Cake

Chocolate Orange Charlotte

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This is a special farewell and birthday cake all rolled into one.  The post-doc in our lab is leaving after 6 years and another labmate was celebrating the big 3-0 birthday, so the cake had to be special.  Chocolate and Orange pair wonderfully; infact, it is my mother’s favorite and incorporated it into her birthday cake last year.  The recipe requires several ingredients,  but I used store-bought short-cuts to help me.   I hope this cake stuns your table as much it did mine !

Ingredients:

Store chocolate cake mix (and eggs and oil, all the things that you will need to make the batter)

Orange marmalade

Chocolate mousse mix and milk to make the mousse

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2 dozen soft lady fingers ( you will not need all of them, but having extras is good)

Cannoli Filling (refer to either Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes or Cannoli Cup recipes I have)

Method:

Bake the cake according to the package directions.  I used some of the batter to make 6 cupcakes  and saved the rest of the batter to make 2, 9″ rounds.  Allow to cool completely.  The cake layers can be made upto three days in advance.  Make sure to wrap and store the layers in a cool dry and dark place.

Heat an entire jar of orange marmalade in a saucepan.  Once the jam thins, strain through a sieve to separate the rinds from the jelly.  Save the jelly.  I put the rinds in my morning oatmeal.

Make the chocolate mouse according to package directions.

Level off both cake layers and place one layer of the cake on the bottom of a springform pan.

Line the edges of the pan with lady fingers

Brush the surface of the cake with the orange jelly and also the surface of the lady fingers which are exposed (i.e facing the inside of the cake)

Fill with mousse and top with the second cake layer.

Pour the remaining orange jelly on the top layer and let it seep into the cake.

Add the cannoli filling on the top.

Decorate the top with mini chocolate chips and pistachios.

Chill the cake for 30 mins and then remove the springform ring.

Wrap the cake with a piece of ribbon and secure with a toothpick.

Serve chilled !

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Classics · Cupcakes · Italian

Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes

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This summer, I have been on a Cannoli kick.  I guess it started with the Cannolis we had for our rehearsal dinner.

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Then we were out in Boston getting some more at Cafe Vitorria.  As a result, whenever I wanted make something, the “Cannoli” flavor kept coming up.  So here is a super easy recipe for Cannoli cupcakes.  I also used the ingredients to build a my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Ingredients:

Store bought chocolate cake mix

1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese ( I used part-skim, feel free to use full fat)

4 tbsp of vanilla frosting (I used this, because it was lying around in the pantry)  OR 4tbsp  powdered sugar.  Sweeten to your liking.

1 tsp of almond extract

2tsps of ground cinnamon

mini chocolate chips and pistachios (unsalted-shelled) for garnish

Method:

Make batter and bake cupcakes as per package directions.  I baked 6 cupcakes and used the rest of the batter to make 2 9″ round cakes for my Chocolate Orange Charlotte.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely

In the meantime, mix the entire container of ricotta cheese with 4tbsp of frosting (or 4tbsp of powdered sugar) with almond extract and cinnamon

Fill into a piping bag attached to a star-tip (this is what I did; frost as you like) and pipe onto your cupcakes. You will not use the entire frosting for 6 cupcakes, I saved it for my cake recipe.  You will probably use the whole thing if you are making 12 cupcakes.  This frosting will make a great Cannoli Dip with graham crackers or you could use it for my other favorite recipe “Cannoli Cups

Sprinkle with mini-chocolate chips and pistachios (other toppings could be orange peels, almonds or nothing at all)

Serve and watch your friends devour !

 

Cake

Smore’s Ice Cream Cake:

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April marks the start of “lab” birthdays.  here is the first birthday cake of the year !

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Graham Cracker Cake:

Filling:

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Graham Cracker Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 6″ cake rounds, line with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugars and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (2-3mins).
  5. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Do not overmix.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the top with a spatula and whack the pans against the counter to evenly distribute.
  8. Bake for approx. 40mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  9. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins. Whack the pans on the counter to loosen the cakes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Filling:

  1. Whip the cream till it reaches soft peaks and fold in the mini chocolate chips
  2. Bring the ice cream to room temperature so that it can be spread.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the cake into two layers and place one layer on the bottom of the springform pan.
  2. Spread ice cream, as much as you like. Sprinkle some chocolate chips and marshmallows, if you want.
  3. Add the other cake layer on top and press down
  4. Add the chocolate chip whipped cream on top
  5. Decorate with more marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers crumbs.
  6. Store in freezer.
  7. Thaw in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before cutting into this messy delight !
Cake

Chocolate chip cookie cake

cake

As the unofficial “birthday-cake-baker” in lab (a job that makes science failures bearable)– I present the first cake of the year.  My labmate is a big fan of cookies and so I made him a cake that paid homage to the all time classic, the chocolate chip cookie.  This cake may look “over-the-top” (not my words), but it is two layers of chocolate cake with a cookie dough filling in the middle.  It a mascarpone cream frosting, a chocolate ganache drizzle and crushed cookies on top.  I had fun making it, and my labmates enjoyed it.  I hope this inspires your next baking adventure !

Classics · Dessert · Italian · Pastry · Treats

Cannoli Cups

A shortcut to a classic italian treat !  Super simple and oh so delicious, you will need to make a double batch !

Ingredients:

For Cups

Flour for dusting surface

4 refrigerated pie crusts

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For Filling

1 (32oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (well I used a little more, its chocolate, satisfy your cravings)

Method:

Strain the ricotta cheese overnight or long enough to remove all the water.

To the strained cheese add all the flavourings and sugar and mix to combine.

At the end, add the chocolate chips and fold it in gently. Chill in the fridge while you make the cups

Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll the piecrusts onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of each crust with the natural sugar and the cinnamon. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and cinnamon are pressed into the dough.

With a 2 1/2-3 inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles and lightly press them inside an ungreased mini muffin or mini cupcake pan to create a pastry cup.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until cups are golden. Remove from oven and allow cups to cool. Once cups are cool they can be removed from tin and filled.

Fill the cooled cups, right before serving (or they will get soggy) and top with more chocolate chips.

Enjoy !