Sunday, 22 February 2009

Blueberry Cupcakes

I wanted blueberry cupcakes like you've never seen them before. None of this blueberry muffin disguised as cupcake with a bit of tinted frosting. I wanted blue through and through, people. There's just one teeny tiny problem. Blueberries don't pack the same flavour punch as their brash raspberry and blackberry contemporaries. So although my cupcakes look berry blue, their taste is berry subtle.

On to the photos.

Cupcakes, pre-frosting. Someone couldn't help herself, apparently.

A berry blue sumo wrestler preparing to duel.
Alternatively, Mount Berry Blue.

A berry blue bouquet.

Cupcake prison.

Berry Blue Cupcakes

Blueberry Puree:
Bring 1 pound of blueberries (fresh or frozen) to a boil over low-medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick (about 1/2 hour). Cool the mixture slightly before blending in a food processor until smooth. For an extra smooth puree, pass the mixture through a fine sieve before using.

Yields about 1 1/4 cups.

Blueberry Cupcakes:
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberry puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin tin with paper cups.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating just until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, mix the milk, blueberry puree and vanilla.

Add wet and dry ingredients alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Do not overbeat!

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 paper cups. Spoon 1 teaspoon of blueberry puree into the center and mix in slightly with a wooden skewer or small spoon.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire
rack and cool completely before frosting.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup blueberry puree
2 1/4 cups icing sugar
drop or two of almond extract

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the blueberry puree and almond extract just until combined. Add the icing sugar gradually and beat until smooth and spreadable.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as you wish. Store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Yields 12 cupcakes.

Notes: I didn't bother straining my blueberry puree because I quite enjoy the little purple flecks. As the recipe suggested, I added a blueberry puree swirl on top of the cupcakes before baking. Next time, I'd fill the paper liners partway, add the puree, then top them with the rest of the batter for a hidden surprise! Finally, for reasons unknown, my cupcakes took about 25-28 minutes to bake all the way through.

Source: The cupcake recipe is one used by Trophy Cupcakes, which I found on Cakespy Seattle. I wasn't feeling the swiss meringue buttercream they suggest, so I whipped up a simple blueberry cream cheese frosting instead.

Blueberry, Raspberry & Blackberry Cupcakes

Blueberry, raspberry & blackberry cupcakes

The recipe makes only 3 cupcakes, so I made two more batches, one with blueberries, and the other one with blackberries.


100 g frozen raspberries
1 egg
30 g flour
25 g sugar
3 squares white chocolate

Puree raspberries in a blender and press through the sieve to remove the tiny seeds. Beat egg and sugar until white and foamy. Add raspberry puree and flour and mix on lowest speed for a few seconds to incorporate.

Grease and flour cupcake pan and pour batter in. Place one square chocolate on top of each cupcake and press it inside with a toothpick.

Bake in a preheated oven on 200°C for about 7-8 minutes.

Blueberry, raspberry & blackberry cupcakes

Chocolate Loaf Cake

Cake fondant
The last loaf you'll ever need ;)

Cake fondant ultra-chocolaté
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast.

As you’ll make the batter, you’ll definitely measure how good the cake is. Deeply fragrant, with a melt-in-your mouth texture.
Shall we all thank the cocoa powder. And melted chocolate. And cocoa syrup. And fine chocolate slivers.

However - and trust me, this is a not a problem - the recipe yields to two loafs. But they freeze beautifully, and they texture even benefits from they’re little Aspen-like vacations.

Cake fondant ultra-chocolaté

makes two loafs

for the cake
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
50g cocoa powder
275g caster sugar
175g butter
2 eggs
1 tblsp natural vanilla extract
175g chocolate, melted
80g double cream
125g boiling water

for the syrup
1 tsp cocoa powder
125g water
100g caster sugar

for the topping
25g milk chocolate

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two loaf tins (21 x 11cm and 7.5cm deep) with baking paper, making sure you cut it well above the rim so you’ll have handles to later get the cake out from its tin.

Put the flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, melted chocolate and double cream into a bowl, and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Slowly incoporate the boiling water and divide the batter between the twi loaf tins.

Bake for an hour, or until firm to the touch.

As soon as the cake is baked, remove from its tin using the baking paper, and place on a cooling rack, leaving the baking paper in place.

Put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan, and boil for approximately five minutes, until thickened.

When the syrup is ready, pierce the cake a few times using a skewer or a long match, and pour the syrup as evenly as possible over the cake. Let the cake become completely cold, remove the paper, and place it on your serving plate.

