Tag Archives: chocolate

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake with Ganache Filling 3

Finally, a second post for my Saturday Baking Project! I have been really busy previous Saturdays due to student org activities, and the products turned out not as amazing as I wanted it to be, so I didn’t post about it. This week, I chose a recipe from my The Science of Good Cooking cookbook, which is definitely one of my favorite cookbooks so far. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a couple of weeks, and given that its the week of Valentine’s day, I think chocolate cupcakes are very suitable.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake with Ganache Filling 1

Makes a dozen

Filling:
2 oz bitter sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp confectinoers’ or granulated sugar

Cupcakes:
3oz. bitter sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 oz Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup brewed coffee, hot
4 1/8 oz bread flour
5 1/4 oz sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of distilled white vingar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Procedure:

  1. For the filling: Microwave chocolate, cream, and sugar in a medium bowl until mixture is warm to the touch, about 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth and then transfer bowl to refrigerator and let sit until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes
  2. For the cupcakes: Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl, and pour hot coffee mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely about 20 minutes.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Place 1 slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each portion of batter. Bake cupcakes until set and just firm to the touch at 350F, 17 t o19 minutes. Cool cupcakes.

I thought it was a great recipe, mostly due to the ganache filling. I did not make the frosting because I was lazy. Reading the recipe now, I realized that I forgot cocoa powder, which is why the cake lacked a deep chocolate flavor. The recipe called for distilled white vinegar, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used rice vinegar, so maybe that’s why it tastes strange. I also didn’t have vegetable oil so I used olive oil… but that’s okay, the delicious ganache filling made up for it. Despite the flavor being off, it was a tender and moist cake. I’m sure the cake itself is a great recipe if I actually did it right =(. I’m not the brightest during the early hours of Saturday morning.

Look at the bubbly ganache filling!

Look at the bubbly ganache filling!

I have to warn you though: wait for it to cool before eating! As much as ganache delicious, burning your tongue on hot ganache is not.

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Layer that cake

It was a friend’s birthday recently, and so I decided to make a cake for her. =) However, I didn’t want to make a regular cake. I think cakes are boring, and I personally don’t like cakes, so I went on a few blogs that were into Japanese cakes.  If you didn’t know, Japanese cakes tend to be very fancy/elaborate, with layers of cake and whipped cream or mousse and more layers of general yumminess. Since I loved mousse, and should practice it before I start teaching my baking class, I decided to go for it.

So then I had this coffee cake in mind that I had book marked and wanted to make before. However, when I told the friend arranging the party that I would make a cake, she replied, “I suggest something disney themed (if you’re putting a design on it) preferably minney/mickey mouse… or something chocolate flavored.”

I kind of didn’t know how to react, to laugh it off or be appalled. Disney themed!? Do I look like a cake designer to her? If I was so good I wouldn’t be in school; I’d be working in a cake store in New York! Geez. But anyway, the chocolate thing I could do, I suppose. Luckily, blogspot blogs have a “You might also like:” at the bottom of each post, which led me to a passion fruit chocolate mousse cake the same person did. But wait… passion fruits are expensive here… why don’t I go with raspberries instead, which are in season, and commonly paired with chocolate? Bingo, I had my cake.

Cake, final product (Photo Credits to David Hsu)

I did 3 layers, so I will separate them so.

Original recipe from Yue’s Handicrafts.

First Layer: Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 65 g sugar
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 35 g milk

Procedure:

  1. Beat the egg yolks with sugar until thick. Fold in melted butter.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder. Add to your egg yolks along with the milk and fold until smooth.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the two components together in 3 installments and until the batter comes together.

    Slight fail where the egg whites on the edges are over beaten =(

  4. Pour into a greased 8″ pan (VERY IMPORTANT, GREASE GENEROUSLY) and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.

    Pierce with knife to make sure the cake is done

Note: I forgot to do this step, but I would have added a raspberry cake syrup to the cake too, using 2 tbsp water, 1tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp Chambord.

