Sunday, 29 December 2013

Chocolate Orange Triple Layer Cake

I baked this chocolate orange triple layer cake for a friend who loves chocolate but isn't a huge fan of traditional fruit cake this Christmas. The more I look at it though, I think that it would be a perfect celebration cake to serve at any party on New Years Eve. There are a couple of different elements involved in making this cake - the orange and chocolate marble sponge, the chocolate orange buttercream & the dark chocolate orange ganache - but, it's still not overly difficult to make and believe me it's well worth the effort.

225g Butter
225g Plain Flour (sieved)
4 Eggs
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
Rind of 1 large Orange

1) Preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas Mark 4, grease a 6" round baking tin with melted butter and line with greaseproof paper
2) Cream your butter and sugar together in your mixer
3) When the mixture is of a creamy consistency, add in the eggs, one by one as you continue to mix
4) Add the sieved flour to the mixing bowl, one spoonful at a time and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy 
5) Split the mixture in half and to one half add the orange rind and to the other add the cocoa powder 
6) Pour some of the dark mixture into your lined tin, then some of the white mixture and repeat until all batter is in the tin 
7) Using a metal spoon, draw "S" shapes into the batter to create a marble effect
8) Bake in the oven for approx 40 mins and when done leave to cool on a wire tray over night 

You can make your Ganache and Buttercream while the cake is cooling, but don't assemble until the cake is fully cool.

200g Icing Sugar
100g Butter (softened)
50g Dark Chocolate (melted)
1-2 tbsp Boiling Water

1) Using your electric mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar until the mixture is really light and creamy
2) Add the melted chocolate to the mixture, one spoonful at a time and mix until all is combined
3) Then add one tbsp of boiling water and mix on a high speed to make the buttercream that little bit lighter and more fluffy.
4) Leave the buttercream to one side while you make the ganache

280g Dark chocolate
130g Whipping cream
2 tbsp Butter
2sp Cointreau

1) Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a pot with the butter
2) When melted and combined, add in the cream and continue to stir
3) When combined again, add in the Cointreau and combine

To assemble (when the cake is fully cool)

1) Split the cake in three using a sharp bread knife
2)  Place the bottom layer on a cake board or plate and spread a layer of buttercream over it using a pallet knife
3) Place the next layer of sponge on top and spread a layer of ganache followed by a think layer of buttercream
4) Place the final sponge on top and cover the sides of the cake with the chocolate buttercream
5) Then spread the remaining ganache over the top of the cake in a thick layer and finally, using a piping bag, pipe the remaining buttercream around the bottom and top edges of the cake

I used Dr. Oetker chocolate stars and gold shimmer food spray which I won through an online competition this month to decorate the cake. I'm delighted I tried them as I really loved the effect and will definitely be using them in future! 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Cheats Crumbly Mince Pies

Looking to make your own mince pies this year but haven't had a chance to prepare your own mince meat? Don't worry! Just follow this extremely simple recipe. Although I did, you don't even have to make your own pastry - this could be a super east 5 minute job! 

I didn't get a chance to bake my own mince pies last year so I promised myself I'd definitely get around to giving them a go this Christmas. I cheated a little as I didn't make my own mince from scratch, I just added to a shop bought jar or two... Sssshhhhh.... I did make my own pastry and crumble however so I you could say I didn't reaaaally cheat hehe... 


1 jar of shop bought mince meat
1 small handful of flaked almonds 
1 handful of raisins 
1 handful of sultanas 
1 cup of Brandy

7oz Plain flour 
4oz Margarine 
2 tbsp Icing sugar 
3-4 tbsps Cold Water 

2 Handfuls of Plain flour 
1 Handful of Brown sugar 
1 Cup of Butter 
2 pinches of Cinnamon or nutmeg 


You will have to prepare both the mince meat and pastry the night before...

1) Empty the two jars of mince meat into a bowl along with the almonds, raisins, sultanas and whiskey and stir 
2) Cover and leave overnight if possible.  
3) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, icing sugar and margarine using your fingers, until the mixture I of a breadcrumb consistency 
4) Then add in the water and again mix using your hands (be careful not to over handle the pastry)
5) When the pastry is sturdy enough, empty it onto a surface that had been sprinkled with flour and pat lightly into a rectangular shape 
6) Then wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper, place on a plate and refrigerate overnight


1) Preheat your oven to 220C and grease your tray with melted butter
2) Take your pastry from the fridge and roll out 
3) Cur your pastry using a pastry cutter and place into each slot in your tray

4) Put one to two spoons of mince into each depending on how full you like your pies

5) Sprinkle some of the crumble on top 

6) Bake in the oven at 220C for 10mins and then for a further 15 mins at 180C until golden brown 
6) Leave to cool partially on a wire tray and serve warm with fresh cream or my favourite brandy cream :) 

If you'd rather ordinary mince pies to the crumbly version simply brush egg wash around the pastry on the bottom, cut out a pastry lid and press the two together . You can egg wash the top and they take the same amount of time to bake. 

Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with cream.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Candied Almonds

My brother Niall has a bit of an obsession... He absolutely LOVES almonds. He eats them day in, day out and mam can buy anything between two and five packs on a weekly basis for him. I suppose they are a good source of healthy oils and nutrients, but, he's been trying out a few not-so-healthy recipes lately, one of which is these absolutely deeeelicious salted caramelized roasted nuts which really are a must try. 

When Niall mentioned that he was planning on making these scrumptious treats I insisted on documenting his every move for Yummmmyy. I seriously couldn't wait to try them.

The aromas that filled the kitchen as he made the caramelized nuts, instantly brought me back to the streets of New York. The smell was almost identical to that of the freshly candied nuts sold by vendors on almost every street corner in the city. I did try the candied nuts while in New York, one evening on my way to the Museum of Modern Art, so I had great expectations and lucky Niallo had a lot to live up to! 

You Will Need...
2 Cups of Nuts of your choice (We used a mix of almonds and peanuts)
1 and a half cups of Brown Sugar
Half cup of Honey or Golden Syrup
2 tbsp Salt

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 5 and line a flat baking tray with greaseproof paper
2) Put all the nuts and the half cup of sugar into a pot, cover in hot water and bring to the boil
3) When boiled, drain the water and leave the nuts in the pot

4) Add the honey and half the remaining sugar and stir
5) Pour the nuts onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the remaining sugar and the salt
6) Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the nuts are golden brown
7) Leave to cool and enjoy

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Molly's Christmas Dinner Party

The Christmas season really kicked off last weekend when I, along with the other college galz, travelled to Molly's house in Howth for our annual Christmas dinner party. I arrived at the coast road and was immediately in awe once again. There is only one word to describe casa del Molly, and that is FABULOUS! This year, the steep meandering steps which lead to the front door, were dotted with twinkling fairy lights, and, as I neared the house, I could see into the dining area which was decorated beautifully with candles and Christmas crackers. To escape the bitter weather, I hurried into the house and the warmth and smell of delicious food was utterly magical.

Jealousy overwhelmed me once again as I walked into the kitchen in all it's perfection. The Aga, the massive counter space, the pantry, the gorgeous dining area, the huge dining table, the space - my dream kitchen. 

Molly's Menu
STARTER: Homemade Garlic Bread
MAIN: Chicken & Broccoli Bake
DESSERT: Crumbly Strawberry Cheesecake

For starter, Molly served delicious homemade garlic bread which she made on soft rolls, rather than baguette, which I thought was much much tastier. The garlic bread was followed by a scrumptious creamy chicken and broccoli bake. She made a massive dish full which was devoured by the end of the night. I think it's safe to say that everyone loved it. 

For dessert, Molly whipped up a spectacular strawberry cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries and grated chocolate. I insisted on photographing her, dressed ever so festively with the cake, which, she wasn't too happy about, but posed never the less!

The domestic goddess herself

After a few bottles of wine, we weren't the freshest of daisies the following morning, but, the view from Molly's kitchen really made getting out of bed that little bit easier.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Scrumptious Christmas Yule Log

I'm a huge fruit cake, Christmas pudding and mince pie fan, but let's face it, traditional Christmas desserts aren't everyone's cup of tea. Chocolate on the other hand is a pretty safe bet when it comes to guessing favourites so why not try this easy peasy chocolate Yule log this holiday season. This recipe contains no flour so you can easily make it a gluten-free treat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or for anyone who's trying to simply cut gluten out of their diet. For this Yule log, I tweaked Nigella Lawson's recipe ever so slightly and decorated it a little different than suggested. I was really surprised that the cake was so simple to make. Take a look for yourself....  


6 Eggs (yolks & whites separated)
150g Caster Sugar
50g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract

175g Dark Chocolate
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract 
225g Butter (softened)
250g Icing Sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark4 and line your Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper
2) Using an electric mixer, whisk your egg whites and 7 tbsp of your caster sugar until the mixture peaks
3) Then scoop that mixture out and place it into another bowl while, again using the mixer, you beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until the mixture is pale and mousse like 

4) Add the vanilla extract and the cocoa powder and continue to beat until combined fully
5) Then fold a spoon of the egg white mixture into the other using a metal spoon to keep the mixture light and airy

6) Repeat this step until all the white mixture has been used 
7) Pour the mixture onto your lined tray and place it in the oven for 20 minutes 
8) When finished in the oven, turn the cake over onto a sheet of baking paper that had been dusted with icing sugar to prevent sticking

While your cake is in the oven baking away you can get started on the chocolate filling... 

1) Melt your chocolate by breaking it into small pieces, heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stirring after each 30 seconds until fully melted 
2) Pour it into your mixer with the softened butter, the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy
3) Then place the mixture to one side while the cake fully cools

To Assemble...
1) Spread a thick layer of the filling onto the cake and starting with the right side, roll it into a Swiss roll shape (be careful, but don't worry if bits break off, you can cover them with the buttercream later)

If you're having problems rolling the log, take a look at this video...

2) Then place the log onto your serving plate and cover in the remaining filling
3) To get the peaked effect, use a pallet knife and spread the buttercream using upwards motions
4) Then dust the log with some icing sugar to get the snowy effect and decorate however you wish - I used ribbon and berries, but you could use holly of whatever you wish! 

The perfect start to the Christmas Season :)