Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream (and chocolate ganache)

Two weeks ago, it was my boyfriend’s birthday, so of course I had to bake him a cake – it’s what I do! It was also my first time baking in the new kitchen, which has lots more space and has a dishwasher (I’m still not over this – I love it so much). Naturally, I always love baking. But it’s so much more fun when I actually have the space to do it! I predict loads more recipes in the near future…

Back to Willem’s birthday cake, though! He asked for something with chocolate and red fruit, and that’s what he got. I got out my chocolate bible (it’s actually called that) and eventually came across the perfect recipe. A two-layer chocolate cake filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!

I made a few adjustments to the cake recipe itself and, to make it even more chocolatey, decided to cover the entire thing in chocolate ganache and add some more fruit on top. The result was delicious. The cake is lovely and light, the strawberries and cream filling is the perfect combination of sweet and fresh and the dark chocolate ganache adds that extra chocolatey kick.

And what’s even better: this cake isn’t difficult to make at all! Because it has three different components the recipe might seem long and it will take a little bit of time. But, really, the three components are all very easy to whip up. It’s the perfect birthday cake!

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Easy Easter Recipe: Chocolate Egg Brownies

The other day I was just minding my own business when suddenly a brilliant idea struck me: Chocolate Easter egg brownies. That’s right.

I love brownies. They’re absolutely, mouthwateringly delicious on their own, but by adding just one or two ingredients you can spruce them up and make them even more special (take these Rolo and sea salt brownies, for example). Plus, they’re extremely easy to make – you can barely mess these up, I promise (I say barely, because a while back I managed to burn some chocolate when trying to melt it).

Although I know chocolate is a pretty big part of Easter in most countries, I’m also quite sure every country does their chocolate Easter eggs a little bit differently, although I might be wrong. In the Netherlands, we’ve got small chocolate eggs in dark, milk and white chocolate. They come as solid pieces of chocolates, but there are also a ton of varieties of filled chocolate eggs.

For these brownies I bought a bag of eggs that came in four different flavours: milk pecan caramel sea salt, milk hazelnut almond praline, dark almond coconut, and white pistache praline. Sounds delicious, right? Little bursts of flavour within an already delicious brownie. You could choose whatever your like for your own chocolate egg brownies, although I would recommend choosing filled eggs instead of solid ones. Hope you enjoy!

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Rolo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every once in a while I get the urge to bake cookies and it won’t go away until I’ve actually baked said cookies. So, that’s what I did this weekend! I came across the idea of chocolate chip cookies with a hidden Rolo (= caramel) surprise inside of them and that sounded so awfully delicious that I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.

I used my own recipe for chocolate chip cookies and simply added the Rolos in the middle. It’s a very easy recipe, although it does take some time; if you want to make them come out as delicious as possible, the dough should be chilled for at least 5 hours. I usually make the cookie dough in the evening and bake the cookies the next morning.

These were a tremendous success! One of my colleagues called it “the best cookie I’ve ever tasted” and they were gone before I knew it. I might have to bake them again soon…

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Festive Fortnight [10]: Chocolate Cookies with Mint Icing

Just looking at the pictures of these cookies makes me incredibly happy. They look so cute and festive! Plus, I know how they taste as well and let me tell ya; they are delicious. These cookies are a huge success all around.

This is the first time I made royal icing myself. Last year, when I made gingerbread cookies (which looked similar to these chocolate cookies) I bought ready made royal icing, because I couldn’t find a place to buy corn syrup. This time I had a little more time and did a little more research, and I found out you can just as easily use golden syrup, which I’ve got lying around in my cupboard anyway. The icing is super easy to make, and the mint really takes it up a notch.

The cookies themselves are wonderful, too. They’ve got a very rich chocolate-y taste and the texture is just right as well. And like the icing, they’re super easy to make! Just make sure you’ve got some time, because the dough will need to chill in the fridge for an hour. Apart from that, it’s a quick recipe with standard ingredients. Perfect for the Christmas holidays!

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Festive Fortnight [6]: Hot Chocolate On A Stick

By now I consider myself to be a pretty decent baker. I know my way around the kitchen (when it comes to sweet stuff, at least – I’m an average cook) and I can think up a good recipe.

Apparently, though, that doesn’t mean I know how to handle a microwave.

I tried to squeeze making these hot chocolates on sticks in before an appointment I had, which meant I had to hurry a bit. That wasn’t necessarily a problem, though, because this recipe is about as easy it gets: melt chocolate; mix it with a couple of dry ingredients and put it in a mold. That’s it. I went wrong on that very first step.

Because I was in a hurry, I decided to quickly melt the chocolate in my microwave instead of going for a bain marie (which is my preferred method). Imagine my surprise when I turned around and saw smoke coming from the microwave. I’d burned the chocolate. Rookie mistake. As I’m writing this, my studio apartment still reeks from it, and my lovely orange-scented candle can barely mask it.

