Coconut-Mango Tartelettes

It seems like ages have past since i have been here. Though, i was out of action for a few months, it felt like eternity. I have missed following the action of all my favorite bloggers and their ever so ingenious posts.
I have completed my course and am back from Paris, the internship was one crazy ride which has taught me a lot.Updates on this will be followed up in another post.

Today, I would like to share with you a recipe for coconut mango tartelettes. The fun part is that there is a lot of coconut used up here, right from the base to the cream to the garnishing. Every coconut lover’s dream.

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Makes 8 tartlettes 6cm.
Ingredients:

Sweet shortcrust pastry:
Icing Sugar 45g
Almond Powder 15g
Coconut Flour 20g
Salt 1g
Butter, softened 65g
Egg 1/2
All purpose flour 100g
Cocoa Powder 10g

Coconut Mousse
Gelatin powder 5g
Water 30g
Coconut Cream 140g
Heavy cream 150g
Sugar 40g

Mango Gel
Gelatin powder 1g
Water 7g
Sugar 10g
Mango Puree 105g

Garnishing:
Sweet desiccated coconut

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Instructions:

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:
1. Sift the icing sugar, almond powder, coconut flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter and mix with a spatula.
2. Add half of an egg and mix till you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture and knead into a dough.
4. Chill for 2 hours.
5. Line the tart rings with the pastry and bake at 170C for 15 minutes.
Please refer to the post on lining tart rings.

Coconut Cream Mousse:
1. Mix the gelatin with water and give it a stir.
2. Pour half of the coconut cream with all the sugar in a pan and heat it till it simmers.
3. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and whisk till it is dissolved. Add this to the remaining coconut cream and whisk.
4. Whip the heavy cream and add it to the coconut cream mixture ensuring there are no lumps.
5. chill for at least 2 hours.

Mango Gel:
1. Mix the gelatin with water and give it a stir.
2. Add the mango puree, sugar and gelatin in a pan and heat till it comes to a simmer.
3. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture in molds.
4. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Coco-Mango Tartelette

Coco-Mango Tartelette

Assembly:

1. Sprinkle some desiccated coconut over the tart base.
2. Fill with the coconut cream mousse.
3. Place a mango jelly on the top.
4. Garnish with the desiccated coconut.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

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Chocolate Eclairs

As I was raiding my fridge today I realized I still had some of the orange mint curd leftover from Sunday. I was wondering whether it was time to toss it into the bin, but my heart did not approve of it! While i was contemplating what I should make out of it I realized that I do not have a choux pastry on my blog yet. For any baker, choux pastry is the basic, most important to master. I wouldn’t go to the lengths of saying I have mastered it, but I have a basic grasp of it.

I first tried it about 2 years back using Michel Roux’s recipe, however it did not work out as well for me. I then gave Raymond Blanc’s recipe a go and voila! I made my first batch of edible, good looking choux puffs. I always used his recipe whenever I wanted to make choux pastry and this time I thought of experimenting with a different one.
Here, I have used Christophe Felder’s recipe which is similar to Raymond’s with the exception of milk and lesser use of eggs. It is a good recipe and my second favorite now.

Here too, I have paired my orange curd with chocolate in the form of chocolate eclairs, which turned out to be a brilliant thing if I may say so myself. It leaves a subtle orange flavor back of the throat which is quite refreshing.

I have a strange weakness for these eclairs. While paying the check at a patisserie, I usually end up asking them for chocolate eclairs without even having an inkling. Maybe, it’s bred deep into my sub-conscious mind. haha
I would gorge on croissants and these bundles of joy while i was in Paris for days at a stretch as if the world was going to end 😉

Yours Truly having breakfast ;)

Yours Truly having breakfast 😉

I shall try the same recipe again and hopefully post some different version of the eclairs!

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Ingredients :

Choux Pastry :

125 ml water
55 g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70 g plain flour
2-3 eggs
1 egg, for glaze

Orange Mint Curd, recipe please click here

Chocolate Glaze :

120 g dark chocolate
100 ml heavy cream
20 g butter, softened

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Instructions:

Choux Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 170 C (non fan). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

For the choux pastry, place the water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over a high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, quickly beat in the flour until the mixture is COMPLETELY smooth.
Turn the heat down to medium, return the pan to the hob and cook for about one minute, beating all the time, or until the mixture comes away from the edge of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and gradually beat in one egg at a time. For the third egg, beat it lightly in another bowl. As much as you need one spoon at a time to make a dough that is very shiny and just falls off the spoon.

Transfer the paste to a large piping bag and let the mixture to cool for about five minutes in the bag to stiffen slightly before you begin the piping. Pipe on the éclairs into 8-10 cm logs or small mounds to make profiteroles.

Bake the éclairs in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until brown, then transfer to a rack and leave to cool.

Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Glaze :
Boil the cream in a saucepan. Meanwhile chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Add half of the boiled milk to the chocolate and whisk well. Add the remaining cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the butter.

Chocolate Eclairs

Chocolate Eclairs

Assemble the eclairs :

When you are ready to fill the éclairs, transfer the orange mint curd filling to a piping bag. Pierce the underside of each éclair 3 times with the tip of a pointed nozzle, and gently pipe a little of the filling into the éclair as you do so.

Pipe or brush the glaze onto the top of each éclair, then place in the fridge for the glaze to set before serving.

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There are amazing eclair festivals in Paris which I am so keen to experience… hopefully, some day! 🙂

Bon Apetit

Bon Apetit

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Celebrate International Chocolate Day with Chocolate Raspberry Garland

I cannot imagine what life would have been without chocolates! The decadent, rich chocolate as we know it today has a humble past, being used as fermented alcoholic beverage cultivated during the Mesoamerican civilization about 3000 years ago. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were a Gift of God and used them as a form of currency. It was only in the 16th century after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, it was served as a court beverage for the first time in Europe and spread across the continent, available only to the elite. It took another two centuries for cocoa powder to be invented and the humble cacao been has since been transformed and used in a lot of different ways!

An Aztec woman generates foam by pouring chocolate from one vessel to another. Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

An Aztec woman generates foam by pouring chocolate from one vessel to another. Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

Everyday is chocolate day and we need no special day to celebrate this gift of god. However, we can always use an excuse to gorge on chocolate, it being International Chocolate Day today, i’ve tried to use chocolate in its pure form without messing around too much!

Chocolate Raspberry Garland

Chocolate Raspberry Garland

Chocolate and raspberries are a match made in heaven and a great way to start the week.. 😉

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Makes 6 serves
Ingredients :
Chocolate Cupcake :
1/2 banana, chopped
50 g chocolate (60% cocoa)
55 g butter
2 eggs
75 g sugar
30 g all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Chantilly Cream :
100 ml whipping cream, chilled
10 g icing sugar, sifted
vanilla extract, 1/2 tspn

Raspberry Coulis :
100 g frozen raspberries/ strawberries
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Sauce :
200 g chocolate (60 % cocoa)

For Plating :
Raspberries

Instructions :

Chocolate Cupcakes :

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a muffin pan and dust with cocoa powder.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the batter and beat until combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling them one-third. Insert chopped banana pieces. Spoon in more batter until two-thirds full.

Bake for about 12 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Raspberry coulis :

Bring all ingredients to the boil and simmer until soft. Blend until smooth and strain through a fine sieve and chill until required.

Chantilly Cream :
Keep the bowl and beaters in the freezer for 5 minutes. Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla essence until soft peaks form.

Chocolate Sauce :
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
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Plating :
Smear coulis across the plate.
Dip the base of the cooled cupcake into melted chocolate. Place chocolate side up over the coulis.
Pipe three rounds of Chantilly cream on one side.
Line raspberries in a circle on the edge of the plate and drizzle the melted chocolate over the raspberries.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

The quintessential “Opéra” Cake

Opéra

Glazed Chocolate and Coffee Layer Cake

Who doesn’t love the Opera cake? When I would walk into a patisserie to buy a croissant or macarons, my eyes would always fall on the rich, dark, mysterious cake.  It is almost as if I was falling in love with it over and over again.  They look so attractive and always make you test your will power….. 😉 Just a bite of these dreamy little cakes can take all worries off your mind. Literally!

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I haven’t eaten the Opéra cake in a long time and when I found myself thinking about it for days together, I decided it was time to get baking! 🙂 They sure do have a lot of elements, but time flies when you make these and the effort is totally worth it. It would make for an outstanding dessert to finish off a dinner party.

This recipe has been adapted from Cristophe Felder’s “Patisserie”. If I have to make this again, I would eliminate the egg yolk buttercream from the buttercream recipe and use just butter, coffee and italian meringue. I have used half of the recipe and made a small cake.
The cake turned out moist and light, with perfectly tempered chocolate. What more can one ask for? 😉

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Makes 16 by 12 inch cake
Ingredients:

Coffee Syrup : ( I have made 1/4 of the recipe)
400 ml warm coffee
150 g caster sugar

Jaconde Cake: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
8 eggs, 4 whole, 4 separated
220 g ground almonds
275 g sugar
100 g all purpose flour

Chocolate Ganache : ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
170 g dark chocolate (60% cocoa)
120 ml milk
40 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, softened

Coffee Buttercream:
20 ml espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
Italian Meringue:
62 g sugar
1.5 tbsp water
1 egg white
Egg Yolk Buttercream:
2.5 egg yolks
120 g sugar
50 ml water
180 g butter, softened

Chocolate Glaze: ( I have made 1/2 of the recipe)
400 g chocolate (%2% cocoa)
50 g vegetable shortening (replaced with butter)
50 g grapeseed oil (replaced with butter)
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Instructions :

Coffee Syrup :

Combine the coffee and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep aside.

