Easter is fast approaching and chocolate is synonamous with Easter. Do I have the perfect celebration cake for you if you follow a LCHF, Keto or Paleo lifestyle. As mentioned before in a previous blog post this has been by far the most requested of all the cakes that I bake – this is definitely everybody’s favourite, be they very young or ancient. Now that my family are gluten free and following the LCHF (low carb high fat) lifestyle it is definitely a perfect cake for special occasions as we don’t do baked goods and desserts too often. However this one always stands the test of time and is always showcased at birthday parties. The ingredients are ideal for a low carb high fat lifestyle with the omission of the sugar which is replaced with xylitol or erythritol. Delicious served with fresh whipped cream or better still, creme fraiche is ideal with fresh summer berries for the perfect party treat.
Note: The recipe is flourless and grain free/gluten free so should therefore suit wheat intolerant individuals and will fit into a gluten-free diet. Being sugar free it is suitable for diabetics!
My favourite way of eating this intense chocolate cake is simply with a dusting of xylitol dust mixed with cacao powder….yes you can get this fancy product now to replace icing sugar, some freshest berries & a dollop of crème fraiche to cut through the richness of this torte
Do also note that that the texture and flavour intensifies and settles with time so plan to prepare and bake this cake 24 hours prior to consuming. It loves spending the night chilling in the fridge!!
COLLEEN’S INTENSE CHOCOLATE TORTE (DEATH BY CHOCOLATE)
100g Lindt Dark Chocolate (70%)
100g Lindt Darkest Chocolate (85 – 90%)
200g Unsalted Butter - ice cold from the fridge
250g Granulated Xylitol or Erythritol (available from health shops and some pharmacies and also The Red Basket)
6 Jumbo Free Range Eggs – separated into 2 very clean mixing bowls
2 Tbs Finely Ground Almonds or Hazelnuts – I like to roast then grind the nuts – I put a little bit of xylitol into the grinder with the nuts. It works well at grinding them finer…
1 Tbs Brandy, Cointreau or Van der Hum (optional but delicious)
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
¼ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract or a knife point of seeds scraped from a pod
Zest of ½ Orange (optional – my son doesn’t like it so I leave it out for their cakes but I love it!)
Juice of 1 Orange (optional) Use 30ml Water instead if omitting the citrus
You can also frost this cake with chocolate ganache for special occasions. I love the rustic simplicity of it served as above but some people do prefer a celebration cake with frosting. See some example photos below of how I have used ganache to decorate this cake.
200g Dark Chocolate
125ml Fresh Cream
1 Tbs Unsalted Butter
1 Tbs Brandy or Liqueur – very optional but delicious
Hello Chocolate lover! It’s been a while since I had a marathon baking session in my kitchen and it has been on my mind a lot lately to step out of my comfort zone and bake something that is a bit of a challenge to myself. As you all know I am self taught in the kitchen, an ordinary cook and baker with a passionate love for food….and cake! I watched and learned a lot in my late mom’s huge kitchen during my childhood and then put into practice all that I learned over the years, using my lovely family as guinea pigs, mostly surprising both them and myself with my offerings. But sometimes it is good to test yourself, to challenge what you know you can do and raise the bar a little bit. Sometimes, like when you watch those divine chefs on tv and wish you could do what they do, produce what they do to knock the socks off those you love…just every once in a while………
My opportunity arose a couple of weeks ago when I got a call from Woolworths SA , one of the main sponsors of Masterchef Celebrity SA, asking if I would be willing to collaborate with them on a “You Too Can Cook Like A Celebrity ” Challenge. Of course I totally fell in line and agreed when I heard what their special ingredient was going to be for the week….CHOCOLATE! I started gleaning all the information I could about how to work with chocolate and what all you can do with it. I kind of got a general idea of what I wanted to do very early and then started building my dream cake in my mind and on paper. It was so much fun heading to the foodstore and being able to blow the contents of my purse on some of the best quality ingredients that I could find – slabs of darkest chocolate, organic eggs, beautiful Ayrshire cream, unsalted butter, raw hazelnuts!
