Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chocolate Tart

I was thinking that Lolita Darling was lacking a bit of chocolate lately.. sure, we have the chocolate muffins but they aren't gooey, rich and decadent. I perused a few food blogs and found a great-looking recipe for a chocolate tart and knew I had to attempt it immediately.

Here you go

It's a chocolate tart with a hazelnut crust, a baked ganache filling and a smooth silky ganache glaze.

I'd use a good-quality chocolate like Valrhona or Schaffen berger, but I am a broke student.

The recipe asks for dark chocolate to be whisked with sugar, but the end product is still pretty bittersweet which is just the way I (really) like it. If you're more comfortable with a less bitter chocolate however, you could use semisweet.

Peek-a-boo! Gonna strip you right down baby

Baked the crust, then poured the filling and baked again. Covered it with glaze afterwards. 
See those bumps? That's where I kept poking it to taste the glaze.

Let's be honest here. The crust is ugly. Three reasons: a) I don't have a food processor so the biscuits didn't really crumble evenly when I smashed it with my bare hands, b) I didn't cover the edges with a thin foil so they're more cooked and c) I don't have a tart pan! This is a pie pan. Eventually I realised I also did not press the crust down thinner, so I had an unbalanced ratio of crust to chocolate.

Sliced for consumption

The end product. I'm sorry I'm not that much of a food connoisseur! If you're not a Fancy Nancy and is cool with anything that ends up in your mouth good and delicious, you'd find that the very rich chocolate filling is actually delicious with loads of biscuit-y crust.

A better look at how ridiculously thick the crust is. But here is my theory:

All is good when your mouth is full of food.

Happy baking everyone!

Chocolate Tart
Adapted from Delight Dulce

1 cup ground graham cracker (I used digestive biscuits)
3/4 cup whole hazelnuts ground - no skin (you can buy them already ground)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 tbsp confectionery sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter - melted
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
250g or 9oz bittersweet chocolate- no more than 65%
2 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp heavy cream
55g or 2oz bittersweet chocolate - same one used above
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp warm water

Preheat oven to 180C.

Crust: Combine ground crackers, hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar. Add melted butter and mix until it holds a shape when pressed. Press into a tart pan, bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
Filling: Heat cream to a boil, pour over chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk, add eggs, vanilla and salt, then whisk again till smooth. Pour into crust and bake for 20-25 minutes, then let cool for half an hour.
Glaze: While tart is cooling, bring cream to a boil as above, and pour over chocolate. Add honey and water then whisk till smooth. Pour over tart and rotate to cover the whole circumference. Cool and enjoy with a glass of milk.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Earl Grey Cupcakes With Lemon Earl Grey Buttercream

As most of you might have already known, I've been doing bake sales in school and it's doing pretty decent! I'm only selling a couple of cupcake flavours so far.. and people really do seem to like the red velvet.

When I sell cupcakes however, people seem to gravitate only towards the classic flavours like chocolate and I don't really have time to experiment with unusual flavours.. except for today.

Lo & behold
Check it! An idea popped into my head the other day and I thought of making tea cupcakes. Matcha green tea cakes are already quite popular, so I thought Earl Grey would be pretty interesting.

I only like this brand so far. Other brands taste too earthy and not as light. Mmm.. I love the smell of black tea.

Yum! I actually emptied a full teabag into the batter, so you're actually eating the tea leaves. It might sound pretty weird but it's nice and moist and you can't feel the texture of any tea leaves at all. I wouldn't mind eating it alone as a muffin without the frosting.

A closer look to see it dotted with the tea leaves

Have a cuppa tea while you're at it

I was really concerned about having a picture-perfect frosting since I'm selling. The cream cheese icing for the red velvet cupcakes tasted really good, but they kept being too runny.

As mentioned

I kept testing different frosting recipes and ingredient ratios for this batch of tea cupcakes, and finally I HAVE DONE IT!


I was so glad when it came out stiff and well-behaved! I didn't have any failed cupcakes at all.

If you look closer, you can see the lemon zest. The frosting is quite lemon-y, so I suggest keeping it to one tablespoon if you only want a hint of lemon.

