First bake: chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icing

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingI was recently alerted to the launch of something amazing by Asda – chocolate orange cream cheese. Being a fan of the wonderful Philadelphia-Cadbury lovechild that is chocolate cream cheese, I couldn’t wait to get this wonderful concoction and do something baking-related with it.

Chocolate orange cream cheeseI briefly considered a chocolate orange cheesecake, but I don’t have a great track record with cheesecake in general, so I settled on a decadent chocolate orange layer cake with chocolate orange cream cheese icing instead. You can already feel the calories piling on just by reading that, can’t you?

I used a Mary Berry recipe for the sponges. Strangely enough, this was my first attempt at a Mary Berry recipe, despite being a huge GBBO fan. Suffice to say, the cakes turned out wonderfully!

Chocolate orange cake mix

Chocolate orange cake mix

I let the cakes cool overnight then made a simple icing by beating together the chocolate orange cream cheese, icing sugar and butter. I sandwiched the cakes together with half of the icing then spread the rest on top, and decorated it with some segments of a dark chocolate orange to finish it off.

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingI couldn’t wait to try the finished cake! I have to say, it was absolutely amazing – the sponge was moist and flavoursome, while the icing was simply wonderful. I wouldn’t say the chocolate orange flavour of the cream cheese was particularly strong, but it was definitely there, and the richness of the cheese provided a wonderful contrast to all the sugar and cocoa.

I would most certainly make this again without changing anything – I just hope Asda keep this cream cheese in production for a good while longer!

Chocolate orange cake with cream cheese icingThe recipe

For the sponges, follow Mary Berry’s recipe for chocolate orange cake. You can either use her filling or my own, below:

  • 200g pack of chocolate orange cream cheese, available from Asda (or make your own with normal cream cheese, cocoa and orange zest or flavouring)
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. Beat together the sugar and butter until smooth, then stir in the cream cheese and mix well.

First bake: savoury witches’ hat pasties

Witches' hatsWe had a Halloween bake sale in our office the other week, and I decided to go savoury with my offering. After much faffing, I settled upon these puff pastry pasties in the shape of witches’ hats.

I cheated and bought the puff pastry, as I didn’t have the time or confidence to make my own! I bought it in those massive blocks, though, and with hindsight I probably should have got the pre-rolled version to save more time… ah well.

I decided to make two fillings – cheese and onion, and spicy chickpea and potato, both my own inventions. For the cheese and onion filling, I gently fried some chopped onion until soft (but not browned) then mixed it with a big pile of grated mature cheddar, a little milk and seasoning.

Witches' hats

Filling for witches’ hats – cheese and onion (left) and spicy chickpea and potato (right)

The chickpea filling was a bit more complicated due to it being based on a chickpea curry recipe handed down by my mum, but basically involved cooking lightly mashed tinned chickpeas and chopped potato in a variety of spices. I held back on the chilli to begin with, but then worried that it wasn’t spicy enough and added a load more towards the end. Oops.

To fill the pasties, I painstakingly rolled out the pastry, cut it into diamond shapes, brushed them with beaten egg, added a spoonful of filling to the middle then folded the diamonds over to create triangles. I then attached a strip of pastry to the bottom edge to make them look like hats, although as you can see from the pictures, some of these managed to unattach themselves from the triangles during baking. Tsk.

Witches' hatsThe main issue I had, though, was the pasties opening up in the oven. This wasn’t a huge issue for the chickpea pasties, as the filling was quite dry, but the cheese filling melted and seeped onto the baking tray, resulting in a couple of pasties not having any filling at all! Not all of them were lost, though, which was a relief! I probably didn’t seal the edges quite as well as I should, which is certainly a lesson learnt.

Overall, the pasties turned out well and sold out remarkably quickly at the sale. If I ever make these again, I might try some different fillings, but they were delicious enough as they were!

The recipe

Based on this BBC Good Food recipe for wizards’ hats. Follow the method for the pastry and baking (double the quantities if you want to make two types of pasties), and see below for my filling recipes:

Cheese and onion

  • 100g grated mature cheddar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • butter, for frying
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan and slowly cook the onions over a low heat until soft (about 15-20 mins).
  2. In a bowl, mix the onions with the cheddar, milk and seasoning.

Chickpea and potato

  • 1 x 400g tin cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 150g potato, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • Half a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 0.5 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 0.5 tsp green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 0.5 tsp red chilli powder
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • handful of chopped coriander
  1. Lightly mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a potato masher or fork.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry over a medium heat until you hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the green chilli, garlic, ginger, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in the chickpeas and potato, and cook until the potatoes are soft.
  4. Add the ground cumin, garam masala and coriander, stir and turn off the heat to let the filling cool.