Ultra gooey chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies are an all time favourite of mine. The biggest trick to brownies is knowing how long to cook them for as well as using good quality dark chocolate. Unlike cake, they should still be gooey on the inside while being cooked on the outside. I must admit my timings failed a little bit with these brownies, they were a little too gooey in the middle but nevertheless they taste absolutely delicious.

The cue to make brownies for me was being given a bar of Morrisons value chocolate at a graduate recruitment fair (thank you Morrisons!) In order to make these brownies I did a 50/50 split of the value chocolate to 85% dark chocolate in order to even out the sugar a little bit. Of course I would recommend using 100% good quality chocolate but if your budget does not allow that then this ratio, for me, works just fine.

A nice way to finish these brownies is by dusting using sugar over the top or they make a great desert slightly warmed through and served with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Credit for this recipe goes to Jamie Oliver.

choc brownies 1

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter

200g good quality dark chocolate (anything with at least 70% cocoa solids)

50g walnuts

80g cocoa powder

65g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free range eggs

choc brownies 2

Method:

1) Preheat your over to 180oC/ gas mark 4. And line a 24cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.

2) Melt the butter and dark chocolate together by placing the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Be careful not to let the water touch the bowl.

3) In another bowl mix the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

4) Mix the chopped walnuts into the melted chocolate mixture and add the mixed dry ingredients.

5) Lightly beat the eggs then, beat these into the mixture until you have a silky mixture.

6) Pour the mixture into the baking tin.

choc brownies 3

7) Heat for about 25 minutes until the brownies are baked on the outside but still soft in the middle.

8) Allow the brownies to cool in the tray before transferring them to a chopping board and chopping into squares.

Advertisements

Lemon drizzle cake

lemon drizzle 4With all of the beautiful weather we’ve been having recently I wanted to make a light fruity cake that would be perfect to pack into a picnic basket. This recipe was based on a Mary Berry recipe that I saw a while ago on Vivianna Does Makeup.

Personally, I am not  big fan of the traditional thick sugar topping so I have kept mine very thin but have added lemon essence to the mixture to make up for this. If you would like a thicker topping I would double the topping mixture and remove 1 teaspoon of lemon essence from the cake.

lemon drizzle 1

lemon drizzle 2For the Cake:

225g salted butter, softened

225g caster sugar

275g  self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

finely grated rind of 2 lemons

2 teaspoons lemon essence

Method:

1) Line and grease a 20 x 20 x 5 baking tray and preheat your oven to 150oC

2) Cream the softened butter and caster sugar in a bowl

2) Beat the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl and gradually beat this into the butter and sugar mixture

3) Add the lemon essence

4) Fold in the flour and baking powder ensuring you remove as little air from the mixture as possible

5) Fold in the lemon rind

6) Tip the mixture into the greased baking tray and place in the center of the oven for 40 minutes

7) Once you have left the cake to cool slightly makes holes all over it with a skewer or knife

8) Make the topping (see below)

9) When the cake is slightly warm drizzle the topping over the cake and wait to set

10) Cut into squares. I made 25 out of mine

lemon drizzle 3

For the topping:

Juice of 1 lemon

100g granulated sugar

Method:

1) Add the lemon juice to the sugar and mix to form a paste. You may find that you do not need all of the lemon juice depending on the size of your lemon

 

 

Chocolate, banana and strawberry smoothie

Chocolate, strawbery and banana smoothieI have been wanting to make smoothies for ages but due to the lack of a blender, I never have. The nagging feeling that I would use it once and it would never leave the cupboard again prevented me from buying one. Since I’ve moved back to my parents (there is a blender!) I have been going mad with them. I’ve made this one pretty much every day since I moved home. It just tastes so good! I’m having it for my breakfast and am actually finding that I wake up looking forward to its rich chocolaty goodness. Fruit in blender Ingredients:

150ml chocolate soy milk

handful of strawberries (about 5/6)

1 banana

170ml Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon peanut butter

Method:

1) Chop up the fruit

2) Throw everything in a blender

3) Serve

How easy is that?! A delicious and easy breakfast that can’t be too far off two of your five a day.

5 Instagrams you should be following

InstagramOn the journey home from Leeds yesterday I thought it would be nice to share with you some of the Instagram accounts that I am totally in love with. I personally cannot go a day without trawling through photo’s of: outfits Vogue’s stylist would be proud of, cakes that could have been made by Mary Berry herself and yoga poses that wouldn’t look out of place in the circus. Here are 5 of my recent favourite Instagram accounts:

Closeup👆#jfh#cake#raspberry#vsco#vscocam#macaron

A post shared by Joy Harris (@joyharris1) on

1.joyharris1 – Some of her creations look too good to eat.

21st cake for Alycia 💜#ombrecake #purpleombre #birthdaycake

A post shared by @livelovebake_ on

2. livelovebake_ – This Brisbane based bakery know how to pipe spectacular buttercream roses.

