Coffee and Walnut Cake

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This is a favourite for the men in my family, often appearing on their Birthday’s or Father’s Day.

Ingredients

For the cake:

175g margarine
175g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
3 eggs
100g walnuts (broken into pieces)
1 tbsp instant coffee
3 tbsp boiling water

For the icing:

400g icing sugar
200g margarine
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp boiling water
50g walnuts

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and grease and line two sandwich tins with baking paper.
2. Blend the instant coffee and boiling water together.
3. Place the margarine, caster sugar, flour, eggs, walnuts and coffee mix into a bowl and beat all the ingredients together.
4. Divide the mix between the two sandwich tins.
5. Place the cakes into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
6. When the cakes are ready, leave them to cool before assembling with the icing.
7. To make the icing sift the icing sugar into a clean bowl and beat with the margarine.
8. Blend the instant coffee with the boiling water and mix it in to the icing.
9. Spread the icing generously on to one of the cakes and place the second cake on top. Spread the remainder of the icing over the top and around the sides of the cake.
10. Decorate the cake with the walnuts.

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White Chocolate and Strawberry Squares

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I came up with this recipe while deciding on desserts to make for the day after my sister’s wedding. We were looking for things that were easy to make and didn’t take too much time. As with any wedding or big event, the closer it comes the less hours you seem to have! These white chocolate and strawberry squares are simple and quick to make and they taste good too. As an alternative, you could use raspberries or blueberries instead of strawberries.

Ingredients

200g margarine
200g caster sugar
300g self-raising flour
4 eggs
100ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
200g strawberries
150g white chocolate (If you can get the Bellarom Strawberry Crisp White Chocolate from Lidl, use 50g of this and 100g of standard white chocolate)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment or greaseproof paper.
3. Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat the eggs and add them to the mix along with the flour, milk and vanilla extract.
5. Mix the ingredients together until they have combined and the mixture is smooth.
6. Roughly chop the white chocolate and the strawberries and fold them into the mixture, stirring gently so that the strawberries will not break up.
7. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking tray and place it in the oven for approximately 25- 30 minutes or until the cake is golden in colour. (If the edges begin to burn, place a sheet of tin foil over the tray and turn down the temperature to 150ºC until the centre is fully cooked.)
8. When the cake is cooked, leave it to cool before cutting into squares.

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Malteser Slices

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I was sitting in a cute café with my mam and sister during the week and my sister ordered one of these slices. It looked and tasted great so I decided I wanted to make them. I went to the shop on my way home and bought the ingredients that I imagined would be in malteser slices. They were so simple to make and tasted yum!

Ingredients

3 teasers bars (100g each)
3 tablespoons of golden syrup
100g margarine
400g maltesers
100g digestive biscuits
300g white chocolate

Method

1. Melt the margarine and golden syrup together in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
2. Break the teasers bars into smaller pieces and add them to the margarine and golden syrup mix, stirring until the chocolate has melted.
3. Place 300g of the maltesers into a bag (or leave them in their original packets) and use a rolling pin to crush the maltesers and stir them into the mix. Crush the biscuits in the same way and add to the mix.
4. Line a baking tin and place the mixture into the tin. Leave it in the fridge for one to two hours to set.
5. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and pour it generously over the malteser slices.
6. When the white chocolate has cooled, crush the remaining 100g of maltesers and sprinkle them on top of the white chocolate to decorate. Put the tray back into the fridge until it has fully set.

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Gluten free Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

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This recipe came about when I wanted to use up the Terry’s chocolate oranges that were going out of date soon. I had all the ingredients to make a cheesecake apart from the biscuits. Since I had oats in the press I ground them in the nutribullet and used them instead. I also used single cream and the lightest Philadelphia cream cheese but if you fancy a more decadent cheesecake then I would use double cream and original Philadelphia cream cheese.

