Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes March 23, 2009

Filed under: cake,chocolate,dessert — pharmfresh @ 12:16 pm
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So, remember last time when I posted and said that I was trying out delicious but healthy desserts?  These definitely do not fit into that category.  They are amazingly delicious, but definitely not healthy!

I’ve been toying around with the idea of a filled cupcake for a few weeks now, but never got around to making them because I didn’t want to have to eat them all or tote them to class to give away.  Luckily for me, I had a study group at my house last night, and that was the perfect opportunity to try them out and pawn them off on others.

These cupcakes are amazing.  Amazing.  I think the best compliment I got all night was when one of my friends told me he wanted to go home and brush his teeth with my cupcakes.  I’m not sure why he’s brushing his teeth with cupcakes, but whatever…to each their own, right?

I used the recipe for Hershey’s perfectly chocolate cake and frosting for these, and let me tell you — those Hershey’s people sure do know how to make a cake!  The cake was super moist and chocolately, and every single one of the cupcakes rose and formed a perfect domed top.  They were also firm enough so that I could easily cut out the middles (to make room for the filling) without the cake pieces crumbling and falling apart.

I have also found my go-to chocolate frosting from here on out.  I’ve made quite a few chocolate frostings over the years, but this one is hands down the best.  I was a little skeptical at first because it only calls for cocoa powder, and I was concerned that I wasn’t going to get the real punch of chocolate flavor, but I was so wrong!  It was chocolatey, sweet and smooth, and it piped wonderfully, holding it’s shape very well.  I will never use another chocolate frosting recipe.  Ever.

For the filling I made a simple chocolate ganache and filled the cupcakes using the cone method (which I’ll show you how to do below). I really liked having the filling in these cupcakes, because it had a different texture than the cake and the frosting, and brought the chocolate flavor up one more notch.  I have a very high tolerance for chocolate, so if you’re thinking you don’t want such a rich cupcake you can easily leave the filling out and just frost the tops.  But if you’re going for super rich and decadent, definitely go for the filling!

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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from: Hershey’s

Makes: about 12 cupcakes

Cake

1 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. + 6 tbsp. all-purpose flour

6 tbsp. cocoa powder (I used 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder and 3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder)

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. boiling water

Chocolate Ganache Filling

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 c. (1 stick or 8 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature

2/3 c. cocoa powder (I used 1/3 c. unsweetened and 1/3 c. dark)

3 c. powdered sugar

1/3 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Grease the liners with a small bit of cooking spray (optional, but I find that it helps).

2) In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add the egg, cream, oil and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Beat in the boiling water.  The mixture will be thin.

3) Pour batter into prepared muffin tin.

4) Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool completely.

5) While the cupcakes are cooling, place the chocolate chips in a small heat-proof bowl.  Heat the 1/4 c. heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat until it is almost boiling.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips.  Let the mixture sit for about 30 seconds, then stir until the mixture is smooth and silky.  Refrigerate while you make the frosting and core the cupcakes.

6) For the frosting, place the butter in a medium bowl.  Beat until smooth.  Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, 1 cup of the powdered sugar and a little bit of the cream, beat until smooth, adding more cream if necessary.

7) Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and enough cream to reach the desired consistency.

8) Once the cupcakes have cooled, core them using the cone method (shown below.)

9) Fill the cupcakes with about a teaspoonful of the chocolate ganache, and place the tops back on the cupcakes.

10) Frost with chocolate frosting and garnish as desired (I just sprinkled mine with a little bit of raw sugar).

The Cone Method

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1) Using a thin knife, cut a circle in the middle of your cupcake about 1/2 inch in.  Keep the edge of the knife pointing towards the middle of the cupcake as you go around, creating a cone shape from the piece that you’re cutting out.

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2) Gently pull out the cone-shaped piece of cake the you just cut.  Set it aside, but do NOT throw it away (or eat it!) — you’ll need part of it later.

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3)  Put about 1 tablespoon of the chocolate ganache into the hole of the cupcake, but make sure that the filling doesn’t quite reach the top of the hole.

