Ginger Cake Pop’s

After hearing so much about Cake pops I was dying to make some, they are essentially cake truffles on a stick, very simple to prepare and far more delicious than I imagined!

As I have decided to make most of my Christmas gifts this year  I thought Christmas Cake Pop’s would be a good starting point, of course I needed to test out a recipe before giving them as gifts. Finding gingerbread men cake sprinkles online sold me on the idea of dark chocolate and ginger as my flavour, a bit grown up but still fun , cakes cookies and crafts have an amazing selection of cake decorations, packaging everything you could ever need really. Looking online most recipes were American and use ingredients such as candy melts and cake mix not readily available in the UK, and expensive to order online. I used 70% dark chocolate it didn’t crack, worked perfectly and McVittie’s ginger cake, was exactly what I needed  it’s moist, sticky, was a good base to work with, and meant no baking.

I found getting the chocolate smooth on the Cake Pop’s, and to stop dripping the difficult bit, if you want a quick fix leave out the step putting the pop’s on sticks and just dip the cake balls in the melted chocolate, and dry on grease proof paper, to make as truffles instead

Ginger Cake pop’s

1x McVities ginger cake

150g dark chocolate

2x tbsp ginger frosting (see below)

Ginger frosting

150g softened butter

2x pieces of  jarred ginger in syrup plus 2tbsp of the syrup

1/4ts ground ginger

250g icing sugar

Ginger Frosting

First make the ginger frosting, whisk the softened butter until pale and smooth, add the dried and chopped ginger along with the syrup, whisk again briefly to combine, sift in the icing sugar and mix to combine in to a smooth thick frosting, cover chill in the fridge. The frosting will keep well in the fridge in an air tight container.

For the Cake Balls

Break up the cake in to pieces,  add to a food processor blitz until the cakes forms a crumb consistency,  add  2tbsp of ginger frosting and mix with a spatula, the mixture should be thick like marzipan.

Line a large baking tray with grease proof paper Dampen your hands and roll the mixture into walnut size balls and space out on the baking sheet, my mixture made 18.

Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

You will need  something ready to rest the cake pops in while the chocolate sets I used tumblers stuffed with some kitchen paper, if you have one a polystyrene block works really well.

Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water dip the tip of a lolly stick into the chocolate and secure in to  a cake ball pushing in about half way place back the baking tray and allow the chocolate to set.

Once the sticks are secure take a cake pop and dip into the melted chocolate making sure you cover the whole surface, lightly tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate be patient and allow the chocolate to drip off and keep turning the pop around to keep the surface smooth. Carefully secure in the prepared tumblers and top with sprinkle. Leave to dry.

Wrap in cellophane and tie with ribbon. Cake pops will keep well for a couple of weeks.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter & Sage

Pasta dough
4 x large organic eggs
400g 00 pasta flour
Semolina for dusting

Sieve the flour on to your work surface, make a well in the center, break the eggs in to a jug and lightly wisk, pour into the well of flour.

Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined to form rough dough.

On a floured surface knead the dough pulling it, stretching it, until it becomes smooth and silky, this will take about 10-15 minuets .

Wrap the dough in Clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

Divide the dough in to 8, using a pasta machine starting with the thickest setting, and working through to the thinnest, roll out each ball of dough into sheets dusting with plenty of selomina after each setting.

For the filling
1 bunch of fresh sage
100ml olive oil
50g pine nuts
500g pumpkin
1x bulb of garlic cut in half across the middle
1 tbsp honey
150g ricotta
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
50g breadcrumbs
1/4ts ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper

In a dry pan lightly toast the pine nuts until just brown, seat aside and to the pan add the sunflower oil and heat, carefully drop in the sage leaves, taking care as they will spit, fry until crisp remove from the oil and drain on kitchen towel.

Cut the pumpkin into chunks and lay on a baking sheet with the garlic, drizzle 2 tbsp of the oil used top fry the sage leaves and honey season with salt and pepper , scatter a few sage leaves on top and roast in the oven at 180c gas 4 until the pumpkin is soft.

Remove from the oven allow to cool a little before peeling the skin from the pumpkin, add to a blender bowl the pumpkin flesh, roasted garlic squeezed from it’s skin, the ricotta, breadcrumbs, nutmeg salt and pepper. Blend until just combined, add the egg yolk and blend again briefly to mix.

Lay a sheet of pasta dough out onto a work surface dusted with semolina, brush with water using a pastry brush. Place teaspoons of the pumpkin filling onto the pasta sheet 8cm apart. Lay another sheet of pasta on top using a small glass just bigger in diameter than your filling lightly press down to seal the filling between the two pasta sheets, taking care not to cut through the dough. Using a pastry cutter, cut out each circle to make your ravioli, thumb round the ravioli edges with your fingers to seal. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet dusted with semolina.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil carefully add the ravioli, cook for 6-8 minutes until al dente

Melt the butter in a pan, cook until lightly browned, fragrant and nutty smelling. Remove from heat, and let it cool off for a minute then add the balsamic and a pinch of salt, pour over the ravioli top with the toasted pine nuts sage and parmesan.