New #london. 🌈

A post shared by Lucy (@shinythoughts) on

3. shinythoughts – London based fashion and lifestyle blogger who’s not shy of a bit of colour.

4. thesugaryshrink – This full time therapist’s icing is flawless.

5. riva_g – Beautifully strong yoga poses in stunning scenery.

Carrot cake

finished cake

Since having the most delicious carrot cake at Dirty Coffee in Shoreditch I have been wanting to make one equally as good. This amazing recipe has been passed to me from one of my mum’s friends. The cake is everything that carrot cake should be: rich, moist, studded with nuts and coupled with a velvety indulgent frosting.

For the cake:

200g grated carrot

170g soft dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

200g wholemeal self raising flour

3 teaspoons mixed spice

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Grated zest of one orange

115g sultanas

55g desiccated coconut

55g pecan nuts

For the syrup:

Juice of zested orange

1 tablespoon lemon juice

85g soft dark brown sugar

Method:

1) Line and grease 2, 8 inch cake tins

2) Heat oven to 170OC

3) Cook the pecan nuts for 8 minutes then chop coarsely

4) Whisk the eggs, sugar and oil until all of the sugar has completely dissolved. This will probably take around 3-4 minutes

5) Add the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture and fold

6) Add the rest of the ingredients and fold into the mixture

7) Divide equally between two baking tins and cook in the oven for 30 minutes

8) Whilst the cake is cooking make the syrup by whisking the syrup ingredients together

9) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven put holes all over the cakes using a skewer then pour half the syrup mixture over each half

10) Allow cakes to completely cool before removing them from the cake tins

For the frosting:

225g slightly salted butter

70g caster sugar

450g full fat cream cheese

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Method:

1) Whisk the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy

2) Whisk in the full fat cream and vanilla essence

3) Spread over one half and place the other cake on top then spread onto the top (I put a really thick layer in the middle but alternatively you could do a normal middle layer and frost the sides)

I just added a few bits of chopped pecan and orange zest on top to pretty it up a bit.

 

Peanut butter cup cupcakes

Peanut butter cup cupcake

These turned out much better than I expected! I used (and slightly adapted) an american recipe meaning that all the ingredients were in cups not grams. What I hadn’t previously realised was that a cup of flour weighs a very different amount to a cup of peanut butter. Now that I think about it this seems very, very obvious!

Having converted each quantity into grams and ml (has anyone else found that different websites say different things?!) I was sceptical of the final result. The result was however a gorgeous soft cake that filled the senses with the smell and taste of peanut butter with each bite. I’ve received nothing but compliments from baking these and I hope you experience the same results.

(makes 12) 

For the cake:

150g  plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

165g crunchy peanut butter (you could use creamy if you’d prefer)

115g butter (at room temperature)

135g light muscovado sugar

2 medium eggs

1tsp vanilla essence

60ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)

Method

1) Preheat your oven to 180oC

2) Using a whisk, cream together the peanut butter, butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy

3) Beat in the eggs gradually being careful not to let the mixture curdle

4) Beat in the vanilla essence

4) Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt and gradually fold into the mixture, alternating with milk (The mixture does look quite runny, I promise this is fine!)

5) Divide evenly between 12 cupcake cases

6) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top has turned golden brown and a skewer comes out clean

7) Allow to cool

For the frosting:

320g icing sugar

65g coco powder

90g butter (at room temperature)

8 tbs double cream

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

1) Whisk the butter in a bowl until light and creamy

2) Beat in the icing powder and coco powder alternating with the double cream

3) Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes

Much Love

Nikki

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

About me

 

Me on log (about me)People on dating websites always say that the about me section is the hardest bit. What’s interesting about me? What makes me unique?  I think that writing an about me section on here is very similar to writing a dating profile; I’m trying to give you an insight into my life, who I am and what I love. So here we go, here is the hardest bit:

Hi there, I’m Nikki, I’m 23 years old and I’m a Public Relations student who has just finished a yearlong marketing and events internship. I live in London (I love it here!) but, will soon be moving back to my parent’s house in the Kent countryside. I absolutely love living in the city, being from the middle of no- where (no takeaways would even deliver to us – yes, that middle of nowhere!) has meant that I appreciate having everything on my doorstep. Hanging out in the quirky coffee shops and bars in town are two of my favourite things to do. Apart from heading into town I also love yoga, discovering new places, baking cakes and reading everything from blogs and magazines to the classics. I’m also a huge animal fan, my favourite being a penguin but seen as I’m not allowed one of those I have an adorable ball of fun in dog form called Alfie. He lives with my parents but I literally can’t wait to get a dog of my own!

A brief introduction to me 🙂 I should probably also tell you what I’m planning on writing this blog about… It will be a mix of baking, eating and lifestyle, with a few mojito’s thrown in for good measure. I’m really excited about writing this and hope you enjoy reading it.

Much love

Nikki