Chocolate self-saucing pudding

UnknownPreviously, on BakeClass… (provided by the publisher at no cost)

Chocolate self-saucing pudding is not new for me. It’s not quite a standard, because I keep experimenting with other things, but it’s not a novelty. Generally I have made Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, and it’s never made me sad.

There might be a new kid in town.

Context: friend comes over for dinner. I’ve not really made plans for dessert (steak by us, fig and goat’s cheese salad by her). Flicking through BakeClass looking for something straightforward, I hit Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding, and the friend makes encouraging noises.

It’s nothing new in terms of ease; it’s about the easiest pudding ever. Differences from Stephanie: she uses plain flour and baking powder, Anneka uses SR flour; this isn’t a real difference. Stephanie has 1/4 cup castor sugar; Anneka has 1/2 cup brown sugar – and this is where the difference lies, I think, because I think this pudding was that bit richer as a result. Interestingly Stephanie has 180g brown sugar in the topping, and 2 tbsp cocoa; Anneka has 100g and 30g (and a bit more boiling water).

This experiment may have been slightly led astray by the fact that apparently my oven isn’t heating consistently, so one side was a bit gooey-er than the other. Which isn’t a failing in such a pud, of course… .

Result: I think this is my-go choc self-saucer from now on. Already anticipating the double chocolate variation (add 100g chopped chocolate “with the sugar” – I presume that means with the topping).

No photos because I don’t believe anyone’s every really taken a particularly flattering picture of chocolate self-saucing pudding. It just always looks like mud… as long as you get it on a good day…

 

BakeClass: Rhubarb Cake

This book was sent to me by the publisher at no cost.

Unknown.jpegAnneka Manning promises that I will “learn to bake brilliantly, step by step,” so that’s a rather exciting thought. I’ve been baking for years, but I am always interested in new recipes, and of course there are some things that just elude me (darn you sponge cake). So: lessons AND recipes!

Firstly: it’s a lovely looking book, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I appreciate that in a recipe book. It’s hefty (275-odd pages) at nearly A4 size, so I’m mighty glad I have a cookbook stand. The pages themselves are well laid out; mot recipes have a picture (which, I’m not completely a must-have-pictures girl, but it definitely adds something to the look of it), and the recipes are clearly laid out and so far, easy to follow. There are some ‘Baker’s tips’ on a few pages some of which seem obvious, others – well, I’ve made a few springform tin cakes, and it had never occurred to me to put the baking paper OVER the base and THEN clamp the sides in. I think this is a case of ‘dumb smart person’. So if nothing else I’ve learned that. IMG_0888.JPG

The first thing I’ve made is the Rhubarb Sour Cream Crumble Cake, which is in the ‘measure and beat’ section. Again, didn’t think I’d learn anything here, but um, I think I usually put the dry ingredients in before the wet but not consciously… so that’s an excellent pointer. And I’ve started picking up on the idea of room-temperature eggs, so this was yet another reminder about that. Guess I have to plan my baking a bit further in advance than I have tended in the past.

IMG_0889.JPGI made this because a friend gave me a pile of rhubarb sticks (whoo!), and we had people coming over for dinner. The cake batter itself turned out beautifully and I am once again glad I have a stand mixer, because it makes multitasking a reality. For some reason my crumble did not crumble, but turned into dough – perhaps too little flour? the butter was straight from the fridge but it was a fairly warm day, so that may have been a problem. At any rater I have dotted it over the top and spread it out a bit; it cooked fine and tasted perfectly nice.

Verdict in the end was very positive. We ended up with a bit left over but I think that was because our guests were being too polite to have extras.