Chewy Chocolate Nut Cake

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Things in life are sent to test you, it may be something major or just something minor but whatever the case the rollercoaster of emotions we go through can leave you feeling drained and even fragile.

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When times like these occur the best thing I find it surround yourself with people you love and do what makes you happy, this gives you the time you need to reflect and take stock of things.

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Baking makes me happy and I love busying myself following a recipe and creating a delicious baked treat. Sitting down and eating a slice cake allows me to think about countless things, whether it be what I’m about to do next or what I want to do with my life.

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Baking is a passion of mine and one day I’d love to make a living from doing it, for now though I’m happy to bake whenever the urge strikes! Cakes are one of my favourite treats to eat and bake. There’s nothing better than sitting snugly with a book or your favourite tv show,  a slice of cake and nice hot drink accompanying it.

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What I love about cakes are the varieties. Single layered, loaf cakes, quick breads, layer cakes, fruit cakes, chocolate cakes, the possibilities are endless. This cake is a single layered vanilla based cake with a chewy chocolate nut mixture strewn throughout. It’s a true delight to bake and eat.

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September’s Cake Slice Bakers choices were hard this month, I could have happily baked every choice we’d been given but I was in a chocolatey mood so this cake won. The Cake Slice Bakers is a group of bakers who bake their way through a book devoted to entirely cakes. Each month we are given four choices then on the 20th of each month we reveal our choices.

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If you love cake and want to be part of friendly and challenging baking group then this is for you. We are looking for new members to join in November when our new book goes live. If your interested in joining then please leave me a comment and I’ll be in touch!! We’d love to have you.

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Back to the cake. The burnished brown filling in this is a delicious chewy mixture. It contains  pecans, cocoa powder, sugar, butter, golden syrup and milk. These ingredients get blitzed together in a good processor until clumps form. Half of this cocoa laden chocolate concoction get’s spread onto the bottom of your cake tin whilst the rest is saved and spread in a single layer nearer the top.

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The creamy crumb is a vanilla sponge cake which holds the sweet filling in a delicate embrace. It’s a light as a feather with no dry crumb in sight. The chocolate mixture has a slight chew with a textural crunch from the pecans. A moreish cake from top to bottom.

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We are nearing the end of 2013-2o14 Cake Slice Bakers book which has been Great Cakes – Carole Walters and I’ve enjoyed baking through the vast cake based book. Although there aren’t many photo’s, each recipe I’ve tried has yielded perfect results. October’s choice of cake is one of our own choice, we can bake whatever we seek fit. Be sure to check back on 20th October to see what I’ve chosen and I must reiterate if you are at all interested joining our lovely little baking group then do let me know!

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Yields – One, 9 inch round cake

Ingredients

{topping}

  • 120 grams (1 1/2 cups) Pecans
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) Cocoa powder
  • 65 grams (1/3 cup) Light brown muscovado sugar
  • 75 grams (1/3 cup) Caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
  • 55 grams (1/2 stick) Unsalted butter

{cake}

  • 210 grams (2 1/4 cups) Cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 150 grams (1 1/3 stick) Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) Caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) Milk

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175c (350F), butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch, round cake tin. Line the base with parchment paper then butter this too, set aside.
  2. To make the topping place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until it just comes together. Divide the mixture and place half in the bottom of the tin, distributing evenly. Set aside whilst you make the cake batter.
  3. For the cake sift together the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl then sprinkle over the salt and set aside. Place the butter into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and soften the butter for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  4. With the mixer set to high starting adding one tablespoon at a time then once all the sugar has been added continue to mix until smooth, creamy and fluffy. Scrape down your bowl again with your spatula.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well before adding the next then add in the vanilla. Starting and ending with the flour add 1/3 to your batter with the mixer on low mixing until the flour just disappears then add half the milk. Continue to do this until everything has been added and mixed together.
  6. Pour 2/3 of the cake batter over the chocolate/nut mixture then sprinkle over the rest of the chewy filling. Spread over the remaining batter, smoothing the top and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove the outer ring. Invert onto the wire rack and carefully remove the base and peel back the parchment. If you trouble removing the parchment then lightly brush with hot water and peel it back.

Notes

* Recipe from Great Cakes – Carole Walter

* This will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.

* Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

 

Here’s what the other members of The Cake Slice Bakers made for the month of September!

 

Peanut Butter & Damson Jam Bars #creative cookie exchange

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This recipe is all about comfort. I’d never had peanut butter and jam together before up until recently and now it’s my favourite flavour pairing. These bars emphasise the deliciousness that peanut butter and jam is. I couldn’t leave these bars alone, they are so moreish. They are my favourite baked treat I’ve made to date. Peanut Butter & Damson Jam Bars 2

It’s my post for the group #creative cookie exchange. September’s theme is comfort and these cookies bars will comfort you from your first bite to your last. Comfort food can be represented In many ways and means many different things to each of us. These are comforting in the sense that they’ll fulfil any craving for a peanut butter and jam something. We all love it!

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I recently made a batch of Damson Jam and thought this recipe the perfect one to include a little of my freshly made preserve. The tartness of the jam really goes well with the sweetness of the peanut butter shortbread base and crumble topping.