A big bite for some yum in your tum!

Savour one with a cup of tea or some hot chocolate for the lovely rainy weather we've been having..

Have a good day everyone!

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Earl Grey Buttercream
Adapted from Honey & Jam and Yi Reservation

Cupcakes(Makes 16):
1cup Unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5cup sugar
4 Eggs
1cup Cake flour
1¾cup All purpose flour
1tsp Baking powder
1tsp Baking soda
1cup Milk
2 bags Earl grey tea
Few drops of vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsn. lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons of earl grey tea leaves

Preheat oven to 176C.

In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift both flours, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk dry ingredients into cream gradually and then add earl grey and milk. Bake for 16-18 mins.

For the frosting, beat butter until light and fluffy then gradually add sugar. Beat in zest and juice and finally incorporate the earl grey tea leaves.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chocolate Lush Cupcakes

First let me show you a photo of the crime.

A moist chocolate cake with a pudding-y chocolate frosting as an accompaniment.. I could not help but to savagely devour it!

Now let's track our steps.

Sifting dry ingredients.. I've been using so much cocoa powder lately that I have to buy another box soon.

Oh speaking of buying, recently I lost my keys..that was frustrating. I had to time myself before going home to catch my dad before he went to work so that I could enter the house. If I missed him then I had to wait outside the house for my brother.

Chocolate cakes ready for cooling

Today I went to my neighbourhood baking supply shop and guess what! I had frequented their shop so many times that they recognised me and told me I had left my keys there. What a relief!

So after the cakes have cooled, cut a hole in the center so you can maximise your opportunities for frosting. Pipe a dollop of chocolate frosting in the middle and cover with your cut cake bit.

Pipe on remaining frosting on top then stuff the whole thing in your mouth. Or if you're a lady, eat it with a fork. Whatever works.

This was delicious! I'm always afraid that the frosting or the cake in a cupcake would be too sweet.. That's a sure-fire mood killer, unless you do like your treats extra sweet. I'm constantly lessening the amount of sugar when baking, but recently I've had a problem with keeping the frosting stiff for easy piping. Recipes I've read ask to keep adding sugar to get the consistency right, but it always becomes way too sweet.

Anyone have any suggestions? I sometimes keep it in the fridge to firm it up.. but that helps only a little.

On a different note, recently I've started taking orders in school for red velvet cupcakes.. and response has been overwhelming! I'm only taking a small number of orders per week.. and I've already had offers for birthdays and such!

Thank you for the support everyone.. I can't say thank you enough really.

18 cupcakes awaiting its match (which is the frosting)

This is why I'm really concerned about the frosting consistency! I'll be experimenting with a lot of cupcake recipes soon.. Hope I get the frosting right in the end.

Meanwhile, watch this space for more updates!

P.S. I've set the username for my Facebook change so that it'll be easier to pass around. If you haven't liked it yet, do so now! I update the page more frequently than I do here.

Love you all!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Red Velvet Cake Pops

So. The red velvet cupcakes were really quite a big hit among my friends! That, or they were just humouring me. I doubt that though because they gave such huge, warm, honest and lovely reactions (overreactions for some) that I wanted to burst with gratitude and love.

They actually tasted the second batch that I did within a day. The first batch, as seen above, tastes exactly the same but overflowed and didn't look quite so pretty anymore. I should have seen that coming because of the amount of baking soda plus baking powder in the recipe! For those looking to try the cupcakes, try to fill the cupcake liners up to only half or a little less than half. You're gonna frost the top of the dome anyway.

So what do we do with the ugly outcasts?

We're gonna fix it Bakerella style! If you haven't already known the awesomeness that is Bakerella, she is known for her extreme details on her cute cake pops. Here's the recipe for a basic cake pop. For me I just added the cream cheese frosting onto the crumbled cake until it became mash-able and I could roll a basic ball.

Stick a lollipop stick into a cake ball and dip it into chocolate melts!
Aren't they cute!

All packaged and ready for distribution among friends who weren't able to get a cupcake.

And one for me!

These were really popular as well. I'm even thinking of making more this week. For you creative ones you could even design your own cake pop just like Bakerella.

Go nuts!

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