Ultimate chocolate cake
Butter a 20cm round cake tin (7.5cm deep) and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3. Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through
While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml (5 tbsp) buttermilk
Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don’t worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don’t worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three. Make the ganache: chop 200g good quality dark chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour a 284ml carton of double cream into a pan, add 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth
Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Pour the rest over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days
Blazy's pepperoni studded lasagna
For the lasagna:
- 900g lasagna sheets
- 450g pepperoni, hand-cut 0.25cm thick
- 1L tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 450g ricotta cheese
- 450g mozzarella
- 900g Italian sausage, cooked and
- 75g Parmesan
For the tomato sauce:
- 90ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 5 medium-sized garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.2kg skinned and plum tomatoes
- 2 tbsp thinly fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp minced fresh oregano leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Difficulty › Easy
- Prep time › 20 mins
- Cook time › 1 hr
- Serves › 8 to 10
MethodFor the lasagna:2) In medium saucepan saute the pepperoni over a medium heat until crispy. Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel.
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Cook the lasagne according to the directions on the packet. Remove from the water and lay out the sheets to cool.
3) Pour 250ml of the tomato sauce into a 25cm by 32cm by 8cm deep baking tin or dish. Layer lasagna sheets on the bottom of the tin, overlapping by 1cm.
4) Layer 1/4 of the ricotta, 1/4 of the mozzarella, 1/3 of the sausage, then sprinkle generously with 1/4 of the Parmesan, add 120ml of the tomato sauce and 100g of pepperoni. Add a layer of lasagne. Repeat this 2 more times.
5) On the very top sheet, top with the remaining ricotta, mozzarella, tomato sauce and pepperoni, and dust with Parmesan. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven; leave to sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately.
For the tomato sauce:
1) In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over a medium to low heat until transparent. Add the garlic and cook until almost brown. Then add the tomatoes and cook for 1/2 hour over a low to medium heat.
2) Add the basil and oregano and continue to cook for another 1/2 hour. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.