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4) Grab the cone piece that you cut out and carefully tear off most of the cake, keeping the part that was the top of the cupcake intact.  Place that piece back on top, covering up the filling.





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Chocolate Banana Bread March 1, 2009

Filed under: bread,chocolate,fruit — pharmfresh @ 7:55 pm
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I am a sucker for a good banana bread.  Take me to a bake sale, and if there’s a loaf sitting there looking moist and pretty, I’ll buy it.  I am also a HUGE chocoholic.  So much so that I have a chocolate stash in the top drawer of my nightstand (but shhhh!  It’s a secret!).  I love putting chocolate chips in my banana bread (if you haven’t ever tried that, give it a shot…it brings banana bread to a whole new level!), so when I saw a recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog for a chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips, I thought to myself, “this is genius!  Why didn’t I think of this before?!”  Luck was on my side, as I had all of the ingredients already in the house, including two very ripe bananas just begging to be used.

(Also, if you have never seen Joy the Baker’s blog, make sure to check it out!  She does amazing things in the kitchen, and her pictures are always gorgeous.)

The bread turned out fantastically, and will definitely be added to my ever-growing list of things to DEFINITELY make again.  I adapted the recipe just a bit — I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and upped the amount of chocolate chips (I just couldn’t resist!).  As you can see from the picture, it has a very crumbly texture which makes it very difficult to cut nice slices, but the taste is so amazing that I don’t really even care. But even though the texture is crumbly, it still is extremely moist. You get a nice jolt of chocolate, followed by a mellow banana aftertaste.  It’s perfect plain, or if you want to get fancy,  slathered with a bit of salted butter.

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Chocolate Banana Bread

Source: Joy the Baker

Makes: 1 loaf

1 stick (8 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 c. mini chocolate chips

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1) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.  (Note: If you’re wondering why my cocoa powder is two different colors, I ran out of regular unsweetened cocoa powder and had to use 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder)

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2) Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat until well-mixed.

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3) Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Then beat in mashed bananas.

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4) Mix in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk.  I did it in 3 installments – about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk each time.

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5) Fold in the chocolate chips.

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6)  Spread batter into a greased loaf pan.  Because of the long baking time, Joy suggested placing the loaf pan on top of an insulated cookie sheet, or two cookie sheets stacked on top of each other to keep the bottom of the bread from browning too much.  This worked perfectly for me!

7) Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  If the top of the bread is getting too browned, place some foil over the top after it’s been in the oven for about 30 minutes, and then remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking time.





 

Bailey’s Chocolate Cake January 5, 2009

Filed under: cake,chocolate,dessert — pharmfresh @ 4:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

My family is finally starting to recover from all the Christmas and New Years festivities.  Most importantly, we’re back to actually cooking dinner at home, instead of running out to a restaurant every night.  I get sick of eating out really quickly — even when we go on vacation, I can only make it two or three days before craving a home-cooked meal.  So, needless to say, I’m happy with this development.

I made this cake for Thanksgiving, and then promptly forgot to post about it until I found the picture of it on my computer this morning.  I really, really liked it — I think it was my favorite thing that I made this year.  The process is a little more involved than the normal cake-and-frosting cake, but it’s well worth it, and very do-able.  I tweaked the recipe in a few places. First, the original recipe calls for you to make a chocolate cake from scratch.  I actually did do that, but the cake was terrible – super crumbly, and half of one layer stuck to my greased and floured nonstick cake pan.  It tasted really good, but there was absolutely no way to salvage it.  So I went out and bought a devil’s food cake mix, and that worked out just fine…and as an added bonus, the pieces of the first cake made a really good snack while I was cooking!  You can definitely forgo the from-scratch cake — there’s so much else going on in the cake, you’ll never be able to tell the difference.

