I don’t know how I was convinced… for obvious reasons for those that know me, I don’t normally celebrate Father’s Day. But somehow this year I was coerced into joining my friend, her son, her fiance, her fiance’s two kids, his ex-wife (and the mother of his kids), and his mother for Father’s Day dinner and the celebration that went along with it. Part of the persuasion came about because my friend asked if I would make a cake for the event instead of repaying her the $10 I owed her. This seemed like a good idea to me and since I had no other reason to bake, it gave me a great excuse to give my KitchenAid a workout! So between having to go over to drop off the cake and the continued assurance that I should go for dinner and that it wouldn’t be weird, I gave in.
I find it kind of funny how friendships evolve. This friend started out a “gym-friend” but has evolved into more of a friendship than that. We will always have our shared passions for exercise and food, but there is also more. Now I am part of the family! It started out a random dinner with her son, her fiance (also a friend of mine) and his daughter. Then I was at her son’s birthday dinner. Then I was being invited to Father’s Day dinner. And while there, his daughter insisted that I come to her birthday dinner! Probably the most amusing part of the evening was when her son tried to convince the grandmother (85) that I was his sister. Considering my friend is Taiwanese and I am blond haired, blue (well grey really) eyed, it is pretty obvious that this isn’t true. Another interesting thing to note here is ages: my friend is exactly 15 years older than me, her son is just over 15 years younger than me. So all in all, it is sort of an odd mix but somehow it all works quite well!
Anyways, on to the cake. Any time I make a cake for this friend (seems that this is the 3rd cake/cupcake that I have made for her this year… how did that happen?) she always requests a chocolate cake with vanilla icing. I am so much more creative than that and always try to encourage her to think bigger but she likes the classic flavours. Well this time I figured that I would make the filling a little different and try another Sweetapolita recipe that I had been admiring for Toasted Marshmallow filling! That is almost the same as vanilla, right? It was kind of sticky and messy to make but it tasty fun and toasty. The flavour isn’t as strong once it is sandwiched between chocolate but it is a different texture and I quite liked it! I still put regular vanilla buttercream on the outside but at least the inside was different! Also, I tried a new chocolate cake recipe. I really love this recipe! I think I liked it better than the cake I made the week because the cake was a little more dense and a little more chocolatey, but still nice and moist. The Black Magic/Rich and Decadent Chocolate Cake was also delicious and moist, but it was a little airier and I think I have decided I like a bit of a fudgey texture to my cakes!
Fudgey Rich Chocolate Cake
(changed quite a bit from from the Chocolate Cake in Company’s Coming Chocolate Everything )
- 3 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 cup hot coffee
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vaniklla
- 2 1/8 cup all purpose flour (1/8 cup = 2 Tb)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- Pour hot coffee over chocolate and cocoa. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the cocoa mixes evenly in.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or just another bowl and with a hand mixer), beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla. Beat well.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
- Add flour in 3 parts alternating with the yogurt to the butter/sugar mix (so flour, yogurt, flour, yogurt, flour). Add chocolate mixture and mix well.
- Pour into a greased pan (the recipe says 2 8-inch rounds but I did a 9″ square pan and a small ramekin and just made it a deep cake).
- Bake at 350°F for 35-40 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes and then take out to allow it to cool completely.
Toasted Marshmallow Frosting (from Sweetapolita)
- 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup icing sugar (confectioners’ or powdered)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 7.5 oz jar of Marshmallow Fluff (or Marshmallow Cream)
- Spread marshmallows on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. With the cookie sheet on the lower rack of the oven, broil marshmallows until lightly browned. Don’t walk away! These need to be watched!
- Beat together butter and icing sugar in mixer with paddle attachment, on low until blended. Add vanilla and mix on high for about 3 minutes.
- Add Marshmallow Fluff and toasted marshmallows. Mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute. It ends up pretty sticky!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake
I am going to call this a “piggy-back” post on my last post.
I say that because I actually made the strawberry cupcakes for one real purpose that was not cupcakes at all: it was for this cake! I offered to make the cake for a friend’s birthday and asked his wife what some of his favourite dessert flavours are! Here is what I got: “chocolate in general, chocolate mint ice cream, Oreo or chocolate chip cookies and strawberry cheese quake blizzards”. So since I immediately eliminated the chocolate mint combo for reasons outlined here, I figured that a chocolate and strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese icing might be tasty! So that was the real reason for making the strawberry cupcakes: to get a layer of cake to be sandwiched between two chocolate cake layers!
