Best easiest children’s chocolate birthday cake ever!

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Ok, so the title is a little dramatic but i am very excited to finally have a super easy and delicious go-to chocolate cake recipe and overall decent looking birthday cake that i can produce for the parties of my three little boys.

One of my children has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy and so gone are the days that i can ring the local bakery and order whatever novelty cartoon character their hearts desire. As any parent of a child with peanut and nut allergies will tell you, bakeries are tricky and most store bought birthday cakes contain nuts or traces of.

Although i am a keen baker, sugar-craft is not my thing and as a busy working mum of three small boys i simply don’t have the time. So here it is, a great chocolate cake recipe with shortcuts. The shortcuts being pre-made icing and a cake topper ……simples!

This cake itself is moist, squidgy and despite appearances it is light and not too rich. It will keep happily for about 3 days.

If you are baking this for someone with nut allergies like me, always make sure to double check all your ingredients for traces of nuts and peanuts.  Brands can change ingredients and recipes from time to time so please always always always double-check.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 350g/12½oz caster sugar
  • 85g/3oz cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2  eggs
  • 250ml/9fl oz milk
  • 125ml/4½fl oz vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml/9fl oz boiling water

For decorating

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 23cm/9inch round cake tins. The cake batter is very thin so sandwich tins are best rather than than the ones with the removable base.

  2. To make the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk, beat the mixture until everything is well combined and the mixture is smooth.

  3. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. The cake batter is now very thin and liquid.

  4. Divide the cake batter between the cake tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in their tins before icing.

  6. To assemble the cake, carefully remove the two layers from the cake tins. Make sure your icing is at room temperature and spread a little on the top of one of the cakes and then carefully place the other cake on top.

  7. Using a palette knife, ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing.

  8. Place the cake topper on top as per the pack instructions.

 

Happy baking,

Dublin Mummy x

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Dublin Cookery School’s Roast Chicken Breast with Salsa Verde

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I’m back after a bit of a blogging break courtesy of my gorgeous baby boy number three. My three little men aged 5, 3 and 9 months have been keeping me very busy, but finally (i am touching wood here and praying that i am not jinxing myself) everyone is sleeping through the night.  With that, the ‘new baby in the house’ exhausted fog is lifting and i can start getting back to doing a few things that i enjoy like blogging.

What better way to start back than with a great family recipe. Unusually for me, this is not one of my own recipes but one that Dublin Cookery School, www.dublincookeryschool.ie , kindly shared with me. I have tested it and it is delicious.

Dublin Cookery School are launching their summer Growing Gourmets courses for teens aged 12-16. This is particularly close to my heart , not only because i have done a couple of courses here myself (Modern Vegetarian Cooking and Eclairs Patisserie) so i know the quality of the tuition and facilities are great, but because i myself learned to cook at a summer cooking course when i was nine years old. It was that course and my mums encouragement that ignited this lifelong interest and passion that i have in cooking and good food.

boy & girl making pasta

I love to see courses like this for young people as i am a firm believer that knowing how to cook and education around nutrition are essential life skills that should not be underestimated and a love of good food and cooking is an amazing gift to give your children. And if nothing else, the more cooking your children are doing at home means the less you’ll be doing yourself 😉

chick w sal verd pic land

Serves 6

6 chicken breasts, skin on

1 bunch thyme

10g butter

Oil for frying

200g bacon lardons

1⁄4 head iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped

400ml chicken stock

220g frozen peas

20g butter

500g baby potatoes

Salsa Verde

1 large bunch parsley, basil, mint, chives

1 clove garlic

Squeeze lemon juice

Black pepper

2-3 tablespoon capers, or to taste

Extra virgin olive oil, about 120ml or more as required

Method

Sauté the lardons in sunflower oil until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper to

remove the excess oil. Return to the saucepan. Add the chicken stock and reduce by

half. Add the peas, the lettuce and the butter. Check the seasoning.

With the skin on, boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and slice the potatoes into

halves or quarters. Set aside until ready to use.

For the salsa verde

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend. Season with pepper and salt, if

necessary. Taste and add more lemon juice, if necessary and more olive oil, if the

salsa verde is too thick.

Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a pan and add the

chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken on the pan for about 5 minutes, then add

the thyme and butter. Leave the chicken on the pan (or transfer to a baking tray or

ovenproof dish) and place in the oven for 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of

the chicken. Remove and leave to rest for about 3 minutes. Reheat the pea broth, add

a few tablespoons of salsa verde. Dress the baby potatoes also with some salsa verde

and season if necessary. Arrange the potatoes in the center of a wide soup bowl. Pour

the pea broth around and place the chicken on top of the potato.

Happy Cooking,

Dublin Mummy x

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5 things to do in Dublin with your children during mid-term break

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Mid-term break is almost upon us and i cannot wait. It is my first year doing the school run and not being a morning person i find it chaotic and stressful. I am very much looking forward to a week break from the morning time chaos and getting to plan some days out with my three small boys aged 5, 3 and 6 months.  Continue reading

Pulled Balsamic Beef – Slowcooker ‘Dump Bag’ recipe

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Ok, i know that ‘dump bag’ does not exactly conjure images of tasty food but please bear with me. The concept of a slowccoker ‘dump bag’ is where you prepare all your ingredients for a meal in a freezer bag, freeze and defrost and dump it into the slowcooker when you want it. Sounds much more appealing now, eh? This really is a great batchcooking concept for busy people.

balsamic-beef

Ingredients

600g cubes of stewing beef

1 cup beef stock

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

4 cloves garlic crushed

Method

  1. Put everything into a freezer bag and freeze for when you need it.
  2. Once defrosted, cook on slow for 8 hours.
  3. Remove beef from slowcooker and shred/pull apart with two forks.
  4. Pour the remaining juices in the slowcooker over the beef.

Serve with baked potatoes and steamed green beans. This is also lovely served in sandwiches with a large green salad.

Happy slowcooking,

Dublin Mummy x

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