Amazingly Delicious Carmelitas

Apparently I have been deprived. I had never heard about Carmelitas until about a month ago when I made a trip to Whole Foods with a good friend. We had both run a decent half marathon that day and so she was looking for a treat (I am pretty sure I had something at home that I was indulging in) and bought a Carmelita. I had never heard of such a creation. Even though she is a bit of a food addict, she actually shared a little with me. It was delicious. And I had to figure out how to make them.

However, I hadn’t made any effort to find a recipe when suddenly I saw them posted all over Pinterest. Since I had an upcoming night of food, laughter, gossip & good times with my gym friends planned, I figured it was time to try out a recipe.

Because one of the girls is limiting dairy & gluten, I actually made these gluten free and almost dairy free (they could be dairy free if you use caramel ice cream topping maybe but I don’t know how you could possibly make good caramel without cream or butter!) Basically I just used quinoa flour instead of regular flour and vegan ‘butter’ (Earth Balance) instead of butter. I have put both the regular & the allergen-free options & I am sure the regular would work beautifully.

I chose to use my homemade caramel but you could just buy caramel ice cream topping or melt together 1 pkg of caramel squares (like Kraft) with 1/2 cup cream in a saucepan. I recommend the homemade stuff though. It is the best. It is so delicious. And if you have some leftover, use it as an ice cream topper or just eat it by the spoonful! Or spread it on toast. Or pancakes. Or on a cake. Yum! So good!

I don’t normally like nuts in my desserts & considered leaving them out… but decided against and I was so glad that I did! The nuts add to the perfection of the texture and give such a delicious nuttiness that you definitely should add them!

These were FANTASTIC! I LOVED them and look forward to making them again!

Carmelitas – makes a 9×13″ pan – you decide how big you want them! The recipe can easily be halved and made in a 9×9″ pan

  • 2 cups quinoa flour – or regular all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter or regular unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup additional quick-cooking oats (if needed)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (either homemade from here or caramel ice cream topping if you need dairy free or 32 caramel squares melted with 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 2 Tb butter (or vegan)
  • 2 1/2 Tb flour (quinoa or regular)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper (make sure there are pieces that come over the edges on two sides so it is easy to remove.
  2. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and softened butter (or vegan substitute) in the bowl of a mixer. Take half of it and press it into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove & cool slightly.
  3. If your mixture is not crumbly, add the extra oats to the 2nd half. I am not sure if mine wasn’t crumbly because I used vegan butter or if that is just how it ends up. I wanted my topping somewhat crumbly though so I added the extra oats. Add as much as you feel like you need.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips & chopped pecans over the crust.
  5. Melt the caramel enough that you can stir it and then add the additional butter & flour – this step doesn’t seem to be in the recipes that use the ice cream topping or the caramel squares.
  6. Pour the caramel over the chips & nuts and then top with the remaining crumb mixture.
  7. Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes until the crust starts to brown.
  8. Allow to cool completely in the pan. With the homemade caramel, do not put it in the fridge as it will get too hard to cut.
  9. Use the parchment paper to pull the entire pan of carmelitas out of the pan and then cut & serve (I used a pizza cutter and it worked fantastically!)

Chocolate-dipped Rolled Sugar Cookies

Well it is time for the Hallmark-made holiday! Valentine’s Day yet again, or as I like to call it – Single’s Night at the Gym! I realize that there are many people who don’t celebrate V-day that are in committed relationships still at the gym on Feb 14 but I like to believe it is single’s night. And if it isn’t, why aren’t there single’s nights at the gym??

When I switched from an all women’s gym to a co-ed gym I thought that I would have more opportunities to meet people but instead I think the guys just get more annoyed because I use their equipment rather than staying on the women’s-only side. (They don’t realize that not only do we not have a proper power/squat rack but our free weights only go up to 30lbs.) So for ‘freaks’ like me that like to lift heavy, we are ‘stuck’ sharing the equipment with the meatheads or the groups of guys that seem to spend more time gossiping than actually working out. There are of course some that don’t fall in either of those categories but I just assume they also don’t fall into the ‘single’ category either so then my time spent in their area of the gym goes to waste for meeting purposes (of course it isn’t wasted entirely – I still get a great workout!)

