Chocolate Swirl Mousse Bars

Although you don’t really need a reason to celebrate Chocolate, it’s always fun to have little occasions to look forward to. Well, if I’m being honest, I never remember these “days” but this time I did, yay! These bars are the product of my memory lol (and my labour). I made these to celebrate ‘World Chocolate Day’ but who am I kidding? Everyday is chocolate day in my kitchen 😛 The only difference being, this time I digressed to a more indulging side. These are so easy to make and I mean like a lazy person easy- with the best results! The best kind of treats, ya?

In all honesty, these photos do not do half the justice to how sinful these bars taste. I mean, you might wanna change into your sweatpants for these but oh, how they are worth it! 😀 It’s all about the balance really. I’m all for living a healthy lifestyle and how much ever I love baking, surprisingly enough I’m the last one to actually reach out for desserts but in my mantra, occasional indulgence is in fact healthy- healthy for the mind and the soul. You see, till the time it makes you happy. So get your baking hats on and indulge like a boss! B)

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Chocolate mousse bars

Makes: 9 bars

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 150 gms oreos
  • 50 gms unsalted butter

For the chocolate mousse

  • 200 gms good quality semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tsp coffee powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 220 ml whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the white chocolate swirl

  • 100 gms good quality white chocolate
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 shortbread biscuits, crushed

 

Method

For the crust

  • Line an 8″ square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Blitz oreos and butter together in a food processor until slightly sticky and crumbly. Pour into the prepared baking tin and press down using your fingers to flatten the top. Refrigerate till use.

For the chocolate mousse

  • Place the chocolate, coffee powder and chilli powder in a heatproof bowl and melt over a double boiler until smooth. Let it cool.
  • Whip the whipping cream and vanilla extract on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the cooled chocolate to incorporate well. Do not mix rigorously or you will deflate the mousse.
  • Pour the mousse over the chilled crust and evenly spread using a spatula. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for min. 2-3 hours.

For the white chocolate swirl

  • Melt the white chocolate and milk in a microwave in intervals until completely melted and smooth.
  • Add in the lemon zest and the crushed shortbread biscuits and mix well.
  • Pour the white chocolate mixture over the mousse and swirl using a toothpick. Add more crushed shortbread biscuits on top if you wish and gently press down to stick. Refrigerate for another 10-15 mins before slicing into pieces. Best served chilled.

 

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The Best Chocolate Mud Cake (Eggless)

It might seem a little boastful of me to say that, but my confidence stems from all the appreciation this cake has received. It was my brother’s birthday a few days ago and it’s almost like betrayal if anybody even thinks of ordering a cake from the bakery, haha. So, as a designated baker of the family, I whipped up this easy Chocolate Mud Cake with a dark chocolate-espresso ganache frosting, salted caramel filling and loads of caramel popcorn. As you might have guessed, the cake was such a hit amongst everybody! Yay!  The fact that it’s eggless makes it all the more accessible (and pleasing) to a larger crowd. To make it a tad bit more exciting, it all comes together in ONE bowl, quite literally! But hey, that’s not the most exciting part, is it? The most exciting part is that this cake is a chocolate heaven for all chocolate loverss- which basically covers everyone right?! Now we are talking, yes! 😀 I mean, come on! It is World Chocolate Day after all 😀

To be a bit of a nerd- what is a mud cake exactly? Mud cake is essentially a really moist, dense cake with a tight crumb. The tight crumb and sturdy composition is achieved by baking the batter at a low temperature for a longer time. Two of the basics of a mud cake are butter and chocolate- quite literally the stars. Using melted chocolate also helps in that intense chocolate flavour over cocoa powder. I don’t like chocolate cakes that use cocoa powder- there I said it! I feel they are a tad bit dry and also lack that intense chocolate flavour- which is the opposite of how I like my chocolate cake. That’s just my personal liking though. Therefore, a chocolate mud cake is definitely a win for me! 😀 They are great for layered cakes, and this one in particular tastes pretty damn good! So have a piece or two, or maybe the whole cake- don’t worry, nobody’s judging 😛

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Please ignore my amateur frosting skills

Chocolate caramel cake 3

Recipe adaptation: Donna Hay

 

Makes: two 7″ inch layer cakes

Ingredients

  • 250 gms butter
  • 200 gms good quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 330 ml milk
  • 240 gms coconut sugar or castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 chia eggs *
  • 260 gms all purpose flour
  • 30 gms unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  • Line two 7″ baking pans with baking paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 150 C.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a small bowl. Keep aside.
  • In a heatproof bowl, add the chocolate, butter, milk, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and melt over a double boiler- making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the simmering water. Stir occasionally to incorporate everything well. Once melted, let it cool slightly.
  • Whisk in the chia eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture. Add in the dry ingredients in parts, mixing after each addition.
  • Pour the batter equally into the prepared baking pans and bake each cake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Few moist crumbs are okay. Let it cool completely. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, or your favourite ganache frosting or a simple butterscotch/ salted caramel sauce.

