Red wine chocolate mud cake

“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)

Ingredients

  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 600ml red wine
  • 4 eggs
  • 400g dark sugar
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. 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.
  3. Beat the eggs and the sugar until combined.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour and spice until combined.
  6. Pour into 2 lined 20cm cake tins and cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry.
  7. 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!”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup port
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 200g room temperature butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • a splash of port

Method

  1. 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.
  2. Place the reduced port in a container and refrigerate until cool.
  3. 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).
  4. Add the icing sugar and a splash of port and mix until smooth.
  5. 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.
  6. Cover the cake in chocolate ganache and decorate with fondant.

 

 

Banana loaf with dates, figs and chocolate

“I love a recipe that is born from necessity.  In this case it was from trying to make room in my freezer for some kick-ass chilli con carne I’d made.  So it was time to use the numerous over-ripe bananas that I’d frozen so I wouldn’t have to throw them out.  The first loaf I made was delicious but lacked a certain something.  Chocolate of course!  After a few more attempts I settled on this combination.  I can highly recommend taking it straight out of the oven, slathering it in butter and devouring a couple of pieces before anyone else finds out.  Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 over-ripe bananas
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 80g dates
  • 50g dried figs

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Mix the flour, bicarb, mixed spice, sugar and cocoa together
  3. Process the bananas with the milk and eggs
  4. Add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Cut up the dates and figs and stir into the mixture along with the chocolate chips.
  6. Grease and line a loaf tin and fill with the mixture
  7. Bake for 50 – 65 minutes until the loaf is cooked in the middle.  (The chocolate makes this cake very moist so when a knife is inserted it will still come out with some moisture on it.  It’s trial and error I’m afraid.)
  8. Eat hot with lashings of butter then go straight to the gym!