Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cakes + Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Truffles

Hi. Hello. Remember me? I still exist.

It has been so long since I have typed up a blog post that I do not really remember how to do it anymore. I actually had to look up my old posts to remind myself how I format these posts. Victor and I worked on the content for this post quite a while back but we both got so busy (when I say “we” I mean Victor because let’s be honest, I’m never actually busy...only busy eating avocado toast). We shot this maybe…a few months ago? Might as well be an eternity though. But I promise, that the next post will not take another few months. I already started brainstorming ideas for the next post. It will involve lots of cake, popcorn, sprinkles, and magic. 

So let’s talk bundt cakes. I have always loved the look of bundt cakes but they always scream ‘commitment’ to me because they are so abnormally large of a cake. It’s not that a have any trouble finishing an entire cake myself, but I just like having smaller looking portions of cake so I feel less guilty eating more portions of it, ha! So when I saw this mini bundt cake pan at the store, I squealed. I squealed from the baking aisle all the way home. You mean I can make bundt cakes that aren't colossal in size and are easy to share? You mean I can make it a super rich chocolate cake and top it with more chocolate...and even more chocolate? You mean I can combine any cake scraps with peanut butter (aka nectar of the gods) and make little parcels of bliss? *Cue squealing again* Okay. Done deal. 
These cake truffles, or as I like to call them, parcels of bliss are so easy to make. So easy that posting “instructions” for them is kind of embarrassing. Making cake truffles or cake pops is a great way to use up leftover cake, older cake that’s kinda dry, or cake scraps. All you need is to crumble up the cake and add something that can bind the crumbs, like frosting or peanut butter. I used the cake scraps I had leftover from levelling the bottom of the cakes. I recommend that you cover these little chocolate cake balls with chocolate so you can get more chocolate into your daily diet.
Oh, you know what else is easy to make? My newest obsession, homemade cake toppers. I usually like to decorate cakes and pies I make with fresh florals and berries but these usual suspects did not really go well with the bundt cakes. Instead, to make cute little bundt cakes even cuter, I made little sparkly whales and ‘YAY’ cake toppers to decorate them. But of course, I still needed to have some fresh flowers on the table. Victor and I always go to the market for fresh flowers before we shoot so we could not break that tradition. We still got some neutral white flowers for the table. To make these cake toppers all you need is some sparkly card stock, some skewer sticks, and glue. While you are finishing the rest of this post, I will be over there making more sparkly cake toppers for the next blog post. Eep.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

Sour cream chocolate cake:
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
225g (1 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
40g (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
300g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 teaspoon espresso powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

White chocolate glaze:
113g (4 oz.) white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 c heavy cream

Peanut butter chocolate cake truffles:
4 cups of cake crumbs from recipe above
1/2 cup of peanut butter, warmed
Chocolate, sprinkles, magic (optional)

Chocolate cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the cake pan and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, just until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to let mixture cool down a bit.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, espresso powder, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended. The mixture will be thick. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely blended. Whisk in the sour cream and the vanilla extract until smooth. Pour batter into the bundt cake pan. Fill up each cavity ¾ full and don’t overfill.
Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of a cake comes out clean, about 30 - 33 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cakes cool upright in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently tap the pan on a work surface to loosen the cakes.
White chocolate glaze
While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate glaze. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan and over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Generously drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Before the chocolate completely cools, sprinkle with chopped nuts, sprinkles, whatever you like! I chose some homemade honey toasted hazelnuts and chopped chocolate peanut butter cups.

Cake truffles:
Crumble the cake scraps with your fingers or a fork. A loose crumb will be good.
Warm the peanut butter in the microwave until it is no longer firm (roughly 30 seconds).

Spoon the peanut butter into the bowl of cake crumbs and mix thoroughly until there are no more loose crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.

Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, scoop out equal portions of the peanut butter cake mixture. Roll into balls and if you like, you can dip the cake balls into some melted chocolate to form a truffle. Decorate with sprinkles or chopped nuts before the chocolate shell completely hardens.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Matcha Cake with Black Sesame Cream Cheese and Matcha Meringues

They say third time's the charm right? Well I sure hope so because this is the third time I am writing this post. Blogger keeps deleting all the text once I save the post and it is driving me nuts. 

