Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

  A friend from way back, who has been creating some delicious looking baked goods agreed to be my guest blogger this week.  I appreciate Jason for posting on my humble blog!  Enjoy friends. ;-)

Ever since I was a kid, I loved chocolate mint ice cream.  I was lucky enough to find a job as a teenager at a local ice cream parlor by the name of Leatherby's here in Sacramento.  If they would have paid me in ice cream, that would have been fair in my book.  Fast forward a few, (ok, many) years and I'm still a huge fan of their ice cream.  I happened to stumble across a recipe at Raspberri Cupcakes for chocolate mint cake the other day, and my curiosity was at full alert.  Let me just say, this cake is AMAZING, especially if you're as big a fan of chocolate mint ice cream as I am.  One of my kids remarked at how similar the taste of the frosting is to real ice cream--yes, it's that close.  Give this one a try, it will be worth it!

You have two options here, as you can make a homemade cake or one from a box.  I've done the cake both ways, and I will say it's a matter of personal preference.  David Lebovitz's Devil's Food Cake is extremely rich and compliments the robust flavors of the frosting quite well.  If you're short on time, go with a box mix and enjoy the cake that much quicker!

Here's the recipe for David's Devil's Food Cake:

9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-raising, I just used plain flour and replaced 3 tbsp with cornflour/cornstarch)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup strong coffee (or water, I used a weak coffee as I didn't want it overpower the mint)
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

Butter and line the base of a two 9-inch cake tins (I only had a 22cm springform tin which I used for both cakes) and preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). 
Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarb soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Using an electric mixer with a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated.

Mix together the coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Split batter mixture between the two prepared tins (or in my case, I used half for the first cake, baked it and then reused the tin for the other half of the batter). Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in tin about 5 mins, then place on a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

For the Frosting
2.5 sticks unsalted (or slightly salted) butter
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tsp peppermint essence or use mint extract (add 1/4 tsp at a time until you're happy with flavor)
150g dark chocolate, very finely chopped or pulsed through a food processor
Green food coloring
Optional: waffle ice cream cones to decorate

Remove the butter from fridge about half an hour before starting. Cut up butter into smaller pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high until fluffy and smooth. Add sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until combined. Add peppermint essence or mint extract to taste and green food coloring. Gradually add chocolate chip pieces until you have a good distribution of chocolate bits.

Use about 1/4 of the icing on top of one of the cakes and smooth over with a spatula. Place second cake top side down on top of the iced cake. Cover entire cake with more icing, smoothing with a spatula. I used an offset spatula, running it under hot water every now and then to help keep the surface smoother. Use the leftover icing to form scoops of icing to place on top of the cake, arranged however you like. Use mini ice cream cones or chop the ends of normal-sized cones and place on top of icing scoops. Alternatively you could cover the top with extra dark chocolate chips or shaved chocolate. Can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container overnight. Serve at room temperature.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chocolate Covered Brownie Bites

I love brownies.  More than cake.  More than cookies. I would give up all things sweet just to have a brownie.  And I love chocolate too.  So when I came across this recipe at Sweetapolita for chocolate covered brownies!!.. I hurried into my kitchen to give them a try.   They were worth it.  Really worth it.

Delicious little bite size brownies. Did I mention they are covered in chocolate?

These babies are rich so 1" bite size pieces are the perfect size.

Just waiting to be enjoyed.  I obliged. 

Yield approx. 35-40 1" bites

For the brownies
3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter, cubed
2 tablespoons of water
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips 
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

For the chocolate covering
2 cups of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of shortening

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar, butter and water to a boil over medium heat.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth.  Cool for 5 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. (I used a whisk)
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.
Stir into the chocolate mixture.
Add 1 cup of chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes depending on desired texture of brownies.  I like mine on the gooey side so I only left mine in for 30 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Place in freezer for about 30 minutes just until firm enough to cut into bite size pieces.

Once the brownies are cooled, remove from pan holding onto the parchment paper.  Cut into 1" squares. (give or take) I used a pizza cutter.  It makes it so much me!

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips and shortening.  I heated for 30-45 seconds then stirred and heated again until the chocolate was smooth.

Dip each brownie bite into the chocolate then place on parchment and cover in sprinkles.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rainbow Sprinkle Cake

Another month has flown by and here I am just now posting.. Eeekk! I am starting to feel like a procrastinator.  I think my inspiration has returned now that my daughters 6th birthday party is finally over.  It took a month to plan and has consumed all of my time and energy.
It was a rainbow themed party so I had to try the rainbow cake that has been floating around blogland.  I only did a 3 layer cake since we had a sweetshop bar and I knew most everyone would be too full on candy for cake, but it got eaten up and it turned out great. 

Purple, red and green were the colors we chose

Sprinkle rainbow cake

I used my Lemon Layer Cake for the cake, filling and frosting.

I divided the batter into 3 bowls (about 2 cups each) and added GEL food coloring.  Gel works best  as it makes a more vibrant color.  After coloring each of the 3 bowls of cake batter I poured them into the pans as directed in the recipe.  Follow the baking and assembly directions of the Lemon Layer cake.

When the cake is assembled add as much sprinkles as your heart desires,  I loaded mine up for the party!