Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cupcake

Oh my, my, my...

Is there anything more tasty than a plump, ripe strawberry, dipped in a thick, rich chocolate coating?

Well, maybe there is, but you can't deny that it is a divine flavor combination, right?

I love strawberries. LOVE. THEM.

I love chocolate. LOVE. IT.

I couldn't let oodles of leftover Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting go to waste, so I whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes and topped 'em with chocolate ganache and the leftover frosting.

Decadent. Rich. Positively divine.

I'm talking about the ganache and the strawberry cream cheese frosting. The cupcake was really just a third wheel.

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz's semi sweet chocolate squares

Boil cream.

Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and let rest for a moment.


Resist dipping the spoon in for a sample.

Ah, go ahead, sample.

Spoon onto top of cupcakes and cool before frosting.

The end.

There are other uses for ganache and had I had the time and energy, I probably would have spooned the ganache on top of the frosting instead. mmmmmmm.


Chocolate Cupcakes
(From The Whimsical Bakehouse)

(This was the first time I have tried this recipe, and admittedly, I substituted the cake flour with All Purpose Flour, and it was...*OK*; I like my chocolate cake thick and rich and this is not a thick and rich recipe. However, since the frosting and ganache are already very rich, this recipe actually provided a nice balance. Just don't be a cheapskate like me. Use cake flour.)

1/2 cup milk
1 cup packed brown sugar (I used light, but dark might give it that extra "oomph")
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 large egg, separated
4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt 1/2 cup milk, brown sugar and chocolate together over low heat.
Whisk in the egg yolk.
Remove from heat.
With an electric mixer, cream the stick of butter, then add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.
Slowly add 2 large eggs and 1 egg white.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture, alternating with the milk and vanilla extract.

Fill cups almost full. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or at 325 for a little longer. Be careful not to overcook, this recipe is not forgiving and will get very dry.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strawberry Lemonade

I imagined that I'd have something else to show you, a beautiful tiered cake, but I ran out of something I needed for it during a failed experiment that shall remain nameless. So, I scrapped the cake idea for now and decided to go with flavors I love together.

These are vanilla cupcakes with lemon mousse filling and strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Oh. my. heck.

Really sweet, but hello, cupcakes? These are perfect for a hot summer day and are reminiscent of the strawberry lemonade my son got from Over Easy recently.

You can use your favorite yellow or white cake recipe with these.

Lemon Mousse

Lemon Curd (courtesy of The Whimsical Bakehouse)

1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice (about four small lemons w/o a juicer)
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest (have fun zesting!*)
4 large eggs

Bring first four ingredients to a boil (whisking pretty regularly)

Beat the eggs well just before mixture boils

Slowly stir the hot mixture into the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low to medium low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. You will feel it thicken. Be very careful with the heat or the curd will curdle (hahahahahaha!). However, if you are not a perfectionist and you do get a teeny tiny bit of curdling, the next step, straining the mixture into a bowl will take care of it.

Once you have strained the mixture into the bowl, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and chill for at least four hours.

*The zest is the yellow part of the outer rind of the lemon. Do not zest the white part of the rind, you will get bitter lemon curd.

To make the mousse:

Whip up 1 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream with two tablespoons of powdered sugar, you want the whipped cream to have stiff peaks; but be careful, whip too long and you'll have butter.

Fold in 3/4 cup chilled lemon curd and do with as you wish. Spooning it directly from the bowl and into your mouth is a perfectly acceptable use for this light and refreshing mousse.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from The Whimsical Bakehouse and modified almost beyond recognition)
(P.S. Also tastes divine on chocolate cupcakes)

9 oz softened cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
8-10 cups of powdered sugar
10-12 strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry daiquiri mix

Put the strawberries and daiquiri mix in a blender and liquefy. Set aside in a bowl.

Cream the cheese and butter.
Add the first six cups of powdered sugar and mix on low.
Add strawberry mixture and blend.
Add powdered sugar until you get to the consistency you want. This recipe is not for decorating, it is for taste, so you will not get a light and fluffy buttercream no matter how much powdered sugar you add.

Assembling the cupcakes

Cool the cupcakes.

My idea of filling a cupcake is rudimentary at best, so, uh, sorry about that. Basically, I filled a plastic plunger (that came with our Pancake Puff pan - yes, we own the Pancake Puff pan) with the lemon mousse and inserted it through the top of the cupcake. I did this three or four times on each cupcake after I discovered rooting around inside the cupcake trying to make a single "fill hole" compromised its structure. I settled for having several "tubes" of mousse instead.

