Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake
A tiffin cake is never something I go about sourcing ingredients for deliberately. For me, the tiffin is a method of finishing my half packets of biscuits which lie about my cupboards, or finally using the very aromatic bananas which are on their last legs in the fruit bowl. The leftover peanut brittle which I made for my crunchy nut cornflake choc ices also needs to go somewhere that isn’t directly into my stomach whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. Then a few dates which have been languishing in a jar probably since Christmas but still moist enough to provide a good chew to the cake are also included.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

However, do not throw ingredients into your tiffin willy nilly. The beauty of a throw together dish, whether it’s in baking or cooking a quick supper after work is knowing when you should leave something out. Just because I also had half a packet of marshmallows, some sweetened cranberries which are begging for a home and some pretzels which have been outright taunting me from their half eaten packet doesn’t mean they should all go in as well. Be selective and purposeful and then you will find that your cobbled together garbage cake assumes its own identity.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Due to the bananas the cake is much softer than a regular tiffin cake so be gentle when slicing. I used milk chocolate for the cake as that is what I had to hand but if I were to make it again I would probably go for half milk and half dark chocolate to add more intensity of flavour and reduce the sweetness. Usually I am an advocate with more is more when it comes to cake, but here, you want to be thinking less. Just a slither of the cake will be deliciously ample, if you over indulge you won’t be thanking me an hour later. This cake is richie rich.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Although the serving suggestion I most recommend is to place the cake in the freezer for a couple of hours; it will emerge as a deliciously cool easy to slice dessert which will happily pair with freshly picked raspberries after a long lazy Saturday barbecue.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake

400g chocolate – milk or dark or a mixture of both
2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
200g plain gluten-free digestives
175g peanut brittle, roughly chopped
50g dates, de-stoned and roughly chopped
A good pinch of sea salt

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large bain marie set over simmering water.
  2. Turn the heat off the water but do not take the chocolate off the bain marie, you want it kept smooth and melty whilst you are adding the other ingredients.
  3. Add the bananas first and mix in thoroughly to make sure they are well incorporated.
  4. Crush the digestive biscuits roughly with a rolling pin, so that some biscuits are obliterated and some are left quite lumpy to give the cake good texture. Then stir them in.
  5. Finally add in the peanut brittle, dates and the salt, mixing everything together so it’s all turned into a lovely chocolatey cake batter.
  6. Resist spooning the mixture into your mouth and pour into an 18cm, baking parchment lined, springform round cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with tin foil.
  7. Leave in the fridge overnight to set and chill before carefully removing from the cake tin and serving immediately. This is best served cold.

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

These cupcakes are basically a sequel to the Biscoff ice cream I wrote about earlier this week.  Both the cake batter and the swiss meringue buttercream have a few dollops of Biscoffy cinnamon wonder and I’m afraid there is now no going back to plain jane vanilla.  Well, until next week.

I am fully committed down the Biscoff rabbit hole, particularly since I’ve now discovered you can buy it in crunchy form as well which I had to buy to y’know compare and contrast.  At the moment that pot is being eaten by the spoon, I just hope I can hold fire on it for long enough to make it into some sort of a recipe in the next couple of months.

I’m sure by next week I’ll have moved onto the mince pies, stollen and stilton tarts that are waiting patiently in the wings, but I couldn’t resist these little numbers first.  I have to thank the Pioneer Woman for the cake recipe which has been on my to do list for ages, she claimed it was the best sheet cake ever but by goodness does it translate well into cupcake form.  The method seems a bit back to front to how I would normally treat my cupcakes but the end result is so wonderfully moist and light that it’s a real keeper.

I steered clear of calling them Biscoff cupcakes as the batter has only a small amount of spread in there so there is barely a hint of it.  Just think of eating cookie dough but in cake form and you are pretty much there.

