Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chocolate Charlotte

Whilst deciding what to make on this very humid day I decided to check out some of my archived recipes and I found this little gem. I have very fond memories of this recipe which I was introduced to whilst on  a six month tour of Canada in 1982 at B.A.T.U.S which stands for British Army Training Unit  Suffield that was the official  name to all of us it actually stood for British Alcoholic Training Unit Suffield, and believe me it was.I was shown this recipe by a little old lady who was a farmers wife who was absolutely amazing when it came to making deserts and soups that were to die for made with almost anything you could imagine.During my time in Canada I was fortunate to go A.W.O.L and I say fortunate because two of us hitch hiked over 2,500 miles across  Canada starting from Medicine Hat (Alberta) And finishing up in Sudbury(Ontario)passing through some amazing places with Moose jaw,Regina,Brandon and  Winnipeg to name just a few of some of the places we visited,meeting some really interesting people and seeing some of the scenes in the amazing country that is Canada. Any way sorry for that back to the recipe and this would be a great dish to have during the summer months so without further ado the recipe.

Chocolate Charlotte

Serves 8


about 22 bourdoir biscuits (lady-fingers)
4 tbsp orange-flavoured liqueur
250 g/ 9 oz dark chocolate
150 ml/ 1/4 pint double (heavy) cream
4 eggs
150 g/ 5 1/2 oz/ 2/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar

To Decorate

150 ml/ 1/4 pint/ 2/3 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla flavouring (extract)
large dark chocolate curls
chocolate leaves or chocolate shapes


1.Line the base of a Charlotte mould (mold) or a deep 18 cm/ 7 inch round cake tin (pan) with a piece of baking parchment.

2.Place the boudoir biscuits (lady-fingers) on a tray and sprinkle with half of the orange flavoured liqueur. Use to line the sides of the mould (mold) or tin (pan), trimming if necessary to make a tight fit.

3.Break the chocolate into small pieces, place in a bowl and melt over a pan of hot water. Remove from the heat and stir in the double (heavy) cream.

4.Seperate the eggs and place the whites in a large grease-free bowl. Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.

5.Whisk the egg whites until standing in stiff peaks, then gradually add the caster (superfine) sugar, whisking until stiff and glossy. Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 2 batches, taking care not to knock out all of the air. Pour into the centre of the mould (mold). Trim the biscuits (lady-fingers) so that they are level with the chocolate mixture. Leave to chill for at least 5 hours.

6.To decorate, whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla flavouring (extract) until standing in soft peaks. Turn out the Charlotte on to a serving dish. Pipe cream rosettes around the base and decorate with chocolate curls and leaves.

Macs Tip

Chocolate Decorations can be bought at most cake decorating stores if you do not know how to make them or don't have much time.

Chocolate Facts

The first cacao trees were found growing in the Amazon river basin and the foothills of the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Coffee syrup

I now wan't to bring you a recipe that I am very keen on but unfortunately I don't get to make very often as none of my family actually like coffee. In fact I can remember doing this recipe several times for dinner nights in the Officers mess and it went down a treat I can tell you,And this blog was my ideal chance to make this dish again all for me.While doing this dish I decided to find out a little bit more about coffee and in particular coffee houses and I was surprised at what I found out so I thought I would share a little bit of that with you taken from Wikipedia.  Most widely known as coffee-houses or caf├ęs, establishments serving prepared coffee or other hot beverages have existed for over five hundred years.
Various legends involving the introduction of coffee to Constantinople at a "Kiva Han" in the late 15th century circulate in culinary tradition, but with no documentation.
Coffeehouses in Mecca soon became a concern as places for political gatherings to the imams who banned them, and the drink, for Muslims between 1512 and 1524. In 1530 the first coffee house was opened in Damascus,. First coffee houses in Constantinople was opened in 1555 by traders arriving from Damascus and Aleppo. Soon after, coffee houses became part of the Ottoman Culture, spreading rapidly to all regions of the Ottoman Empire.
In the 17th century, coffee appeared for the first time in Europe outside the Ottoman Empire, and coffeehouses were established and quickly became popular. The first coffeehouses in Western Europe appeared in Venice, a result of the traffic between La Serenissima and the Ottomans; the very first one is recorded in 1645. The first coffeehouse in England was set up in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish man named Jacob in the building now known as "The Grand Cafe". A plaque on the wall still commemorates this and the Cafe is now a trendy cocktail bar. By 1675, there were more than 3,000 coffeehouses in England.There we go I thought that coffee house were relevantly more recent than over 500 years old I guess I was wrong. I wonder how many coffee houses there are now in the World,Europe and the U.K.?

That brings me to the recipe and the fact this is my entry to this months great Chocolate challenge organised by Choclette @ And Chele@ and this months host Is Lucy@ with this months special ingredient being coffee.Any one else wishing to participate follow the links to any of the links above it's great fun and well supported so why don't you join us.Finally to the recipe and I hope all you caffeine addicts and chocoholics enjoy.

Chocolate Cake With Syrup

Serves 12


115 g/ 4 oz butter, plus extra for greasing
225 g/ 8 oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tbsp strong black coffee
4 large eggs
115 g/ 4 oz caster sugar
40 g/ 1 1/2 oz plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
85 g/ 3 oz ground almonds
chocolate-covered coffee beans, to decorate


300 ml/ 10 fl oz strong black coffee
115 g/ 4 oz caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick


1.Preheat the oven to 190oC/ 375oF/ Gas Mark 5. Grease and line a deep 20-cm/ 8-inch round cake tin. 

2.Place the chocolate, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of gently simmering water until melted. Stir to blend, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

3.Place the whole eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a seperate bowl and whisk together until thick and pale. Sift the flour and cinnamon over the egg mixture. Add the almonds and the chocolate mixture and fold in carefully. 

4.Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the tip of a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly before turning out on to a serving plate.

5.Meanwhile, make the syrup. Place the coffee, sugar and cinnamon stick in a heavy-based saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.

6.Increase the heat and boil for 5 minutes, or until reduced and thickened slightly. Keep warm. Pierce the surface of the cake with a cocktail stick, then drizzle over half the chocolate syrup.
7.Decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans and serve, cut into wedges, with the remaining coffee syrup.

Macs tip

Please treat this syrup as molten lava you really wouldn't want to come in contact with this syrup while cooking it or directly after cooking.

Chocolate facts

Chocolate syrup was used for blood in the famous 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Psycho, which actually took 7 days to shoot.


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