Hazelnut-Chocolate Marble Cake

Another loaf cake recipe is here!

While I actually wanted to make bread for the first time, flour and yeast in supermarkets are non-existent these days. So, a loaf cake recipe it is! I’ve found that if I don’t want to spend too much time making buttercream, decorating and cleaning so many utensils, I’ll just make a loaf cake of some sort.

This time, I’ve baked a vanilla and hazelnut-chocolate marble loaf cake. Find the recipe below.

Note: Below’s recipe is for a 3lb tin, but just do some quick maths to adjust the measurements for a smaller or larger tin.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 400g plain flour, sieved
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g unsalted butter, at room temperature, soft
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200ml soured cream
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  • 40g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Grease a 3lb (28 x 13 cm) loaf tin with butter and lightly coat with flour.
  2. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar with an electric whisk until well combined, fluffy and paler in colour.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and soured cream until well combined.
  4. Split the cake batter in half so you have two bowls of cake batter.
  5. In one bowl, add in the vanilla extract and beat in. In the other bowl, add in the cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts and beat until combined.
  6. Spoon each batter into the loaf tin alternately, then use small knife or spatula to roughly swirl each batter into each other.
  7. Place into the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour 15 mins, or until the cake springs back when tapped gently.
  8. Leave to cool, then enjoy with a cup of tea!


Red Red – Ghanaian Black Eyed Beans Stew

Believe it or not, I used to hate beans. It was only until a year and a half ago (when I gave up meat) that I started to eat more beans and pulses. It was then that I realised they aren’t so bad.

Red Red is a traditional Ghanaian stew made with black eyed beans and tomatoes. The name comes from the colour of stew as it is normally cooked in palm oil. Red Red is typically served with fried ripe (yellow) plantains.

My parents make this regularly and it was not long ago that I thought ‘I’d better make this myself’. So, I did. If you’re like me, you’d prepare this meal at least a day in advance by soaking the black eyed beans in water overnight. I don’t tend to use canned beans for this, but, if it makes your life easier, definitely go for it!

Make sure you have an apotoyewaa (clay grinding pot/large pestle and mortar) at hand, otherwise, be prepared to finely dice onions and scotch bonnet peppers!

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 500g black eyed beans, soaked in water overnight and washed
  • 200ml palm oil
  • 1 large onion, half sliced, half diced
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 400g chopped tomatoes, canned or fresh
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (I used Knorr)
  • 2 tsp season-all
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 200ml warm water
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. In a large pot, boil the black eyed beans for 30 – 50 minutes over medium-high heat until soft. Ensure that there is always water in the pot so the beans do not dry up and risk getting burned.
  2. While the beans are boiling, grind up the diced onions and scotch bonnet peppers with a dash of warm water, until you get a smooth mixture.
  3. Heat the palm oil in another pot over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the ground onions and scotch bonnet mixture to the pot and fry off for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the sliced onions and garlic and fry until the onions are soft.
  6. Add in the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock cubes, season all, ginger and paprika. Stir until the stock cubes have dissolved and are fully incorporated. Cover the pot and leave to cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add the warm water to the pot, stir, then leave to cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Once the beans are fully cooked, drain them, leaving some liquid behind. Add the beans and the liquid to the tomato stew and stir until will combined. Check for salt/seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  9. The Red Red is now ready to be served – enjoy with some fried ripe plantains and/or rice!

Red Velvet Cake

I remember first trying the red velvet cake from Costco, maybe seven or eight years ago. I was in food heaven.

These days, however, the sweetness is a little too much. The solution? Make my own! On this occasion, it was my brother’s birthday, so I decided to make this cake for him. He’s a big fan of red velvet too.

The cake recipe in this post was inspired by The Hummingbird Bakery’s Red Velvet Cupcakes. The recipe below uses two 15 cm round cake tins to make it a two-layer cake.

I levelled out each cake before stacking them. I broke down some of the cut off pieces of cake to make into crumbs, and used these to decorate the top. The leftovers were eaten (It’s never good to waste food in my household, and who doesn’t like extra cake?).

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 130g full fat cream cheese, cold
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar with an electric whisk or free-standing mixer, until a sandy texture is achieved.
  2. Add in the cream cheese and the lemon juice, then whisk for about 1 minute until light and fluffy.

For the cake

  • 150g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 300g plain flour, sifted
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp red food colouring paste, mixed with 4 tsp water ( I prefer Sugarflair Maximum Concentrated Paste Red Extra)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Grease two 15 cm cake tins with butter and lightly flour.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or free-standing mixer, until well combined and paler in colour. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the food colouring, vanilla extract and cocoa powder until you get a thick paste. Add more water a teaspoon at a time if necessary to get the required consistency. Add this to the cake batter and mix in, until you get an even colour throughout.
  4. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until combined fully, then add half of the flour and mix.
  5. Gradually beat in half of the buttermilk and flour, mixing until well-incorporated. Repeat this step once more until you have added all of the buttermilk and flour
  6. Add the bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and salt, mixing well.
  7. Separate the batter into the two cake tins. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when tapped gently.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled down completely, decorate them as you wish using the cream cheese frosting.
  9. Grab a knife and cut yourself a slice!