A few things went VERY wrong with this cake… and they were simple things that I knew better than to do. Quite stupid of me really. First: I took the strawberry cake out of the pan while it was still really hot just so I could get the next one baking earlier. I let it cool for about 20 minutes while I made the chocolate batter but then I took it out… and not that carefully. It is a rather dense cake so it was still QUITE hot. Result: it totally broke apart – right down the middle and then into several pieces beyond that. This would have been ok if I was using a buttercream for the filling since it is like cement but, no, I wanted the strawberry cream cheese filling which isn’t thick enough to glue in the same way. But I kept going anyways. So at one point I had this big mess of three layers of cake, the middle strawberry layer spilling over like its jeans were too tight (you know the mental picture I am getting at… think ‘muffin top’), pink strawberry cream cheesy goo spilling all over and a lopsided top. I kept going. I tried to cover it with reddish buttercream with hopes that it would glue it together now.
Well buttercream over gooey mess doesn’t work too well and since I didn’t actually make enough red buttercream it really wasn’t holding. So I had to make more which I knew wouldn’t be the right colour. So then I just went with white (although there was still some red left in the bowl so instead a lovely pink – for my guy friend’s birthday) and decided I would cover the whole thing with ganache rather than just have it run down the side artistically as I had planned. The buttercream worked this time since I gobbed so much on. It covered well, smoothed out well, and let me even out the top. I also carved off some of the “muffin-top” of strawberry cake (although this then compromised the circular shape of the cake). Good. Things were looking ok. Onto the ganache. I have made ganache enough times that I know how easy it is. But stupidly I used “melting chocolate” rather than baking chocolate or chocolate chips and melting chocolate is way too soft. So in the morning when I was hoping to just smooth it out I suddenly realized why it wouldn’t set! Which means that I couldn’t decorate on top of it because then the icing decorations would slide. So then I thought “oh I have some extra ganache left, why not melt some more chocolate and add it to
the ganache and smooth that over the top” (note: now four layers of icing on the outside: red buttercream, pink buttercream, sloppy ganache, thick ganache). Well think of the physics of thick, almost solid chocolate overtop of sloppy, liquidy chocolate. It slides. It looks awful! What a mess.
I should point out that this is why there is a lack of pictures of the process: while I did take pics of making the strawberry cake the mess that became the strawberry cake distracted me from taking proper pics of the chocolate cake (and I just forgot!)
The good news: when you put some decorations on the top and have it served outside after it is already dark with 32 candles on the top, everyone thinks it looks fantastic!
The other good news: I knew it would taste amazing!
For the recipe, I used the strawberry cupcakes recipe and strawberry cream cheese icing, a “black magic” cake recipe (below but you can find it online as well!) for the chocolate cake, and a basic buttercream icing for the top. I will not post any ganache recipe this time since it was such a fail!
Black Magic/Rich & Decadent Chocolate Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup strong hot black coffee
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line cake pans with parchment paper (I used 2 x 9″ but you could do an 11×13″)
- In mixer bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients (including sugar).
- Mix oil, buttermilk, eggs & vanilla in a smaller bowl.
- With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients until mixed pretty well. Add the hot coffee in a slow stream until just combined.
- Pour the liquidy batter into your prepared pans. Bake 20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on racks about 30 min and then remove from pans to cool completely.
- 1 cup butter, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tb meringue powder
- 4 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
- 3-4 tsp water/milk
- Beat butter until smooth. Add in vanilla and meringue powder.
- Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time. It ends up quite stiff.
- Add water until the desired consistency is reached (thin for icing the cake, medium for decorations).
Part of the reason I wanted to start a dessert blog was because I kept
coming across these contests and fun activities that different blogs do together and I wanted to participate! So this is my first one! I am pretty excited although looking at the competition (see the Cupcake Project’s Facebook page for other cupcakes!), I am realizing just how serious some of these bloggers are! There are some great creations out there and I am looking forward to browsing through more! The idea of the contest is to combine a great cupcake with ice cream in some way. So here is my cupcake!
The cupcakes I made are Strawberry Cupcakes based on a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes cookbook. I have made them before but I forgot just how delicious they are!