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It’s a really simple recipe to make and from one of my favourite books at the minute One Bowl Baking – Yvonne Ruperti from which these pie themed bars are from. Everything from this book is made using one bowl. It brings you back to the basics of baking. I love it and want to bake everything from it. All in good time though so watch this space!

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The base of these cookie bars are the same as the topping. A melt in the mouth and buttery shortbread base is made using all the basic shortbread ingredients, flour, sugar, butter and these also contain peanut butter. The peanut butter adds a delicious nutty flavour to these bars. They are irresistable.  A good portion is reserved for a crumbly topping, beneath this will sit a layer of damson jam and peanut butter concoction.

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I’ve got plans on baking these again but with a slight twist. I loved them so much and wish I had one right now. There dangerous though, better to get them out of the house, sparing a couple for snacking on of course.

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To achieve a sturdy base for your jam layer, your peanut butter layer and your crumb topping you need to bake your shortbread base first. Be sure its done before removing it from the oven, you don’t want it to crumble whilst slicing it. Make sure you press the base into the baking tin firmly and bake until golden all over. Peanut Butter & Damson Jam Bars 8

You can use any jam you like but if you can get hold of damson then I’d highly recommend it. It’s a delicious plum that’s unique. Slightly sharp yet sweet. You can’t really eat them raw as they are bitter, making them the perfect plum to bake with.

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Summing up these bars is going to be easy. They are amazing! Amazingly easy to make, amazingly delicious and an all round amazing, comforting cookie bar. You’ll have never of loved peanut butter and jam so much.

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Yields – 16 Bars

Ingredients

{crust]

  • 285 grams (2 cups) Plain flour
  • 200 grams (1 cup) Light brown muscovado sugar
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • 225 grams (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 85 grams (1/3 cup) Chunky peanut butter

{filling}

  • 225 grams (1 cup) Chunky peanut butter
  • 115 grams (1 stick) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 55 grams (1/2 cup) Icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) Damson jam

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C (350F) and grease a 9 x 9 inch square baking tin using non-stick cake spray. Set aside.
  2. For the crust get a large bowl and combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda. Add the butter in cubes and the peanut butter and using your finger tips rub everything together until the mixture forms clumps.
  3. Reserve 1 cup (250ml) and with the rest press down firmly into your cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside whilst you make the filling.
  4. Whilst the crust is cooling you can make the filling.
  5. Using the same large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and spread over the shortbread crust. Dollop over the jam and using a butter knife swirl everything together. Sprinkle over the remaining crumbs and bake until the filling is almost set. This will take around 25-30 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes

* This recipe is adapted from One Bowl Baking – Yvonne Ruperti

* These will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.

* Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

* A tip for neat slicing and is to chill these bars until very cold. This will make slicing far easier and neater.

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Let’s see what the other members of this cookie obsessed group has baked for September’s theme

The theme this month is Comfort Food Cookies! What cookie says comfort food to you? If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Butterscotch Cookies from A Baker’s House

Chocolate Cappuccino Toffee Chip Cookies from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Chocolate Chip Cookies Made with an Assortment of Chocolate from The Spiced Life

Quadruple Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Magnolia Days

Dark Chocolate Chunk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Food Lust People Love

Roth (The Sacred Cookies from Kashmir) from Spiceroots

Crispy Potato Chip Cookies from Rhubarb and Honey

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies from Made with Love

Triple Chocolate Cookies from It’s Yummi

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Noshing with the Nolands

Thekua (Sweet Wheat Cookies from Bihar) from Indian Curries/Stew

Momma’s Bran Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sweet Cinnamon Honey

Nut Cookies from Basic N Delicious

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from What Smells So Good?

Sweet and Savoury Sunday #79

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Welcome to week #78 of Sweet & Savoury Sundays!
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Calling all bakers who love baking cakes! I’m looking for new members to come and join a baking group that I run called The Cake Slice Bakers. Basically what we do is bake our way through one book for a year, then blog about our chosen cakes. We only take new members once or twice a year, depending how keen you are to join and this is the time of year where we open the window for new members. Our chosen book for our new baking year which starts in November is Southern Cakes by Southern Living. If anyone is interested in joining or wants more information then drop me a message. We’d love to have you!
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Once again thanks for all your entries last week, we’d love for you to link up all your recipes, crafts and DIY projects again with us, tell all your friends to link up too :) Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
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So what are you waiting for, join us now and let’s have some fun!!
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Let’s get this party started!!
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After you’ve viewed my favourites this week, make sure to stop by Cupcakery to view their favourites as well!
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Baking In Pyjamas Favourites:
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 link party 79 favourite 1
Butterscotch Cookie Cake by Just About Baked
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Candy Corn Meringue Swirls by The Simple Sweet Life
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 link party 79 favourite 3
Parmesan Meatball Sandwiches by Belle of the Kitchen
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Most viewed link this week
 link party 71 most viewed
Strata with Spice Italian Sasuage by Simply Suzanne’s
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If you’ve been featured please feel free to grab one of our buttons for your blog. If you weren’t featured here, hop on over to Cupcakery to see if your recipe, DIY, craft, etc was featured there! :)

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