Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hershey's Kisses Birthday Cake

Hershey's Kisses 
Birthday Cake
(Recipe adapted from here)

Okay, so it wasn't anyone's birthday...But we don't need an occasion to eat cake!!!
This cake is by far the best chocolate cake made from scratch. I have used this recipe before and it was probably one of the first cakes I've ever made! Here's a link to that cake here

Anyway, I have been practicing making cakes for an upcoming baby shower cake for a friend of mine. And of course, I chose to make it chocolate, because who doesn't love chocolate cake, right? Here's the first practice cake, which is a single layer 9-inch round cake. =)
Since these were "practice" cakes, I chose to just keep them one layer, to make it easier on myself. I was pretty much just working on the recipes (cake, frosting, and ganache), and practicing with decoration. 

I was trying to get the buttercream frosting as smooth as possible, with straight edges on the top and bottom on the cake, which took time, but practice makes perfect, right?
The straight edges of the buttercream made topping the cake with the ganache alot prettier too! The ganache also look nice and straight.

Here's a look at the same cake only as a 6-inch round cake version...
Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?
Isn't she precious?

LOL... Anyway...Let's move on to the recipe. Again, you can find another version of this cake here where I used bananas!!! Okay, enough with the chit chat...Recipe time>>>
Ingredients
Cake
2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa (I used the dark), sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Frosting
**I'm still perfecting this recipe, but it's still good. This amount of frosting will cover both 9 and 6 inch cakes.
3 sticks butter, room temp
8-9 cups powdered sugar, sifted
8 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare and grease the 9 inch and 6 inch pans with butter and parchment paper.
  3. Prepare batter. Mix all the dry ingredients together well in a stand mixer bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly mix the eggs, milk, and oil together. While the mixer is running, add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, in 3 parts. Mix well, about 2 minutes. Then add the vanilla. Turn off mixer, and stir in the hot water.
  4. Pour batter into pans. Fill each pan up to 3/4 the height of the pan. 
  5. Bake the 6-inch cake 35 minutes. Bake the 9-inch cake up to 45-50 minutes.
  6. Check done-ness with a toothpick. Should see moist crumbs on toothpick, but not wet.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool on wire racks until pan can be touched with bare hands. Run knife around edged of the cake. Remove from pans, and let cool completely onto wire racks before frosting. 
To make frosting, just mix the butter well first, make sure it's at room temperature! Then add the sifted sugar, one cup at a time. Alternating with the whipping cream. If the frosting seems too dry, add the cream next, if it's too soft, add the sugar next. And once you have almost the consistency you like, add in your vanilla. If you frosting looks nice and smooth, you're done. But if it looks dry still, maybe you can use the hot water still. **Like I said, I'm still working on the recipe as well... lol.

To make the ganache, use this recipe here

I wanted to try to cover the cakes with dripping ganache. I just think it looks so delicate and yummy the way the chocolate is dripping down the sides of the cake this way. It took all my power not to eat the cakes before I showed my husband first. He was so impressed by the way it looked. AND TASTED!!! **Husband-approved-cakes, ladies!!! So get to baking!!!
So next time I ever think of trying a chocolate cake recipe, I'm just gonna need to refer back to this, because I have found my go to chocolate cake! This cake was moist, easy to cut into, full of that rich dark chocolate taste, and made me crave milk or coffee. OMG! Good combination with the buttercream and ganache!!! 
Have fun baking!

**The cake recipe was found in one of my cookbooks found here. The book looks like this...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Triple Chocolate Birthday Cheesecake!

Triple Chocolate 
Birthday 
Cheesecake
(Recipe adapted from here and here)

It was my husband's birthday this month and he requested a chocolate cheesecake!
I enjoyed making this one! But there are so many different cheesecake recipes out there that it made it so hard to decide which to make. 

I've made cheesecake before in the past, and they all taste a little bit different from each other. But one thing I've found is that the tastiest cheesecakes are the ones without flour, and the ones which use a lot of chocolate!!! This cheesecake tasted more moist, dense and creamy!!!
Ingredients
Crust
2 cups crushed graham crackers (you can also use crushed Oreo cookies instead)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
Filling
4 (8-ounce blocks) full fat Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 medium-size eggs, room temp
1 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted
Topping
Dark chocolate ganache
White chocolate ganache
Milk chocolate chips
Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the crust. Crumble the graham crackers however you prefer, I used the large ziploc bag and rolling pin technique. Then add the sugar and melted butter. Mix well. Then evenly layer into a 9-inch spring-form pan that has been lightly greased with butter or spray Pam. Bake crust for about 10 min @ 350 F. Remove from oven, let cool. Set aside. 
  3. Prepare filling. In a stand mixer bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar, and salt on low-medium speed until smooth. While the mixer is running, add eggs one at a time. Then, add the sour cream. Then add the heavy whipping cream. Finally, add the melted chocolate. Blend well until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Don't over mix.
  4. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake for about 1 hour, or until set. Once done, turn off oven and let cheesecake sit in the oven for an additional 1 hour, keeping the oven door closed. 
  5. Once out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake. (I accidentally forget this step, that's why I got a crack on my cheesecake!) This step is suppose to help prevent cracks, so don't forget it like I did. =(
  6. Leave in pan, let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Once completely cooled, cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight to set.
  8. Once it's set, it's time to decorate however you like! 
Here's how it looks after one good layer of the ganache. You can still see the cracks, which doesn't look pretty...
But, honestly, that crack doesn't matter because I like to decorate the cheesecakes with a lot of chocolate!!
Drool....
I added white chocolate ganache and milk chocolate chips on top of the dark chocolate ganache, and nobody will ever know there was even a blemish on that cheesecake. ;)

This was also the first time I ever made a cheesecake this tall. Usually, I've made cheesecakes with only 2 bricks of cream cheese, but this recipe called for 4 bricks of cream cheese!!! =) 
This cheesecake was probably more or less 3 inches tall.
Isn't he a beaut?!

Here's a closer slice view. You can actually see where the crack was, which got filled with the ganache...and who doesn't like a little extra ganache in their cheesecake...
Care for a slice?
This was when I surprised him! I even put candles!!! He loved it so much =)
Happy Birthday September!

Enjoy!