I’m going to put a stake in the ground here, and say that this might just be my new favourite ‘Christmas’ cake.

It’s a departure from tradition. There’s no dried fruit. No brandy. No candied peel. Heck, there’s not even any flour! But to me, this cake is everything that we could ever want a cake to provide us with at Christmas time. It’s dark, rich, and indulgent. It feels like a ‘special occasion’ bake, thanks to it requiring four odd bars of dark chocolate and eight eggs to put together. The fresh mint and rich chocolate flavours are about as festive as you can get, especially when paired with an airy dollop of sweetened, freshly-whipped double cream. And even more especially when that cream too has been spiked with peppermint essence, to bring out the minty notes in the cake. It’s Christmas cake, reinvented!

The recipe (which I’ve adapted ever so slightly with the addition of mint), comes courtesy of Karina Allrich’s new book ‘Gluten-Free Goddess’. I was sent the book last week to review, and even as a die-hard recipe book junkie (it’s a good job Jason built our kitchen shelving units to be extra strong, or else they’d be groaning under the weight of my cookery book library) this one was especially intriguing to me. See, Karina’s recipe book is entirely self-published! I’d not come across the idea of self-publishing before now, and it’s such a fascinating one.

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ was published via Blurb, a company that enables anyone and everyone to create and market their own book. It’s the marketing side that I think is especially unique and exciting- Blurb have a system that enables authors to distribute their books via Amazon, as well as sell directly through their own online ‘storefront’. One of the things I think is most empowering and liberating about the digital age we’re living in is the freedom of expression we now have. We can write updates, statutes, tweets, blogs, and now even books, and share them with the world right from the comfy spot on our living room sofa. I’ve spent a good while sussing out Blurb’s site, and they seem to make publishing so very accessible and user-friendly. I even spied a book for sale on the site that was written and collated by a 13 year old! She’d written in her bio that all proceeds from sales would be put towards developing and furthering her writing skills, and the publishing of future books. And if you ask me, if a service that enables young people, and really, people of any age, to pursue their passions and take charge of their creative endeavours in such a real and exciting way isn’t worth celebrating, I don’t know what is!

Collecting-eggs-Cider-with-Rosie-Rosie-Reynolds Melted-chocolate-Cider-with-Rosie Cracking-eggs Flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

‘Gluten-Free Goddess’ has some gorgeous looking recipes inside it, the vast majority with clear photographs to go alongside them (always a major plus point for me, when it comes to recipe books). Being self-published, of course, it’s not as sleek and elegantly branded as the recipe books we see on the shelves of Waterstones and the like, but there’s something quite charming about its rustic and ‘from the heart’ feel. My most treasured recipes are the ones given to me by loved ones- the recipes narrated to me by friends over the phone that’re scribbled hastily in the back of my recipe binder, or the little cut-up cereal box scraps I keep tucked in a folder that my Grandma wrote down all her favourite recipes on. Gluten-Free Goddess, with all its friendly warmth and imperfect charm, has that same sort of ‘from one friend to another’, ‘from my kitchen to yours’ feeling to it. Hats off to Karina for this recipe, and the awesomeness of publishing her own recipe book. It’s a beautiful one!

Flourless chocolate cake {recipe by Karina Allrich, adapted minimally by me}.
Ingredients ::
16.oz 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup soft light brown sugar
1/2 caster sugar
3/4 cup hot strong coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
8 large free range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1tsp peppermint extract

- Line the base of a 10″ round springform cake pan with foil, and grease the edges with a little softened butter. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

- Break the chocolate up into a large bowl, and set it over a pan to melt. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer until soft and light, and then mix in the cocoa powder.

- Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, beating as you go. With the beaters still running carefully pour in the hot coffee, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

- Beat the 8 eggs together with the vanilla extract, and again, slowly pour into the chocolate mixture with the beaters running. Lastly, add in the peppermint extract and mix to combine.

- Empty the mixture into the greased and lined cake pan, then bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is cracked and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Leave the cake to cool completely before cutting- it will sink and deflate as it cools, and become even more beautifully cracked and rugged.

- Dust with icing sugar, and serve with a little freshly whipped, sweetened, and mint-spiked whipped cream, plus a few berries to go alongside.

