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Entries in chocolate (6)

Monday
Nov042013

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake

If you are a chocolate fan then I urge you - no, BEG YOU - to run to your kitchen and make David Lebovitz's Chocolate Idiot Cake ASAP!!!!!

The recipe is so easy even an idiot can make it.

And if you screw it up, you are an idiot.

Double whammy.

Before you begin, you should get yourself some Just Us! Dark Chocolate and a bag of Just Us! Organic Cane Sugar.

I promise you it will be worth it.

Is it a mousse cake? A ganache cake? A soufflé? 

I'm not sure.

Whatever the hell it is, I had two pieces for breakfast. Because, you know, I didn't want them to go to waste after I photographed them.

Yeah.

That's it.

I might eat more for lunch.

Click here for the recipe.

 Pin It!

Sunday
Mar252012

Monthly Miettes : Tomboy Cake

My friend Aimee over at Food Je t'Aimee came up with nifty idea to start a monthly baking challenge using the lovely Miette bakebook by Meg Ray. Aimme says, 'The book, in a word, is darling. The pages, scalloped and glossy. The photos, stunning. The recipes, challenging, but enticing. The instant I laid my eyes on it, I knew I had to try and create beautiful cakes like the ones in Miette.'

Aimee writes, 'Having signed up for so many blogging events out there last fall, I decided it was high time that I begun my own. So I wrote to Meg and told her about my idea for a blogging challenge called Monthly Miettes. She wrote back saying that she dug the idea. I was elated! I wanted it to be easy to participate - the recipes themselves are challenging enough and Lord knows I don't have much time these days! - so the rules are quite straightforward. Buy the book. Make one cake per month along with me and then post about it. Link back to this post. Let me know you've posted by leaving me a comment, and I'll do a round up the following month. That's it!'

Aimee also writes, 'For the first month, I've chosen the cover recipe: Tomboy Cake. You have from now until March 25th, 2012 to submit your post. Wait - there's one more rule! When you make your cake, you must, must eat a slice for breakfast, along with a steaming mug of coffee (or whatever it is you drink to wake up!).' 

Mmmmmm... cake for breakfast. I'm in!!

From Miette.com - The Tomboy gets its name from the unfinished, but decidedly feminine, way that we decorate this cake. It starts with our double-chocolate cake and is layered with vanilla buttercream. Our buttercream is made the European way, starting with Italian meringue and adding pure Straus butter. The result is luxuriously smooth and not too sweet. The cake and frosting together are perfectly balanced and proportioned.

The cake was delicious - moist and super chocolatey. The Italian Meringue Buttercream was actually pretty easy to make and was lightly decadent however, the book is not well-edited and so confusing that I'm not sure how anxious I am to try another recipe.

For example, the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream has major continuity issues. A small paper insert is included inside the book that note's the corrections to be made which would be fine and dandy if the information on the card was correct. In one section you are told to heat the simple syrup for the buttercream to 248 degrees yet in another section it reads 238 degrees. That's a huge discrepancy when you are talking about stages of cooked sugar. Since the recipe calls for 6 sticks of butter I wanted to do some research before I possibly wasted good ingredients. I landed on this awesome video by CakeLove's Warren Brown to clarify how to correctly make the buttercream and it turned out beautifully.

The recipe for the Double Chocolate Cake was clear and straightforward. One of the steps involves straining the incredibly lumpy batter through a fine to medium mesh sieve. This took about 20 minutes and was, quite frankly, a pain in the ass, however, i feel it was worth it because the cake batter had the consistency of a silky chocolate pudding and baked into an incredibly moist and supple cake. The recipe is portioned to bake two six-inch round cakes, each cut into three layers. I couldn't find six-inch cake pans, so I used two eight-inch cake pans, cut each in half and made one four-layer cake.

One tip from the recipe that I thought was really great is to dust the inside of your greased cake pans with cocoa instead of flour - no white residue left on the outside of the baked cakes!

Despite the inconsistencies in the Buttercream recipe, I will most likely participate in next month's Miettes - everyone that tried this cake loved it and that really is the main thing isn't it?

Saturday
Mar032012

Naughty and Nice Cookies

NAUGHTY = Oulton's Applewood Smoked Bacon, 2 sticks of Butter, Chocolate Chips

NICE = Agave Nectar, Flax Seeds, Oats

Naughty and Nice Cookies (adapted from my mum's Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe - makes about 4 dozen depending on size)

DRY - 2 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp kosher salt

WET - 1 C (2 sticks) butter (soft/room temp), 2/3 C Agave Nectar, 1 C packed brown sugar, 2 eggs (room temp), 3 tsp vanilla

ADD INS - 6-8 strips of bacon (cooked crispy then chopped), 3 C rolled oats (instant or not doesn't matter), 1 C chocolate chips, 1/2 C flax seeds

  • Preheat 350
  • Mix DRY together in a bowl
  • Beat butter until light and fluffy - add Agave Nectar - beat 5 minutes
  • Add brown sugar - beat 5 minutes
  • Add eggs one at a time - beat until well incorporated
  • Add vanilla - beat 1 minute
  • Mix DRY + WET by hand with a wooden spoon then mix in your ADD INS by hand (prepare for your arm to get tired)
  • Drop by the teaspoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet - bake 11-12 minutes until lightly golden on top (cookies will look underdone but they'll set-up as they cool)

I learned a few things making these cookies, which is why I love playing around and experimenting with recipes.

1. This was my first time using Agave Nectar. My friends went to Mexico to get married two years ago and brought home a bottle for me but I had no idea what to do with it, so it's been sitting, waiting in my pantry, for me to build some baking courage.

Last weekend, I was talking to the fabulous Kathy Jollimore of eatHalifax! at the first meet-up of Halifax Baking Club. Of the many things we chatted about, Agave Nectar was one. I was inspired by our conversation so I did a little research and read that 1 C white sugar = 2/3 C Agave Nectar. I adjusted my recipe and after two long years - cracked open the bottle. I really didn't know what to expect. Turns out Agave Nectar is quite thick - like honey but not as sticky. I dipped my finger in to taste and I was instantly transported to family Christmases of long ago when I'd wake up before my parents, open my stocking (we were allowed to open our stockings before mum and dad got up) and find a bag of Roberston's Clear Toys inside. Clear Toys are hard barley candy that's been poured into toy-shaped molds on sticks - we called them never-ending suckers because sometimes you could start one on Christmas night and not finish it before you went to bed - you'd get up the next day and could keep going with the same sucker. Agave tastes like Clear Toys.

2. Butter beaten with Agave Nectar looks EXACTLY like mayonnaise. It was really weird to look in and see what looked like a huge bowl of Hellman's.

3. When you are adding packed brown sugar to a mixer, you should stop, or at least SLOW DOWN, the mixing speed (unless of course, you WANT brown sugar sprayed all over you kitchen floor?).

I took two dozen Naughty and Nice cookies to work and gave Sean two dozen to do the same. Everyone loved them and agreed that the combination of salty, smoky bacon, semi-sweet chocolate, chewy oats and crunchy flax was a winner (although it wasn't hard to tell since they were devoured in about 6 minutes). I think next time I would even up the amount of flax to 3/4 C or even 1 C for a little extra crunchy-goodness. So there you have it! Naughty and Nice Cookies.