Sunday, 21 November 2010

Tiffin/Refridgerator Cake

Tiffin or Refridgerator Cake, whatever you want to call it, is one of those things that you can make quickly without too much hassle and without worrying about weighing everything perfectly.  All you need to do is chuck a load of things into some melted chocolate, butter and golden syrup and you're nearly done. 

This ease and no fuss style is represented by my Mums recipe for Tiffin, well if you can call it a recipe that is.  It's a small scrap of paper on which is written "biscuits, choc, golden syrup, sultana's, cherries, 2oz marg".  Thats it.  Only one actual measurement, no step by step instructions, no faffing about.  Just simple and straight to the point.

So when I decided to whip some up a few days ago, I combined this list with a recipe I found in Cupcakes, Muffins & More by Love Food.  My Mum got me this recipe book a few months ago and I've not got round to using it much yet.  The first thing I made from it was some melt in the middle chocolate cupcakes which you serve warm and they were very successful, apart from the fact that my camera broke whilst taking photo's of them!

When I made these I slightly underestimated how much chocolate I needed as I didn't really have a lot in the house, so I just went ahead anyway.  It wasn't a disaster but I did end up with one half of the tray not having any chocolate topping!  I also had a minor problem when I was melting some chocolate, I did it the way you are supposed to i.e. in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  Yet it did not turn out, I seem to be incapable of melting chocolate this way.  Which is why I tend to just stick the bowl in the microwave for 10 second bursts until its all melted! 
Mishaps aside, it turned out ok in the end, it even looked pretty good once I cut it all up.

Tiffin/Refridgerator Cake - Adapted from a few different recipes

75g margarine
3 tsbp golden syrup
350g chocolate, roughly chopped (I used a mix of milk and dark)
175g digestive biscuits, roughly broken
70g glace cherries
80g raisins

For the Topping:
35g margarine
250g milk chocolate

Decoration (optional):
50g white chocolate, melted

1.  Grease a cake tin of your choice, deep or shallow depending on how you thick you want your cake.  I used a tin that was about 27x18cm.
2.  Put the chocolate, margarine and golden syrup in a small pan and heat gently until melted. 
3.  Bash up the biscuits and add to the chocolate mix, along with the cherries and raisins.  Stir until combined.
4.  Pour into the tin and roughly level the surface.  Chill in the fridge for about an hour.
5.  Melt the milk chocolate and butter, then pour over the chilled mix.  Put back into the fridge until set.
6.  Melt the melt chocolate and roughly flick over the top of the cake with a spoon.  Put back in the fridge and let it set.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes

My favorite flavour combination is and always has been Mint Choc Chip, I can't get enough of it.  I love mints and I love chocolate, so the two together is just heaven to me.  I'm not a big ice cream eater but I could eat Mint Choc Chip ice cream by the bucket full.  I found a little ice cream parlour near the edge of Lake Windermere (Lake District, Cumbria) one holiday a few years back which did the most amazing Mint Choc Chip ice cream, I've never found anywhere thats come close.

Anyway, enough rambling about ice cream and onto the cupcakes.  I've been meaning to make these for a while but kept forgetting or not having the time when I did remember.  Then someone else made some and it reminded me. 
I had the recipe in mind, I was going to use my favourite victoria sandwich recipe but with cocoa powder and chocolate chunks and then my favorite buttercream but adapted to be mint chocolate.  Pretty simple I thought.  I made the cakes no problem but then came the time to make the buttercream, I had the butter and half the icing sugar mixed nicley when my whisk suddenly stopped.
Thinking it may have just got a little hot I turned it off and unplugged it for a few minutes.  Then I plugged it back in and tried again, this time it made a painful whirring sound and tried its best to work.  No such luck.  There was no way it was about to work.  So my only option was to finish it by hand, I know, I know, nothing wrong with that, unless you have problems with your muscles like I do.  To cut a long story short I eventually finished the buttercream, it took me probably 30 minutes longer than it does with the whisk.  As for the taste?  Its without a doubt the nicest buttercream I've ever made.  So creamy, soft and fluffy, I had to add milk to make it a little easier to beat, which I never usually do and the taste was so much better for it. 
Verdict?  Having very painful, dead arms for over 4 days afterwards was totally worth it.

Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes - My own recipe

For the chocolate chip cupcakes:
100g caster sugar
100g margarine
75g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
2 eggs
100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 or 2 tbsp milk (its upto you how much, but generally if the mix is quite thick then add a spoonful or two)

For the mint chocolate buttercream:
75g margarine
150g icing sugar
40g cocoa powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp peppermint essence (roughly)

1.  Cream the margarine and sugar together until light and fluffly.
2.  Add one egg and a spoonful of flour, beat until just combined.  Repeat with the second egg.
3.  Fold in the rest of the flour and cocoa powder, one spoonful at a time until you have a little bit of flour left.
4.  Fold in the milk and finally the last of the flour until it has just combined.
5.  Add in the chocolate chucks and stir as little as possible to mix them in.
6.  Spoon the mixture into muffin cases until 3/4 full.
7.  Cook on 180c for about 15 to 20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted comes out clean (bar any melted chocolate).  Put on wire rack to cool.
8.  Now to make the buttercream.  Beat the butter until it is nice and soft and fluffy, then slowly add the icing sugar.
9.  Add about half the cocoa powder and beat, then put in a spoonful of milk and mix.  Repeat with the remaining cocoa powder and milk.
10.  Add the peppermint essence a few drops at a time.  Keep tasting until you are happy with the flavour.
11.  Pipe the buttercream onto your cupcakes or spread with a knife.
Next time I need some After Eight mints to decorate them with!