Apparently, taking part in one baking challenge just isn’t enough for me.
A few weeks ago, Waitrose got in touch. They’d made a hub of chocolate cake recipes and they were challenging me to recreate one of them. So far, so simple – except there was a bit of a twist. They were going to send me a secret ingredient which I somehow had to incorporate into one of the recipes.
This sent Garry and I wild with excitement. There’s a terrible cooking show we used to love, which I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. The contestants would have to bake something and, halfway through, the head chef (a ridiculously French man – I’m pretty sure he had a little moustache and everything) would declare that “Eet was time for zee meesteree ingreedient!” This ingredient would come down a chute and would always be something ridiculous like broccoli, gravy or, on one memorable occasion, a shoe.
We waited anxiously for my Waitrose mystery ingredient. What would it be? I thought chilli or salt. Garry was hoping it’d be something bonkers like steak or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Instead, it was Heston’s chocolate coated popping candy.
Eh. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but still fun to play with! They also sent me a gift card to buy the ingredients, and a beautiful bowl and spoon from their homeware range.
So, now to choose what to make.
Waitrose to me always seemed like a luxury supermarket brand – we always shopped at ASDA, and whenever my band used to play Christmas carols outside a Waitrose we’d feel ever so posh. Currently we shop at Morrisons, but there’s a Waitrose in Crouch End so whenever we go up there for coffee we wander round Waitrose and admire it. Waitrose makes me feel quite grown up, so I wanted to make a grown up cake. Plus I had to use popping candy, and I thought the contrast between the popping candy and a really grown-up cake would be a good one.
That’s why I chose these chocolate macaroon cakes. With coffee and chocolate and posh biscuits, they seemed perfect.
I did my own version of it, though, partially because I can never leave well alone and partially because when I went shopping I couldn’t find amaretti biscuits and bought Lotus biscuits instead. The result was still absolutely spectacular, though.
I particularly like using the biscuits as a crust. It makes for a really interesting texture change.
The popping candy was a fun addition. I’m going to take these in to work and not tell anyone, just to see their reaction!
The recipe is below. Huge thanks to Waitrose for inviting me to take part in their challenge!
- 175g of double cream
- 4 tablespoons of cocoa
- 225g of light brown muscovado sugar
- 75g of dark chocolate (85% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
- 150g of butter
- 50g of ground almonds
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 175g of plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 12 Lotus biscuits
- 3 teaspoons of instant coffee granules
- 200g of icing sugar
- 50g of butter
- Chocolate sprinkles/chocolate coated popping candy
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases
- Add the cream, cocoa and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then cook for one minute whilst still stirring. Put the chocolate and the butter into a large bowl and pour the cream mix over the top. Still until smooth, then leave for five minutes
- Put the almonds, eggs and vanilla in the bowl and beat until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and gently mix together
- Add the mix to the cases until they're 3/4 full. Crush the biscuits and top the cakes with them, them bake for 30 minutes. Remove and leave to cool
- Add 2 tablespoons of boiled water to the coffee, then beat in the icing sugar and the butter together. Add a tablespoon to the top of each cake, then sprinkle over the chocolate