Chcolate-and-mint-flourless-cake-recipe Karina-Allrich-Cider-with-Rosie-review Gluten-free-chocolate-mint-cake-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie  

** This post was sponsored by Blurb, who asked me to review one of their self-published books and share my honest thoughts here on Cider with Rosie. My opinions, as always, are my own.


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Today’s is my sweet fiancé’s 27th birthday! Jason’s one and only birthday as a ‘fiancé’ no less, and his last before he becomes a husband! 27 is set to be a big year ;) To celebrate, we’re taking the day off and heading out into the countryside for a jolly, and then going for dinner in the evening at his family home. Expect photos, because that’s just how this works, right? ;)

This year, Jason requested coffee and walnut cake, please and thank you. We toyed briefly with the idea of doing Jamie’s chocolate cake, with that amazing looking nougat frosting and the chocolate crispy layers. Carrot cake was mentioned, too. As was good old Victoria sponge. We even discussed a Devil’s Food…before remembering that we always find chocolate cake deeply unsatisying. Eventually though, coffee and walnut cake (that stalwart of the country fair bake sale stand) was settled upon. I actually made this cake last year for Jason’s birthday, but have done a little tweaking with the recipe to take it up a notch or two since then! Mainly by ramping up the coffee flavour in the frosting by using fresh espresso instead of powder (never enough coffee for us!), and slicing up the layers to make this cake a four tier-er.

Making Jason’s birthday cake each year is one of my favourite annual traditions. I like to think that in years to come, I’ll look back on all the years and years of cakes that’ve been made in various different kitchens, and feel fondly nostalgic…even more so than I do normally! But even aside from all this silly sentimentality, this cake’s set to be a tasty one! We’ve yet to cut into it (as much as I’m dedicated to the art of photography and food styling, there’s nothing that’ll make me cut into someone else’s birthday cake merely for the sake of a great photo ;) but liberal amounts of both the batter and frosting were consumed yesterday, and I can confirm that it’s a good’un. (Maybe my lunch yesterday consisted of cake batter and frosting with a token Nakd bar thrown in for ‘health’. Maybe I sat on the living room floor eating frosting off the spatula yesterday afternoon, looking dejectedly at the post-photoshoot mess around me and wondering how to get away with not clearing it up Maybe not. There’s just no way of knowing.)

So, to the recipe!

How-to-put-together-layer-cake Coffee-and-walnut-layer-cake-recipe

The recipe is adapted (barely, because it’s pretty perfect as it is) from Nigella’s coffee + walnut cake recipe in ‘Kitchen’. Serves about fifty million people (look at the size of it!).

Ingredients ::
50g walnuts
225g caster sugar
225g soft unsalted butter
200g plain flour
4tsp instant espresso powder
2 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 eggs
2tbsp milk

For the frosting ::
525g icing sugar
260g soft unsalted butter
3tbsp fresh espresso
Walnuts + dark chocolate, to decorate

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, then butter two sandwich tins and line the bases with parchment paper. For the cake, begin by putting the walnuts and sugar into a food processor, and blitz until the walnuts have been broken down into a fine crumble.

- Add the sugar mixture into the bowl of a mixer, and beat together with the butter until light and fluffy. Measure out the flour, espresso powder, bicarb and baking powder into a separate bowl, and mix to combine. Whisk the eggs in a jug.

- Add half the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mix, followed by half the beaten eggs, beating well between each addition. Continue until both the dry ingredients and eggs have been combined into the butter and sugar mixture, and the batter is smooth and well combined.

- With the mixer on low, add in the milk a tablespoon at a time, until the batter reaches a lightly whipped dropping consistency. Feel free to add in a splash more milk if the batter stills feel thick after the initial 2tbsps have been added.

- Divide between two prepared sandwich tins, carefully smooth the tops flat, then bake for between 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool for around 10 minutes in their tins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake are completely cool, carefully slice them in half. I found that scoring a halfway line round the middle, then cutting bit by bit in a circle was the easiest way to do this.

- To make the frosting, put the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a mixer, **hang a tea towel over the top of the mixer to stop the sugar going everywhere!** and then beat until the butter and sugar start to clump together.

