Soda bread is one of the easiest bread recipes you can make. Even if you are a beginner and you've never made bread before you can bake this recipe! Trust me!
My bread baking course's students are always surprised how easy this soda bread recipe is and laugh when I tell, them that they need to pretty much forget what I've just told them about baking yeasted bread! None of the rules apply here!
As you might know, I've always been fascinated by traditional sweets. Probably because our house is victorian I wanted to dive a little deeper into the history of victorian sweets.
In Victorian times, everything seems possible! It was the time for great inventions, connecting the whole countries with new amazing technology (called the steam railways!) and also time for everything proper!
Standing in front of the fridge in despair, prodding a very runny jelly? Running out of time for your jelly pudding to set and wonder what to do?
Yes, I know, I've been there too...
With party guest arriving any minute and you worry whether the jelly dessert will set in time, it should be served.
So, how long does jelly take to set?
I'm sorry to be the bearer of a bad news, but most jellies take at least 2-4 hrs to set in fridge (which is set to about 5C). But some large jellies (say if you use one of those lovely oldfashioned jelly moulds) might take even longer. If you have the time, just make the jelly the day before you needed and it will always set fine.
First of all - and just to put everyone mind at rest - there is no such thing as true sourdough bread that's 'quick' or can be made without a sourdough starter. Yes, you can make sourdough bread without a starter, for example, San Francisco Sourdough Bread. This bread is made from 'scratch' without 'starter', but it takes about seven days to make as you gradually increase the amount of fermenting dough. The flavour is amazing, and it's certainly worth making an effort to make this bread. So, whilst made without a sourdough starter, it's certainly not quick!
This recipe is very popular at Christmas, but I tend to make it any time I want something slightly different than just traditional chocolate truffles. The addition of cake crumbs in this rum truffle recipe is just genius, and it makes these ever so slightly addictive.
You can easily swap a normal sponge cake for a gluten-free one to create truffles suitable for people with gluten sensitivity. You can also use a chocolate cake instead of Madeira cake for extra chocolate taste.
It isn’t just adults who are curious about chocolate. Chocolate facts for kids comes high up on our list of most asked questions, here at Cocoa and Heart. Most children have to be persuaded to taste dark chocolate because it tends to be more bitter – even though it is healthier. So children on the whole go for milk chocolate first and foremost.
I have just finished designing my latest workshop - 'How to set up your own microbakery'. I know that loads of people have been waiting for this, but I wanted to make sure that the course was comprehensive, practical and super useful, so it took me little longer then I originally anticipated. You can find out more about the course here and book your place.
This is really nice and easy chocolate cupcake recipe, which is also quick to bake. I've never had any major disasters with this recipe and the chocolate flavour is amazing, especially in the chocolate frosting.
As always, the better the ingredients the better the flavour and the final result is going to be. Saying that, there are few tricks which you can use with this recipe, such as to add a coffee paste (one teaspoon of instant coffee granules with dash of hot water - just enough to make it into a paste) to the chocolate cupcakes batter.<blog_break>
The coffee just helps to bring out the chocolate flavour more. Another trick is to add a half a pinch of salt to the frosting. It amazingly balances the sweetness and again works great with the chocolate. It won't taste salty and it can make a real difference between frosting that's just O.K to the most amazing chocolate frosting you've ever tasted.
If you find the chocolate frosting too rich you can always swap the milk with water or use 50% water and 50% milk. It still works great and it makes the frosting slightly lighter.
Chocolate Cupcake Recipe with Chocolate Frosting
100g plain flour
20 g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
40g unsalted butter
120ml whole milk
A pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml whole milk
50g melted plain chocolate or cocoa powder
Makes 12 chocolate cupcakes
First of all, preheat the oven to 170 C (Gas 3). Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated. Whisk the egg and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple of more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the chocolate frosting on top and decorate.
To make the chocolate frosting beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. This can be fairly tricky as the icing sugar will go everywhere, so I normally use clean teatowel loosely wrapped around the bowl (or on top) of my handheld whisk.
Combine the milk and chocolate in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the chocolate frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
These chocolate cupcakes are always a big hit with my friends, so I'm sure you'll enjoy them too! If you bake your batch using my chocolate cupcake recipe, do let me know how you get on in the comments below.