2014 Chocolate Kings Cake With Crumble

A very traditional cake we usually do every Christmas in Greece & Cyprus with a chocolate twist! The King Cake (Vasilopita in Greek or galette des rois in French),  is a New Year’s Day cake which contains a hidden coin or trinket which gives good luck to the receiver. It is associated with Saint Basil’s day, January 1, in most of Greece, but in some regions, the traditions surrounding a cake with a hidden coin are attached to Epiphany or to Christmas.

On New Year’s Day families cut the vasilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. This is usually done at the midnight of New Year’s Eve. A coin is hidden in the cake by slipping it into the dough before baking. At midnight the sign of the cross is etched with a knife across the cake. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time, by order of age from eldest to youngest. Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups, depending on local and family tradition.  In older times, the coin often was a valuable one, such as a gold sovereign. Nowadays there is often a prearranged gift, money, or otherwise, to be given to the coin recipient.

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INGREDIENTS:

VASILOPITA:

  • 250 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
  • 400 g. butter
  • 300 g. brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bulb fresh ground nutmeg
  • 400 g. almond powder
  • 10 eggs
  • 175 g. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Decorative nuts and bonbons

ALMOND CRUMBLE:

  • 125 g. butter
  • 150 g. brown sugar
  • 30 g. dark chocolate 72% cocoa
  • 125 g. flour
  • 50 g. almond powder

METHOD:

  1. Melt the chopped chocolate with the butter in the microwave.
  2. In a bowl add the eggs and beat with a hand blender or whisk.
  3. In another pan , place the melted chocolate with the butter , add the brown sugar , cinnamon, cloves , nutmeg , the almond powder , beaten eggs , flour and lastly the baking powder.
  4. Mix well and pour the mixture into a 28cm diameter tin, with a built bottom foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes and at 160 degrees C for another 30 minutes.

FOR THE ALMOND CRUMBLE :

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave.
  2. In a bowl add the butter, brown sugar, almond powder and stir briefly with an electric mixer.
  3. Add the melted chocolate and flour, continuing to stir.
  4. Take it out of the bowl and roll it out into a thin sheet of thickness 3 mm with a roller pin and place it in the fridge.
  5. When frozen cut a disc diameter smaller than the hoop of the Kings Cake.
  6. Cover the surface of the almost cooked cake with the crumble and continue baking for 15 minutes until the crumble is cooked.
  7. Garnish with decorations of your choice .

Orange-Olive Oil & Chocolate Cake

 
 
 INGREDIENTS:
makes one 8 x 3-inch round cake

for cake:

  • 2 medium-sized oranges
  • 2 1/3 cups (467 gr) sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (350 gr) flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 tspn orange blossom water
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbspn extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbspn fresh orange juice

for frosting:

  • 5 oz (142 gr) unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 Tbspn butter
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbspn (215 gr) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • flaked finishing salt

METHOD:

  1. Make the cake. In a pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Trim 1/2-inch from the tops and bottoms of each orange. Once the water is at a boil, submerge the oranges and cook briefly, about 1 minute. Drain the oranges, discard the water, and repeat the boiling, cooking, and draining two more times.
  3. Combine the blanched oranges, 1 cup (200 gr) sugar, and 4 cups water over medium heat. Cook for about 30 minutes while stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves and the orange rinds are fork-tender. Let cool until room temperature.
  4. Drain the oranges and remove the seeds. Reserving the cooking liquid for glaze.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 8 x 3-inch cake pan and set aside.
  6. In a bowl, mix to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. In a food processor, blend the cooked oranges (including rind) until a chunky puree.
  8. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, 1 tspn orange blossom water, and flour mixture. Process for 2 minutes until well-incorporated.
  9. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil and process until incorporated.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  11. Meanwhile, mix to combine 2 Tbspn of cooking liquid, 1 tspn orange blossom water, and orange juice.  Remove the cake from the pan. Poke the top of the cake all over with a skewer or fork and brush the liquid on the cake.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Make the frosting. Chop the chocolate and butter and set aside.
  13. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes. Do not let the saucepan overflow.
  14. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and butter until melted.
  15. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let the frosting cool completely, whisking occasionally during cooling. Once completely cool at room temperature, the frosting will be spreadable.
  16. Sprinkle the frosted cake with finishing salt.