I spent a few day working on my recipe and then working out how best to carry it out. Although the missive was “it can be as simple as you want it to be or it can be as elaborate and fancy as you would like” I decided to go with elaborate. So bear with me…….the recipe is longish and involved but if you plan it all as I did and you can do some of it ahead of time it really isn’t all that difficult to assemble to parts.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT MERINGUE AND MOUSSE CAKE (made over 3 days)
(Serves 16 as it is a very rich dessert)
Moderately difficult as it involves a number of techniques but a delicious challenge and very satisfying when you see your guests faces and hear the oohs and aahs of delight!
CHOCOLATE MIRROR GLAZE (can be made up to 3 days in advance)
6g (3) Gelatin Leaves – soaked in 1 liter cold water until soft about 20 minutes
250g Granulated Sugar
50g Dark Cocoa Powder – sifted (I use NoMU)
100ml Woolworths Ayrshire Whipping Cream
50g 85% Lindt Dark Chocolate
Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, cream and water in a saucepan and heat over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and it comes to the boil
Remove from the heat, stir in the chocolate pieces until melted
Squeeze most of the water out of the gelatin leaves then drop them into the hot chocolate glaze and stir until dissolved
Pass the glaze through a rough sieve and stir gently then allow to cool for about 15 minutes
Pass the glaze through a fine sieve so that it has no bubbles or tiny lumps in it. I hold the sieve close to the bowl so that no little bubbles form when it pours through
Set aside to cool enough to glaze the cake (if making beforehand seal once cooled and place in the fridge until required. You would have to warm it slightly to make it pourable before use if refrigerated)
HAZELNUT MERINGUE LAYERS:
4 XL egg whites
2.5ml cream of tartar
200 ml granulated sugar
125 ml Raw Hazelnuts – roasted in a dry pan until lightly browned then ground finely
1ml vanilla seeds
Pinch Maldon Salt flakes
Preheat oven to 110deg C and place rack on bottom shelf of oven
Line 2 30x20cm (ungreased) cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using the same springform pan bottom as a template trace a circle onto each sheet of paper then turn the paper over on the cookie sheets so that the pencil mark is on the underside
In a very clean metal mixing bowl using a very clean whisk beat the egg whites with vanilla seeds and cream of tartar until soft peaks form
Beat in the sugar gradually – 1 tablespoon at a time – until glossy stiff peaks form.
Fold in the ground hazelnuts gently using a metal spoon
Divide in half and spoon the meringue onto the paper using an offset spatula to spread it evenly inside the circles and smoothing the tops
Place both pans on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour until crisp and dry. Check it after 45 minutes as they are thin disks and ovens vary
Turn off oven and allow to cool for an hour before removing and cooling completely in the pan. Turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper backing
Store in an airtight container until required. Can be made 2 or 3 days ahead of use
(You could make one thick meringue layer, baking for about 1 ½ hours and cooling for 2 hours in the oven if preferred but I wanted a 4 layer cake at the end of the process)
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE FILLING
100g 85% Chocolate – chopped
200g dark chocolate 70% – chopped
6 XL Egg Yolks – at room temperature
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese – at room temperature
500ml Woolworths Ayrshire Whipping cream
6g Gelatin leaves – softened in 1 liter cold water for 20 minutes
120g Castor sugar
5ml Vanilla Extract
Place the egg yolks, cream cheese, vanilla extract and 100g of the sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and thick
Place the chopped chocolate in a glass bowl. Pour 200ml cream into a jug and micro on high until the cream just comes to the boil. Squeeze most of the water from the gelatin then whisk the leaves into the hot cream mixture. Pour this over the chopped chocolate and leave to melt then whisk gently until all the chocolate has melted
Pour the still hot chocolate mixture slowly over the beaten egg yolk mixture while the mixer is running on low and whisk until all mixed in. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes before adding the whipped cream
Beat the rest of the cream and 20g sugar until stiff peaks form then add 2 tablespoons to the egg mixture to loosen and fold in. Fold in half of the remaining whipped cream gently and then fold the rest of it into the egg mixture until evenly distributed
Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to set for a few hours
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYERS: (repeat recipe for 2 layers)
4 XL eggs – separated (room temperature)
1 Egg Yolk only
200g Castor Sugar
130g 85% Chocolate (this amounts to 1 slab plus 3 blocks of Lindt)
50g Unsalted Butter
2,5ml Maldon Salt
1ml Vanilla seeds
Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave on low for 2 minutes – whisk after each minute then set aside to cool a bit once smooth
Preheat oven to 160deg C
Brush bottom and sides of a swissroll tin 30x25cm with melted butter then line with parchment paper. Brush paper with butter as well
Place egg whites into a very clean mixing bowl and beat on high with a very clean whisk or blades until frothy. Add half the sugar, 1 Tbs at a time, beating all the time until medium stiff glossy peaks form (not dry stiff peaks) Set aside
Place egg yolks, salt, vanilla and sugar into a second large mixing bowl and using the same blade or whisk beat on high speed until pale and thick – about 3 or 4 minutes
Beat the slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture
Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon until evenly distributed then pour the mixture into the prepared pan
Bake for 15 minutes then remove and cool
Repeat recipe for the second layer
Once cooled cut into 2 circles using a 23cm Springform pan as a template
Turn over onto a wire rack and place a warm wet tea towel over the base of the pan for just a few seconds to loosen the cake.