Anyways, back to these cookies. I have made these cookies for years any time that I have wanted cutout cookies and the recipe always works out. They are soft and buttery and tasty without being overly sweet. It comes from allrecipes.com and it is simply called “The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies” and that it is!

Rolled Sugar Cookies (from allrecipes)

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. In the bowl of a mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Bead in eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and then add this to the butter/sugar/eggs mix.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate at least one hour or overnight
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Roll dough out on a WELL-FLOURED surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheets. Reroll dough when necessary.
  6. Bake 6-8 min (careful – if they are thin they will cook fast). Cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, you can either dip them in melted chocolate as I did or you could decorate them with royal icing or you could just eat them plain!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

I had some ideas earlier in the week as to what I was going to write here but I am blanking now. I know it was something unrelated to the recipe… everyone else goes on about random things on their food blogs that are unrelated so I figured I could start doing that too! But now I am in a bit of a weird mood and am blanking on what it was. So maybe I will just say that this recipe is delicious and you should make it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 Tb corn syrup
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 flour
  • 1/3 chocolate chips
  1. Beating the cooled syrup

    Line an 8×8″ pan with parchment.

  2. Bring sugar, brown sugar, cream, milk, corn syrup and salt to a boil in a 3-qt saucepan over medium. Stir occasionally with a spatula. Boil to 242 degrees, stir frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and flour.
  4. Pour the syrup into a 9×13″ pan (not the parchment lined one 8×8″ one!) and let sit at room temp about 20 minutes. The recipe said to let it cool to 110° but I accidently left it to 90 degrees. Oops. It still worked.
  5. Scrape the batter into a stand mixer. Beat on medium with the paddle attachment until fudge thickens and it holds its shape. This is about 3-5 minutes. Scrape into the 8×8″ pan & spread evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and press down lightly.
  7. Let cool completely. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge


Death by Ferraro Rocher Trifle (or should I call it Nutella Trifle?)

Ferraro Rocher Trifle

I have two friends that I bake for regularly that are frequently mentioned in this blog, not by name of course! They, like me, love food and frequently talk about it. I think that this recipe may have been a favourite for one of them – and that is saying A LOT. Every time I have seen them lately, he mentions this dessert and has a new comment about it. He has asked if he can pay me to make it for him so he can take it to potluck dinners – and of course claim that he made it! And really I didn’t even make it as well as I could have – I would have used Frangelico if there weren’t kids eating it!

Anyways, it is based on a chocolate trifle like dessert known as Death by Chocolate (I often just call it “Chocolate Mess” as it ends up looking like that once served) but it is a Chocolate-Hazelnut Trifle rather than just straight up chocolate. Basically I had a layer of my favourite chocolate cake in the freezer and wanted to use it without making anything that would take a ton of time. Also, I had Ferraro Rocher’s that someone had given me but I was afraid to open them as I have a fear that I will eat them all! So put that together with some Nutella and you have “Death by Ferraro Rocher”! Here are the layers:

Chocolate cake layer from the freezer

Chocolate Hazelnut Trifle

Chocolate Cake or Brownies, cut up in 1inch cubes
Use your favourite recipe or just buy a cake mix if you are being lazy! Although you do want a good cake, it isn’t as important to make sure it is moist since everything else in the dessert ensures lots of moisture!

1/2 cup Frangelico, Kahlua, Chocolate Hazelnut Tea (for the kid friendly version!), or any liquid that has a little sweetness/flavour to add

Nutella Cream Cheese Mousse

Nutella Mousse
3/4 cup Nutella
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
4-8 Tb milk/cream
Beat all together until smooth. Add enough milk to ensure a pudding like consistency.

