Cake, Sweet

Chocolate Orange Charlotte

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This is a special farewell and birthday cake all rolled into one.  The post-doc in our lab is leaving after 6 years and another labmate was celebrating the big 3-0 birthday, so the cake had to be special.  Chocolate and Orange pair wonderfully; infact, it is my mother’s favorite and incorporated it into her birthday cake last year.  The recipe requires several ingredients,  but I used store-bought short-cuts to help me.   I hope this cake stuns your table as much it did mine !

Ingredients:

Store chocolate cake mix (and eggs and oil, all the things that you will need to make the batter)

Orange marmalade

Chocolate mousse mix and milk to make the mousse

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2 dozen soft lady fingers ( you will not need all of them, but having extras is good)

Cannoli Filling (refer to either Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes or Cannoli Cup recipes I have)

Method:

Bake the cake according to the package directions.  I used some of the batter to make 6 cupcakes  and saved the rest of the batter to make 2, 9″ rounds.  Allow to cool completely.  The cake layers can be made upto three days in advance.  Make sure to wrap and store the layers in a cool dry and dark place.

Heat an entire jar of orange marmalade in a saucepan.  Once the jam thins, strain through a sieve to separate the rinds from the jelly.  Save the jelly.  I put the rinds in my morning oatmeal.

Make the chocolate mouse according to package directions.

Level off both cake layers and place one layer of the cake on the bottom of a springform pan.

Line the edges of the pan with lady fingers

Brush the surface of the cake with the orange jelly and also the surface of the lady fingers which are exposed (i.e facing the inside of the cake)

Fill with mousse and top with the second cake layer.

Pour the remaining orange jelly on the top layer and let it seep into the cake.

Add the cannoli filling on the top.

Decorate the top with mini chocolate chips and pistachios.

Chill the cake for 30 mins and then remove the springform ring.

Wrap the cake with a piece of ribbon and secure with a toothpick.

Serve chilled !

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Cake

Smore’s Ice Cream Cake:

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April marks the start of “lab” birthdays.  here is the first birthday cake of the year !

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Graham Cracker Cake:

Filling:

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Graham Cracker Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugars and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
  5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula and whack the pans against the counter to evenly distribute.
  8. Bake for approx. 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  9. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins. Whack the pans on the counter to loosen the cakes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:

  1. Whip the cream till it reaches soft peaks and fold in the mini chocolate chips
  2. Bring the ice cream to room temperature so that it can be spread.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the cake into two layers and place one layer on the bottom of the springform pan.
  2. Spread ice cream, as much as you like. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and marshmallows, if you want.
  3. Add the other cake layer on top and press down
  4. Add the chocolate chip whipped cream on top
  5. Decorate with more marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers crumbs.
  6. Store in freezer.
  7. Thaw in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before cutting into this messy delight !
Cake, Sweet

Almond Pistachio Cake with orange chocolate ganache and orange cream cheese frosting

This is a very special cake.  Not for the flavors, not for its looks, but for whom it was made.  My mother is visiting from India and my Dad drove in from MI, and, for the first time in decades, we celebrated my Mommy’s birthday with this cake.  I make cakes for pretty much everyone who is near and dear to me, but to make a cake for my mother…….well it has by far been the greatest joy of my life thusfar !

Cake, Sweet

Almond, Raspberry and Chocolate Torte

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INGREDIENTS

For the Cake
    • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 4 eggs, separated
    • 1 lemon, zested
    • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch spring-form pan, with non-stick baking spray and set aside. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Spread almond flour on to parchment lined baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet into the oven and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until toasted and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks, lemon zest, orange blossom water (if using) and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

In a separate bowl whisk together the almond flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth. This mixture will be very thick once incorporated.

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In a large stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium high speed until they start to increase in size. Once egg whites start to get fluffy, add a pinch of salt. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of white sugar to the egg whites and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

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Fold egg whites into the almond mixture 1/2 cup at a time. The batter will start to lighten as you add more egg whites and eventually become light and airy. Transfer batter to the prepared spring-form pan and place into the oven to bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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Now comes the fun part of going crazy and assembling the cake !

Heat a jar of raspberry jam till its spreadable and make a box of white chocolate pudding according to the box instructions.  Set aside.

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Bake a box of brownies in 9X9 pan.  Cool and mix with half the raspberry jam and smush it into a 9″ round.

Now, go back to you almond cake and slice in half.  One half should be cut in half again.

Transfer the bottom layer back into the spring-form pan.  Spread raspberry jam and them some of the white chocolate pudding mix.

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Place the raspberry brownie layer ontop

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spread another layer of jam and pudding

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Top with the other half of the almond cake, remember that this half was split in two, so you should still have another half left.

Now spread nutella, yes nutella on this almond layer and top with the remaining half.

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Transfer the whole springform into the fridge and let it chill overnight.

