Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Starting from the bottom up: a crisp, crumbly, buttery brownie base, a fluffy, sweet, chocolate mousse filling, a light-as-air, dark chocolate cake, and finally, a dense, rich chocolate ganache frosting. Each bite of this was any chocolate lovers dream. All that’s missing is a sidecar scoop of chocolate ice cream (and a candle stuck in the slice for this momentous occasion–woops!), but hey, maybe another time, right? There definitely will be another time.
- 5/8 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Chocolate Cake
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1/8 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 7/8 cups sugar
- 7/8 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 Tbsp butter
- Chocolate Mousse
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1 7/8 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 18 oz bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan, fit it with a cut-out round of parchment paper, and grease that as well (this makes removing the brownie in one piece a lot easier later).
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set this aside for now.
In a bowl, microwave the chocolate chunks and butter for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat in 15 second increments until the chocolate is totally melted down.
Then, whisk in the sugar followed by the eggs, one at a time until totally incorporated. Work in the vanilla extract and finally, add the dry flour mixture in two batches, mixing until fully combined.
Pour this batter into the greased pan and bake it for 25-30 minutes or until a tester in the center comes out fairly clean. Let this cool for a while.
If you have multiple 9 inch cake pans, you could this at the same time as the brownie base. If not (I really ought to buy another one!), just wait until the brownie base is done so you can re-use that pan. Whatever the case, again, the oven ought to be preheated to 325 °F and a 9 inch cake pan should be greased and have a cut out round of parchment paper pressed against the bottom to make for easy cake removal later.
In a double boiler (bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water where the bowl is not making direct physical contact with the water), melt the chocolate chunks, cocoa powder, and hot water, stirring with some regularity to prevent any burning or sticking. Once smooth and totally melted, mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar, stirring until nice and glossy. Remove this from heat and set it aside.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
Mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract is yet another bowl. Set this aside as you begin your plans for tricking someone else into cleaning up after you, perhaps by bribing them with cake.
And now we can begin to bring all of these elements together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk all of the eggs until they begin to lighten in color and then gradually pour in the sugar, mixing on higher speed until fluffed up and well mixed (figure 2-3 minutes whisking). Swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle and pour in the chocolate mixture, mixing until totally incorporated.
Add the softened butter, broken up into small chunks and beat them in briefly. Now, work in alternating batches: add a third of the flour mixture, mix until incorporated, add half of the buttermilk mixture, mix, and repeat until you’ve emptied both bowls.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake this for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out fairly clean. Let this cool for a bit.
This is probably old hat by now: melt down the chocolate chunks. Whether you’re using the microwave or the double boiler is irrelevant–just melt the chocolate down and set it aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Then, scoop out about a quarter of your whipped cream and mix it into the melted chocolate to lighten that up a bit. Once well mixed, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the mixture, folding only as much as is necessary to get this fairly homogenous (you don’t want to beat the air and fluffiness out of the whipped cream).
Once totally mixed, set this bowl of mousse aside in the fridge.
Putting it all together
Now that the three major cake components are done, you can start putting things together. Plate the brownie base and spread the mousse evenly over the brownie almost all the way to the edge. Carefully place the cake on top of this and gently press it down. Chill this for an hour to let the cake firm up a bit as one unit.
While the cake is chilling, you need to prepare the last component: the ganache. For some reason, this was the first time I ever prepared a ganache that siezed up on me (where it looks slightly sloshy and oily), so I rescued it by briefly freezing it and stirring it regularly until it firmed up, then transferring it to the fridge (next time, I might opt for a more Familiar Ganache recipe that has never done me wrong) Ideally, you won’t have the same experience. Because of my experience and the fact that I was tired, I didn’t bother reserving any ganache for decorating the cake like the inspiration for this cake (Shawnda did a beautiful job). Anyways, enough babbling about the ganache–you ought to make it now.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I know. Genius, right. Perfectly-portioned, tiny pies … and on lollipop sticks, too. I can’t take the credit for this idea, although I would love to. The site Luxirare is responsible for this attack of cuteness. A friend of Babe's Bowtique sent the link to me last week and, the moment I saw them, I knew I would have to try them out. I just love to make things like this that are easy and say “Hi’ I’m the cutest thing on earth… now eat me.” I originally thought I would make some during the holidays and give them away as gifts, but they have been invading my thoughts all week. So today they had to be made in an attempt to purge them from my mind. They really are easy. And if you have a little one around, you don’t even have to lift a finger. They can do all the work and tell you how to make them, too.
