Category Archives: Ganache

Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes

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Growing up, my family was never big on celebrating Christmas, or any North American holiday for that matter. In fact, I didn’t know who or what Santa was until I started kindergarten. The day I learnt about Santa and his elves in the North Pole was life-changing. Of course, the excitement didn’t last long:

“MOM! DAD!”

“Hey, how was school?”

“There’s an old fat man named Santa who flies around the world in his sleigh giving presents on Christmas eve!!!!”

“Oh honey, Santa’s not real.”¬†

Then they proceeded by laughing at me for a solid 5 minutes. (Jerks!)

Weird thing is, I’ve always loved anything and everything Christmas related. Probably because I was deprived of it in my early years ūüėõ¬†

Now that I’m older, I try to make up for it! I listen to Christmas music (Michael Buble to be exact) from October to January, eat EXTRA chocolate, organize a gift exchange with my cousins, and watch A Charlie brown Christmas at least 3 times.¬†

I’m going to add these peppermint chocolate cupcakes to my growing list of traditions as well. I made my go-to chocolate cake, filled it with ganache then topped it with a hint-of-mint peppermint buttercream. My sister had one and actually liked it – that says A LOT!¬†

What are some of your favourite Christmas traditions?

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Oh and if you’ve ever wondered how I take my photos… here’s a picture of my setup. I’m very minimalistic when it comes to photo set-up ūüėõ

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Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk* (I used 1 cup skim milk with 1 tbsp white vinegar)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee¬†
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract¬†

How To 

1. Heat oven to 350¬įF.¬†

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (Batter will be thin). Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake 15-20  minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Yields 35 ccupcakes.

Peppermint Buttercream

Ingredients

2.5 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp vanilla extract 
mint extract (add to taste) 

1. Beat butter and icing sugar together until light in colour. My trick to getting super fluffy buttercream is to whip the heck out of the butter for 15 minutes.

2. Mix in vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract.

3. Add mint extract little by little (a little goes a long way!!!) until you like it. 

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Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Cake

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This cake definitely trumps ALLL the cakes I have ever made. If you like Ferrero Rocher or Bueno, you need to make this cake right now. Your life will be a big black hole until you have a slice of this. (Totally not exaggerating.)

All threats aside, the idea for this cake came to me as I was enjoying some Bueno (not surprisingly) a couple months back. I gotta tell you, if there ever is a Bueno eating competition, I will join it and I will win. I can finish an entire bar of Bueno in like 50.36 seconds. My sister thinks it’s disgusting, but I think it’s natural talent ūüėÄ

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The cake consists of 3 layers of my favourite chocolate cake, but changed up a bit with EXTRA coffee (to bring out the chocolate flavour). Between the layers is where the taste explosion happens. I filled and covered this cake with HAZELNUT PRALINE WHIPPED GANACHE. To make this ganache, my trusty 13 cup KitchenAid Architect food processor pulverized the praline into crumbs in a matter of seconds, I kid you not! Then I used my 7 quart KitchenAid bowl lift stand mixer to whip my ganache into the perfect consistency. KitchenAid has made my life so much easier!

praline processor

hazelnut praline ganache

I usually try to avoid superlatives but believe me when I say that this is THE best ganache I have ever had… so far.¬†

Seriously, I liked this cake so much that it was hard for me to not think about it.

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Lucky for me, I pretty much had the entire cake to myself. I live with a bunch of weirdos who were born without the gene that codes for chocolate-lovin’ in their brain centers. Sometimes I question whether or not my sister is telling the truth when she tells me that I joined the family after I was picked up from a garbage can ūüėõ

I ate about 70% of the cake alllll by myself. Again, this is one of those natural talents of mine to be able to consume copious amounts of chocolate without dying from an overdose. My brother had one slice about 2 days after I made this cake. Yenno what he said to me?! I’ll tell you what he said to me:

“Hey, this is actually pretty good.”

Um what? *Eyebrow raises* “What do you mean by¬†actually?!”

hazelnut praline cake

Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake recipe here. Make one full recipe for 3 layer 10″ cake.

Hazelnut Praline

100g Hazelnuts
3/4 cup of granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Roast hazelnuts for about 8-10 mins, then place the hazelnuts between 2 towels and rub the hazelnuts to get the skin off.
2. In a saucepan, caramelize the sugar one third at a time. Place 1/3 of sugar into pan at medium heat, stir and let melt until it reaches a caramel colour. Add in second third and last third slowly, making sure to stir.
3. Once all sugar is caramelized, throw in the hazelnuts and coat them all with the melted sugar.
4. Immediately transfer to oil-sprayed cookie sheet. Let the praline cool until hardened.
5. Break up praline into pieces, process in food processor until it reaches a super fine consistency.

