Dark Chocolate & Ginger Birthday Cake

   As most birthday's should go, mine this week has been full of cake. I turned 23 on Thursday so Boy Loves Food treated me to a gorgeous Victoria sponge from Bea's of Bloomsbury. Obviously every last crumb of said cake had already been devoured so I decided to get baking for a family BBQ this morning.

   Flicking through my books this morning I settled on a chocolate and marmalade cake from the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook, except I substituted the marmalade for some of my favourite Mackay's ginger preserve.

Dark Chocolate and Ginger Birthday Cake
(Recipe adapted from Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, serves 8-10)
     250g butter
     200g dark chocolate (I used Green and Blacks 70%), broken up into small chunks
     6tbsp Mackay's Ginger Preserve
     250g caster sugar
     4 large eggs
     250g self raising flour
     2tbsp cocoa powder
Chocolate buttercream:
     100g dark chocolate (60-70%), broken into small chunks
     200g butter, softened
     400g icing sugar
     2tbsp cocoa powder
  • Heat the oven to 175 degrees. Grease and line two 20cm round, springform cake tins.
  • Place the butter in a saucepan, and just before it has completely melted add 100g of the dark chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are fully melted and combined.
  • Stir in the ginger preserve and mix well to break down any big lumps. Ass the sugar and eggs and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold in until just combined, then fold in the remaining chocolate. Pour the mixture, spreading evenly.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the chocolate buttercream. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Beat the butter for a few minutes to soften and loosen it, then sift in the icing sugar and cocoa. Keep beating until you have a light, fluffy buttercream. Beat in the cooled but still molten chocolate until combined. Once the cakes are cool, sandwich together with a layer of buttercream, then cover the top with a thin layer of the remainder. Decorate with glitter and a generous sprinkling of hundreds and thousands.


Chocolate & Ginger Cookies

Long time no bake!

   I've been a little quiet since my last post about three weeks ago. A little whiplash has meant that I decided to take some time out to rest and recover. And the fact that my arms just haven't been working! Pins and needles and other weird tingly sensations in both arms make it very difficult to bake.

   During this time I've missed baking. So on Thursday the work girls and I went to a macaron making class with Loretta Liu from On Cafe. Despite being super tired from work we enjoyed the class, and I was thrilled to come home with a box of 30 macarons filled with chocolate ganache and salted caramel. Of course I needed a little help from the girls with lifting trays and folding egg whites!

   I've decided to post a recipe from my drafts today. I made this cookie dough before my time out and put half of it in the freezer for a rainy day. Today may not be rainy but I'm definitely in the mood for a batch of home made cookies!

   Ginger and chocolate is one of my favourite flavour combinations. I'm not the most patient of home bakers, so love that Joy the Baker's recipe uses ginger preserve...saving me the need to fiddle with fresh ginger - something my tingly limbs would not be up to right now!

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies
(Makes a dozen, recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)
     2 cups plain flour
     1 teaspoon baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
     1/4 teaspoon salt
     8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
     2/3 cups golden caster sugar
     1 egg
     2 tablespoons milk
     1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
     1/4 cup Mackay's ginger preserve
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.
  • With a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter on a medium speed until light and creamy.
  • Add the egg and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Mix in the milk and vanilla in until just combined. 
  • On a low speed, beat in the ginger preserve before finally adding all of the dry ingredients and mixing only until they are incorporated.
  • Fold in some chocolate chips and left the dough to chill on a lined baking tray in the fridge for a few hours.
  • I took a few scoops out of the dough and shaped into 5 medium sized cookies, and baked at 190 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes. I put the rest of the dough in a sandwich bag in the freezer to save for a rainy day cookie emergency.