No Bake Lemon & Ginger Cheesecake

A crumbly, spicy ginger biscuit base topped with creamy lemon cheesecake, swirled with lemon curd and decorated with a sprinkle of lemon zest.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…this is the first big cheesecake I have ever made, and it definitely will not be my last! No bake, no fuss and only 7 ingredients – this recipe can be whipped up in a flash and is the perfect refreshing desert for any occasion.

My top-tips for this recipe:

1. If you have a loose-bottomed / springform baking tin, use it! It will make your life SO much easier when it comes to removing the cheesecake.

2. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature before mixing – this will make sure your cheesecake is lump free and beautifully smooth.

3. Be careful not to over swirl your lemon curd into the cheesecake, less is more as otherwise you may loose the marbled effect.

4. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results, and keep in the fridge until your ready to serve. Cheesecake should always be served chilled.

For the base you will need…

300g ginger snap biscuits

90g unsalted butter

For the cheesecake you will need…

2 x 180g tubs of Philadelphia cream cheese

150g caster sugar

300ml double cream

2 lemons

Jar of lemon curd

Let’s get baking…

Line the bottom of a 23cm/8inch round lose-bottomed tin with grease proof paper.

Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs (I used a blender to speed this part up) and transfer to a bowl.

Melt the butter in the microwave in 10 second blasts until liquid and pour over the crushed biscuits. Mix through until the crumbs are fully coated.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for at least an 1 hour to set firmly.

Meanwhile make the cheesecake layer, by whisking together the Philadelphia, sugar, cream and juice of the two lemons, until you have a smooth thick mixture (this may take 3-4 minutes). Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base and spread out into an ever layer.

Using a teaspoon, dot lemon curd on top of the cheesecake and swirl the mixture together with a knife to create a marble effect.

Finish by grating the zest of a lemon on top. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before removing from the tin and serving.

Classic Lemon and Almond Loaf cake

What makes this loaf a winner for me is the texture – light, moist and springy, combined with the perfect balance of sweetness, sour lemon and nutty almonds.

By adding lemon zest to the sponge mix and pouring lemon juice over the cake whilst warm, lemon lovers will be in all their glory.

Oh and did I mention the glaze? A simple icing glaze reminds me of baking with my Grandma, spreading the retro stuff over fairy cakes and biscuits and decorating them with sprinkles. This time I’ve mixed the icing sugar with fresh lemon juice to add extra tang!

You will need…

200g golden caster sugar
200g unsalted butter (I would recommend using Stork)
3 large / 4 small eggs, at room temperature
50g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon

8 tbsp icing sugar
Pretty edible decorations (gold stars, sprinkles, glitter)

Let’s get baking…

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper – I use a single sheet a parchment, exactly the same length as the tin, so that it covers the bottom and the two longest sides.

Cream together the butter and sugar light, fluffy and almost white in colour. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a little flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.

Add in the remaining flour, ground almonds, baking powder, vanilla extract and the zest from the lemon (reserve the juice for later!) and fold together until fully mixed.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the top of the cake begins to brown too quickly, cover the tin with a sheet of tinfoil.

Remove the cake from the oven and poke about 8 holes all over the top. Squeeze over the juice from half the lemon and leave the cake to cool in its tin.

Once the cake is cool, mix together the icing sugar and juice from the other half of the lemon until you have a thick but pourable consistency – you may need to add 1-2 teaspoons of water.

Pour the icing over the cake and sprinkle over with your favourite decorations.

Vanilla & Strawberry Sprinkle Cupcakes

Soft and fluffy cupcakes made with fresh seasonal strawberries, topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and decorated with rainbow sprinkles.

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I’m finally back after taking a much longer than expected blogging break, so please forgive me if I’m a little rusty 🙂

I going to let you in on a little secret though, these cupcakes were a mistake gone right!

