Spending the first few years of my life living in Germany has definitely had a big influence on the way I celebrate Christmas. Even the baubles hanging from my tree are the ones that I inherited/pinched from my mum which she bought when we lived […]
I keep holding my breath and hoping for the spring weather but the rain and chilly winds keep laughing in my face! I’m trying to make the most of it by creating some delicious, warming, indulgent puddings.
These little beauties are just fabulous. Fluffy chocolate sponge sitting on top of its own thick, rich, spiced chocolate sauce. Pretty impossible to resist if you ask me and perfect served with a dollop of cool, freshly whipped cream. You’re welcome folks – this one’s a keeper.
You can bake this as one big pudding (for about 6) if you don’t want to make them as individual servings but it will take a bit longer to bake.
makes 6-8 individual puddings (see note above)
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
big pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
pinch of salt
40g butter (melted)
2 tbsp dark rum
50g cocoa powder
100g soft dark brown sugar
200ml hot water
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease a baking dish or some ramekins with a little butter.
Sift together the spices, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, ensuring that they are well combined. Whisk in the salt and sugar.
Combine the melted butter, egg, rum and milk before beating this into the dry ingredients. Pour this batter into the prepared dishes, if you’re making individual ones they should be about half full.
Whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar for the sauce layer and then sprinkle this on top of the sponge batter. Mix together the rum and hot water and then carefully pour this on top of everything.
Bake the puddings for 25 minutes if you’re making little ones or 50 minutes if your making one big one. Serve hot with a dollop of fresh cream.
This is such a simple dessert, it really requires very little effort, but it tastes delicious and, if you get the charring right, looks really pretty.
Ripe, sweet, stone fruit are rich with natural sugars which caramelise beautifully on a grill creating a lovely contrast from the bitterness of the char and sweet flesh underneath.
If you have a gas barbecue with a lid then you can do the whole thing in there, otherwise a griddle pan and an oven will do the job. You can use any ripe stone fruit you like, I favour peaches or nectarines but apricots and plums work too. Obviously the quantities are easily multiplied. I love this served with vanilla mascarpone.
1 peach/nectarine or 2 plums/apricots
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tbsp dark rum
20g crushed amaretti biscuits (about 2 cookies)
pinch of ground cinnamon and ginger
mascarpone/clotted cream/ice cream to serve
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and set a griddle pan over a high heat.
Wash the fruit and cut it in half to remove the stone. Brush the cut side of the fruit with some of the melted butter and place it face down on the griddle pan. Leave it for several minutes so the surface chars and then rotate the fruit to create a cross-hatched effect. Once the fruit has charred to your liking place it cut side up in a baking dish.
Combine the amaretti crumbs with the spices and the remaining butter. Drizzle the rum over the surface of the fruit and then sprinkle over the crumble mixture. Roast the fruit in the oven for around 10 minutes (depending on the size and ripeness of your fruit), until it feels tender when you poke it with a knife.
Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
I don’t think that I can actually overstate how bloomin’ amazing this cake is. Even Roald Dahl Willy Wonka style naming wouldn’t come close to describing exactly how delicious this dessert tastes. Not just tastes mind you, the texture is heavenly too, crisp and meringue-like on the top and at the edges, rich and fudgy in the middle. And oh that slight spiciness too, tingly and warm and brilliant. Yes, I am proud of this bake.
The cream complements it wonderfully, and I’ve allowed plenty of it (because I’ll always be a West-country girl), but you could of course serve the cake with just a dusting of icing sugar and scoop of ice cream.
serves 8 (but I wouldn’t share it)
150g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
300ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tbsp dark rum
1 tsp sugar
fresh raspberries and mint to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease a spring-form cake tin. Line the base with grease-proof paper.
Chop up the chocolate and melt it together with the butter, either in a double boiler or by using short blasts in the microwave. Let this cool a little.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites and yolks into two large mixing bowls. Add the sugar to the yolks and beat them until they are really pale (the colour of butter) and thick and fluffy. Add the spices and vanilla to this and briefly beat it again.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold a stiff peak.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix them together, making sure that they are well blended. Adding the chocolate to the eggs (rather than the other way around) will reduce your risk of the chocolate seizing. Take a big spoonful of the whipped egg whites and mix it into the chocolate goo. This will lighten the mixture a bit. Carefully, using a big metal spoon, fold in the remaining egg whites, a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Pour the moussey batter into the prepared tin and bake it for 40 minutes.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack, the middle will sink a lot but that means that you can fill it with even more cream. Don’t worry if you have cracks in the top either.
Run a pallet knife around the inside of the tin and then carefully release the cake. Hopefully it will come away cleanly and you can slide it off the base and onto a serving plate. Carefully peel away the paper from underneath, this can be a bit fiddly because the top of the cake might be a bit crisp and delicate.
Place all the ingredients for the cream in a mixing bowl and whip until it forms soft peaks. Either pipe or spoon this on top of the cake to fill in the crater in the middle and decorate it with the raspberries and mint leaves. You can serve any leftover cream alongside the cake or it’s amazing on top of hot chocolate or coffee.