Happy 2nd Birthday Chocolate Cake and Oil Paint!

Today is my blog’s 2nd birthday!

What better way to celebrate than share with you my favourite recipes from the past two years? (Apart from eating cake, of course!)

Rainbow Cake (Feb 15, 2013) was a huge hit- delicious and beautiful! Perfect for a party.

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Surprise Inside Cake (March 25, 2013) is another crowd pleaser. Maybe not the most highbrow cake ever baked, but sure to get a great reaction!

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Blueberry Lemon Cake with Poppyseed Icing  (September 25, 2014) was also a winner. Blueberries are without a doubt my favourite fruit, and poppyseed icing is a complete revelation. This is the perfect cake for a summer day.

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Lime Cake with Pomegranate Icing (May 15, 2014) is another lovely cake for a birthday, or even just a weekend afternoon. It’s light and fresh and zingy.

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These Creme Egg Inspired Cupcakes (April 2, 2013) are really fun to make and even more fun to eat!

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Raspberry Frangipane Tart  (June 12, 2014) HAS to be on this list. It is my go-to dessert for any occasion. So simple to make and perfect every time! It can also be given a Christmassy twist- as I did only a few a weeks ago with this cranberry version.

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Apple pie is of course a classic, and these Mini Apple Pies (October 14, 2014) are a wonderful new twist on an old favourite.

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 Foccacia (November 3, 2013) is the perfect bread for a cold winter lunch.

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Cinnamon Swirl Loaf (October 12, 2013) was and still is the best thing ever. Seriously, ask anyone who tried it.

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Cinnamon Spiced Courrone (January 17, 2014) is basically a giant cinnamon roll. What’s not to love?!

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It’s all about blueberries for breakfast. Pancakes, buckle, on their own…

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Chocolate Fondants (July 16, 2014), need I say more?

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I love Sugar Cookies (December 6, 2014) for any occasion- but especially Christmas. Try making  hearts for Valentine’s Day or eggs and bunnies for Easter if you just can’t wait that long (I can’t)!

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Mexican food is my all time favourite. This Mexican feast (July 29, 2013) is honestly the best in vegetarian Mexican.

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BBQ Pizzas (July 7, 2013) are the perfect summer supper. You have to try them. It will change your outlook on pizza forever.

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Thank you all so much for baking with me for the last two years, and continuing to do so!

All my love,

xxR

 

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New Toy Chocolate Fondants

Last week was my 21st birthday. Despite the fact that, in England, the legal drinking age is 18, so 21 brings with it no real special privileges that one didn’t already hold at age 20, it’s still kind of a big deal.

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So I did what any normal 20-going-on-21-year-old would do to celebrate: I slaved away all day in the kitchen to create the most lavish 21st/ 4th of July BBQ the world has ever seen. Or at least, that I’ve ever seen.

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But that is a story for a different time.

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The story here is about my 21st birthday present. For a 21st, people (lucky people) tend to get jewelry or expensive watches or things they will cherish forever etc etc. Luckily my parents (having known me now for 21 full years) know me well enough to appreciate that jewelry and watches really aren’t my thing, and aimed for something a little closer to my heart.

And they succeeded. The morning of my birthday I opened up a brand new KitchenAid stand mixer. My mum and I have had this running joke that I will have to hold out till my wedding to receive a KitchenAid stand mixer as a gift, so opening on now was pretty surprising. (My sister will tell you that I cried- I didn’t, but it was close.)

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Then I went to Italy for a week (again, a story for another time) so I am finally christening it today! We currently have a guest staying from America, and my sister insisted that she tried my chocolate fondants, so they seemed as good a thing as any to bake first.

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Chocolate fondants are surprisingly easy to bake, and always sure to impress. The one tricky thing is timing the bake perfectly to ensure they hold their shape but are gooey in the middle.

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Chocolate Fondants (this is a BBC recipe)

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120g butter (plus extra to grease the ramekins)

cocoa powder for dusting

120g chocolate

120g caster sugar

2 eggs and 2 yolks

100g plain flour

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Begin by melting a small amount of butter in a saucepan, then brush liberally onto the sides of the ramekins (this recipe makes 5 fondants). Then, put the ramekins in the fridge to allow the butter to harden. Once it’s hard, take out of the fridge and apply another layer of melted butter. This step is crucial to the fondants coming out easily! Then dust each ramekin with cocoa powder and put back into the fridge.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together until they become light and fluffy (this is where the mixer comes in handy!) Sift in the flour and mix well. Slowly pour in the chocolate and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins and put back into the fridge until you want to cook them.

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Heat the oven to 180 degrees, and bake the fondants for 12-15 minutes. It can be a bit tricky to know when they’re done, but the top should be forming a crust and coming away from the sides. If they seem too soft, put them back in for a minute- but don’t overcook them or they will dry out!

Serve immediately with ice cream or cream, or naked and enjoy!!

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xxR