Stump de Noel

I’ve always been a person that is mostly “out of the box”. I tend to think a bit differently than your average Joe, so when I saw this recipe for a stump de noel vs. the traditional buche de noel, I was intrigued. It’s a very striking dessert that has that “wow factor” when you’re called to bring the dessert for the Christmas party or family gathering. It requires quite a bit of work, but you can scatter the work over a few days time so on the day of assembly you can just focus on pulling it together. It’s best to read through the recipe a few times so you understand all that is required. You can make the buttercreams 2-3 days ahead and keep chilled; when it comes time to assemble you’ll have to let the buttercream come to room temperature and rewhip with the stand mixer. The meringue mushrooms and the sugared decorations can be made a couple days before. The assembled cake requires chilling so plan to assemble it the day before service, and assemble on the platter that you’ll be serving it on-I used a large square platter that I found with room on the sides for the pretty garnishes.

Merry Christmas!

Stump de Nöel 

recipe: Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, pages 144-145

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 1 dozen large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Malted Buttercream and Dark Chocolate Buttercream
  • Meringue mushrooms, candied cranberries and candied rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional; see Note)

 

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheets and line them with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all of the short sides. Butter the paper and dust with flour.

Step 2

In a small bowl, whisk the 1 cup of flour with the cocoa and salt. In another small bowl, combine the chocolate and espresso. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg yolks with 2/3 cup of the sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk and beat at high speed until the yolks are pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate mixture along with the vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Step 3

Thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl and the whisk. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on moderately high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and continue beating at high speed until the whites are glossy, about 2 minutes longer. Whisk one-fourth of the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.

Step 4

In a small bowl, whisk the melted butter with 1/2 cup of the batter; fold this mixture into the batter. Working in 2 batches, sift the cocoa powder mixture over the batter and gently fold it in. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it out to fill the pans. Bake for about 18 minutes, until the cake feels springy and dry; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Transfer the pans to racks to cool completely. Run the tip of a knife around the edges, cover with parchment paper and a baking sheet and invert; peel off the parchment on top.

Step 5

Spread the Malted Buttercream over the cakes. Using a ruler, cut each cake precisely in half lengthwise, cutting through the paper; you should have four 6-by-17-inch strips of cake. Roll one strip into a tight coil, leaving the paper behind. Roll the 3 remaining cake strips around the coil in the same way to form a very wide, short jelly roll. Set the cake on a large plate, spiraled end up. Frost the outside of the cake with the Dark Chocolate Buttercream. Refrigerate until set, at least 8 hours. Decorate the cake with meringue mushrooms, cranberries and rosemary sprigs and serve, cutting the cake into wedges or horizontal slices.

FOR THE DARK CHOCOLATE AND MALTED BUTTERCREAMS

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%), melted and cooled

1/4 cup malt powder

12 malted milk balls candies, crushed

MAKE THE DARK CHOCOLATE AND MALTED BUTTERCREAMS

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are just warm to the touch. Return the bowl to the mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla and beat the egg whites at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes. With the machine running, whisk in the butter a few tablespoons at a time. If the mixture begins to look curdled, continue to beat until smooth before adding more butter.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the buttercream to a bowl and whisk in the melted chocolate. Cover the chocolate buttercream and refrigerate.

Dissolve the malt powder in 2 tablespoons hot water, then beat it into the buttercream remaining in the mixer. Beat in the crushed milk balls. Cover the malt buttercream and refrigerate.

Meringue Mushrooms

Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, pages 194-195

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ounce good-quality white chocolate, melted and cooled (I actually used semisweet)

2 ounces dark unsweetened cocoa powder, (like Valrhona) for sifting over assembled mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the heat proof bowl of a standing mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler method). Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture registers 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the bowl to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat it on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the cream of tartar when the mixture begins to thicken, or after 3 minutes. Keep beating for another minute or so until stiff peaks hold.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the meringue. To make the caps, hold the pastry bag close to the parchment paper-lined pan and pipe out a small dome (about a tablespoon) of meringue, pulling up at the very end  of piping to give your cap some height.

To form mushrooms stems, hold the bag close to the parchment paper and pipe the meringue, pulling up as you go, into small cone shapes. Make the same number of stems as caps.

Place the pans in the oven and bake the meringue pieces for 90 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway thought the baking time. Turn off the oven, prop the door slightly open and leave the meringues in place for at least 2 hours longer, or overnight.