Start with a homemade pie crust you roll out 1/8 inch or a pre made pie crust you roll out. Lay the crust out and Sprinkle a pinch of flour onto the dough. Now we flop it onto the other side and do the cookie cutters.(you can use round, Hearts and so forth for cookie cutters)Dusting with a little bit of flour on both sides will make the dough easier to work with and move around. Now we do the first cookie cutter, try to keep them close with out touching. If you’re careful you can get enough for 8-9 pie pops from a 9-inch pie crust. Time to get off the scraps. You can save the dough scraps. Roll flat and re-use. Now it’s time for pressing down the lollipop sticks about half way on the pie crust cut out. Now, it get filling. Put it right in the center or it will squeeze out way too much. Ummm…almost there, don’t put too much filling or it will squeeze out because you got to press down the sides or it won’t bake very good in the oven. It’s time for sealing it. What you do is,Lay a crust cut out over the filling. Then you break a lollipop stick into a small piece and you press it down all around it. (But not too hard.)Using a short piece of lollipop stick helps you not to mess up the neighboring pie pops when you seal the two pieces of dough together. Now you take a baking brush and you crack an egg. Don’t put the egg yolk in. Put the egg whites in a little bowl. Get the brush and put some of the egg whites on it. Now brush it onto the front of the dough. The pops baked in the oven on 375 for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops started to brown. Remove, cool and enjoy!Feel free to post pics of you and your little ones Making a baketastic time!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I have a fail proof recipe for you. If you like cheesecake you will love this. Simple Simple. You need: 2-8oz cream cheese(softened), 4- crecent rolls, 1 cup sugar, 2tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup melted butter, cinnamon. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy. In a 9 × 13 pan line the bottom with 2 crecent roll packages. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinn. and sugar. Top with cream cheese filling. Line the top of the cream cheese with the last 2 crecent roll packages. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinn. and sugar. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. No eggs in the recipe so all you are cooking are the crecent rolls. This dessert needs to sit before cutting and does best refridgerating before serving. Hope you like it!!!!!
Monday, May 10, 2010
Want to make your own smiley face cake pops?
1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can frosting (16 oz.)
Yellow candy melts(1 lb. pkg.)
Edible ink pens
After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50)
Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)
Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)
Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.
Place in a styrofoam block to dry.
Once dry, draw faces with an edible ink pen and allow ink to dry!
I hope this puts a smile on your face and you can have a Happy Monday!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Well it all started with my shop in Ar. and this cute little girl named Chole and her Mother's love for Lady Bugs. And a few hours later we came up with this cake! A few days later I get a call and she is a mess she had family problems and had no time to look or put her daughter's birthday together. She offered me something I never thought I could do....what for it ....throw the whole party! I was honored and walking on cloud nine but them it hit me I had 4 days to make this little girls Party ROCK and make her Mothers fears melt away! So I got online and googled and looked and found some really neat things to try and I put my own twist on the party...I put together a birthday party Wedding style! :0)
I set up a little table when you first get into the living room and I added a sweet little book ( sorry wish I would have taken a picture) it had a page for each of the guests to sign. They wrote Chole a sweet little note about there life's together so far. Then I lucked into finding a shop that had these super cute metal buckets. So I used them and filled them with goodies. The sign was made by a local Scrapbooking shop, I know that you can find shops online who go the paper sign; Like http://www.creationsbykindra.com/ or http://www.etsy.com/shop/JustScrapsNThings both of these ladys make embellishments and I'm sure could help you better then I could! Then I printed Labels to go over water bottles (I'm sure there is someone out there who makes them but I was pressed for time so I bought mine and soaked them in water to remove the labels and added my own) I then hand painted baby food jar lids red and black dots and filled with M&M's ( boy those were a big hit, till they brought out grilled steaks)I made cookies and wrapped them up and then added a few touch's here and there and we had a set up for a lovely Lady Bug Birthday Party. Chole had a wonderful Birthday her mom was so happy! I hope this gives you a little bit of ideals on how to use what you have or when you don't have a lot of money to spend how to still have a bit of a party! Thanks for stopping my Have a wonderful night. Heather
The Little Cake Shop
Monday, May 3, 2010
Fortunately, there are still contests that give an edge to totally from scratch baking for those of us who love it. In this case, it’s Gold Medal Flour’s Scratch Bakers’ Club Baking Contest. This baking contest requires that you use at least one cup of any type of Gold Medal Flour (All-Purpose, Whole Wheat, Better for Bread, Self-Rising, Organic, Wondra) and that baking is the primary method of preparation.
The grand prize winner will get $1,000 plus a gift basket worth up to $150, and 9 runners-up will receive gift baskets of baking goodies worth up to $150 each! The contest runs from May 4, 2010–May 31, 2010 and all of the entries will be judged on creativity, taste, ease of preparation, appearance and overall appeal. I have to say that I think all of you will have no problems coming up with entries that meet this criteria!
Fortunately, there are a couple of quick fixes that can prevent a graham cracker crust from getting soggy. When you have a no-bake filling, such as the one on this Caramel Banana Cream Pie or this Fresh Strawberry Pie, you can line the inside of the graham cracker crust with melted chocolate. This creates a waterproof barrier between the crust and filling, and will keep the crust in perfect condition even after the pie is sliced. You can use any kind of chocolate, simply brush it on with a pastry brush (or spread it very thinly) the chill it for a few minutes to set before filling.
If you have a pie that doesn’t go well with chocolate, or one that needs to be baked with its filling already in place, there is another trick to use. This time, brush the inside of the graham cracker crust with a lightly beaten egg white and pop it into the oven at about 350F 3-5 minutes to let it dry. The egg white has the same effect as the melted chocolate (although chocolate is sturdier overall), keeping moisture out of the crust.