Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day tastes like chocolate

Today's Valentine's Day. And I think there is nothing which best deines Valentine's than hearts and chocolate. So, for a chocoholic me, there's no better excuse ...

So, here is... The Total Chocolate Cake: Chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache, covered with chocolate fondant.

I wanted the decoration very simple, so I made little royal icing dots forming a heart.

If you don't have chocolate rolled fondant, you can cover the cake just with the ganache, it will just as good.


Ingredients (for the cake using a 6/7 inch round pan)
  • 150 gr bitter chocolate, chopped
  • 115 gr  butter, room temperature
  • 230 gr light soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 250 gr flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 335 ml semi-skimmed milk, room temperature
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache:
  • 200 gr bitter chocolate
  • 200 gr whipping cream/double cream
We'll also need chocolate rolled fondant (I used Satin Ice)

We started making the ganache (it's better to prepared the night before)
Heat the whipping cream in the microwave for two minutes. Add the chocolate chopped and mix with a whisk until it's completely melted. Let cold completely and put it on the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the ganache. You'll nedd to take off the fridge the ganache two hours (more or less depending on the temperature of your house) before assembling the cake.

Now, let's make the cake.

Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF)

In the microwave, melt chocolate (previously chopped) heating in 30 seconds burst until it's completely melted. Let it cool.

In a mixer, cream the butter, add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is creamy. Beat the egg yolks in a clean bowl. Add them to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until it's completely integrated. Then add the chocolate and beat again until all ingredients are perfectly mixed.

In a jar, mix well milk and vanilla extract. Sift flour with baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add 1/3 of the mixture of flour and 1/3 of milk and vanilla and beat until completely mixed. Repeat this process two more times.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add them to the mixture and stir with a spatula making soft enveloping movements until fully incorporated.

Put the mixture in the pan and bake about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes. Unmold and let cool on a rack.

For assembling, first level the cake, then cut into four layers.Fill it and cover it with the ganache, as smooth as possible, and then, cover it with the fondant. Decorate as you want and that's it! Enjoy it with that special person.

¡Happy Valentine's day!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Valentine Cookies

It's just one week until Valentine's day, so, it's time for hearts, pink and red, although we don't celebrate Valentine's day. Here in Catalonia, where I live, couples usually celebrate Saint George's day, on April 23th, and typical gifts are roses for her and books for him.

But as a pink lover as me, I don't waste the opportunity of making sweets based on hearts and love.

This cookies are simple but effective, and the best, there's no royal icing or fondant to decorate, just the dough, so they are really easy to make.

You only need your favourite cookie recipe (any other recipe that you use for decorated cookies will work), and just follow this easy steps (I'll do my best trying to explain it to you, but believe, is easier to do it than to write it)

  1. Prepare the dough as usual. 
  2. Divide it in two, one part with 3/4 of the dough and the other, the 1/4 remaining dough.
  3. Colour the smallest part with colour of your choose (in this case, pink, although red will look great also). 
  4. Roll the dough (both, white & pink) and let them cold in the fridge at least half an hour. 
  5. Take off the white dough of the fridge, and cut it with a round cutter (although you can use any shape you want). Place the cookie in a tray and put it back to the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes, take off the cookies and the pink dough. With a heart cutter, cut a heart from the  inside of the round cookies. The heart has to stand inside the cutter (if not, the dough isn't cold enough). Remove it and then cut a heart from the pink dough. Carefully, place the cutter above the hole of the cutter and carefully push the dough until it fits the hole. Repeat for every cookie.
  7. Let the cookies rest in the fridge at least 15 minutes before baking, so the cookies won't loose the shape.
If you want the cookies to stay white, you can use the double baking tip. It consist on remove the cookies from the oven just before the edges start to become brown. Then, turn off the oven, wait few minutes (5-10 minutes more or less) and then put the cookies into the oven again for 20 minutes. 
You can check for more detailed instructions in this post from the girls of "Mensaje en una galleta"