ASSEMBLE THE MERINGUE MUSHROOMS

Turn the caps over and use a toothpick to make a tiny hole large enough to fit the tip of the stem into. Fill the hole with a tiny bit of white chocolate (or semi sweet-which is what I used). Gently press the stem into place and allow the chocolate to set. Sift cocoa powder over the assembled mushrooms.

Sugared cranberries and sugared rosemary

¼ cup superfine sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cinnamon stick

¾ cup fresh cranberries

10 rosemary sprigs

Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the superfine sugar in a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup of water with the sugar, then add the cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof, wide-mouthed bowl. Let the liquid cool for a few minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick.

Drop the cranberries in the syrup and stir to coat the cranberries completely. Remove the cranberries, a few at a time, with a slotted spoon (tap the spoon to release excess syrup) and drop them in the superfine sugar. Toss the cranberries in the sugar to coat completely, and place on the parchment paper to dry. Repeat the above procedure with the rosemary. Decorate the stump as you wish.


Chocolate-Malt Whopper Whoopies

Who wants a whoopie?!  I could use anything about now that gives me a hint of a mental boost. I’m sure my readers on the East coast of the U.S. right now will agree. Hang in there- Spring is coming! How can you be mad when you say the word whoopie? My computer keeps trying to auto change it to whoopee every time-clearly hinting to me with a mind of it’s own that I need to whoop it up a bit more than usual. Note taken.

I’ve been wanting to make whoopie pies for a while now, but wanted to forgo the traditional marshmallow filling.  A couple of years ago I made this whopper buttercream for a filling in a buche de noel, and remembered how yummy it was. There are crushed whoppers in the buttercream which boosts the malt flavor even more. Who doesn’t love a good whopper?  I love the flavor combination of chocolate and malt, and now that I have a container of malted milk powder I’m going to have to bust out some more recipes I supposed with malt! These are fun for a party or casual gathering.  If you don’t know what a whopper is, you might know what a malteser is (if you hail from somewhere besides the U.S.) This recipe is adapted from a recipe called Devil Dogs from the Cookbook Baked Elements. Enjoy!

 

Keep the batter spaced well when scooping, as they spread when baked….

 

Chocolate-Malt Whopper Whoopies

yield: ~ 12-13 whoopie pies

 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

yield: 12-13 assembled sandwiched whoopies

recipe: adapted from “Devil Dogs” in Cookbook Baked Elements

 

2 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 Cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

1/4 Cup vegetable shortening, room temp

1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1.5 oz. dark chocolate (60-72 %), melted and cooled (I used Guittard “Extra Dark” 63 % chocolate chips)

1 large egg yolk

1 Cup whole milk +1 Tbsp. vinegar (Or you can use 1 Cup buttermilk)

 

Whisk the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a glass measuring cup place the milk and vinegar and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat (about 3 mins.)  until fluffy-stop to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add the cooled chocolate and yolk and beat until combined. Note: I used the microwave to melt my chips and it took me exactly 60 seconds total heat time-which I stopped several times to stir the chocolate as to avoid burning).

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer often to scrape down the sides and bottom of work bowl. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to mix gently one last time and gather the batter into the middle of the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 10 minutes.

Prepare sheet pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove chilled batter from fridge. Using a 1 oz. scoop (2 Tbsp.), scoop and place batter onto prepared sheet pans, leaving 2 inches of space to allow for spreading while baking. Bake for 10 minutes or until cakes spring back slightly when gently pressed. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on pans completely, then carefully use a spatula to gently scrape underneath to remove. Note: the original recipe says to chill the cakes on pans for 10 minutes then remove, but I found that the cakes fell apart too easily with this, so I advise allowing the cakes to cool completely on the sheet pans then removing gently. Another helpful tip: I found that chilling the cakes (unassembled for about an hour before filling them also helps the cakes to firm up a bit which helps them stay firmer once assembling).

To Assemble: Scoop a generous amount of buttercream filling (recipe below) between two cakes and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, store assembled cakes in the fridge in an airtight container or in a container covered with foil.

 

Malted Buttercream with Crushed Whoppers

recipe adapted from the Book:  Baked Elements

2 Tbsp. boiling water (I do this in a coffee mug in the microwave)

4 Tbsp. (1/4 C)  malted milk powder (such as Carnation)

1/2 Cup heavy cream

6 Tbsp (1/4 C + 2 Tbsp. ) whole milk

1/4 Cup  flour

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

1  3/4 C confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla

1 Cup Whoppers Malted Milk Balls + more (if desired for garnishing outside of pies)

 

Dissolve the malted milk powder in the boiling water and using a spoon, stir and  smoosh the powder as necessary against the side of the mug to ensure all of the powder dissolves.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cream, milk, and malted milk mixture. Whisk in the flour gradually and stir constantly until mixture reaches a boil and becomes thick, about 3 minutes. Set the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes.