Next day when you unmold it, all the layers will have set properly.

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So to recap the layers from bottom up. Cake, jam/pudding, brownie,jam/pudding, cake,nutella,cake.

Now cover in whipped cream. Decorate the sides with wafer cookies and top with fresh raspberries and chocolate curls.

Enjoy !

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Classics, Italian, Pastry, Treats

Tiramisu

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An Italian classic, perfect for hot summer nights !

Ingredients:
2 cups boiling-hot water
3 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
3 tablespoons Tia Maria (coffee liqueur)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup dry Marsala
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
dark chocolate shavings for garnish

Method:

Stir together water, espresso powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and Tia Maria in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved, then cool.

Beat egg yolks, Marsala, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.

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Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.

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Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.

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Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.

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Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with chocolate shavings. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

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Cookies

Smores Cookies–Christmas Cookies #9

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Ingredients
• 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
• 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup (100 grams) light or dark brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) milk
• 1/2 cup (50 grams) miniature marshmallows, cut in half
• 4 full-sheet graham crackers, ground into fine crumbs
Instructions
1. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
3. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Add the milk. The dough will be heavy and sticky. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
5. Pour graham cracker crumbs into a bowl. Take 1.5 Tablespoons of chilled dough and roll into a ball. Roll each cookie dough ball into the graham cracker crumbs. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press 3-4 pieces of marshmallow on top of each cookie. Return to the oven for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies

Flourless Brownie Cookies–Christmas Cookies #7

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Makes about a dozen

1/2 cup softened butter or coconut oil*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Mix together the soda, salt, and cocoa and add to the wet ingredients, mixing until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they look done.

Cake

Chocolate Truffle Cake

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When the senior grad student needs chocolate, you give the thesis writer chocolate ! This is, as we called it in lab, an ‘epic’ chocolate cake.  Here is the link to the original recipe.  My cake decorating skills are not that great, but the cake sure tasted good.  here are some snippets !

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-truffle-layer-cake

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the cake layers

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the ganche layers

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a whipped chocolate frosting, I skipped the rich chocolate frosting to make the cake just a little lighter.  The frosting was a mix of cool whip, heavy cream and chocolate pudding mix

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the layering. NOTE; FOLLOW THE WHITE CHOCOLATE RECIPE ! I DID NOT AND MY GANCHE WAS ALL DRIPPY-FAIL !

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the finished product with shaved white and milk chocolate for decoration

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And let them eat cake 🙂

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roll the leftover ganache in chopped almonds and now you truffles !

Classics, Dessert

Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding with Butter Pecan Ice-Cream–Super Bowl Dessert !

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NFL Super Bowl XLVII is tomorrow in the Big Easy ! This is a classinc souther dessert you can bring to your super bowl party or even serve at your next dinner party. the original recipe come from food and wine and I adapted it to make two servings. The recipe below make 6-8 servings ! Serve it with Butter pecan ice cream and steal the half time show !

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

One 1-pound loaf challah, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch dice (12 cups)

  • Butter an 8-by-11-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium glass bowl, microwave the chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring between intervals.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the whole eggs and yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the vanilla and salt. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk in the melted chocolate.

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  • Spread the challah cubes in the prepared baking dish and pour the chocolate custard over the top. Press the challah into the custard until evenly soaked, then let stand for 20 minutes.

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  • Preheat the oven to 325°. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the bread pudding. Set the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill the pan halfway with hot water. Bake the bread pudding for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the dish from the water bath and let stand for 20 minutes. Serve the bread pudding warm or at room temperature with the Bourbon Caramel Sauce and whipped cream.

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Dessert, Middle Eastern, Pastry

Chocolate-Hazelnut Baklava

I saw this on pinterest. I made it for a lab party. It is SINFUL ! Enough said 😀

This is truly a decadent recipe and the original recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine.  Here is the link.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-hazelnut-baklava

I followed the recipe to the word so i will be lazy and not write our the recipe but here are some pictures to get your taste buds drooling.

after toasting the nuts and taking the skin off.  This will take some time but rub off the skin between a kitchen towel.

And here they are, all ready to be turned into a yummy filling

And here is the filling with the chocolate in it !

And now for the phyllo.  FOLLOW the directions and when they saw keep the sheets covered, keep them covered with a damp towels.  If the phyllo dries out it will turn brittle and tear–not good.

And now goes in the filling

And this is what it looks like after all the layers have been assembled. Cut up and ready to bake !

While it bakes make the syrup.  I put in a whole cinnamon stick for good measure 🙂

And that is what it looks like right out of the oven.  All golden and delicious. I pierced each square with a whole clove (for decoration) and then poured over the syrup on the hot baklava.

And after resisting the urge to eat the whole pan, I waited patiently, overnight and this is what it looks like and trust me it tastes even better !