Thursday, 21 May 2015

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes

I had bookmarked a recipe for red wine chocolate cake about a million blog years ago but never got round to making it. But I am so glad I finally did – if ever a recipe exceeded all expectations this would be it! Adding red wine to batter may sound a tad bizarre but it works incredibly well, lending a subtle taste and richness to these little cakes. I must admit to getting a little tipsy tasting the cake batter before baking these (by 'tasting' read 'eating with a spoon'). 

Like any recipe where wine is a main ingredient it is best to use a good wine whose flavour will complement the recipe. I used Lindeman's Bin 50 Shiraz which is fruity, full-flavoured and quite mellow – it worked a treat... Plus the recipe leaves enough wine in the bottle for you to enjoy a glass or two when serving (or, ahem, baking) this. The cakes themselves are incredibly light, fluffy and not too sweet – they work well as a small after dinner dessert or with coffee. And although I have baked them in a Nordic Ware mini bundt cake tin you can bake these in a silicone muffin tin, as cupcakes, or as one large bundt cake

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes | Supergolden Bakes

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes
makes 24 mini cakes or 1 large bundt cake
250g |  8.8oz | 2 cups plain flour
85g | 3oz | 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
225g | 7.9oz | 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
380g | 13.4oz | 1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
300ml | 10.1fl oz | 1 1/4 cups red wine
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
icing (powdered) sugar for dusting

Chocolate ganache
250g | 8.8oz dark 70% chocolate, chopped small
250g | 8.8oz  double cream
1 tbsp honey

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a Nordic Ware mini bundt tin with vegetable shortening, dust with flour and shake off any excess.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground cloves together and set aside.
  3. Whisk the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl a couple of times.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until they are completely incorporated.
  5. Mix the vanilla extract into the wine. Alternate adding the wine and flour into the batter in three batches mixing on medium-low speed. 
  6. Use a spatula to give the batter one final mix by hand to make sure it is smooth. 
  7. Fill the bundt tin about halfway up – do not overfill and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes are firm and just coming away from the edges of the tin.
  8. Let the cakes cool for five minutes before shaking out of the tin. Fill the tin again until you use all the batter (you will need to bake in batches).
  9. Heat the cream and honey in a medium saucepan until tiny bubbles appear around the edge of the pot. Take off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let it stand a couple of minutes then slowly stir with a hand whisk until the chocolate has melted and is smooth and glossy. Drizzle over the cooled cakes and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Notes: a large bundt cake will take 45-50 minutes to bake. Do a skewer test before removing from the oven. Let the cake cool in the tin before removing carefully. Cool before adding ganache.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine.

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes

I used the Nordic Ware mini bundt cake tin which CakeMart kindly sent me to review for this cake. A little sister of the Heritage Nordo bundt tin (which I also own), this novelty tin produces excellent results despite the intricate spiral pattern. Only problem is that you have to bake in batches, unless you invest in more than one of these tins (cost would be quite prohibitive).

Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes
Mini chocolate and red wine bundt cakes

Post was created for Lindeman's #CaptureTheSunshine.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Blue cheese burgers on light brioche rolls with crispy pancetta and onion chutney

Blue cheese burgers on light brioche rolls with crispy pancetta and onion chutney

I planned this recipe to be a 'summer's coming, BBQ weather, lets break out the sunscreen' kind of post but as I sat down to type it the heavens opened and it started to rain torrentially, followed by hail. Good ol' British weather! When I first moved to the UK from sunny Greece the unpredictable weather was a shock to the system. It took me a few years to get used to the cold and the rain but now I wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, I can't really cope with the relentless sunshine and intense heat whenever we visit Greece in the summer – it is TOO MUCH. Having said all that I would very much like a return of the glorious sunshine we enjoyed over the weekend, thanks very much. I suspect the weather will improve as soon as the Chelsea Flower Show is over – I remember visiting a couple of times and it always rained.

In any case, a good burger recipe doesn't necessarily require sunshine – you can serve it whenever you want – almost weekly if it happens to be one your fussy children's acceptable meals. The secret to a good burger is a little bit of fat – if you use very lean mince you will likely end up with dry burgers. The other thing that makes a good burger exceptional is the right kind of bun. And I think I have created just the perfect burger bun – an easy light brioche roll that is totally irresistible. You can prepare the dough in a bread machine or in a stand mixer although it can be a little sticky to knead by hand if you are not an experienced baker.

The perfect burger bun

Brioche burger buns 
Makes 9
180ml | 6.3oz milk
115g | 4.1oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
55g | 2oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
410g | 14.5oz strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting
1 packet fast action yeast (suitable for bread makers)
1/2 tsp onion granules (optional)
–––
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk and drop of soy sauce to glaze
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds (or poppy seeds or leave plain)

Method
  1. Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a couple of minutes using the dough hook.
  2. Melt the butter and mix with the milk and eggs. Add to the mixing bowl and beat together on slow speed for four minutes and a little faster for a another four minutes. Check the dough passes the windowpane test and if not continue mixing for a couple more minutes. Cover the mixing bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise 1.30-2h or until nearly double.
  3. Dust your worktop with a little flour and tip the dough onto it. Dust the top of the dough with flour (it will be a little sticky) then gently press down to deflate.
  4. Divide into 9 equal pieces. Flatten each piece and then fold the edges in towards the centre. Flip over seam side down and place the palms of your hands around the roll. Use your hands to shape each roll it into a smooth ball.
  5. Place the rolls on a large tray lined with baking paper, spaced apart. Place the tray inside a plastic bag or cover loosely with greased cling film. Leave them to prove for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the buns are puffy and slightly risen.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Place a small tray on the bottom of the oven. 
  7. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds. 
  8. Put the tray in the oven and toss a couple of ice cubes into the tray at the bottom of the oven to create steam. 
  9. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cover with foil if they are colouring too quickly. Cool before serving.
Bread Machine Method
Load the ingredients in the baking pan in the order they are listed. Make sure the yeast doesn’t touch the liquid ingredients. Select dough cycle - the bread machine will mix and prove the dough. Proceed with step 3 as above.

Blue cheese burgers on light brioche rolls with crispy pancetta and onion chutney

Blue cheese burgers
Makes 6
500g | 17.6oz beef mince
1 red onion
55g | 2 oz blue cheese, crumbled
55g | 2 oz fresh breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
couple of dashes Tabasco
caramelised onion chutney (from a jar) to serve
6 slices pancetta

Easy blue cheese sauce
150g | 5.3oz blue cheese, crumbled
4-5 tbsp sour cream or light mayonnaise
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Method
  1. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly mix together with your hands. Form 6 thick burgers, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet or frying pan and cook the pancetta until crisp. Set aside.
  3. Place the burgers on the pan and cook over medium heat, pressing down on the burgers with a spatula. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Set aside while you prepare the blue cheese sauce.
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl. Add more sour cream if the sauce is too thick.
  5. Toast the burger buns and spread onion chutney on the bottom half. Add the burger and a pancetta slice. Spread blue cheese sauce on the top half of the bun and press down on the burger. Serve immediately.
Blue cheese burgers with crispy pancetta and onion chutney