Cream the butter and confectioners sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy. Remove the cooled malt mixture from the fridge and slowly pour in the mixture with the mixer on low. Once all the milk mixture is added, add in the vanilla and turn up the mixer and beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy.

Place the Whoppers in a freezer type ziplock bag and using a heavy saucepot crush the candies until coarsely crushed.

Fold in the crushed whoppers into the buttercream.

Note: You can make the buttercream a day in advance if desired and store in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to assemble whoopies- let the buttercream come to room temperature and rewhip by hand (vigorously) with a spoon to allow the buttercream to become fluffy again.

Note: you can crush additional Whoppers and roll the finished/assembled whoopies in crushed candies if desired.


Chocolate Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Cookies Bake From Scratch 2

Are you ready for Summer and Ice Cream Sandwiches?

When I was just a kid (about 100 years ago) I used to ride my bike up to our favorite diner and we would buy an ice cream sandwich for (I swear 50 cents). A group of us would jump on our bikes and make the trek into town. By the time we got there on our mile journey we would be hot and sweaty, but it was so worth it. Of course you can buy a good ice cream sandwich anywhere now a days, but with making your own cookies, the combination is endless with a quick scoop of your favorite ice cream. You can even go that extra mile and make your own ice cream if you like. My new favorite magazine is Bake From Scratch from the people of Hoffman Media Publications and every one of their recipes are simple but scrumptious. This recipe is from their current Summer issue. Whip up a batch and channel your inner 10 year old!

Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies 2

chocolate cookies for ice cream sandwiches

 

Do you know how hard it is to get a good picture of ice cream  in a hot Arizona kitchen?!

Ice Cream Sandwiches Cookies For

 

Chocolate Cookies (for Ice Cream Sandwiches)

Recipe from Summer 2016 issue of “Bake From Scratch”

yield: 14-16 cookies

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1  1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

1/3 Cup Dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

 

Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla bean paste, beating until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and the next 3 ingredients. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until combined. Shape the dough into a rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or more.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 2 pieces and roll out between sheets of parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper. Cut with desired cutter (I used a 3 inch cutter). Reroll scraps of dough as necessary and chill the dough if it gets too soft to work with. I found that it was easier to remove the cut cookies after chilling the dough for about 10 minutes. Place the cut cookies on prepared sheets, spacing them about an inch apart (they don’t really spread much) and dock the cookies with the blunt end of a wooden skewer. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for about 7-8 minutes or until slightly puffed. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Store the cookies in an airtight container.

To make ice cream sandwiches take a scoop of your favorite ice cream and sandwich between two cookies and wrap sandwiches in wax paper and store in the freezer.


Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Creamy Fudge & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream

Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes

 

I just finished reading a really moving book that tells the true story of Sasha Martin, called Life From Scratch. The book is sad, inspiring, raw, and sensitive. Along the way you feel the mood and emotion of her childhood as she moves into adulthood. Each chapter is a blessing of recipe(s) from her life’s journey. One of the recipes is a Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream which I’ve adapted into cupcakes and added a bit of extra chocolate fudge frosting as a bonus. I’ve seen cake recipes before that use Guinness so I was especially excited to try this, and it was fabulous. Pick up her book if you haven’t read it- it’s a great read.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

Saint Patricks Day Cupcakes

Baileys Irish Cream and Chocolate Fudge Buttercream

Choc Guinness Stout Cupcake

Chocolate and Guinness Stout Cupcakes

Chocolate & Guinness Stout Cupcakes

recipe adapted from the book Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin

yield: 16 cupcakes 

12 Tbsp (1  1/2 sticks)  unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout Beer (take the beer out ahead of time and let sit on the counter unopened so that it is not cold)

1 Tbsp Vanilla

3/4 Cup unsweetened Cocoa powder

1  1/2 Cup sugar

1  1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs, room temp

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a small saucepan heat the butter until just melted, then whisk together with the Guinness, vanilla, and cocoa. While the Guinness mixture is cooling, line cupcake tins with paper liners. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, and then whisk in the 2 eggs. When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour it into the wells of the cupcake tins filling 2/3 full; exactly 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for ~ 15-20 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. (baking time in a regular oven is around 19-20 minutes. I used my convection oven at 325° F and baked mine for exactly 15 minutes). Cool completely.