To get the frosting's swirly effect, I squirted the frosting on to the cupcake using Ateco tip number 824.

Sip and enjoy.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hello, Old Friend

There must be a reason this blog is still around, I think. I stopped posting nearly two years ago, but here it is, still existing.

I think I've known.

I've known that this blog would come back, eventually.

I think I'm just about ready. I've got all kinds of pretty/tasty ideas floating through my head.

I think I know why I quit and why I want to keep going.

It is not some deep, dark rooted thing. No, it is a matter of taste.

You see, I do not like fondant or jam, I do not like it Sam I am.

(Truthfully, I'm okay with jam, but fondant didn't rhyme with Sam.)

Fondant, oh, how I curse thee.

I tried, really tried to like it, but it got to the point where I couldn't be proud of what I made because I couldn't actually eat it. What good is a cake if it just looks pretty? Fondant has the effect of finding a hair in my salad. If I make a fondant covered cake, I can't eat it. End of story. The whole cake is guilty by association.

So, from here on out, it's anything but fondant. Ganache, buttercream, mousse? I can't promise meringue, but I promise I might try?

If I won't eat it, I won't post it.

Stay tuned.

The Boy and His Cake

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Closing up Shop

When I started this blog I was making more cakes than I had time for because I was trying to learn. When I figured this out, the posts on this blog went from sixty to zero. I don't have the time to create as many confectionary delights as I was doing back then, and this blog is severely neglected. So I'm closing it. It's been fun.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Optimus Prime

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The good news is this cake made it to the party, and the standby cupcakes I purchased did not get touched. It was an absolute hit. The bad news is that my poor little son was having a slight tummy problem (he wasn't sick though), and he didn't want any.

The cake is all Chocolate Fudge. I made four 12 x12 inch cakes and cut off about 1/3 of it to use as scrap and to make the back of the truck.

The rest is a modge podge of 8x8's and 6 x 6 inch cakes. Here is a picture of the first cake I attempted and how I put it together. It's how I did the second cake, too.

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At certain points during this process I thought for sure I was done-for. But I kept on truckin' (haha), and was pleased with the final results. Sure, the fondant isn't smooth, but the overall effect was definitely there. For my first attempt at something of this nature, I can't complain.

The frosting was just regular lemony buttercream infused with cake for sturdiness. Actually a little too much cake, the frosting didn't wan't to stick, and if it did it wanted to fall off and take pieces of cake with it. That contributed greatly to the mushy look of the fondant.

The silver pieces are cardboard and fondant or just cardboard. The black portions are Rice Krispy Treats covered in fondant.

The big part of the truck was eaten, we brought home the leftovers only because Little Man didn't get to have a piece yesterday.

Ask me if I'd try this again and right now I'd probably say no. But in a few weeks the bug will bite me again and I'll be tearing the kitchen up!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

&*^%# Cake

This is the last thing that went well on the practice cake. (It is supposed to be Optimus Prime, the lead Transformer, in his truck form)

It's covered in Spackle Paste, a mixture of butter cream and cake scraps that makes the frosting a lot more stable. It was supposed to make the fondant look better.

In fact, I threw in the towel on the whole deal. Ready to go to the closest grocery store and order a cake. But dadgumit the towel put itself right back in my hands because NO ONE sells Transformers cakes. Not that it was like this huge blockbuster or anything. Sure, there's Yugi-oh or whatever the heck it is called cakes, but can you believe one of the bakery gals actually asked me what Transformers are? OK, I totally get that that you don't go to the movies often, but this movie was all over the place, dontcha think?

Needless to say, since the goody bags are already Transformered out...I am probably going to give the cake another go.

The problems started occurring because I had to load in massive quantities of Super Red and Royal Blue food coloring into the fondant (Optimus Prime colors). The combination of that and the heat (even with the AC set to 70) made it mush, absolute mush.

So if I'm going to do this, I'm going to purchase fondant that is pre-colored so I only have to tweak the color a bit instead of trying to turn white fondant into Super Red fondant.

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

And if it doesn't work out, I'm going to have to rename myself.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Than Eats Your Eye

I have been saving my cake making energy for the grand finale of the summer, the reason I started doing this whole decorating thing to begin with...


This will be the most important cake I've ever made. So, please forgive my absence this summer. It's been too hot, and I didn't want to get sick of making cakes before my son's birthday. I want to make him the mother of all cakes. Granted, I'm quite sure my vision of the cake and what actually comes out might be a bit different; but it's the thought that counts, right?

So here's a hint for the cake I'm making:

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