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and beat a little more but not too much!

 6 Ferraro Rocher’s, chopped roughly

Cake, mousse, whipped cream, Ferraro Rochers, Repeat!

Assembly:

  1. Arrange half of the chocolate cake pieces in the bottom of your bowl (I like using my trifle bowl but any deep bowl will do – it is nice to use a clear one so you can see the pretty layers!).
  2. Drizzle 4 Tb of Frangelico/whatever you are using over the top of the cake pieces.
  3. Spread half of the Nutella mousse over the cake evenly. I tend to put it in ‘glops’ and then spread it out evenly.
  4. Spread half of the whipped cream over the mousse.
  5. Sprinkle half of the chopped Ferraro Rocher’s over the whipped cream.
  6. Repeat all layers.
  7. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate overnight too.

Look at those lovely layers of deliciousness!


Wedding #2: Cupcakes were on order!

Wedding treats!

So after the success of wedding #1, it was on to the easier and less stressful task of wedding #2 this summer. This bride, a friend of mine, wanted cupcakes and had requested chocolate with coconut frosting and whatever else I wanted to make. Well I already posted the chocolate-coconut cupcakes and the other ones I chose to make were a variation on the strawberry cupcakes I previously posted as well. I won’t repost the recipe but rather just some notes on them since they were actually what I called “Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes”.

My stacked fridge! It was hot so I had to make space!

Since the couple was aiming for a “desserts & appies” type of night, I figured cupcakes weren’t enough and made two other creations for the evening, which were Caramel Macchiato Whoopie Pies & the all time favourite Lemon Squares. Of course the Whoopie Pies will have to make an appearance on Let’s Make Whoopie rather than this blog! As for the lemon squares, well I think I will post a couple pics on here but I had a bit of a problem with the lemon squares… I made a double batch of them and therefore made two pans of them. Now here is the weird thing, when I went to cut up the first batch, the entire pan was “inverted”. So the lemon was on the bottom and the crust was on the top. The second pan of them was

about 80% completely fine but at the one end, the same thing had happened – crust on top! So so strange! I have no idea why this happened or what went on but I have found that other people have had the same problem! My only guess is that

upside down lemon squares!

you have to put the lemon filling in the crust while the crust is still hot (it is prebaked). Since I was taking forever to squeeze the lemons, I wasn’t ready with the filling when the crusts were done so they were able to cool. That is the only thing I can think that I did differently from the first time that I made the recipe and they came out PERFECT! So I will not post the recipe here until I know that it works perfectly. I still did take them to the wedding though – the ones that didn’t make nice squares because of the less-than-sturdy base weren’t served there and instead were flipped over, slightly smoothed and taken to my less-than-picky friends! They still tasted amazing but they didn’t look pretty!

More Cupcakes!

I got a little carried away with wanting to do lots of different designs! It was kind of fun but maybe two designs for each flavour would have been better! My favs are the little mini chocolate ones with the little orange rose, or the pink minis with the 2 orange apple blossoms or the ones that just look like big roses (see the pics below! There are big white ones and mini pink ones! I added glitter to them too 🙂 )

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Raspberry cupcakes: these were made using the recipe for the strawberry cupcakes found here but instead of strawberries, I used raspberries. 

Cheesecake Filling: I made a cheesecake filling (beat together 4 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg , 1 tsp vanilla) and added a little less than 1 tablespoon to each cupcake prior to baking. The cupcakes don’t look nicely domed after and some end up a little odd shaped, but they taste good!

White Chocolate Buttercream: melt 6 oz white chocolate and allow to cool. Beat on low 1 cup room temp butter, 2 cups of icing sugar, melted white chocolate, and 3 Tb milk until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

The tiered display

An assortment of minis!


Tea & Coffee Wedding Cake – My first one!