Note:

* – Mix 2 tbsp ground chia seeds with 6 tbsp of water. Refrigerate for 10-15 mins. Chia eggs are ready.

  • Storing- Wrap the cake in a cling film and refrigerate for up to a week.

For the salted caramel recipe: Chocolate Caramel Tart

For the dark chocolate espresso ganache recipe: Cookies Coffee Parfait

 

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Brown Butter Espresso Brownies

I’m not gonna do a lot of talking here. I mean I could, but it would be very very unfair to keep you waiting to try this recipe. Disclaimer: It’s not for the faint hearted! They are dark and espresso brownies in the truest sense. I hate it when I’m served a coffee dessert which is just over the top loaded with sugar, with literally no hint of coffee in it. I mean, why?! That’s just not doing enough justice to the flavour. I guess I’m getting  a bit too touchy here, lol. Anyhow, I can safely say, I have found my one true love <3. Summing up this roller coaster of a  year with my favourite things. Something tells me I’m gonna be making these very regularly. After all, brownies never hurt anyone right?

I’m very picky when it comes to food, particularly desserts. Well, I guess that’s a given for every baker. You can’t bear to have your shit done wrong. It’s very rare that I find desserts mind blowing. Mainly because balancing the textures & flavours with the right amount of sweetness can be tricky. This applies to me as well. Yes, there are desserts which are yum and good, but then there are desserts which are YUM!  This one falls in the latter category, at least for me. I absolutely love how the brown butter adds such subtle hints of caramel flavour to the brownies. Coffee & caramel are two of my favourite flavours. They taste even better when they are put together! So, you can just guess how amazingg these are gonna be. Okay, too much talking. Let’s do some baking. If you are a true coffee lover, just like myself, you’re gonna LOVE them! No, there’s no keeping hands to yourself here.

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Recipe adaptation: Sprouted Kitchen

 

MAKES: 4 brownies

INGREDIENTS

  • 75 gms salted butter
  • 120 gms coconut sugar
  • 45 gms cacao powder, non alkalised preferably
  • 1/2 tbsp water, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 40 gms multigrain flour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder* (I used Bynemara Estate from Blue Tokai)
  • handful of dark chocolate chips
  • toasted hazelnuts or any nuts of your choice to garnish, chopped (optional)

 

METHOD

  • Grease a small cupcake pan, or a small square tin with butter and dust generously with flour. Keep aside. Preheat oven to 170 C.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter on low heat, swirling occasionally until it starts to brown and smell nutty. It should take about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on it or else it might burn quickly.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add in the coconut sugar, cacao powder, water and vanilla extract. Mix properly until well combined. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, starting with the whole egg and whisking well after each addition. Stir in the flour and grounded espresso powder, and mix well until no lumps remain, if any.
  • Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin. They do not rise much so you can fill almost to the top. Press few chocolate chips into the centre to give it an extra gooey and molten texture. Bake for 12-15 mins or until the edges are just done.
  • Sprinkle some toasted hazelnuts or any toasted nuts of your choice when just out of the oven. Let it cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before de-moulding. Serve warm with a big scoop of ice cream of your choice. You can also drizzle some hot chocolate or caramel sauce for extra goodness!

 

Notes:

*- I used 3 tsp of espresso powder because I like mine bursting with coffee. The flavour enhances upon baking so don’t get carried away if you cannot taste the coffee so much in the raw mixture.

  1. You can double or triple the recipe for larger batches.
  2. They stay well up to 3 days at room temperature stored in a container. Just microwave a little before serving. I haven’t tried freezing them but I guess they should stay alright if frozen in an airtight container.

