Archive | March, 2015

Individual Chocolate Mousse Cakes

29 Mar

March 29th, 2015

These individual mousse cakes have been on my to-do list for a while and I finally got around to them. I used a thin layer of chocolate cake as the base, but any cake flavor will do. I just happened to have chocolate cake left in my freezer and put that to use. Mousse, in general, have a lighter and airy texture because whipped creamed is used and folded into the chocolate mixture. For this reason, I am a fan of mousse desserts- whether it is chocolate mousse or a fruit-based mousse.

The next time I make this recipe, I will be sure to double the ingredients, as the following recipe yielded only three 3×3 inch rounds.

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Chocolate Mousse
216g dark chocolate, chopped
432g heavy cream
48g yolks
48g sugar
water

Y= enough to make 3- 3×3 inch individual cakes.

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks. Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and just enough water to coat the sugar. Stir to combine. Using a wet brush, brush the sides of the pan to remove any sugar.
  4. Heat the sugar-water mixture until the temperature reaches 240F (soft-boil).
  5. As the sugar-water mixture is heating, place egg yolks in a mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  6. Once the sugar-water mixture reaches 240F, carefully pour the mixture to the whisking egg yolks. Be sure to turn the mixer to the lowest speed to prevent the hot sugar mixture from splashing. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for a few seconds to combine.
  7. Add the yolk-sugar mixture to the melted chocolate. Use a spatula to fold together.
  8. Start folding in some of the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture.
  9. Continue to fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
  10. Pipe the mousse into prepared cake rings. (I prefer to pipe the mousse to avoid major air bubbles).
  11. Allow the mousse to set in the refrigerator for about an hour (or overnight) before unmolding.
  12. Carefully unmold. Garnish with cocoa powder, dollop of whipped cream and cocoa nibs if desired. Keep mousse cakes refrigerated. Remove and allow them to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Note:  I used 3×3 inch cake rings and lined them with clear acetate strips.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Cake

19 Mar

March 19th, 2015

I often buy too many bananas and they ripen quicker than I can finish them and I absolutely hate tossing them out. So what better way to use overly ripe bananas? Use them to make banana cake!

My buttercream of choice was peanut butter flavored since I sometimes eat my bananas with peanut butter. To top that off, I drizzled some Kona chocolate sauce for a full flavor explosion.

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Banana Cake

1 ½ C sugar
4 oz butter
2 eggs
¼ tsp vanilla extract
8 oz sour cream
3 bananas, mashed
2 C AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 

Y= Four 6-in layers

Directions:

  1. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the sour cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the mashed bananas.
  5. Combine flour, salt and baking soda together.
  6. Add the dries into the wet ingredients in three additions, scraping in between each addition.
  7. Divide batter into prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake at 330F for 40-50 minutes, or until cake is done.

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Peanut Butter Buttercream
3/4 C egg whites (I used carton egg whites)
9 oz sugar
1 lb softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
⅛ C – ¼ C creamy peanut butter

Note: this is more than enough buttercream to frost a 4 layer cake. I just saved the extra for future use.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl.
  2. Place bowl over a pot of simmering hot water.
  3. Using a hand whisk, constantly whisk the sugar-egg mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. The mixture should be warm to touch, but not burning hot on the finger.
  4. Transfer the mixer bowl to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium speed until mixture is cooled. Continue to whisk until the mixture becomes meringue-like.
  5. Once the meringue is cool enough, add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time. Allow the butter to mix in before adding the next few pieces.
  6. Once the butter is all in, whisk on high speed for a few seconds. Scrape sides down if necessary.
  7. Add peanut butter, a little at a time, until desired flavor is reached.

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To assemble the cake:

  1. Divide cakes, lengthwise, into even layers.
  2. Spread buttercream on the first layer.
  3. Add the second layer and repeat with the buttercream. Repeat with other layers.
  4. Apply a thin crumb coat to the cake. Refrigerate to set the crumb coat.
  5. Apply a final coat to the cake.
  6. Decorate as desired.

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Cranberry-Apple Hand Pies

3 Mar

March 3rd, 2015 

The past few days have been busy and I fell behind on posting these wonderful cranberry-apple hand pies, so I am making up for it now. I originally planned to make some cherry hand pies, but things changed when I saw cranberries while at the grocery store. Then cranberry pies turned into cranberry-apple hand pies. I’m not complaining because these turned out better than I expected.

I often have ideas in my head to make one thing, but sometimes they slightly change along the course of the way. I’m ok with that, as long as the end product is not burnt, is edible and presentable.

What inspired me to make hand pies? Well, I wanted to use up my pie dough in the freezer!

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Pie Dough, recipe can be found here.

Cranberry-Apple Filling:
1-20 oz bag frozen cranberries
1 medium apple (I used Gala), diced into small pieces
¼ C + ⅛ C sugar
¼ tsp vanilla powder
pinch of salt
zest of half a lemon
zest of half an orange
1 tsp orange juice
1T cornstarch

Y= 12-3×3 inch hand pies

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine cranberries and apples. If cranberries are too big, use a fork to slightly break apart.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla, salt, zests, and juice. Mix to combine.
  3. Add the cornstarch and mix.
  4. Set mixture in refrigerator until ready to use.

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To Assemble:

  1. Roll dough out. Cut into desired sizes for the hand pies. I cut pieces that were 3×6 and 2×6 in dimensions so that when folded, pies are 3×3 inches and 2×3 inches in size.
  2. Scoop filling and place on one end of the cut piece, making sure to leave a slight border along the edges.
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash along the edges.
  4. Fold one side over to cover the filling and bring together to seal the edges.
  5. Use a fork to crimp the edges to securely seal it.
  6. Make a few slits on the top of sealed pies. The slits act as vents as they are baking.
  7. Brush egg wash to cover the pies and sprinkle sugar on top.
  8. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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