Spiced chocolate truffles

The plan for this year’s festive recipes was to give old favourites a fresh twist.

But despite having won bit battles on the brussel sprouts, snacking nuts and dessert fronts, there are still some classics I’m reluctant to let go off.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Every year for as long as I can remember, my family’s Christmas feast has started with a plateful of oysters, continued with smoked salmon in one form or another, and finished with a cup of coffee and a couple of homemade chocolate truffles.

And if I’m not really big on the first one, the other two are absolute Christmas must-eat in my eyes.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

So this year, much like last year, I will be making a few versions of my failproof recipe besides the obligatory cocoa- and coconut-coated ones.

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Super easy to make, delicately spiced, and utterly irresistible, these cinnamon spiced chocolate truffles are sure to make an appearance!

What can I say, that’s just how I r-ho-ho-oll!

Spiced chocolate truffles | Cake + Whisky

Spiced chocolate truffles (makes about 25)

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality baking chocolate (I usually go for Nestlé’s or Green & Black dark baking chocolate)
  • 100ml crème fraîche (about 3 big tbsp)
  • a little knob of butter (about 20g)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder (or any other powdered winter spice of your choice)

1. Chop the chocolate and tip into a large bowl. Place the bowl atop a pot of boiling water (double-boiler) and stir the chocolate until fully melted.

2. Take off the heat, then add in the butter, cream and half of the cinnamon. Mix well, then add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.

3. Pour the chocolate batter into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 2h.

4. Mix together the cocoa powder and the remaining cinnamon powder. Shape the truffles using your hands or a spoon dipped in hot water, then roll each of them in the cocoa and cinnamon mix until evenly coated.

Store the chocolate truffles in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

What are your Christmas food essentials? Anything you simply can’t do without?

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Spiced chocolate truffles

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes

Shorter days, longer nights, chilly mornings & sweater weather… It looks like summer’s indeed over!

Which can only mean one thing: it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season! Excited much?

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + WhiskyPumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

I’m not a big coffee drinker (my stomach won’t let me) but Starbuck’s PSL goes far beyond being the hot drink of the season.

In my opinion, it’s also an excellent way to autum-up some of your favourite sweet treats.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

My favourite to date? These Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

I mean, pancakes and coffee and cinnamon all at once?

Fall brunch winner right there!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes (serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

  • 120g wholemeal flour 
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 bag of dehydrated yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tall Pumpkin Spice Latte (cream and all…)
  • Coffee or maple syrup to serve

1. Mix all the ingredients together until you get a kind-of smooth batter. Let the batter stand for at least an hour or overnight.

2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat (add a bit of oil or butter if necessary), then add a laddle of batter into the pan. When the top of the pancake starts to bubble, turn it over and cook for about 10 more sec. Repeat until all the batter is used up.

3. Drizzle with syrup and serve immediately.

PIN FOR LATER:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes

Brunch at The Modern Pantry

Some weeks just seem endless.

You know the feeling. Minutes feel like hours, days feel like weeks and by Wednesday, the only thing on your mind is brunch.

And if your week is anything like mine, I know a place you’re going to love come brunch day…

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Overlooking Clerkenwell’s iconic St John’s Square, Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry is any brunch-lover dream come true.

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + WhiskyBrunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + WhiskyBrunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + WhiskyBrunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

And with exposed bricks, loads of light, and just enough quirky, charming little details, it is a very dreamy little café indeed!

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

⬆⬆ Dining room goals right there ⬆⬆

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

(needless to say, we’ll do that the second we have a place of our own)

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

But first, coffee!

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Black & stromy, with just a touch of condensed milk, Vietnamese-style, for him.

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + WhiskyBrunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

And a hot, steamy cup of jasmine tea for her.

With a few of The Modern Pantry’s iconic dishes on the side…

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Sugar-cured New Caledonian prawn omelette, green chilli, spring onion, coriander, smoked chilli sambal and toast

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Sweet, soft prawns, punchy sambal and a kick of green chilli, all blanketed by the dreamiest of omelette…

A dish definitely worth its reputation!

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

And more than worthy of a close-up, too!

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Poached eggs with grilled chorizo, slow-roast tomatoes and plantain fritters.

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A sunny take on the traditional English Breakfast and #yolkporn at its very best.

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + WhiskyBrunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

All washed down with the appropriate amount of ‘liquid goodness’.

And followed by a little bit of pudding action…

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Sour cherry brownie with Greek yoghurt cream, malt & chocolate crumb and berries.

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

Soft, gooey, sweet, sour, rich and fresh all at once, it’s a masterpiece of a dessert.

Brunch at The Modern Pantry | Cake + Whisky

An absolute triumph, much like the rest of the meal.

And the #1 reason to put brunch at The Modern Pantry on the agenda for next weekend.

It’s a truly eggcelent brunch spot, bu it gets busy so make sure you book ahead.

 

The Modern Pantry47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ

 

Brunch at The Modern Pantry

#SpreadTheSmile – Touring London’s best coffee shops with The London Coffee Festival

Blogging makes you do crazy things. Visiting 9 of London’s best coffee shops in one day was definitely one of them.

Now, let’s come clear: I have a weird relationship with coffee. I’ve always loved the taste (I used to drink coffee with milk from my mum’s cup when I was no older than 6 or 7) but my tummy’s not the biggest fan of it, so I can’t actually drink much of it.