Get your chocolate, and slice thin slivers off the block with a heavy knife, until you’ve got enough to cover the top of the cake.

Secret, Gooey, Good Brownies


Luxury Brownies (with secret recipe)

Luxury Brownies - homemade by Coco&Me.



These brownies are ’seriously’ the BEST. I can assure you. Wanna know why? Because it’s got plenty of delicious nuts (pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans) in them, & it is double chocolatey, as it uses both cocoa & solid chocolates in the recipe - which is unusual, when most recipes call for just ‘either or’.

Texture: moist, dense & fudgy.
Difficulty: easy as pie.

230g Butter, roughly cubed
300g Sugar
(Granulated or Castor)
200g Whole eggs (approximately four) whisked up
230g Dark Chocolate
- in small pellet form or chopped finely so it melts quickly
140g Flour
40g Cocoa Powder

200g of nuts of your choice (pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans - You can use just one type or use all four types like I do. They add different crunchy textures to every fudgy bite, which makes the brownie interesting til the last bite)

20cm square baking tin


a. Butter the baking tin. Then line the bottom & the sides with baking paper.

b. Sift together the flour & the cocoa powder.

c. Have the chocolates ready in a large mixing bowl.

d. Leave aside some nuts to decorate the surface of the brownies with (in my opinion, walnuts look best).

e. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.



1. Melt the butter completely in a large pot.
2. Add the sugar. Dissolve.
3. Pour the egg mixture & mix well with a whisk (make sure the hot butter doesn’t cook the egg in to an omlette).
4. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolates in a bowl. Mix thoroughly & make sure all the chocolates have dissolved (if you still have lumps of chocolates left, zap it at 10 second intervals in the microwave until it melts).
5. Spatula in the flour & the cocoa powder. Mix until no traces of flour can be seen.
6. Mix in the nuts. (Make sure you leave some aside for decorating the top with).
7. Pour the mixture in to the prepared tin.
8. Evenly decorate some more nuts on the top surface.
(Make sure each slice would have a decorative nut)
9. Bake in the oven (that has been pre-heated at 180 degrees) for 25 - 30 minutes. It’s cooked when the edges have gone slightly dry, the top is shiny & has cracked. The centre of the brownie shoudn’t be wobbly when shook. Remember: the toothpick method won’t work on this fudgy brownie!
10. Leave aside to cool. Don’t cut until they’ve reached room temperature, or even better leave it untouched for a WHOLE DAY to rest - I can promise you, it’ll taste better tenfold.


Brownies recipe explained in image sequence.


This recipe is versatile - instead of nuts, you can put pretty much anything in there - like dried fruit such as dried cherries, or fresh fruits like raspberry. Baking is meant to be fun & so don’t go out-of-your-way to buy the nuts if you haven’t got it (as nuts can be expensive). Use whatever that is in your store cupboard & experiment! like, be creative with sliced almonds & spell a letter on the surface!

Unnecessary Brownies

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

When I say, cut the brownies into 1" by 1" squares, I'm not kidding. These babies will guarantee a 2 pound weight gain and your teeth will beg mercy from the sweetness if you go much bigger.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

I made some alterations to this recipe, which I found on my favorite The first thing I changed was the recipe called for only 6 TEASPOONS of cocoa powder in the brownie base. Huh? The batter wasn't even brown after I mixed the original amount in. So I threw in a few more HEAPING TABLESPOONS to get it to the color and taste of a fakkin brownie. The next change I made, was it called for 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I only had a 9 oz. bag of chocolate melts (the bigger, flatter, nickel sized chips which are a new product from Baker's Chocolate) so I improvised the last 3 oz. with milk chocolate and peanut butter Nestle chips I've had hanging around for God know's what. And finally, I didn't have the originally called for puffed rice cereal in the house, so I used corn flakes. And frankly, without even trying this with the puffed rice, I know the corn flakes made it even better. The crunch is much more pronounced and that's what I'm talkin' bout. ;)

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

Chocolate Crunch Brownies
Chocolate Crunch Brownies

The recipe below is written with my changes. Go here for the original recipe.

Serves 36

1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1/3 c. baking cocoa
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
1/2 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp. to give it a lil more saltiness with all that chocolate)
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)
3 c. corn flake cereal

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease (or spray with Pam w/flour baking non-stick spray) a 9" x 13" x 2" Pyrex baking dish, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Stir in cocoa, flour, vanilla, and salt.

Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until brownies test done.

Cool. Spread marshmallow creme over cooled brownies.

In a small saucepan, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in the cereal. Spread over marshmallow layer.

Chill before cutting.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

My Notes: The brownies rose as if they were going to be cake-like in the oven. But once they started to cool, they flattened out and were of the chewy variety, as I was hoping for

Pistachio Topped Brownies



I also like to add a generous amount of melted milk chocolate on top and sprinkle with pistachios.


So there you go, this is brownies my way. If you ever get bored of your classic brownie recipe, give this one a try and let me know how you like it.

Edit (April 2, 2008) - The recipe below and the photo of my brownies made it to Nick Malgieri’s article “On These Blogs, Bakers Can Find Their Fix” for The Washington Post! Read all about it here.

Brownies My Way


  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, slivered


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat your oven to 350F. Butter an 8 inch square pan, line bottom and sides with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and bittersweet chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add sugar and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  6. Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Let cool for 5 minutes and pour over cooled brownie.
  7. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with pistachios.
  8. Place in the refrigerator and let the milk chocolate set. Serve it cold.

Raspberry Pistachio Tart

Raspberry Pistachio Tart

My trials with Dorie Greenspan’s sweet tart dough recipe continues. The original recipe is located here.

This time, I added pistachios to the dough (1/4 cups) and it turned out amazing (even tough I overbaked it). It would have been better to use more as I hoped to see some flakes here and there in the dough.

Raspberry Pistachio Tart


Raspberry Pistachio Tart

Dorie Greenspan’s basic pastry cream recipe is a star, too. Adding the butter in bits at room temperature is what makes it so silky.

Raspberry Pistachio Tart

Pastry Cream

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book “Baking: From My Home to Yours”


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature


  1. Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, contstantly and thoroughly bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
  5. The pastry cream can be kept, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Ganache Tart

Chocolate Ganache Tart

Chocolate Ganache Tart

This time around, I tried Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough recipe (from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours), which turned out to be the best tart dough I have ever tasted.

Chocolate Ganache Tart


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tbsp (9 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 12 ounces (330 gr) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190C) degrees.
  2. Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.Stir in the yolk and pulse again until the dough forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and very lightly and sparingly, knead just to incorporate dry ingredients. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Freeze crust at least 30 minutes before baking. Bake blind for 25 minutes, remove the weight and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour hot cream, through a sieve, over chocolate. Stir until smooth and creamy in texture. Pour chocolate mixture into center of cooled tart shell (if chocolate is lumpy, pass through a sieve). Let stand until set, about 2 hours, or chill for 1 hour.

Brownie, Chocolate, Blondie...

Slightly fudgy without going over the top into sludgy, still holding their shape, filled with a rich chocolate flavour. Baked with nuts, or not, these are my nemisis . . . these are the ones I find myself waking up and thinking about at two o'clock in the morning...

*Fudge Walnut Brownies*
Makes 24 squares

I wish I had a pound for every time I have made brownies in my life and for every new brownie recipe I have tried! I’d be a rich woman! This is my old standard that I return to every time. Moist and delicious with full on chocolate flavour, these are everything a good brownie should be! You can leave the nuts out if you wish, or you can add chocolate chips instead. They then become double chocolate fudge brownies!

1 cup butter
1 cup plain flour
4 ounces good quality bitter chocolate
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 TBS vanilla essence (YES 1TBS)
Pinch salt
½ cup walnut halves, broken into pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Grease and flour the bottom of an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Tap out any extra flour.

Melt the butter along with the chocolate over low heat in a large pot. Allow to cool, then stir in the sugar, eggs (one at a time) vanilla, flour and salt, mixing with a wooden spoon and being careful not to over mix, no more than 50 strokes!

Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out a little wet if you want fudgy brownies. Bake until it comes out cleaner if you want cake type brownies, about 40 to 45 minutes for the fudgy ones. Let cool a bit before cutting into squares.

AND, just because I can't do ANYTHING half way, here is my other favourite, one of the blondie versions, full of "caramel-like" fudgy goodness. In this case, Blondes definitely do have more fun!

*Butterscotch Blondies*
Makes 12

These bars are lovely and chewy and full of wonderful butterscotch flavour. I try to use the best milk chocolate possible and that is Green and Black’s organic (in my opinion). They small fantastic when baking and the taste, well, it’s out of this world! Bet you can’t eat just one, which also makes them very dangerous to have around!

