Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Chocolate raspberry brownie cakes

Chocolate and fruit is a matter of personal preference. I've never been fond of the chocolate-dipped strawberry, which is often upheld as the epitome of deliciousness (albeit by advertisements for shopping centres or luxury hotel chains). Chocolate and orange on the other hand, I've long been a fan of - so much so that once, on a trip to Europe, I visited York out of love not so much of the Brontes but of Terry's Chocolate Orange. I favour the milk variety, though I certainly won't knock back the dark if it's on offer. As a rule, dark chocolate is generally the one to pair with fruit: less sweet, more sophisticated. It works wonderfully with pear, as evidenced in the most crowd-pleasing cake in my repertoire: pear, pistachio and chocolate cake. Another winning combination is with raspberry, where the sour/sweet of the fruit marries beautifully with the deep, dark depths of the chocolate. 

In this hybrid of brownie and cake, a crisp, crackly crust gives way to a fudgey chocolate centre, its richness offset by the tart burst of the berries. It works just as well with frozen fruit as it does with fresh, so you can make them year round. One is the perfect amount to satisfy whatever chocolate cravings you have. If you don't trust yourself to stop there, they freeze well... but I'm sorry to say also taste pretty good frozen. You were warned.

Chocolate raspberry brownie cakes
Adapted from a recipe by David Herbert

Don't be tempted to fill the paper cases too much. The cakes rise when cooking so if they're too full they overflow and look rather less appealing (but still taste incredible). The recipe below will yield about a dozen.

120g dark chocolate, chopped
125g butter, diced
1 cup (140g) self-raising flour (or 1 cup plain + 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1 cup (250g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
150g raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases. Place chocoalte and butter into a heatproof bowl and set it over a suacepan of very hot water, sitrring occasionally until smooth. Sift flour into a mixing bowl and stir through caster sugar. Pour in melted chocolate and butter mixture, then beat in eggs, one at a time, til well mixed. Gently stir through raspberries. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake 20 minutes. Cakes should be firm to the touch, but still a little soft in the centre. Leave in tin for 10 minutes and then carefully lift out and cool on a wire rack.

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