Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chocolate Cookie Dough Ganache Cupcakes

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Despite all the hardships, troubles and testings, there is much to be thankful for. # Blessed

Cookie Dough Ganache
Recipes adapted from here and here.
I had extra cake batter from a recent cake I made, so I made cupcakes to sample for cupcakes I'm planning to make for Thanksgiving dinner.

The cupcake base, is made with my go-to chocolate cake recipe, topped with cookie dough frosting and ganache frosting. Then I used Chips Ahoy! cookies for garnish.
OMG! it was so delicious. I wanted to eat them all, but I did promise to share.

The cupcakes are so moist and chocolate-y. Especially this one with dark chocolate ganache frosting.
If you're like me, YOU LOVE CHOCOLATE! and chocolate in cupcake form is our favorite =) I like you.

Now on to the recipes:
Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from here and here
One recipe makes 24 cupcakes.
Note: Replaced vanilla extract w/ 2 Tbsp coffee granules (mixed into the boiling water) for a different flavor.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Recipe adapted from here

1 c dark chocolate baking chips (use Ghirardelli or other good quality chips) 
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 oz Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp powder sugar

Make the ganache first, see how here. Let ganache cool at room temp. Transfer the ganache onto stand mixer and beat on high until ganache starts to fluff and get lighter. Takes about 5-10 minutes. Be patient.

Note: Save a little warm ganache to decorate the cookies and cupcakes with.

Cookie Dough Frosting
Recipe adapted from here

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 c light brown sugar, sifted
1 c flour, sifted
1 c powder sugar, sifted
10 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 c mini chocolate chips (can be incorporated in frosting, or topped as garnish)

  1. In a stand mixer w/ whisk attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add butter, and beat until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar, beat until smooth.
  4. Add flour and heavy whipping cream in alternating portions until smooth.
  5. Add powder sugar, beat until smooth.
  6. Add vanilla and pinch of salt, mix everything together until smooth. 
  7. Optional: stir in chocolate chips now or add it later for garnish.
One you have all your recipes set, just put everything all together...
playing so well together...
...until one of them got picked for a tasting.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Sneak peak at the matching cake I made. More on that on a later post!

Thankfulness, Happy Thoughts, Helping Hands, Prayerful Heart, Strong Will, Actions before Words, Spirit-filled Life, Hope, Faith, Compassion, God, Blessings, Friends, Family, Kena, Art. Happy Thanksgiving.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oreo Crumble Cheesecake!

Oreo Crumble Cheesecake!
more cake for my mom's birthday last weekend...
 ...look at all those Oreos!!!
You know I love me some homemade desserts for special occasions, and birthdays are no exception. My mom's birthday was this past weekend, so I decided to make cheesecake again this year. I made her a strawberry cheesecake a couple of years ago seen here >>>
...and she loved it! so I thought I'd make another this year. This time...Oreo-style!!!

Oreo Crumble Cheesecake!

2 cups Oreo crumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

3 (8 oz) package Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon

Ganache & Topping:
1 c heavy whipping cream
1-1 1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate chips
1 oz Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
6 Oreo cookies, into large crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8-inch round spring form pan with parchment paper and lightly greased.
2. Prepare crust. Mix Oreo crumbs with melted butter. Place into bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
Note: You can bake the crust at this point to make it a little more crusty, 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Remove, let cool, set aside. I actually didn't make time to bake the crust, so I just left it as is... Lazy me...
3. In a stand mixer, mix cream cheese with sugar and salt.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice.
5. With the stand mixer on low to medium speed, slowly pour egg mixture into cream cheese mixture until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Tip: Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the stand mixer bowl to incorporate all the ingredients together.
6. Pour Filling on top of crust. Level it off with a rubber spatula and into the oven.
7. Bake 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 250 degrees F and bake for another 60 minutes, or until just the middle of the cheesecake is wobbly.
8. Remove from oven, let cool completely on a wire rack before refrigerating. Refrigerate over night or at least 6-8 hours before garnishing.

Look how pretty and smooth it looks when it came out of the oven...
...of course, once I took it out of the refrigerator the next morning, I see a HUGE CRACK!
... talk about that gnarly chip I made on the edge of the cheesecake when I was trying to plate the thing...

Tip: I learned from joyofbaking to help prevent a crack... once out of the oven, take a small knife and run it round the edge of the cheesecake to separate the sides from the pan, let it sit out until cooled, and then refrigerate over night. I learned this after making this cheesecake, so I will have to try this trick next time...
Anyway...the crack and the chip really doesn't matter because I covered the top with ganache and Oreos!!!

I poured ganache in between the cracks first to seal them and level the surface area. Then, I poured ganache all over the top of the cheesecake. After that I tilted the cake from side to side to spread the ganache evenly. Finally, I poured small drips of ganache to random areas on the sides of the cheesecake. Lastly, I just sprinkled the Oreo cookie crumbs on top. And voila... looks so yummy.
I couldn't wait to slice into it!!!
After waiting and waiting for the weekend to come, as these guys sit in the fridge... was finally time to serve it!
I've used this recipe many times, and I love it. It has been my "go-to" cheesecake recipe since I've started baking, seen here, here, and here. And everyone seems to like it, so I do tend to gravitate towards this recipe a lot. You can see pieces of red velvet crumbs on it since I was using the same knife to cut both cakes. Lol...

