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lazy wednesdays marble chocolate ganache cake

20 Jun

I finally activated my Twitter account! I signed up for it ages and ages ago, but never got around to using it. Until Shannon & Erin doubleteamed me and showed me the wonder and magic that is Twitter. So, now you can follow my not-always-intriguing-or-interesting rambles at http://twitter.com/chocolatefool. The blog is linked to my twitter account, so the tweets should show up here on the side bar =) Oh, the wonders of wordpress!

Speaking of Shannon and Erin, we had a lovely lunch the other day that Erin cooked for us. Shannon made corn, Erin made burgers, and I brought a modified version of the pecan praline caramel crack(er) bars. We sipped iced tea while catching up, and watching the dreary weather through Shannon’s kitchen window. This summer is taking it’s sweet time arriving in Toronto. Last summer was filled with lots of laughter, picnics, ice cream and sangria for my best friends and myself. This year, sadly, everyone is busy making lots of money for various things such as rent, school and internships. We don’t get to see each other as often, or even get a chance to talk endlessly on the phone, but I’m fairly certain that we each know that we can count on each other. I love my soulmates, Opie & Savo, and wish every day could be a sangria-by-the-harbour-front kind of day.

By some fluke, Savo and I had a day off and all to ourselves, so after some sleeping in, we decided we’d bake a cake. The recipe was going to produce a pretty, velvety smooth and rich chocolate vanilla zebra cake, but although we followed instructions, our cake did not come out with zebra stripes =( It ended up being very chocolate-heavy which probably distorted the stripes and resulted in a marble cake instead. Hey, I’m not complaining though – chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. I think I’d probably leave out the lemon zest that was called for, but keep everything else the same. We were also going to drizzle the semi-sweet chocolate ganache with melted white chocolate for a dramatic effect, but had a little mishap….and thereby kept the cake classy and simple. The chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream made everything better, though. After an adventure with Savo’s devil mixer from hell (it looked/sounded/worked like a chainsaw rather than a handmixer), and making a huge mess in the kitchen, these pictures make it all worth it. Savo is a photographer, and these photos are all his. Thanks to him and his kitchen with awesome windows (and natural light! something that my kitchen doesn’t have) we ended up with these amazing photos – which he emailed to me and allowed me to use. Now that is love!

vanilla & lemon

vanilla & lemon

mixing in the sink to avoid making a huge mess with savo's mixer from hell

mixing in the sink to avoid making a huge mess with savo's mixer from hell

black & white yumminess

black & white yummines

we thought we did it right...

we thought we did it right...

it looked like the zebra cake would work out!

...it looked like the zebra cake would work out!

covering the cake in simple ganache

covering the cake in simple ganache

action shot!

action shot!

simple & delicious chocolate cake

a simple & elegant exterior....

...with a turbulent yet tasty inside

....and yet, no zebra stripes =(

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thank goodness ice cream and chocolate ease disappointments

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even though there are no zebra stripes, it's still pretty!

in the end, it still tasted good

in the end, it still tasted good

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream

How-to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy.
  3. Add in the oil and milk and continue beating until well blended. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. In a second bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet batter. Don’t overbeat the mixture.
  5. Divide the batter into two equal parts. Add the cocoa powder to one bowl, and mix well.
  6. Grease a 9-inch pan with oil or butter, and line bottom with parchment paper.
  7. Now, taking turns, scoop a ladle-full of yellow batter and cocoa batter into the pan. Pour a ladle-full of yellow batter into the centre of the pan, and then pour a ladle-full of the cocoa batter right on top of the yellow batter. Continue alternating the two batters until you’ve finished both bowls.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife arounf the inside of the pan to loosen the sides, and gently invert onto a cooling rack. Let cake cool for another 20 minutes.
  10. In the meantime, melt the chocolate and heavy cream in the microwave or over a double boiler. Once it has reached a smooth consistency, spread it all over the cake and try to make it look pretty. If you like drizzle white chocolate over top for a dramatic (and yummy) effect. Enjoy by itself or with vanilla ice cream!