Prepare a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or your choice of tip) and fill each side of the bag with chocolate fudge frosting and Baileys frosting-it’s handy to use a “two tone” piping bag if you can find one.

 

Dark Chocolate Fudgy Frosting

recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup  plus 3 Tbsp confectioners sugar

1/3 Cup (40 g) extra dark unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s extra dark)

1/4 Cup hot water

1/4 Cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

generous pinch of salt

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli) melted and cooled

 

In a food processor place all but the melted chocolate and pulse until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth. Chill frosting is not using right away.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Buttercream

recipe from Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted

2-4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

 

Whip the soft butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar on low speed, then increase to medium high, and drizzle in enough Baileys to get the buttercream loose and fluffy. To achieve a whiter frosting whip it 5-10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

 

 

 


Chocolate and Sweet Cherry Mini Cheesecakes

chocolate dark cherry mini cheesecakes

Cheesecake. Decadent, chocolaty with a burst of sweet cherries in every bite.  Even the person who normally would shy away from eating dessert will usually go for a mini cheesecake as they are not much of a diet breaker being so small. They are literally like 4 bites of sweet nirvana. My child-who is not really much of a dessert person, devoured them.  To be precise-imagine him taking one bite and then shoving the rest into his mouth. They are that good. You could dress these up even more by serving them with some roasted cherry sauce or ganache topping, but I kept them simple and topped with whipped cream and a fresh cherry.

Choc Cherry Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Chocolate Bing Cherry Cheesecakes

Chocolate & Dark Sweet Cherry Cheesecake

yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

Cooked Sweet Cherries

Pitted fresh dark sweet cherries (cut into quarters to equal 1  1/2 Cups)

1 T  water

1 T  sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. water

In a small saucepan place the cut cherries, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until become softened. In a small bowl make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water. Add to the cherries and continue to cook while constantly stirring for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl and set aside while  you make the crust and cheesecake batter.

Chocolate Crust

3/4 Cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs

3  T melted butter

In a bowl mix together the crumbs with the melted butter.

Chocolate Cheesecake Batter

16 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1  T Kirsch liqueur (optional)

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s)

1/2 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1. Prepare a mini cheesecake pan by rubbing the bottom and sides of each well with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Note: I’ve tried both spraying with non stick spray, and this preparation, and this works better. Firmly press a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate crumb mixture (recipe above) into the bottom of each well. If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, you can use a muffin pan and line each well with a foil type of cupcake liner.

2. Preheat oven to 325° F.  In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened cream cheese and sugar and cream on low speed until combined (I mix the entire batter on low speed to ensure no extra bubbles form).  Add the vanilla, optional Kirsch, and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add the melted chocolate and mix to combine. Fold in the cherries- you will see some red marbling at first but it will come together okay.

3. Fill each well to the top with batter-(takes about 1/4 cup) note you might have about 1/4 Cup batter left over depending on the size of your cheesecake wells. Place the cheesecake pan on a sheet pan and bake in preheated 325° oven for about 30 minutes, stopping after 15 minutes to turn the pan from front to back to ensure even heating. Note: the cheesecakes will rise quite a bit and appear to separate into a “cap” like appearance but don’t worry-they will shrink back down level once cooled. Allow cheesecakes to cool over a wire rack, then move to the refrigerator to chill completely. Top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with a cherry.


Boozy Bourbon and Coke- Bundt Cake Bites

Bourbon and Coke Cake Bites

This is an ADULT dessert cake bite, so plan accordingly… The bourbon packs a punch and definitely is assertive, front and center. These are conveniently bite size and although they look dainty, they are meant to be popped into the mouth whole for one glorious bite. The perfect boozy bite of chocolaty goodness. This is NOT your wall flower kind of cake bite. There is no hiding in the corner. Bring these to your next Uker, Bunko or Poker party cause it’s about to get rowdy….you’ve been warned.

Bourbon Chocolate Cake Bites

Boozy Bourbon Cake Bites

(recipe adapted from Cake Simple by Christie Matheson)

yield: 5 Cups of batter- about 60 mini cake bites

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 Cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 large egg + 1 egg yolk

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. natural (not dutch- processed) cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)

6 Tbsp. (90 ml) boiling water

1/2 Cup bourbon (preferably 100 proof-I used Knob Creek brand)

1 Cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray two mini bundt bite (tea cake size pans) generously with nonstick (baking with flour spray) and set aside. You can also use a small bundtlette size pan; both work well as I have tested the recipe in both. Conversely you can double the recipe and bake in a 10 Cup size large Bundt pan.

2. In a small bowl place the cocoa powder and pour the boiling water over and mix with a spatula to dissolve cocoa. Add the bourbon and stir to combine; set aside to cool to room temp. In another small bowl:  whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and egg yolk and beat until combined. Hand stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate until combined. (You want to avoid overbeating batter in order to keep it moist). With the mixer on low add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the cocoa/bourbon mixture (in two increments) beginning and ending with the flour mixture until just combined (avoid overbeating). Note: the cocoa/ bourbon mixture will seem like too much- but trust me it will mix in.

4. Pour the batter into the wells of the tea cake pans filling them 3/4 full. Note: I find it easier to put the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip and fill the wells this way- you have better control.

5. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. For the larger bundt (but still mini) bundts I baked them for 18 minutes. If confused: this particular size Bundt wells hold 6 Tbsp. of batter.

6. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn pans over to remove and allow to cool over a wire rack. Drizzle tops of cakes with Bourbon and Coke Chocolate Glaze. Store in an airtight container. Note; because of their size they tend to dry out quickly- they are best served the day they are made.

Bourbon & Coke Chocolate Glaze

recipe from Southern Living

1/4 Cup unsalted butter

3-4 1/2 Tbsp. Coke soft drink

2 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Cups + 2 Tbsp. Confectioners sugar, sifted

1 Tbsp. bourbon (preferably 100 proof-I used Knob Creek)

In a small sauce pan over low heat melt butter. Add in the cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp. of the coke, and whisk to combine, cooking for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and add in the bourbon. Add the sifted confectioners sugar a little at a time and whisk until smooth. If too thick add a little more coke a teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.


Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

There are certain things in life I cannot live without.

A bathtub.

A camera.

Strong coffee.

Real butter.

And salt-(preferably kosher salt).

Don’t even think about taking my salt away. It will not be pretty. You will see an ugly side of me you don’t want to encounter. Remember the scenes when Lou Ferrigno turned into The Hulk? Yeah, it’s something like that. I’m sure as I advance in age some day- some balding, stern Dr. will tell me I have to give up salt- and then I will wrestle him to the ground and feed him a salted caramel cupcake. He will take one bite and come over to the dark side. Immediately.

Please don’t lecture me. It will do NO good. This is right up there with convincing me to floss my teeth every day. Don’t bother wasting your words. Your attempt is futile. I love my salt. I especially love sweet and salty. I REALLY love salted caramel. You will have some salted caramel leftover after making these-You’re welcome.  Pour it over vanilla ice cream.

salted caramel cupcakes

 

chocolate and salted caramel cupcake

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 24-28 cupcakes

2 Cups sugar

1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour

3/4 Cup extra dark brute cocoa (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 large eggs, room temp

1 Cup whole milk, room temp

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Cup hot strong coffee

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two standard size muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar and sift the next 5 ingredients over the sugar directly into the bowl. Combine with a fork to mix. In a glass measuring container mix the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla with a fork. Add  the egg mixture to the mixer bowl and with the paddle attachment beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes; stopping once or twice to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Stir in the hot coffee and carefully mix by hand with a large spatula. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared lined tins; no more than 2/3 full. Three measured Tablespoons is about 2/3 full; it’s helpful to measure out one into a well and then you can eyeball the rest. A scant full standard size ice cream scoop is another good way to get 2/3 full. Resist the urge to over fill as you don’t want to get cupcakes that spill over the cupcake liner- but rather you want a more flat cupcake. Bake in 350° F preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes tins to cool completely over a wire rack. Frost with caramel frosting and drizzle with salted caramel drizzle.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

4 sticks (2 Cups) unsalted butter, softened

8 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted

2 tsp. whole milk

1 Cup of (cooled) caramel (see recipe below)

2 tsp. kosher salt

In a stand mixer cream together the butter until soft. Add the sugar about one cup at a time and beat until smooth. Beat in the milk then add the cooled caramel and salt and beat until smooth.

Caramel and (Salted Caramel Drizzle)

2 C sugar

1/2 C water

1 1/2 C heavy cream; nuke until slightly warm

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 tsp. kosher salt (save for salted caramel drizzle)

In a medium saucepan place the sugar and add the water and mix gently until the mixture resembles wet sand. Cook over medium high heat and let it come to a boil without stirring; until the caramel reaches a deep amber. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour in the cream, it will bubble and spout a bit; whisk carefully until combined. Whisk in the butter and then divide caramel by half into two heat proof containers. Add the salt to half the quantity of caramel (for the salted caramel drizzle). Let cool.

Enjoy