Baked & Delicious: Bitter Chocolate Puddings and Iced Vanilla Cupcakes

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Have you seen the new Baked & Delicious magazine on the news-stands? It's bright and pretty and oh-so-desirable with attached silicon bakeware. It gave me a bad case of the wanties when I went into Tesco's earlier this week and perused the magazine racks.

I admit: magazines are my guilty pleasure. I don't like glossy magazines with celebrity gossip. I don't like magazines that cost £4.99 and make you feel like you made a bad choice because they're packed full of adverts and not very many recipes/patterns/articles. I really, really like magazines that give you free things. I started buying The CrossStitcher last year in February because you got a beautiful button tin with one of the issues. I picked up this month's Let's Knit because it came with a tea-cosy pattern, two balls of yarn and pretty bead-topped 4mm needles. And now, silicon bakeware with every issue? Uh oh.

Besides, isn't that cupcake on the front absolutely YUM? Well, what do you think...

Yes. That's my iced vanilla cupcake in dove-blue silicon cupcake case, topped with raspberries and dusted with icing sugar. Well, you can't have a magazine like this and not test out the recipes, can you?

The first issue of the magazine comes with 8 recipes (not bad for the introductory 99p but I really hope that the subsequent issues at £4.99 come with a bucket-load more! Although, there are promises of silicon loaf tins etcetera so that makes up for the price). They each have huge A4 photographs displaying the final product, and the 'basic' recipes (or 'techniques' recipes) come with step-by-step pics which is great if you're learning how to do something for the first time -- or if you're not so sure about something that you really should know but have been faking for a long, long time.

I was given a copy and I couldn't resist testing out the vanilla cupcakes (as featured on the cover). They are a variation on a traditional vanilla sponge topped with buttercream icing and raspberries. I made a half-quantity of batter which perfectly filled the 6 silicon cupcake cases supplied.

The cakes rose well, browned nicely, and filled the silicon cases with a nice flat top.

I then iced them with vanilla buttercream and  - well, you know the rest. Yum. They didn't have the nicest texture but they were very, very tasty. It always pays off to use the best ingredients, I think, and my pure vanilla extract is really delicious (although I cringe if I ever spill even the tiniest little bit from the lid or the end of a spoon - it's like precious black gold!).

While those cooled (you can see them in this photo - they're the colourful cakey blobs in the background), I tried out another recipe in the magazine: Bitter Chocolate Puddings.

Now these are worth sharing.

Firm on top, spongy on the inside, and pure gooey chocolate oozing out the middle when you break into them. Serve with a single scoop of pure vanilla ice cream and you'll be sorry that you don't have another batch coming out of the oven.

Here's the recipe, slightly modified for easy reading, from the Baked & Delicious magazine:

Bitter Chocolate Puddings

125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa, at least)
125g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 additional egg yolks
50g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 190'C and butter 6 small (150ml) or 4 large (200ml) ramekins or pudding bowls.
2. Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the butter, cut into cubes. Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and let the butter and chocolate melt. Stir to combine thoroughly and then leave to cool slightly.
3. Whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks in another bowl until they are thick and pale, then beat in the melted chocolate mixture.
4. Whisk in the sifted flour.
5. Divide the mixture between the ramekins and bake for 25 minutes (large ramekins) or just under 20 minutes (smaller ramekins) or until the puddings are lightly risen, slightly cracked but spongy to the touch.
6. Serve warm with a generous helping of vanilla ice cream.

The recipe suggests that you add a spoonful of brandy to the batter, or coffee, to give it extra depth, or alternatively add in a handful of chocolate chips in your favourite flavour.

I once ate a pudding just like this at a fancy restaurant in Cape Town. It was served with pistachio ice cream and retailed for about 12 times the price this cost to make. Not only that - the puddings I made were readily received and eaten within just a few minutes. Now that's baked and delicious.

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