xo dessertchick

crazy chocolate coconut banana cake

3 Jun

This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Well, now that I got that clicheed pop culture reference out of the way, let me tell you about this gem of a cake. The emphasis is on the word cake, because this ain’t your regular dry, with only a hint of banana, let’s-eat-it-with-butter banana loaf. Every single slice, bite and morsel of this cake is jam-packed with honest-to-goodness banana, chewy coconut and semi-sweet chocolate pieces. This is one of those times where the bananas truly shine through, and don’t take a backseat to whatever flour and egg mixture you add them to. This cake is heavy and moist, and fills you right up – you could basically have this and a cup of coffee in the morning, and you’d never think about those terrible heavy clumps of dough called muffins again.

Let me tell you this: bananas are not my favourite fruit. They don’t even make it on my top 10 favourite fruits, yet I got out of my way to buy bananas just to let them turn brown and splotchy on my counter. I buy bananas, knowing that I won’t ever eat them as is, just so I have an excuse to make this banana cake.

I’ve been making this recipe for a while now, and although I look towards Anna Olsen’s White Chocolate Banana Loaf recipe as a guideline, you’ll see that even the word guideline is very loosely applied here. My recipe is pretty much entirely different every time I make it, depending on my mood and what state my cupboards are in. So, take a look at my recipe, take a look into your pantry, and then just start mashing up your bananas and throwing whatever you heart desires into your mixing bowl. Just make sure there’s chocolate involved ūüėČ

Because I use a lot of bananas, the amount of sugar you have to add in is virtually nonexistent considering the amount of dense, heavy deliciousness you’ll end up. I also used whole wheat flour instead of white flour, so you could tell yourself that this is actually “healthy” and go about your day happy and fulfilled. Enjoy!

pretty plain looking, with just a light dusting of powdered sugar

pretty plain looking, with just a light dusting of powdered sugar

but on closer inspection....

but on closer inspection....

...it's not that plain anymore!

...it's not that plain anymore!

look at the gooey chocolate chips and the delicious coconut flakes!

look at the gooey chocolate chips and the delicious coconut flakes!

(healthy) comfort food at its finest!

(healthy) comfort food at its finest!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with banana.
  4. Fold in coconut and chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter into pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a plate.
  8. Dust with icing sugar right before serving.
  9. Munch away without guilt =)

xo dessertchick

Daisy’s Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake Cups

21 May

Yes, yes, I know that it’s been a very long time since I posted something new. But life has been busy, between school, work and living life. It was Daisy’s birthday last Saturday, so I thought it would only be fair to do her dessert wish. The birthday was a blast, and I finished these babies up, so all she now has to do is trek downtown and pick them up for some yumminess. She said she wanted “hmmm.. some kind of delicious cake (cheesecake?) with DARK chocolate, strawberries and.. custard.”

After tossing a few recipes and ideas around, I thought I’d make these super adorable, delicious, and not-too-heavy brownie cheesecake cups which are then topped with a creamy strawberry mousse. I decided to substitute the custard wish with the mousse, since she said she’d eat anything I bake anyway =)

I modified my favourite brownie recipe, added the cream cheese topping and swirled away to make these as pretty as possible. I have decided that my min muffin tins are one of the best inventions in the world, since EVERYTHING looks way cuter in mini form. It’s ALL about looking cute and tasting yumm. The strawberry mousse was easy, and adds a nice splash of colour – not to mention the tastiness.

Bon Appetit, mon amis!

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such pretty swirls

big brownie cup or small brownie cup? you pick!

big brownie cup or small brownie cup? you pick!

fresh strawberries = strawberry mousse = love

fresh strawberries = strawberry mousse = love

so it's official: anything topped with strawberry mousse tastes ten times better

so it's official: anything topped with strawberry mousse tastes ten times better

after digging through my cupboards, I found these cute cocktail glasses, begging to be photographed

after digging through my cupboards, I found these cute cocktail glasses, begging to be photographed

these ones are for Daisy - aptly sprinkled with daisy sprinkles =)

these ones are for Daisy - aptly sprinkled with daisy sprinkles =)

care to have a taste?

care to have a taste?

