Tag Archives: Chocolate

Chocolate Sponge Mousse Cake Dessert

6 Jan

Hello all!

Happy New Year! After a hectic two months of serious exam stressing and Christmas food gorging, I’m back with a beauty of a recipe – my chocolate mousse cake dessert. This happened as somewhat of an accident when I was making an eggless chocolate sponge for my nephew Jack’s first birthday… It turned out nicely and JUST as I was lifting it out of the tin… SPLAT. The sponge cracked in half and it was no longer usable for the main event – his birthday cake – so I decided to give this dessert a go. It’s not by any means light, so January dieters LOOK AWAY NOW! It is a bowl full of rich, chocolatey, spongy, mousse-y goodness and it instantly became a firm favourite in the Hornibrook household!

It consists of chocolate sponge in various layers that have been drenched in chocolate ganache sauce, piped full to the brim with chocolate mousse and topped off with some whipped cream and toasted almonds for a nutty crunch. What’s not to love?!

See the recipe below – Diet starts February……….


For the sponge (I made an eggless sponge, however you can make a sponge including eggs by following the recipe to my Easter chocolate cake sponge recipe, by clicking here)

For the Sponge

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 40g butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate chips (I use Callebeaut)

For the Chocolate ganache sauce 

  • 75ml cream
  • 120g mix of milk/dark chocolate chips (I usually use half and half of each)

For the Mousse (Nigella Lawson’s instant mousse)

  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 50g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate chips (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 60ml hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)
  • 300ml cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 200ml Cream, whipped & in a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle
  • Handful of toasted slivered almonds (Pecans would work great aswell)


Sponge – use an 8 or 9 inch round cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven 180 C / Gas 4. Grease your tin with butter and line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Mix the bicarb with 1 tablespoon of milk then add to the flour and cocoa powder mixture. Melt the butter with 100g of the chocolate chips.
  3. Add the sugar along with the remaining milk, oil, golden syrup, melted butter/chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat with a fork or hand whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining 100g of chocolate chips now. Transfer to the prepared cake tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the centre of the cake is not fully cooked then leave the cake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, but cover the top of the cake with tin foil so it doesn’t burn. Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool.

NOTE: While the sponge is cooking, make the chocolate sauce next so it is cool by the time you are assembling..

Chocolate ganache sauce

  1. Warm the cream in the microwave in short bu rsts of 30 secs or alternatively on the hob in a dish over a sauce pan of hot water (Bain marie).
  2. Add the chocolate buttons and return the microwave in further 30 sec bursts, stirring in between until sauce forms. Alternatively, add buttons to dish on top of sauce pan and stir until chips are melted. Set aside to cool.


  1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth mixture.
  4. I added a tablespoon of ganache to the mousse and marbled it through for extra chocolatey goodness…


  1. I used a large crystal trifle dish to assemble the dessert in. You can really assemble it in any type of dish you’d like but I loved how it looked in this dish.
  2. Slice up the cooled sponge into thin wedges. Drizzle the dish base generously with chocolate sauce. Layer sponge pieces on top and drizzle more choc sauce over them.
  3. Scoop in a layer of mousse then repeat the sponge/chocolate sauce layers until the dish is full (last layer should be mousse).
  4. Leave enough sauce to dot around the top in large splodges, and then marble with a toothpick for the pretty marbled effect.
  5. Pipe whipped cream around the edges and scatter the toasted almonds. Ready to serve and eat as much to your heart’s desire ;).




Chocolate, Salted Peanut & Honeycomb squares

22 Apr

I cannot describe how absolutely scrummy these chocolate bites are. I stumbled across this recipe once in Nigella’s ‘Kitchen’ book (who else, seeing as these are the epitome of over-the-top indulgence). The salty crunch of the peanuts, with the dark, rich chocolate with a bit of chew and sweetness from the honeycomb results in a confection that only dreams are made of!

Nigella uses crunchie bars in her original recipe, however I made my own honeycomb in place of this. Either works great, but I find the homemade honeycomb gives a slightly crunchier/chewier texture as the crunchie bars often go soft after a few days of the squares being cut. It’s essential to use good quality chocolate here – I use Belgian Callebeaut chocolate buttons. That nasty ‘chocolate flavoured’ cooking stuff they claim to be chocolate just won’t do.