Remove the pan, peel off the paper, remove the offcut bits of cake and wrap the 2 circles gently in clingfilm (I use a piece of cardboard as a base as these cakes are delicate and light) and store in an airtight container.
Brush base and sides of a 23cm springform pan with melted butter. Line the base with a circle of parchment paper and brush paper with butter as well
Place the first chocolate circle into the base and drizzle 20ml of hazelnut liqueur over the cake
Place one third of the chocolate mousse filling on top and smooth with a spoon or spatula. Tap the pan gently on your counter top to fill up any gaps
Place a layer of hazelnut meringue onto the smoothed and straightened mousse in the pan, and fill with half the remaining mousse. Give another tap on the counter top to settle it all into place
Repeat with the second meringue layer and pour the remaining mousse over the top. Tap on the counter top again once or twice then smooth the top with an offset spatula until it is even and very smooth
Place the final chocolate cake layer on top and press down gently so that it is level with the top of the sides of the pan. Drizzle 20ml hazelnut liqueur over the cake then cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight before coating with the mirror glaze
UNMOULDING THE CAKE AND COVERING WITH THE MIRROR GLAZE:
Remove prepared mousse cake from the fridge and wrap a warm towel around it to loosen from the sides and bottom of the pan. Unclip and remove the sides of the springform pan and place cake on a wire rack over a clean baking tray (I left it on the base of the springform pan because it was easier and you don’t see the base at all once glazed)
Warm the mirror glaze in the microwave for 30 seconds, give it a gentle stir to mix then pour the glaze onto the centre top of the cold cake. Using an offset spatula level and spread it outwards and allow it to run over the sides of the cake, covering it completely. You can use the spatula to smooth the sides a bit if you like but the rippled patterns look quite good
Allow to stand for 15 minutes or so until it has set a bit then gently lift the cake and place it on a serving plate or board and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set completely
(the extra glaze that dripped into the baking tray can be lifted with a spatula and poured through a fine sieve to remove any cake crumbs and kept for dessert or ice cream topping (yummy with some chopped toasted hazelnuts swirled through it)
CANDIED HAZELNUTS (Prepare while the cake is cooling in the fridge)
20 Hazelnuts – lightly toasted (this will ensure you have extra to allow for breakages)
20 thin cocktail sticks with sharp ends
5ml lemon juice
Pack of Prestik or Blu-tack
Prepare a dripping space for the candied hazelnuts – underside of a cupboard hung over your counter top is ideal. Line the surface directly below with newspaper. Stick 20 balls of prestik (tick-tack or Blu-tack) evenly apart in a row on the underside of the cupboard (I did this the night before!)
Poke a wooden cocktail stick into the bottom of each hazelnut and set aside
Place a large pan of iced water close to the stove to stop cooking once the sugar is at the correct level of cooking (pan must be big enough to hold the saucepan)
Place the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Don’t stir but you can swirl the pan gently to ensure all the sugar has dissolved. You can wash down the sides of the saucepan with a brush dipped in cold water if needed to avoid crystals forming in the candy
Bring it to the boil over moderate heat then watch it carefully as it boils and allow it to turn a light to medium amber colour – no darker otherwise it goes bitter
Remove from heat once the desired colour has been reached and plunge the saucepan into the icy water bath to stop the cooking process and to cool the candy down for about 10 minutes. It is cool enough when you can dip the back of a wooden spoon into it and it forms a long slow droplet when you remove it. The shard of candy should be able to snap cleanly when cold
Gently dip and swirl the prepared hazelnuts into the candy then remove and stick the back ends of each cocktail stick into the prepared prestik balls, working from the ball furthest from you and allow to drip in long strands and cool and harden completely before removing the wooden sticks gently and breaking the beautiful candy spikes about 10cm or so from the hazelnuts (it was a damp humid day when I made mine so the spikes would not stand up. I remedied it by breaking the candy off close to the hazelnuts…not the same visual effect I was looking for but it worked well)
Remove cake from the fridge, decorate with the candied hazelnuts around the outer edge and some roughly chopped hazelnuts in the centre then cut into wedges and serve. We ate ours as is but you could cut the richness with a few fresh or frozen raspberries and a dollop of creme fraiche
Take a look at their beautiful page and get loads of new ideas of how you too can cook like a Celebrity Chef!
Thank you Woolworths SA for this lovely opportunity and challenge. I really enjoyed it.
Follow me on Instagram for more of my food pics
Have you ever been invited to pledge to bake bake for someone special? I am sure you have baked for someone before, and witnessed the joy that something that you made with love and your own hands brought to someone else. I love doing that. As you all know my signature recipe is brownies….with a name like browniegirl it HAS to be! It gives me so much joy to see someone happy and uplifted because I have actually made something for them, with love. It is far more meaningful really than going to buy an “its the thought that counts” gift. That is why, when I Love Baking SA (proudly sponsored by Stork) sent me the challenge to make a pledge to bake for someone special for World Baking Day 2014 I accepted straight away. I signed up and was sent a pledge pack, which arrived via courier in a beautiful aqua polka dot box.
When I opened up the box I knew we were in business. It contained everything from the brick of Stork Bake to the baking parchment, to the Le Creuset silicon spatula to mix it all together with. Eggs neatly wrapped in straw in little plastic tubes, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, flour, walnuts, vanilla, baking powder. Even the recipe I was to bake. I was now without excuse. My day had arrived and I was going to bake!
I just didn’t know who to bake for yet. I bake for my family all the time and they are so used to getting sweet treats so it had to be someone outside of my family circle. That was when I had a lightbulb moment and thought about a small group that I had only fairly recently become aware of……a group of elderly ladies living below the breadline in a building in the midst of our little town. Almost a year ago now, 17 July to be exact, a care group was formed, under the leadership of a young man who has a hearts desire to assist these women with their plight. This man is Tone Alexander and the group was named The Pauline Loots Care Group in honour of one of the ladies who tragically took her life just the day before. I knew Pauline, as well I guess as Pauline would allow anyone to know her, but I never knew about her situation. Her death was an absolute tragedy and yet something so good has come out of that tragedy. The Pauline Loots Care Group, made up of Tone and a group of caring local people have taken these women, and the place where they live, under their collective wing. They have painted, renovated, begged for second hand fridges, stoves etc to make their living spaces homely and functional. Every second week someone cooks a meal for the ladies and this is served to them in the dining room and lounge that have been renovated out of storeroom space so that they have a little meeting place, a place where they can socialize and interact with one another, watch television and chat or read. A place where they don’t have to be lonely. Loneliness kills. Over and above all that the women cannot afford to buy all the monthly essentials for themselves so these are bought by members of the care group and delivered on the last Thursday of the month to a collection point. They are then made up into hampers to be handed out to each resident at dinner that night. These hampers would include stuff like toilet rolls, essential toiletries, cereal, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, cup a soup, tinned goods like tuna, sweetcorn, tomato and onion mix etc. marmite, bovril (dare one mention those two in the same sentence haha) peanut butter and other things that they would use. One other item needed is R50 electricity vouchers to help them get through the last few days of the month.
So then, to get back to the baking thing……. On Wednesday afternoon I got into brownie baking mode. I baked two batches of the brownies as I knew one batch would not be sufficient for the group. I used the recipe given to me and I was very happy when the brownies came out of the oven just perfectly…..crackly on the top and fudgy soft in the middle. A winner of a recipe!
Late Thursday afternoon Donald and I delivered the chocolate brownies that I baked to the Pauline Loots Care Group in Fish Hoek because I believe they deserve to have a little bit of love and sweetness in their lives. Donald bought a tub of ice cream on the way home from work and this, together with the delicious brownies, was served for dessert after the homecooked dinner. We were deeply touched to meet the residents of Clifton Parade in Fish Hoek. We were touched by their plight at this stage of their lives, and we were deeply touched by the amazing work that is being done by Tone Alexander and his amazing team who help these elderly women to live a more comfortable, dignified and happy life. It was wonderful to participate and interact and to meet these lovely old folk and to see the delight on their faces as they saw what was for dinner and for puds. Thank you Stork and I Love Baking SA for the opportunity to bake for someone else in need. It brought both Donald and I great pleasure to play a small part in bringing a bit of joy and sweetness on a cold, blustery very wet winters night into the lives of these deserving souls.
For a while those lives have been made a little easier, a little happier, a little warmer, their bellies a little fuller, their hearts a little lighter….it is not a lot to ask and it is always good to remember that there, but by the grace of God, go I. It can happen in any of our lives that, for some reason, we are left destitute, with nothing and nowhere to turn to…..this team of caring people are making a MASSIVE difference in the lives of these people right here in our midst in our little village. Local folk can get involved by committing to donate the essentials mentioned once a month, or if you live further afield donations for electricity and other incidentals would be gratefully accepted. Or join the team and cook a meal for them every once in a while. You would be making a huge difference in the lives of beautiful women who have fallen on hard times for various reasons. It was such an honour to be there helping in a small way and we will definitely go back……
Here is the recipe for Chocolate Brownies as given to me by Stork SA
Makes 12 (I managed to get 16 adequate squares out of each batch)
140g Milk Chocolate – broken into small pieces (I used dark chocolate)
130g Stork Bake – cut into cubes
5ml Vanilla Essence
25g Cocoa Powder
Pinch (about 2 1/2 ml) Salt
5ml Baking Powder
Preheat oven to 160deg Celcius
Spray the base and sides of a square ovenproof dish and dust with flour. Line the base and sides with baking parchment and set aside
Melt the Stork Bake and the chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave (60% power for about 1 minute then stir until smooth) then set aside
In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until the eggs are thick and pale
Pour in the still warm/hot melted chocolate mixture while whisking
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt over the mixture and fold in gently with the spatula – dont overbeat!
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top looks crackly. A skewer inserted will come out with a few crumbs attached indicating that it is still a bit moist in the middle. That is as it should be!
Allow to cool in the pan for about half an hour before cutting into 16 squares, cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container
I dusted the tops with icing sugar and served each square with a scoop of ice cream but they are equally delicious with a spoonful of creme fraiche or mascarpone!
WHO ARE YOU GOING TO #PLEDGETOBAKE FOR? World Baking Day is on Sunday so haul out those baking ingredients and turn the oven on! Pop over here now and fill in the pledge form which will enable you to post a little card, tagging the one you want to shower with some love and sweetness, onto social media.
Go out and make a difference in a life….make someone smile! Give them something to look forward to! It really is the easiest thing to do.
Have a great weekend,
Don’t look at that heading then look at me strangely OK? Yes, I DID say Avocado Chocolate Brownies and I am not joking. I have been having so much fun in my little kitchen with avocados since entering the #Afrikado “More than Just Guacamole” challenge. This week I wanted to try them in a dessert so sat here weighing the odds of a beautiful gluten free dense and healthy chocolate cake but ended up going with brownies….I mean it IS the name of my blog after all and my signature dish that I am known for.
Of course I am still enjoying avocado each morning in my green juice and to date I have escaped the flu that is hanging around waiting to grab unsuspecting victims. This is a first for me….I have a low immune system at the best of times and by now I have usually been in bed a few times already sweating it out, feeling miserable and being given all types of advice by family and friends as to what mixtures to drink and whether to put brandy or whisky in my hot toddies. . so far so good! And I have even stopped taking the Immuno boosters that I have been taking for the past 7 years! I am going to go and visit my brother and sister in law in the Free State soon – he suffered a severe stroke 2 weeks ago today and when he comes out of the rehab where he is receiving intensive therapy to try and get his paralyzed right side mobile and working and his speech flowing again I am going to visit and help take care of him for a while until they are into a routine and someone else can take over the chores. I am looking at my juicer from all angles and wondering how I am going to be able to fit it into my suitcase….but I am quite determined to take it along with me. I need my green juice every morning
Being innovative and daring with avos has been a lot of fun and I am learning a lot about this fabulous fruit and am so grateful to ZZ2 Farming for inviting me to step out of my guacamole zone and play a bit.
Here is my second entry to the #Afrikado challenge
Easy Avocado Chocolate Brownies
100g Creamed Avocado (replacing the butter with delicious healthy fats)
200g Dark Chocolate roughly chopped – use the best quality you can afford.
25g Cocoa Powder
100g Cake Flour
40g Almond Meal
2,5ml Baking Powder
3 Large Free Range or Organic Eggs
5ml Vanilla Extract
60ml Sour Cream, Buttermilk or Yoghurt
Optional – 90g Pecan Nuts, Walnuts or Hazelnuts – toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C
Line a 20cm square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches hanging over all the sides. Brush parchment paper with melted butter
Break up chocolate and place into a glass bowl and microwave at 60% power on high for 1 – 2 minutes stirring about every 30 seconds or so. Set aside when melted and smooth.
Cream or blend the avocado and sift over the cocoa powder and mix together
Sift together flour, baking powder, almond meal & salt. Set aside.
Whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until thick & pale
Add avocado mixture and the melted chocolate and mix until combined
Add flour mixture gently then, using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined. You really don’t want to over mix the batter
Add the sour cream or yoghurt and fold in again until just blended (Not beating too much ensures a squidgy fudgy brownie) then fold in the nuts if using
Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle over some good quality salt flakes.
Bake 20min then turn pan 180 deg and bake another 15-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet.
Let cool in pan completely then cover pan well with clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours.
Remove from fridge about half an hour before serving.
Lift brownies out of pan, cut into squares with a hot sharp knife and sprinkle liberally with icing sugar before serving
Alternative topping : drizzle melted dark or white chocolate thinly in a zigzag pattern over tops of brownies (do this before cutting!)
Makes 16 brownies (depending how you cut them!!)
General consensus from my tasters: These brownies are fudgey, rich and dark with an intensely chocolatey flavour. There was absolutely no taste of avocado in them, in fact some did not know that they had this magic healthy addition to them. The texture was definitely different to my usual brownie texture when made with butter but not unpleasant, just more dense.I used one orange flavoured Lindt and one 85% dark chocolate which my family thought a bit too bitter so in hindsight the 70% might have been better in this instance! The citrus flavour from the Lindt Orange was fabulous.
They were best eaten with ice cream and kept well for 3 days!
Take a peek at my previous entry to the #Afrikado Challenge and you can check out all the buzz and recipes on twitter at #Afrikado or follow@ZZ2Farming or myself @CollyWolly (points to link in the right sidebar)
PS I played some more today and am pretty happy I think with the results. The tasters will be around tomorrow to sample and critique my work so look out soon for the teaser photograph, to be followed by the recipe on the blog.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ye all…..and a Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Help ye’selves to one of my wicked Irish Moss Cupcakes! Wash it down wit a pint of ale and be merry! Today we are all Irish!
What is tat ye all are sayin’? It’s not St. Patrick’s Day today? It’s the 18th already? How can tat be? I started workin’ on tis post so much earlier but……aaaw…ye all caught tis lazy Irish colleen nappin again. ‘Appens more and more these days. And it was all tat ‘orrible Murphy fault anyways I tell ye. He has been hangin’ around here for te better part of tree weeks now – messin’ wit me ‘puter! And messin’ someting bad wit me head too! Well tats my excuse for tat anyway. I am hopin’ tat now he will leave me be and go chat up some other milk maids…… honestly ye’d all think he’d kissed te blarney stone wit all his blabbering! I won’t miss him one little bit I tell ye!
So I’m late, well just a wee bit for St. Patrick’s Day anyway, but in some parts of the world it is STILL the 17th so let me get on with this post quickly so I can at least not hang my head too low in shame. I really have had endless problems with my computer and today was a very bad day! But I seem to have it going so while things are looking up….here goes!