Next time I make this (and there definitely will be a next time!), I think I’m going to make double the amount of ganache, so instead of one layer on ganache on the inside and two of buttercream, there will be two layers of ganache and only one of buttercream.  The ganache is fabulous.  It originally was supposed to be caramel chocolate ganache, but since I wasn’t using the caramel flavored Bailey’s, I left out the caramels and added a tablespoon of Bailey’s.  I really like the fact that the buttercream isn’t incredibly sweet.  I usually like my cake frostings very sugary, but with the ganache in the middle, it counteracts the richness really well.

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Bailey’s Chocolate Cake

Adapted from: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Cake

1 Devil’s Food cake mix

Water, oil and eggs as called for in the cake mix

Ganache

10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream (or more, to taste)

Bailey’s Buttercream

3 eggs

4 egg yolks

1/2 c. water

2 c. granulated sugar

3 c. butter (6 sticks), at room temperature

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Cream

1) Prepare the cake as directed on the package.  Bake as directed for two 9 inch round cakes.  Cool completely.  Once cooled, cut each cake layer in half lengthwise so that you have four thin layers of cake.

2) For the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the heavy cream over medium heat until steaming, and just barely bubbling.

3) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let sit for one minute.  Add the Bailey’s and stir until smooth.  Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until the ganache has reached a spreadable consistancy.   If it gets too hard, microwave at 10 second intervals until softened, or let it sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

4) For the buttercream, whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light yellow and foamy.

5) In a saucepan, simmer the water and sugar until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 234 – 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

6) Immediately transfer the syrup to a heatproof measuring cup.  Pour the syrup in a slow, thin stream into the egg mixture, whipping on low speed the entire time.  Once the syrup has been incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix until the mixture has cooled – about 7 minutes.

7) Still mixing on medium speed, add the butter, half a stick at a time.  Let each piece get incorporated before you add the next.  Once all the butter has been added, continue mixing for about 2 minutes, or until the buttercream has thickened slightly.  Stir in the salt and Bailey’s.

8) To assemble the cake, place one of the four cake layers on the serving platter.  Cover with buttercream (you’ll have a ton of buttercream, so don’t skimp on the middle layers!).

9) Place the next layer of cake on top.  Cover with all of the ganache.  If desired, save about half a cup of the ganache to decorate the top the cake.

10) Place the third layer of cake on top, cover with buttercream.

11) Place the last layer of cake on top, then cover the entire thing with the rest of the buttercream.  Decorate as desired.  You can’t see it in the picture, but I piped a shell border in buttercream along the base of the cake, and piped little stars of leftover ganache on the top.

 

Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, everyone!  My 2008 was filled with endings and new beginnings, with a lot of fun inbetween.  I’m really looking forward to the new year and all the new adventures it will bring.

I normally don’t do much for New Year’s eve.  My boyfriend and I usually just hang out at his house with a bottle of wine or some fuzzy navels and watch the ball drop on TV.  This year, Matt’s brother Mike and his fiance Stephanie are having a New Year’s coctail party at their apartment in Grand Rapids.  Grand Rapids is also doing their own ball drop this year, which I hear is supposed to be awesome, so we’re meeting at Mike and Stephanie’s apartment (which is nicely located right in the middle of downtown) for a few drinks and snacks, and then we’re all going out to Rosa Park’s Circle to watch the ball drop.  I’m really excited!

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Since Mike and Stephanie are letting Matt and I stay the night so we don’t have to drive back to Lansing late at night with all the crazy drunks on the road, I volunteered to bring some small desserts to the party.  I saw this recipe quite a while ago, and have been dying to make it ever since.  I love chocolate covered strawberries, and the addition of cheesecake filling to their hollowed-out centers makes them about a million times better.  This is such a simple, easy and impressive dessert – I will definitely be making it again!