Hazelnut Praline Ganache

320mL and 800mL of heavy cream
10 oz. of milk chocolate (I used Ghirardelli)
All of the hazelnut praline

1. Using a a microwave, warm the chocolate in 30s intervals, stir in between intervals. When there are just a few lumps of solid chocolate left, reduce heating time to 10 secs in the microwave to avoid burning the chocolate. Stop when chocolate is one liquidy consistency.
2. Stir the processed praline into the chocolate. The mixture is supposed to be grainy, don’t worry!

2. Bring 320mL of heavy cream to a boil, then pour 1/3 of it into the chocolate mixture. Stir slowly until evenly combined. Drizzle in the rest of the boiled heavy cream in thirds and stir to combine.
3. Pour in the remaining cold 800mL heavy cream, you will have a very liquid mixture, this is normal, don’t panic!
4. Place the entire mixture into a refrigerator for a couple hours to cool. If possible, put the beaters of your standmixer/handmixer into the fridge as well. You want to make sure everything is really cold, but NOT frozen, in order to be able to whip up the cream and create a thicker consistency.
5. When it is cooled, whip the mixture on medium speed until medium peak forms. You don’t want to whip it for too long or on high speed because your whip cream will curdle and turn to butter. No bueno.¬†

Source: Modified from Alena Kogotkova

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Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

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Actually this cake is more like quadruple chocolate mousse cake. There’s a moist chocolate cake base, a dark chocolate mousse layer, then a white chocolate mousse layer and a shiny dark chocolate glaze on the top. But since white “chocolate” doesn’t technically count as chocolate, I decided to forgo it.¬†

Of all the cakes that I have ever made, this is the second one I’m happy with. The first being the strawberries and cream chocolate cake.¬†

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I made this cake for a friend’s 21st birthday. He let me choose what kind of cake to make him which was a a total curse because I am the WORST at making decisions. I finally decided to make a mousse cake the morning of his party because I thought that it would be easy to do. Booooyyyy was I wrong, I’m warning you right now, this cake is SO high maintenance! I didn’t give it enough time to firm up in the freezer, but I’m pretty sure that even if I did, it will not stay solid at room temp. If you decide to make this, I suggest freezing/refrigerating the cake until you need to serve it. I had to take this cake to the party location via public transportation (great arm workout) and by the time I got to the location, this cake was pretty much a mess. BUT, everyone LOVED it so my hard work was not wasted :’) The feeling of satisfaction when my friends get excited all over my cakes will never get old for me! Yes, I’m talking bout you Justin, David, Leanne, and Vanessa!¬†

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Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but I honestly don’t think that I’m that great of a baker! My friends say that I’m too modest, but I like to see it as giving myself more room to grow ūüôā The moment I think that I’m good enough, is the moment when I will settle. I don’t like to settle because that feeling I get when I exceed myself is too great to give up. Unless it involves a couch, a new episode of 2 Broke Girls, and a family sized bag of cheetos, I’ll be up and at em trying to beat myself in everything possible.¬†

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Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Cake
1/2 recipe for black magic cake, baked in a 10in round cake pan. Cool completely before layering mousse.

For the dark chocolate mousse:
1 teaspoon (3 grams) powdered gelatin 
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup (105 g) whole milk (I used 2 percent)
6 oz (175 g) good quality dark chocolate (or use milk chocolate if you prefer), finely chopped
1 1/4 cup (280 g) heavy cream

1. Bloom gelatin by sprinkling gelatin over water in small bowl for 5 mins. 

2. Heat milk in pan until simmering, TURN OFF HEAT, add bloomed gelatin and stir until gelatin melts milk.

3. Place chocolate into a bowl, pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let sit for about 2 minutes before stirring until smooth. Let this cool completely at room temperature. 

4. Whip cream until soft peak then fold into cooled but not firm chocolate mixture. Pour over chocolate cake and place into freezer while you make the white chocolate mousse.

For the white chocolate mousse:
1/2 cup (105 g) whole milk (I used 2 percent)
6 oz (175 g) good quality white chocolate
1 teaspoon (3 grams) powdered gelatin 
2 tablespoons water
3/4 cup (180 g) heavy cream

1. Bloom gelatin by sprinkling gelatin over water in small bowl for 5 mins. 

2. Heat milk in pan until simmering, TURN OFF HEAT, add bloomed gelatin and stir until gelatin melts milk.

3. Place chocolate into a bowl, pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let sit for about 2 minutes before stirring until smooth. Let this cool completely at room temperature. 

4. Whip cream until soft peak then fold into cooled but not firm chocolate mixture. Pour over dark chocolate mousse and place back into freezer for about 2 hours. 

For the chocolate glaze and sauce:
4 oz (112g) dark chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup (80g) heavy cream 
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I omitted)

1. Place cream, corn syrup, and oil into a microwavable bowl. Heat for about 50 secs until boiling. 

2. Pour heated cream mixture over chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 minutes before stirring to combine. Cool until room temperature.

3. Evenly pour over white chocolate mousse. Place back into freezer for another hour to set the glaze. 

Source: adapted from Pastry Pal

 

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