30 March 2012

Low-fat Yogurt Cupcakes

Don't you just love it when you see "low-fat" on a dessert? 
It makes us feel less guilty about taking a bite or two more out of that carb and sugar loaded piece of cake!  

Haha, every bit counts doesn't it?  So low-fat anything is better than low-fat nothing! 

So here you go, girls... 

Makes about 9 regular cupcakes.

80g butter 
100g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g (abt 1/2 cup) low-fat yogurt
130g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder, sifted with flour

Whip butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla extract, and beat till well combined.
Add yogurt and mix till well combined.
Mix in flour and baking powder on low speed till just combined.
The batter should be soft dropping consistency. 

Divide batter equally among cupcake cases. Sprinkle desired toppings.

Bake at 160*C for about 20 min or till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

04 March 2012

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

It's been a long long long time since I last made a cake.
And the last time I made a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake was in Dec 2010.

Since then, I've been wanting to try another variation of the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake by America's Test Kitchen.

And again, their recipes have not failed me.
It was easy to make, almost fail-proof, and the flavours were great! Of course, it helps that you use the best quality chocolate you can afford, since this cake is all about the chocolate.

I was in such a haste to get this ready for a birthday party that I didn't have the chance to take photos of the sides or the insides (I wrapped this cake with plastic around the sides, that's why you see a shiny reflective surface in the photo).

But... to show you what it looks like inside, here's a shot from my 2010 attempt, and it pretty much looks the same.

The original recipe from the website was for a 9.5" cake. But I halved the recipe and it made a 6.5" cake just perfectly. You could probably make up to a 8" cake; you'll just get shorter layers and a shorter cake, but the flavour will be just as awesome!

Now, don't be put off by the long recipe for this cake. It's really not that complicated at all. The recipe is long only because the instructions are very detailed. Once you've read through the recipe, you'll find that it's really rather simple. I gave it a go, and am so glad I did. Cos this is a really lovely mousse cake - rich, yet light at the same time. It sounds odd, but it's true. You'll know what I mean when you try it...

Makes a 6.5" to 8" cake, using a springform pan at least 3" high.

42g butter
100g bittersweet chocolate
3/8 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
35g brown sugar

Melt butter, chocolate and espresso powder bain marie, stirring occasionally till smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Whisk in vanilla extract and egg yolks. Then set aside.

Whisk egg whites and salt till frothy.
Gradually add sugar and whisk till soft peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it up.
Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites till no white streaks remain.
Push the batter into a greased or lined springform pan, smoothing the top.
Bake at 160*C for about 15 min till cake is done.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Do not remove the cake from the pan.
The cake will collapse and shrink quite a bit as it cools. This is perfectly normal, so don't get worried.

1 tbs cocoa powder
2.5 tbs hot water
100g bittersweet chocolate
180ml whipping cream
1/2 tbs white sugar
pinch of salt

Combine cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside.
Melt chocolate till smooth. Then set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk whipping cream, sugar and salt till soft peaks form.
Whisk cocoa powder mixture into the melted chocolate till smooth.
Then fold together the whipped cream and chocolate mixture till no whites streaks remain.
Spoon the mousse over the cooled cake (bottom layer) and smooth the top.
Refrigerate for at least 15 min while preparing the top layer.

3/8 tsp powdered gelatin
1/2 tbs water
85g white chocolate
180ml whipping cream

In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 min.
In a small saucepan, bring 60ml of the whipping cream to a simmer.
Remove from heat, add gelatin and stir till fully dissolved.
Add white chocolate and stir till smooth.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the remaining whipping cream till soft peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the whipping cream into the chocolate mixture to loosen it up.
Then fold in the remaining whipped cream till no white streaks remain.
Push the mousse into the pan over the middle layer, and smooth the top.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to allow the cake to set.

To serve:
I chose to decorate the cake with more chocolate.
First, I dusted some cocoa powder over the top in a triangle pattern.
Then I placed 3 Ferrero Rochers in a cluster near the edge of the cake.
Next, I sprinkled some chocolate shavings around the Rochers, lightly pressing them into the mousse.
Finally, I randomly pressed in a few silver dragees to add a little bling!

I hope you'll give this recipe a try, and if you do, please let me know how it goes for you.

Thanks for reading this very long post  :)

Valrhona Chocolate Brownies

I can't believe that two months have already passed since the new year. Where did all that time go??

There are so many new recipes that I'd like to try, but the list keeps growing faster than I can tick them off. 

As I scrolled down the list, I decided to pick a simple one - Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownies, made with cocoa powder rather than melted chocolate. Do any of you watch his show Good Eats? It's an unconventional and rather scientific way of presenting recipes; sometimes quirky. Some like it, some don't. I think it's all in good fun and there are always interesting things to learn. 

(Sorry for this lousy pic. Hubby took the camera, so I only had my Blackberry to take this photo.)

As with all American recipes, I always cut down on the sugar. So that was one change I made to the recipe.

Another change was to scale the recipe down by 25% to fit my 6x9 inch pan. 

Finally, the most important change - using Valrhona chocolate powder instead of normal cocoa powder. 

These brownies have a lighter, more cake-like texture due to the whisking of the eggs. So if you like the dense fudgy sort of brownies, this recipe is not for you. 

Makes 6-8 portions in a 6x9" pan. 

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g white sugar
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 170g melted butter
  • 120g Valrhona chocolate powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g flour, sifted
  • 3/8 tsp salt
Butter and flour, or line with parchment paper, a 6x9 inch pan.
Whisk the eggs till fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars and whisk till combined. Then add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into baking pan and bake at 150*C for 45 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

These brownies freeze well. Just heat them up in a microwave, and serve with vanilla ice cream, toasted almonds and Hershey syrup for a sweet treat!!

Hope you all enjoy this easy recipe!
Feel free to add nuts (walnuts are best) or marshmallows into the batter for a rocky road brownie.

Just remember to serve them warm - they somehow taste better :)