I found that using a wine glass to hold the melted chocolate in worked the best – it was narrow enough for there to be a deep pool of chocolate, so all you need to do is dip the strawberries straight down into the glass.  If you use a shallow bowl to hold the chocolate, you’ll end up needing to roll the strawberries in the chocolate instead of dipping them, and it’s really hard to do when you don’t have the leaves on top to hold on to.  Also, make sure to keep these refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them, so that the cheesecake filling doesn’t go bad, and the chocolate stays nice and firm.  If you don’t have any piping bags handy, you can use a regular ziplock bag.  Fill the bag with the cheesecake filling, and then cut a small hole in one of the corners of the bag.  If you’re going to use a ziplock bag though, make sure that the cheesecake filling is at room temperature before you start piping.  When chilled, the filling is very thick, and my ziplock bag burst from the pressure before I had even finished filling my first strawberry!

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Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Source: Tami’s Kitchen Table Talk

Makes: about 40

2 pints strawberries

1 container Philadelphia Pre-Made Cheesecake Filling

1 package chocolate flavored candy coating

1 package vanilla flavored candy coating

1) Wash and pat dry strawberries.

2) Pull the leaves off the top of each strawberry, then using a small paring knife carefully cut out the core of each berry.

3) Once the cheesecake filling has reached room temeperature, place in a piping bag or ziplock bag.  Fill each strawberry with the cheesecake filling, making sure that the filling sticks out a little bit.

4) Melt the chocolate flavored candy coating in a microwave safe bowl.  Transfer melted chocolate to a wine glass, and dip half of the strawberries.  Once dipped, place the strawberries on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

5) Repeat step 4 with the vanilla flavored candy coating and the remaining strawberries.

6) If desired, transfer the leftover melted chocolate into two piping or ziplock bags, cut a very small hole at the tip of each bag, and add a decorative drizzle to each berry.

 

Red Velvet Truffles December 22, 2008

Filed under: candy,chocolate — pharmfresh @ 10:14 pm
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I honestly can’t believe that there are only three days left until Christmas.

This time last week, I was stressing out over finals, learning by heart how the body metabolizes cholesterol and fatty acids.  But, I’m happy to say that I will never have to take biochemistry again.  It was interesting and all, but definitley the most work I’ve ever put in to any single class.  Now only seven semesters left until I’m a pharmacist!  Ugh, when I put it like that, it seems like a really long time!

Anyways, I made these truffles for Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to work out —  I was a little skeptical when I saw that the filling was just mashed up cake and pre-made frosting, but they were actually really good!  They definitely have all the taste of a red velvet cake, just in a small, ball-shaped package!  The only thing I noticed was that the consistency of the filling is quite different than that of a chocolate truffle.  Chocolate truffles are smooth and thick, whereas the inside of these truffles is more like a very, very moist cake.  It’s not a bad thing really, just different.   This is super easy to make, as it uses a cake mix and pre-made frosting.  You can definitely make both from scratch if you’re feeling especially ambitious – I would imagine that they’d taste even better that way!  I would recommend using chocolate bark coating for covering the truffles.  It melts a lot easier than chocolate chips and is more resistant to burning, and it also hardens a lot quicker.  You can find both white and milk chocolate bark in the baking aisle of your supermarket, usually near the chocolate chips.

And to celebrate the end of my biochemistry days, here is another fun fact brought to you by that class:

Fun Fact #2

Love the germ-free feeling you get after washing your hands with antibacterial soap?  It may not be as germ free as you think!  For any anti-bacterial soap using Triclosan (check the back of the bottle, it will list the active ingredient), the soap needs to be in contact with your hands for a substantial amount of time before it is effective in killing bacteria.  How long?  About as long as the ABC song (or Twinkle,  Twinkle Little Star…take your pick!).  So next time you wash your hands, sing the ABC song while you’re washing and rinse at the end – then you really will be (almost) germ free!

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Red Velvet Truffles

Source: Nosh With Me

1 red velvet cake mix

water, oil and eggs as called for on the cake mix

1 (16 oz.) can cream cheese frosting

1 package chocolate bark coating

1) Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box, and bake as directed for a 9×13 inch pan.  Cool cake completely.

2) Once cake has cooled, crumble into small crumbs in a large bowl.  (I found it easiest to do this and the next step by hand, but be careful!  Your hands will turn very red from the cake!)

3) Add the can of frosting and mix until thoroughly combined.

