Flourless Dark Chocolate & Espresso Birthday Cake

Hi guys!

Hope you’re all doing great. I’m currently in my hometown Amsterdam because I planned a surprise visit for my brother’s 18th birthday. Fortunately, the surprise went really well (he had no idea that I was coming!) and we had a very nice family day with lots of food! My mom and I spent basically the whole day in the kitchen last Thursday (on my brother’s birthday) to bake two cakes and prepare an awesome bday dinner. It’s a bit of a tradition in our family that you can choose what you want to have for dinner on your bday. My brother is a big fan of my famous Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna (of which I will probably post a recipe sooner or later) so that’s what he requested. But what is a birthday without an awesome birthday cake?

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I actually decided on baking two cakes because I had two recipes in mind that I really wanted to try out, but I needed a hand mixer for those recipes. Now, I don’t own one back in London, but my mom’s kitchen is fully supplied so I figured I should take advantage of the opportunity! Note that it is possible to bake this cake without a hand mixer too, but you will get a sore arm from beating the egg white 😉

My family is one full of ever-caffeinated-chocoholics, so this first cake, an Espresso & Dark Chocolate Cake, seemed just perfect. To keep it low-carb (the other cake we were doing was heavily carb-loaded so yeah…) we decided on a flourless version. This makes for an extra dense & creamy chocolate cake, but you do want this to sit in your fridge for a few hours before indulging.

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Let’s get to it!

Flourless Espresso & Dark Chocolate Cake

Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 35-40 mins – Yield: 16 pcs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 250 gr dark chocolate (I used around 70-80% cacao but you can use whatever you prefer. If you use more than that, consider adding a bit more sugar)
  • ¼ cup of boiling water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 fresh single espresso (or 1 tsp instant espresso powder)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Powdered sugar & fruits for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius and boil some water in your kettle. Break up your chocolate in small pieces and pour 1/4 cup (60ml) of boiling water over the chocolate. Add one cup of fresh espresso. You can also use instant espresso powder (1tsp) or both for extra coffee flavour. While you let that sit, separate the eggs in two large bowls. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg white until it’s very firm. Give your chocolate mixture a stir every now and then so that the chocolate completely melts and incorporates into the espresso and hot water.

Add your softened butter, sugar, salt, cacao powder and vanilla extract to the egg yolks and cream together with your hand mixer or spatula, whichever you prefer. Once the chocolate has fully melted, add the mixture to your egg yolks & butter. Now take a look at your egg white. If it has started to separate a bit, just quickly beat it again so that all the egg white is nice and fluffy. Scoop in the egg whites with a spatula, folding it in carefully to preserve as much air & fluffiness in your batter.

Poor the mixture into your cake form. You can use anything you like. I went for a larger diameter because I like this cake to be thin (you could use a brownie tin too), but if you want a thicker cake, use a cake form with a smaller diameter. Note that this will add ±5 mins to your baking time and your might want to let the cake set in the fridge a bit longer.

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My cake baked for 35 minutes. I let it cool on the counter for an hour. You could eat it straight away, although I like this cake better when it’s completely cooled and has set in the fridge for approximately 4 hours. This will make the cake extra dense and chewy. Whatever you prefer! Top the cake with some powdered sugar. You can also add any fruit you like. I chose raspberries and blackberries because I think they’re sweet yet sour taste goes well with the very dark chocolate. Strawberries would work really well too!

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Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for the recipe of the second birthday cake I made: a pear cheesecake with crumbly topping. I promise it will be an absolute hit this fall with your family & friends!

Best,

Tori

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Savoury Cheddar Pumpkin Scones

Hi guys, I’m back with another scone recipe. I just can’t stop making them and I keep getting ideas in my head of ingredients to use in my scones. Even though I love sweet scones with cream and jam, this time I felt like having something more salty. I had some leftover pumpkin from my dinner last night, so I figured I could use that and some cheddar. Believe me… these scones are SO. GOOD. They’re more bread-like in structure because they contain no sugar. Definitely worth giving this a go yourself!

