Food Challenge Week 3: Chocolate Fridge Cake

After having made 2 savoury recipes, I wanted to try something sweet. Despite everyone being on diets this month, I figured screw that because I’m not.

I wanted something fairly low maintenance and also something I could easily make dairy-free.

Enter the Hummingbird Bakery Fridge Cake. This is NOT a healthy recipe. It’s got so much sugar and fat in it that I felt bad every time I ate one. And this recipe makes so much I took a load into work and a week later they’re not all gone yet…. I should probably chuck them. BUT if you’re having a party or need something for a bake sale or coffee morning then these would be perfect.

There’s no baking involved in this recipe, hence the name ‘fridge cake’ and you can play around with what you put inside it. I decided that because I don’t like raisins, I would add some jelly beans. I also wanted to add pop rocks, but couldn’t find any…. alas.

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The first thing I did for this recipe was to smash up 800g of digestive biscuits (I found the Tesco own-brand ones are vegan, so no dairy!) I used a rolling pin and bashed them lightly inside a ziplock bag.

To this I added 200g of jelly beans, but you can add raisins if you like them.

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To bind all this together, you need to make the liquid for the cake, so you put cocoa powder (100g), butter (400g! – I used Vitalite) and then 200ml of golden syrup, into a large saucepan. I warned you this wasn’t for the health-conscious!

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Look at all that butter sitting proudly in my saucepan…… I can feel my arteries hardening just looking at the picture…..

Heat all this over a medium heat, until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

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You can see from my picture, when you raise the spoon, you’ll be able to see if your butter hasn’t melted yet as the mix runs off. Just make sure it’s all melted through before you combine your ingredients.

Then you mix the wet ingredients into your dry ingredients until completely coated.

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It’ll look like a nice brown mess!

You need to line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper. I put clingfilm in first, because I wanted to be able to lift the whole lot out easily. I made sure the clingfilm hung long over the sides, and then lined on top of that with greaseproof paper. Then you put the whole lot into the tray, pressing down with a large metal spoon as you go. Then lay another sheet of greaseproof paper on top, grab another baking tray (you’re going to use this as a makeshift lid) and push down. Then pop some heavy cans on top of that to weigh it down, and leave until completely cool. Once you’re happy everything has cooled down, transfer the whole thing into the fridge for a minimum of a couple of hours, but preferably over night.

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This is what I had after about 4 hours in the fridge. I lifted the whole lot out of the tray, using the clingfilm, which made it so much easier. And then I sliced the slab into squares using a large sharp knife.

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The recipe states it makes 14 bars, but I cut this into about 25 squares, which were plenty large and filling.

At first I was a little put off by the jelly bean’s fruity flavour, but I have quickly gotten used to them and have eaten far too many in one week for my liking.

This is definitely a great recipe though, and I’ll keep it in my repertoire for when I need to make something for a party or occasion! Tasty and dairy-free too! I’ll give this recipe an 8/10!

2018: A Year of Self-Improvement

Every new year we sit and think about resolutions. We look back over the year past, and wonder what will face us in the coming 12 months.

I’ve never been one for setting new year’s resolutions mainly because I either forget I’ve set them or I fail early on and get annoyed at myself.

So this year, I’ve decided to set myself two challenges, partly because I hope if I fail at one I’ll still achieve the other, and of these particular challenges one I know I am already partially skilled at and the other is something I’ve wanted to do for many many years.

The first challenge came to me during a period of new film watching. As a huge Nora Ephron fan it seemed bizarre that I’d never seen Julie and Julia. The film is based on a true story about a woman who lives in NY and decides to make her somewhat dull and frustrated life a little more exciting by cooking each and every recipe in her classic Julia Child cookery book – all 524 recipes. And every time she makes one, she blogs it. I had no idea this was a story about blogging either, so I was very pleased to see a mix of my love of Nora Ephron, food and blogging all in one film. (I very much enjoyed the film by the way!)

Anyhow, it made me want to start some kind of food challenge. So I decided that I would set myself the task of cooking at least one new recipe for every week in 2018. I know this could be a massive task, since I sometimes run out of time in a week, and if I’m on holiday or sick this will also be impossible. So I’m allowing myself the occasional skip-week. And I’m also including recipes like sauces or new variations of old favourites.

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And then the idea is that I will blog the recipes, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have at least 52 new things under my belt, will have hopefully increased my skill set in cooking, and with luck will have tried new foods and found new favourites!

I have so many cookery books and Pinterest at my fingertips so hopefully the hardest part will be choosing what to make next!

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My second challenge is a skill I’ve wanted to learn for some years, and I think I even mentioned it in my New Year roundup last new year! I’ve taken the first steps in beginning to learn calligraphy. A dear friend went for it last year, when I was toying with the idea, and seeing her coming on leaps and bounds has really inspired me. She has warned me it’s not as easy as it looks and to preserver, and I intend to! I’m hoping by Christmas 2018 I’ll be writing beautiful envelopes on my Christmas cards! Here’s hoping!

Anyway, I’ve bought some pens and a new notepad (you need special paper don’t you know) and I intend on sharing pictures of my journey on instagram, and here, as I go (if I’m any good!) Fingers crossed!

So those are my two challenges for the year. I have one more up my sleeve, but that’s more of a thinker so maybe I’ll share that down the line.

I’d love to hear if you’ve set yourself any challenges or new year’s resolutions for this year? What do you want to achieve by January 2019?