4) Roll into bite-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper.  Freeze 1 hour, or until firm.

5) Break the chocolate bark into pieces and place in a large, microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for two minutes or until melted.

6) Dip the frozen red velvet balls in the chocolate.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

Home-made Heath Bar November 8, 2008

Filed under: candy,chocolate — pharmfresh @ 3:46 pm
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It is impossibly gross out today.  The temeperature keeps hovering right around freezing, and it’s raining.  Well, half raining, half snowing.  It’s disgusting.  I have to say that even though I’ve lived in Michigan for 15 of my 22 years (I had a nice – and warm! – 7 year move to Texas right in the middle), I have never learned to love the snow.  Yes, it’s nice to wake up to on Christmas morning, and it’s good for a sledding outing about once a year, but beyond that, forget it.  It’s cold and wet and slippery, and did I mention cold?

There are a few things that I do enjoy about winter though.  First, it’s prime snuggling season, and I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who is always warm enough to be my own personal heater.  Second, Christmas break and Christmas itself.  And third, family baking day!  My mom has four sisters, all of whom live here in Michigan (actually, all of them live in the greater Lansing area, except for one).  Every year around the beginning of December, all of my aunts and cousins and second cousins get together on a Saturday and do an all day bake-a-thon.   You’d think that it would be chaotic, but it’s actually always pretty well thought out.  Since it’s usually at our house, my mom and I compile everyone’s requests into a list of things to make, and then make a list of all the ingredients needed, and then split it up between all of the people who are coming.  Our system works out pretty well!  This year our baking day is December 6, and I’m especially excited for this year, because I’ll have a million new things to post about!

But back to the food!  This heath bar recipe is a definite favorite during baking day.  It’s ridiculously easy to make, and we end up making 12-14 batches of it every year.  It only takes four ingredients, and turns out tasting way better than the real thing!  I can’t even eat the actual candy bars anymore! I think the saltines are the real show-stealer here – they add the necessary crunch to go along with the toffee and the hint of salt makes the chocolate taste even richer.

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Home-Made Heath Bar

Source: Aunt Kathy

Makes: 1 cookie sheet full, or approximately enough to fill a 48 oz. butter tub

1 c. (2 sticks) butter (must be REAL butter, not margarine)

1 c. light brown sugar

Approximately 1 sleeve Saltene crackers

1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil (you can use either, as long as the pan has sides to it — some cookie sheets don’t), and then add a layer of saltines to cover the bottom of the pan, one cracker thick.  You may have to break some of the crackers in half once you get to the bottom.

2) In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar and bring to a boil.

3) Boil for four minutes, stirring continuously.

4) Pour the brown sugar and butter mixture over the saltines, and spread the mixture out so it covers the pan evenly.

5) Bake for 9 minutes.

6) Immediately after removing the pan from the oven, sprinkle with the chocolate chips.  Let set for about 45 seconds until the chocolate begins to melt, and then spread the melted chocolate out to form a thin layer over the crackers and toffee.

7) Let the pan sit in a cool spot until the pan is cool enough to touch.  Refrigerate for about an hour, until the chocolate has hardened.  Remove the candy from the pan and foil and break into bite-sized pieces.

 

Death by Chocolate Cake August 7, 2008

Filed under: cake,chocolate,dessert — pharmfresh @ 11:49 pm
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My boyfriend Matt, and his twin brother Marc’s birthday is this Tuesday.  The past few years they’ve had a bonfire at their house, which has always been a good time.  There’s always lots of people there, not to mention lots of beer!  In some ways it’s like a mini high school reunion, because there are always the inevitable friends-of-friends that show up, most of which I haven’t seen since graduation.  Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes it’s not, but it’s always a surprise!

I just finished making their birthday cake – death by chocolate cake.  It’s huge, dense, and has over two pounds of chocolate in it.  So, in essence, it’s my dream come true.  Luckily, Matt and Marc like chocolate, too.   I’m also a (relatively amateur) cake decorator.  I love decorating cakes – its so much fun.  And now that my family and friends know that I do it, it can be profitable at times, too!  I actually got interested in cake decorating before I was interested in baking.  I started to bake because I got tired of using cake mixes, and everything snowballed from there!