Mango Mousse Espresso Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes six 3 x 2″ round cakesfor cake:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tspn instant espresso powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
  • 3/4 cup sifted cake flour (75g)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper and then grease and flour the paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate and boiling water. Stirring constantly, cook for five minutes until chocolate thickens into a pudding-like consistency.
  3. In a mixer bowl using the whisk beater, whisk together the eggs and sugar on high for five minutes until triple in volume.
  4. Fold in the flour to the egg mixture in two parts. Then, fold in the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the batter immediately into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  7. Line six 3″ cake molds with parchment paper or plastic. Cut out six 3″ rounds of chocolate cake and place at the bottom of each mold.

for syrup:

  • 1 oz. sugar
  • 2 oz. water
  • 1 oz. Kahlua or Godiva liquor
  • 1 tspn instant espresso powder

METHOD:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, cover tightly and let cool completely.
  2. Once cooled, stir in the liquor and espresso powder.
  3. Brush the syrup liberally onto cake rounds.

for mango mousse/Bavarian cream:

  • 2 1/2 tspn gelatin powder
  • 2 Tbspn water
  • 8 3/4 oz. fresh mango puree (250 grams) (about 1 1/2 fresh mango, pureed in the food processor)
  • 3 1/2 oz. sugar (100 grams, or 70 grams sugar + 30 grams vanilla sugar)
  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream

METHOD:

  1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat half of the mango puree with the sugar just until the sugar dissolves. Do not let the mixture boil. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove the puree from heat and stir in the gelatin until the gelatin completely dissolves. Finally, add the remainder of the mango puree. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the cooled mango puree.
  4. Immediately pour the mango cream into the prepared cake molds on top of the cakes, smoothing the tops. Refrigerate until set, about an hour or two.

for espresso jelly:

  • 2 tspn gelatin powder
  • 2 Tbspn water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tspn instant espresso powder
  • 3 Tbspn sugar (45 grams)

METHOD:

  1. Combine the gelatin and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, espresso powder, and sugar just until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the milk mixture from heat and stir in the gelatin until it completely dissolves. Let cool at room temperature.
  4. Once the combination has cooled, pour a small layer into each cake mold, on top of the mango cream. Refrigerate until set, about an hour or two.
  5. Unmold and serve immediately.

Three Bite Chocolate French Silk Pies

WARNING: THIS RECIPE CALLS FOR RAW, UNCOOKED EGGS!

INGREDIENTS:

Cookie (You can skip this part and just use the cookie parts of Oreos):

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (for dusting)
French Silk Pie Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool, but not hard
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • Dark Chocolate pieces (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, cold
  • Stabilized whipped cream* (recipe below) or 1 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles or shaved dark chocolate

METHOD:

  1. Mix flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Cut 1 cup of the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cream and form the dough into a ball. Divide dough into thirds, flatten into a rough disk about 1/2 inch thick, and wrap dough in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The original recipe calls for the cutting in of the butter.)
  2. Dust a cutting board with the sugar/cocoa mixture.  (I like to roll my dough between two sheets of wax paper and dust that with the sugar/cocoa.) Roll dough out 1/8-inch thick and cut with a 2 ” circle or flower cutter for three-bite pies, or 1 1/2” circle or flower cutter for tiny pies.  Place circles/flowers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick cookies three times with a fork.
  3. Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes.  Cool on pan for 5- 10 minutes before removing carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. In a double boiler, melt chocolate about 2/3 of the way.  Remove top of double boiler and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool further.  I recommend cooling until the chocolate starts to thicken slightly so that it won’t melt the butter.
  5. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whip attachment, cream butter.  Gradually add sugar, creaming well.  Blend in melted and cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating 4 minutes after each addition with mixer on medium speed.
  6. Transfer filling either to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip or a large zip top bag that you will later cut 1/2 inch off the corner.  If the filling seems a bit loose and you don’t trust that it will hold its shape and stay on the base, then refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes, or until you can pipe it and have it hold its shape.  If the filling seems firm, start piping onto cookie bases.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  7. Top with whipped cream squeezed out of another pastry bag with open star tip or zip-top bag.  Top with sprinkles or shaved chocolate, if desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve
  8. Makes about 70 three-bite pies, OR about 120 one-bite pies
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

METHOD:

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften.
  2. Scald 2 tablespoon of the cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.
  3. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth.
  4. In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream and sugar just until soft peaks form; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice. You will probably only need to whip it another 10-20 seconds before it’s done.
*A note about the stabilized whipped cream: this is really the way to go if you plan for these to last more than one day.

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda (divided)
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ⅔ cup butter flavored shortening
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, very soft or melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips  (any type I prefer dark chocolate)

METHOD:

  1. Cake: Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture (I just used my fingers) until very fine crumbs form. It should look like a cake mix. Add the unsalted butter and milk; mix until a thick dough forms.
  2. Caramel: Melt the salted butter over medium low heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a very low boil, stirring constantly. Let it cook over very low, gentle heat, so that the mixture is just barely bubbling if at all. If you heat it too much, it won’t stay soft in the bars, so just heat it enough to thicken it slightly. After about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in ½ teaspoon baking powder. The caramel will foam and bubble – stir or whisk until it’s thick and creamy and mostly smooth.
  3. Layer and Bake: Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Spread half of the batter on the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with the chocolate chips and a layer of caramel (I recommend using about ⅔ of the batch that you just made and reserving the rest for something else). Spoon the rest of the dough over the caramel layer and spread until the pan is evenly covered. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your pan size and how gooey you want it (see notes).
  4. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Store at room temperature to keep it soft; it will firm up a little bit as you let it rest.
NOTES
Gooey-ness: This cake will not set up as a normal cake would – it is fudgy and GOOEY. As a less-gooey alternative, you could bake the bottom cake layer for a few minutes ahead of time (maybe 5-10) to get a more firm, solid brownie-like base.
Top layer: It is difficult to spread the dough over the warm caramel without making a huge mess. Drop the dough in spoonfuls evenly over the top before trying to spread it into a top layer.
Baking dish: I used a square 9-inch glass baking dish. It was the perfect thickness, in my opinion, but it bubbled over the sides while baking so if you use this size you’ll want to put a pan underneath it. If you use a 9×13 pan, you wouldn’t need to bake it as long.

Intensely Chocolate Cake Bites (Morsels/Truffles)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 flourless chocolate cupcakes (Recipe Below)
  • 1 stick of butter + more (for easy melting chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dark chocolate
  • sweetened coconut flakes

METHOD:

  1. In a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat, add coconut.  Stir and toss until golden.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Drop cupcakes into large mixing bowl.  Mash cupcakes until only crumbs.
  3. In a glass bowl, combine butter and brown sugar.  Heat in a pan until melted and lightly bubbling, about one minute.  Stir and pour into cupcake crumbs.
  4. Using your hands, roll spherical morsels about the size of a large marble (Note: the diameter should not exceed one inch, in my opinion because of the intensity of flavor).
  5. Toasted Coconut Covered (Intensely Chocolate Cake Morsels):  Drop rolled cake in toasted coconut and gently press the coconut into the cake so it sticks, creating a shell.  Place onto wax or parchment paper.   Repeat until desired amount of coconut morsels are created; Store morsels in refrigerator to set, until ready to serve.
  6. Chocolate Covered and Lightly Sea Salted (Intensely Chocolate Cake Morsels) – Note: Store pre-rolled cake in freezer for ten+ minutes to keep shape once in melted chocolate. Place dark chocolate into a glass bowl with a pat of butter for every 4 ounces, to ease the melting chocolate. Microwave until melted.  Drop cake spheres into melted chocolate, one by one, then remove once coated and top with sea salt.  Store morsels in refrigerator to set, until ready to serve.

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

iNGREDIENTS:

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs, thoroughly beaten
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for dusting the pan

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and butter 12 cup muffin/cupcake pan.  Dust each cup with cocoa powder.Note: If you’re having trouble getting the sides of the muffin cups dusted, you can dip a pastry brush into cocoa powder and brush the sides of each cup lightly with the cocoa powder.
  2. Chop chocolate and butter into pieces and drop into a glass bowl. Microwave on high for one minute.  Stir and repeat heating in thirty second intervals until completely melted.  Add brown sugar and whisk until smooth.  Add beaten eggs and whisk well.  Sift 3/4 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter evenly into cupcake pan and bake in middle of oven until  fragrant and tops have formed a thin crust, or about ten minutes. Cool cakes in pan on a rack for about two minutes and gently  remove and place onto cooling rack.
  3. Add seasonal berries and chocolate sauce if desired.

Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g good quality dark chocolate (Valrhona is best)
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 80g sifted plain flour
  • 40ml Grand Marnier
  • 40ml Whisky or Brandy (feel free to substitute the 80ml of alcohol with whatever you wish. Replace with milk if serving to children)
  • pinch of cream of tartar

Ganache

  • 300ml pure cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. Grease and line an 18-20cm diameter springform cake pan. Grease the base of the lining. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Melt 300gm chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of slow simmering water and set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes until pale and creamy. While continuously mixing, add egg yolks, one at a time, beating briefly after each addition to incorporate.
  4. With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour, add the alcohol/milk and half the melted chocolate. Beat until half mixed then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites with cream of tartar until soft peaks. Fold a third of eggwhites through chocolate mixture to loosen mixture, then fold through remaining eggwhite taking care not to overwork.
  6. Spoon mixture into cake pan and bake in centre of oven for 55 mins to an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely in the cake pan on wire rack, then remove the sides and invert onto a cake platter.
  7. For ganache, bring cream just to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand for 5 minutes until chocolate melts, then stir until glossy and smooth.
  8. Transfer to a bowl or container and cover the surface with clingwrap to prevent a skin forming. Stand for 1 hour at room temperature to cool then refrigerate for 45 minutes or until firm yet still pliable.
  9. Remove ganache from refrigerator and stir until smooth. Coat sides and top of cake evenly with ganache.
  10. Cake can be stored in the refrigerator, however bring to room temperature before serving.