Cookie Butter Cupcakes

makes 24

For the cake:
adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

375g plain flour
340g caster sugar
300g soft light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 eggs
180ml buttermilk
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
90g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Spread (Biscoff Spread)
375ml boiling water
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the Biscoff spread until smooth. Pour in the boiling water carefully then bring the mixture up to a boil then remove from heat.
  5. Pour the Biscoff mixture over the flour/sugar mixture and stir until halfway combined.
  6. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir gently until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into cupcake cases.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes.

For the cookie butter swiss meringue buttercream:
6 egg whites (180g)
300g caster sugar
420g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
180g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Spread (Biscoff Spread)
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crushed Biscoff biscuits to decorate

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt, the vanilla extract and the Biscoff spread. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

Biscoff Ice Cream

Biscoff Ice Cream

This recipe is not gluten-free

This year I have mainly been baking with my new favourite ingredient.

Biscoff Spread

But to be honest, I’m not really sure what to call it. It’s a biscuit spread of mystery, called many names but not answering to any one. The confusion began when I noticed on Pinterest that everyone was banging on and on about this Biscoff spread which they were using in cakes, frosting, cookies. Don’t care how I wanted it now. I love those Biscoff biscuits, although the only time I have ever had them is on holiday wrapped individually and served with my mid morning coffee.

This spread was really hard to find. I looked for it everywhere online but the only place which sold it was an American supplies shop and it was out of stock but they promised to send me some as soon as it came back in so I was forced to wait. I’m not very patient so that was rubbish.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Then, one fateful day I received an email to say some new stock was in and a pot of the good stuff was winging its way to me. I seized upon poor postie the next day like a baking banshee and immediately set about making the luxurious cake frosting recipe I had reverently set aside for this hallowed ingredient and squidged it within the layers of a dark chocolate cake.

The results were all I could have hoped for. The spread is divine, you can eat it straight from a pot with a spoon. Not that I did that. Much. I made the same cake incessantly until the pot had run dry.

Then a few weeks later I was at a friend’s house rifling through her pantry, like ya do when I saw she had a pot of this spread. I waggled it in her face, ‘Where did you buy this?’ I cried out. ‘Oh, I just got it from Sainsburys’. She said offhand. I felt cheated. Ruddy Sainsburys all along. However, when I looked a bit closer at the label it was no wonder a thickie like me couldn’t find it as for some reason in the UK the spread literally appears to have no name. All that’s on the label is the brand, Lotus’ and its tagline ‘The Original Caramelised Spread’ which is pretty confusing.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Apparently this spreadable version came about when Els Scheppers from Belgium entered a TV contest called ‘De Bedenkers’ (The Inventors) and bowled everyone over with her recipe for converting Lotus Speculoos biscuits (which is what they are called in Belgium to add to the branding intrigue) into a spread. She was contacted by the Lotus manufacturers and they got together and released this to the world in 2011. Since then it’s pretty much taken the baking world by storm and you can search for recipes which turn this spread into pretty much any type of cake, biscuit or brownie. Still, what I wanted this weekend was ice cream.
I like to stock up on ice cream around Christmas as it makes really quick desserts at a time when there is a lot of other baking going on. This ice cream is perfect as the caramel and cinnamon flavours in the Biscoff spread marry perfectly with the season to be jolly.

Whipping it up takes no time at all, just a couple of short bursts of activity over a couple of days. It is ice crystal free, sweet, cold and creamy. In short, it is a freezer must have.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Biscoff Ice Cream

Makes about 1 litre

300ml whipping cream
200ml whole milk
150g soft brown sugar
175g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Biscuit Spread
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a saucepan heat up the whipping cream, whole milk and sugar to just below boiling point.
  2. Remove from the heat. Put the Biscoff spread in a large bowl and pour some of the cream mixture over the spread, stirring together so the spread loosens up. Pour a bit more cream mixture in and again stir together. Repeat this until all the cream mixture has been incorporated by the spread.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and stir in.
  4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place immediately into the fridge. Leave overnight to thoroughly chill.
  5. The next day churn in an ice cream machine for about 20-30 mins until it has thickened up to a soft serve consistency. Then transfer into a tub and put into the freezer overnight to set.