Tag Archives: chocolate

Peanut Butter Éclair Cake

eclair-cake

Well Éclair’s are the thing after macaron. This is a really simple take on the éclair with no baking involved! It does require resting time so the graham crackers can absorb the moisture and soften. This has so many variations from a plain simple one to fruit flavored to boozy – as boozy as you like.

I made this for an aunt’s 70 birthday as the request was for a peanut butter dessert. It also needed to be packed in a transportable container and driven for 5 hours. It made it there successfully in a cooler and was a big hit.

Ingredients

For the Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Éclair

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Method

Keep a mesh strainer set in a heat proof container ready.

Pour the milk into a pot and place it over medium heat. Heat until it starts to steam but do not let it start bubbling (Small little bubbles at the edge of the pot are fine). While the milk is warming, mix the sugar and egg yolks. Then add the flour and salt ensuring it is all well mixed. This will be quite thick. .

Once the milk has started steaming turn off the heat and pour it in a very slow stream into the egg mixture, whisking fairly quickly and consistently. You can also use a ladle to pour it in a ladle at a time. Once all the milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the pot  and place it back on medium-low heat whisking continuously.

When you start whisking, it will be really frothy and very thin. As the mixture heats it will start to thicken. You have to be patient with this step because the how quickly it thickens depends on your heat. You do not want to raise your heat to have it thicken faster as it can be easy to overheat this mixture and get to a lumpy consistency. It will take somewhere between 8-12 minutes for it to thicken. You will notice the whisk leave trails and you will be able to see it thicken.  You will also see that it starts to bubble a little. Take it off the heat.

Pour the mixture into the mesh strainer to catch any egg bits. Using your spatula gently stir the mixture in strainer to help it through.  Divide your pastry cream into two halves. Add your peanut butter to one and whisk to incorporate. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of both halves of the cream to prevent a crust from forming. Set them aside until they are completely cooled.

Just before you are ready to assemble. Whisk the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whisking until just past soft peak stage (when you lift your whisk the peak gently falls over). Fold half of this into the plain pastry cream.

To assemble

In a 9×9 inch pan put a layer of graham crackers. Cover this with the the peanut butter pastry cream. Place another layer of graham crackers on top. Then add the pastry cream with the whipped cream. Place another layer of graham crackers on top and cover with the remaining whipped cream. Place this in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on short 10 second bursts stirring in between. Once it is melted let it cool for a bit and carefully spread it over the top of the cream. Refrigerate again overnight before serving. This helps the graham crackers soften.

Notes:

You can do a variety of variations:

Fruit based – add about 1/3 of a cup of fruit puree instead of the peanut butter. Top with the same fruit glaze. Omit the chocolate glaze

Brandy – add 1/4 cup of brandy into the whipped cream omitting the peanut butter

Elderberry -add 1/4 cup of elderberry juice or liquor to the whipped cream

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Coffee, Chocolate, Caramel Molten cake

fondantcake

I am sure you have had the molten cakes going around. They are so amazing as you cut into them and the chocolate runs out. This one is slightly different in that it is made in a loaf pan and you can serve it on a plate and slice it.

 

Ingredients

  • 75g milk chocolate chips
  • 75g caramel chips
  • 113g butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 40g all purpose flour
  • 25g almond flour (optional – if you do not have almond flour increase the amount of all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • pinch of salt

Method

Preheat your oven to 320F. Line and butter your loaf pan and set aside.

Put the chocolate chips, caramel chips and butter into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and then repeat for 5 second bursts until it is all melted and smooth.

Whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed until they are light lemon in color and have tripled in volume. Sift the flour into this mixture. Drizzle the coffee and fold gently until it is all incorporated. Then add the cooled melted butter chocolate mixture and salt and stir till incorporated. The batter is very very runny.

Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. The cake is done when you shake the pan and there is still a little jiggle left. Take it out and let if cool before turning it onto a plate and cutting it.

 

 


Brazilian Carrot Cake

 

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Do carrots scream out at you – ‘Use me’? The orange which brightens every meal. Now let me ask you another question – Did you know carrots were not always orange? Is that a – what the hell is he talking about look on your face? That is the same look I had when I first heard about it. I was in Amsterdam at the time when the tour guide bought it up and talked about how the Dutch hybridized the carrot because they wanted to honor ‘William of Orange’.

