Tag Archives: frosting

Cold Raspberry Tart With Mascarpone Cheese – Great Summer Birthday Cake! (serves 8-10)

I promised to post this recipe, so here it is!

My Birthday Cake this year

My Birthday Cake this year

I had a busy and very fun birthday recently (Press HERE to read about it!) but I really wanted to have a cake when I got home from my grand adventure. I didn’t want one from a shop, even though there are so many great bakeries now that make wonderful cakes.

Yes, I know, there is nothing too pretty about this cake. The icing is sloppily applied, the top half slightly sliding away from the bottom half, and lets not even mention the writing (hey, I I have an unsteady hand!). However, there is no mistaking the love that went into every detail, and it tasted spectacular to boot!stied

For Bridget’s Birthday Party, press THIS

There is something so special about one made at home, whether it is a layer cake that looks a little wobbly or one where the icing looks a little slap-dash and the sentiment precariously written in an uneven stream of piped colors.

Our six-minute Cake with little umbrellas (didn't have birthday candles!)

Our six-minute Cake with little umbrellas (didn’t have birthday candles!) for recipe: press HERE

I favor these types of cakes for occasions like this over any picture perfect confection where the only trouble that was taken was to pick it up from the bake shop.

Ide's request every year is for this chocolate cake. The frosting color is the only thing that changes!

My daughter’s request each year is for this chocolate cake. The frosting color is the only thing that changes!

If you are flat broke, the best thing to give, or receive, is a home-made cake. Nothing says you care more than a couple of eggs, sugar and a few candles.

My son is also a creature of habit and his request is ALWAYS this cheesecake!

My son is also a creature of habit and his request is ALWAYS this cheesecake!

For me, I’m not really as picky. It depends on who makes the cake, and this year I happen to make my own (more out of necessity than desire). I was under pressure for time so it had to be quick and had to be able to keep perfectly in the fridge for 36 hours.

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

My favorite fruit; raspberries!

This cold tart was perfect. There was no actual cooking required, and on a hot Summer evening, cold was the most perfect temperature. All it requires is good quality fruit and this little tart practically makes itself.

Cold Raspberry tart

Cold Raspberry tart

You will need:

14 chocolate graham crackers OR 4 cups chocolate teddy graham crackers

4 tbs unsalted butter

2 eggs

3 tbs sugar

1 lb mascarpone cheese

  3 to 4 cups fresh raspberries

1 fluted tart pan (11 x 1 1/4″ with removable bottom if possible)

Method:

1 – Pulverize crackers in food processor until it has turned to a meal.

blitz graham crackers in food processor

blitz graham crackers in food processor

2 – Melt butter on low heat and slowly add to the processor through funnel as it is spinning.

Melt butter in pan on low heat.

Melt butter in pan on low heat.

3 – Empty contents into tart pan and spread evenly. Press down firmly, but gently until it feels like a solid mass. 

Press crumbs into tart pan

Press crumbs into tart pan

4 – Separate egg yolks and egg whites, putting each in a separate bowl. Add sugar to the yolks and whisk until the mixture becomes creamy (about 4 minutes).

Whisk egg yolks with sugar

Whisk egg yolks with sugar

5 – Whisk whites until they become nice and foamy (about 4 minutes). Put the mascarpone into the bowl with the egg yolks and mix together gently. Fold in the egg whites until they are fully incorporated.

Whisk egg whites until stiff

Whisk egg whites until stiff

6 – Spread mixture into tart pan and spread evenly. Top with lots and lots of raspberries. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Spread mascarpone mixture into tart pan

Spread mascarpone mixture into tart pan

Serve Cold

My Birthday Cake this year

Top with Raspberries

There is nothing sweeter than Birthday Cake!

Yum to all Birthday cakes!

Yum to all Home Made Birthday Cakes – elegant or sloppy!

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes I’ve ever Tasted (makes 12)

I have waiting too long to taste something this good1

I have waiting too long to taste something this good!

My daughter, The Young Baker of this blog decided to challenge herself last night and make something a little more adventurous than her usual sweet repertoire. She wanted to make cupcakes like the ones she has tasted from great bakeries like the Cupcake Cafe on the West Side of Manhattan: a challenge indeed.

