Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake

bday1.JPG

“Happiness is knowing there is cake in the oven”

Who likes tiramisu? Mascarpone frosting? Chocolate Mousse? Chocolate Ganache?? If you like at least one, or all of these – you will love this cake! This is a little 6-inch cake, perfect for your little birthday needs.

Tiramisu Cake (2 6-inch cakes)

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup +2tbsp sugar

1/4 cup espresso

2/3  cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with electric mixer and half of the sugar. When frothy, add in 1/4 cup of cooled espresso. Continue mixing until it thickens and color becomes off-white. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy and then add in  the rest of the sugar. Beat until you get stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the yolks. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Sift dry ingredients into the egg mixture until you do not see any loose flour. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into two well-buttered baking pans and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven – cakes should spring back when touched (this is a sponge cake). Let cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting

8 oz mascarpone cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp Kahlua

2-3 tbsp. heavy cream

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine cheese and powdered sugar until thickened, add vanilla, Kahlua, and heavy cream and mix well. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

bday3.JPG

Chocolate Mousse

1.5 tbsp water

1.5 tbsp sugar

1.5 egg yolks

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine water and sugar in saucepan over medium heat until boils and becomes a bit thicker. Remove from stove and turn off heat. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks in a large bowl until frothy and then add in the sugar mixture while whisking. In a separate bowl, microwave the chocolate until it melts, in about 30 second intervals. Combine the slightly cooled chocolate with the egg-sugar-water mixture. In a stand mixer beat the cream to soft peaks. Fold this into the chocolate-egg mixture.

Chocolate Ganache (make after cake is assembled)

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat cream on stove until it starts to just bubble a bit. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove, pour over the chocolate in a separate bowl. Mix until combined and smooth.

bday2.JPG

Assembly

Place 1 tiramisu cake into a 6-inch springform pan, and line the sides of the pan with an acetate cake collar. Spread the chocolate mousse out evenly over the tiramisu cake layer in your cake pan and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Remove from refrigerator and remove side of cake pan as well as acetate collar. Spread a thin layer of mascarpone frosting over the mousse layer, and then top with second tiramisu cake layer. Now frost whole cake with mascarpone frosting (this is thinner than a buttercream frosting, and the cake will appear somewhat “naked” frosted, but you will still have the great mascarpone taste – don’t worry!) Now make the chocolate ganache and let it cool a bit. Pour over the cake evenly with a spoon, and top with desired fruits/meringues/berries. Enjoy!

bday4.JPG

 

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookie1

“Cookies are made of butter and love”

Is there any dessert more classic and cozy than a chocolate chip cookie? The scent of these baking in my oven just makes me want to throw on some pj’s, pour a glass of milk, and cozy up on the couch. It’s not easy to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe – mostly because everyone’s ideal cookie is a little different. I prefer a cookie that is slightly crunchy along the edges and soft with ooey-gooey chocolate chips in the middle. If that’s your style – then this is the cookie for you!

cookie2

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips

cookie3

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Add in brown sugar and mix. Next add in eggs and vanilla while mixing. Now add in your dry ingredients into your stand mixer in 3 parts, mixing just enough to combine. Toss in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Place your cookie dough in the fridge for 45 mins-2 hours (as long as you can wait!).

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove dough from refrigerator and place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. I used large spoonfuls. Make sure to leave enough space for the cookies to spread. Bake for 10-15 minutes. I baked at 375F for the first half of the time, then finished baking at 350F. Cookies are done when edges are golden brown. Let cool, and enjoy!

 

Persimmon Tart

perstart2

“Life is a lot better with chocolate”

Happy New Year! Sorry to have been a bit neglectful of the blog the last month. Here is a quick and easy recipe a lot of people have been asking for. Persimmons are good for your eyes, have a lot of Vitamin-C, and may also have heart healthy benefits – so eat up, in a sweet way! 🙂

The Tart

1 cup butter

2 cups flour

4 tbsp sugar

pinch of salt

2 eggs, separated

a bit less than 1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Beat together two egg yolks with water. Add dry ingredients to butter in parts, beating in between additions. Add the eggs to the mixture and then the vanilla. When dough clumps together, remove from stand mixer and wrap well with plastic wrap. Place in fridge overnight. Save egg whites in refrigerator to brush tarts with later while baking.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place in pre-buttered rectangular tart pan (with removable bottom). Pre-heat oven to 375F. Prick the tart with a fork and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover the tart pan with parchment paper and fill middle with dried beans or rice (or pie weights if you have those) so that the dough does not rise while baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes this way. Then remove from oven, remove beans/rice/weights/parchment paper and cover with egg white wash. Return to oven for a few minutes until golden-brown.  Let the tart cool to room temperature before removing from tart pan.

perstart1

Ricotta Cream and Persimmons

1.5 cups ricotta cheese

2 tbsp. sugar

3 Fuyu persimmons (hard, not fully ripened)

1 bag of dark chocolate candy melts

handful of roasted pistachios

Whisk together the ricotta and sugar, and then spread evenly in the cooled tart. Peel and slice the persimmons into thin round slices. Melt the chocolate in 10 second intervals in the microwave until fully melted. If the chocolate is not smooth enough for dipping, you can add 1-2 tbsp. heavy cream and mix in well. Meanwhile, place the shelled pistachios in a baggie and use a kitchen mallet to quickly crumble them. Dip persimmon slices halfway into the chocolate, then sprinkle the pistachios over the chocolate half. Place the persimmons in the refrigerator for 30 mins-1hour to let the chocolate harden. Next, place the persimmons on the ricotta and place the tart in the refrigerator for another 2-4 hours to set.