For full details you can go to Mythbusters for the entire information. However, the short version of it is that the Dutch farmers cultivated a lot of carrots (white, purple and yellow). They developed a new strain that was orange and started growing that in honor of William of Orange. The traditional just as colorful carrots were tossed aside in favor of the orange one. If you have ever been to The Netherlands you will know their national color is orange and everyone wears orange.

If you live in a big city you probably have access to a farmers market and can get heirloom varieties of carrots. If you do not and do your own vegetable gardening try growing the heirloom varieties, they will add so much color to your plate.

Now back to the cake. I have been fascinated with Brazilian desserts for a while and came across an article about their version of the carrot cake. I did a bit of research and found this site (thank you google translate) and decided to try it with some modifications. The cake is simply delicious and moist and the color. I do want to get other colored carrots and so I can try to make a carrot rainbow cake :-). The cake is not too sweet and the chocolate coating is optional. The carrot flavor is mild and the cake is really moist. Its also a very easy blender cake.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 280g carrots (about 3 medium sized carrots, peeled)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 360g sugar
  • 240g all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch sea salt

For the chocolate glaze

  • 170g dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter your Bundt pan and lightly coat it with flour.

Blend the carrots, olive oil, eggs, sugar and salt until it is smooth. Pour this mixture into large bowl and pour the sifted flour and baking powder over it. Gently stir with a whisk until there are no lumps left.

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Place it carefully into the oven and bake for 5 minutes at 425F. Then lower the temperature to 400F and bake for another 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the deepest part comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire rack. Then turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.

For the glaze

Put the chocolate, honey and butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt it in the microwave on short 15 second bursts stirring everytime until it is smooth. This should take about 3-4 bursts depending on your microwave power. The butter needs to be melted and just keep stirring the mixture and everything will melt.

Once the cake is completely cooled place a plate under the wire rack and pour the glaze over the cake letting it run down the sides. If you are not able to cover the cake scoop up the chocolate from the plate and pour where needed.

The cake can be left at room temperature covered with plastic wrap or under a cake dome. Mine lasted only two days.

 

 

 


Mocha Pudding

 

 

Mocha Pudding

So this happened for a friends birthday. The ask was for something Mocha. I was scouring my recipes for something that I could make without turning on the oven and had initially thought that I would make a Mocha Crepe Cake. It did go through a couple of iterations before I finally settled on a pudding. This is a very rich pudding and as one of my friends said it was more like a Bodino (an Italian dessert) than what you generally think of as an American pudding.

This does require just a little bit of cooking but can be put together without a lot of fuss. You can make endless variations on this – making it a fruit pudding but omitting the cocoa powder and chocolate, but adding a fruit puree and fresh fruit, or making it just with white chocolate. The combinations are endless. You will also realize that you do not have to use the ready boxed pudding mixes and this is really easy to put together.

Ingredients

Time: 20 minutes, Serves: 8 – 10 depending on the size of your glasses

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch (spoon this into your measuring cup)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 56% cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sachets instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlua
  • biscuits dipped in a sweet wine to serve

Method

Whisk the cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt together in a saucepan. Add the milk slowly constantly whisking to incorporate and to avoid lumps. Turn the heat on to a medium low and continue to whisk. The mixture will start to warm and then thicken. Make sure you are whisking it constantly. You will see the mixture thickening, wait a few more seconds for it to thicken a little more (total of 10-13 minutes) and then take it off the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla extract, espresso powder and Kahlua (optional), gently stir to make sure everything is blended. Put a piece of plastic (saran wrap) on the surface and let it cool. Once it is cool put it into your serving glasses.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form and then add the sugar continuing to whip for another minute or so until the sugar is dissolved. Fold in the Kahlua (optional). Put it in a piping bag and pipe or just put a lovely dollop on top of the pudding.

When ready to serve, dip the biscuits into the wine and stick it into the pudding and serve. Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intensely Chocolate Cake, Raspberry frosting

strawberry-cake

Here is a cake I have been making recently. I started with inspiration from here. I normally do not use shortening and for the first time used it in the cake and it was really delightful. I then tried making it a few more times and have managed to get the shortening out and added butter. I also went just for regular cocoa as I have friends who are chocoholics but like the milky variety better. Kara’s cake is absolutely delightful and if you do like dark chocolate – it is absolutely YUMMM!