hmm what better combination than dark chocolate, cheesecake and strawberries?

hmm what better combination than dark chocolate, cheesecake and strawberries?

and for those who are not huge on strawberry mousse!

and for those who are not huge on strawberry mousse!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt1 (8 oz) low fat cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of sugar300 g fresh strawberries
  • 3 1/2 ounces water
  • 5 1/2 ounces caster sugar
  • 4 tsp powder gelatin
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream

How-to:

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and remove from heat.
  2. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix just until all ingredients are moistened and mix is smooth.
  3. Spread brownie mixture into prepared baking pan.
  4. For the topping beat the cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a toothpick.
  5. Bake for 25 to 33 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.
  6. Wash and hull the strawberries and place in a sauce pan. Add the water, caster sugar, and gelatin and simmer until all the gelatin dissolves. Cool the mixture thoroughly and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until the mixture is pureed.
  7. Beat the cream in a separate bowl until just thickened, not soft or stiff peaks! Be careful not to overbeat the cream which will result in a stiff mousse. Fold in the strawberry puree mixture and mix until well blended.
  8. Scoop into a piping bag, and top each brownie cheesecake cup with strawberry mousse. Keep refrigerated and share!

xo dessertchick

lemon raspberry chiffon deliciousness

25 Mar

I really really really want spring to come! I am sick of dreary winter weather, of dull skies, and whipping winds. I was feeling restless yesterday, and wasn’t craving chocolate for once. The Boy was over, but was too busy being a big nerd on the computer with my brother, so I decided to bake something to pass the time. I still had a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer, and had a couple of lemons and limes. And nothing tastes better and reminds you of spring than raspberries and lemons/limes. Here’s a very quick and easy treat if you feel like something sweet and fresh tasting without the heavy feeling that dense chocolatey treats can bring – not that there is ANYTHING wrong with dense and chocolatey =)

raspberries taking a swim

raspberries taking a swim

slices of ridiculously lemony heaven

slices of ridiculously lemony heaven

up close and personal: rasperry bottoms

up close and personal: rasperry bottoms

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup frozen/fresh raspberries

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; put aside for later. Prepare your pan – I used a regular 9×13 inch pan, but ideally, you should use a 10inch tube pan with a removable bottom.
  3. In bowl, combine oil, water, egg yolks, lemon juice and lemon zest. Using a whisk, beat until well mixed. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the batter is smooth.
  4. In a clean bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a stand mixer of a hand mixer , beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
  5. Using the spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the whites into the batter until almost fully incorporated. Add the remaining whites  as well as the raspberries. Fold in just until combined Рthe batter should be smooth but foamy.
  6. Pour batter evenly into tube pan. Bake cake until toothpick comes out clean, roughly 45 to 50 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack Рmake sure air can circulate freely around the cake. Let cool completely, upside down in the pan  for about 45 minutes.
  8. Remove cake from pan.
  9. Now, if you’re feeling up for some more deliciousness, add a citrus glaze!

Recipe for citrus glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted; + extra, if needed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice + extra if needed
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and cream until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is smooth. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if it’s too thick, or a little more sugar if too thin.
  2. Leave cake on the rack, and slip a half-sheet pan under the rack to catch the glaze. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Let dry, and dig in!

xo dessertchick

delightfully citrusy madeleines

26 Feb

Filming is tiring. Editing is tedious. But if the crew is fun, then it makes it all better. Well, almost. So, to make the best of all of this schlepping around in blizzards, I’ve decided to make madeleines to accompany the work and the complaining we all seem to be doing.

Okay, so maybe my intentions aren’t one hundred percent selflless: I re-discovered one of the cutest kitchen supply stores close to yonge&bloor, and just had to buy a madeleine pan. This is my first madeleine pan ever, so I was just itching to bake with it. Tia and Daisy pretty much just gave me an excuse to try something new!

I stumbled the net and surfed the net and contemplated the best recipe to use. What I ended up doing was making a fusion of two recipes that caught my fancy. One of them was from RecipeZaar and the other one was from 101 Cookbooks. The changes I made were  increasing the lemon zest, adding some orange zest as well as using all the juice of the lemon. These few tweaks ended up creating these delicious-as-sin madeleines!