Second Layer: Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 350 g whipping cream
  • 190 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Procedure:

  1. Melt your chocolate
  2. Whip heavy cream and sugar into soft peaks. Fold together.

Third Layer: Raspberry Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 150 g whipping cream
  • 100 g raspberries, smashed
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g water
  • 8 g gelatine, or 1 packet
  • 2 tbsp Chambord

Procedure:

  1. Add your gelatine to cold water and let it bloom for 10 minutes. Heat the water (I used a microwave) and completely melt the gelatine.
  2. Whisk cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

    I looove cream cheese/cheesecakes

  3. Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  4. Fold the cream into the cheese, then the mushed raspberries, the Chambord, and finally the gelatine.

    All the components of the raspberry mousse, before folding

Putting it together

  1. Using a mold (or form a mold from aluminum foil), place the cake at the bottom.

    Aluminum foil mold with cake at the bottom

    Ghetto mold using tape to hold it together

  2. Brush on syrup generously.
  3. Pipe or dump the chocolate mousse on top and try to smooth this out. Put into fridge to set.

    Chocolate mousse on top of the cake

  4. Pipe or dump the raspberry mousse on top and smooth it out. Allow the mousse to set, preferably overnight. The resulting mousse should be firm to the touch, and not sticky. Garnish with raspberries before it sets if you would like.

End result, with melted chocolate writing

I actually ended up taking the raspberries off and eating it because I only put them on after the mousse had set

A few more things I would like to add: the original recipe called for cutting the chiffon cake layer into half, making one disk into a 7″ circle, and placing that on top of the set chocolate mousse before piping in the raspberry mousse layer. I didn’t feel like the  cake layer was thick enough to do so, so I omitted this step. But it was a bad move to do so. The mousse layers are definitely very heavy, which crushed the chocolate cake layer and made it very dense. It would have been better if the cake layer was thinner, so I would suggest splitting the cake and adding that extra cake layer on top.

Also, piping is suggested for the mousse layer because when I took off the aluminum foil, the layers were not pretty! I probably would have helped if I actually did the white chocolate decors on the side, but I don’t have any confidence in tempering chocolate. Icing it would have been excessive because most of this cake was a mousse anyway…

Birthday girl with a slice and her own chocolate covered strawberry as garnish (Photo Credits to David Hsu)

Overall, I think this recipe was okay. Would I do it again? Probably not. The construction of the cake is actually very easy, despite the layers, but I think the chocolate mousse doesn’t hold up well in the fridge. As in, the texture was very, very different from what I tasted the night before: creamy, light, chocolate-y became course/gritty, and not light. The chiffon cake layer too, wasn’t amazing due to it being compressed. However, the raspberry mousse was amazing, and I might make that just by itself someday.

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Sprinkles @ Georgetown

I have been waiting SO LONG to do this post. There are so many things I have to say, not just about the amazing cupcakes I had at Sprinkles. To begin, let me describe to you what my impression is about the food blog/sites that I usually hang out at.

I have an obsession for food, obviously, and the best way to deal with the obsession other than eating food is to go on sites like food gawker and taste spotting.  These are sites that have a lot of users posting to it constantly with beautiful photography of food that looks and probably tastes amazing.  Now when I first entered this blogging-sphere, I was excited to submit photos from my blog to food gawker, hoping to share my food obsession.

I was rejected. Sadly.

Of course, what I didn’t realize was that there was actually a standard for the photos submitted to food gawker, hence why the pictures are always gorgeous (some more gorgeous than others). Now, I’m not someone who is particularly interested in photography as a hobby. Pictures are nice, and pictures of food are even better. That was my relationship with photography before. But now that I have this blog, I began to realize that having people read my blog is harder than it seems. If I had prettier pictures, and was able to submit to sites like food gawker, I would get more traffic and all that jazz. But I’m not interested in photography.

And that’s the thing that irks me. I feel so pressured to buy a fancy camera with fancy lenses, set up a photo shoot studio for my cooking/baking products just because I want to maintain a food blog. I feel pressured to pick up photography as a hobby, just like all of those other successful blogs other there. I don’t want to do it. I just want to share food pictures/recipe.