Anyway. If you aren’t such a doofus like me, this hot chocolate on a stick is super easy to make! They make lovely little gifts for your loved ones. All they need is a mug of warm milk, and when they stir it with one of these sticks, they’ll have a delicious hot chocolate!

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Autumnal Speculaas Brownies

I really love brownies. And I really love experimenting with brownies. You can do so much with them! For example, I made these lemon and ginger brownies last year and they were delicious. So a few weeks back, when I was feeling all autumnal and stuff and the idea for these brownies popped into my head I was excited immediately. And boy, was I right to be.

THEY ARE SO GOOD.

I’ve used speculaas in quite a few of my recipes on this blog already, and I always feel a bit conflicted, since it’s a typically Dutch biscuit and I’ve got no clue if you can get them elsewhere (except for Belgium or Germany). I really really love speculaas, though, so I’m going to put up this recipe anyway, and provide a few alternatives in the list of ingredients! For example, if you’re in the UK, you could try using Ginger Nuts instead – it would be slightly different, but really tasty still, I think.

As for the rest of the recipe; it’s just like all of my other brownie recipes – very simple, just throw in the extra ingredients along the way, and you’ve got yourself a delicious brownie with a little twist.

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Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m not gonna lie – I’d completely forgotten about this recipe. I was planning on posting something different when I came across the pictures of these muffins, which had me all confused. The time stamp on them tells me I made these mid-August, but it took me a while before I remembered. Ah, well, we’re all getting a little older, I guess. After racking my brain for a little bit, and finding the piece of paper which I’d hurriedly written the ingredients on, I vaguely recall making these.

I mostly remember tasting them and going “yummmm”, though. These were really good! I love me some coconut, and it goes really well with the banana. And everything goes well with chocolate, so this couldn’t not be a success. All those great ingredients do make for a bit of a long name, though; it’s quite a mouthful. Have I made that pun before? I must have.

Shenanigans aside – these muffins are delicious, and done in a jiffy. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Brownie and Orange Tart (with hazelnuts)

Back in 2015 I baked an absolutely delicious chocolate brownie and raspberry tart for my birthday. It was a huge success, and not that difficult – despite it having quite a few steps. This tart right here is a variation on that one – I used orange instead of raspberry and added some more hazelnuts to the equation.

It looks a tiny bit less appealing than the raspberry one because the orange coulis almost looks a little green (it isn’t; that’s just the brownie shining through), but it tastes just as delicious – or perhaps even a little better! I adore the combination of orange and chocolate, and the hazelnuts lift it up even more. I roasted these in the oven for a few minutes – that makes them taste even yummier. If you’re not a fan of nuts, however, you can easily leave them out.

I’m still having some trouble getting back into blogging and reading, which bums me out a little. I’m going to keep trying, though! I really love this blog and this community, and I definitely want to keep it all going.

Also, an exciting life update: I found a job! At a book store! It’s only a part time gig as an on call employee person thingy (and not yet enough to live off of) but it’s perfect for me. I had my first couple of days last week and it’s even more fun than I imagined it would be. Perhaps I’ll do a life update post soon to tell you all a bit more about what’s been going on with me post university. But first, let’s get to the recipe!

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Bonbons and Meringues

… or “that time when I jumped around the kitchen with glee”. But that’s a bit too long for a title, isn’t it?

Basically, this post is me bragging about making pretty things, because man, did I feel on top of the world when these didn’t fail but were in fact a pretty big success!

I mean, I tempered chocolate for the first time and didn’t screw it up. That’s big, you guys. That’s really something. Which is not to say that the whole process went completely smoothly… My mother can attest to the fact that it was a hectic mess. But it worked! The only thing I’m a little bummed about is that the pictures didn’t turn out great – it was a cloudy day and it was already starting to get a little dark… And I’m not great with the photo-editing. But oh well, you win some, you lose some, eh?

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Lemon and Ginger Chocolate Brownies

This weekend, I had one of those days where I was just completely exhausted and done with everything. I was wound up about a couple of different things, and as a result I kind of just broke down. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has days like that! In my experience, you just have to let it happen and try to be kind to yourself and do things that make you happy.

To me, that’s baking brownies.

I had the idea for these lemon and ginger brownies for a while now, ever since I first tasted what’s become a new favourite chocolate bar, which (unsurprisingly) featured … lemon and ginger. After tasting (and loving) that flavour combination I thought: “I’m sure that’d work amazing in a brownie.”

And I was right! These brownies may look like regular ol’ brownies (which are pretty freaking good as well), but they do indeed feature ground ginger and the zest of a lemon – it adds a great kick to an already delicious brownie!

Oh, and I’m feeling fine again, by the way. It must have been all that chocolate…

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