Read about that Red Velvet Birthday Cake here.
When all was served, I managed to save the last piece for me...
Happy Birthday November!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Red Velvet Birthday Cake!

Red Velvet Birthday Cake!
Happy Happy Birthday to my mom...

...isn't she a beaut?
It was my mom's birthday this past weekend, and the baker in me really wanted to make her cake! I've actually never made her a birthday cake before. So i thought it would be special to try out a red velvet one this year...

It's been an on-going quest of to find the best red velvet cake recipe, here's the first one I took for a spin.

Red Velvet Cake 
w/ Cream Cheese Chocolate Ganache Frosting
(Recipes adapted from here)
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp red food coloring

1 (8-oz) package Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp
1 c unsalted butter, room temp
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 c powdered sugar
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c heavy whipping cream
1-1 1/2 c Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate chips OR Ghirardelli premium baking chips**
1 oz Baker's unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

1. Pre-heat oven 350 degrees F. Line 2 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly greased.
Tip: Whenever I use 6-inch round cake pans, I pour about 2 cups of batter into each pan, and use the extra batter for cupcakes.

Note: The original recipe calls for 2 9-inch round cake pans, but since I used smaller diameter cake pans, I was left with extra batter to make cupcakes to sample out the recipe! 7 cupcakes to be exact.
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, sift together well.
3. Lightly mix the wet ingredient in a separate bowl.
4. Slowly pour 1/3 of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Repeat process until all wet and dry ingredients are well incorporated. DO NOT over mix.
4. In a preheated oven of 350 degrees F, bake the 6-inch round cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (not wet).
Note: If you made cupcakes with the extra batter, those will be done by 16-18 minutes. Don't over bake!
5. Remove from oven, let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
6. To make frosting, whip together room temperature cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing well in between. Lastly, add lemon juice.
7. To make ganache, Place the chocolates into a heat resistant glass bowl. Bring to a soft boil the heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan and pour into the chocolates. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until well incorporated. Sift in the powdered sugar and make sure it's sifted to avoid clumps of powdered sugar into the ganache. Let cool a bit before use. DON'T be like me and experience a cake fail... (more on that later...)

Once you have your cakes cooled and frosting prepared, level off the cakes by trimming the excess cake on top using a thin serrated knife, like so...
Then, stack the two cakes on top of each other, with cream cheese frosting in between.
Finally, crumb coat the whole cake, and refrigerate.

Now, onto the cake fail-magic! I initially wanted this cake to look soft and pretty for my mom. I wanted it to have a simple off-white frosting, and ganache dripping down the edges, and then have a ring of pink frosting around the top edges of the cake like a combination of these cakes I made here >>>
and here >>>
But I must have been in a rush that I didn't give enough time for the ganache to set completely before using it. Plus, I think these Hershey's chocolate chips are softer than the Ghirardelli baking chips I normally have used in the past, so I ended up with really runny ganache.

Tip: Next time you make ganache, use these Ghirardelli premium baking chips** >>>
DO NOT USE these Hershey's chocolate chips >>>
(They probably contain more oil, which lead to a runnier ganache).
Anyway, long story short, when it came time to pour the chocolate onto the cake, the ganache was so runny that it just dripped too far down the cake and started to pool too much chocolate at the bottom, it just looked gross. (Sorry no pictures of the incident, I was too frantic at the time to take any).

I never felt so sad over cake. All that hard work gone to poop. But I had to think of something quick to try to fix this cake. So... I ended up trying to scrape away the  runny ganache off the cake with a rubber spatula. Initially it was a total hot mess of a cake...  it looked like smeared poop... But as I was smearing the ganache more on the cake, I started getting this really cool design on the cake that looked like wood grain. So I went with it, and kept scraping away excess ganache and finally It all made sense.
Now it looks very natural and earthy with all the chocolate shades. It looked like I kinda meant to do that, rather than a total CAKE FAIL. When it was all done, it had a rustic-vintage cake feel, with a slight dash of pretty.

I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to create the little pink florets on top of the cake.
I couldn't wait to put candles on this cake!!

It seemed so long until we got to slice into this baby, tempting me while it sat in our refrigerator until the weekend...
... And although I really wanted to put silver or gold candles, I was pinched with time and only got a hold of a single pink candle that I took from my mom's birthday pizzookie the night before... here she is ready to be served...
 ... I'm sure my mom appreciated just having 1 candle on the cake anyway...
... I love how that red cake looks against the pink frosting...the girly girl in me loves seeing that  ^_^
This was my first attempt at a homemade red velvet cake, but I've been told that red velvet cake is notorious for crumbs...and they weren't joking, the cake was crumby, but also rich and moist at the same time. The combination of the red velvet cake and the cream cheese frosting w/ chocolate ganache was a hit in my book. I must say it looks great! I do want to work on the recipe a bit more before I call her my "go-to" red velvet recipe, but for now, I do highly suggest this one!
 ... I saved the last big slice for myself =)
Happy Birthday mom!