140g butter, plus more to grease the pan
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Pinch salt
350g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla essence
250g self rising flour
100g milk chocolate, cut into big chunks
100g macadamia nuts or pecan nuts, coarsely chopped
Icing sugar to dust over the tops when done

Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F. Butter a shallow pan, about 20 X 21 cm in size and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool. In the meantime chop up your chocolate.
Beat the eggs until frothy in another bowl. Add the melted butter along with the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Tip in the flour and mix only until combined. Stir in the chocolate and ¾ of the nuts. Try not to over mix the batter, you'll end up with tough brownies if you do.

Spread the batter into the prepared tin and scatter the remaining nuts on top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until done. Don’t overbake. You want them dry on the top with a slight resistance to the touch of a fingertip, but you also want them to be fudgy and moist.
Let cool, then cut into bars and dust with the icing sugar.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Brownies

I used ½ bittersweet and ½ semi-sweet.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle Brownies
a Gourmet, December 2001 recipe

For hazelnut base
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and cooled
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick ( 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 large whole eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of an 8-inch square metal baking pan, then dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.

Finely grind nuts in a food processor with flour, sugar, and salt. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan, then remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, whisking until smooth. Stir in nut flour until just combined. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and dry and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, at least 2 hours.

For ganache
2 large egg yolks1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped

Lightly beat yolks in a bowl. Bring cream with salt just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, then add half of it to yolks in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream and cook over low heat, whisking, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F (do not let boil).

Remove from heat and add chocolate, whisking until smooth. Pour ganache over hazelnut base in pan, smoothing top with offset spatula, and chill, covered, until firm, at least 5 hours. Cut into squares with a warmed thin knife, wiping off knife after each cut, and remove from pan while still cold. Serve truffles cold or at room temperature.

Gourmet’s notes: 1. Truffles can be chilled up to 1 week. 2. Truffles can be frozen in pan, covered tightly with foil, 1 month. 3. Makes about 80 truffles.

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Shockolate Cheesecake

  • 1 x box (15.5 oz/440 g) low-fat brownie mix (such as Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies)
  • 2 cups 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 cup light sour cream (not fat-free)
  • 1 x pkg (8 oz/250 g) light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces (170 g) semi-sweet chocolate squares, melted and cooled slightly (see Tip)
  • 1 cup fat-free egg substitute or 4 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Melted chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Shockolate Cheesecake

  1. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownies according to package directions, baking in springform pan instead of regular cake pan. Brownies should bake in 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from oven and reset temperature to 325ºF. Set brownie crust aside to cool slightly while you prepare filling.
  3. To make filling, whirl cottage cheese, sour cream and cream cheese in a blender until perfectly smooth. Scrape out mixture into a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, sift together sugar, cocoa and flour.
  4. Gradually add sugar mixture to cream-cheese mixture and beat on medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add melted chocolate and beat again, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat just until eggs are incorporated into batter.
  5. Before pouring batter over crust, lightly grease sides of pan. This will help prevent cheesecake from cracking as it cools. Pour batter over brownie crust and smooth top.
  6. Place on middle oven rack and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Cake will be puffed up and center will jiggle slightly when pan is shaken.
  7. Turn off oven, open oven door halfway, and leave cake in oven to cool for 1 hour. Remove from oven, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake from sides, and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  8. To serve, remove sides of pan, slice thinly (it’s rich!), and serve with fresh raspberries and chocolate drizzle, if desired.

One Bowl Brownies
from Kraft Canada

4 squares Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup toasted pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes, or until melted. Stir in sugar until well blended; mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and nuts, if using.

Spread mixture in lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Do not overbake!

My notes:
Instead of using the springform pan, I used individual paper cups for each brownie base. I filled them 1/4 full and had a very large brownie base. I had so much left over brownie batter that I made two bite brownies mixed with M&M candies for the children, who aren't fond of cheesecake.
After filling 18 mini brownie bases with the cheesecake, I had enough batter left over to still make a full sized cheesecake. Since I had used the brownies somewhere else, I made a quick graham cracker crust for it - and let me tell you, you want the brownie base for this cheesecake! It makes a HUGE difference in the taste and texture of the entire recipe

