First of all, sorry for the long absence but I was very busy with relocating, decorating and so on. And now it looks fabulous:)
So and then, it’s Christmas, time for sweet sins, christmas markets, baking and for our (Carole – sister, Anne – cousin and my) annual biscuit and cookie XXL baking action. We started this many years ago and it got a nice tradition to meet one or two days before Christmas’ Eve for a couple of hours (this year we were making a baking marathon of 6 hours!!) and make a tonne of Christmas’ pastry and give them to our family, and here is the result:
At the moment, I have a crush on wild-growing berries and I love to hunt for berries. If one combines these seasonal (and free) delicacies with my chocolate addiction, the result is a delicious blackberry chocolate cupcake with chocolate and blackberry juice ganache frosting…
… and I think they look absolutely amazing too! Oh and it could be vegan as well, only a couple of little changes are necessary to do. Just simply follow the required replacements written under ‘Notes’.
- 200-250 g fresh blackberries
- 200 g plain flour
- 200 g granulated sugar, divided into 50g/150g
- 70g cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 70 g butter, soft/room temperature
- 1 egg
- 200 ml milk
- 150 g chocolate, dark
- (juice that you get from the blackberries, see below)
- Fresh blackberries, for garnish
- In a large saucepan, combine the blackberries with 50 g of the sugar. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the berries are swimming in their juices. Remove from heat. Strain, save the liquid for later use of the Ganache frosting and set the solid fruit aside.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a cupcake pan with baking cups or use silicone cupcake molds.
- In a large bowl mix butter (or oil - vegan version) sugar and vanilla extract, beat together until they take on a light, airy texture.
- In a second bowl stir together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add gradually and alternately the flour mixture and the milk into the large bowl. Always beat between these steps until it is smooth. Gently fold in the blackberry solids with a spatula.
- Divide batter evenly between 15 baking cups, so that they are about 3/4 full and bake for around 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from baking pan and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In the meantime start to prepare the chocolate ganache frosting by melting the chocolate in a bain-marie. When melted, pour over the blackberry juice and stir until smooth. Allow the frosting to rest on the counter until it thickens (around 1/2 hour). Stir occasionally and check that it doesn't thicken too much.
- When the cupcakes have cooled down completely and the chocolate ganache is ready, whip the latter again until it feels lighter. Place frosting in a pastry bag and pipe frosting onto the cupcakes. Garnish with fresh blackberries, chopped chocolate or icing sugar.
- For the vegan version: Replace the cow milk by soy or almond milk, replace butter by 80 ml of oil and leave out the egg.
- If you don't have a pastry bag use a plastic bag with the corner cut out.
I cannot resist to show you another one of my most favourite sweet sins: The Red Velvet Cake. Like the Chocolate Guinness Cake I came across this delicious cake in Cambridge. I just simply had to find out the recipe and do it myself!! A feast for the eyes and a texture so perfect and super moist. You can definitely taste the cocoa, even though it doesn’t really scream chocolate. Impossible to resist!
I did it two days ago for a family celebration and my family loved it! This cake is a guarantee for success, promised!
I went for a lighter version with less cream cheese frosting, so that’s why the 3 layers still shine through the frosting. Maybe you might opt for more frosting, which would probably look even better.
- 600 g plain flour, whisked
- 50g unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 600 g sugar
- 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g canola/vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 30 ml liquid red food colouring or 2-3 heaped knife tips of powdered red food colouring dissolved in water, use more for a brighter red colour
- 500 ml buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise and scraped out the pulp
- 2 teaspoons honey balsamic vinegar
- Plus: butter and plain flour for preparation of the baking tins
- 225 g cream cheese such as Philadelphia (light), softened
- 75 g unsalted butter, softened
- 75 g salted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise and scraped out the pulp
- minimum 280 g icing sugar
- Optional: grated chocolate
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 3 regular spring form tins, sprinkle them with some flour and set aside. If you don't have 3 same-sized baking tins, use the same tin three times in a row and repeat the above-mentioned procedure inbetween.
- Add flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Sift in cocoa powder then stir the mixture briefly and set aside.
- In another large bowl cream together sugar and butter until the mixture takes on a light, airy texture. Mix in oil, beat again. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks one by one and mix thoroughly after each addition. Blend in the red food colouring.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, measure out buttermilk then stir in vanilla extract and vinegar. Work in 5 different steps, starting with 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture, 1/3 flour mixture and so on. Blend after each addition. Also scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Spread mixture evenly among the three prepared baking tins. Bake in the preheated oven for about half an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes before placing it on wire racks to cool completely.
- In a bowl whip together cream cheese, salted and unsalted butter until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and little by little the icing sugar, whip again until light and airy. You may opt to chill or freeze the frosting for a bit before whipping again to get a more stable consistency.
- Put the frosting between the different layers, on top and the sides of the cake. Optionally, you may sprinkle grated chocolate on top of your Red Velvet Cake.
- Store cake in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If possible prepare the cake the evening before, as it will taste even better the next day.
Best cake ever! The first time that I tried this deeply pleasurable cake was during my studies in Cambridge. Unfortunately (well or fortunately) it was quite expensive so I wanted to give it a try myself. It took me some time to find to recipe but I’m glad I did!
I can’t say that you can taste the Guinness in this deeply but the stout gives it its beautiful dark colour and that certain rich peatiness. The cream cheese frosting also remembers the frothy head of the most famous pint.
To say that this out-of-the-world cake has a lot of sugar and calories would still be an understatement but -promised- it is worth to try. And after all, no endurance athletes or runner has a reason to feel guilty to cave in to this sweet temptation, all the calories are burned anyway during the next training session and don’t forget that most athletes anyway don’t eat enough carbs.
The recipe is very easy to follow and the taste is heaven. Even without the topping it tastes delicious…
Doesn’t it remember the foamy head that sits on top of a pint of Guinness?
- 250 ml / 240 g Guinness
- 250 g unsalted butter (cut in small slices)
- 75 g unsweeted cocoa
- 400 g superfine sugar
- 160 g Crème fraiche
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 280 g plain flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 150 g light cream cheese such as 'Philadelphia light'
- 70 g icing sugar
- 60 g (single) cream
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter and flour a regular 23 cm springform tin.
- Pour the Guinness and the butter into a saucepan and heat it in a bain-marie until the butter has melted. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, where you should already have mixed the cocoa with the sugar. In a separate bowl whisk the Crème fraiche with the eggs and vanilla extract, then pour into the stout-cacao-sugar mixture before whisking in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for an hour. If the cake gets to dark, cover it up at the end with kitchen foil. Check with a tooth pick if it is in the inside not still slightly molten as it is quite a damp cake. Let it cool down completely on a cooling rack.
- In the mean time, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Whip delicately the cream cheese until it is smooth, add the cream and whisk again. Sieve over the icing sugar, beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. You can also put it in the fridge in order to stiffen the frosting so that you can reduce the amount of sugar.
- When the cake is cold, place it on a cake stand and start with the icing. Ice the top of the black cake so that it looks like the foamy top of a Guinness.
- Prepare the cake 1-2 days in advance as it gets then very smooth, more dense and deliciously moist.