Chocolate and Raspberry Sponge

Sweet Things

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The very first cake we made at Patisserie School was a Genoise Sponge; easy right? Technically yes, but at the beginning of the course we had to mix everything by hand. I’m not ashamed to admit that I just didn’t have the arm strength to whisk the eggs enough, so I was left with a very sad, flat sponge cake. Now, however, I mix my sponge with an electric mixer, and the results are much improved. I use this sponge recipe as a base for a lot of the cakes I make – it is a very versatile cake and I can easily substitute ingredients to create different flavours.

For the chocolate and raspberry sponge I made a plain vanilla sponge and filled it with raspberry jam and a Chocolate Italian Buttercream. For the decoration I made some pink meringues (check out my tutorial for rainbow, glitter meringues and just use pink food colouring =) ) and some white chocolate roses (tutorial coming). You will need a thermometer for the Italian Buttercream, I have a post about sugar thermometers here.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

For the Sponge:

220g Eggs (approx 4)

145g Caster Sugar

3 drops Vanilla

145g Sifted, Strong Flour (High Grade)

30g Melted Butter

For the Chocolate Italian Buttercream:

165g Caster Sugar

45ml Water

100g Egg Whites

200g Soft, Unsalted Butter

250g Melted Dark Chocolate

Method

For the Sponge:

  •  Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees and grease a 20 cm cake tin.
  • Whisk your eggs, vanilla and sugar over a bain marie until they reach approx 45 degrees ( if you don’t have a thermometer; until it feels warm to the touch).
  • Take mix off the heat and mix with an electric mixer for approx 5 mins (until the mix cools down and increases in volume).
  • Alternately fold in flour and melted butter bit by bit.
  • Pour the mix into your cake tin and bake for approx 20 mins (until the sides come away from the tin).
  • Leave to cool.

    For the Italian Buttercream:                                                           

  • Have your egg whites ready in a mixer.
  • Put your sugar and water in a pot on the stove and heat on low.
  • When your sugar syrup reaches 114 degrees, start whisking your egg whites on a high speed- ensuring you don’t over beat them.
  • When your sugar syrup reaches 121 degrees pour it slowly into beating egg whites.
  • Continue beating until mix it cools to room temperature.
  • Gradually add butter, mixing well in between each addition.
  • Once butter is well mixed, gradually pour in melted chocolate and mix well.              

Assembly:

  • Cut the sponge in half.
  • Place icing into piping bag.
  • Spread the first layer with raspberry jam.
  • Pipe rosettes with your icing on top.
  • Place second layer on top ensuring that it’s even.
  • Spread the icing over the top.
  • Pipe rosettes around the cake and a larger one in the middle.
  • Place meringues on top.
  • Place white chocolate roses in the middle.         

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know in the comments what variations you try.

See ya later,

Rebekah =)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Chocolate Tempering

Patisserie

 

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Hello there!

So tempering chocolate is one of the things that I always thought was way too tricky to try at home. Fortunately, (or unfortunately for my uniform and thus my laundry powder bill), 90% of my time at Le Cordon Bleu was spent tempering chocolate (the other 10% was spent cleaning chocolate…just kidding…not really).

So why temper chocolate? Basic answer? It makes chocolate set better. Tempering is essentially bringing all zee chocolate crystals together in perfect harmony 🙂 (well… you get the picture). In doing this the chocolate has a higher melting temperature. This means that doesn’t melt as quickly making it perfect for decorations.It also takes on a nice shine and has a nice ‘snap’ when it breaks. I have to be honest, this tutorial is going to be very simple. I will go into more detail and explore other methods of tempering in another post in the future. Also this tutorial is for dark chocolate, again, I will explore tempering milk and white chocolate in another tutorial =) This is a quick and easy (unfortunately not overly clean) method to do at home called the Tabling Method.

First things first here is the equipment you will need:

Thermometer (VERY IMPORTANT)

Stainless steel or glass bowl

Spatula

Palette Knife

Pot of water

IMPORTANT: Make sure all your equipment and work space is clean and DRY! (Water is like Kryponite to chocolate).

 

CHOCOLATE:

It’s important that you get chocolate that has at least 10% cocoa butter otherwise you can’t temper it. I have found that, here in NZ, Whittakers chocolate seems to work well for tempering. Otherwise there are the more expensive brands like Callebaut and Vahlrona.

How To:

  1. Gently melt the chocolate over a bain marie to 50-55 degrees.
  2. Take the chocolate off the heat and bring to a clean and dry work surface. Make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to get rid of any condensation from the bain marie.
  3. Pour about 2/3 of the chocolate onto your work surface.
  4. Use your palette knife to spread the chocolate out over the work surface and then to bring it back into one area. IMPORTANT: Once the chocolate is spread out it will cool faster, which is handy but you don’t want to cool it down too much. By bringing it back together it will slow the cooling process.
  5. Once you have done this 2-3 times (working fairly quickly) scoop (as best you can – this is where it gets messy lol) the chocolate back into the bowl and mix with the remaining chocolate.
  6. Check the temperature – you are wanting to cool the chocolate to 28-29 degrees. If it is still too warm pour about 1/3 of chocolate on the work surface and repeat the tabling process.
  7. Once your chocolate is at 28-29 degrees put it back on the bain maire in short intervals and heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. This is your working temperature so you’re ready to start making your chocolate decorations.