Chocolate Brownie Mousse Cake


I did not fiddle with these recipes except to replace 2 tablespoons of milk in the mousse with an equal amount of the Kahlua that had been part of the original cheesecake recipe. I am a fan of Ms.Boyles, ( I also have Diner Desserts and Simply Sensational Desserts ,to which she contributed ) so I decided to follow her lead ( and I'm not the most confident of meddlers ). To sum up, what we have is a Kahlua laced bittersweet chocolate mousse on an espresso brownie base topped off with swirls of whipped cream and Vahlrona chocolate covered coffee beans. Nothing too fancy then.ESPRESSO BROWNIE MOUSSE CAKE

For the espresso brownie base:

  • 115g dark chocolate, 60-70% cocoa solids
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbls instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 60g plain flour

For the bittersweet chocolate mousse:

  • 450g dark chocolate, 60-70% cocoa solids (best quality please, the chocolate is the diva here so make sure she can perform)
  • 140ml milk
  • 20ml Kahlua
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 600ml double cream

To finish:

  • whipped cream
  • chocolate covered coffee beans
  1. To make the brownie base: Preheat the oven to 170 C. Lightly butter the base and sides of a 9 inch x 3 inch deep spring-form tin. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a large pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the espresso powder, vanilla extract and salt. whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time also until combined. Lastly fold in the flour just until incorporated. Don't over mix.
  2. Scrape into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake the brownie for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely in the tin.
  3. When the brownie is nearly cool get started on the mousse layer. Place the chocolate in a food processor and process until finely ground. Leave it in the processor.
  4. Heat the milk, sugar, espresso powder and salt over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the milk comes to the boil. With the food processor running pour the hot milk carefully down the funnel and process until the chocolate has melted. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and process until blended. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool. (If you don't have a food processor chop the chocolate finely and put in a large bowl, heat the milk mixture as before and pour over the chocolate. Leave for a minute then stir until chocolate has melted. Stir in the vanilla and set aside until cool.
  5. In another bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula gently fold in one-third of the cream into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining cream until completely blended.
  6. Scrape the mousse onto the brownie base and spread into an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Serves 10-12.

Vegan Brownie...

Having spent a lot of time with a bunch of vegans I decided it was time to explore the sordid world of eggless cusine... Very sordid... sordid... and tasty


1/2 Package Medium Tofu
1/2 Cup Vegan Margarine
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1/2 Cup Granulated Fruit Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 - 3 Tablespoons Broken Pecans
4 -5 Tablespoons Vegan Caramel

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare a 9″x 9″ pan with a light misting of spray oil and line the bottom with a square of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, whip the tofu until smooth.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine ad add the sugar. Stir in the cocoa and whisk until smooth.
Meanwhile, add the brown sugar, salt and vanilla to the tofu. Blend well.
Combine the cocoa mixture with the tofu and sugar until it is well incorporated.
Remove the blade from the food processor and fold in the flour.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the top with the pecan pieces.
Bake for approximately 20 -25 minutes, until the the top appears set and shiny.
Drizzle over the caramel, and allow brownies to cool completely.


To construct these brownies you will need:
1 Package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, look for a sweetened pure chocolate.
Read the label to avoid all milk ingredients.
1 Pint Soy Good Vanilla (or Butterscotch Swirl)
2 Tablespoons Margarine

Once the Vegan Fudge Brownies have cooled completely, remove them from the pan and trim the edges by about 1/4″.
Let the ice cream sit for about 10 - 15 minutes to soften. Once you are able, place the entire contents in to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix the ice cream on low to make it smooth but don’t allow it to melt.
Wash and reline the brownie pan with two sheets of parchment which will run up the sides, over hanging slightly on each edge.
Add more caramel, if desired.
Spoon the ice cream over the brownie and smooth to the edge with spatula.
Place the pan into the freezer to reset the ice cream. (About one hour.)
While you are waiting place a glass bowl over a simmering saucepan of water. Melt the margarine in the bowl then add half of the chocolate chips. Stir occasionally to smoothly melt, then add the remaining chips.
Fit cooling rack with a cookie sheet beneath it.
Once the ice cream has set, remove the brownie from the pan by pulling up from the parchment.
Run a chefs knife under hot water and quickly cut the brownies into approximately 2 1/2 ” x 4″ pieces.
Transfer the brownies to the cooling rack.
Using a ladle, quickly and evenly spoon the melted chocolate over the center of the ice cream/brownie square.
Return everything to the freezer until set and ready to serve.

Serves 6

Pancake Crepe Cake!

So I'm dreaming of Tuesday again...