I have made the icing a couple of different ways including one that uses raspberry jam so feel free to be creative. I made this cake for a bake sale and it was the highest bid cake and went for $80. It was shared in the office and got a lot of compliments. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 packet freeze dried raspberries
  • 3 cups icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional, for smoother texture)

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 8inch cake tins with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar for about 3 minutes on low in your kitchen-aid mixer, scrape down the sides if your beater blade does not have a scraper. Add the oil and turn the mixer on again until incorporated about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Add half the dry mixture to the batter and on low to combine. Add the buttermilk and beat again to combine. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat to combine.

With the mixer on low, add the boiling water very slowly and gently down the side. This will help your thick batter thin out and avoid the forming of lumps. If your beater blade does not have a scraper make sure you scrape down the sides a couple of times. Let the mixer run on slow for about 3-4 minutes. Your batter will be fairly liquid.

Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the tin and letting it cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting

Beat cream cheese until soft. Add the butter and beat until the mixture is fluffy. This may take about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the freeze dried raspberries either in the food processor or using a rolling pin. If you use a rolling pin you may not get a fine powder, but that is fine as you will gets bursts of raspberries when you eat the cake. Pour the crushed raspberries into a bowl and sift the icing sugar into it. Use a whisk to blend.

Add the vanilla extract to the butter/cream cheese mix. Beat for about 30 seconds. Then add half the icing sugar mix and beat to blend. Then add the remaining icing sugar and salt and beat till incorporated. If your mixture is too thick you can add a teaspoon to the mixture and beat.

To assemble

Level the cakes. Brush a little sugar syrup (optional) on the cut side of the cake. Top with 1/4 of the frosting. Place the second cake on top of the frosting and brush with sugar syrup (optional). Frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh raspberries. Place in the refrigerator for the frosting to firm up. Keep the cake out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

 


Chocolate Oreo Layer Cake

Chocolate Oreo Cake

I was invited to a very dear 11 year old boy’s birthday party. I offered to bake the cake and his mum was delighted to let me do it. His favorite ingredient is chocolate and so I decided to bake a chocolate cake with Oreo’s in it. That was the biggest surprise when the cake was cut – ‘Oh goodness – does it have Oreo’s inside? ‘. I have made an Oreo cookie birthday cake before and used more of a chocolate cake batter but I wanted this one to be lighter. I looked up one of my favorite chef personalities Ina Garten and this is a take on her Double-Chocolate layer cake.

I do not always have buttermilk in the fridge so I keep powdered buttermilk on hand and make it as needed.

I will say it was a hit. The birthday boy loved it and had two pieces. Then when I was taking the cake plate with me. He asked his mum ‘Do I get to keep the cake?’ Cutest thing ever!. I got a huge compliment from my mum. She said ‘Its your best cake ever!’

I am sorry that I do not have the times that I did to make the cake and frostings – but overall prep time should not be more than 20 minutes for the cake and 15 for each of the icings.

Ingredients

For the cake

1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee (1 1/2 tablespoon of instant Nestle coffee)

1 package double stuffed Oreos

For the filling

Oreo cookies crushed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream

1 cup milk chocolate chips or good quality milk chocolate
Oreo cookies to decorate

Method

For the cake

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter two 8 inch by 2 inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, sea salt) in a stand mixer. Whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla (I use the electric whisk). Add this to the dry mixture and whisk until just incorporated.

With tongs dip 12 Oreo cookies in the hot coffee to soften just a bit and set aside. Add the hot coffee and whisk to incorporate. The batter will be very liquid. Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans. Distribute 6 Oreos per pan and make sure they are submerged.

Bake the cakes for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Take the cakes out and let them cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge, remove them from the pan and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Filling

Reserve 8-9 Oreo cookies and set aside. Crush the remaining in a food processor or seal in a plastic bag and run a rolling pin over them till they are finely crushed.

Cream butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. If your paddle attachment does not have a scraper, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice. Add confectioners sugar a half cup at a time beating well between each addition. Add the crushed Oreo cookies, vanilla and milk and beat. The filling should be fairly thick but spreadable. If it is too firm add a teaspoon of milk to reach spreading consistency.

For the frosting

Microwave the chocolate with the 2 tablespoons of butter for 20 seconds. Then go for two to three 5 second bursts making sure the butter has melted. Stir the butter chocolate mixture making sure that all the chocolate has melted and let it cool. If the chocolate has not melted microwave again in short 5 second bursts stirring between each burst.

Cream the 1/2 cup of butter in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, half the sugar and half the milk/cream and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and milk and beat again until incorporated. Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat until incorporated. Again if you feel the icing is not going to spread at this time add a little more milk/cream.

