21 April 2016

CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES

Moist and tender cake layers, rich mocha frosting, and just a hint of tartness from orange preserves, all perfectly wrapped up and rounded off in these adorable little truffles. This is a great alternative to a regular cake, especially if you are transporting it, or don't have the time to frost and decorate the cake. If you wish, you can use sprinkles instead of icing sugar. Because after all, sprinkles make everything even better.

Chocolate cake truffles recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the chocolate cake
150 grams butter, softened
200 grams light brown sugar
2 small eggs
100 ml oil
100 grams plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
250 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
100 ml hot coffee
For the mocha buttercream
100 grams butter, softened
100 grams icing sugar
50 grams instant vanilla pudding powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
3 tablespoons heavy cream
To assemble
2 tablespoons orange preserves
icing sugar, for decoration

Chocolate cake truffles recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Preparation
To make the cake, start by sifting together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the brown sugar for about two minutes on the highest setting, or until uniform in colour and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each. Add in the yogurt and oil, followed by vanilla. Blend well, then add the dry ingredients and whisk until just barely blended. Finally, add the coffee and whisk until combined. Take a 23x30 cm (9x13") cake pan, grease and flour the base and sides. Pour the cake batter in, level it as much as you can and bake it in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 30-35 minutes. Check it with a skewer to make sure it isn't overbaked. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 mins, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Before you start making the buttercream, sift the icing sugar twice. Beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on high for about 3-4 minutes, until it lightens up and becomes smooth and creamy. Add the coffee granules, and blend it really well. Add the icing sugar in three additions, mixing well after each. Finally, add the heavy cream gradually, and continue beating for about 2-3 minutes, until completely light and fluffy.
When the cake is thoroughly chilled, crumble it up with your hands until you get fine crumbs. Add in the buttercream and start mixing with an electric mixer on low. Keep mixing on low while slowly adding the orange preserves. Increase the speed and mix for about 30 seconds more, to completely blend the batter. Put the batter in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes, to firm up. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a small cookie scoop (about a tablespoon of the batter), take out the batter and roll it gently between your palms to shape the truffles. Place them on the lined baking sheet and put them in the fridge for at least an hour. When ready to decorate, roll them into icing sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder, and keep refrigerated until serving time. Yields 45 truffles.

12 April 2016

DOUBLE COFFEE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Strong coffee flavour and a hint of chocolate make this a great dessert. The coffee syrup makes them slightly sticky, and soft, and the buttercream keeps them moist and fresh for longer. The buttercream is light and airy, very smooth, with almost a whipped consistency. There is plenty of frosting, so you can pipe a very nice swirl on top of each cupcake. This type of cupcakes is a great brunch alternative, especially if you’re on the go. Coffee and snack in one.


Ingredients
For the cupcakes
100 grams granulated sugar
100 ml cold water
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 egg
120 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
200 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
For the coffee buttercream
100 grams butter, softened
200 grams icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons cold water

Preparation
Take a medium saucepan and place in the sugar and the coffee, then mix it with a spatula and shake the pan to make an even layer. Pour over the cold water and swirl the pan, but do not stir. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the mixture to rolling boil, without stirring. Even if it looks lumpy, do not stir it, the lumps of coffee will dissolve as it starts to boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then remove it from the heat and let it cool down slightly.
Take a large bowl and whisk together the milk, vanilla and the egg, then slowly drizzle in the cooked sugar and coffee syrup. Whisk constantly as you pour it in, so you don't cook the egg. Finally, sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and whisk until just combined. Add the hot water and whisk briefly. If you overmix, the muffins will be tough. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with 6 paper liners, evenly fill each cup with the muffin batter and bake them, in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool completely before frosting.
Place the instant coffee granules into a small bowl, add the cold water and mix thoroughly until smooth. Place the butter in a large bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer on high, for about 2 minutes. It should become completely creamy and slightly lighter in colour. Sift in half of the icing sugar, add the coffee syrup, and blend on high for 2 minutes more. When it becomes creamy, add in the rest of the sifted icing sugars, beating for at least 2 minutes more.The buttercream will be airy and smooth, with a whipped consistency. Take each of the cupcakes, pipe on a generous frosting swirl, and serve. Yields 6 standard cupcakes.

14 March 2016

CHOCOLATE BANOFFEE CUPCAKES

Ripe bananas are perfect for using in desserts. They give the cupcakes such a nice flavour and keep them moist and fresh for longer. I recommend using really high quality unsweetened cocoa powder, to balance the sweetness coming from bananas. Top them with freshly whipped cream, caramel sauce, some honey roasted banana chips, and enjoy!

Chocolate banoffee cupcakes recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
100 grams bananas (1 medium banana)
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
For the frosting
200 ml heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons caramel sauce
4 tablespoons banana chips (optional)

Preparation
Place the banana in a large bowl and mash it well with a fork (or use a liquidizer), then add the cocoa powder and blend really well with a whisk. Next, add the sugar and the egg, blend well with a whisk, then add the oil and mix until the batter becomes completely smooth. Sift in the flour and the baking powder and fold it through with a rubber spatula, being careful not to overmix it.
Finally, add the boiling water and mix the batter gently one more time. A few strokes should be enough to blend it. Divide the batter evenly between six standard muffin cups (lined with paper liners), and bake in a preheated oven, at 200˚C (400˚F) for about 15-18 minutes. Check them with a toothpick, of course. Let them cool completely before decorating.
To decorate them, whip the chilled heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then pipe a generous amount on each cooled cupcake (Wilton 1M works well for that purpose), drizzle them with caramel sauce and sprinkle them with banana chips (if using). Yields 6 standard cupcakes.

07 March 2016

CHOCOLATE WALNUT CHERRY CAKE

I love cakes. And I really love moist and flavourful cakes that are rich and soft. This cake is just like that - smooth and rich, bursting with flavour from toasted walnuts, cherries in liqueur, and dark chocolate. I especially love the cherry chocolate buttercream. It is so light and airy, like a chocolate mousse. Keep in mind that this is a rich filling, and that it's enough to evenly spread it between the cakes, but in a modest layer. If you want your cake really generously filled, double the quantities of ingredients, and get baking.

Chocolate walnut cherry cake tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the cake
100 grams rolled oats
500 ml piping hot water
200 grams butter, softened
200 grams icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
200 grams all purpose flour
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
100 grams toasted walnuts, chopped
For the filling
200 grams butter, softened
200 grams icing sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
100 grams cherries in liqueur
For the decoration
250 ml heavy whipping cream
assorted food colouring (optional)

Preparation
To make the cakes, start by pouring the piping hot water over the rolled oats, mix and let it cool down almost completely and absorb all of the water. It should take up to 10 minutes. In another bowl, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar until light and fluffy, then blend in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating after each, but only until incorporated. Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, then add it to the batter, and blend well. If the oats have cooled, but there is still some water left in the bowl, drain them well and discard the liquid.
Add the oats to the batter, along with the toasted walnuts, then blend on low until incorporated. Generously grease and flour the bottoms and sides of two spring-form pans (23cm, 9”), pour in the batter evenly and bake in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for 15-20 minutes. Check them for doneness around 15 minutes, to make sure they do not overbake. Take them out of the oven, let them sit in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and place them on wire racks to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, place the butter in a large bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer on high, for about 2 minutes. It should become completely creamy and slightly lighter in colour. Sift in the cocoa powder, and blend on high for 2 minutes more. When it becomes creamy, add in the sifted icing sugar in two batches, beating for at least 2 minutes after each. Strain the cherries, dice them, and add them to the buttercream, then blend well. The buttercream will be airy and smooth, with a whipped consistency.
To assemble the cake, level the cooled cakes, then split them in half. Place the first cake layer on the serving platter, then close the cake ring around it. Take the cherry buttercream and spread one third of it over the first cake layer. Top it with another cake layer and continue spreading the filling and topping with cake layers until you use everything up. Wrap the surface in plastic wrap and place the cake in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Once the cake is chilled and has firmed up, remove it from the fridge, and remove the cake ring. Finally, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, add the food colouring (if using), and decorate the cake as desired. Yields 16 servings.

29 February 2016

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

If you are like me, and can't have eggs, or you simply want an egg-free dessert, this is the recipe for you. These brownies are so dense and fudgy, with a fantastic, deep chocolate flavour. Really easy to make, too, you need only a bowl and a whisk. The batter will seem greasy, because of the oil you add while blending it, but have no worries, the baked brownies will not be greasy. They need the oil, because the cocoa powder can be pretty drying. Serve them with some chocolate sauce, or fresh fruit, or if you want to, some ice-cream, it will be great whatever you choose as an addition.


Ingredients
250 grams plain flour
200 grams granulated sugar
80 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
250 ml cold water
250 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon rum

Preparation
Take a large bowl, sift in the flour and the cocoa powder, then whisk everything really well. Add in the sugar, and whisk everything together again. Pour the water and oil over everything, then add the rum and vanilla bean paste. Whisk everything until well blended. Take a baking pan (23x33 cm - 9x13"), grease and flour it well, then pour in the batter. Try to level it as much as you can, because the batter is thick and it will not spread itself.
Bake the brownies in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 20 minutes. Check them with a toothpick even before 20 minutes is up, because if they overbake, they will be dry. Once they are done, let them cool down in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan and let them cool completely. They taste the best when they are completely cool. Yields 12 servings.