Suzy’s Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange Cake

 

It’s not Terry’s, it’s mine (Dawn French)

A couple of weeks ago, a friend from work had her leaving do … (very sad face). But it gave me the opportunity to bake her a cake (hooray!) and celebrate along with her!
Although at first, I wasn’t sure what flavour to pick, I knew she liked chocolate orange which left only one choice in my mind. Triple layer chocolate orange cake.
Here is my recipe:

Suzy’s Chocolate Orange Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

350 gr. self-raising flour
325 gr. caster sugar
5-6 eggs, beaten
325 gr. butter
50 gr. dark chocolate
1 bag of mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces, melted
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 orange
Milk (may not be needed)

For the chocolate butter icing

225gr. butter
1tbsp. cocoa powder
50 grams dark chocolate, heated in a microwave at 20 second intervals until melted.
450gr. icing sugar

Decoration

1 bag of Mini Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces.

Extra decoration

I also made a small batch of vanilla butter icing for decoration. This will need an extra 75 gr. butter, softened, 175 gr icing sugar, 1 tsp. of vanilla sugar or extract and whisk all together. You may need some extra milk to loosen the mixture.

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 Gas 4
  2. For this cake you will need 3 x 20cm round cake tins.
  3. Grease and line each tin with baking paper. I grease my tins with butter (on the bottom and side of the tin) and only place baking paper in the bottom of the tin.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter  and sugar until light and fluffy. For large cakes like this, I use a hand mixer.
  5. Add around a third of the flour and egg and whisk until incorporated.
  6. Whisk in the rest of the eggs.
  7. Fold in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder.
  8. Zest the orange and add to the mixture.
  9. Place the Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the microwaveable bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until just melted, stirring in-between each 20 seconds.
  10. Add the melted chocolate to the cake mixture and stir through until mixed thoroughly.
  11. You should have a dropping consistency at this point, but if you don’t, you can either squeeze in some of the orange or add some milk.
  12. Place a third of the mixture into one of the 20 cm round baking tins and repeat for the other two tins.
    I weigh the mixture into the tins in order to get a similar amount in each tin.
  13. Place the tins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until you can stick a fork in it and it comes out clean.
  14. Once the cakes are out of the oven, leave to rest for at least 5 minutes. With a rubber spatula or something similar, go round the edges to loosen any cake that has stuck.
  15. Place the cakes onto a cooling rack and leave to cool.
  16. To make the chocolate butter icing, soften the butter with a knife or fork. Add the icing, cocoa and chocolate and stir/whisk until it has blended together to make a spreading consistency.
  17. If the mixture is too hard, I sometimes add milk to loosen slightly, but just be careful not to add too much.
  18. To build up the layers of the cake, take the first layer and spread the chocolate butter icing over the top and around the sides of the cake.
  19. Next add the next layer and repeat the process and do the same with the final layer.

Suzy says:

  • For the design, I created a web with the vanilla butter icing and placed some Terry’s Chocolate Orange pieces on the top and around the side (but I would love to see any designs you come up with!)
  • I find smoothing icing around the side very difficult. I use a cake decorating turntable and a large palate knife to help with this.
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Butternut Squash Soup

Let me be the first to tell you, drinking alcohol is the worst thing to do in cold weather. Hot soup is the best because the process of digesting food helps to warm you up. (Morgan Freeman)

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This week, Butternut Squash soup was top of the menu in the Mills household! It is the perfect dish for a cold, Autumnal evening and really quick and easy to make. I love soups to be as thick as possible; when I was young I used to have a Dutch pea soup that was so thick, you could stick a spoon in and it would be held up! I would love to hear what your favourite flavours are, the more unusual the better! Here is my recipe:

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp. butter
2 medium sized butternut squash
1 small onion
1 medium sized leek
1 small sweet potato
1 chicken/Vegetable Knorr stock pot.
Water to cover the vegetables
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Chop up the butternut squash, onion, leek and sweet potato to small pieces (small enough to be blended afterwards)
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the chopped up vegetables. Stir the vegetables so they are covered fully in the butter.
  3. Turn down to the lowest heat, place a lid on the saucepan and let it reduce for 10 minutes.
  4. Add boiling water to the vegetables, just enough to cover the vegetables.
  5. Add the stock pot to the boiling water.
  6. Leave to simmer for 10-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  7. Add the milk and stir
  8. Blend with a hand blender until smooth.
  9. Serve.

Suzy Says:

  • Try experimenting and adding any other vegetables.
  • You can leave out the curry powder and turmeric, I just like to add spice to my soups.

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. (Christopher Morley)

I don’t know if you are the same but sometimes I get fed up of preparing the same meals each week and so challenge myself to try something completely different with the ingredients I have in stock. During winter, I find myself increasingly hankering for warm and wholesome dishes and this has become one of my recent favourites (particularly when served with a warm bread roll- delicious!) I came up with this recipe and we both adored it so I hope you like it too.

Winter Greens Pasta in a Creamy Mint Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large courgette
1\2 a large leek
2 handfuls of frozen peas
A little butter for frying
300 – 400 gr of Spaghetti
100 gr soft cream cheese
2tbsp. mint sauce
Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Put a pan of water on to boil. Once the water is boiled, add the spaghetti and cook to the packet’s instructions. I normally break the spaghetti in half before putting it in the pan.
  2. Chop up the courgette and leeks into long thin slices, as thin as you can get them
  3. Melt some butter into a large frying pan or wok on a medium heat and then add the courgettes and leek and fry until soft.
  4. In the meantime, microwave the frozen peas to your packet’s instruction and add to the wok once they are ready.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese and mint sauce together.
  6. Turn the heat down on the pan and add the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Stir the cream cheese mixture into the vegetables until it becomes a creamy sauce texture.
  8. Once the pasta is ready, drain and add to the frying pan.
  9. Mix until it has all combined.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I tend to add a lot of black pepper.

Suzy says:-

  • If you want more of a minty taste, just add more mint sauce
  • You could also experiment with different tastes, such as lemon or garlic or different herbs
  • If you want to reduce the calorific content, you could try using a fat free Greek yoghurt.