When making decorations:

  • You need to work quickly as the chocolate will set quickly.
  • Have everything you need ready before you temper your chocolate.
  • Keep an eye on your bowl of chocolate – you will need to periodically heat the chocolate back up to 32 degrees. If it gets too cool it will start to set and will be harder to reheat and you will need to potentially start the tempering process again. I can tell you now – this is not fun!!!!
  • An easy way to slow the cooling process is to have the bowl of chocolate sitting on a tea-towel which will be a little bit warmer than your work surface =)
  • Make sure to keep everything clean and dry!!!! Seriously I cannot stress this enough!!!! EVER!!!!

I hope you find this tutorial helpful. Just pay attention to your chocolate temperature and you should be fine =)

 

Catch ya later,

Rebekah =)

Espresso Martini Chocolate Mousse

Patisserie, Uncategorized

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Hellooooo!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOOOOOOVE experimenting in the kitchen. I have been having my family over for dinner every week and it has become the perfect excuse to get creative. This week I had my coffee loving friend joining us and thus inspiration was struck! Having recently seen ads for the new Cocktail Inspired Tim Tams I knew how it was gonna go down. These chocolate mousse cups look super impressive, are fairly easy to make and taste freaking amazing! There’s the intense dark chocolate mousse, with crunchy espresso Tim Tam crumbs, all wrapped up in a gold dusted chocolate shell. The great thing about theses desserts as you can use any flavoured biscuit crumb and change the game. I personally think that chocolate mint biscuits would be divine!

 

Helpful Tips

  • Organisation is key. Most of the elements in this recipe need to be made quickly. For instance the chocolate mousse sets very quickly once you add the cream. Make sure all your equipment is out, ingredients weighed up and you’re all ready to go.
  • Tempering chocolate can be tricky. I have briefly covered what to do in this recipe but check here for a full tutorial.

 

 

Ingredients:

Chocolate Shell

300g Dark Chocolate (53%)

Chocolate Mousse

250g Dark Chocolate (at least 60%)

10g Cocoa

165g Unsalted Butter

135g Egg Whites

55g Sugar

165ml Cream (whipped to soft peaks)

1 pack of Espresso Martini Tim Tams

Gold Dust for Decoration

 

How To:

  1. Start by putting your chocolate to melt over a bain marie.
  2.  Once melted, set aside to cool to 28 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, brush the gold dust on to strips of 15cm acetate.image3
  4. Crush up your Tim Tams. I used a Tupperware chopper but you can just as easily use a blender or a rolling pin =)image4
  5. Once the chocolate has cooled to 28-29 degrees, heat it up on the bain marie to 32 degrees.
  6. Here’s where you have to work quickly. Spread the chocolate onto the strips of acetate. Let it set enough so that the chocolate looks semi matte and you can pick the strips up and bring them together into a ring. Secure with tape and leave to set. image5
  7. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and cocoa over a bain marie. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in butter. Leave to cool to 39-40 degrees.
  8. Whilst chocolate is cooling, whip egg whites and gradually add sugar and mix to soft peaks.
  9. Fold egg whites into chocolate. Then softly fold in whipped cream, making sure to not over mix.
  10. Place mousse into a piping bag with a 10cm nozzle.

Assembly

  1. Place crushed Tim Tams in base of chocolate shells. Press down firmly.
  2. Pipe chocolate mousse up to the half way point.
  3. Spoon some more crushed Tim Tams on top.
  4. Fill the rest of the shells with chocolate mousse and place in fridge to set.
  5. Once ready to serve, carefully peel off acetate. Sprinkle some more Tim Tam crumbs on top and dust with a little gold dust.

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Hope you enjoy making these amazing and delicious desserts. Let me know in the comments what flavours you try.

Catch ya later,

Rebekah =)

 

 

Bounty Bar Cupcakes

Cupcakes

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I love experimenting with cupcake flavours and not to toot my own horn but these ‘Bounty Bar Cupcakes’ are pretty dang delicious! (and I didn’t hear my family complaining about them either 😉 )

This is a super easy recipe. For the cupcake I used the Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.’


Ingredients:

For the chocolate cupcake:

100g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

140g caster sugar

11/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter at room temperature

120ml whole milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Icing:

      150g unsalted butter, softened
      2 cups Icing Sugar
      2-3 Tbsp milk
      1 tsp of coconut essence
      1/4 cup of dessicated coconut
      12 mini bounty bars – chopped for decoration

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line a 12 hole cupcake tray.

Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Beat the butter until smooth and pale. Gradually add the icing sugar, half a cup at a time, with enough of the milk to make a creamy mixture, beating between each addition until fluffy. Add the coconut essence and dessicated coconut and mix until combined. Pipe onto the cupcakes. Place the chopped bounty bars on top as desired.


Let me know in the comments what you think if you try them =)