Sunday, 27 October 2013

Chocolate 'Tomato Soup' Fudge Cake

This is a celebratory blog post with two momentous occasions that deserve a little recognition! Firstly 2 years ago my blog was born with a rather special vegan and glutenfree chocolate cake recipe. Since that time I have embarked upon a world of baking in which many things have been missing and I have learnt that tofu whizzed up in a food processor can act as a butter milk substitute and a frozen banana is a vital ingredient to many vegan desserts!

It just so happens that my second birthday post is also the 100th recipe I have published. It appears I have spent quite a lot of time in the kitchen over the past couple of years!! So for this centenary/2 year post there was only one suitable thing to make….a cake, and not just any cake but a gooey indulgent chocolate fudge cake. After 99 posts where ‘something’ has always been missing I am going to deviate a little here as this recipe if fully loaded with butter, eggs and gluten-full flour. The only thing that was missing when I first made this recipe for friends a few years ago was my sanity!! As the special secret ingredient in addition to the usual flour, eggs and sugar is a tin of condensed tomato soup. Yup you read that right. And whilst we are used to the addition of courgette or beetroot in a chocolate cake recipe I doubt many of us have thought to reach for that tin of soup lurking at the back of the cupboard. But this works, and doesn’t taste of tomato (honest), the soup just helps to keep the cake incredibly moist. So give it a go if you dare….and see if your friends and colleagues can guess what the secret addition to this recipe is!!  


130g butter
300g caster sugar
2 eggs
275g cups plain flour
60g cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
60ml buttermilk
400g tin condensed tomato soup

100g butter
150g icing sugar
40g cocoa
1 tbspn water

Pre-heat oven to 350 °F or 180 °C and grease and line two 20cm round sandwich tins with greased proof paper.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time and beat together.

Sieve in the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix together until fully combined.

Finally add the soup and butter milk and beat to a smooth batter.

Divide the batter between the 2 tins and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the cakes are firm and a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool slightly before removing from the tins and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile melt the butter for the icing in a small saucepan.

Once melted remove from the heat, add the icing sugar and cocoa and beat until a smooth glossy icing is formed.

Allow the icing to cool slightly before using a little to sandwich the two cakes together. Then pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake and smooth out with a palette knife. Decorate as desired (I used sugar sprinkles) and then tuck in and celebrate with a big fat slice!!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blackberry, Apple and Carob Cheesecake Bites

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a little while and we are now well past the end of blackberrying season (although the fat little purple fruits do seem to nestle amongst the hedges a bit longer here over in Northern Ireland compared to England). But after making apple and blackberry granola muffins a few weeks back I had enough blackberries left to make something a little less healthy. Although I did replace any chocolate in the recipe with carob to ensure there was a little something missing from this tray bake recipe.

If you haven’t got a stash of locally picked blackberries or don’t want to wait until next year before trying out this recipe any variety of frozen berries could be used instead.


100g fresh blackberries
100g bramley apple (peeled and chopped)
15g caster sugar
1 tablespoon water

140g butter
150g caster sugar
75g carob powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
120g plain flour

200g cream cheese
1 egg
100g caster sugar
30g corn flour

Place the blackberries, apple, 15g of caster sugar and water into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until the apple begins to soften and the juices are released from the blackberries (this will probably take about 10 to 15 minutes). Then remove from the heat and place to one side.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.

Grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tin and line with non-stick baking parchment.

Place the butter into a saucepan and place over a medium heat until melted. Then add the 150g caster sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and sift in the carob powder, cinnamon, baking powder and flour. Once fully combined add the eggs one by one and stir again until a smooth batter is formed.

In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth before adding the egg, remaining caster sugar and corn flour. Then mix in the blackberry and apple mixture to the cheese until distributed throughout.

Spread 2/3 of the carob mix into the lined tin and then spoon the cream cheese mix on top. Spoon the remaining carob mixture in blobs over the cheesecake mix and using the tip of a sharp knife swirl the 2 mixtures together.

Bake for 40 minutes until the cake is firm and the carob mixture is set.

Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Then slice into squares and serve.

This recipe was inspired by this recipe from Beantown Baker.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Gluten Free Mascarpone Gnocchi

I was perusing the content of the blog recently and realised that I hadn’t posted a savory recipe for ages (well I haven’t posted anything for ages but we will gloss over that one quickly)! So I thought I had better get up to date and add to my gnocchi recipe collection (see my previous Chestnut and Sweet Potato varieties). This is another gluten free recipe, which is packed full of cheese rather than potato, as is often featured in Gnocchi. I used mascarpone, parmesan and blue cheese in this recipe but you could play with the combinations and quantities of these used to come up with your own cheesy concoction. I then served my gnocchi with a fresh tomato and spinach sauce so this is veggie friendly, but a little crispy bacon would go perfectly with this dish too.


100g mascarpone
15g parmesan, grated
30g blue cheese, crumbled
1 egg
190g gluten free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Salt and pepper to season

In a large bowl mix together all three cheeses and the egg until well combined and season to taste.

Fold in the flour and xanthan gum and bring the mixture together until a smooth dough is formed, but try not to overwork the mixture. Don’t panic if the mixture seems a little wet at this point!

Transfer the mixture to the fridge for at least an hour before cooking.

Remove the dough from the fridge and after lightly flouring your hands form the dough into small gnocchi sized balls.

Bring a large plan of salted water to the boil and transfer the gnocchi parcels to the water. Once the gnocchi begin to float they are done, so drain before mixing with the accompanying sauce of your choice and tuck in.