Let's get back to the main point of this blog post. It is a very important main point because it involves matcha. It seems like matcha is extremely trendy nowadays - matcha cafes and matcha-flavoured anything and everything are popping up everywhere. Not that I am complaining at all because matcha is my fav. Matcha ice cream? Give me eight scoops. Matcha mochi? Sorry, I just finished the entire container.

If you ever visit Vancouver in the spring, you will be either admiring the cherry blossoms or having the worst allergies because of the same cherry blossoms. I somehow manage to do both during the spring time. Victor and I wanted to take advantage of cherry blossom season in Vancouver and do a cherry blossom-themed cake shoot. We decided to make all the flavours in the cake be Asian-inspired as well, so I went with a black sesame cream cheese matcha chiffon cake to be adorn with the small pink blossoms.

We did this shoot a week before my birthday, so I could not resist placing a candle and some homemade gold star toppers on the cakes. A little behind the scenes fun fact for you: I placed the candle too close to one of the gold star toppers and the entire topper caught on fire. It was quite hilarious...and scary...but more on the hilarious side of things. (Evidence: scroll to the very bottom)

Besides the gold star toppers, I also had five cakes in three different sizes! It isn't a real birthday celebration unless you have five individual cakes right?!

Matcha Cake with Black Sesame Cream Cheese Layers 

Matcha chiffon cake
Adapted from Twigg Studios

220g (1 cup) granulated sugar
225g (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
225g (1 and 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
4 eggs
2 (heaping) tbsp of matcha powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Black sesame cream cheese filling
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
225 g (1 cup) white sugar
1/2 cup ground black sesame

Matcha meringue kisses
2 egg whites
125g (1 cup) icing sugar
1/2 tbsp matcha powder

The Cake Base:
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Line the cake pan with parchment paper. My pan was 13 x 9 x 2. You can use whatever sized pan you like, you will just have to adjust for the baking temperature and your layer will be thinner/thicker than the ones pictured in the post.

With a mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and sugar until it becomes pale yellow in colour. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until eggs are well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift matcha powder over the flour - you do not want large clumps of matcha in your cake! Add in the baking powder and salt. Mix well.

Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the bowl of the wet ingredients. Slowly add in the half cup of milk (adjust the amount of milk based on the consistency of the batter). 

Bake cake for 40 - 45 minutes, checking the doneness of the cake at around 35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before removing/cutting it. 

Once the cake has completely cooled, use a cake ring and cut out three even layers. If your sheet of cake is not large enough to cut three layers, you can cut out two nice cake layers and use the scraps to construct a bottom layer. Alternatively, you can make a two-layered cake and make mini cakes with the remainder of the cake. The possibilities are endless! I cut out two thick cake layers and cut those in half...making a four layer cake. 

To assemble, place a layer of cake down and smother on a generous portion of the cream cheesing filling. Alternate between the cake layer and cream cheese layers until you have a cake with desired cake and cream cheese layers.

Decorate the cake however you like. I used a combination of matcha meringues, berries and flowers. Before I topped the cake with berries and flowers, I dusted a thin coat of matcha sugar on the top layer of the cake - I thought this made the cake look more presentable. To make the matcha sugar, just sift matcha powder over icing sugar and the amount of matcha depends on what colour you want the matcha sugar to be. You can skip this step if your top layer is a cream cheese layer (versus a naked cake layer).

Black sesame cream cheese
In a bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and ground black sesame. Beat until smooth, then gently fold in whipped cream with a spatula.

Optional: Meringue Pebbles (make these the night before):
Preheat the oven to 200F and place a piece of parchment paper atop a baking sheet.

In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and matcha powder a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a  pastry bag. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1.5 hours, turn off oven, and let meringues sit in the oven overnight if possible. Meringues should be dry to the touch and can be easily removed from baking sheet.

Photography & Editing || Victor Yuen