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Savoury Cheddar & Pumpkin Scones

Preparation time: 80mins – Baking time: 13 mins – Total time: 93 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup cubed cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • ½ cup grated matured chedder
  • 1 pumpkin to make pumpkin puree (or ½ cup store-bought pumpkin puree)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut the pumpkin in large cubes and bake them in the oven for at least 45 minutes (I let them sit for an hour). Let the pumpkin cool off. Now, peel off the pumpkin skin. This should be fairly easy if your pumpkin cubes are soft enough! Mash the pumpkin with a fork until a puree starts to form or use a blender or kitchen processor if you prefer. Set aside ½ cup of your fresh pumpkin puree for later use. Alternatively, just use ½ cup store-bought pumpkin puree, but make sure it is not too sugary and sweet as we’re making savoury scones.

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Get a large bowl and mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the cubed butter and work the cubes into the flour mixture using your hands until you get coarse crumbs. Then add 1 cup of buttermilk (save just a tiny bit for glazing the scones) and 2 tbsp of milk and mix that in with a fork, but be careful not to overmix! It’s no problem if your mixture is not smooth, those lumpy bits will make the scones even better and it makes them look more artisan 😉 Now add the pumpkin puree and cheddar cheese and work that into your dough with your hands. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3cm thick.

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This is what the dough looks like!

Using a round cookie cutter (I just use my measuring cup turned upside-down, works just fine too!), divide the dough in circles. Lightly glaze the scones using your left-over buttermilk. Bake for 13mins in the oven on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, or use a muffin tray like me if you have one. Let the scones cool for 5 mins before transferring them to a cooling rack for another 5 mins.

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Let me know which one you prefer: sweet or savoury scones? Comment down below 😀

Best, cheftori

On Becoming British: Scones Recipe

HELLO everyone! Since my moving to London is already a month ago, I thought I’d give the world an update. London has been amazing so far, I’m really enjoying British culture. Of course it’s imperative that I try to Become British whilst I live here… I figured the best way to do that is to learn how to make proper scones.

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I had actually never had scones before I moved to London. Let me tell you all… it was love at first bite. 😉 For those of you who don’t exactly know what they are: scones are small treats to enjoy with your afternoon tea or at your Sunday brunch. Or for breakfast. Or dessert. Or as a midnight “I’m sneakily walking to the fridge” snack. They’re seriously good any time of day. I would describe them as the perfect hybrid child of bread and cookies: crunchy outside but deliciously soft on the inside like bread.

Traditionally, scones are served with clotted cream and jam. It appears that something of a war (yes, it is that intense) is going on between people on How To Properly Decorate Your Scone. The British take this very seriously so you might want to take this into consideration before you order a scone. The Cornish tradition is to spread the jam on the scone first, followed by the cream, but in Devon people prefer the other way around. In March this year, the debate was somewhat settled by the Queen, because the truth about her scone habits were revealed.

My scone-eating habits appeared to be not very Queenlike, as I myself prefer the Devonshire method because I think the colourful jam pops more if you put the jam on last!

After having many, many scones (of which the healthier spelt & quinoa scones at Le Pain Quotidien are probably my favourite), and after watching a ton of YouTube films and reading loads of recipes, I took the matter to my own kitchen. And now I present to you for the first time: scones à la #cheftori!

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CRANBERRY ORANGE ZEST SCONES À LA CHEFTORI

Yield: around 10-12 large scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup cubed unsalted butter (room-temperature)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup almond flakes or any nuts you prefer
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated orange peel
  • 1 cup buttermilk (for my fellow Dutchies: buttermilk is karnemelk)
  • ⅛ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tbsp full-fat milk

Instructions

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using your hands till you get coarse crumbs. Do not overmix! It’s okay to have some lumbs in there. Stir in the cranberries, nuts and orange peel. Then, mix in the buttermilk using a fork just until incorporated. Knead the dough with your hands for just a few seconds and roll it out on a floured surface until 2/3 cm thick. Use any circle-shaped utensil to get nice scones. I used a small and a large size to create mini scones and larger ones. Bake for 12 to 15 mins (depending on size of scones) on 200 degrees Celsius on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I baked my mini scones in a muffin tray! Serve with delicious clotted cream & jam, or alternatively, replace the clotted cream with fresh ricotta or cottage cheese for a less caloric option.

 

I was really happy with the way these scones turned out. If you really have a sweet tooth, try using 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 1/4 cup. I found that that much sugar was not necessary because the jam will give so much sweetness too! I really enjoyed this cranberry & orange peel version of scones, because it made them really fresh. I am looking forward to perfecting these scones and trying out different varieties. I’ll definitely try to make a more “healthy” version soon, so keep an eye out for that 😉

Thanks guys for checking out my recipe and please do try this at home! Let me know when you do.

Best,

cheftori