The Crepes:

  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 225g dark chocolate, (60-70% cocoa solids) finely chopped
  • 210g plain flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 600ml full fat milk, room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbls vanilla extract
  1. Bring 60 ml of water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add butter, one piece at a time whisking to combine after each addition. remove from the heat; stir in the chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs and vanilla together in a large jug. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and gradually whisk in the milk mixture drawing the flour in from the sides as you whisk. When you have a smooth mixture add the chocolate-butter mix again whisking until smooth as possible. Pour through a fine sieve into another container and cover tightly (with a lid if you have one to fit, or with cling film.) Discard any lumps and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  3. To make the crepes: Lightly coat an 8 inch crepe pan (or whatever frying pan you have, it being non-stick will make your life a whole lot easier) with melted butter. Heat over a medium heat, remove briefly from the heat to swirl in 2-3 tbls of batter covering the bottom of the pan. What you want is a crepe that is thin enough not to taste rubbery while at the same time able to withstand a certain amount of handling. Reduce the heat slightly and return to the heat. Cook, turning once as best you can (your fingers have my sympathy) for 30 seconds-1 minute each side until cooked through in the centre.
  4. Slide the crepe onto a plate and repeat the process until you run out of batter, layering with parchment paper between each crepe. Refrigerate until your ready to assemble the cake.

Hazelnut Filling:

  • 165ml double cream
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 400g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80ml Nutella (warm a little in the microwave to make it easier to measure)
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Put cream into a bowl a medium bowl and beat at a medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Refrigerate for an hour or so.
  2. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and the mixture registers 160 C on a sugar thermometer. Remove from the heat and attach to the stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on a high speed until slightly cooled and soft (but not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment and at a medium-low speed, add the butter, several pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly). Add vanilla, nutella and salt, mix well until mixture comes together, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in chilled whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Use immediately.
  4. Retrieve your crepes from the fridge and place on an 8 inch (or whatever size your crepes are) cardboard round (I cut a round to fit from a cereal box and used the plain side) on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place the first crepe on the card and spread with about tbls of the filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with the filling until you have run out of crepes (or filling) or until your tower begins to lean alarmingly, ending with a crepe on top. Refrigerate until firm at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile make ganache.

Chocolate ganache glaze:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbls golden syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 280g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), finely chopped (I substituted 80g Green & Blacks Espresso chocolate)
  1. Bring cream, golden syrup and salt to a boil at a medium-high heat in a medium heavy-based saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, swirl pan to cover completely with cream. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.

Candied Hazelnuts:

  • 9 hazelnuts
  • 200g caster sugar
  1. Thread each hazelnut onto tip of a long wooden skewer; set aside. Place a chopping board along the edge of a worktop; set a baking tray on the floor underneath.
  2. Cook sugar and 60ml of water in a medium, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals forming. Let boil until syrup turns light amber, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. Let stand until slightly cooled.
  3. Dip one skewered hazelnut into syrup, coating completely and letting excess caramel drip back into pan. When dripping caramel becomes a thin string secure end of skewer under chopping board, letting string drip over edge onto baking sheet. Repeat with remaining hazelnuts. Let stand until caramel has hardened, about 5 minutes. Break strings to about 4 inches. Carefully remove skewers. Or just attempt as I did to make spun sugar by taking spoonfuls of caramel and drizzling them quickly (but carefully) across the handle of a wooden spoon, gather up the strings with your hands (they cool quickly) to form a ball.

To Finish:

  1. Spoon some glaze on top of the cake, spreading to the edge of the cake allowing it to drip over the sides. Using an offset spatula spread the glaze around the sides of the cake to cover completely. The edges of the crepes will defy any effort to smooth the sides of the cake but that is as it should be. Refrigerate until the glaze is firm and set. Garnish with candied hazelnuts or spun sugar.
  2. When serving, remove the cake from the fridge and cut, while still cold, with a sharp knife warmed under hot running water. This should stop all your filling squeezing out when you slice into it. Then leave the slices to come to room temperature for about 15-20 minutes so you get the full benefit of the flavour.

I think this would serve 10 generously and would stretch to 12.