The Finished Cake

I have done it: made my first wedding cake. It went reasonably well too. I mean, I would have liked the fondant to be smoother and I would have liked to have the confidence to make it more exciting but overall, it looked pretty nice. And the taste! Well, that was more important to me than the look and oh did it taste good! The bride told me that her mom is quite picky about desserts and had been trying to get the bride to tell me to “not make it too sweet” and stuff like that (my friend didn’t pass along anything of the sort – she put a lot of trust in me actually!) but the mother-of-the-bride was extremely happy with it and was thrilled there was some left for them to take home!

So here was the process (sorry that this post may be long – it was a long process!):

  1. Make the cakes!I made three tiers with the bottom being mocha flavoured (14″ round) and the top two tiers being chai tea. Now do you get why I called it my Tea & Coffee wedding cake? I had to make a triple batch of the mocha cake for two layers of 14″ rounds and a 2.5 batch of the chai spiced cake for the other two tiers. (Note: the 14″ volume is actually larger than the two smaller layers put together). I made the cakes on the Sunday before the wedding (which was held on Saturday), allowed them to cool, and wrapped them very well (a LOT of Saran Wrap!) and froze them. I knew that I wouldn’t

    A lot of frozen cakes!

    have time to bake them all later in the week. The baking alone took about 7 hours!!

  2. Make fondant roses. This is not something I love doing. In fact, I think I would just buy real roses in the future instead. These took around 8 hours to make! Since the colours were supposed to be red & gold, I made the roses in a couple shades of red. Overall I did like the effect of the cluster of them on the top of the cake but they are too much work and I am not all that great at them.
  3. Make the icing. This was where I became exceedingly grateful for owning a KitchenAid mixer. The cappuccino icing/filling for the mocha cake was easy enough but the Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the Chai cake involved beating the egg whites for an excessively long time!

    Latte icing for the chocolate cake

  4. Ice the cakes. This wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. I thought with a giant cake it might be a little trickier but it was fine. First though I had to make sure that all three tiers would end up the same size. So I carved down the layers that were a little too thick and made sure they were level. Also, each tier goes on a cardboard cake base (basically you then ice to the width of the board and make sure the fondant covers it). I then put a thin layer of honey on the chai cakes and piping gel on the mocha cake to make sure that the fondant stuck.

    The top tier is iced & 'honeyed'

    Honey Buttercream for the Chai Tea cake

  5. Fondant the cakes! I had bought Satin Ice fondant this time instead of the Wilton I had used in the past. It smelled delicious! I had bought the vanilla buttercream flavour and although it still had that weird fondant texture, it did taste better (Wilton is tasteless – just sweet).  This was a little

    The fondant

    frustrating as I wanted it to be perfect and I knew it wouldn’t be. Also, fondant attracts lint and hair like crazy and having two cats makes it incredibly frustrating! I did manage to keep it fur free though (I think/hope). After finishing the fondant, I covered the cakes and refridgerated them overnight (normally fondant cakes don’t need to be kept cool but it was pretty hot here and I didn’t want to take the chance). I had planned on making Royal Icing and doing some designs but I decided I could keep this first one simple and plain.

  6. Insert the dowels. Since the cakes are heavy with all of that cake, icing & fondant, you can’t just pile them on top of each other as the bottom tier will

    The tiers are ready to go! You can see where the dowels are.

    collapse and buckle. Thankfully they make dowels for cakes. You can buy wooden ones but I opted for the ones that are basically like giant, hard straws. You basically insert them into the cake and push them to the bottom. Mark the side where the top of the cake reaches to and then cut them off a little shorter than that. Push them back in. I was a little paranoid so I likely used more than I needed in the bottom tier but it didn’t collapse! After inserting the dowels, the holes are covered with a little buttercream.