Anyhoo, I’ll stop babbling and just give you the recipe to these little beauties… You can thank me later…


For the honeycomb (make this first and leave to set before starting the squares)

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the chocolate squares

  • 200g dark chocolate buttons
  • 100g milk chocolate buttons
  • 125g salted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 250g salted peanuts
  • 160-180g of honeycomb
  • square tin 24 x 24 cm lined with parchment paper or cling film



  1. Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. Don’t stir once it’s on the heat as the sugar will crystalize. You can swish the pan around to mix if necessary. (Picture 1)
  2. Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt, then turn to liquid and then let it bubble until it turns the colour of maple syrup (see picture 3) – this will take 3 minutes or so.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and watch the syrup turn into a whooshing cloud of aerated pale gold. Turn this immediately onto a piece of reusable baking parchment or greased foil.
  4. Leave until set and then chop roughly with a heavy knife.

Chocolate Squares

  1. In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan on a low heat. NOTE: Be careful here as the chocolate can easily catch and burn.
  2. Tip the peanuts into a bowl and add in the honeycomb.
  3. Take the melted chocolate mixture off the heat and stir in the peanuts and honeycomb pieces then tip straight into the lined square tin.  Smooth the top of the mixture and put it in the fridge for about four hours before cutting into cubes/slices as desired.


Pecan Brownies

23 Mar

Hello all!

With Easter coming up, I thought it was rather fitting to do a chocolate themed post. If you need some Easter cake inspiration, check out my previous post by clicking here.

So for anyone who knows of the Perry Street Market Cafe in Cork, you might know how totally irrestable their brownies are. They do them in a few different flavours, but white chocolate is by far my favourite! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was told I have an egg intolerance. I mostly try to keep off them as I definitely find a vast improvement in my skin health when I do, however sometimes I just have to splurge (namely, every time I visit Perry Street to have one of those sacred brownies).

In an effort to recreate their dreamy confection, I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s ‘vegan’ brownies. I, myself am not vegan, however I find vegan recipes convenient for when I am  trying my best to steer clear of all things eggy. As it is solely eggs I avoid, I often adapt these recipes to suit my needs. I fed these brownies to the family troops and not one of them noticed there wasn’t an egg in sight. Success! The pictures just don’t do them justice! They are honestly the most gooey and delicious brownies and by FAR the best egg free substitute I’ve made to date!

Of course, if you’d like to make the original vegan version, follow the link to the original recipe here.

So here it is! My ‘non vegan version of Jamie O’s vegan brownies minus the eggs’ version. I couldn’t put that as the title now, could I?!


  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 60 g butter (salted) plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g  dark chocolate chopped or in buttons
  • 170 g self-raising flour
  • 3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 180 g caster sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 230 ml whole milk (pour in gradually, may not need all of it)
  • 200 g pecan nuts
  • Handful milk chocolate buttons


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a square baking tin (roughly 20cm) with a little butter, then line with greaseproof paper.

Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water. Break 150g of chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt, then set aside to cool slightly. Melt the butter and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir in the oil, butter, milk and melted chocolate until just combined.

Stir in the remaining chocolate, the handful of milk chocolate buttons and most of the pecans, reserving a few for the top. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle over the remaining pecans, then place into the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside, but still gooey in the middle. (NOTE: Very important not to overcook brownies as they will not be gooey and soft and DELICIOUS. I normally bake mine for 16-20 minutes, with 25-30 minutes producing a more cakey like textured brownie)

Leave to cool for around 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire cooling rack. I love mine just warm with a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream. As they say in Cork, ‘You can’t bate it!’.

Happy eating!

– Rachel


Salted Caramel, Pecan and Chocolate Chewy Gooey Cookies 

14 Feb

Happy V-day all! 

These unbelievably good cookies would be the ideal dessert or treat for your loved ones on this romantic day! Now believe me when I say this is hands down the best cookie recipe I’ve ever used. I know in one of my first ever post, I said the very same thing about Nigella’s version of the typical ‘American style’ cookie, but I was wrong. Boy, I was WRONG! I came across this recipe on about the 75784th page of google search for ‘the perfect cookie recipe’. It has chew, crunch, a softie interior and is the closest taste-wise to the famous Marks and Spencers cookies which the world loves so dearly! I decided to make these cookies as I had a bunch of Salted caramels left and nothing to do with them. Alas, the Salted caramel, pecan and chocolate cookie was born! The original recipe is just plain chocolate chip, so for this recipe I slightly cut back on the amount of chocolate as I was adding the caramels and pecans also. However if you do want to make THE perfect chocolate chip cookie, I would add an extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Dessert suggestions…. try two of these cookies sandwiched together between vanilla ice cream or serve drizzled with some extra toasted pecans, chocolate sauce and ice cream for a rich but simple dessert!