Voilaaa!

"She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines'...

"She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines'...

"...which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell"...

"...which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell..."

"...An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses."

"...an exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses."

The quote is from Marcel Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past, and I found this on Joy of Baking, which also had a great madeleine recipe. I love this quote =)

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prep the madeleine pan by greasing it well with butter and then flouring it. I like to use my silicone brush to really get into those ridges of the pan. Nothing is worse than having a ruined madeleine that sticks to the pan.
  2. Melt the butter slowly in a pan until it browns, roughly 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have the time, just melt it slowly until it is completely liquid. The brown stage lends a very deep nutty aroma to the madeleines, but is not necessary. Strain the butter and let it to cool in the fridge until you need to use it later.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and salt on high until it triples in volume. For me, it took 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. While still on high, add the sugar in a steady stream. Mix for 2 minutes. This will thicken the mixture further to form thick ribbons, and it should be a very light yellow now.
  5. Now, slowly fold in the lemon and orange zest as well as the vanilla and the lemon juice. You don’t want to overbeat the mix or else the cakes will turn out tough.
  6. Sift the flour into the mixture gradually, probably in 3 or 4 batches, making sure to fold it in gently.
  7. Gradually add the cooled butter in until just blended.
  8. Spoon the batter into the middle of each madeleine form, leaving it in a mound of each form. This way, when the madeleines bake, they will get their signature bump in the middle.
  9. Bake them in the center rack for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on your temperamental oven. For me, it took 12 minutes for the edges to brown lightly. These cookies should be watched carefully as they can overbake quickly. You want the cookies to spring back softly, as they will develop a nice crust when they cool. After giving the pan a good rap on the counter to loosen them, remove them and let them cool down on a rack.
  10. Keep the madeleines in an airtight container. These are best when eaten right away and shouldn’t be kept for longer than 3 days. Not that you’ll have to worry about that – they’ll be gone in a second!

Bakesale Mania

12 Feb

My brother and I are pretty much on each other’s cases all the time: throwing physical and verbal punches around, being extra difficult just to annoy the other person, and all of that other¬† old school brother/sister loving.

However, when it comes down to crunch time, we do have each other’s backs. I help him with English essays and books reports, and he helps me find music on the internet and anything else that requires technological savy – something I definitely don’t have.

His school had a concert going on for two evenings, and I couldn’t make it out to either one because I was too “busy.” As a bribe and to get him off my back about bailing on his concert, I was “volunteered” to bake something for the refreshment table. Nothing is prettier, easier to eat on a napkin, and faster to whip up than Lemony Chocolatey Mmmmarble Cake.

The recipe is right after the jump.

lemon and chocolate co-mingling. what a perfect world.

lemon and chocolate co-mingling. what a perfect world.

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I decided to make a small cake to keep at home, while Momma Cake went to the concert.

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I love the pretty patterns you can get by simply swirling a knife through the batter beforehand.

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Crusty on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. This is equilibrium.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest

How-to

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan of your choice – this will make sure your cake will come out the pan perfectly. Nothing ruins a cake more than when half the cake is stuck to the pan.
  3. Sift together the salt, flour and baking powder.
  4. Cream the eggs and sugar in another bowl until it is light and well incorporated.  Add the vanilla and slowly add the butter. Make sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl in between additions.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat on low speed and again, scrape down the sides.
  6. Pour half the batter into another bowl. Sift the cocoa into one half of the batter. Add the lemon zest to the other half.  Mix thoroughly. Tada! Now you have chocolate and lemon batter!
  7. Using half of each of the cocoa and vanilla batters, add alternating scoops of each batter to a cake pan. Using the remaining amounts of both batters, add a second layer, alternating again the scoops of vanilla and cocoa batter. Swirl knife or spoon or whatever else you have on hand through the batters, to create a marbled effect.
  8. Bake until toothick inserted in the centre comes our clean. It took about 45 minutes for me. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Bon Appetit!

xo dessertchick