After putting them in the oven, I began cleaning up and soon realised that I’d forgot to add the rest of the flour – eeeeek! After panicking and debating whether to take them out of the oven and start again, I decided to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The result?

Absolute heaven ❤ These cupcakes are SO light, SO fluffy and perfectly balanced in taste. The days of equal parts butter, sugar and flour are no more!

I mixed chopped strawberries and fresh strawberry puree into the mixture to add taste and texture and topped them with my classic vanilla buttercream recipe. Which I’m told from my friend “is just so good… it’s got class!” 🙂 thanks Stef!

So let’s get baking shall we….

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Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

150g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
200g unsalted butter, I always use Stork as it makes your cakes so much more fluffy.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole milk
100g fresh strawberries, pureed using a blender or processor
100g fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces

Vanilla buttercream:

250g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
600g icing sugar, sieved into a bowl
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole whmilk

Decoration:
Coloured sprinkles
12 fresh stawberries

 

Method

Let’s start by making the cupcakes…

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tray with baking cases.
  2. Cream together the unsalted butter and caster sugar with a wooden spoon/electric mixer until creamy and smooth. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
  3. In a seperate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Add 1/2 of this as well as the milk to the butter and sugar mix and fold together until combined.
  4. Now pour in the strawberry puree, along with the remaining flour and fold together. Finally add in chopped strawberries and mix until completely covered.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Once the cakes a cool we can make the buttercream…

  1. Beat the butter using a wooden spoon/electric mixer until light, fluffy and pale in colour.
  2. Add 300g of the icing sugar and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  3. Now add the remaining 300g of icing sugar continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

To decorate…

  1. Frost your cupcakes as desired, (I used a medium sized round piping tip) decorate with the coloured sprinkles and garnish each with a strawberry.

Lemon & Almond Pura Panela Cake

Who’s on a health-kick after Christmas?

Me!

I’d be lying if I said I was all chocolate’d out (that could never happen) but what is true is that the festivities of Christmas have definitely caught up with me. You know that feeling when you put your jeans on and think…’Oh dear :/’.
It was fun whilst it lasted but now it’s back to the same old New Year New Me saga. So to make this change bearable I have developed a healthy refreshing lightened-up lemon cake, the perfect sweet treat alternative to a box of mince pies!

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This cake uses what I call ‘Miracle Sugar’, otherwise known as Pura Panela. Pura Panela is a 100% natural alternative to refined-sugar. It’s made in Columbia from natural dehydrated juice from the sugar cane and has no added chemicals or additives, therefore preserving all of the vitamins and minerals present. Not only does it taste deliciously sweet it also has many health benefits, such as:

  • Protecting teeth & preventing against teeth decay (who would of thought!).
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Helping to prevent diabetes
  • Strengthening bones

If you want to know more about Pura Panela or where to buy it, click here.

As well as miracle sugar, this recipe  uses wholemeal spelt flour and ground almonds for a soft texture and nutty flavour, natural yoghurt and vegetable oil for moisture and of course lemon zest and juice for an uplifting zing. So let’s get baking 🙂

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Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf cake)

For the cake:
122g natural yogurt
Juice of 4 medium lemons
Zest of two lemons
7 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

172g spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
50g almond flour
200g Pura Panela sugar (buy yours here)

For the glaze:
4 tsp Panela sugar
1 tsp boiling hot water
1 tsp lemon juice

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C/350 F. Grease an 1lb loaf tin with a little oil or use a silicone tin.

Start by making the cake. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk together until fully incorportated.

In a separate bowl, stir together all of the remaining cake ingredients.

Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatular to fold the mixture together until everything is evenly mixed.

Pour into the loaf tin and smooth into an even layer, this cake will not rise very much so don’t panic if the mixture has nearly reached the top of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes* or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. *Cover with foil after 30 minutes to stop the top of the cake from burning, but be careful not to open the oven door too much as heat will be lost and can cause the cake to sink in the middle.