See? Quick, no-fuss, semi-healthy dessert 😉 Enjoy!

 

Best Chocolate Cake!

choco13

“Put ‘eat chocolate’ at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.”

True story. If you do only one thing this weekend – it should be to make this chocolate cake. It’s seriously moist, sweet, and amazingly chocolate-y. There’s no need to waste more time – here it is – now go bake!

choco4

Chocolate Cake

2 1/2 cups flour

2 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk +1 tsp. white vinegar (let stand 15 mins)

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup French Vanilla Coffee

1/4 cup Bacardi Rumchoco1

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter six 6-inch springform pans (I made two 3 layer cakes). Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, whisk, and set aside. Combine oil, milk/vinegar, eggs, and vanilla in stand mixer and mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts and mix together. Next add coffee and rum and mix well. Bake for 40 mins-1 hour, depending on your oven – just make sure a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding the frosting.

 

choco9

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup heavy cream

strawberries (for layering)

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. Combine sugar and cocoa in a separate bowl, then add in 1/2 cups to butter while mixing. Add vanilla and heavy cream, and mix until smooth.

choco5

Assembly

Frost a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on the first cake layer. Then use a large round tip to pipe a circle all the way around the first cake layer. Fill in with fresh, thinly sliced strawberries. Cover with more buttercream. Place second layer on frosting and repeat with frosting and strawberries. Top cake with third layer, and cover whole cake with a crumb coat of buttercream frosting. Place in the fridge and allow to harden a bit, at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and do a final smooth coat of chocolate buttercream. Place back in fridge and allow to harden. Meanwhile, create your decorations. choco15

Once the ganache is cooled enough, but not too much, pour it over your cake and allow it to drip a bit. While it is still wet, place your chocolate leaves, swirls, strawberries on top. I also piped some little buttercream kisses with a small round tip around my leaves and swirls. I then added some more gold touches with the paintbrush.

choco14

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat cream on stove until it starts to just bubble a bit. Turn off the heat and remove from the stove, pour over the chocolate in a separate bowl. Mix until combined and smooth. Allow to cool so that the ganache is thicker before pouring over the top of the cake.

choco11

Graduation Owl Cake Pops

IMG_3613

“If you imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”

Ah, graduation time. It’s such a special time to enjoy with family and friends, and to really be proud of this huge accomplishment and milestone in your life. You did it! Now you should enjoy some cake pops, grad style 🙂

(P.S. sorry the photos aren’t great. These were my first ever cake pops- done a year ago, before I really tried to take pretty pictures of my baking. However, I still really wanted to share them because they are such an adorable thing to make for your special grad -and yummy too!)

The cake pops themselves can really be made out of any cake and frosting that you prefer. I made this one out of my carrot cake because it happens to be my favorite flavor of cake – and it holds its flavor well so that it doesn’t become unbearably sweet combined with all the frosting (I prefer cream cheese frosting) you’re going to use.

Pops

Bake a 9×13 inch sheet cake (You can follow my recipe here for the carrot cakes. This amount will be enough for the sheet cake.) Make cream cheese frosting.

Once cake is cooled, crumble the cake into a large bowl (I use my clean hands, or you can use a food processor for a few seconds. You can’t really use the edges of the cake which will be hardened too much, so you can just snack on those!)  and add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup frosting and mix together with crumbs until you get a consistency that you can shape.To mix, you can use a spatula or your clean hands. You may need to add a bit more frosting if you still have crumbs left.

Next take some of the mixture in your hand and roll it into a 1.5 inch ball. Make as many pops as your combo of crumbs and frosting allows. ( I can usually get about 14-16) They will be very moist at this point.

Place the pops onto parchment paper and put them in the freezer for a couple hours.

IMG_3611

Decorating!

1-2 bags of  dark chocolate candy melts

Cake pops

candy sticks

1-2 Styrofoam blocks

Wilton’s candy eyes

Orange Air Head candy

Yellow star shaped sprinkles

Watermelon or cherry flavored sour belts candy

Lindt dark chocolate squares

mini chocolate chips

Reese’s mini peanut butter cups (not the mini mini ones but the classic minis wrapped in the gold foil)

IMG_3602

Once you are ready to take your pops out of the freezer, begin melting your candy melts dark chocolate – do just 1/4 cup at this time, in 15 second intervals, mixing in between.

