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!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Recently there seems to have been a trend going about Red Velvet cakes.. so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Actually these have been on my ''To-Bake" list since forever but I just decided to put them off for other more interesting recipes. My friends have been asking me to bring some of the goodies off Lolita Darling for them though, so I thought I'd just bring them these adorable cupcakes!

Tried them today and don't they just look so precious

Red velvet cake is really actually just a coloured chocolate cake. I mean why not make chocolate cake more awesome by colouring it a rich maroon right?

I took pictures before and after it rained, so that's why some pictures have brighter lighting than others. Like this one.

I was looking for a bright red colouring, but all I could find around the neighbourhood was cochineal red. I was so annoyed! I didn't want a cherry red at all, I wanted like, Santa's outfit. Marilyn Monroe lips. A Stop sign. Bright red.

Looking at the messy batter around the liners makes me want to wipe it off and clean myself and scrub my toes. I'm slightly OCD when it comes to baking and if you are too, then this picture is just to torture you.

In the end it turned out better than I expected. I suppose a bright red wouldn't give it a 'velvety' look.

Baked with a nice dome! It's cracked in the middle but I really don't mind because we're gonna cover it up with icing anyway!

Pipe on some of that delicious sweet cream cheese icing, with a pretty tip if you have or you could just cut a hole in a bag. Personally I like my cupcakes simple and unadorned with any extra stuff.



Hurray! I'm really glad at how they turned out. These are actually from the second batch which rose perfectly. My first batch overflowed, so I suggest filling the cupcake liners up to only half before sliding them into the oven! Also rotate them halfway so that you get an even deep, scarlet colour throughout.

Almost too pretty to eat.

*EDIT: Oh yes! I've also made a Facebook page for Lolita Darling, so click the 'like' button for updates, hissy fits and more! Thank you for your support everybody, mmmmwah.

Link here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Being a student, I am most expectedly broke all the time. I buy my own baking supplies therefore I really need to figure out a budget before baking anything. I was looking forward to experimenting with new recipes but I didn't have extra cash.. although I did have leftover ingredients from my chocolate chip muffins!

My best friend had requested for banana chocolate muffins and all I had to do was buy bananas. Cheap and satisfies my baking fix.

Nice and just ripe. You can use overripe bananas as well!

Mash the banana with a fork.. Or your fist if you're hardcore.

I asked my older brother to be my hand model and he proceeded to make dirty jokes. I'm sorry. This is not a family friendly site all. On a funny note however, I asked him to help me open the oven door but he became jumpy and anxious and looked around for a cloth to use as a heat barrier while exclaiming, "It looks hot it looks hot!"

Tough, you are not bro.

Fill each paper liner 3/4 full

Rising nice and pretty

Split open and eat in two mouthfuls!

I only used one banana for this recipe and it gave out an even hint of flavour.. but you can definitely add half or a whole banana more if you want a stronger taste. This is perfect for breakfast, tea time or even a midnight snack!

Wow.. that's a lot of muffin recipes in a row. I'm going to try other stuff soon as soon as I get my hands on some dough (not literally, monetarily) but for now, I'm bananas about this one!

Try it!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Modified from chocolate chip muffin recipe

71 grams unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream or plain yoghurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (more if desired)

1 banana, mashed (add half a banana more for a stronger banana taste)

Preheat oven to 190C.

Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well, then yoghurt. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. Mix until combined. Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and mix just until the flour disappears. Gently fold in your mashed banana and chocolate chips, but keep some chocolate chips aside for topping. Fill each paper liner up to 3/4 full and sprinkle last of chocolate chips. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

So. I told you I'd try the damned chocolate macarons again. Guess how many batches I threw away?


I was so angry I was wasting ingredients but I really didn't know what I was doing wrong. My third batch came out perfect, but the ganache required almond extract which tasted DISGUSTING and completely spoiled all the macarons.

I tried making a new batch but my macarons cracked even when I cranked down the oven temperature and stuck a wooden spoon by the oven door to prevent overheating. Ugh. It's okay. I.Do.Not.Admit.Defeat.

Putting such a disheartening feat aside, the boy's birthday was yesterday and I wanted to surprise him during jamming with a strawberry shortcake!

Mmmm strawberries

Add 3 tbsp sugar and let sit for 30 minutes.
When you are macerating the strawberries, you have to remember the syrup that it produces is going to be very sweet and you're going to pour it all over the cake. Therefore I suggest reducing the sugar in the cake or the icing! Learnt this the hard way by the way. Sigh.

Here's your very brown cake but don't worry, all is good on the inside. Don't judge a cake by it's outside. Or something. Lame attempt at a joke. Ha ha.

Your cake in all it's nakedness and cake tester hole.
Half the cake when it's cooled and slather your macerated strawberries on each half, juices and all.

So pretty! I was supposed to mash the strawberries but I cut them up into perfect little cubes instead.

Let the strawberry syrup seep through your cake!

Throw cream cheese and butter in a bowl for your icing.

Whip your icing because it has been a very bad, bad icing.

Put 1/3 of the icing on each half, and the last 1/3 all around the sides.

Keeping the cake's simplicity with a simple message!
Hope you liked your little surprise Malcolm! So glad I caught you completely unaware, teehee.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1-1/2 cup Flour
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1-1/2 cup Sugar
3 whole Large Eggs
1/2 cup Sour Cream, Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted (originally was half a pound more, but it was toooooo sweet!)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound Strawberries

According to The Pioneer Woman:

Preheat oven to 176C.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 176C for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.
Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.
Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.
Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.
IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!
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