Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Cake

Happy Mother’s day to all you lovely mum’s, especially mine! My mum taught me to cook from an early age and although she’s taught me many things, the ability to cook is one of the biggest gifts I could ask for, it brings me endless joy.

Today I was lucky enough to be able to cook a meal for my mum and family, having also spent the entire weekend in the kitchen for various other dishes, my heart is full. Tonight we ate rhubarb and ginger belly pork, spiced winter vegetable cous cous and also the traditional roast accompaniments but it is the dessert I want to talk about.

I wanted to make a cake that mum would reallllllly enjoy, that she wouldn’t ordinarily make or buy because she shouldn’t, or the kids wouldn’t like it or that she didn’t have the time. I’ve made a few cakes over the years but wanted to try something new. I had a moment of inspiration when I saw Gingerbread Jenn’s post and decided to mix it up slightly with some extra fruit and a glug of brandy, to make this version. I soaked the fruit in brandy for a few days before making the cake but you could boil them in a little brandy (and a splash of water) or soak them in hot tea for a few hours instead, whatever the time scale permits.

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Chocolate Heartache Cake

One of my best friends came around for dinner this week, as a belated birthday get together for her. I wanted to cook something a little special (stay tuned for the main course!) from my beloved copy of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, that she’d bought me as a gift.I love chocolate ‘cake’ but I really do not like chocolate sponge; this cake is a rich dense, torte like confection, almost a cross between chocolate mousse and a chocolate truffle (come on, what a combination!). It is also ridiculously simple to make, this recipe is basically perfection; it is low in fat (for a cake), has vegetables hidden in it, tastes completely decadent and is quick and easy to make.

Choc heartache

My absolute favourite chocolate cake in the world is winning hearts and mind cake and this recipe looked to be very similar to that but with aubergine! Now, we all know I love sneaking vegetables into dishes people think they shouldn’t be, so I was eager to give it a try. I also loved how it contained no butter, flour (it uses ground almonds, just a few) or refined sugar (using honey for that hint of sweetness). This is a chocolate cake for grown ups, it is rich and delicious but in reality, far less decadent than it seems. It really is absolutely scrummy with absolutely no hint of the nutrition hidden inside, this is full on naughty and satisfying, except it really isn’t that naughty at all.

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Paleo Chocolate & Courgette Muffins

I have to admit, I was a bit dubious when I saw this recipe that a cake that had no flour, sugar or butter could be a delicious and satisfying cupcake. My worries were however, ill-placed; these were ridiculously yummy and the cake was light and moist. Paleo or not, these babies were scrumptious! Plus, I have a thing about vegetables being in cakes. To be honest, I just have a thing about vegetables in general.

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Winning Hearts and Minds Cake

Word of the day: Indulgence. This is indulgence objectified.

This cake is one I mentioned in my Orangette fan girl post as high on my list of recipes from ‘A Homemade Life – Molly Wizenberg’ that I wanted to try. Molly is all about recipe sharing so I very much hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it with you. Molly loves this cake so much she baked several as her wedding cake. I figured this was a good omen to make it for dessert for James’ moving in meal and that James moving in was a good excuse for me to be able to make a decadent dessert. So here goes a recipe that will change your life….

hearts and minds 2

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A Homemade Life or Ten things I love about Orangette

This post is a little different, it is a kind of a big deal to me and takes the form of a book review/confession of love about how much I adore Molly Wizenberg and her blog Orangette. That may sound creepy, especially so reading it back, but I just can’t help it, I’ve enjoyed reading her blog so much since I found it a few months ago and the first recipe I made from it was Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup. From that moment on I knew that the blog and I were friends for life because that soup is just phenomenally delicious and comforting. I sensed Molly and I had very similar attitudes towards food and tastes and I promptly bought her first memoir/life-through-recipes-book ‘A Homemade Life’ and managed some how to save reading it until my holiday last month. Continue reading