Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

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Pound cake. I don’t know what it is about pound cake that just gets me going. Perhaps it’s that buttery taste, or the tight crumb that melts in your mouth, or the insanely delicious smell it creates in your kitchen when it’s baking. It’s basically heaven. Who can say no to that?!

Pound cake is actually easy to make. Most recipes have a very similar set of ingredients and are often called sour cream cakes or even butter cakes. Essentially, they use the same ingredients in varying quantities to achieve a given result. If you’re a geek like me, watch this video that shows you how the varying quantities affect the end result of the cake. Otherwise, just take my word for it, this stuff is good!

One thing I always took for granted with baking, was the temperature of the ingredients. I really learned the effects of it when I once make pound cake with sour cream straight out of the fridge! The cake ended up being stodgy inside as the cold of the sour cream made the butter in the batter firm up into little globules. Not ideal! Since then, I’ve always used room temperature ingredients. Your butter, eggs and sour cream and the crucial ingredients that should always be used at room temperature. Trust me.

Lastly, I confess that I did not measure the amount of chocolate chips I put in this pound cake. I like a lot of chocolate chips, so I cut up some chocolate and added it in. If it didn’t look enough when i stirred it through the batter then I added more! I estimate at least 1/2 cup of chocolate chips will be needed. I recommend buying a bar or chocolate and chopping that up rather than using chocolate chips from the baking aisle. It just doesn’t taste as good!

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake (Adapted from SBA)
Makes 1 loaf
220g all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
230g butter, softened to room temperature
200g granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 - 1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, put your flour, baking powder, and salt. Give it a little whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar and vanilla, until creamy, about 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in between additions. Add your sour cream and beat once more. Now add your dry ingredients. Mix using a spatula to give better control. You don’t want to overmix the batter! When the flour is nearly combined with the batter, add your chocolate chips and mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be very thick and creamy, as it should be.

Spoon batter into loaf pan and bake in a preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is lightly golden. Check at 40 minutes to see if the cake is browning too much. If so, cover the top with some foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool inside the pan for 5 minutes. turn onto a cooling rack. Once cool to touch you can slice it up and eat it. It’s best to wait until it’s fully cool as that makes cutting easier.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

As usual I ate everything before taking pictures! I really need to stop doing that. You're going to have to take my word for it, these looked good! And tasted good too!

I saw this recipe on Sally's site and had to make it. I initially made it with white chocolate because that's what I had one had. They were delicious! I made it the second time with raspberry dark chocolate from Lindt. It totally intensified the raspberry flavour. They are so good, especially when they just come out of the oven and the chocolate is still all melty. Oh yes!

The recipe is actually very simple and doesn't contain any butter at all, which is good for those last minute muffin whip ups! There's never time to soften butter in my life! Anyhoo, give it a go, I'm confident you'll love it!

Raspberry and Chocolate Muffins (Inspired by SBA)
Makes 16 standard size muffins
375 grams all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
150 grams granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
120 grams chocolate, chopped
215 grams frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 200C degrees. Grease your muffin pans (recipe will make 16 muffins) and set aside.
In a jug, place your milk and lemon juice. set aside for 10 minutes. This will give you your buttermilk!
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until combined and set aside.
In a another bowl, whisk together eggs and sugars until combined. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla.
Now add your wet ingredients into dry ingredients, throw in your chocolate and mix everything together gently by hand. Try not to overmix or your muffins will end up tough. The batter will be very thick and somewhat lumpy. Lastly, fold in the raspberries.
Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling all the way to the top.  Bake at 200C degrees for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 180C and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes or until done. Use a toothpick or skewer to check. It should come out clean. Allow to cool, if you're patient enough, then devour!


Romany Creams (South African Oreos)

Romany Creams are to South Africans what Oreos are to Americans. The difference is that Romany creams are much better! Romany creams are crunchy chocolate coconut biscuits that are sandwiched together with a layer of chocolate, not frosting. It's the real chocolate middle that makes the difference.
We never had much money when I was a child growing up in South Africa, so my mother often made us treats as it was cheaper than buying them. This is one of the many treats I enjoyed in my childhood and this is the first time I've made them. My husband has never tried them (he's not South African) so I thought now would be a good time for him to get a taste. Needless to say they have been an absolute hit. I took them to a weekly class I attend and everybody loved them.

About the recipe- This recipe is actually adjustable, if you want it to be. You can use coconut thread instead of desiccated coconut if you want it more coco-nutty. Increase the amount of cocoa if you want it more chocolatey. You can use any chocolate you fancy, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, even peppermint chocolate if you are that way inclined. You will most definitely need vegetable oil to make this biscuit work. Unfortunately New Zealand conditions cause the mixture to be quite dry, so the oil will be needed to counteract that.

Romany Creams
Makes 40 biscuits
200g Castor Sugar
250g Butter, softened
2 Eggs, medium size
580g White Flour
30g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
260g Desiccated Coconut
250g Chocolate of your choice (I used a block of Whittakers Milk Chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.You can do this by hand or in a mixer.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat in between additions. Make sure it is well combined.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add this to your butter mixture, along with the coconut and combine well. At this point you will have a fairly stiff dough. Add a little vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil, to make the mixture more workable. Test by rolling a bit of the mixture into a ball, if it holds its shape then you are good to go!

Now mold the dough into little balls and place on a lined baking sheet. The size of the biscuit is completely up to you. Traditionally they were made walnut sized, however I feel that is too small, so I doubled the size of mine!

Flatten out the balls with a fork. Scrape the top of each biscuit with a fork to rough it up a bit. This just adds a nice texture and visual effect. If you don't have time then just flatten them out.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. The bigger the biscuit the longer it will take to bake. These biscuits rise slight and they don't spread out like most cookies do, so you wont be able to tell when they are done, just by looking.

When you take them out of the oven they should be firm, with a slight soft center. Leave them on a cooling rack to cool. Do not leave them on a board or plate to cool. Because of the oil and butter in it, it will go soggy. We want crunchy, not soggy!

Once biscuits are completely cool, and I do mean completely cool, melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Using a butter knife or palette knife, spread the chocolate onto the biscuits and sandwich together. Leave to cool before devouring. 

My biscuits were quite large so I didn't sandwich them. I did however put two layers of chocolate on them!