If you've been reading my other blog - The Christmas List - you will know that I have been advocating home made gifts for Christmas, so it was with great delight that on reading Vanessa Kimbell's blog Prepped - http://www.prepped.co.uk/ on 11th October, she too was suggesting the same. In fact she did more than suggest making gifts for Christmas, she was even holding a competition. So, it was time to get started and although the recipe below makes a great gift, now is too early to be making them, which does mean having to eat them and make some more - such a trial.
Chocolate Cake Balls, decorated to resemble christmas puddings. I have made these on so many occasions and decorated them in so many different ways with chocolate, but was inspired to decorate these as puddings when I saw the little sprigs of holly in my local Icing shop recently.
Here's how I made them.
First you need to make a chocolate cake -
150g unsalted butter, softened
150g golden caster sugar
3 free-range organic eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder - sifted with the flour
1 tbsp orange juice
Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Grease a 15cm (6in) square cake tin with some butter and line with baking parchment.
Beat together the sugar and butter, gradually add the beaten egg and continue to mix. Add the vanilla and then the flour/cocoa mixture until smooth and finally add the orange juice.
Put the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
When cool, crumble the cake into a large bowl.
In the meantime make the butter icing as follows -
75g butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sifted
25g cocoa powder, sifted
Beat the butter in a bowl until soft, add half the icing sugar and fork through until absorbed by the butter, then add the other half of the icing sugar and cocoa powder and for through again, once absorbed mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the milk and mix well.
Add the butter icing to the crumbled cake and mix well until the mixture forms a ball. Take small pieces of mixture and form into balls. Leave to set - preferably in the fridge.
Make the chocolate topping by melting 150g of good quality white chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water until melted - be careful not to melt for too long because white chocolate is notorious for going grainy.
Place the cake balls on a wire rack which is standing on a baking tray and then drizzle the chocolate over them a teaspoonful at a time. The chocolate needs to run slightly down the sides of the cake balls. Finally decorate with a holly sprig or other decoration of choice. Place in the fridge until the chocolate has gone hard and then transfer each cake ball to a small paper case - in this instance I used silver foil cases.
Finally, I placed them in a box which I had lined with tissue paper.