Friday, 29 April 2011

A Royal Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Today the world watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton. I have been so excited about this royal wedding and planned to celebrate it with a tea party viewing at a friend's house. My food contribution was a chocolate biscuit cake-the very same as the one requested by William for his groom's cake. This recipe is from Darren McGrady's Eating Royally cookbook. His cookbook is wonderful, with lots of yummy recipes and provides a rare glimpse of palace life. This cake is meant to be the Queen's favourite tea cake....and I can see why. It is so chocolatey with a slight chewiness that makes it dangerously moreish! Don't wait for the next royal wedding to make this!!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake (Serves 8)

1/2 tsp butter, for greasing the tin
8 oz McVities rich tea biscuits
4oz butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
8 oz dark chocolate, for icing
1oz white chocolate, for decoration

Lightly grease a small (6in.) cake ring with 1/2tsp butter and place on a baknig tray lined with parchment/baking paper. Break each biscuit into almond-size pieces and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Melt the 4oz of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Add the butter mixture to the chocolate, stirring constantly. Add the egg, stirring. Fold in the biscuit pieces until they are coated with the chocolate mixture.

Spoon the chocolate biscuit mixture into the prepared cake ring. Press it into the cake ring to fill all the gaps at the bottom, as this will be the top when it's unmolded. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hrs.

Remove from the refrigerator and let stand while you melt the 8oz of dark chocolate. Slide the ring off the cake and turn the cake upside down onto a cooling rack. Pour the melted chocolate over the cake. Smooth the top and sides using an offset spatula. All the chocolate to set at room temperature. Carefully run a knife around the bottom of the cake where it has stuck to the rack. Transfer the cake to a dish. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Note: I accidently doubled the butter when I made this. I thought the cake was perfect so, I have indicated the amount of butter I used in the recipe. If you would like to make the original version, only use 2oz of butter.

Recipe source: Eating Royally. This recipe also appears on Epicurious

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria's Collection and Jamie of Life's a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged the Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Argggghhhh! I'm late posting my Daring Bakers' Challenge AGAIN! I made this a week ago but have been so busy this week that I haven't had a chance to post it. So, finally, here it is!

This bread was very yummy, especially when served warm. It was pretty straight-forward and easy to make as well. The potential filling combinations are endless, but I went with one recommended in the recipe-cinnamon, nuts and chocolate? What could be better?!

Filled Meringue Coffee Cake
Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each about 10-in in diameter. The recipe can be halved to make one coffee cake.

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 package active dried yeast
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar

For the filling:
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg
Confectioner's sugar for dusting the cakes


Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 min. Add the eggs and 1 cup flour and beat for 2 more min.

Using the wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 8-10min until the dough is soft, smooth adn elastic. Keep the work surface floured and add extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towl and let rise to double in bulk, 45-60min. The rising time will depend of the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling.

Once the dough has doubled, prepare the meringue: In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30seconds, then increasing to a high speed, beating until foamy and opaque.

Add the vanilla then start adding the 1/2 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the coffee cakes: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide in half.

On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough to 20x10-in rectangle.

Spread half the meringue evenly over the rectangle, up to about 1/2-inch from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling evenly over the meringue. Roll up the dough from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal.

Transfer the log to one of the cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other, and pinching to seal. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts along the outside edge, about 1-in intervals.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings. Cover the coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45-60min.

Preheat oven to 350*F (180*C). Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake for 25-30min until risen and brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto a table. Loosen the coffee cakes from the paper and slide off onto cooling racks.

Just before serving, dust the tops with confectioner's sugar. The inside will look something like this: