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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate cake’

Europe is missing out on all the cupcake fun. Why? They didn’t discover the cupcakes yet. They know cakes and they know muffins, but no one put the two together yet. Till very recently, I myself have never made cupcakes.  But two things lead me to try and, my oh my, am I happy to venture into the cupcake territory!

The first thing was my son’s love for muffins. The boy is weird – he doesn’t like sweets much. Also, he is a “one component” kinda guy, by which I mean he more often than not chooses simple one-component food over complicated one (no sauses on his meat, no dips for his veggies, no whipped cream on.. well.. anything). So, muffins, being small and not too sweet, and being one-component dessert, are his drug of choice when it comes to baked goodies.

The second thing was related to the first – since I started to bake muffins for kids’ gatherings and birthdays, I got myself a little helper. Here it is

Cupcake Courier

Cupcake Courier

This thing is absolutely ingenious for transporting muffins and cupcakes (up to three dozens!) And, because I’m so rational, I wanted to try and use it for more than just muffins, so I decided to try cupcakes!

Let me tell you, once I started I couldn’t stop! I really got cupcake crazy and haven’t made a real cake in more than a month! How come I’ve never made them before??? They are easy to make, practical (especially when you have such a great way to transport them), easy to eat, easy to share, and above all – oh so cute! I am a cupcake convert, that’s for sure!

Since my little discovery, I bought two books on the subject. The first is by Dede Wilson – A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes: Deliciously Decorated Crowd Pleasers for Parties and Holidays. It has some neat ideas and a lot of great recipes.

The second book is Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make by  Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. It has the neatest decoration ideas, and anyone who bakes at least occasionally, should have this book!

So, here are some of my creations. The first ones were pretty classic – the Black Forest Cupcakes (chocolate cupcake with cherries inside, topped with whipped cream, chocolate cut-out and a cherry, sprinkled with sweet cocoa powder).

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

Next were the Boston Cream Cupcakes – yellow cupcake filled with pastry cream, glazed with a bittersweat ganache and a single silver pearl.

Boston Cream Cupcakes

Boston Cream Cupcakes

These ones were made for a 7-year-old boy’s birthday party. Kids went crazy over these! The cupcakes were chocolate with vanilla buttercream spaghetti, strawberry sause and chocolate truffle meatballs.

Spaghetti with Meatballs Cupcakes

Spaghetti with Meatballs Cupcakes

This last weekend I made some carrot cupcakes for a tea gathering with my girlfriends. Some of them were topped with a swirl of traditional cream cheese frosting and topped with a fondant carrot.

Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot Cupcakes

For the second half of the batch, I colored the frosting green and piped it on the cupcakes using the large leaf tip. Then, I put buttercream roses on some, and simple drop flowers with gold pearls on the others. This was by the way my first ever attempt at buttercream flowers!

Flower Cupcakes

Flower Cupcakes

Buttercream Rose Cupcake

Buttercream Rose Cupcake

That’s it for now, but be sure to check back! With the holiday season upon us, there’ll be more baking in my kitchen!

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I love cheesecake. As simple as that. Any kind (well, home-baked prefered, but I even enjoy an occasional Sara Lee), any flavour, anytime. I’m sure, I’m not the only one.

Just yesterday, I baked one for today’s brunch with my girlfriends. It was a Mocha Cherry Cheesecake with a ganache topping. It came out of the oven so pretty and perfect and that was when my brain shut down. Somehow I thought it would be ok if I removed the sides of my spring-pan – well, now I know it was a BAD idea! The thing is, I baked the cheesecake in a steam bad (wrapping the cake pan in foil and putting it in a bigger pan with water in it). It usually gives you a very tender cheesecake with mousse-like texture, but it also means that the cheesecake doesn’t really bake through. When I took the sides of the pan off, the top of the cake cracked and the filling puddled on the counter. I’m not gonna tell you which words I used to loudly proclaim my own stupidity, but let me tell you they weren’t pretty (thank God my kids were asleep!) I thought the cake was ruined.

On the other hand, there was nothing to lose by trying to salvage the situation, so I put the sides of the pan back on, and scooped the filling from the counter (I swear, it was über-clean!!!) back in the pan. I then put the cake back in the oven (without the water this time around), and baked it again. After that, I cooled the cake and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I put the ganache on top of the cheesecake and prayed to all the cake gods that what I had was still edible!

Surprise, surprise – the cheesecake was ok! It was more than ok, it was great. In fact, you couldn’t tell there was anything wrong with it, and my girls thought I was kidding when I told them the story. But, because of the incident, I didn’t trust myself to take a picture of a “spoiled” cheesecake (although it looked allright also). After I realized the cake wasn’t ruined at all, it was too late for a full photo-session, but I managed to salvage the last piece to take a picture 🙂

Mocha Cherry Cheesecake

Mocha Cherry Cheesecake

Moral of the story: if something goes wrong – don’t panic. It may look like a total miss, but don’t give up! Try to do what you can with what you have. Chances are, even if the cake doesn’t turn out perfect, it will still be delicious!

All this talk about cheesecakes made me wonder if there’s such thing as a cheesecake wedding cake (seriously, why not? I haven’t met a person in my life who didn’t like cheesecake) I did some search and found out that, even if it’s not the easiest to decorate and it spoils more easily than other types of cake, it’s not impossible to have a cheesecake wedding cake!

Here is the link to the discussion of making and decorating a cheesecake for a wedding.

Well, I’m trying that the next wedding I can!

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