So, hands up if you’ve spent a good deal of your self isolation so far stress baking. Yup, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen. Aside from needing far more snacks than usual to bring to the office (upstairs – what a commute) to feed my coworkers (…my husband and Bungle…), at this point I’ll do pretty much anything to keep my mind off the news for ten minutes. Baking’s always been one of my favourite ways to fill a bit of free time (…and if you come out of it with something delicious to fill your stomach with then even better!) and to be honest, if doing more of that means that I emerge from self-isolation in a few months happy and healthy, then I’ll take that as a win… even if it means my jeans start feeling a bit snug.
There is absolutely nothing fancy about this Chocolate and Banana Traybake. The ingredients are minimal (you probably won’t even need to go shopping to make it), there are no special moves involved, and you can whip it up in under thirty minutes (perfect if you fancy baking a little something during your lunch break). It’s also easily adaptable; so if you fancy throwing in a blob of peanut butter, or some walnuts, or adding a sticky caramel layer (see my Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake) – then go for it!
Chocolate and Banana Traybake
150g milk dark chocolate (plus extra to decorate)
150g plain flour
50g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
…That’s it! Feel free to mix things up and add some walnuts, chocolate chunks or peanut butter into the mix. 🙂
First things first, set your oven to 180°C and line a deep, rectangular cake tin. (TIP: If you always struggle to get your baking paper to sit flat in the tin, rinse your baking paper under tap water for a couple of minutes until it becomes soft and pliable 😉 )
To make the batter, pop the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt them together in the microwave for about a minute. Set the bowl aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Take one of the bananas and mash it, and then add it to the mix.
Next, pour in the chocolate and butter mix, followed by the flour and baking powder. Stir to combine, but don’t over mix the batter.
Pour the batter into the cake tin. Slice the two remaining bananas length-ways and arrange them on top.
Bake for 25 minutes, then leave it to cool before decorating with chocolate and then slicing into squares to scoff. 🙂
My love for Cinnamon Buns isn’t exactly a secret. I treat myself to one after I’ve done my weekly food shop – or at least I used to, until the Tesco bakery decided to stuff their buns with raisins. Ugh! For the record, I don’t mind raisins at all – I just don’t want them anywhere near my buns, hun. I’m a purist, what can I say? (Although, clearly not that much of a purist since this whole post is about me meddling around with the basic cinnamon bun recipe!) So I decided to make my own Cinnamon Buns, and I wondered, how can I make them even better?
Another weekly shop treat of mine is a pack of Biscoff Biscuits – which barely last two days let alone the rest of the week (I mean they’ve literally got the word “Scoff” in their name). I’ve even got a jar of Biscoff Spread in my cupboard, a dollop of which usually finds its way into my morning bowl of porridge. So hey, I thought, why not work a dollop of the stuff into a Cinnamon Bun? Why not, eh?
Biscoff Buns (makes 6)
For the dough:
100ml warm milk
1 tsp of active yeast
1 egg (whisked)
50g caster sugar
25g butter (melted)
500g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
25g brown sugar
1 tbsp Biscoff Spread
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting:
100g icing sugar mixed with a little water to make a drizzle
A couple of crumbled Biscoff biscuits.
Activate your yeast by sprinkling it over your warm milk and then leave for 15 minutes. When you come back, the milk should be foamy on top – a sign that the yeast is read to go!
Pour in the caster sugar, egg and melted butter (make sure it’s cooled slightly otherwise it’ll scramble your egg!) and mix. Next, stir in your flour until everything comes together to form a sticky dough.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then leave to prove in an oily bowl for at least an hour.
After an hour, knock back the dough and roll it out into a thin rectangle. Spread the Biscoff spread over the dough, leaving about an inch gap around the outside. Sprinkle the brown sugar and ground cinnamon on top, then roll it. Cut the dough into six equal rounds, then arrange on a baking tray (I used a circular cake tin to create a tear and share kind of bun 🙂 ) Cover with cling film and leave to prove for another hour.
Set your oven to 170 and then bake the buns for 30 minutes.
Drizzle, sprinkle with the crushed biscuits and then serve warm.
Anyone got any baking planned this weekend? What are you making? ♡
Happy Friday! How was your Easter weekend? Did you get your fill of chocolate, or – like me – were you raiding the supermarket on Tuesday morning for half-price Easter eggs? I found bags of Galaxy Caramel Eggs for 50p and used my arm to sweep the whole shelf into my basket. No shame.
Anyway, hopefully you’re not too sick of chocolate (is that even possible?) – clearly I’m not, because yesterday I got a craving for cupcakes and decided to make these bad boys. The American baking community call them Hi-Hats (marshmallow frosting dipped in melted chocolate), but to us Brits really they’re just cupcakes with a marshmallow tea cake (/poo emoji) perched on top. I went one better and added a raspberry jam filling – just like real tea cakes. I thought they were going to be a nightmare to make, but with a bit of strategic freezer-time, they were actually pretty easy 🙂
Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes
100g caster sugar
2 eggs whisked
225g self raising flour
For the marshmallow cream topping: 1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff (amazing stuff), 250g butter, 300g icing sugar
250g plain chocolate
Set the oven to 180. In a bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar, then stir in the egg.
Stir in the flour and milk gradually, alternating between the two until you have a light and fluffy batter.
Spoon into deep cupcake cases and then bake for around 20 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool.
In a clean bowl, mix together the butter, icing sugar and marshmallow fluff to create a marshmallow buttercream. Using a piping bag, pipe a ringed “fence” on the top of the cupcake, then fill the centre with jam. Pipe around and on top of the jam to create a peak, then place the cupcakes in the freezer to ensure the topping is set and cold enough to keep its shape when you dip it in the melted chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or on the hob, whichever way you prefer!), then carefully dip the cupcakes – topside down – into it. Tip: It helps if you use a cup for the chocolate rather than a bowl. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the fridge so the chocolate can set.