Spicy Vegan Stir-Fry

My posts have been a bit scattered recently, but, there’s good news: I’ve finally finished university! So, while I’m job hunting, I’ll have more time to tend to this blog. I’ve also booked a cheeky day trip to Amsterdam, so expect some posts about the experience soon.

Now, for this week’s recipe…

If you’re looking for a quick mid-week meal, a stir-fry is the way to go. You can prepare your vegetables ahead of time and store them in the fridge for even less hassle.

This stir-fry includes bell peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, tofu and of course, chillies for heat. To get the tofu crispy, I made sure to flatten the tofu block with something heavy overnight. This helps to remove the moisture from the tofu.

Enjoy this stir-fry on top of some brown rice, or have it as a starter. Whatever works for you!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • Half a block of tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp season-all

Method

  1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the sesame oil over a medium heat.
  2. Fry off the garlic, ginger and chillies for 1 minute.
  3. Turn the heat to high, then add the tofu. Fry until crisp and golden brown all over, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the onions, peppers and mushrooms and fry for about 3 minutes, until tender.
  5. Add the spinach, soy sauce and season all. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove from the heat. Enjoy!

Bulgur Wheat Jollof

The first time I had bulgur wheat was in Kervan Sofrasi two or three years ago – a Turkish restaurant in North London. The way they had cooked it reminded me of jollof rice, since it was orange in colour. It was a great alternative to eating rice.

As some of you may know, making jollof rice takes a good two or three hours. Making the switch to bulgur wheat will reduce your cooking time by half, guaranteed! When I want to cook something in bulk that will last me a week, bulgur jollof is definitely in my top five choices.

You can experiment with the seasoning as it is all to taste. Feel free to include vegetables, meat or fish to your stew to add even more flavours and textures.

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 500g bulgur wheat, washed and drained
  • 400g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 200ml water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large onion, 1 half thinly sliced, the other half cut into large chunks
  • 2x chicken stock cubes
  • 1x shrimp stock cube
  • 2 tsp season all
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp paprika

Method

  1. In a blender, blend the plum tomatoes, onions chunks, bell pepper chunks and the scotch bonnet until smooth.
  2. Heat a large pot with the oil on a medium heat. Once hot, fry the sliced onions and minced garlic, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomato puree to the pot and fry for about a minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the blended tomato mix into the pot and stir. Add the chicken stock cubes, shrimp stock cube, season all, ginger and paprika. The stew will start to bubble and pop at this point, so be mindful!
  4. Add the water to the pot, stir and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and seasoning to taste.
  5. Once the stew has been cooked, add in the bulgur wheat. Reduce the heat to low and stir, ensuring all grains have been covered by the stew.
  6. Cover the pot with foil (shiny side facing the inside of the pot), then cover the pot with its lid.
  7. The bulgur wheat will cook in about 20 mins, during this period of time, be sure to stir frequently or else your bulgur will burn.
  8. Once the bulgur wheat has completely absorbed all of the stew and fully cooked, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes. After this time, use a fork to separate the grains, then serve.

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon cupcakes are a great alternative to the classic vanilla and chocolate flavours. Lemon desserts in general are always a solid option in my opinion. They offer not only sweetness, but a tangy citrus to cut through your taste buds.

After vanilla cupcakes, I’d say that lemon cupcakes are the easiest to make. If you’re new to baking, I definitely recommend trying this as a start if vanilla isn’t your thing.

These cupcakes are light, fluffy and quite addictive, so try to eat in moderation! I gifted these to someone for their birthday, and they revealed that they had eaten three for breakfast!

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the lemon buttercream

  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 2 lemons

Method

  1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar with an electric whisk for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the lemon juice and zest and continue to whisk for another 2 minutes until light and smooth.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 180g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder, sieved
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice and zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest, then mix together until you have a smooth, light cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half to two-thirds full.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when tapped gently. Leave to cool.
  7. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the lemon buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Pipe in a spiral motion.

Vegetable Noodle Soup

A warming, light noodle soup packed with a variety of crunchy and soft vegetables, topped off with a soft-boiled egg.

This dish is definitely a new favourite of mine and is very simple to make. The first time I made it was during winter; evenings were cold and coursework deadlines were nearing fast. After a long day of work, this meal kept the cold away and gave me a much needed boost of energy.

If an egg isn’t for you, try this recipe using a protein of your choice such as chicken or beef.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 200g dry udon noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 700ml vegetable stock (or two vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 700ml of boiling hot water)
  • 50ml mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • 80g spring greens, sliced
  • 120g shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 large free range eggs (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chillies (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Fry the minced garlic and ginger for thirty seconds to one minute. Add the onions and mushrooms, stir and cook for two minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the mirin and soy sauce. Cook for another minute.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and the spring greens into the pot. Stir and leave to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt/seasoning if necessary.
  4. In a smaller pot, boil water and place in the eggs. Boil the eggs for six to seven minutes to achieve a soft yolk. Once cooked, place in cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel off the egg shell.
  5. In another pot, cook your noodles according to the packet’s instructions (the brand I used needed only three minutes).
  6. To serve, place the noodles in a bowl, pour over the vegetable soup along with the mushrooms, onions and spring greens. Top with the boiled egg sliced in half, the chopped spring onions and the sliced bell peppers. Sprinkle over some crushed chillies and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate & Walnut Brownies

Here is another brownie recipe, and this time, they’re gluten free!

