“This recipe came from necessity. I needed a dessert for a catering job that was Christmas themed and gluten free, so I adapted my mud-cake recipe to include some Christmas flavours. The result was a super moist cake that works brilliantly as a warm dessert served with ice cream or custard and a hearty cake for your Christmas celebrations. If you don’t need it gluten free then substitute regular flour. For the dessert cake I slightly undercook it so it is still fudge and moist inside. Enjoy”
375g dark chocolate
600ml water (or red wine)
300g almond meal
200g gluten free self raising flour
400g dark sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
150 chopped walnuts or almonds
1kg Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Place chocolate, butter and water (or red wine) in a saucepan and bring to a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all ingredients are melted and combined. Allow to cool.
Combine in a mixing bowl the almond meal, GF flour, sugar and spices.
Beat the eggs and mix into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Add the Christmas mince to the chocolate mixture and stir through.
Pour the chocolate mixture and the nuts into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Pour into a large flat lined dish or several smaller ones. I use one that is 35cm by 24cm. If you try to use a traditional cake pan it will take ages to cook and burn around the edges. You want the cake to be about 4cm tall (It won’t rise much at all)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes or until just set. As long as there’s no movement in the cake when you move it and a skewer comes out relatively clean it should be fine.
Allow to cool in the pan in the fridge before turning out and cutting.
“Recently, in an attempt to have less meat in our diet, I’ve been trying to create vegetarian and vegan recipes that still satisfy me and pack a punch of flavour and texture. My favourite would have to be mushroom parmigiana. Right up there with the chicken version! One dish we eat heaps of is Bolognese or Chilli con carne and I’ve started using half beef, half lentils to great effect. I still wanted to do a vegan version, so started experimenting with this recipe. My aim was to get a dish that felt like you were eating the original and still had heaps of complex flavours. The fact that my carnivorous husband loves it means it must be a success. This is a good recipe for doing in bulk and freezing for later. Enjoy!”
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 tsp star anise powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp sweet paprika
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups red wine
1 x 400g can of tomatoes
1 x 400g can of lentils
1 x 400g can of chick peas
1 x 400g can of black or red beans
4 tbsp Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup Barbecue sauce (optional)
100g pecans, finely diced
Cook the carrot, onion, celery and garlic in a large frypan until soft.
Add the tomato paste, star anise, cumin and paprika and cook off for a few minutes.
Add the red wine and tomatoes then let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Put the mushrooms in a food processor until diced. You want to keep a bit of texture. Do the same with the chick peas.
Put mushrooms, lentils, beans and chickpeas in a large stockpot or slow cooker. Pour in the tomato and red wine mixture and combine. Allow this to sit on low heat for at least an hour. If the mixture gets too dry, add more red wine or vegetable stock.
Add the kecap manis (or dark soy sauce) and balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you want a smokey flavour add the barbecue sauce.
Stir in the pecans just before you serve for added texture.
Serve with the pasta of your choice and parmesan cheese.
“This would have to be my new favourite cake! I’ve always loved a good mud cake but adding the red wine and spices adds a new dimension to this devilishly good dessert. The smell while it’s cooking is intense and indulgent, filling the house with a mulled-wine aroma that’s hard to beat. The addition of the port buttercream adds another dimension but I also make it with a basic ganache. The best news is it’s so simple to make (although the decorating has taken a while for me to get proficient). This is also one of those recipes that works just as well as a cupcake and lasts really well for up to five days without losing it’s texture. Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
375g dark chocolate
600ml red wine
400g dark sugar
450g self raising flour
1 tbsp mixed spice
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
Place chocolate, butter and red wine in a saucepan and heat on medium stirring occasionally until all the ingredients have melted and combined. Allow to cool for 1/2 and hour.
Beat the eggs and the sugar until combined.
Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until combined.
Stir in the flour and spice until combined.
Pour into 2 lined 20cm cake tins and cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry.
Allow the cakes to cool.“If you plan to decorate your cakes in fondant, cover cakes in glad wrap and refrigerate until the cakes become completely cooled and solid. This makes slicing them much easier. If you want to make a simpler version, slice the cakes in half and fill with cream, ganache or butter cream or use sliced strawberries or fresh raspberries. But for pure indulgence I’ve included my port buttercream recipe. Try not to eat more buttercream than goes in the cake!”
1 cup port
1/2 cup white sugar
200g room temperature butter
400g icing sugar
a splash of port
place port and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then reduce to a low heat and let the port reduce to 1/3 of a cup.
Place the reduced port in a container and refrigerate until cool.
Add butter and cooled port (it will be very thick and sticky!) to a food processor and mix until combined. (You may have to stop the machine several times to help combine the sticky port mixture into the butter).
Add the icing sugar and a splash of port and mix until smooth.
Remove the cooled cakes from the fridge and cut off the domed tops. Slice the cakes in half and fill with port buttercream making sure the top level of the cake is the bottom of one of your cakes.
Cover the cake in chocolate ganache and decorate with fondant.
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!