What’s so mouth-wateringly good about my cookies you say? Try them and see for yourself…

Makes 18-24 cookies

Ingredients (They’re in cup measurements as it’s an American recipe)

  • 2 cups + 2tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6oz butter (I use salted)
  • 1 + 1/2 cups light brown sugar (OR 1 cup white, 1/2 cup dark brown)
  • 2 eggs (I use Ogran egg substitute to make them egg free and it works fine)
  • 1 cup chocolate chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel chunks (broken up into quite small pieces)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans


  1. Whisk together dry ingredients. IMPT: You must sieve the cornflour and bicarbonate of soda to avoid unpleasant lumps. Melt the butter in a separate dish.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs and extract, beating with a whisk until well mixed.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together until fully incorporated with each other. Add the chocolate chips, salted caramel pieces and pecans and mix until just dispersed evenly through the dough.
  4. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Chill the dough for half to one hour. Using a tablespoon, place heaped spoons of mixture (I use an ice cream scoop, which gives large cookies) on to a lined with greaseproof paper rectangular tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size scoops of mixture you used, until cookies are golden but still moist in the centre.

TOP TIP: You can freeze the dough raw in portions for up to 3 months, to have cookies ready to go! simply take them out a few hours in advance of cooking, leaving them in the fridge so the dough is chilled when it goes in to the oven. Chilling the dough is the difference between a good and a great cookie!

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Hope you and your loved ones have a sweet Valentines!


Millionaire’s Shortbread with Salted Peanuts

26 Oct

Caramel, chocolate and shortbread in one? Yum. Add salted peanuts? You have something ridiculously tasty on your hands! I use Callebaut chocolate for the chocolate topping. I always use a good quality chocolate as it does truly does make a difference- that nasty cooking chocolate simply won’t cut the mustard! I leave mine to set in a cool room, until the chocolate is just set and then slice it in to squares. It’s a much messier/tricky process to do if you put it in to the fridge and the chocolate sets rock solid!

So, here’s the recipe……

23 x 33cm (9″ x 13″) deep swiss roll tin (I think mine is 3/4 inch)

Greaseproof paper



  • 12 oz (300g) soft salted butter & extra for greasing
  • 6 oz (175g) castor sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 12 oz (300g) sifted plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 6 oz (175g) corn flour
  • splash of water


  • x 2 carnation condensed milk / caramel (I always buy the condensed milk and boil it myself as I find the pre cooked one slightly grainy)


  • 8 oz (225g) good quality chocolate buttons (I used Callebaut)
  • 250 g large pack roasted and salted peanuts (good quality ones, I used M & S brand)

Bring a large pot of water up to the boil and add the Condensed milk. Boil on a medium to high boil for at least an hour to an hour and a half. Make sure the water is always completely covering the tins- I always allow at least an inch of water above the tins. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. together butter and sugar with the beater attachment in a food processor or by hand until lightly creamed. Add flours and mix until just mixed as overworking it will result in tough shortbread. Add roughly a teaspoon of water after the dry and wet ingredients are mixed as it will be crumbly until you do so. NOTE: Don’t add the water when adding the flours as the corn flour will form hard lumps- a mistake I did once when I was rushing!

Grease the swiss roll tin and line with greaseproof paper. Press in the shortbread mix and flatten down (I just use my fingers to press it in). Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. (You may need to reduce the heat to 150 C if it’s getting too brown as it must cook for a long time in order to be crunchy) Leave to cool in the tin.

When the tins and shortbread base have completely cooled, open the tins and spread the caramel all over the base….(Of course it’s essential to have a taste of the caramel before it’s put on… just to make sure it’s not poisoned lol) Put the tin uncovered into the fridge while you melt the chocolate. I melt the buttons in a pyrex jug in the microwave for 30 second intervals but over a bain-marie is fine aswell. When it’s melted, take the tin out of the fridge and scatter the salted peanuts evenly over the caramel. Pour the chocolate on and spread in a flat layer. Place in a cool room and cut into squares (I get 16 medium sized ones) when the chocolate has just set. Leave to set further until the chocolate is hard and cut again. Serve and enjoy! Word of warning: I had to fend my family away from these beauties the second they were finished!

