Double chocolate brown sugar lamingtons

(Double chocolate brown sugar lamingtons)

The best things I ate this week? Juicy, dribbly, sweet and sour West Indian cucumber pickles, straight from the jar. Plump steamed dumplings stuffed with barbecued eel and spring onions. Misshapen blue corn tortillas piled high with ceviche, pickled jalepenos, avocado, chilli and lime. And this lamington. Turns out the best things in life aren’t necessarily always the prettiest.

My favourite things act as antidotes to the melancholic nature of a season. August feels less friendly when you’ve misplaced a favourite woolen blanket or feel too keenly the cold creep of kitchen tiles on bare feet. Sometimes, it’s also just about wanting a little bit of cake, nothing too heavy, preferably chocolate flavoured, maybe with a sprinkle of coconut and some brown sugar as well, thanks…

Double chocolate brown sugar lamingtons :

For the sponge :
6 eggs
140g brown sugar
pinch of salt
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

chocolate sauce for dipping (recipe below)
250g dessicated coconut

Whisk the eggs in an electric mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and salt and continue whisking for a few minutes. Sift the remaining dry ingredients over the egg mixture and fold in gently but thoroughly. Transfer this mixture to a greaseproof paper-lined 8″ x 12″ baking tray. Bake in a preheated 175’C oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once the cake is cooled, peel away the baking paper. With a serrated knife, trim the edges of the cake (or leave it if you don’t mind slightly rough edges on your end product) and split the sponge in half lengthways. Spread filling of your choice on one half of the sponge. Here I’ve used a salted caramel sauce but you can also use cherry jam, chocolate custard or whipped vanilla cream. You can also skip this step if you want unfilled lamingtons. Sandwich the sponge back together and cut into as many squares as you like (12-16 squares, depending on how big you want each portion to be). Dip each square in chocolate sauce and dredge in dessicated coconut.

For the chocolate sauce :
(You can use a more traditional recipe for chocolate frosting, but I prefer this one because it has more depth of flavour and is less sugary. It doesn’t set the way the frosting recipes do, but the sauce soaks in a little and sticks well to each sponge square.)

200g brown sugar
120g cocoa powder
400g water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium pan, place the brown sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the water and vanilla. Bring to boil, stirring. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Strain and leave to cool before using.

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Vegan chocolate cupcakes

(Vegan chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting)

We interrupt our regular broadcast to bring you One Bowl! Vegan! Double Chocolate! Fudge Frosted! Cupcakes!

Sounds like a complete mouthful I know, and these actually are, in a delicious way. I made these the other day when in a cupcake kind of mood. Cupcake moods are defined by that instance you look in the baking drawer and discover you have way too many cupcake liners in colours you don’t ever recall wanting or buying. Orange, fire engine red and green polka dot, to name a few.

Not long after baking these, I started to notice vegan chocolate cake recipes popping up all over the internet and realised that not only are there a lot of said recipes out there, but like mine, they are pretty much all the same with minor variations in the type of sugar used or the ratio of vegetable oil to flour and cocoa powder.

Around this time, I also read an article where a chef claimed to have pioneered a technique used in a particular dish. Quite amusing when it’s obviously untrue, but since so many prize originality above all things, it seems almost expected that the wheel should be reinvented on a regular basis.

In an effort to reduce clutter, this is one less vegan chocolate cake recipe. The frosting is made with bittersweet chocolate, water, custard powder, brown sugar, cocoa powder and malt.

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The big question of a simple chocolate cake.

(Brown sugar chocolate cake with treacle chocolate fudge frosting)

Before any mention of chocolate cake, I must first confess that I haven’t felt like baking much recently. (Is this it? Am I cured?) The boy is currently overseas for work reasons and prior to his departure, he had been sick for two weeks with a severe loss of appetite, though managed a miraculous recovery not long after touching down in Hong Kong. (Is this it? Is he cured?)

So, big absence of boy and very little baking happening. But rare is a situation which cannot be improved by the presence of a simple chocolate cake. On the first day this cake was made, I thought it was delicious. On the second day, I actually said Wow, out loud to myself. And because home economics for the single dweller often suffers from a lack of self-editing, I treated myself to a piece of this cake every evening thereafter. The one that got away : a piece not dissimilar in size to the one pictured above that was dispatched in foil to a friend who lives across the street and is currently suffering from relationship woes.

(Incidentally, did you also know that the leftover fudge frosting is phenomenal stirred into hot chocolate?)

Anyway, we are now down to the final slab, which brings us to the big question.. Save the last piece for his return, or eat it quickly and he’ll never know it ever existed in the first place?

Make this and tell me the answer is as plain and clear cut as a piece of simple chocolate cake.

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