  7. Make the “topper”. Since the couple didn’t have a topper, I figured I would use the fondant roses on the top. I took some of the cake that was carved off the top of a layer that was too thick and made a mound of cake/icing. I wrapped this in fondant. Since the roses are made on toothpicks, I used these to hold the roses in place in my ‘mound of cake & icing & fondant’. It worked like a charm. Sadly I realized I needed more roses at the last minute…

    Here's the topper I made with red fondant roses

  8. Stack the tiers. In the afternoon before the evening reception, I went to the reception hall early and set up my cake. There was no way I was going to try to move the cake already stacked! I used a large angled cake spatula to help me out here. It worked well.
  9. Wrap in Ribbon. For the gold, in case you are wondering, I wrapped the tiers in the same ribbon that the couple used on their invitations. I looked around for awhile looking for the perfect ribbon and was suddenly inspired to ask if they had any left over as it was the perfect ribbon for the cake. I measured it out and figured I needed a minimum of 250 cm. Well, the bride has about 270 cm left! It really was the absolute perfect length – I cut the three lengths I needed and had none leftover (but enough to perfectly wrap around)! I think it was meant to be 🙂 The best thing about putting ribbon around the base of the tiers was that it hides all the flaws in the fondant at the bottom! Best idea ever!
  10. Add the topper & other decorations! I put the topper on top and other people brought some rose petals and tealights to decorate the table. Step back so you don’t look at the imperfections so closely. And dim the lights – that helps too!

    It was done... although it looked nicer in the evening when the daylight didn't show the imperfections. Plus the decorations for the table helped!

Ok, so here are the recipes. I am putting the recipe for a normal sized cake rather than the giant ones I did. I ended up doing 2.5 times of each recipe for the amount that I made. (I had to make them in 2 batches as 2.5 didn’t fit in the bowl!)

The chocolate batter: I almost maxed out my mixer!

Rich, moist Mocha Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • salt
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cappuccino flavour (or another tsp of espresso powder)
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line with parchment paper. This should make a 2 deep or 3 thinner 9″ layers.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder & salt.

    Whisk together dry ingredients (if the cocoa is lumpy sift it first!)

  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, cappuccino flavour and vanilla.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended. Beat about 3 minutes on high until creamy.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time.
  6. Beat in flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk/vanilla mixture. Start and end with the flour mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean about 25-28 minutes (check it at 20 minutes).
  8. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes before removing to cool on racks.

Latte Icing - I added more espresso powder after the picture.

Latte Icing

  • 1 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp cappuccino flavour
  • 1-2 Tb espresso powder (make it to how strong you like it! The flavour will mellow a bit once it is mixed with the cake so make it a little stronger than you would think)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2-4 tsp milk/cream/water to thin consistency icing
  1. Beat the butter until creamy and light (at least 3 minutes). Add in the flavourings.
  2. Add 2-3 cups of the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add a bit of liquid. Beat in the rest of the sugar. Add more liquid as needed.

Chai Tea Cake (adapted from Sky-High Cakes as posted on this blog)

The chai cake batter - again almost too high in the bowl!

I like it pretty spicy and although I adapted this to make it spicier, I could still use more in my opinion!

  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 chai tea bags
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp chai flavouring (I bought this at a random tea store in Seattle… it is optional!)
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease pans and line with parchment paper (2 or 3 9″ pans would work great! Of course the 3 pans would make for thin layers while the 2 pans would make for deep layers)
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Allow to steep (stir it around some) for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and squeeze out the remaining milk. Allow to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, yolks, vanilla, chai flavour if using, and 1/3 cup of chai milk.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together all dry ingredients. Beat in the butter and the remaining milk. Mix on medium until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg mixture in three additions.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Honey swiss meringue buttercream

  • Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    4 egg whites

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, heat the sugar and egg whites. Whisk while heating until 140°F. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  2. Whip the meringue by beating on low to start, until foamy, and then increasing the speed. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture is cooled completely (test by touching the outside of the metal bowl). This takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Beat between each addition until the butter is fully incorporated.
  4. Don’t worry if it looks kind of curdled during the process, keep beating as it will come together at the end.
  5. Slowly pour in the honey while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla. Beat for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. To finish, switch to the paddle attachment and beat a few extra minutes to reduce air bubbles.
There you have it! A delicious coffee & tea cake (or you could just make one or the other!)