Now dip your candy stick into the chocolate and then into the cake pop so that it goes half-way through the pop and leaves a little circle of chocolate, sealing the stick in. Be very careful not to push it all the way through, or even to the top – because, unfortunately, in my experience, once you do that, when you try to cover the whole pop in chocolate it may just break your little pop in half. If you put it all the way through – don’t worry – you’ll have to remove the stick, reshape the pop, and put it back in the freezer and then try again.

Once all the sticks are in the pops, place them back in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Now melt more chocolate – about a cup at a time, still in 15 second intervals, and still mixing in between.

Let the chocolate cool a bit and meanwhile prepare the candy. For each pop, you’ll want two eyes, 2 star sprinkles, one lindt choco square. Cut the Reese’s cup in half and use the narrower upper half only (I found the whole cup was too heavy to stay on the pop. Also, make sure they are refrigerated and cold before you cut them – makes it less messy). Shape mini beaks out of the Airhead candy (see my pics for what they should look like. Doesn’t have to be perfect!) Now rip the sour belt into narrow strips about 1 inch long.

IMG_3604

Take the pops out of the fridge. They should be pretty secure now. Take the stick and dip it pop first into the deep cup of chocolate, so that it is completely covered. Now remove it and swirl and shake it around a bit (not too hard) so that excess chocolate drips off. Place the stick into a prepared Styrofoam block. Now get to work right away on your candy, because the chocolate hardens pretty quickly. Attach the two eyes, the beak, the feet, and one mini chip a bit to the side at the top as an ear (the other imaginary ear is supposedly under the graduation cap!) Next dab some chocolate on the top of the pop (a bit to the side, since you have an ear – see the pictures for guidance) and attach the base of the graduation cap (open larger peanut butter side down, since we cut them in half earlier!) Now dab chocolate on top of the base of the cap and attach the lindt chocolate, design side down, at an angle. Dab a dot of chocolate at the top middle of the cap and attach the sour belt as the tassel. Once you have done this with all the pops, place them in the fridge for about an hour to fully harden.

Now take a big bite of wisdom out of that lil graduation owl cake pop!

Mini Chocolate Pistachio Cakes with a Matcha Green Tea Glaze

matcha2

“Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am! And I would eat them in a boat! And I would eat them with a goat… And I will eat them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree. They are so good so good you see! “- Dr. Seuss

How about green tea matcha icing atop mini chocolate cake? Would you eat that if I bake? What if it had pistachios too? If yes, then let me share with you!

(I tried! )

Mini Chocolate Pistachio Bundt Cakes

3/4 cups flour

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup of hot coffee

½ cup chopped pistachios

 matcha3

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Add dry ingredients into the stand mixer in 3 parts, mixing in betwee . Add the coffee now, which will thin out the batter. Mix in the pistachios until evenly distributed.  Pour batter into buttered mini bundt pan for baking. Fill each mini bundt halfway full. Bakes in about 18 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a few comes out clean.

Matcha Green Tea Glaze 

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp matcha powder

2.5 tbsp heavy cream

In a stand mixer combine powdered sugar with matcha powder. Add in heavy cream in 1 tbsp at a time until a good glaze consistency is reached. Drizzle over cooled cakes. Top with roughly chopped pistachios.

matcha1

5(0) Shades of Grey Chocolate Cake

greycake4

“Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.”

So I haven’t read the books or seen the movie – but – the movie did come out this week, and I needed an excuse to make a quick little chocolate cake – with 5 – not 50 (can you imagine how long that would take?!) shades of grey frosting!

I was worried about using coffee in the cake but I had been hearing for a while that this makes for a super moist dark chocolate cake – and you can’t even taste the coffee. The rumors are true! So moist and scrumptious! Yum!

 greycake1

Chocolate Cake

1 ½ cups flour

1 ¾ cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾  cup of hot coffee

 greycake3

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts to wet ingredients, mixing in between. Mixture will be thick. Add the coffee now, which will thin out the batter. Pour batter into prepared cake pans for baking. I made a mini (4 inch) cake with three layers each. The batter was enough for two mini 3-layer cakes. Do not fill the pan up past halfway because it rises a good amount. Mini cakes bake in 16-18 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. My cakes baked in 18 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

For the frosting, I used my normal buttercream frosting recipe, but replaced the milk with heavy cream for a stronger piping consistency.

1 cup butter

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

7 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp clear vanilla extract

6 Tbsp heavy cream

Assembly

Divide frosting into 6 parts. Use one part to layer frosting in between cake layers and then crumb coat the whole cake and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

Of the remaining parts, keep one white, and use black food coloring to color the next four with different shades of grey. Use a 1M Wilton tip with a piping bag and white frosting to pipe shells all around the bottom layer. Then go the first light grey for the next circle above the white, all the way up to the darkest grey – getting an ombre effect. To pipe, squeeze a round shell and then pull to the side. Start the next shell on top of the edge of the one before to make sure you cover the whole cake.

For the top of the cake, combine the leftover frosting in one piping bag and use Wilton 1B from the inside out to pipe a cool ombre grey rose.

 greycake

Hope this week is a piece of cake!