Ingredients

For the base:

150g margarine
300g oats
100g caster sugar
(Alternatively you could use 350g crushed digestive biscuits instead of oats and caster sugar for a normal base)

For the filling:

1 tub Philadelphia cream cheese
225g Terry’s chocolate orange
200ml cream
100g icing sugar

Method

1. Put the oats into a food processor or nutribullet and grind until they are fine.
2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Add the sugar and ground oats and mix until combined.
3. Press the mixture into a cheesecake tin lined with tin foil. Place this in the fridge to cool.
4. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
5. Meanwhile, whip the cream in a separate bowl.
6. In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar.
7. When the chocolate has melted pour it into the whipped cream and stir until combined.
8. Add the chocolate and cream to the cream cheese mix.
9. Remove the cheesecake base from the fridge and spread the mixture evenly on top of it.
10. Decorate with leftover Terry’s chocolate orange segments and leave the cheesecake to set in the fridge overnight.

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Chewy Chocolate Brownies

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I was a long time experimenting with brownie recipes before finally being happy with this one. What I love about these brownies is that you can use whatever type of chocolate you like and end up with a completely different finished product. I have made this recipe using both caramel chocolate and orange chocolate aswel as plain chocolate.

Ingredients

300g chocolate
225g margarine
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 eggs
225g light brown sugar
75g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
200g chocolate chips (if I make standard chocolate brownies I put in 100g of milk chocolate chips and 100g of white chocolate chips)
150g chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with grease proof or parchment paper.
2. Place the margarine and golden syrup in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt until combined.
3. Break the chocolate and add it to the margarine and golden syrup mixture. Stir occasionally until it has melted.
4. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then beat in the melted chocolate mixture.
5. Stir in the flour, ground almonds, chocolate chips and nuts if you are using them.
6. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and place it into the oven to cook for approximately 40 minutes. The top and edges should be firm but soft and almost gooey underneath. Keep an eye on it as it cooks as the outsides can tend to burn easily. If this begins to happen, turn down the heat or cover the tray loosely with tin foil.

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Caramel Squares

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I love caramel squares but I don’t make them too often because they are a little bit time consuming. However, I made these recently for a good friend of mine who is slightly obsessed with them. She has gone abroad working for the year so for her goodbye tea-party she requested I make her these caramel squares. This is a simple enough recipe but just be sure to keep stirring the caramel, you would be surprised at how quick it can burn!

Ingredients

300g chocolate

For the base:
200g margarine
100g caster sugar
60g light brown sugar
250g plain flour

For the caramel:
50g margarine
50g light brown sugar
200ml condensed milk

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Beat the margarine and the two types of sugar together in a bowl. Add the flour and bring the mixture together using your fingertips. Alternatively you could use an electric mixer.
3. Press the mixture into a lined baking tin and place it into the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown in colour.
4. Meanwhile, place the margarine, sugar and condensed milk into a saucepan and heat it gently, stirring continuously until all the ingredients have combined. Gradually bring the mixture to the boil and keep stirring until it has thickened. (The stirring is so important as it can burn extremely easily!)
5. Pour the caramel over the biscuit base and leave it to cool and set.
6. When it has set, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and spread it over the caramel.

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Lemon Meringue Roulade

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I’ve made this roulade twice in the last few weeks. On both occasions I was visiting friends and they cooked fabulous dinners. The good thing about this lemon meringue roulade is that it is nice and light so you really will have room for dessert! While easy to make, it is a little bit time consuming so make sure you have a few hours free to enjoy the baking. To speed things up a bit you could make the lemon curd in advance. It will also keep for about a week so if you have any leftover you shouldn’t have trouble using it up.

Ingredients:

500ml cream

For the meringue:
275g caster sugar
5 egg whites

For the lemon curd:
3 eggs
Freshly squeezed lemon juice of 2 lemons
Zest of half a lemon
150 grams granulated sugar
50g margarine

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until very stiff. (You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture should not fall out!)
3. Mix in the sugar a teaspoon at a time until it has all been added, whisking constantly.
4. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking tray.
5. Place the tray in to the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the heat down to 160°C. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until it is crisp to touch.
6. Leave it to cool.
7. To make the lemon curd, whisk the eggs together in a bowl and add the lemon juice and sugar.
8. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Keep stirring the mixture until it becomes thick.
9. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the margarine and lemon zest, mixing until it is combined.
10. Leave it to cool, then cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge until it is cold.
11. When the lemon curd is cold and you are ready to assemble the roulade, whip the cream in a bowl.
12. Generously spread the lemon curd on to the meringue. Spoon the cream on top and even it out.
13. Gently lift the edge of the meringue from the paper and carefully roll it up.
14 Dust the roulade with icing sugar and place it in the fridge.

