Pooh’s Chocolate Cake

Photography by  Tara Fisher

The secret to a really chocolatey cake is to dissolve the cocoa in boiling water first.

Ingredients:
200g soft butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g choc chips
25g cocoa dissolved in 3-4 tbsp boiling water

For the icing:
75g soft butter
200g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160 fan.
2. Grease and line a 28x18x5cm traybake tin
3. Put the butter, caster sugar, eggs and 25g dissolved cocoa into a bowl.
4. Sieve over the flour and baking powder.
5. Using a hand held electric whisk beat until creamy – about 2 mins.
6. Then gently fold in the chocolate chips.
7. Spoon into the tin and bake for 30-35 mins.
8. Cool then turn out.
9. Whisk the icing ingredients together until smooth and creamy and spread over the cake.
10. Fork the top to make a pattern if you like. Decorate with birthday figurines, raspberries or choc chips.
11. Keep cool.

This recipe can be found in The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook.


St Clements Drizzle Cake

Photography by  Tara Fisher

This cake is zingy and fresh tasting – and an easy one to throw together.⁠

Makes 12 squares
Ingredients:
175g soft butter⁠
300g caster sugar⁠
zest of an orange and juice of half⁠
zest and juice of a lemon⁠
3 large eggs⁠
200g self raising flour⁠
1 tsp baking powder⁠
100ml whole milk⁠

Directions:
1. Put the butter, 200g of the caster sugar and the zests into a bowl and beat using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
2. Beat in the eggs, gradually, then sieve over half the flour and baking powder, and pour in half the milk.
3. Whisk until incorporated then add the remaining flour and milk and whisk again.
4. Pour into a greased and lined 10 x 8 inch traybake tin. Spread out and bake for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes while you prepare the drizzle.
6. Mix together the remaining sugar with the lemon and orange juice.
7. Carefully remove the cake from the tin, transferring to a sheet of foil on a board.
8. Pierce the cake all over with a wooden skewer, then lift up the side of the foil to ensure no syrup escapes when you drizzle it all over.
9. Leave to cool completely.⁠

To freeze: Transfer the cake on the board to the freezer. Open freeze then remove the board and cover with more foil. ⁠
To defrost: at room temp for 4 hours⁠

This recipe can be found in The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook.


Dark chocolate pots

Photography by  Tara Fisher

The ultimate after dinner indulgence. These are not for the faint hearted. There are endless variations, adding espresso coffee, orange or mint, if you prefer it to the almond I have chosen.

Makes 8
Ingredients:
300g good quality dark chocolate
50g butter
8 soft ameretti biscuits
1-2 tbsp ameretto liqueur
2 tsp caster sugar
5 large eggs, at room temp, separated
To serve: 3-4 ameretti biscuits and cocoa to dust

Directions:
1. Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and sit on top of a pan of barely simmering water until nearly melted.
2. Meanwhile crumble the ameretti biscuits into the bottom of 8 pots, cups or ramekins.
3. Add the ameretto and sugar to the melting chocolate and stir, then remove from the heat and water and leave to cool slightly.
4. Whip the egg whites in a bowl until stiff.
5. Stir the egg yolks into the nearly cooled chocolate and immediately fold in the egg whites until just combined.
6. Spoon the mousse over the crushed biscuits and chill.

To freeze: When set, cover the ramekins with cling film and freeze
To defrost: Take out of the freezer and place in the fridge to defrost gently for an hour
To serve: Crumble over ameretti biscuits and dust with cocoa

This recipe can be found in The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook.


Stovetop Rice pudding

Photography by  Jonathan Gregson

I was introduced to this method of making rice pudding a few years ago. Even without the whole milk or cream it is seriously creamy and is a great pudding fix when you are feeling like something sweet. I have since often made rice pudding this way, as it is also much quicker than the more traditional baked version.⁠

Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
650ml whole milk⁠
100ml double cream (or use extra milk)⁠
100g short grained rice such as pudding or risotto rice⁠
1 ½ tbsp golden caster sugar⁠
1 vanilla pod scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds⁠
Chopped pistachio nuts or grated chocolate for the top⁠

Directions:
1. Put all the ingredients into a pan with 100ml water and bring up to the boil.
2. Then turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. You might need to add a little extra milk if it thickens too much at the end.
3. Top with the pistachio nuts or chocolate before serving.⁠

This recipe can be found in The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook.


Polenta and Ricotta Berry Torte

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

Fine-ground Italian polenta, or ground cornmeal as it is also known, is a fabulous addition to sweet puddings and baking recipes, adding texture and soaking up all the wonderful flavours that you might choose to add. Serve this summer fruit torte either warm from the oven or cold from the fridge. It can be eaten as a cake or a pudding and needs only some cold cream and a few extra berries scattered around.

Serves 6–8
Ingredients:
175g soft butter
225g golden caster sugar
100g ricotta or natural yogurt
zest of 2 lemons
3 medium free-range eggs
175g fine-ground polenta
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g blueberries
150g raspberries

To serve:
100g raspberries
100g blueberries
icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
2. Grease and line a 23cm loose-bottomed, deep cake tin.
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Add the ricotta or yogurt, the lemon zest and 1 egg and whisk, then whisk in a second egg and then a third.
5. Fold in the polenta, almonds and baking powder, followed by the berries.
6. Turn into the cake tin and smooth over, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
7. Leave for 10 minutes before turning out of the tin.
8. Top with the extra berries and a dusting of icing sugar and serve warm or cool with a dollop of cream.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.