The Young Baker managed to have time to give herself a harido right before her marathon baking session

The Young Baker made time to give herself a hairdo right before her marathon baking session

I told her I would help find a good recipe but that she could forget about any idea of trying to replicate their beautiful Buttercream Frosting flowers. She was fine with that. She just wanted to achieve that melt in your mouth gooey-ness without feeling like it was a glorified chocolate muffin that crumbled with every bite.

cupcake city

Cupcake city

The best place to look for a recipe was certainly in one of my American cookbooks. The cupcake to me is quintessentially American so no French or Italian influence would do. The best book for the job was going to be from my brand new giant Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. What better place to find an authentic cupcake recipe than from the most recognized Test Kitchen in the country.

My lovely cookery bible

My lovely cookery bible

And sure enough, when I read to her what the Test Kitchen had to say about cupcakes, how their goal was to make a moist, tender cupcake that wasn’t crumbly, with deep chocolate flavor, and a frosting that was creamy with no sugary sweetness, she was excited to try it.

We happen to have nice cases for the job (note the chocolate-y hands!)

We happen to have nice cases for the job (note the chocolate-y hands!)

They were a bit of work for sure and she was confused at how many bowls she had on the counter at one time with the various chocolate mixtures, but the reward of being able to lick many different flavored spoons made up for all that. All I’ll say is “thank God for dishwashers!”

Quite pleased

Quite pleased

These were all she had hoped for, and at this point she is such the expert when it come to chocolate, her opinion is all that is needed to recommend the cupcake challenge to you!

___________________________________________

You will need:

* I used Ghirardelli Brand chocolate*

for Ganache:

2 oz bitter-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tbs confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

For cupcakes:

3 oz bittersweet chocolate

1/3 cup (1 oz) dutch-processed cocoa

3/4 cup brewed coffee, hot

3/4 cup (4  1/8 ozs all-purpose or bread flour

3/4 cup (5 1/4 ozs) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate soda)

6 tbs vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

for Frosting:

1/3 cup (2 1/2 ozs) granulated sugar

2 large egg whites

pinch of salt

12 tbs 6 ozs, 169 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz bittersweet chocolate

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Make ganache: melt ganache ingredients together very slowly in little pan on low heat until barely melted. Stir and transfer to a bowl and set aside.

make ganache

make ganache

Make Cupcakes:

preheat oven 350*

1 – Brew the coffee. Place chocolate and cocoa in a medium bowl and add hot coffee. Let it sit covered for 5 minutes, then stir gently until melted. Cool completely in fridge (about 20 minutes)

add hot coffee to cocoa adn chocolate

Add hot coffee to cocoa and chocolate

Stir gently

Stir gently

2 – In the meantime add flour, sugar, salt and baking soda to medium bowl and whisk together to incorporated.

Whisk dry ingredients together

Whisk dry ingredients together

3 – In small bowl mix together eggs, oil, vinegar and vanilla.

mix eggs, vanilla, oil adn vinegar together

Mix eggs, vanilla, oil and vinegar together

4 – Whisk the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate and then mix in the flour mixture.

Finish cupcake batter

Finish cupcake batter

5 – Place muffin liners into muffin tray and divide the batter between the 12 cups. Place a dollop (good-sized teaspoon) of the ganache in the center of each filled cup. Place in center of oven for about 18 to 20 minutes.

fill muffin cups

Fill muffin cups

7 – Remove from oven and sit tray on cooling rack for about 10 minutes before removing to let cool completely.

Cool cupcakes completely

Cool cupcakes completely

Make Frosting:

1 – Melt the chocolate on low heat in small pot, then set aside to cool.

Melt chocolate

Melt chocolate

2 – Place a cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a bare simmer. Using a bowl that will fit into the pot (one that sits on the edges, not touching the water) add the egg whites, sugar and salt. Whisk at low-speed for about 2 minutes (the mixture will take on a silky creamy look).

Whisk eggs whites with sugar & salt

Whisk eggs whites with sugar & salt

3 – While continuing to whisk, add the soft butter one tablespoon at a time.

add butter

Add butter

4 – Then add the melted chocolate and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.

add chocolate & vanilla

Add chocolate & vanilla

If the frosting appears thin (ours did), place it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. It will thicken up and get it ready for the next step.

Frost Cupcakes:

Spread a thick layer of frosting on each cupcake with a butter or palate knife.

spead with tons of frosting

Spread with tons of frosting

If you don’t devour them all in one sitting, they can be stored in a big plastic container and left at room temperature. They can also be stored in the fridge, but take them out at least a half hour before serving.

The best cupcakes ever!

The best cupcakes ever!