Once baked, mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake and spoon over the glaze. This will sink into the cake and make it super sticky and moist.

Leave on the side to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. Cut into 12 and serve, I have mine with a little greek-yoghurt. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Frosted Walnut, Apple & Honey Cake

Deliciously moist sponge, jewelled with walnuts and apple and finished with a thick layer of creamy frosting and a scatter of chopped walnuts. Mmm this cake is awesome!

September is a great month for apples with 14 varieties ripening between early September and late October. So why not steal this apple opportunity to bake something? For this recipe I’ve used Granny Smith apples, as they are particularly sweet and juicy in September and lend themselves to baked goods. Cinnamon, vanilla and honey are added to complement the apple flavour and the chopped walnuts add a crunch throughout. Every bite tastes like Autumn!

I’ve coated the cake in sweet, tangy Cream Cheese Frosting; the ideal companion to any fruit or vegetable cake. Just be sure to remember that all the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing, there is nothing worse than split and grainy frosting – more about this in the recipe below. To finish I covered the top of the cake with chopped walnuts, however feel free to decorate however you wish.

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Ingredients (makes a 10inch cake)

For the cake:

190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g self-raising flour
190g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temp
1 tsp baking powder
50g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 tbsp runny honey
100g walnuts, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g full-fat cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia, at room temperature

It is important to use full-fat cream cheese as the low fat options are too loose in texture and will result in a runny frosting.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 10inch round cake tin with a little butter.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time*, mixing well before adding the next egg.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Add ½ of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.

Now add the yoghurt, vanilla essence and honey and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Finally fold in 80g of the chopped walnuts and the chopped apple.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes and until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to completely cool before removing from the tin and transferring to a cooling rack.

To make your frosting, first beat the butter for a good 5 minutes until smooth and free from any lumps**.

Now drain of any excess liquid from the cream cheese and beat into the butter until just combined, be careful not to over beat. Sift in half the icing sugar and beat together. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat again until light, fluffy and pale in colour. If the frosting appears too runny then put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and put in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm up***. Take the cake out of the fridge and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake and finish by dotting the remaining 20g walnuts on top.

*Don’t worry if your mixture begins to curdle, it won’t affect the cake and once the dry ingredients are added the mixture will come together again.

**This step is crucial as it will soften and warm the butter sufficiently so it combines smoothly with the remaining ingredients.

***This is called a “crumb-coat” and will stop any crumbs from being pulled up when frosted again.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

If you love raspberries, brownies and cheesecake as much as I do, this is the bake for you! This recipe combines the three to create the ultimate indulgence. Rich, fudgy brownie swirled with creamy tangy white chocolate cheesecake and dotted with fresh juicy raspberries.

I decided to make these as my second bake for HomeStyle magazine. So click here for the recipe and have a read of my tip tops on achieving the gooiest most delicious brownies ever!

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Lemon Glazed Blueberry Muffins

My sister has just had a beautiful baby boy and prior to my visit to meet my new nephew, she demanded one thing…. baked goods!  So what better than freshly baked blue (for a boy 🙂 )berry muffins.

Bursting with juicy blueberries with a fluffy tender crumb and topped with a sharp sticky lemon glaze… these really are the best ‘bakery style’ blueberry muffins!

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For this recipe I’ve used the favourited ‘two-bowl method’ which will give you a perfectly moist and light muffin. This method involves mixing the wet and dry ingredients separate from one another. This allows each type to be thoroughly mixed without fear of overmixing; which would result in a tough dense texture – let’s face it no one wants that!

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Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)

For the muffins:
85g butter, melted
300g self-raising flour
115g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 medium eggs, at room temp
250ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g blueberries, fresh/frozen

For the glaze:
300g icing sugar
4tsp lemon juice
1tsp water, optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a 12 hole baking tin with muffin cases.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and baking powder until well mixed. Now in a jug whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla essence.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, mixing the whole time until everything is incorporated. Now pour in the melted butter and mix again. Finally, fold in the blueberries until completely covered in mixture.

Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cases, filling each one 2/3 full. Sprinkle a little caster sugar over each muffin and tap the baking tin on a hard surface to remove any air bubbles. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Once the muffins have completely cooled, make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together. If the mixture is too thick then add ¼ tsp of water at a time until the required consistency is reached. Drizzle the glaze over the muffins covering the top completely. Leave to set before serving.

Bake Off Jewel Box Cake

Only 6 sleeps until The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens… excited is an understatement!!! To celebrate the occasion, my friend and I attempted a bake from the series three cook book – the Showstopping Jewel Box Cake. Don’t be fooled by it’s appearance, this cake is actually pretty easy to make. It is simply a  white chocolate sponge cake covered in jam, decorated with raspberries and wrapped in a white chocolate bow.

If I’m being completely honest, the bow is fairly challenging. We found the chocolate modelling paste a little crumbly and therefore the bow loops kept falling apart; hence the improvised ribbon stuck on top 🙂 If I was making this cake again I would suggest buying ready to roll white chocolate icing such as this one. Not only does it taste nicer but you’ll also save your self a lot of time and effort.

All in all though, this cake is 100% achievable and I’ve tried to adapt the recipe to make it as easy as possible, so why not challenge yourself this week and attempt this cake for yourself? Besides,  the white chocolate sponge is so delicious that if you only manage to bake that and cover it in jam it’s still worth it!

My attempt:

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How it’s meant to look:

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Close enough! 🙂

Ingredients (for the cake)

150g white chocolate, chopped
250g unsalted butter, soft at room temp
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature beaten into a jug
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt

Method (for the cake)

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23x23cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate for the sponge and leave to cool until needed. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Now add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is very light in colour and fluffy in texture.

Gradually add the eggs, adding a tablespoon of flour with each portion, beating well after each addition. Sift the rest of the flour and the salt into the bowl and fold together using a large metal spoon. Now pour in the cooled white chocolate and fold together until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out into an even layer. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before tipping the cake out onto a plate, ready for decorating.

Ingredients (for the bow and decoration)

4 tbsp raspberry jam
500-600g fresh raspberries
1 pack ready to roll white chocolate icing (e.g. Renshaw)

Method (for the cake)

Using your hands, roll the icing into a ball to soften it. As soon as it feels smooth, shape it into a sausage. Place the sausage between two long pieces of baking paper (one sheet underneath and one on top) and using a rolling pin, roll the sausage out into a long, flat sheet. Peel off the top piece of paper.

To make the crossed ribbons, cut out two ribbon strips about 30 x 2.5cm using a long, sharp knife to get a sharp edge, peel back the paper and leave on the side. Now warm the raspberry jam in a saucepan on a low heat until melted. Brush the jam over the top and sides of the cake. Now gently press the crossed ribbons on to the cake — across the top and down the sides — to resemble a parcel. Starting with the top of the cake, press the raspberries (pointed-end up) on to the sponge in the squares between the ribbons, so the cake is covered, top and sides.

Return to the white chocolate dough and cut out:
2 strips 11 x 2.5cm (bow ends)
2 strips about 14 x 2.5cm (bow loops)
1 strip about 10 x 2.5cm (bow centre loop)

Snip triangles out of one end of the 11cm strips using scissors and remove the paper on the back. Position the strips in the centre of the cake as shown above. Now remove the paper from the 14cm strips and shape them both into loops pressing the ends together.

Peel the paper from the 10cm strip, then wrap it around the centre of the 14cm loops in a ring to hide the join; press the ends of the bow ring to seal. Position the bow on top of the bow ends in the centre of the cake, use a dab of jam to fix it in place. Reshape the loops and bow carefully until you are happy with them.

 

Summer Fruit Pavlova Tart

Ever heard of HomeStyle magazine? If not, then you can find out more information here, but in short it’s everything you’ve ever looked for in a homes magazine. From cooking to decorating tips, design ideas to home bargains, you name it it has it!