 

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Homemade Challah Bread (Holiday Edition)

Phew! What a crazy week it has been! There’s a crazier one ahead. I have tons of work piled up and all I want right now is a glass of wine and loads of sleep. Are you guys feeling the madness too? It’s less than a week to Christmas. Can you believe that? I’m still on the hunt for my ugly Christmas sweater, haha. Anyhow, amidst all this craziness, I couldn’t wait to share this beautiful recipe with you all. I’m at the doctor’s as I write this, since I don’t really have time otherwise. Presenting to you my version of the Jewish Challah Bread 😀

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For those of you who don’t know what a Challah (pronounced as Hallah) bread is, it’s a Jewish braided bread made around holidays or Sabbath. Now, I had planned to make cinnamon rolls over the weekend but I also wanted to make Challah bread, so I just flavoured my Challah bread with coffee and cinnamon to get the best of both worlds 😛  I like to have flavours on the bolder side so that they are literally in your face, but you can obviously go milder on them. This recipe takes the midway. Did I tell you it’s much healthier than the original one? Homemade breads are the best thing, aren’t they? I have used multigrain flour, honey to sweeten the bread and oil to moisten it instead of butter. Plus, there’s coffee and cinnamon. I mean, what’s not to love here? Oh, and obviously it looks super pretty! I have used a much simpler braiding process here so there’s no hassle. You can also make a little wreath out of the bread just like I did, because why not?

Making breads at home can be a bit intimidating, especially when it involves braiding but trust me, it’s really not. All it requires is a bit of patience and you have yourself a beautiful homemade Challah bread. The preparation is super simple and doesn’t really require a lot of work. It’s mostly all yeast’s work. Just be patient and make this on a lazy Sunday morning. I like mine true Indian style. Dipping some warm bread in hot masala tea. Oh yum! 😀

Few points to keep in mind:

  • Use good quality yeast and make sure it foams, otherwise your bread won’t rise.
  • Multigrain flour has a lesser gluten content than all purpose flour, therefore, your bread will not rise as much as it would if using plain flour. However, you can use bread improver if you want but that’s not really necessary.
  • Kneading the dough properly is an important step in the bread making process.

 

Recipe adaptation: Allrecipes.com

 

Makes:  4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 260 gms multigrain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 70 gms organic honey
  • 50 gms vegetable oil
  • 110 gms lukewarm water
  • 1 egg

 

METHOD

  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, espresso powder, cinnamon powder and yeast until well mixed.
  • In another bowl, stir together the honey, vegetable oil and water, egg. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until it forms a dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (This is an important step for the flavour to develop gluten) Form the dough into a round shape. Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover the bowl with a cling film wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 -1.5 hours.
  • Deflate the dough a little and let it rise for another 30 mins.
  • Punch down the dough, knead it a few times to remove some of the bubbles, and cut it into 2 equal-sized pieces. Set 1 piece of dough aside under a cloth to prevent drying out while you shape or braid the first loaf. 
  • Working on a floured surface, cut the 1 half of the dough into 3 equal sizes. Roll the small dough pieces into ropes about 10 inches long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them (regular braid). Pinch the ends together once the loaf is braided and fold them underneath for a neat look. Repeat for the other half of the dough.
  • Place the braided loaves, facing each other on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently mould them to make a semi circle, as to form a big circle. Join the ends of the two loaves with egg wash so that they do not separate while baking. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with a hot cup of tea. 

 

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Panforte (Holiday Edition)

Ciao! Let’s go down the Italian path today, haha. It was only until recently that I got to know about this little gem, and  am I happy?! Panforte (pronounced as PAAN-FOR-TE) is a traditional Italian Christmas dessert which is a cross between a fruitcake and Lebkuchen (honey cakes). It’s a mildly spiced cake with loads of fruits and nuts, aka perfect for Christmas! The texture is almost candy-like with a chewy soft centre. It’s a ridiculously easy dessert and oh SO good! This is the best thing I’ve eaten all week. Yes, it’s that good!

I stumbled upon this gem of a dessert randomly a few days ago and I just couldn’t wait to try this one. It’s been a pretty hectic week and I haven’t had the time to really sit and work on my blog or bake so much. Thankfully, this bad boy is super quick and easy to make, with no advance preparation. I obviously tweaked the original recipe to suit my healthy requirements. I cannot emphasise enough on just how good this cake tastes! I’m not usually a binger, but I cannot stop with this one, especially when it’s packed with all the rich goodness. I have used a generous splash of fort wine here, because why not? That’s just the Italian way. 😛  It’s like the cake of my dreams!

Make this cake NOW and you shall thank me later. Till then, felice cottura! ❤

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Recipe adaptation: BBC Good Food

 

MAKES: 8 slices (5″)

INGREDIENTS

  • 150 gms nuts of your choice (I used a mix of pistachios and almonds)
  • 25 gms candied peel
  • 120 gms dried fruits (I used a mix of dates and apricots)
  • 25 gms multigrain flour
  • 40 gms honey
  • 50 gms coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fort wine (Sherry, brandy or marsala works)
  • icing sugar, for dusting

 

METHOD

  • Grease a 5″ round tin with butter and line with baking paper. Keep aside.
  • Toast the nuts in a dry pan and add to a bowl. Chop and stir in the candied peel along with the flour.
  • Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  • Blitz the apricots and dates in a food processor, then transfer to a saucepan with the fort wine, honey and coconut sugar. Add in the cardamom seeds, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-4 minutes on low heat, then pour onto the nut mixture. Mix well.
  • Spoon into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. The top will be soft but not sticky.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Thinly slice and dust with icing sugar, then serve with espresso! Buon appetito!

 

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Strawberry Chocolate Tartlets (Holiday Edition)

2 weeks to Christmas! Oh my god, are you excited yet? These pictures look so Christmasy, with loads of red and my failed attempt at creating snow haha. I’m gonna keep trying, nevertheless.

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Sharing my next recipe for this festive season are these gorgeous Strawberry-Chocolate Tartlets. Okay, in all honesty, I added a (generous) layer of my mulled wine cranberry compote as the base, and oh goodness! In my defence, I had a big jar lying in my refrigerator. It would only be unfair to not use it. 😛 I sort of made an assortment of tarts. Some with cranberry compote, and rest with strawberry preserve. I’m only sharing the recipe for pure strawberry tarts but if you like to take that indulgence a notch higher, you MUST try some with cranberry compote. They are ridiculously delicious! Dark chocolate and strawberries are amazing together. Dark chocolate, strawberries AND cranberries are even better! I have noticed that the flavour profile develops a bit more after refrigerating for overnight. They tasted even better the next morning. I’m yet to figure out why, but just a tip for you. 🙂

Let’s talk about the tarts. For the health freak that I am, it is only appropriate to make something that I actually enjoy eating. Hence, you can now dig in without the guilt. The shortcrust pastry is made with almond meal and multi grain flour, and uses coconut sugar. I have used coconut cream for the ganache, and it tastes SO good! The strawberries are lightly glazed to remove any bitter tartness and obviously that beautiful shine. Basically, you’re in for a treat! 😀

strawberry-tart

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MAKES: 2 tartlets

INGREDIENTS

For the almond shortcrust pastry

  • 50 gms multigrain flour
  • 40 gms almond meal
  • 10 gms cocoa powder
  • 30 gms coconut sugar
  • 40 gms chilled salted butter
  • 1 egg yolk

 

For the ganache

  • 100 gms good quality dark chocolate, min. 55% cocoa solids
  • 80 gms coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the filling and topping

  • 50 gms natural strawberry preserve
  • 50 gms mulled wine cranberry compote, optional
  • 200 gms sliced strawberries, to top
  • 40 gms simple syrup, to glaze

 

METHOD

For the almond shortcrust pastry

  • Mix butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder and almond meal together in a food processor until the mixture roughly resembles fine crumbs. Add egg yolk and process until combined. Remove from the processor and knead lightly into a dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and flatten like a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for minimum an hour. I refrigerate mine overnight. It makes it easier to work with the dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a flour dusted surface until it is 5 mm thick.
  • Grease your fluted tartlet tins with butter. Set aside. Cut out circles slightly bigger than your tartlets and transfer the circles to the fluted tartlet tins. Press pastry into tins and trim off any excess pastry. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes or until well chilled. (Do not over work the pastry as almond meal makes the pastry softer and more easily breakable. A cold room is ideal.)
  • Preheat oven to 200 C. Place baking paper over the pastries and fill with beans or baking weights. Bake at 200 C for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and bake again for about 5 minutes.
  • Let the pastries cool and de-mould once cool. Store in an air tight container.

 

For the ganache

  • Pour the simple syrup over sliced strawberries and keep aside until you prepare everything else.
  • Roughly chop the dark chocolates and put it in a medium bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat coconut cream until begins to boil. Do not boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and let it stand for a minute or two before stirring. Stir properly until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract.  Heat it over double boiler if some chunks are still there. Set aside.

 

Assembly

  • Spread a layer of strawberry preserve or cranberry compote on the base of the tart.
  • Cover the rest of the tart with chocolate ganache. Smoothen out the top with a knife. Top with sliced strawberries. Refrigerate until use. Happy eating! 😀

 

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Dark Chocolates Kisses (Holiday Edition)

Festivee bonanza startsssss ❤ I wish my laptop had those cute little christmas emojis, haha. I feel extremely happy writing this, and so excited. I love Christmas, even though India isn’t very big on Christmas. The entire feeling of this time of the year is so warm and happy. This is the first Christmas on the blog and I wanted to make it special, which is why, I’m gonna be sharing festive recipes throughout this month until before Christmas, Yay! Are you excited? I definitely am! 😀

cranberry-sauce

First up on the Festive Bonanza is this sinfully delicious Dark Chocolate Kisses filled with mulled wine cranberry compote. This one literally screams festive! To be completely honest, this wasn’t a planned recipe at all. What I initially had in mind was completely different, more summery and definitely not festive. It was more of an experimentation that I wanted to do inspired by my favourite chef, Grant Achatz. For all of you who haven’t heard of him, please go check him out. This man is amazing! I can talk about how he changed my perspective towards food for hours, but that’s another story. Anyway, coming back to the point, this was more of an instinctive recipe. I had planned to pair the mulled wine compote with white chocolate but fortunately, unfortunately, my white chocolate wasn’t stored properly and that didn’t work out. Therefore, I settled on dark chocolate. Three things great about dark chocolate:

  1. It tastes divine. I love dark chocolate. Like I can munch on 70% dark chocolate all day! (This is the only chocolate I like by the way.)
  2. Tempering dark chocolate is much easier and smoother than white chocolate.
  3. Red wine, cranberries and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven.

That makes everybody happy, right? I always thought tempering chocolate is too hectic and difficult, until recently. Well, anything involving thermometer doesn’t seem easy, does it? Trust me when I say this, it’s super easy. You need to be a bit careful and you’re good to go! Tempering is basically fluctuating the chocolate temperature to align the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth, silky and glossy. If you’re using silicon chocolate mould, you might even skip the tempering stage if you think it’s too much work. Although, I wouldn’t recommend that. Tempering gives your chocolate a beautiful shine and that amazing cracking snap. But if you aren’t too concerned about shine or sharpness, you’re most welcome to do with just melted chocolate. I usually temper chocolate without a candy thermometer, so you don’t have to worry in case you don’t have one. I have mentioned both the processes, with or without a thermometer.

Too much chocolate, let’s talk a little that delicious Mulled Wine Cranberry Compote. It smells just as good as it tastes! It’s so wintery and warm, tastes SO good with just about anything. I made an extra batch of it to use it later 😛 You MUST make some right away! Trust me, you are gonna be thanking me later. You’re welcome. 🙂

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Important tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your bowls and chocolate moulds are completely clean and free from water. Wipe your chocolate moulds properly to give the chocolate an extra shine.
  • If you’re attempting to make chocolates for the first time, I would recommend using a silicon chocolate mould since it’s easy to de-mould, even if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered. However, it makes scraping off the extra chocolate a bit difficult because it is not sturdy. Hold the chocolate mould properly and firmly. Although a plastic mould is easier to handle, de-moulding can be a task if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered.
  • You always have a pot of simmering water on hand.
  • I like to mix two different dark chocolate compounds, 50% and 70% cocoa solids. It doesn’t make the chocolate too bitter yet has a subtle dark chocolate taste.
  • Making chocolates is a lot of fun and very simple! 😀 It’s really not that tricky. I just like explaining a lot.

Nothing shows love better than homemade chocolates. They make for beautiful Christmas gifts for your loved ones. So share the love, and happy chocolate making! ❤

MAKES: About a dozen chocolates

INGREDIENTS

For tempering dark chocolate

  • 400 gms good quality dark cooking chocolate, 60% min. cocoa solids (I use Cocoa Craft and Morde)

For mulled wine cranberry compote

  • 100 ml cranberry juice
  • 35 ml orange juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 13 gms coconut palm sugar (you can use dark brown sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • pinch cinnamon powder
  • pinch nutmeg powder
  • 60 ml red wine (any fruity kind would do)
  • 56 gms dried cranberries

Special equipment

  • Chocolate mould
  • Palette Knife

METHOD

Make the compote first:

  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together cranberry juice, orange juice, cornstarch and brown sugar. Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by one-third. It will take about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the ginger, spices, red wine and dried cranberries. Let the sauce cook for about 10-12 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will look rehydrated. Mash them slightly using a potato masher. Cook until the desired consistency. Make sure it’s not very runny. Let it cool.

Tempering chocolate- seeding process (With thermometer):

  • Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Keep checking the temperature while the chocolate is melting. Do not touch the thermometer to the base of the bowl as it might give you misleading readings. Quickly take if off the heat source as soon as the temperature reaches 48 C. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
  • Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Keep stirring gently until the temperature drops to 28 C.
  • Put the bowl back on the simmering water until the temperature rises to 32 C. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!

Tempering chocolate- seeding process (Without thermometer):

  • Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Stir gently once the chocolate has melted. Bring the spatula near your lower lip and dab a small amount on the area below your lower lip.  It should sting a little, not too much though. Take it off the heat source and wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
  • Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Lift the spatula up to your lower lip and dab a small amount. It should feel cooler than your body temperature. If the chocolate is warmer than your body temperature or makes no difference, it needs to cool further.
  • Put the bowl back on the simmering water for 5-10 seconds, until it’s just warm enough. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!

Assembly:

  • Making the first outer layer: Pour the tempered chocolate quickly into a chocolate mould and swirl it around to coat the mould properly. Invert the mould on a baking paper and let it rest for a minute until all the extra chocolate has drained. Hold the mould properly and using a serrated knife, scrape off the extra chocolate on the mould to give a clean shape. Refrigerate for 5 mins.
  • The filling: Fill the chocolate mould 2/3 with the mulled wine cranberry compote. Refrigerate for another 5-7 mins.
  • Making the last layer: Since the chocolate might have gone out of temper, place it over simmering water to warm for 10-15 seconds. If you’re using a thermometer, the temperature should be at 32 C. Fill the chocolate moulds completely and even it out with a spoon if you have to. Let it rest for 2 minutes. Gently scrape off the extra chocolate. Refrigerate for at least an hour or two. De-mould the chocolates and refrigerate until use.

 

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Ginger Pumpkin Cupcakes with Butterscotch Mascarpone Frosting

Hi guys!

I hope everybody is doing well and keeping warm. It’s getting chilly, isn’t it? I’m back home and it is quite cold here. Well, not so much but I feel extra cold so yeah. Definitely not a winter person. Anyway, let’s take a moment to appreciate fall. I tried and experimented with so many new flavours this year, and I still have a big list of things yet to bake. Unfortunately, I have my semester exams starting in another 2 weeks so I’m not quite sure if I will be able to finish that list just yet. More baking for next fall maybe?

I’m having one of my bad writing days, not that writing has ever been my forte. Sorry about that. Let me give you a little background about the cake. So, I made a pumpkin cake for the first time this year and I couldn’t believe how good it was. I wasn’t really expecting it to be very great or anything, but it was so good! Obviously I made it again, but this time without the chocolate. Just pure pumpkin goodness. I paired this one with ginger and I couldn’t be happier. These are like the perfect autumn cupcakes.  To be honest, I made this originally as a cake. I kind of liked it more as a cake. I have never really been a cupcake person. Yes, I’m weird. Nonetheless, both the versions taste just as yum. I know the name is quite a lot to take in, but trust me, they are so simple and easy to make. They are a burst of flavours with just so much of an effort. Did I mention they are eggless? I adapted this recipe from my newly added favourite Pear Raspberry Crumb Cake and it works so well. It’s so moist and packed with so much flavour. They actually taste better a day later. But what the hell? I’m too impatient to wait for an entire day. Just dig in! Hope you enjoy! Happy baking!

ginger-cupcakes

ginger-pumpkin-cupcakes

Recipe adapted from my Pear Raspberry Crumb Donut Cake                                                                                                             Butterscotch sauce: Linda Lomelino

Makes: 6 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes

  • 120 gms plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 130 gms pumpkin puree
  • 30 gms dark brown sugar
  • 30 gms honey
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 30 ml milk/ buttermilk
  • 50 gms chocolate chips

 

For the butterscotch mascarpone frosting

  • 60 gms light brown sugar
  • 25 gms unsalted butter
  • 50 ml heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp baileys, optional
  • 150 gms mascarpone cheese, slightly chilled

 

METHOD

For the cupcakes

  • Line a tray with cupcake liners. Set aside. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, grated ginger, nutmeg and salt until combined.
  • In another large bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, honey, oil and milk until combined. Mix in the dry ingredients. Do not overwork the batter. Throw in the chocolate chips and mix.
  • Pipe the batter into a piping bag and fill the cupcake liners up to 2/3. Bake for 18-20 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let them cool.

 

For the frosting

  • Make the butterscotch sauce first: Using a rubber spatula, mix sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and put it over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar melts completely. Once the sugar has melted, add the heavy cream and vanilla extract. It might bubble and splash a little while adding the cream so make sure not to get your face too close. Let it boil for a minute. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and baileys. Let it cool.
  • Beat the mascarpone cheese until soft and smooth. It will take a few seconds only. Do not over beat. Once the butterscotch sauce has cooled, stir in 3/4 of the sauce first with the mascarpone cheese. If you want a stronger flavour, you can add more sauce. Or else, reserve the remaining to drizzle on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins before frosting.
  • Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Warm the sauce a little and drizzle on top. You can sprinkle some walnuts if you wish to. Enjoy!

 

Note:

  • You can skip the baileys altogether, however it does add a very interesting flavour to the sauce.
  • If you want to make this into a cake, just double the cake recipe and triple the frosting recipe for a 8″two layer cake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

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Coffee & Brown Sugar Tea Cake

Hi guys!

So it’s been a while since I last posted. This recipe was supposed to be up a long time ago, but I have just been procrastinating. I guess it’s just one of those ‘artist’ moments of finding some motivation. To be honest, I’m still struggling. It’s not like I’m not baking, I am. I just feel kinda stuck. Do you know what I mean? If you all have any tips, please do share. Thank you, xx.

Coffee cake.jpg

Anyway, let’s move on to a more fun topic. Cake, haha. So, I made this cake a while ago, celebrating my baby nephew. Yes, he’s 15 days old. How cute is that?! I haven’t got a chance to meet him yet, but I will soon. Now I love vanilla cakes, mostly because that’s how I got to baking, and they are so effortlessly delicious! This cake literally has everything I love- vanilla, coffee and just a teasing hint of cinnamon. You’re not going to believe just how simple this cake is and how amazing it tastes! It’s so moist and packed with all the right flavours, perfect to enjoy with a cup of your favourite coffee/tea. The best part is that it’s so well balanced with all the flavours that it hits all your right spots. This has become my go-to recipe whenever I want something quick yet effortlessly delicious. You can use the batter as a plain vanilla cake for other recipes as well.

Coffee cake 2.jpg

Coffee cake1.jpg

I would recommend using vanilla pods in this recipe, because you want that rich vanilla flavour, but if you are too lazy to go out and buy some, vanilla extract does the work too. The trick to getting a nice fluffy moist cake is the kind of fat used. No doubt oil cakes are much more moist than butter cakes, but I would not recommend using oil in this recipe because butter really enhances the vanilla flavour, which is very important. However, it is very essential to use softened butter at room temperature to get that moist fluffiness. I have recently started using parchment paper, and does it make your job simpler?! I always used the dusting flour method to prepare my baking tins but I strongly recommend using parchment paper. It’s super simple and you never have to worry about that cake breaking while de-moulding. Just brush the baking tin with some butter and line the parchment paper. However, if you haven’t got any parchment paper in hand, dusting flour method works just fine as well. That’s it, we are good to go!

Recipe adaptation: Donna Hay

Makes- One 5″ cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 30 gms dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 120 gms castor sugar
  • 100 gms unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120 ml milk, at room temperature
  • 165 gms plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee powder/granules
  • 30 gms unsalted butter, extra, melted

 

METHOD

  • Line a 5″ round tin with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 160 C.
  • In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla beans/extract for a minute. Add eggs, milk, flour & baking powder and mix until well combined. Do not over beat the batter.
  • Pour half the batter into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the coffee granules and half of sugar-cinnamon mixture. Pour over the remaining cake batter and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar-cinnamon mixture and spoon over the extra melted butter.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with a cup of coffee/tea.

 

Note: 

  • Double the ingredients to make a 9″ cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

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Passion Fruit & Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes

For a while now, I have been trying to figure out what is my style of baking. I’m sure everybody has a style, I guess. If somebody was to ask me, ‘What is it that defines you?’, I’m not very sure I would have an answer to that. Or maybe I just don’t have a fixed style. I like flavours. I like experimenting with them. I love baking anything & everything. I guess that’s what defines me. I feel sometimes it’s better you don’t know. There’s an almost mysterious sort of beauty in not knowing, don’t you think? And sometimes when we do know, we struggle hard to keep it alive, rather than enjoying the process. I don’t know. I started blogging as a means to sharpen my skills. Yes, I have gotten better, although I have a long way to go on that front. But what is more important is that blogging for me has evolved into something bigger, a space to really share how I feel.

I am a very moody person. I like change. I get bored easily. A lot of people mistake it for being impulsive. I don’t think I am, well not at least for things that matter. Except for when I’m in the kitchen. I get these random ideas out of nowhere, and I instantly want to try them. I had this cocktail at my friend’s party, with green tea infused vodka, passion fruit and kaffir lime. That’s when I decided I wanted to try these flavours in a dessert. Coincidentally, chocolate compliments all these flavours perfectly! I tried infusing green tea in whipped cream, but that didn’t quite work out for me. I know where I went wrong. Maybe I’ll know better the next time I try it. Regardless, these mini dark chocolate flourless cake with whipped cream (semi green tea infused) & passion fruit syrup are just unbelievably good! They are dark, like actually dark. Just how I like it. Surprisingly, a friend who is not exactly a dark chocolate fan, absolutely loved it! So yeah, safe to say you’re gonna like it. I used my Dark Chocolate Cake recipe as the base. The flourless cake is really soft and has that dense kinda texture, which goes really well with lightly whipped cream and syrup. And the passion fruit syrup itself is amaaazinggg! A friend of mine went gaga over it, so much that she started licking it off the bowl. 😛

Flourless cake.jpg

passion-fruit-syrup

You will know what I’m talking about once you give it a try. It’s really quick and simple to make, & believe me, you’re not gonna like your chocolate cakes plain anymore.

Just a few tips before you start:

  • The key to a good flourless chocolate cake is the quality of dark chocolate used. It’s really important to use a very good quality dark chocolate. I used Cocoa Craft’s 85% Cocoa Bitter Chocolate. If that’s too dark for you, you can use 70% Cocoa as well.
  • When incorporating the melted chocolate into the beaten egg yolks, make sure that the chocolate has cooled completely, or else there’s a risk that the yolks might curdle.
  • I use whipping cream which is already sweet, hence I do not add sugar. In case you want to add sugar, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of icing sugar, depending on how sweet your cream is.

 

 

MAKES: 8 mini cakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 125 gms dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 60 gms unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 large eggs (1 whole, 2 separated)
  • 80 gms castor sugar
  • grated zest of 1/2 orange(optional)

 

For the whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
  • few drops of vanilla extract

 

For the passion fruit syrup

  • 1/3 cup passion fruit nectar (about 3 passion fruit)
  • 35 gms granulated sugar
  • 30 gms water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

 

METHOD

For the cake

  • Grease 8 ramekins with butter and dust with flour. Tap out the extra flour.
  • Melt the chocolate either on a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted, let the butter melt in the warm chocolate.
  • Beat the 1 whole and 2 egg yolks with 30 gms of the castor sugar. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and orange zest.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • In another bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the 50 gms of sugar and whisk until the egg whites are just holding their shape but not too stiff.
  • Lighten the chocolate mixture with a spoon of egg whites, and then gently fold in the rest of the whites using a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cake has risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in the ramekins. The middle of the cakes will sink as it cools. Remove the cakes from the ramekins onto a cake plate or a cake stand.

 

For the whipped cream

  • Whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar (optional) until it forms soft peaks and holds its shape. Cover with a cling film wrap and refreigerate until use.

 

For the passion fruit syrup

  • In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool completely.
  • Sieve the passionfruit nectar to remove seeds and add the juice to the sugar syrup. Add lemon juice and mix.

 

Assembling the cakes

  • Put a generous dollop of whipped cream on the cakes, and generously drizzle the passionfruit syrup on top. (Make sure the cream and the syrup are both completely cool) Garnish with chocolate shavings or mint leaves. Happy eating!

 

Note: Try this as a 9″ cake! Double the quantities and bake at 180 C for 30-35 minutes.

 

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