Don’t be too intimidated by the recipe for this cake.  Even though it reads like a (amazing, chocolate-filled) novel, it’s really not as complicated as it looks.  It has a lot of steps because there are four different parts to the cake – it has a brownie bottom, chocolate mousse in the middle, a top layer of cake, and then ganache as a frosting.  I haven’t actually cut into this cake yet (seeing as the bonfire isn’t until tomorrow), but I have a feeling that by the time we actually do cut into it, I might be a little too inebriated to remember to take pictures.  :)  So, I haven’t tasted the brownie or cake parts, but they both looked really good and smelled fantastic as they were baking.  I did sneak a taste of the chocolate mousse part, and it almost didn’t make it onto the cake.  It took all of the willpower I had not to sit there with my spoon and clean out the bowl.  It was amazing.

I decorated the cake using a technique I learned from the book The Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye and Liv Hansen.  If you’re at all interested in cake decorating, I would definitely recommend this book.  They make a lot of their decorations by tracing them with chocolate onto wax paper.  It works really well for me, because I can trace just about anything, but I’m terrible at actually drawing, like I would have to if I were using icing to pipe something directly onto the cake.  They have really detailed instructions in the book, and some of the things they make out of chocolate are just astounding!

Death by Chocolate Cake

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Makes one 9 or 10 inch cake

Brownie layer (bottom)

1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

6 tbsp. butter

1 c. + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Mousse (middle)

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

2 c. heavy cream

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Chocolate Cake (top)

6 tbsp. butter, softened

3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

1/4 c. hot water

3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

Ganache

1 1/2 c. heavy cream

2 tbsp. butter

18 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped

To make the brownie base:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper.  Grease bottom and sides of pan.

2) In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

3) Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.

4) Remove from heat and whisk in sugar.  Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla, mixing until smooth.

5) Add flour mixture in two separate additions, folding with a rubber spatula until smooth and completely combined.

6) Pour batter into prepared springform pan.

7) Bake for 25-30 minutes, then cool to room temperature.  Do not remove the springform ring or parchment paper.

To make chocolate mousse:

1) Melt semisweet chocolate over a double boiler until smooth.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

2) Place heavy cream and sugar into a well chilled bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat cream until stiff peaks form.

3) Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate, folding until combined.

4) Fold the chocolate cream into the remaining whipped cream, folding until well combined.

To make the cake:

1) Combine chocolate, cocoa powder and hot water in a double boiler.  Stir until chocolate is melted (mine formed a very thick paste).

2) While the mixture is still in the double boiler, add 1/4 c. sugar to the chocolate mixture and mix until smooth and shiny.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3) In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda, set aside.

4) Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside.

5) Mix eggs and yolk with the whisk attachment in a stand mixer until combined.  Add remaining sugar and mix until fluffy and lightened in color – about 2 to 3 minutes.

6) Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix until well combined.  Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time.

7) Add half of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture.  Repeat with the remainders of each, mixing until everything is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

8) Pour batter into a greased 9 or 10 inch round cake pan (make sure that the size of your cake pan matches the size of your springform pan, or you’ll have one very strange looking cake!)

9) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

To make the ganache:

1) Heat the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.

2) Place the semisweet chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.  Pour the boiling cream/butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth and shiny.

3) Let the ganache stand until it reaches room temperature and is spreadible, but not too runny.

To assemble the cake:

1) Spread the chocolate mousse evenly over the brownie base.

2) Place cake round over mousse, pressing down slightly.  Chill for one hour.

3) Remove springform ring and parchment paper.

4) Use a spatula to frost the cake in the room-temperature ganache.  You can use the remaining ganache to pipe decorations around the base of the cake, if you want.  Keep the cake well chilled.

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I thought I’d also include some pictures of other cakes I’ve decorated over the last few years.