I had a bit of a baking spree last month. It started with some small squares of chocolate cheesecake brownie, it moved on to big strawberry and cream cupcakes and escalated to a full blown white chocolate and raspberry tart.
Needless to say I’ve been trying to eat healthily ever since. Although to tell you the truth that isn’t going well either, since on Sunday I cooked a huge slow roast pork shoulder joint that could have fed most of the residents in my cul-de-sac. In fact on the day of the tremendous roast we started off with a full English including bacon, ate ham salad for lunch then the pork for dinner. I felt like I had eaten a whole pig – between us we had probably come very close.
But back to the cakes. I really recommend you try making cheesecake brownies, they bring the American treat to a new level. I won’t give you the recipe I used as it didn’t work out as well as others I’ve tried in the past, but put chocolate cheesecake brownies into Google and you’ll find loads of recipes.
The cup-cakes were a complete revelation, a total shock in fact. The recipe came from an amazing book by Harry Eastwood, called Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, in which the all the cake sponge mixes are made with no butter and no wheat flour. All of the recipes in book are gluten free and are lower in fat than typical cake recipes, plus they all incorporate vegetables. How can this be? I asked myself – no butter? No wheat flour? Would it not taste of cardboard.
No it didn’t, it tasted nothing like cardboard. It tasted like the softest, most moist sponge I had made. Bonus points also for the fact it used grated courgette because I had loads growing on my plant in the garden.
The vegetable gave it the moist texture as did the ground almonds, then rice flour was used for lightness. A nice trick was to put two scoops of sponge mix into the muffin case, a spoon of jam and a last scoop of sponge mix, so the jam oozes out when you bite into it. It was quite simply genius and I recommend you either buy a copy – or, as I did, rent it from the library.
Lastly I made the white chocolate cheesecake tart with dark chocolate pastry base. A recipe of Nigella’s, I plucked it from the pages of How to be a Domestic Goddess one rainy weekend. Making it whiled away the hours. It then took three solid days of dedicated eating by the two of us to polish off. So excuse me while I go lay down, loosen my trousers and attempt to talk myself into going for a run.