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Note: The photos show half plain half nutty millionaires shortbread as I had some fussy eaters to work around..

Happy Baking!


Christening cake inspo!

26 Oct

Okay, so I will admit my last blog post set out some ambitious goals which I didn’t quite manage to reach…. namely the whole blogging regularly thing. Although, in my defence, the past three months have been hectic to say the least! Since I last posted, I’ve managed to get in to college studying my dream course of food business, moved house, visited 3 different countries and been non stop baking! All whilst juggling a manic social schedule which first year uni students ‘endure’ (Liver please forgive me)….

This post is more of a photo update rather than a recipe one which will soon follow this one. In my absence from the blogosphere, my adorable little nephew Nate was christened. As my family don’t like doing anything by halves, a huge party was thrown in our family home, complete with party food overload. Juulika Lomp from Carewswood Garden Centre & Cafe and staff did an exceptional job in handling the events food for the day. From their finger food to main meal down to their perfect desserts, their food was beautiful and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough for any catering that you may need.

As the baker of the family, the job was left to me to create a few extras in the sweet department:

  • Carrot Cake (For which I used the hummingbird bakery book – It was deliciously moist and nutty)
  • Classic shortbread with toasted pecans (Will post the recipe sometime next week, as it is shortbread PERFECTION)
  • Millionaire’s shortbread with Salted peanuts (soooooo good- it’s on my next blog post, I promise!)
  • The main event: Nate’s christening cake which consisted of a rich chocolate cake on the bottom tier and a moist lemon victoria sponge on the top.

For the chocolate cake, I used a Rachel Allen recipe here which was a pleasant cake, but I’d definately tasted nicer. The lemon victoria sponge is also a Rachel Allen recipe here and it was wonderful ( to that, you add the grated zest of 1 lemon) My sister and her friend did a cake decorating course last year and they expertly iced the fruits of my labour! They used simple model icing in various colours and decorations which they had ordered online to create a rather spectacular (and profesional) looking cake!

Below are pictures of the day’s food and of the promised christening cake… Enjoy!

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– Rachel

Perfect Chocolate Fondants

24 Jul
I had only made fondants once before I tried this recipe with the results being slightly disappointing. The recipe I had previously used produced a sponge like fondant and didn’t have much of a chocolatey kick as it called for half milk half dark chocolate (I’m a dark choccie fan 100%). I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe as it is so simple, but to say they tasted AMAZING is an understatement. I’m such a chocolate fiend, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this subject and in my eyes, this is the perfect recipe! It’s indulgent, so you wouldn’t be making it everyday. But make it for a special occasion such as making dinner for friends and your guests will be seriously impressed!
Adapted from the Masterchef Masterclass Cooking Book
melted butter, for greasing
cocoa powder, for dusting
275g (9.5oz) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
225g (8oz) salted butter
400g (14oz) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 large free range eggs
200g (7oz) plain flour, sifted
8 metal 5fl oz pudding bowls or ramekins
1 tub Good quality vanilla ice cream (I used homemade that I’d made a few weeks back)
Icing sugar, to dust
Rasperries (optional)

Heat the oven to 180C. Brush the pudding moulds sparingly with melted butter, dust with cocoa powder and shake out the excess. Set aside. Melt the chocolate and butter gently in a saucepan.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar for roughly 5 minutes until pale and thick (figure of 8 should hold when the whisk is lifted) , then fold in the melted chocolate mixture which has now slightly cooled and the sifted flour until you have a smooth mixture.

Divide between the moulds – each one two thirds full. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 12 minutes exactly. Remove from the oven, run a knife round the edges, invert and tip out on to serving plates. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream and raspberries if you like. Finish it off with a light dusting of icing sugar.

And finally the best part…. plunge your spoon into the molten centre and revel in happiness when the liquid chocolate oozes out……………… mmmmmm


Apologies for the poor quality photo, excited chocolate lover couldnt possibly wait 2 more minutes to find her camera………..instead taking an average quality one with her phone.