But when the lovely folks behind The London Coffee Festival invited me for a day full of coffee beans and fun, I decided to take one for the team and join in!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalFirst stop was the lovely Coffeeworks Project in Islington. Now, that one was not exactly new to me as it’s local to me, so they’re my go-to when I need that extra caffeine-boost on my way to work. Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalThose guys do the best cakes. Seriously. Especially their salted caramel brownies! 😍Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee Festival…but just to make sure it was the best (I never thought of questioning that fact, I mean, it’s salted caramel!!), we got a little selection of the said brownies.Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalLook at that! So fudgy! Which is how brownies should be in my opinion. If they’re too fluffy and aerated, they’re really just sponge, aren’t they?Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd of course, there was some coffee. I initially wanted to get espresso but ended up going for filter coffee as I didn’t want to start with something too strong.

I just had time to drink a few sips and it was already time to jump on our dedicated mode of transport for the day!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalA private double-decker no less! I could get used to that (and was definitely making plans to turn this into an office some day, wouldn’t it be awesome?)!

Next stop was Caravan on Exmouth Market, which had been on my bucket list FOREVER! They always come up in lists of places to go for brunch in London, and now that I’ve tried they coffee, I can tell that they’ve really strong game indeed! I suppose I’ll have to move it up a few spots and make my way there for eggs and things some day!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalI barely had enough time to practice my pouring-shot skills that it was already time to leave. Within a few minutes, we were dropped at Black Sheep Coffee on Charlotte Street with the romise of a very special coffee experience.
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalBlack Sheep opened with the objective of challenging the traditional coffee scene with their “Robusta Revival”. Robusta coffee beans are less acidic but far more bitter than other species and makes for a very new experience indeed!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAren’t those cups the cuttest?Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAs promised, this was a very different tasting experience. One of the things I enjoy most about coffee is the smell and robusta simply… doesn’t smell like coffee, which was really strange and quite disorientating at first. I did enjoy the taste though, and it truly was unlike anything else I had ever try. So if you’re a bit of a coffee connoisseur, Black Sheep’s definitely a must-go!
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalLive-tweeting our robusta taste-test!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee Festivalcoffee-week-tour-22Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalOur next stop, Kaffeine, was just a few steps away and it definitely was one of the highlights of the day for me!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalI obviously fell in love with the neon sign. And more importantly, with the staff possitive energy and the general vibe of the place!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalVery much considering to make some sort of carrot-cake jam now! ✨Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalThese guys also have the BEST food counter! I wanted to try absolutely everything! Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalBut my eyes truly lit up when I saw this beauty! Avocado, mango, prawns, cashew nuts… pretty much my dream salad, really! Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalI thought I had made my choice. But obviously, that was until I looked up and was faced with the most tempting cake shelf I’ve ever seen.
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalMaking a decision wasn’t easy, but I was told that the banana bread is an absolute must-order by at least three people, so I ended up ordering it. I mean, if so many people agree on one item, it must be good right?
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd very good it was! Partly because they toast it so it’s all warm and pillowy. And I’m not gonna lie, partly because they serve it with salted butter!

Because we’d been eating since the morning, I didn’t realise it was already lunchtime but was more than happy to soon find myself in Benugo. Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalI’m not even sure I was hungry to be honest, but a little (relatively healthy) feast was awaiting us (and it would have been rude not to give everything a chance, wouldn’t it?). Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalRows after rows of delicious goodies to choose from. I so wish I had one of those near(er) my office!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalI went for a classic Ceasar salad, which was perfectly balanced and moreish! The sauce was especially good as it wasn’t too thick or cloggy.Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalPlus I might have had a bite of the different sandwiches on offer… my favourite being the one with tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil (obviously).Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd how good do those espresso cupcakes look? They were amongst the best I’ve had in a little while, thanks to a very fluffy batter and lightest of coffee butter creams! I’m usually not the biggest fan of cupcakes (they more often than not look better than they taste no?), but those were a dream!

Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalWe then stopped for a little caffeinated treat at Sacred on Carnaby Treat. Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalThose guys sure know their coffee-art! Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd a little bird told me that they’re starting some coffee cocktails soon too… 🙌🙏 but we didn’t have too much time to investigate those, so I’ll have to go back… You know, just to be sure!

Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalOur next stop sure put a big smile on my face. Let’s put it quite simply, I loved everything about Timberyard: the space, the people, the cakes…Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalFrom the second I set foot in the shop, I just wanted to move in. Everything was just perfect.
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd the team’s pretty ace too!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalAnd the food, oh the food!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalBut for once it didn’t take me ages to decide what I wanted! Dulche de Leche Cronut anyone? Trust me, you should!

We hoped on the bus one last time to reach our very last stop. I couldn’t help myself and clicked a few pictures on the way…
Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalNestled inside the Somerset House, Pennethorne’s is one of London’s true hidden gems, where we met James-Lee Campbell, Pennethorne’s head barista for a bit of a coffee degustation masterclass. After that much coffee, you might think I would tire of it, but each and every one we tried was so different it didn’t seem like that much!

Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalThe master doing what he does best… coffee!Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalCake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee FestivalWe tried out two different blends, including this month’s special, Tanzania Kilimanjaro, which was probably the strongest of all the ones we had that day, but it was also my favourite! Cake + Whisky | Touring London's best coffee shops with The London Coffee Festival

So many cups altogether though! Thanks London Coffee Festival for taking me on this coffee adventure (and the double-decker!), I truly enjoyed discovering the variety of the coffee offering in London and experiencing different blends and species to find my own favourite!

If you want to find out more about London Coffee Festival and all the wonderful things they do, head to their website: http://www.londoncoffeefestival.com.

What’s your favourite kind of coffee? Have you ever been on a coffee tour before?

#SpreadTheSmile – Touring London’s best coffee shops with The London Coffee Festival