Kahula Brownies

Kahula! I remember Kahula from my childhood when my Australian nannies would force teaspoons of it down me. It was rich, sweet yet bitter and viscose. What better way to immortalise this flavour than in brownie form? Yes, I give you... Kahula Brownies


Dark Chocolate Brownies with Kahlua

Servings : 8 Preparation Time : 00:45:00 (including baking)


250 grams chocolate (70% cocoa content)
165 grams butter — at room temperature
3/4 tablespoon natural vanilla
300 grams sugar
100 grams flour
3 each egg
100 ml Kahlua Liqueur


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Butter and flour an 10 inch square baking pan. Set it aside.
3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Mix until smooth.
4. Beat the sugar and eggs together.
5. Add the vanilla.
6. Slowly pour in the chocolate and butter, mixing all the time.
7. Sift the flour, then add, mixing thoroughly.
8. Stir in the Kahlua.
9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes (a knife should come out just about clean).
10. Allow the brownies to cool slightly. Then cut them into squares and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Summer - Strawberry mirror cake

Reflections of Summer



Strawberry Mirror Cake

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
2 TBSP sugar
2/3 cup sifted cake flour
½ cup water
1/3 cups sugar
2 TBSP kirsch or strawberry liqueur

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
2 ½ TBSP unflavored gelatin
1 ½ cups strained strawberry puree(1 ½ baskets)
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 ½ cups milk
1 TBSP lemon juice
several drops of red food coloring
1 ¾ cups whipping cream

Strawberry Mirror
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBSP kirsch
1 TBSP water
1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
Few drops of red food coloring

Strawberry Juice
1 ½ pints of strawberries(18 oz)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water

1.Preheat oven to 450F. Butter and flour the sides of an 11-by-17 inch jelly roll pan(rimmed baking sheet). Line bottom of pan with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit bottom pan exactly.
2.Beat eggs, egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar together in a medium bowl until thick and light. Beat in the vanilla.
3.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, ad cream of tartar and beat until whites begin to form peaks. Add the 2 TBSP sugar and beat until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks(do not over beat).
4.Sift flour over the egg yolk mixture and fold in . Stir in one fourth of the whites. Then carefully fold in the remaining whites.
5.Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until light brown and springy to touch(7 to 10 minutes). Cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife along edge to loosen. Invert cake tin to cut out 8 ¼ inch circles of cake. Wrap the cake layers, separated with waxed paper, and set aside. Cake may be frozen at this point.
6.To make soaking syrup: Combine water and the 1/3 cup sugar in saucepan; bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Cool to room temperature; flavor with liqueur. Set aside or refrigerate in glass jar until ready to use.
7.To assemble cake: Brush sides of 10-inch springform pan lightly with flavorless salad oil or almond oil. Cut out a cardboard circle that is exactly the same size as the bottom inside of the pan; cover cardboard with aluminum foil and fit into bottom of pan. Center one layer of the cake bottom of pan. Brush the cake with some of the soaking syrup to just moisten(not drench) the cake; set aside.
8.Prepare Strawberry Bavarian Cream. Immediately pour about half of the Bavarian Cream over the first layer of cake in the pan. Set the next layer of cake on top of the cream. Pour remaining Bavarian Cream over cake and smooth top of the cream with spatula. Refrigerate until the cream sets(1 to 2 hours).
9.Prepare the Strawberry Mirror.
10.To serve: Wrap a hot towel around the outside of springform pan for a few minutes. Run a small sharp knife tip around the edge of the Strawberry Mirror to separate it form the sides of pan. Mirror will tear when sides are unlatched if it is stuck at ANY point. Slowly unlatch the pan and slide it off the cake. Slice cake in wedges and serve in upright slices.
Prep Work

Strawberry Bavarian Cream
1.Sprinkle the gelatin over the strawberry puree in a small bowl and set aside until spongy.
2.Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl’ beat until light. Bring milk to a boil in sauce pan. Pour hot milk into yolk mixture ans stir with a wooden spoon(it doesn’t say so but I would temper the egg mixture first to be safe). Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your finger leaves a clear trail in sauce when drawn across the back of the spoon.(Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Immediately remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin mixture. Pour into a stainless steel bowl places over a bowl of ice water. Stir in lemon juice and a few drops of red food coloring. Cool over ice water, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to the consistency of softly whipped cream.
3.While gelatin mixture is cooling, whip the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks. When the gelatin mixture resembles softly whipped cream, fold the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture.

Strawberry Mirror
1.Prepare strawberry juice.
2.Place lemon juice, kirsch, and water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over this mixture; set aside until spongy and soft.
3.Measure 1 ½ cups Strawberry juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer; pour over gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve gelatin. Tint to desired color with red food coloring. Place bowl over bowl of ice water and stir occasionally until the mixture is syrupy and just beings to thicken(do not let jell); remove from ice water.
4.When mixture is syrupy, pour a 1/16-inch layer over the top of cake. Refrigerate until set.

