Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baking Therapy, Parte Dos

As I've mentioned before (Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake), baking is really therapeutic for me. When I'm cranky or stressed, I bake.

I first discovered the true therapeutic effects of baking when my best friend Natalie passed away. 

Me & Nat, in the Dominican Republic
for my 16th birthday
Last night, I found out my cousin Tim passed away on Thursday night; today, I turned to baking to comfort myself, and to take my mind off of the grief. It was so sudden, unlike Natalie's death, and after experiencing a sudden death, I can confidently say both suck. Majorly. We're waiting to hear about any possible funeral arrangements, so in the meantime, all I can really do is bake (and study, but that's a different story...). 

Me & Tim (right)
On a lighter note... yesterday I tried my hand at food photography, with my little digital camera. I'm going to start publishing to foodgawker (!), and I guess I'll see what some of the feedback is.

Chocolate Ganache + Italian Meringue Buttercream = Deliciousness.
One of my projects was to try out The Faux Martha's Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes. I really like the cupcakes themselves- they're a reliable chocolate cupcake, and a good alternative to my super demanding Award-Winning Chocolate Cupcakes. I felt like the chocolate ganache, in this case, sort of overwhelmed the Italian Meringue Buttercream; next time, I think I'll skip the filling.

Here's the recipe!
Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes
Courtesy of The Faux Martha
Yield: 24 cupcakes

All-purpose flour- 1 1/4 c + 2 tbsp
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 1/2 c
Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Sea salt- 1 tsp
Half & half- 1 c
Pure vanilla extract- 1 tbsp
Butter- 1 1/2 sticks, room temp
Extra-fine granulated sugar- 1 3/4 c
Large eggs- 4

1. Sift flour. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt {the dry ingredients} in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. 
2. Whisk half & half and vanilla in a small bowl {the wet ingredients} in a separate small bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar on low speed for 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mix on low speed after each is added.  
4. Alternate dry and wet ingredients- start and end with dry. Don't overbeat- this should only take 60 seconds total. Scrape down the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are equally incorporated. 
5. Fill cupcake liners a little over halfway full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes. {The cupcakes are done when tester/toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cupcake} Let them cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan, and cool completely before frosting.

Ganache Filling
Bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips- 3/4 c
Heavy cream- 1/2 c

1. Bring cream to a light simmer in small saucepan. Measure the chocolate and put in a heat resistant bowl.
2. Once cream reaches light simmer, pour it over the chocolate. Wait for 10 seconds, then whisk to combine. Let ganache cool for at least 20 minutes before using to fill the cupcakes.

For Italian Meringue Buttercream, click: Victory!

Cut out a cone from the center of the cupcakes (recommended: use a Cupcake Corer!), fill with spoonful of ganache. Replace the tops of the cupcakes, and frost with Italian Meringue Buttercream. The sprinkles I used were recommended by Sweetapolita, and I stumbled upon them at the World Market at Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. They are De Ruijter Milk Chocolate Sprinkles. You can buy them here
Here's a picture of them, one that the lovely Rosie from Sweetapolita took. IT DOES NOT BELONG TO ME. 

Courtesy of Sweetapolita
I want to be like her when I grow up.

Anyways, I will post my Food Gawker gallery soon. In the meantime, hug your loved ones. You never know what might happen tomorrow. <3 

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