Sunday, 23 March 2014

Cake'n'Bake Club: Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Brownies

This month's theme for Cake'n'Bake was "Mad March", and I wanted to bake something a little on the unusual side. When I saw a photo of "goat's cheese brownies" on buzzfeed, I knew that had to be it. The only problem was that it ended up turning out that goat's cheese brownies were not that mad at all... when I searched for recipes 100's came up! Apparently goat's cheese brownies are pretty big in the USA! So, how could I make my brownies even madder? By adding beetroot. Yummy, lovely beetroot.

This is a brownie of three layers. I used my usual brownie recipe for the chocolate layer, and took inspiration for the goat's cheese layer and the beetroot layer here and here (respectively). I started mine with the chocolate layer, then goat's cheese, and then beetroot. Next time I make them, I'll do the beetroot layer first, as that batter is much thicker than the other two and needed spreading with a spoon, whereas the chocolate and cheese layers could just be poured. I've typed the instructions below as if the beetroot layer went in first, because I think you'll find it much easier to do that way! These brownies do take a bit of time and effort, but they are seriously worth it...

I've provided below all of the ingredients you need to make all three layers, so this will work as a sort of shopping list. But, to make it easier to read and to tell what goes where, I've split ingredients by layer in the method below. I hope this makes sense!

175g cooked beetroot
35ml vegetable oil
100g dark chocolate
3 medium eggs
50g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
50g cocoa powder
150g soft goat's cheese
30g honey
55g margarine
110g muscovado sugar

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 25 brownies

  • Preheat the oven to 180 and line a brownie tin with baking paper
  • Start with the beetroot layer: 

For the beetroot layer:
175g cooked beetroot
35ml vegetable oil
100g dark chocolate
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
45g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder

  • Put the beetroot and the oil into a blender and blend to a fine paste. Add the chocolate and blend until the chocolate is in very small chunks. Put this mixture to one side.
  • Pop the egg, sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and foamy. Add the beetroot mixture, flour and cocoa powder to the bowl and fold into the eggs until all combined.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and spread level with the back of a spoon. Pop the brownie tin to one side whilst you prepare the cheese layer:

For the cheese layer:
150g soft goat's cheese
1 egg
30g honey
20g self raising flour
  • Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Carefully pour the mixture over the beetroot layer and put to one side.
  • Prepare your chocolate layer:

For the chocolate layer:
55g margarine
25g cocoa powder
1 egg
110g muscovado sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
35g self raising flour

  • Melt the margarine, either in the microwave or in a pan over a low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder, and put this to one side to cool for a few minutes.
  • Put the egg, sugar and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whisk until pale and foamy. You'd be surprised - even brown sugar goes pale when whisked!
  • Fold in the cocoa mixture and the flour until this combines to a smooth, runny batter.
  • Pour the batter very carefully over the goats cheese layer in the brownie tin, making sure to cover all of the goats cheese mixture.
  • Pop the brownies into the over for 40 minutes. The brownies should feel "set" when you press them likely - that's how you know they will be cooked but still fudgey.
  • Allow the brownies to cool in the tin before turning out onto a chopping board and cutting into 25 squares.
  • Eat one, and be amazed at the marvellous combination of taste and texture!

Happy Thoughts

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Lemon and Raspberry Loaf

The sun is shining, and my garden is filled with daffodils, so I wanted to make something light and delicious to celebrate the start of Spring: a lemon and raspberry tea loaf. The cake is light and fluffy with a subtle lemon flavour, topped with juicy, zingy raspberries. Perfect for a sunny afternoon tea!

Based on this recipe I found on Pinterest. I love Pinterest far too much. It has ALL the things.

135ml sunflower oil
135ml milk
1 tsp vanilla exract
75ml lemon juice
2 eggs
250g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
50g raspberries

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 10
  1.  Preheat the oven to 160 and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Pop all of the ingredients except the raspberries into a large mixing bowl and whisk until they come together to form a smooth batter.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and pop into the oven, make sure to set a timer for 15 minutes. 
  4. After 15 minutes, quickly open the oven door and sprinkle the raspberries of the top of the loaf. This should mean that they don't sink too far into the cake, but instead rest nicely on the top where they will go soft and leave lots of yummy juices.
  5. Bake for a further 45 minutes, until golden brown on top (between the raspberries) and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Once cooled, cut into slices and serve with a cup of tea! (You could also serve with a dollop of clotted cream, if you're after a really indulgent spring-time treat!)

Happy Thoughts

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Cake'n'Bake Club: Cheese Scones

I decided last weekend that I'd start posting recipes on a Sunday instead. No real reason, other than I felt like it. Sundays were made for baking, right? I'm still playing catch-up with typing recipes from my Cake'n'Bake meetings, so thought I'd continue in a completely non-chronoligical way with these cheese scones from our Fairytale Tea Party in July 2013. I had used the "Sword in the Scone" pun previously when I was doing the Disney Movie Challenge, but it went down well so I figured it would be a good way to get some savoury bakes into our fairytale offering. I accidentally made these vegan, since I try to avoid dairy and used sunflower spread, soy milk and soy cheese. I don't particularly like the taste of soy cheese normally, but it tasted fine in these scones. The scones can be served warm or allowed to cool before serving, and are best eaten on the day of baking.

Prep time: 5-10 mins        
Cook time: 10-12 mins       
Makes 6 large scones (or 12 mini ones, as pictured!)


135ml milk
1 tsp lemon juice
275g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
tsp baking powder
65g margarine
1tbsp caster sugar
100g grated cheese
To glaze:
2tbsp milk
Salt and cracked black pepper

  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 7 and place the baking tray you plan to use into the oven to heat up.
  2. Heat the milk in the microwave for around 30 seconds until warm, but not hot. Add the lemon juice to the milk and set this to one side for a few minutes whilst you prepare the dry ingredients.
  3. Tip the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl, and then tip in the margarine. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and grated cheese to the crumb-like mixture, and mix in with your hands.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the cooled milk. Mix these together using a cutlery knife until they combine to make a wet dough, being careful not to overwork.
  5. Scatter flour over the work surface and tip the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Fold the dough over itself 2-3 times until it becomes smooth, again being careful not to overwork. Pat the dough out (it's better to pat than to use a rolling pin) to around 3cm thick.
  6. Using a cutter of your choice, cut scones out of the dough. Tip - do not twist your cutter as this seals the sides of the dough and may prevent your scones from rising.
  7. Brush the scones with a little milk, and then sprinkle on some salt and black pepper before popping them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!
Happy Baking!

Happy Thoughts