- Brew a double shot of espresso, then whilst it’s still warm, begin to add it to the frosting a tablespoon at a time with the mixer on a slow speed. I probably added a dash more than the listed 3tbsp, but give the frosting a taste after each tablespoon of espresso has been beaten in and stop when it’s ‘coffee-y’ enough! Beat the frosting on a high speed for a minute after all the espresso has been added, to make it beautifully light and fluffy.

- Put the base layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate, and then spread with a generous amount of frosting. The frosting is a fairly stiff one and won’t spill out, so can be spread right up to the edges of the cake. Build up the cake one layer at a time, then finish with a final topping of frosting. Top with walnuts and chocolate shavings (drag a sharp knife over the back of a bar or chocolate), and serve to your favourite person on their 27th birthday :)

Coffee-and-walnut-cake-recipe Nigella-coffee-cake-recipe


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I had one of these cupcakes yesterday afternoon whilst enjoying a horticulturally-themed day out, and it was so delicious! The cake was fresh, sweet, and herb-scented, and the frosting too was delicately flavoured with thyme and lemon.

Now currently dreaming up ways of incorporating lemon + thyme into my next baking project…

p.s. Also, so excited for it this evening’s Great British Bake Off episode! Hooray for bread week!

Posted in BAKING, CAKE

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We love a bit of banana bread, in this house. I tend to make it on a Sunday, so that it’s ready to be sliced up through the week for daily snacking. Jason takes a slice or two to work with him for lunch-pudding (lunch-pudding is a thing you know, just like dinner-pudding and breakfast-pudding) and, along with a cup of English Breakfast, it’s my go-to way of curing a mid-afternoon sugar craving.

I love the humble-ness of banana bread. So much less assuming than cupcakes topped with two inches of frosting or those triple-layered creations that take four hours and five packs of butter to make- and kind of more delicious too. Recently I’ve been experimenting with my old faithful banana bread recipe, switching up ingredients and adding in extras and turning it into little muffins instead of a loaf cake. We had a few bananas hanging around in the kitchen last week that’d just tipped over into the realms of the unacceptably-speckled, and so I decided it was probably time to make up a batch of banana muffins. And then, streusel inspiration came. You can’t really go wrong when working with the ingredients of sugar, butter, flour, and cinnamon, and in this case, they combine to make a layer of sweet, spicy crumble that ramps up these humble muffins and makes them taste extra-special.

And let me just say too- these babies keep like a dream. They’ll last a good three or four days before starting to go dry, and if there are any still kicking around after then? Well, you know what to do. Go get that Nutella jar, and it’ll solve all your problems…

Banana-streusel-muffin-recipe   Banana-streusel-muffins

{Recipe makes approximately 18 muffins. Originally adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.}

Ingredients ::
Streusel ::
85g soft light brown sugar
50g cold butter
25g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Muffins ::
250 grams soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas
280grams plus an extra 25 grams of plain flour
1 tsp each baking powder + bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp each ground ginger + cinnamon, plus an extra half teaspoon of cinnamon
140 grams plus an extra 50g unsalted butter

- To make the streusel, put all of the ingredients into a bowl, and rub together. I started off using my fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients, then switched over to a pastry cutter. When the mixture looks like wet sand, put it into the fridge to chill whilst we get on with making the muffins.

- For the muffins, preheat the oven to 180 degrees, then melt the butter in a small saucepan and set it aside to cool a little. Put the sugar into a large bowl, crack in two eggs, and mix it all together until it’s smooth.

- Peel and mash the three bananas, and then stir them into the sugar and egg mixture. Add in the flour, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ground ginger, and cinnamon, and then stir it all together until it’s just combined.

- Slowly pour in the melted butter, mixing continuously as you go. Over mixing will make the muffins tough, so stop stirring just as soon as the butter’s all been incorporated. Line a muffin tray with paper liners, then fill each case about half full of batter.

- Sprinkle a small amount of streusel onto each muffin, and then put them into your preheated oven to cook for between 16-20 minutes, depending on your oven. I check them at 16, and usually find they need a minute or two longer.

- When cooked, the muffins will be a golden brown colour, and a cocktail stick poked into the centre of one should come out clean.


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