The couple (bad picture quality - sorry)

The cut up pieces! Pure Loveliness!


Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Coconut Buttercream

Yum... these were good

Although I am unmarried myself, I do generally enjoy weddings. Some may not believe that as sometimes I complain about them (as they are a great reminder of my own single status) but honestly I do like them. But for me it isn’t about any particular detail or the fancy displays or anything, it is about the couple. I love seeing how they customized their wedding to match their personalities and who they are. And I love seeing the look on the groom’s face when the bride comes in!

I have a friend that is getting married in just over three weeks and what she and her soon-to-be husband decided to go with was an evening wedding followed up with desserts, appies and dancing. Although I do enjoy a good meal, I think this is a great idea for them! Neither of them are into the big fancy wedding and this style will be perfect for them. So since my friend knows how much I love baking and that I was taking decorating classes, she asked if I would be willing to make cupcakes for her wedding. Of course I obliged! What a fun opportunity! Of course I didn’t really think about the fact that I don’t really have a favourite chocolate cupcake recipe or that maybe she would want something that I hadn’t perfected already. This was really just an extra challenge though! So there is the reason behind having made 3 different chocolate cake/cupcake recipes recently!

When I finally got around to asking what she actually wanted a couple months back, she immediately said she wanted chocolate cupcakes with coconut icing. This is what she has apparently asked for as a birthday cake/cupcake since she was very young. And this actually made me really happy as I love coconut things but I know that a lot of people aren’t as thrilled by them as I am so I am always hesitant to make coconut things. My own addition to this was to add a chocolate ganache filling to the cupcake. Just a little boost of extra decadence in my mind!

I think this recipe is the one I am sticking with. When I made these cupcakes, the intention was to do a trial run of the cupcakes for a shower for her but I wasn’t positive the recipe would be the one I would use. Well it will be! Even though I liked the other recipes (the chocolate cake in the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake or the Chocolate Cake with the Toasted Marshmallow Filling), this one seems richer, smoother and luxurious. I loved it. And I really LOVED the batter… it is so creamy and delicious. Oops, right, that wasn’t the part I was supposed to be inhaling! And then stuff it full of smooth chocolate ganache and top it with creamy white coconut icing… oh so good! Here’s the recipe:

Luxurious Chocolate Cupcakes (or cake!)

Creamy Delicious Batter

(aka Chocolate Buttermilk Cake from Good Housekeeping Best-Loved Desserts )

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans or line cupcake pans with paper liners. I did a combo of 12 mini cupcakes, 12 regulars, and 1-9″ cake pan (lined with parchment paper). The idea is to make a 2-layer pan (they would be pretty deep though!)
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt.
  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. After baking! It makes a good portion of batter

    In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended. Beat about 3 minutes on high until creamy.

  5. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time.
  6. Beat in flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk/vanilla mixture. Start and end with the flour mix.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. For mini cupcakes it was about 12-15 minutes, cupcakes 17-20 minutes and cake was about 25-28 minutes (I don’t actually remember perfectly! It could have been longer!)
  8. Cool in pans 15-20 minutes before removing to cool on racks.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  1. Heat cream until it is just below boiling then remove and pour over chocolate (either broken up).
  2. After a couple of minutes. Stir well until smooth. Allow to cool. (I actually stirred in toasted coconut but I didn’t find it added anything to the taste.) (Don’t refridgerate).
  3. Inject into the centre of the cupcakes. Or if you don’t have the cupcake injector tip (as I call it), scoop out a  cylindrical chunk each cupcake and fill with ganache.

    Lovely!

Coconut Buttercream Icing

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract (or as much as needed! mine was a little weak!)
  1. Beat butter for about 2 minutes on its own until smooth and creamy and pretty looking!
  2. Add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Add coconut extract to taste. You may need to add water to get the proper consistency if your coconut extract is potent!
  3. Top your cupcakes with the icing!