Your probably wondering why i’m telling you about this. Well I have some very exciting news… I am officially a monthly columnist for the HomeStyle online cooking blog eeeeeek! And I present to you my first post: Summer Fruit Pavlova Tart (click the link to see the blog post).

 

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This recipe is all about celebrating Summer. Even if it’s pouring with rain, a buttery tart filled with a creamy broken meringue filling and topped with sweet summer fruits is never going to go a miss. Now please don’t be put off by making your own pastry, it’s incredibly simple (particularly if you follow my top tips below) and the added lemon zest tops any shopped bought pastry.

My pastry top tips:

  • Try to be confident and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can – don’t knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter.
  • Before making your pastry chill your mixing bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes and rinse your hands with cold water. This will help the butter stay cold resulting in delicate, flaky pastry every time.
  • Don’t be tempted to skip the blind baking step, otherwise your tart shell will shrink.

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Ingredients (makes a 9inch tart)

 

For the tart:

250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large free-range eggs, beaten
Splash of milk
Zest of ½ lemon
Butter for greasing the tart

For the filling:
4 small meringue nests, roughly broken
250g double cream
125g crème fraiche
30g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

 

For the topping:
600g mixed fruits (raspberry/blueberry/blackberry/strawberry/cherries/grapes etc.)
A little icing sugar, for dusting

 

Equipment:
9inch tart tin
Rolling pin
Baking paper

 

 

Method

 

Mix the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, add the cubed butter and work it in the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles rough crumbs. Now stir in the lemon zest. Add the egg and a splash of milk, just enough to bring the dough together, and knead it into a ball.  Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

 

Once the dough is chilled pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350F and take the dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle a clean work surface and a rolling pin with a little flour and roll the dough out so it is about 5cm larger than the tin. Grease your tart tin with a little butter, before draping the dough over your rolling pin and laying it across the tart tin. Trim off any extra bits and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners and sides of the tin. 

 

Prick the tart all over with a fork and line it with baking paper, pushing it into the sides. Fill the tart with baking beans or rice and bake it “blind” for 10 minutes. Take the tart out of the oven and lift out the baking paper and beans. Bake for a further 10 minutes until firm and golden. Leave to cool completely. 

 

To make your filling simply whip the double cream, creme fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla essence together with an electric whisk until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Mix in the broken meringue nests and fill your tart with the mixture. Finish by decorating the top with your mixed fruit’s and dusting over a little icing sugar. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Best eaten within a day or two.

Lightened-up Chocolate Walnut Banana Bread

Is there a bunch of sad looking bruised bananas in your fruit bowl?

Good! I have the perfect recipe for you. A healthier (but just as tasty) banana bread, dotted with chocolate chunks and chopped walnuts and finished with a drizzle of melted chocolate.

This recipe replaces standard white wheat flour with wholegrain spelt flour as it’s a super source of protein and fibre. The bananas, cinnamon and honey add a natural sweetness, whilst the greek yoghurt makes it beautifully moist! Finally, the chopped walnuts are full of healthy fats and the chocolate chunks… well why not!? SONY DSC SONY DSC

Ingredients (makes a 1lb loaf)
120g wholegrain spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
80g chopped walnuts
2 medium/3 small very ripe blackened bananas
75g greek yoghurt (I used Total 0%)
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tbsp raw honey/maple syrup
50g milk/dark chocolate, roughly cut into chunks
20g extra chocolate, for drizzling

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 1lb loaf tin will greaseproof paper or use a silicone tin.

In a bowl combine the top 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl mash the bananas until almost smooth and free of lumps. Now mix in the yoghurt, eggs and honey until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until just combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate until covered with mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until browned on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Melt the extra 20g chocolate in the microwave in 10 second blasts before drizzling over the loaf. Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern in the chocolate.