Strawberry Juice

Wash and hull strawberries; coarsely chop. Place strawberries in saucepan; crush to start juices flowing. Place over low heat; add sugar and water; simmer slowly 10 minutes. Pour juice and pulp through damp jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander and drain into a bowl for 15 minutes(Do not press down on fruit).
Adapted from Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993



The recipe calls for ground hazelnuts which I have never seen in those handy packs in the supermarket so I buy mine whole, then grind them in the food processor at home. I always try to buy nuts here as they have very high quality stock and a good turnover. Rancid nuts will not make a beautiful cake. Aside from this the recipe contains nothing difficult to source, is deeply chocolaty and can be put together really quickly. So grab your 20cm (8inch) round baking tin (a deep one please.) Don't have one? You know where to go. Ready? Then get baking.


  • 150g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 150g soft brown sugar (light muscavado though demerera would do)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 100g ground hazelnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Butter your 20cm (8 inch) round loose-bottomed or spring-form cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter very slowly over a low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring it to melt in the hot butter. Cool.
  3. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Be patient whisking the eggs, there are no raising agents in this cake so this is how the air will be incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Sprinkle in the flour and ground hazelnuts, and mix together carefully. Add the egg whites and fold together carefully to retain as much air as possible.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes or until the cake is set, but slightly wobbly in the centre. Cool in the tin. If it's not a spring-form tin stand the cake on a tin of tomatoes, or similar, and gently push down the side to unmould the cake.
  5. Serve with softly whipped fresh cream or maybe ice-cream.

Serves 8-10

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Shrove Tuesday


Chocolate Filled Crepes with Cinnamon Crust
(adapted from
Donna Hay Magazine, issue 34, page 138)
  • 85 grams caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar, extra
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup (3 oz) single/pouring cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 65 grams grated dark chocolate
  • 25 grams unsalted butter, melted

- Place the sugar and cinnamon on a plate and mix.
- Place the flour and the extra sugar in a bowl and mix to combine.
- Place the eggs, cream, and milk in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
- Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
- Heat a lightly greased non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup of the batter and swirl to cover the base of the pan.
- Cook crepes for 1-2 minutes in each side until golden. Place on non-stick baking paper and repeat with the rest of the batter (or just make the amount you need and place the rest of the batter in the fridge like I did).
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of chocolate over each crepe, fold in half, and then fold in half again. Brush both sides with melted butter and press into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Cooked the sugared crepes in a lightly greased non-stick pan (high heat) for about a minute on each side, or until the sugar is caramelized.
-Vanilla ice-cream anyone?

The recipe I have posted here is my halved version.

Apple Crumble

*Apple Crumble

-Peel, core and slice 3 apples. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
-Prepare the crumble topping. ( 5 T cold butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, 3T sugar, 2 T brown sugar, pinch of salt, 3T flour ) Crumble it between your fingers.
-Butter 4 ramekins. Divide the apple mixture and place on the bottom. Top with the crumble.
-Bake at 350 for approx 40 minutes.

Serve warm with custard.

Lemon Mousse Brownies

Need I say more?
Lemon Mousse Brownies

Lemon Mousse Brownies

These brownies were fab. To say the very least. So chocolatey, so rich, so chewy and ooey and gooey. They had a great tang from the lemon "mousse" on top and even more rich chocolately goodness came with a third layer of swirly-swizzed chocolate ganache. The Chocolate Gods were smiling upon my kitchen that day.

Lemon Mousse Brownies

the lemon layer is described as a mousse. It wasn't a mousse, more of a custard. Which is just as good in my opinion. But if you're lookin for mousse, keep lookin'.

Lemon Mousse Brownies
Lemon Mousse Brownies
Courtesy of & "Just Call Me Martha"

13 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 c. Unsalted butter
8 oz. Cream cheese
1 3/4 c. Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. Lemon juice
1/4 c. Sugar
3 Eggs
6 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 c. Whipping cream

Melt 13 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and butter together in double boiler. Remove from heat.

In mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
Add in vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into greased 9" x 12" x 2" pan.

Beat 3 oz cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar until creamy and smooth. Continue beating while adding eggs one at a time. When well blended, pour over first layer. (will be thin, more like a custard base than a thicker mousse)

Place 6 oz chocolate and cream together and melt in double boiler. Stir until chocolate melts. Drizzle over lemon layer.

Bake at 350º F for about 45-55 minutes.


Lemon Mousse Brownies