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Almond and Raspberry Jam Cupcakes

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I made these cupcakes last Saturday. I had planned on making plain vanilla cupcakes but luckily for my dad, he was in the kitchen as I took out the mixer and requested I make something with almonds. I just used 50g of ground almonds and 50g less of flour, I substituted the vanilla essence with almond essence and I added in the raspberry jam. As it was Valentines weekend I decorated the cupcakes with edible glitter and cute little hearts.

For the cupcakes:

225g margarine/butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
175g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
4tbsp milk
1 tsp almond extract
4 tbsp raspberry jam

For the icing:

250g icing sugar
125g margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp raspberry jam

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the bun cases into a bun tray.
3. Cream the margarine/butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.
4. Beat the eggs and gradually add them to the mixture, add a teaspoon of flour with each addition to prevent it from curdling.
5. Sift the remaining flour into the bowl along with the baking powder, ground almonds, almond essence and milk.
6. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases.
7. Dip a teaspoon into the raspberry jam and mix it into each cupcake.
8. Place the cupcakes into the oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden in colour.
9. Once the cupcakes are ready place them on a wire rack to cool.
10. To make the icing place the margarine, icing sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stir in the raspberry jam.
11. Using a piping bag, pipe the icing onto the top of the cooled cupcakes.
12. Decorate to your own taste.

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Chocolate Biscuit Cake

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It was my best friend’s birthday last Friday. I decided to make her a chocolate biscuit cake, yet again! I normally use Cadbury’s chocolate when making this cake but as Galaxy is her favourite type of chocolate I used that instead. This is the kind of cake that you can adapt every time you make it to suit each person’s preference. Sometimes I use rich tea biscuits, other times I use digestives. Sometimes I put in marshmallows, or maltesers, or crunchies. And sometimes I use a caramel bar or orange chocolate or mint chocolate to change it up completely. Like I said, it is entirely up to you! The following recipe is the one I used last Friday.

Ingredients

400g galaxy chocolate
110g margarine
4tbsp golden syrup
1 packet of rich tea biscuits
Share bag of rolos
Share bag of munchies
2 bars of toffee crisp
100g maltesers teasers chocolate (to cover)
Share bag of m&m’s
24 twix’s

Method

1. Place the margarine and golden syrup in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
2. Break the chocolate into squares and mix it into the margarine and golden syrup until melted.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, break the biscuits (I usually hit the packet a few times with a rolling pin before opening it!) and add them to the chocolate.
4. Roughly chop the toffee crisp bars and throw them into the mix along with the munchies and rolos (and whatever else you decide to use).
5. Scoop the cake into a lined tin and place it in the fridge to cool for a few hours.
6. Remove the cake from the fridge, take it out of the tin and put it on a plate.
7. Melt the teasers bar in a bowl over simmering water and pour the melted chocolate over the top of the chocolate biscuit cake. Leave it drip down the sides of the cake as it helps the twix’s to stick.
8. Place the twix’s around the outside of the cake. Put some more melted chocolate on the sides of the cake or the back of each twix to help them stick if you need to.
9. Pour the share bag of m&m’s over the melted teasers bar and tie a ribbon around the cake.
10. Put the cake back into the fridge to cool.

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Melt in your Mouth Pecan Moments

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These little biscuits are so light and fluffy. They literally melt in your mouth and leave you reaching for more!

Ingredients

100g plain flour
100g margarine
60g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
100g pecans
Icing sugar to dust

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.
2. Place the pecans in a food processor until they are ground. (a 10 second job in the nutribullet!)
3. Cream the margarine and caster sugar together and then stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Add the flour and ground pecans to the mixture and bring it together to form a dough.
5. Roll the dough into small balls, then flatten slightly and place on a lined baking tray.
6. Place the tray into the oven for approximately 40 minutes.
7. When the biscuits are cooked, place them on a wire rack and leave them to cool.
8. Dust the biscuits with icing sugar.

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