To assemble

Place one cooled cake flat side down on your cake plate. Place strips of parchment   under the edges of the cake. This will help you have a clean cake stand at the end. Spread your filling on the top of the cake in an even layer.

Place the second cake – flat side (parchment side) up on top of the filling. Press down gently to get an even top. Using an offset spatula scrape off any filling that has squeezed out.

Pour your frosting over the top of the cake and using a clean offset spatula push it gently towards the edges and let it drip over. Then using your offset spatula turn your cake plate slowly and using your offset spatula make an even edge. Gently pull out the pieces of parchment paper and you have neat edges!.

Now split the remaining Oreo cookies and scrape off the filling. Use the Oreo halfs to decorate the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for about an hour. Take it out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before you serve it.

 

 

 


Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Chocolate Tres Leches

Chocolate Tres Leches

When I first tasted Tres Leches I was tickled pink with delight. It was an actual OMG moment. So I hunted around for recipes and finally make one. It was a hit. Well if you think about it you are getting the most moist (well actually flooded with liquid) cake with an amazing topping (not buttercream).

Being the chocolate lover that I am I decided to make a chocolate version of it. A chocolaty cake, with chocolate syrup and topped with a chocolate topping. Yes, its about dying and going to heaven. Now that was a hit that it was everyone’s favorite. It was the most requested cake at the office. It did help that it also had a nice swig of alcohol. The alcohol is totally optional and I have used rum, brandy and liqueur (grand mariner).

This I think has been the absolute best version ever. I made it when one of my dear friends was leaving Atlanta for good. He is the one who did the website design for me. I will miss you, but then you know Atlanta is just a flight away :-).  This is what he asked for and the request was to make it with Dark chocolate. He said it was the best one ever.

I have also given options for a cheat version of using a devil’s food cake mix. This is if you just want to throw something quickly. I have also used Dark Chocolate for the mousse, feel free to substitute a milk chocolate.

Ingredients

Servers 12 -15
For the cake:
Adapted from here by David Lebovitz
  • 9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional – I did not use it)
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • ½ cup strong espresso (2 teaspoons espresso)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • OR Use a Devil’s food cake mix

for the Tres Leches

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup (Hershey’s)
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)

for the Chocolate Mousse Frosting (Contains raw eggs – see Note below for alternate)

  • 7 ounces chocolate chips (dark chocolate at least 60% cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped (use less if you want a thicker mousse)

Method

for the cake

If you are using the Food cake mix, bake the cake according to the package instructions for a 13 x 9 pan. Let if cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan and use a toothpick to poke (a fair number of) holes in the cake. Then pour in the Tres Leches.

or
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 13×9 inch pan and set it aside.
Sift cake flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl. Sift the cocoa powder too if you are using it.

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. It took me about 10 minutes as my butter (even though it was sitting out for a good two hours) was still fairly cold. If your paddle attachment does not have a scraper, make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well (and scraping) after each addition.

Add half the flour mixture into the bowl and use the mixer on low to incorporate. Add the wet ingredients and stir with a spatula, and once incorporated use the mixer again. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. 

Bake for about 25-30 mins until a toothpick pierced into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on the rack for about 10 mins. Using a toothpick prick the cake all over. Using a butter knife, run it around the sides of the cake to release it from the pan.

Make the Tres Leches milk mixture and then pour over the cake, ladle by ladle making sure that you are distributing it equally over the cake and sides. Let each pouring be absorbed before you pour the next one. Let the cake cool completely.

for the Chocolate Mousse

In a glass bowl add the chocolate and 1/4 cup heavy cream and heat in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Let the mixture sit for about 30 seconds and then stir mixture to combine. If all the chocolate does not melt then repeat process in the microwave for short bursts. Set aside to cool.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale yellow and has doubled in volume. This will take a little time, so be patient. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture and stir till well combined. Add the Brandy and stir to combine.

Beat the remaining heavy cream in the electric mixer on medium speed until you see it start to thicken. Add a teaspoon of sugar and increase the speed to high, beat until the cream just reaches the stiff peak stage. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, folding until thoroughly incorporated. Put it over the cooled cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE:

Eggless chocolate mousse topping

Heat 1 cup cream to boiling. Add 8 oz of chocolate and let it rest for about a minute. Then stir to incorporate. Add 1 tablespoon of your favorite brandy/liqueur. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream and fold into the chocolate mixture.