Jaconde Cake:
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper. ( I have used 2 baking sheets)

Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, ground almonds and half of the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 15 minutes.

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until firm and glossy.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg-almond mixture.

Gradually sift in the flour and gently fold until smooth.

Spread one-third of the cake batter on each prepared sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove and let cool.
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Chocolate Ganache :

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the chocolate. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

Coffee Buttercream :
Step 1: Italian Meringue
Whisk the egg whites in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture returns at room temperature. Touch the bottom of the bowl, it should not be hot.
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Step 2: Egg yolk buttercream :
Whisk the egg yolks at low speed.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.You can tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the egg yolks and beat until they are pale. This should be the ribbon stage.
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Step 3 :
Whip the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
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Step 4:
Add the egg yolk mixture to the butter and beat at low speed until the texture is light.
Beat in the italian meringue at low speed.
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COntinue beating at medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Step 5:
Add the espresso to the buttercream and whip at low speed until smooth.
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Assembling the Cake:

  • Line the cake board with parchment paper. (Optional) I just used some buttercream on the board. 🙂
  • Place one sponge cake and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread half of the coffee buttercream over the cake with an offbeat spatula.
  • Place the second sponge onto it and brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over it.
  • Place the third sponge cake on top. Brush with coffee syrup.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream and smooth with the spatula.
  • Chill until set, at least an hour.

Chocolate Glaze:
Finely chop the chocolate and place with butter in a bowl. Place over a double boiler and let melt, stiring until the chocolate reaches between 95 and 104° F or 35 to 40° C. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, smooth with an offbeat spatula and chill until set.
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Decorate as you please… 🙂
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Serve:

Dip the knife into hot water and wipe it dry after each cut. Serve with a big smile…:)

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate Macaroons

We had a bake sale at our clubhouse fundraising and a lot of people were bringing different type of mouth watering cakes.Hence, I decided to go for cookies and made two dozen chocolate chip cookies.

Not satisfied with just cookies, I stepped back into my cute little kitchen to get down to business.Justifying my theory of there being a healthy French community in the club who would definitely appreciate macaroons, I got out all of my ingredients with much enthusiasm.
I usually use aged egg whites for macaroons, having none I used fresh ones and voila! they turned out pretty good as well.

This recipe is adapted from Raymond Blanc’s chocolate macaroons.

Chocolate Macaroon

Chocolate Macaroon

Makes 24-30 depending on the size

Ingredients

For the pâté à macaron :
60g/2½oz unsweetened chocolate, ideally 100% cocoa solids
185g/6½oz icing sugar, sifted
185g/6½oz ground almonds
2 medium free-range egg whites
For the Italian meringue :
2 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
185g/6½oz caster sugar
3 tbsp water
For the ganache filling :
100ml/4fl oz whipping cream
100g/4oz dark chocolate, or white chocolate if you wish
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Instructions :

Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Pâté à macaron:
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.
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Fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

Pic from one of my earlier batches.

I happened to accidentally eat some of the chocolate which left my pâté à macaron looking like its weaker cousin.
Therefore, the macaron shells for this batch do not have the perfect brown color as expected.

Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.
The original recipe calls for using lemon juice, as i was out of lemons i have instead opted to use cream of tartar which works fine too.

Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
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Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.
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Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.
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Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.

Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart, which i didn’t do. 😦

Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.

EXPECTED

EXPECTED

Chocolate Ganache:
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon about one teaspoon of ganache onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
Repeat with the remaining ganache and macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.
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NOTE: The recipe calls for preheating the baking trays as well and sliding on the baking paper with the piped macaroons onto them (pre-heating the baking trays kick-starts the cooking and forms the distinctive ‘collarette’ on the base of the macaroons).

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I haven’t tried this and will give it a go next time i make macaroons.

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

P.S They were a sellout. 🙂

Choco-vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Choco-Vanilla Cupcake

Choco-Vanilla Cupcake

What would you do if you absolutely must have vanilla and chocolate cakes. Make Choco-vanilla Cupcakes, voila!
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I had bought a different brand of chocolate and was dying to try it out, so I thought of making a chocolate frosting. What better than cupcakes to pair it with. Super quick and easy to make, I decided to make me some cupcakes. I couldn’t decide i wanted chocolate cupcakes more than the vanilla ones so I made both. 🙂 I topped these up with chocolate cream cheese frosting which was just perfect.
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Spoon one scoop of vanilla and chocolate batter into cupcake liners
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I have posted links below for the cupcake recipes.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting
Click Here
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Click Here
:

Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!

