Chocolate layer cake with dark chocolate ganache

Ottolenghi chocolate cake.


Helloo there. Welcome to March (say whaat?!) and my first blog post for the month. It’s a rather celebratory post and this recipe is inspired by one of my personal foodie icons, Yotam Ottolenghi. This easy chocolate cake recipe is adapted very slightly from one that appears in his book “Sweet” (co-written with Helen Goh) and the reason for this cake post is that this week Cupcakes and Couscous celebrates its fifth anniversary!

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Recipe round up: 15 chocolate recipes you need to try!

Top 15 chocolate recipes


It’s no secret that I am a chocoholic, and chocolate recipes are always very popular with my lovely Cupcakes and Couscous readers. So I decided that I would round up fifteen of the best chocolate recipes all in one post, yum! I have included something chocolatey to suit everyone, whether you are avoiding refined sugar, vegan or up for a fully loaded, indulgent treat. (Don’t forget to let me know which is your fave!) Without further ado let’s jump in. Continue reading “Recipe round up: 15 chocolate recipes you need to try!”

Dark chocolate cupcakes with whipped whiskey ganache

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate and whiskey ganache.

This week’s recipe comes from a feature I put together for Cheers Magazine last month in which whiskey and sherry were the heroes. I have to be honest and say that sipping spirits has never been my thing, I am more of a wine gal myself! But I do keep a small stash of tipple tucked away for culinary purposes. A splash of brandy here, a dash of sherry there… they certainly add a deep richness to the dishes they are added to. These easy dark chocolate cupcakes are proof that whiskey is not only good for sipping but also has its place in the kitchen (and that cupcakes aren’t just for the kiddies!).

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Lemon loaf cake with saffron syrup

Lemon loaf cake with saffron syrup.
A few weeks ago I was given a pack of gorgeous saffron to try out at home. I have only ever used saffron in savoury dishes in the past (this saffron chicken dish is one of my favourites) and wanted to try it in a sweet recipe this time around.

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Caramel sponge pudding

Caramel sponge pudding
If ever there was an excuse to indulge in some comfort cooking, the chilly winter season is most definitely it. This latest recipe, which was featured in the May/June issue of Cheers magazine, has comfort food written all over it – a classic (dare I say old-fashioned) dessert that you can easily make at home on those cold days.

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How to make easy rainbow meringues (and a rainbow cake!)

Chocolate cake topped with meringues.

Crisp, white meringues are one my favourite things to make, but a few weeks ago I tried something a little different by adding some colours to the mix! The reason? I wanted to top my daughter’s rainbow birthday cake with rainbow meringues. I had so many party guests (well, the parents) asking me for the recipe that I have decided to pop it on the blog this week along with my go-to meringue recipe. I am also sharing a few tips for making your own rainbow cake. 

How to make rainbow meringues.

Firstly, rainbows – I think this has been my favourite kiddie party theme so far! There is just so much you can do. To be honest I was completely swamped in the run up to the party, but thanks to a few simple ideas from Pinterest I was able to pull it all together in a short amount of time. In terms of decor I made colourful paper chains (too easy), tissue paper pom-poms in various colours and popped glasses filled with colourful water and sunflowers on the table. Some of the food also took on the rainbow theme, with the most popular snack by far being pretzel sticks that were dipped in white chocolate and then 100’s and 1000’s. Rather than going for a sugar laden party bag each little guest received a rainbow ribbon wand as a thank you gift. 

Rainbow birthday party ideas.

You can’t have a rainbow party without a rainbow cake right? This cake took an entire day to bake and assemble, but I think it was worth it. Six layers of vanilla cake in all the colours of the rainbow all covered in vanilla buttercream and chocolate ganache and topped with rainbow meringues, flowers and glitter. Here are a few tips if you are thinking of making one too:

  • I mixed a few drops of gel food colouring into vanilla cake batter to make the rainbow layers. I find these give a brighter colour than the supermarket liquid colours. 
  • I baked the layers separately (yes, it took ages!) in a 20cm straight sided cake tin.
  • When icing the cake I started with a very thin, smooth layer of icing all over the cake, often called the crumb coat. I then popped the entire cake in the deep freeze for about thirty minutes to set and harden before icing it. This made it much easier and neater! 
  • I used this chocolate ganache recipe to go on top of the vanilla buttercream icing. Remember to let it cool before pouring it over the cake. 

How to make a rainbow birthday cake.
Birthday cake with rainbow layers.

Drip cake topped with meringues.

I will be taking a little break next week while the kids are still on holiday but will be back in May with some lip smackingly delicious Italian inspired recipes, don’t miss those! 

Cook’s notes for the meringues:

  • I used a plastic disposable piping bag for this messy meringue mixture. I have also included a picture below of the nozzle that I used. 

Meringue piping nozzle.
  • You can use as many colours as you like but I would use 2-4. I used red, yellow and blue for the meringues on top of the birthday cake.
  • Use 2 drops of gel food colouring per colour for bold, bright meringues or a single drop per colour for a lighter more subtle colour. I used two drops for the meringues in these pictures.



Makes 15 medium sized meringues

Rainbow meringue tutorial.

2 large egg whites, room temperature
100g castor sugar
small pinch of fine salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
gel food colouring

Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Step 2.) Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form when the beater is lifted. Add the castor sugar one tablespoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. The mixture should have a smooth texture, not grainy. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract

Step 3.) Place a drop or two (see cook’s notes above) of gel food colouring inside the piping bag near the nozzle. Use a skewer to scrape the drop up the side of the piping bag, i.e. the bag should have streaks of colour running up the sides. Spoon the meringue into the bag. 

Step 4.) Pipe the meringues onto the tray, allowing some space between for spreading. Bake for 1 hour. Switch the oven off, keep the oven closed and leave the meringues for a further hour. 

Step 5.) Allow the meringues to cool. Store in an airtight container. 


Competition Time!

Delicious baked treats

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen me raving about my latest favourite account – @josieluvslocal. Her passion for local products is inspiring! Jo and I are both crazy about Cape Town and supporting our local producers and have decided to team up for a fun (and delicious) giveaway for our Capetonian followers! 

One lucky follower will be spoiled with their choice of treats from, yum! Keep an eye on the @josieluvslocal Instagram account where every day this week she will be posting another delicious treat. Give us a follow, tag your friends and you could be our winner. Too easy y’all. 

So remember, local is lekker… and good luck! 

The T’s and C’s: 

  • Competition starts Monday 27 March and closes midnight on Friday 31 March. 
  • Entrants must be Cape Town residents (our treats probably won’t fare well in the post!). 
  • Prize will be hand delivered to the winner on an agreed date. 
  • The winner may choose one treat from the nine that are featured on Instagram during the course of the competition. 
  • The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday 1 April.
Tasty tea time treats