor to whiz
Cut the pita bread into wedges (i.e. like pizza slices) I find a scissors does the job well. Pull apart to split in two single layers. Toss in a little olive oil and salt. Bake in the oven for about 5-8 minutes.
Watch it. They burn in the blink of an eye!
Of course you could just use plain tortilla chips. Less work and more time with the movie goers.
Serve warm and watch as human nature takes over.
In January when you are on that health kick, why not try it with low-fat mayo and vegetable sticks for dipping.
Whatever else you do, make sure you enjoy eating it.
With love, Margie.
The Best Chocolate Cake in MyWorld.
chocolate cake, the finished object
This is my first attempt at a recipe blog. So please bear with me as I try to make it interesting, informative and worth the read. Having never attempted to put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking, before this could be a complete disaster, but here goes…
As a cook the one thing I am asked for over and over again is chocolate cake. For birthdays, family get-togethers, a local knees-up, any special occasion really, the one request I get often is ‘will you make that gorgeous chocolate cake?’ So in the hope that someone else will be asked to make it next time, let us begin.
A quick note here :READ THE RECIPE THROUGH FROM START TO FINISH FIRST, AND YES, I AM SHOUTING AT YOU…
What you need:
85g/3oz of good unsweetened dark chocolate (50% cocoa content minimum).
230g/8oz butter at room temperature.
500g/18oz brown/Demerera sugar.
310g/12oz of white spelt flour (you can use regular white flour)
2 teaspoons of baking soda/bread soda.
half a teaspoon of salt.
120ml/4fl oz buttermilk (if you haven’t got any add 2 tspns of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and leave for 5 minutes)
240ml/8 fl oz boiling water.
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (please do not use the fake one, it will make the cake taste shop-bought)
For the icing:
300g/11oz good dark chocolate.
170g/6oz icing sugar.
100ml/3.5 fl oz milk.
What you do:
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line one 12 inch or two 9 inch tins with parchment or greaseproof paper or a dusting of flour. Set them aside. DO ALL THIS NOW (yes that’s me shouting again or, being more polite so as not to discourage you…raising my voice)
Place the chocolate in a heavy saucepan over a very low heat or in a double boiler (i.e. glass/pyrex bowl of chocolate pieces or drops sitting atop a saucepan of simmering water, bowl not touching the water) and melt gently, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (however if you have been very diligent, and not like me who has not listened to myself and isnow pulling the butter out of the fridge, and your butter is at warm-room temperature, you can do this by hand) With the mixer on a slow speed add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. If at this point the whole thing looks like curdled mush, fear not. This just means your finished productwon’t be as light and fluffy as Grannie’s. In this instance that’s a bonus. Stir in the melted chocolate.
Combine, using a sieve
, the flour, bread soda and salt in a medium bowl (That’s a bowl that will actually hold the volume, nothing fancier) Now add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the chocolatey mixture alternating both. Blend gently and then add in the boiling
water slowly and the vanilla. This will be a very wet mixture. Don’t over-mix, but do scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula before the next step or you will have a big gloopy bit that drops into the tin and splatters you
and everything within range including your iphone.
Pour the batter into your prepared tin/s and bake in your pre-heated oven until a toothpick comes out clean. In the absence of a toothpick, use a knife or skewer or your bloomin’ imagination! This can be anywhere from 30-55 minutes depending on your tin size and oven. Open the oven at thirty minutes and gently turn the cake 180 degrees (that’s half way round to you non-math’sey people) check for done-ness. If still gooey close the door gently and check again every ten minutes or so. The beauty of this cake is, that it is better if it sinks. Dense, moist and devilishly delicious.
Cool in the tin. When cool, turn out onto your favourite big plate. Best if it’s a completely flat cake plate as whatever about sunken, you don’t need the plate to make it look like the crater in Mount Vesuvius.
For the icing, gently melt the chocolate with the butter. Add the milk slowly, mixing all the time. Sieve in the icing sugar, again stirring at intervals. Whisk gently to smooth. Now pour it on top of the cake from the middle outwards. As you get towards the edge let it run down the sides. You can then re-direct the flow by using a flat knife to spread it out if nesessary. Decorate with anything from a mound of berries and a sprig of mint in the centre, to lavish chocolate swirls or just plain old milk and white chocolate buttons.
Whatever else you do, make sure you enjoy eating it. With Love, Margie.
the best chocolate cake