Flourless chocolate cake

flourless chocolate cake

You might recognise this photo from somewhere…

I really want to start experimenting with some more gluten free bakes, and this recipe caught my eye thanks to the mouth watering photo that accompanied it! I have to be straight up and say that I came across it through work. For those of you who don’t know me I do communications at the British Hen Welfare Trust, a wonderful charity which re-homes ex-commercial hens, thereby saving them from slaughter (shameless plug there).

As well as re-homing chickens we also educate the public about how they can make a difference to hen welfare when they go shopping, i.e. by choosing higher welfare eggs. We’re getting to the point, I promise. We produce a charity magazine called Chicken & Egg three times a year which features yummy recipes, and this particular one from Higgidy was featured in our last issue.

I’d been eyeing it up for a while so, when my partner Dan went out on the razz last Friday, I thought I’d spend my evening baking! The result was a deliciously gooey bake which was essentially a brownie but in cake form – yummy!

I didn’t have a 23cm cake tin required so used a slightly smaller one which I think caused the cake to rise higher than it would have normally, therefore leaving it further to sink when it started cooling. It’s supposed to sink anyway, but I ended up with a bit of a crater in the middle. Still it tasted lush, and even better drizzled with some dulce de leche for good measure!

Here’s the recipe. And head over to Higgidy if you want more where this came from – they’ve got some ridiculously good recipes.

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate, broken up
200g unsalted butter, cubed
200g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated (free range please!)
30g cocoa powder

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan and then grease and line a 23cm cake tin. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl and leave aside to cool.

Whisk  100g of caster sugar with the egg yolks until pale and thick. Separately, whisk the eggs until they’ve increased in size and look lovely and fluffy, then gradually  the rest of the sugar and the cocoa powder until the mixture is thick and shiny.

Gently fold the chocolate mix into the egg yolks. When fully combined, gently fold in the egg white mix and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven off completely but leave the cake inside for about 10 minutes. Don’t panic – it will sink and crack but it’s supposed to! It’s what makes it look rustic, as my friend said!

I dusted mine with cocoa powder and drizzled some dulce de leche on top. This would also be magnificent with some salted caramel ice cream. It’s the stuff dreams are made of!

Oscar here likes dreaming…a lot.

The world’s easiest peanut butter cookies

I’m ALL about easy baking. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting super delicious, beautiful looking cakes. But every now and then I get a craving for something warm and freshly baked that I can whip up in half an hour. These peanut butter and white chocolate cookies take the biscuit (excuse the pun) when it comes to quick, satisfying baking.

I realised last Tuesday that it was National Peanut Butter Day and that, to my horror, I hadn’t baked anything to honour the day! So I essentially Googled peanut butter coookies and had a go at the first recipe that came up. Good old BBC Good Food pulled it out the bag again! These little beauties contained literally three ingredients (though I added a fourth in the form of white chocolate) and were ready in under half an hour. WINNING.

Ingredients

200g peanut butter (I used Meridian because, quite simply, it’s the best)

175g caster sugar

1 large egg

50g white chocolate (optional, but amazing)

Method

Stick the peanut butter and caster sugar in a bowl, mix it all together and then add the egg and chocolate (if using). You’ll end up with a gorgeously sticky dough.

Scoop out 12 spoonfuls of dough and plonk them on a baking tray lined with greasproof paper. Leave plenty of space between them – they may look small but they spread out a lot when cooking. I put six balls on two trays.

Bake at 180C (160C fan) for 12 minutes and Bob’s your uncle! Grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy.

Here’s a photo of my cat for good measure.

I’m cute and I goddamn know it.

Flippin’ Frantaffstic

Hello, and welcome to my baking blog! In case you hadn’t already guessed
from the title, my name is Fran Taffs. I’m not that self-obsessed, honestly, but come on – Frantaffstic?! I thought it was pretty clever, anyway…

I’ll start with a disclaimer: I don’t really know what I’m doing. And I don’t just mean with this blog. I don’t profess to be the best baker in the world, or even a mediocre one. I just absolutely bloody love baking, and if that’s not a reason to shout about it, then what is?! I look forward to the weekend when I can hunker down in my teeny tiny kitchen (seriously, it’s like a matchbox) and create all manner of baked goods, which I then love to share with friends, family and colleagues.

My love of baking comes from watching the two main women in my life – my mum and grandma – baking, whipping, folding and whisking themselves into a frenzy in their own kitchens. I used to watch in awe as they turned eggs, flour, sugar and butter into gorgeous sponges, fruit cakes, muffins and the like. I would’ve challenged anyone not to get the baking bug growing up around them.

And so, things have turned full circle and now it’s me turning up on their doorsteps with freshly baked treats at the weekend, waiting eagerly for their approval. If I get a thumbs up and some ‘mmmms’ from them, I know it’s a winner. So I must credit both my mum and gran for instilling in me a complete love of baking and for teaching me their ways. I will never profess to be as brilliant as either of them, but it’s good fun learning! They’ve taught me endless tips and tricks and been patient with me when I mucked up. I remember the panic that ran through me when mum and I were making a gingerbread house one Christmas and I snapped one of the house walls in half after it came out the oven! I could have cried, but instead we went back to the drawing board and started again. Indeed, it was my mum who helped me set up this blog just a few hours ago, so I have her to thank for that, too!

Back in mum and grandma’s day (sorry for making you sound old mother!) they scribbled notes on scraps of paper to remind themselves what went right (or wrong) so they could learn for next time. I used to love flicking through mum’s folder full of crumbs, sticky thumb prints and magazine tear-outs looking for inspiration.

So this blog is essentially my baking scrapbook. If you stick with me (which I hope you will!) you can expect a very honest account of a completely amateur baker. There are many things I’m yet to perfect, or even try, so there will be lots of firsts here! My latest bakes were a chocolate caramel cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake and peanut butter and white chocolate cookies – so keep an eye out for those!

Ciao for now, and happy baking!

P.S. here’s a picture of my cat Oscar in his favourite spot, watching me bake. I like cats. And cake. And alliteration.