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Easy chocolate cakes and bakes

BANANA AND CHOCOLATE LOAF

 

This really is delicious and is a great way to use up overripe bananas. You can also slice it and freeze it and defrost a slice at a time.

INGREDIENTS

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  • 1 ripe banana (peeled weight 100g/4oz)

  • 1 tbsp milk

  • 50g/2oz soft butter or baking spread

  • 75g/3oz plain flour

  • 75g/3oz caster sugar

  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 1 free-range egg

  • 50g/2oz dark chocolate chips

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3. Grease and line a 450g/1lb loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment.

  2. Use a fork to mash the peeled banana in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining cake ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and beat with an electric hand whisk until combined and smooth.

  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Level the top.

  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until well risen, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and golden-brown.

  5. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. 

     

RECIPE TIPS

The quantities for this cake can easily be doubled - bake in a 900g/2lb loaf tin for 55 minutes.

Optional extras: add 50g chopped pecans or walnuts if you like.

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EASY CHOCOLATE AND BEETROOT CAKE

This cake is deliciously moist and despite the batter being bright pink, the beetroot just gives it a richness. Its so simple to make too.

INGREDIENTS 


180ml sunflower oil
190 g self raising flour 
60g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g golden caster sugar
250g cooked beetroot
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract .

METHOD

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree/ fan 170 degree/ gas mark 4

  2. Lightly oil a 23cm diameter round tin, then line the base with baking parchment . In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda, then stir in the sugar

  3. In a food processor, purée the beetroot and its juice then with the motor running out the eggs and vanilla, and slowly pour in the oil. Mix until everything is blended together

  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the beetroot mixture, and with a large metal spoon gently fold everything together.

  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes. I tend to check it around 40 minutes, you know the cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean

     

    TIP if the cake starts to brown too much before it is fully cooked, cut a round piece of tinfoil the diameter of the cake, make a large hole in the centre and open it up. Place it over the cake to let the steam out and protect the edges of the top surface

  6. Remove the cake from the oven, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes in the tin and then turn it out onto a wire cake rack until cool



CHOCOLATE AND PEAR PUDDING

This is a Nigella recipe which my 11 year old daughter loves to make. Its really simple and absolutely delicious

INGREDIENTS

Serves: 6-8

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  • 830 grams pear halves in juice (2 cans)

  • 125 grams plain flour

  • 25 grams cocoa powder

  • 125 grams caster sugar

  • 150 grams soft butter (plus extra for greasing)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

     

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF and grease a 22cm / 8½ inch square ovenproof dish with butter.

  2. Drain the pears and arrange them on the base of the dish.

  3. Put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

  4. Spread the brown batter over the pears, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

  5. Let stand out of the oven for 5 or 10 minutes and then cut into slabs - I cut 2 down and 2 across to make 9 slices

EASY CHOCOLATE AND ORANGE SHORTBREAD  

I have to credit Jamie Oliver for his recipe, although we adapted it quite a bit so use what we already had - and it was absolutely delicious! So if you have the ingredients Jamie suggests, then great, if not why not adapt it to what you have? If you don’t have orange extract you could use vanilla essence instead, and use any chocolate bars.

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 g unsalted butter , at room temperature  (or any baking spread)

  • 200 g plain flour 

  • 50 g golden caster sugar , plus extra to sprinkle (I used granulated and it was fine)

  • 1 orange  (I used a teaspoon of orange essence - you could also add a drop to the melted chocolate )

  • 50 g quality dark chocolate , (70%) (we used Dairy Milk!)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. 

  2. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line with greaseproof paper. 

  3. In a bowl, mix together the butter, flour, sugar and the finely grated zest of half the orange (or orange extract) by rubbing the mixture between your thumbs and fingertips. 

  4. Squash and pat into dough – don’t knead it – then push into the lined tin in a 1cm-thick layer. Prick all over with a fork, then bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

  5. Remove, sprinkle over a little extra sugar while it’s still warm, then leave to cool.

  6. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then remove. 

  7. Cut the shortbread into 12 finger portions, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. 

  8. Drizzle with the chocolate, then finely grate over the remaining orange zest (if using). Cut up the orange, and serve on the side

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