Following the previous post, I present you with cake number 2 of 5 baked for the birthday festivities. A true must for both chocolate and amaretti lovers. Amaretti are possibly my favourite biscuits, they should be yours too. And don’t get me started on Amaretto, the tastiest liquor ever created. Those sours are dangerous. Remind me again why I decided to give up alcohol for Lent? At least there are only 22 days left and Fortnum’s Easter sponge pudding (honey, amaretto & almond sponge pudding with a soft chocolate centre….nom) waiting at the end of it. Not to forget the amaretto butter topping, Easter dessert wouldn’t be half as good without it.
Enough about Amaretto. This cake, like the Linzer, is best after having rested in a cool place (e.g. cellar) for a day or two. Perfect if you have a lot of baking or cooking planned!
The best hazelnut chocolate spread strikes again. Yes, I am talking about Nutella. At last years Salon du Chocolat (an absolute must for chocolate lovers! Three whole days dedicated to the most innovative chocolate creations…. no wonder we felt slightly nauseous by the end of it), one chocolatier created a chocolate-hazelnut paste, which actually came out of a tube like face cream. It was deceptively advertised as tasting better than Nutella. Those are daringly big words carrying huge expectations! Honestly, why did they think they could create something superior to Nutella……? The paste was tasty, but definitely miles from the all time favorite.
Needless to say, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that Nutella is the one item never missing from my kitchen. With an upcoming dinner invitation and a newly bought jar of chocolate goodness, I decided to attempt making a bring along gift instead of buying one. The result: tiny yet devilishly satisfying post-dinner delights:
In my last post I mentioned baking 72 cupcakes in an extremely hungover state, which is admittedly the second best cure to recover from intoxication. These cupcakes are truly a MUST for Nutella lovers. A Nutella filled center and Nutella based icing…. what more can a Nutella monster ask for?
A small bonus for all Nutella fans amongst you: check this out. It is even shaped like the jar!
It shouldn’t take you long to guess which two masterminds of our group are behind this post. One of the most beautiful combinations known to the baking world strikes again: take two on the chocolate and orange. Recently having moved to London, as a food lover, one explores all grocery stores, little cafes, restaurants and bakeries in the area. Surprised yet excited, I was happy to note that this combination has been commercialized over here. Who knew chocolate orange kit kats exist? Chocolate orange flavored smarties? Chocolate orange macarons in Fortnum & Mason? Who would think they’d stumble across chocolate orange cupcakes in every cupcake shop? Well done to the English for that, maybe you could spread your wisdom to the mainland europeans by the end of the year!
These cupcakes were inspired by a bag of mini jaffa cakes which had been sitting in the cupboard for quite a while. Initially we wanted to make vanilla cupcakes with an orange marmalade center “jaffa cake style”… but then we gave in. Luckily we changed our minds…the cupcakes were great! Number three’s mother could not stop eating the frosting (which we thankfully had made mountains of).
When 1 and 4 are away, 2 and 3 come out to bake. We have taken this opportunity to make something in the spirit of one of the most divine combination: chocolate and orange. A combination that divides audiences and friendships alike. Without the two voices in the background going “but its so wrooooong” we have settled for a cake that we believe embodies this match made in heaven in all its’ glory. Well… kind of. We just liked the look of the recipe and knew that we could try it out without 1 and 4 moaning about it.
We got a little over-excited with the decoration, and even attempted some chocolate work. While we found out this is not our calling, we’re generally pleased with the result and are hoping to convert some non-believers with this beastly yet subtle creation.
The recipe involves four layers of cake with orange syrup, almond cream, chocolate ganache and pâtisserie-quality decorations: challenge accepted!
A day without chocolate is …… non-existent in our lives. So maybe you’ve realized we’ve been posting a lot about chocolate. Reason is: one of us decided to sacrifice this essence of life for lent. 46 days without chocolate! INSANE! Hence we are still helping her catch up on what she missed out 🙂
And now for a short medical digression: my mom always makes this chocolate mousse for parties as it is always a hit. Last I remember she made it for a new years dinner. There were lots of pregnant guests who immediately asked: “are there raw eggs in this mousse?” OF COURSE THERE ARE, WHAT IS MOUSSE WITHOUT EGG WHITE?? NOT MOUSSE!!! (I once saw a post of a chocolate mousse, which was made without egg whites. It really, really, really ruined my day). Sadly, the preggers were left without dessert (I didn’t mind: more for me!). During pregnancy raw eggs, raw meat and unpasteurized milk shouldn’t be consumed, as the chance of catching an infection with nasty bugs called toxoplasmosis and listeria are quite high. These two can, when caught in early pregnancy, be lethal for your baby.
So we learn: stuff your face with mousse, tartar and rare filet de boeuf as much as you can before hitting the bedroom with reproduction in mind.
Macarons are a gorgeous chocolate delight that proved an absolute nightmare to bake. They require dexterity, time, patience and some more patience. The book we got the recipe from (Ladurée) features pictures of the most sophisticated macarons this planet has ever seen, enough to make you feel bad about how sad yours look in comparison. We found ours had more personality than the uptight pretentious macarons from Ladurée (see pictures below as we attempt to pimp up our macarons with not-so-subtle photography tricks). And out of 30, only one was pure perfection. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when the dad one of our bloggers shamelessly ate it before we could snatch a picture of it, nearly starting WW3. Despite all misfortunes, we kind of enjoyed making these little devils… and more importantly, superficialities aside, found them wholly delicious!