The ice cream was store bought (I dream of the day I own the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid but I also know how dangerous it would be for me! I love ice cream!) and was a white chocolate and dark chocolate swirl one. I decided to put two layers of ice cream in the middle for extra fun! On top, there is a layer of strawberry cream cheese icing and then some scraggly vanilla buttercream to finish it off. Of course a few sprinkles on top round it out! The recipes for the cupcakes and cream cheese filling are below!
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tb baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter, room temp
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 large eggs plus 1 egg white
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups finely chopped strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cupcake pans or line with papers.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the stand of a mixer, beat butter, add in sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy and pale. Add eggs and the egg white one at a time.
- Reduce speed to low and add half the flour, then the milk, then the rest of the flour.
- Carefully fold in chopped strawberries.
- Scoop into prepared pans.
- (The ones not receiving the ice cream treatment actually were stuffed with a cheesecake like filling in them: I made a dent in them and then scooped in the filling – this I made by beating together 4 oz cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, 2-3 Tb sour cream – and baked the same.)
- Bake 25-30 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool 30 min before transferring them to a cooling rack and to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
First of all, I just have a couple comments to make about chocolate and mint together. Recently, my friend Courteney (co-blogger on my other blog site Let’s Make Whoopie) made Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Mint Filling. After tasting them, I had to admit I didn’t love them. Here is the thing: although I thought the cookies were excellent, I am quite picky about the combo of chocolate and mint. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes it isn’t really my thing. I don’t like chocolate mint ice cream but I love After Eights. I love this chocolate mint truffle cake that I make sometimes at Christmas but I would never think to order something like that from a restaurant because I don’t think I would like it. So the Whoopie Pies: they were just so-so because the mint-chocolate combo wasn’t quite right for me. I am not sure if it is the ratio, the type of mint or just what it is that I don’t like about it sometimes but there is something. I tried to explain this to Courteney but she just thought I was crazy! Here’s something else: I am NOT the only one! I have encountered at least 3 others since the Whoopie Pie trial!!
Anyways, I felt like I needed to add that before introducing this flavour! Chocolate Mint Peppermint Patty Cupcakes! I think this is even one of the first things I have baked since the Whoopie Pies so it is sort of ironic that I made them! There was a reason I had to make them though: back in February, I bought a bag of York Peppermint patties that were on sale with intentions of making these. That was obviously months ago now. Then about 2 weeks ago a friend at work was clearing out her cupboards and came across a bag of the mini ones. She was going to leave them out at work for people to help themselves since she didn’t really like them (they really aren’t the same) but I nabbed them to make these cupcakes with instead! Of course I promised her a few to try!
This is a a much loved recipe that has been made several times by both me and a friend of mine. It is almost directly from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook except for a couple minor changes. I like to make both the full sized and the mini-cupcakes. The mini’s are a more manageable size but the full size ones are so much tastier! There is something about the full sized ones that makes them so much better! They are a chewier texture because they have a full peppermint patty in side! Mmm… delicious.
Ok, one more comment before the recipe. I have discovered the best baking chocolate at Trader Joe’s. Instead of squares of chocolate they are discs! They melt perfectly and taste delicious.
Alright, now on to the recipe! Here it is:
Chocolate Peppermint Patty Brownie Cupcakes
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- either 12 large chocolate covered peppermint patties or a mix of large and small ones
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin tins very well! I don’t like usingthe paper liners as I find that they stick really badly. They usually do either 12-15 regular sized cupcakes or 24-30 minis – or a 6 large and
18 minis as I did this time!
- Melt butter and chocolate together in a medium sized bowl in the microwave (I like to do it at about a level 6 or 7 until it melts smoothly – stir every 30 seconds).
- Whisk sugar and salt into chocolate/butter mixture until smooth. Whisk in eggs and then flour and cocoa just until smooth – don’t overmix it!
- Spoon a small scoop of batter into the bottom of the pans – this should be equal to about half of the portion that will end up the whole cupcake. For the minis, I fill them about halfway at this point. For the big ones, I fill them maybe 1/3 of the cup.
- Place 1 peppermint patty (a large in each big cupcake or a small in the minis) into each cup. Spoon the rest of the batter over the top.
- Bake about 20-25 min.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing cupcakes. I chopped up some extra peppermint patties and sprinkled them on the top while the cupcakes were still warm.
- Enjoy! Too bad I forgot to take a picture of what the inside looks like!