I am embarrassed to say I had 6 of these!

:)

🙂

Chocolate Delice

 

I had been in Wroclaw, Poland for a month now.It was January, still winter time and I was facing quite a bit of a challenge never having lived in a place where the  temperatures would drop to -17°C. 🙂 Not having to go out much, I decided to throw my first dinner party here! Having planned a few Indian starters and a chicken biryani I got to thinking about the dessert. I thought of skipping an Indian dessert as I have experienced that some people find them to be too sweet, well, not me. I love my jalebis and gulab jamun. 🙂

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I had recently bought few of Lindt chocolate 75% and 80 % cocoa and I couldn’t stop thinking how could I do justice to them.Pondering over it for quite some time I decided to go for a chocolate delice.This is no ordinary delice, it is the recipe of one of my favorite chef Raymond Blanc and in honesty, it turned out better than I imagined.It tasted absolutely divine and I had to pack some of the dessert to take home for one of my friends as he absolutely couldn’t get enough of it!

Not leaving myself enough time to make the dessert I had to tweak the base a bit and skip the elements that accentuate the dessert to another level. I would try it the next time I make this.

Link to Ramond Blanc’s recipe.

I couldn’t take any photographs but I have shared the video link for the recipe as well.

Serves 10

Ingredients:
For the base
100 g toasted hazelnuts
100 g caramelised sugar pieces OR
200 g Nutella
150 g bran flakes, slightly crushed

For the delice
140ml full-fat milk
325ml heavy cream
2 eggs
340g good-quality dark chocolate, minimum 60 per cent cocoa solids, roughly chopped

Instructions:

For the base, blend the hazelnuts and caramelised sugar pieces in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Heat the paste in a small pan on a gentle heat until warmed through.I was running out of time to make this dessert,so I have used nutella instead of the hazelnut praline paste.If using nutella, microwave for a minute until warm.
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Place the bran flakes and warmed praline paste into a mixing bowl and scrunch them together, using your hands, until the bran flakes have broken down and been incorporated into the paste.
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Line a flan/tart tin with a sheet of baking paper, then transfer the praline mixture onto it. Cover the praline mixture with a second sheet of baking paper, then roll the mixture out until it measures at least 14cm x 20cm/5½in x 8in and is 0.5cm/¼in thick.
Chill the base in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until set.

Meanwhile, for the delice, heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and gently over a medium heat until it just reaches boiling point.
Simultaneously, whisk the eggs in a bowl.

As the milk and cream mixture comes to the boil, pour it over the eggs, then whisk the mixture constantly until smooth and thick.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and whisk again until the chocolate has melted and the custard is smooth.I have used a 70:30 combination of Lindt 70% : 85% cocoa and it was simply divine.

Remove the base from the fridge and pour in the chocolate delice to fill the mould. Gently tap the sides of the mould to release any trapped air bubbles, then smooth the surface using a palette knife. Chill in the fridge for 6 hours at least or until completely set.

Note: The delice tastes best if made a day ahead.

Bon Apetit!

Chocolate cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I made my first chocolate cake eight years back….out of Betty Crockers cake mix in a pressure cooker…..It was delicious covered with chocolate buttercream I made myself.I would generally bake for my family being coached by my mother :), this was the first time I made a cake for one of my friends on his birthday.He ate almost half of it. 🙂
I still remember how happy it made him and I forayed into the world of baking and have loved every part of it.

This recipe for chocolate cupcakes has been apdated from the book “Cupcakes with attitude” by Benjamin Wong.The cupcakes turned out super moist, well balanced flavor of cocoa powder.The tangy cream cheese chocolate frosting takes the cupcake to another level and these would make for a perfect treat served at any occasion or party.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes


Makes 12

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

All purpose flour 125 g
Baking Powder 2 tsp
Butter 125 g, softened
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Caster sugar 125 g
Eggs 2, lightly beaten
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Full cream milk 2 tbsp (optional)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
Cream Cheese 125 g, softened
Butter 50 g, softened
Semi sweet chocolate 60 g, chopped
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Milk 1-2 tbsp
Icing Sugar 50 g

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Instructions:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with cupcake liners.

Sift dry ingredients except sugar together. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl with the help of an electric beater for a few minutes.
Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until well combined.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add flour mixture and continue to beat until well combined.Do not overbeat.
Add milk if using and mix well.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes.
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When cupcakes are done, remove from the oven and let cupcakes sit in the muffin tray for 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the tray and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting :

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Let stand until just warm.
Beat cream cheese, butter and milk until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla essence and mix well with the beater.

Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until mixture is smooth.

Mix in melted chocolate until combined.

Using a piping bag pipe the cooled cupcakes or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
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Bon Apetit!

Bon Apetit!