Dark and White Chocolate Marble Cake with Marble Icing

There’s nothing more satisfying than a piece of cake with a cup of tea or coffee. The delicious aroma of homemade cakes has an instant appeal and it’s very hard to resist.

A family favourite, I usually make this cake with vanilla, chocolate and coffee flavours. However, I decided to try it with dark and white chocolate for a change. It was quite an interesting project.

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A marble cake looks great, but it’s actually very simple to make. The luscious swirl of the dark and white chocolate makes for a delicious contrast of colour and taste.

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PREP: 20 minutes  COOK TIME: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 30 gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • 30 gms white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 240 gms self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180 gms butter
  • 180 gms caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3-4 tbsp apricot jam

Icing

  • 60 gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • 60 gms white chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tbsp cream

Instructions

Grease and line an 8” cake pan with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven at 180 C.

Dissolve the dark chocolate in 1 tbsp of milk over hot water. Dissolve the white chocolate in 1 tbsp of milk similarly. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour and salt. Cream the butter until it is soft, add the sugar and continue creaming until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs gradually. Fold the flour into the mixture, a third at a time, adding milk if necessary to make it drop easily from the whisk. Add the vanilla and mix well. Divide the mixture into two portions and add the melted dark chocolate to one portion. Flavour the second portion with the melted white chocolate.

Spoon tablespoonfuls of one mixture around the tin, leaving room for the other mixture. Fill the spaces with the second mixture and continue with a second layer alternating the flavours of dark and white chocolate. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

To make the apricot glaze, combine the apricot jam with a 1 tbsp of water and heat gently. Cool. When the cake is cold brush with the apricot glaze and allow it to set.

For the icing, combine the dark chocolate with 2 tbsp of cream in a bowl and melt the chocolate over boiling water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. When the chocolate has melted completely, set aside to cool. Repeat the process with the white chocolate and the remaining cream.

Spoon dollops of each mixture randomly on the surface of the cake and swirl with a toothpick or a skewer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melon and Ginger Jam

I was intrigued by this recipe that I found in Encyclopaedia of Creative Cooking. It was so different from the usual teatime jams and it tastes great on home-made bread. The recipe calls for ogen or charentais melon, but I used honeydew or musk melon as they are available here throughout the year. There’s not much difference between them anyway.

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The addition of ginger both fresh and crystallized gives it a tangy taste that is just heavenly!

Recipe:

1 1/2 kg melon, peeled and de-seeded

3 inch piece fresh ginger, grated

100 grams crystallized ginger, chopped

1 1/2 kg sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup commercial liquid pectin

Method:

Dice the melon. Place the ginger in a small sieve and squeeze gently to extract the juice.

Place the melon, ginger juice, crystallized ginger, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves. Then bring it to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the liquid pectin. Cool for 15 minutes and bottle in sterilized jars.

Watermelon Jam

It’s always watermelon season in India and I decided to try my hand at making a preserve out of it. The fruit contains 90% water and that’s the reason the finished jam was a little runny. But, the taste was unbelievable! It was so fresh and the colour and appeal was absolutely spot on. The taste was so natural.

You have to be careful while choosing the fruit. Always try to use fresh, firm fruit. The colour is the best indicator. A really rich colour produces more taste. You can also use this jam as a dressing for other fruit salads. Mix it with lemon or orange juice and spoon it over the salad.

The other jam in the picture is melon and ginger jam. I am making a separate post for it. My family really loved both the jams and it’s a wonderful gift for a special friend.

 

Recipe:

1.75 kg watermelon

750 grams sugar

Juice and rind of 2 large lemons

Method:

Cut the watermelon in half and remove the seeds. Chop the flesh into 1/2 inch cubes. Place the melon and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and add the lemon juice and rind. Return to the heat and simmer until the quantity has reduced almost by half and the melon looks transparent. Remove from the heat and cool before bottling it the usual way.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Being a vegetarian, it’s always a challenge to re-invent a meat-based dish. I used tofu to substitute the meat balls and the spices were just perfect. That’s what I like about tofu – it just soaks up the spices like a sponge. And so easy to make. This dish was a great project for a rainy afternoon.

The spaghetti sauce is one I make all the time. It has some red chilli powder in it for some extra flavour and zing. The brown sugar balances it out evenly. If you like, you can blitz the sauce in a food processor to get a smooth texture.

Recipe:

For the tofu balls:

450 grams tofu, mashed

1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

1/2 teaspoon garlic paste

1/4 cup onions, chopped finely

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the tomato sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium green pepper, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

4 cups tomato puree

1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped finely

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Salt to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Mix together all the ingredients for the tofu balls except the olive oil and marinate for 30 minutes.

Spread a baking sheet with the olive oil. Form the tofu mixture into 16 balls and arrange them on the tray. Bake about 30 minutes turning the balls after 15 minutes until they are browned and set.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, pepper, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes and then add the red chilli powder. Mix in the tomato puree and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Add the ketchup, salt, brown sugar and the fresh coriander.

Boil some egg noodles until they are al dente and drain. To serve, heap the noodles on a serving plate and spoon some tomato sauce over it. Place the tofu balls on top. Enjoy.

Sticky Caramelised Pears with Cardamom Custard

I was going through some recipes and came across one for caramelised figs. So, when I saw some juicy pears at the market, I decided to try and do the same with them. Pears are so versatile and are perfect with pastry, salad and puddings. This dessert looks so elegant and it’s really easy to make. Just the thing for a special dinner party!

I decided to pair the caramelised pears with a baked custard. The nice thing about baking a custard is that you can just fill the ramekins and pop them in the oven. So easy! I used cardamom powder to sprinkle on the tops of the custard. When I turned out the custard, the cardamom was nicely settled at the bottom and looked beautiful.

Absolutely delicious – succulent pears coated with this gooey, melted caramel sauce and the subtly flavoured cardamom custard. Just yummy!

Recipe:

Caramelised Pears:

8 small pears

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup castor sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed firmly

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

For the Cardamom Custard:

2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

A pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

Method (Pears):

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Peel the pears leaving the stalk intact. Cut in half and remove the core. Rub the pears with the lemon juice.

Melt the butter in an oven proof frying pan. Add both the sugars and stir, but do not let it dissolve. Put the pears into the mixture with the cut side facing downwards. Spoon the melted sugar mixture over them occasionally. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, taking care to baste the pears from time to time.

Remove the pan from the oven and flip the pears carefully. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the cores are golden and the pears are cooked through. Transfer the pears to another dish and place the frying pan on heat. Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it is a rich golden brown. Add the honey, salt and vanilla and mix well. Remove from heat.

Method (Cardamom Custard):

Scald the milk. Combine the sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat well. Add the milk to the egg mixture gradually (you do not want to cook the eggs). Beat until smooth and pour the custard into 4 ramekins; place the ramekins in a shallow pan in hot water. Sprinkle the custard with the cardamom powder. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool and turn out carefully while serving. Serve with the pears and spoon the caramel on top.