So in defiance, I started to follow a few blogs with mediocre photography, people who obviously don’t have DSLRs like me. Yet, I soon lost interest in those blogs. Why? It was simple: the pictures were not appealing. Hanging out in those parts of the food community had “trained” my brain into wanting perfectly lit pictures with the perfect composition and colors. I now realize that people don’t take gorgeous pictures of food because they are snobby with their fancy 600 dollar DSLRs and 600 dollar lenses. People take these pictures because well lit, well composed food photography is better than pictures taken from your phone’s camera. Maybe I’m not interested in photography as a subject for the sake of photography, but I’m all for food photography.

In light of this, I took the chance of meeting up with my boyfriend to do a photo shoot with his DSLRof these tastey cupcakes I got from Sprinkles.  Its my first time using his camera without his help, hence the lack of skill/proper lighting.  I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t know how to read numbers to make sure lighting wasn’t off (which most of them were).  However, I did want to play with focus and composition and whatnot, so that’s what the pictures are mainly about.

To the cupcakes: I got a banana chocolate cupcake and a chocolate marshmallow cupcake.  The first one was basically a banana cake with milk chocolate butter cream on top, and the second one is a dark chocolate cupcake with dark chocolate butter cream/ganache (?) with a little bit of marshmallow filling in the middle.

These cupcakes were amazing, just like the ones in Vanilla Pastry Studio. (On a side note, I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed that place yet!) I think I liked the chocolate marshmallow one better simply because I love dark chocolate.  However, the banana cupcake itself was very good: fragrant, banana-y, soft and fluffy. It might have contained some banana chunks, I wasn’t sure, but it definitely smelled like bananas. I also liked that neither of the cupcakes have too much butter cream; that stuff can be too rich or too sweet, and I loved the subtle flavors that wasn’t being covered by the sweetness. However, there was a strange aftertaste for the banana cupcake… I wasn’t sure if it was because they used some sort of banana extract or what.

The chocolate marshmallow cupcake was disappointing in the fact that I was expecting an actual marshmallow or marshmallow phlough-like thing.  It turns out it was just “marshmallow cream,” as their site tells me. If you think about it, isn’t that just corn syrup, vanilla, and heavy cream? After all, that’s what you would be tasting in homemade marshmallows, unless you added some sort of extract or oil to it. Still, the dark chocolate is very well executed. It was not to sweet and had a deep chocolate taste.

Bottom line? I love their cupcakes.  They are good. I will hopefully be getting some more when I visit my brother at La Jolla. =)

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Chocolate Tarts with Marshmallows!

Between food and staying slim, a battle always rages inside my head. I absolutely love food, but I hate being fat. At the same time, I love desserts and chocolate which are basically the bane of staying slim. But in the end I gave into temptation and decided to make chocolate tarts with my friend (actually he did most of the making… I just, watched, haha). It wasn’t the first time that he made it, so success was expected. The tarts tasted really good and they are convenient finger food for parties and such.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

These ingredients make about 24 tarts. We made 3 batches, so we tripled the amounts.

Procedure:

  1. Mix the 1/2 cup butter and 3 ounces of cream cheese into a smooth consistency. It helps that the butter is slightly warmed.

  2. Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Mix well with your hands into dough. The dough cannot be dry or flaky at this stage, or else your tart crust will fall apart. Add more butter if the dough is not solid enough. I think the tart would have been better if the crust had some salt, so you can add some into the dough if you want. Let sit in the fridge for an hour before proceeding to the next step.

  3. We used a 4×6 mold tray. Mold the crust into the tray. If the dough crust is too thin, it will be hard to take out of the tray without them falling apart. But if the crust is too thick, it won’t taste as good. I would say a 0.2~0.3 cm thickness is good, but it really is up to you. Just make sure you don’t really see the color of the tray – if you do the crust is probably too thin. Preheat the oven to 325F.

  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pot on low heat. Add 1/2~3/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the pot,1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix until the chocolate is all melted. Turn off the heat and add 1 beaten egg into the pot. Mix it until the filling is smooth, as shown in the picture. The sugar should not be melted. Put the filling into the mold.

  5. Put the tarts into the oven for about half an hour.

  6. Take them out. You can put marshmallows or other cute things on top of the tarts (if you would like).

  7. Let them cool on a rack. They should be fairly airated. If you put them into a closed container the crust will become soggy and taste bad. The tart tastes the best when it is cool because otherwise the crust is not crunchy and flaky. Enjoy!

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