After seeing food blogger Lithuanian in the USA post an amazing recipe for chocolate and walnut brownies, I was inspired to make my own.

Any time I am at home in London (away from university life), I cook and bake for my family using gluten-free ingredients. This is because my pops needs to avoid type of protein. So, instead of using wheat flour in my bakes, I usually turn to the gluten-free flours from Doves Farm. The plain and self-raising flours are typically a blend of rice, potato, maize and more.

This brownie is very simple to make, and if you are not a fan of nuts or are allergic, you can omit them. I don’t use too much sugar as I actually like the flavour of dark chocolate, and I find some brownies a bit sickly if they are too sweet. You can also use regular plain wheat flour as well – the results will be the same!

Check out Lithuanian in the USA’s delicious chocolate and walnut brownie recipe here!

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 200g dark chocolate (I used 85% cocoa), roughly chopped
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 140g gluten-free plain flour (I used Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour), sifted
  • 265g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp icing sugar to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170ºC (155ºC fan)/gas mark 3 1/2. Line a 33-35cm square oven dish with baking paper.
  2. Place the butter and the chopped chocolate into a bowl and melt this over a pan of hot water, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the butter and chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and add in the sugar. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add in the flour and stir until incorporated, then beat in the eggs until you achieve a smooth and silky chocolate mixture.
  5. Stir the chopped walnuts into the brownie batter, then transfer into the oven dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Once baked, leave to cool down before dusting with icing sugar and cutting into slices.

Lemon & Blueberry Cake

I have been MIA for 4-5 months, but it has taken a while for me to get back into the flow of university life after spending 2017/18 on a work placement.

It was about time for a makeover, so I’ve acquired a domain, revamped the website and have a new logo courtesy of my good friend (my friends are so talented, honestly).

Over Christmas, I received The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook from one of my older brothers. There was actually a week in January where I made 4 different cakes. The bakes are so good and very easy to make, so I definitely recommend purchasing this cookbook. It will also save you a lot of money by baking the various cakes, cookies and pies yourselves!

The cake recipe in this post was inspired by The Hummingbird Bakery’s Blueberry Cake. Their version used one 25cm Bundt tin. The recipe below uses two 23cm round cake tins to make it a two-layer cake, and includes a citrus hint from lemons.

Serves 12-14

Ingredients

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 300g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 130g full fat cream cheese, cold
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. In a bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar with an electric whisk or free-standing mixer, until a sandy texture is achieved.
  2. Add in the cream cheese and the lemon juice, then whisk for about 1 minute until light and fluffy.

For the cake

  • 350g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 450g plain flour, sifted
  • 5 large free range eggs
  • 3 lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 + 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 250ml soured cream
  • 250g fresh blueberries (plus more to decorate)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Grease two 23cm cake tins with butter and lightly flour.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or free-standing mixer, until well combined and paler in colour.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  4. Gradually beat in the flour and the baking powder, then add in the soured cream. Mix until the batter is well combined.
  5. Fold in the fresh blueberries then separate the batter into the two cake tins. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the cake springs back when tapped gently.
  6. Once the cakes have cooled down completely, decorate them as you wish using the cream cheese frosting and top with the extra blueberries.
  7. Grab a knife and cut yourself a slice!

Tip: lightly coat the blueberries in flour before folding them into the cake batter. This will help slow down the process of the blueberries sinking towards the bottom of the cake.


Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Before trying out homemade brownies, the store-bought ones were not the best to be honest. I think that’s why so many people I know aren’t the hugest fans of them. I’ve had a few very sickly brownies myself, but that nauseous feeling soon disappeared after tackling these chocolatey treats at home.

I mostly used a combination of dark and milk chocolate for this recipe. I would have definitely added hazelnuts if I wasn’t feeding my friend who has a nut allergy! The good thing about brownies is that you can experiment with a variety of added extras: nuts, nut butters, white chocolate, berries, marshmallows… the list is endless!

Scroll down a little for the recipe.

Serves 9

Ingredients

  • 80g 70-75% cocoa plain chocolate
  • 80g 85-90% cocoa plain chocolate
  • 60g milk chocolate
  • 160g unsalted butter
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)/ gas mark 6. Line a square oven dish with baking paper.
  2. Chop up all of the chocolate into chunks.
  3. Place the butter and half of the chopped chocolate into a bowl and melt this over a pan of hot water.
  4. In a bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar for 2 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.
  6. Once your butter and chocolate has melted, stir gently until you have a smooth and silky dark mixture. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Once the chocolate and butter mix has cooled, whisk it into the egg, vanilla and sugar.
  8. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, but do not over-mix.
  9. Transfer the brownie batter into the oven dish and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.
  10. Leave to cool before cutting, and enjoy with a scoop of ice-cream!