Last year I came across some cupcakes called Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and I loved the sound of the ingredients although I felt that the name was rather offensive, even though there is a recognized alcoholic drink by the same name and many many links to cupcakes made from the same three alcohols used in the cocktail. So, I decided that I was going to bake the family some of these for St. Patrick’s Day this year (leaving the whiskey out of a bit of the ganache for the little boys). But, so as not to offend any readers all over the world who may have been affected in some way by the many acts of terrorism involving that despicable cowardly act, I decided to give my cupcakes a rather delightful name more suited to the day. I asked on facebook for ideas and one Irish friend came up with the name Dublin Moss Cupcakes. I rather liked that and decided to call mine Irish Moss Cupcakes…what do you think?
Now…..strictly speaking, there is absolutely nothing Irish about my cupcakes. My hubby could not find single cans of Guinness at our local bottle store and neither of us are ale drinkers so I decided to use a bottle of local Milk Stout that I had on the shelf in my pantry. Come to think of it now though I know a few leprechauns who would have relieved us of the other 5 cans! We did not have any Jameson Irish Whiskey in this house but we did have a bottle of J&B and of course there was no Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur either. There to save the day however was half a bottle of our delicious South Africa Amarula Cream liqueur in the cupboard So hey, these are a real twist on the original but let me tell you they are delicious! And because we are ALL Irish on St Patrick’s Day these are being passed on to you as my Irish Moss Cupcakes. Tell me that makes sense in an Irish kind of way please!
IRISH MOSS CUPCAKES
(inspired by and adapted from Sugar & Snapshots Blog)
Yield: 22 Cupcakes
Stout Chocolate Cupcakes
250ml Cocoa Powder
5ml Good Quality Instant Coffee Granules
250ml Stout beer or Guinness
625ml Cake or All-Purpose Flour
10ml Baking Powder
2 Extra Large Eggs
250ml Buttermilk or Greek Style Yoghurt (Sour cream could also be used)
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line two muffin pans with paper cupcake liners
Melt the butter, stout and sifted cocoa powder together in a small saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave on high and whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool while you make the batter
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, add the sugar and set aside
In the bowl of your electric mixer beat the eggs and buttermilk together until smooth
Add the vinegar and mix in
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture with the mixer running on a low speed then turn up to medium until all combined
Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until just incorporated. Don’t over mix at this stage
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each one about ¾’s full
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean
Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting
Whiskey Chocolate Ganache
125 ml Cream
120g Dark Chocolate (I used 70% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
15ml butter at room temperature
Heat the cream in the microwave until just below boiling point
Place butter and chocolate in a small mixing bowl
Pour the hot cream over and leave to stand for 2 minutes before whisking together until shiny and smooth
Add the whiskey and whisk in. Set aside until needed, whisking every now and again. As it cools it will thicken in consistency
3 Egg whites
185 ml Vanilla Flavoured Castor Sugar ( I always have this – fill a Consol or Mason Jar with Castor Sugar, split a Vanilla Pod and stick it into the sugar and seal. Refill as needed with sugar)
375g Butter (at room temperature)
125ml Icing (Confectioners) Sugar – sieved
80 ml cream Liqueur (I used Amarula of course)
In the metal bowl of your mixer whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy
Add the sugar and whisk on medium speed until incorporated
Now place your mixer bowl over a smallish saucepan of barely simmering water – the base must not touch the water
Continue whisking with a balloon whisk by hand until the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites and it is starting to look like meringue – test by rubbing a bit of the whites between your fingers and it is ready if no grains are felt. It doesn’t take too long to reach this stage – maybe 5 minutes
Return the bowl to the mixer stand and whisk on high until the mixture has cooled and is almost tripled in volume. It needs to be glossy and at the stiff peak stage
Divide the butter into 4 and add one portion at a time, whisking well to incorporate between each addition – it will thin the frosting down a bit but will build up again to a fluffy consistency
Add the icing sugar and beat in well
Pour in the liqueur and whisk well
I added a bit of green food colouring gel to make it a soft green shade
Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle and fill with the frosting
To decorate the cupcakes:
It seems that most people make a filling of the ganache by removing a scoop of each cupcake and piping in a bit of ganache but I was running late so just spread a thin layer of the cooled thickened ganache onto each cupcake with a spatula, allowed it to stand for 10 minutes and then piped the buttercream on top.
I have to say, this was the most amazing buttercream and I will most definitely use it often!
Enjoy! And I will be back as soon as I can with a delicious exotic mushroom and blue cheese risotto!
Happy week everyone! Almost Easter holidays and my two young hooligans will be invading my space again! Where does the time go?