Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Lemon Swirl Cake

I'm a woman on a mission (sings song in head), a mission to lose 10lbs. I've had a great Easter, probably a bit too great and my waistline is showing the strain! I've always used Weight Watchers to lose the excess pounds and I love their magazine for great recipes and meal ideas. This cake comes from one of their magazines. It's a really pretty cake, it's particularly seasonal, easy to make and low fat to boot. It might just make the diet a little easier to struggle through too!

4 points per serving, serves 6. 247 calories per serving.


110g margarine
75g golden caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
110g self raising flour, sifted
1tsp baking powder
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
150g pot 0% fat Greek yogurt
1tsp icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon curd
6 sugared violets to decorate


Preheat the oven to 190oc, fan oven 170oc.

Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.

Place the margarine and sugar in a large bowl and beat until pale and soft. Add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well in between each addition. Fold in the sifted flour, lemon zest and baking powder. Spoon into the tin and level the surface.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then lift out, remove the paper and cool on a wire rack.

To serve cut the cake in half vertically to make two rectangles. Mix together the yogurt and icing sugar, and spread over the top of both halves. Swirl the lemon curd through the yogurt, then sandwich the halves together and decorate the top with the violets.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Chocolate Fudge Cake - A birthday surprise

I decided to make a surprise cake for my friend's birthday. Milly loves chocolate and all things sweet and gorgeous, so I chose Nigella's chocolate fudge cake. I have to say that this is the chocolate cake recipe I rely on the most. It's deliciously moist, rich enough without being over the top and has the most amazing fudgy chocolate icing that covers the whole cake. It makes quite a tall cake with just two layers, so it looks grand on it's cake plate too.
Another of my friend's loves is Ferrero Rocher chocolates so I topped the cake with some of these nuggety truffles and finished off with gold stamped chocolate stars and gold glitter.
I love giving presents, probably more than receiving them and it's even more special to me when I get to make the gift too.

Chocolate Fudge Cake:


400g plain flour
250g golden caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
50g best quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
142ml/small tub sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
125ml corn oil
300ml chilled water


175g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
250g unsalted butter, softened
275g icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Butter and line the bottom of two 20cm sandwich tins.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a freestanding or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you’ll need another large bowl for this if using the hand whisk; the freestanding mixer comes with its own bowl), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins. And actually, you could easily do this manually; I just like my toys and find the KitchenAid a comforting presence in itself.

Bake the cakes for 50–55 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate in the microwave – 2–3 minutes on medium should do it – or in a bowl sitting over a pan of simmering water, and let cool slightly.

In another bowl beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy (again, I use the KitchenAid here) and then add the sieved icing sugar and beat again until everything’s light and fluffy. I know sieving is a pain, the one job in the kitchen I really hate, but you have to do it or the icing will be unsoothingly lumpy. Then gently add the vanilla and chocolate and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.

Sandwich the middle of the cake with about a quarter of the icing, and then ice the top and sides too, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.

Decorate as much or as little as you like.