Cocoa Banana Cupcakes

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The best milkshake that can be made by human hands is the cocoa banana milkshake. Not chocolate and banana, oh no… cocoa! It’s the real deal. It’s not dumbed down with milk or any bad sugars. It’s healthy; some call it a “super-food.” But even if you’re not a health fanatic, you could always mix cocoa into a milkshake or cupcake as a source of (no, not antioxidants, though it does contain a lot of them) tastiness. The milkshake combo gave me the idea to use cocoa and bananas in a cupcake. Oooh, this is good. The cake is similar to banana bread, but with a bit of cocoa added; and the cocoa frosting is rich and delectable.

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Cocoa Banana Cupcakes

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Total Time 40 minutes plus cooling
Yield Makes 12
INGREDIENTS

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 teaspoons cocoa
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Cocoa Frosting

INGREDIENTS

2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder
DIRECTIONS
6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa, and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.
Click here to find out more!

Rich Chocolate Cake and Raspberry Whipped Cream

The title of this blog post pretty much describes my taste buds. Cream+ raspberries+chocolate (not the guilt-free, light and fluffy kind) = best dessert PERIOD. I was going to make it in the form of cupcakes, which make this girl happier than a monkey eating a banana. But seeing the shelves cupcake-liner-free and my hands being less than willing to scrub hole after hole of the muffin tin, I resorted to a cake. It proved itself; if it had been anything less than what I expected, I would now be signing a paper shunning the idea of ever making a cake again. Fortunately, the cake will be given more chances. Anyway, the cake recipe follows, and I just topped it with a homemade whipped cream which I mixed with a small bit of liquid raspberry jam (got the idea from my Food Network Magazine).

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 10-inch round cake pan by greasing it with cooking spray and then lining the bottom with parchment paper.

2. To make the cake, pour the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Whisk thoroughly to ensure that all of the ingredients are incorporated.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed until light-yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. With the mixer running on low speed, mix in a third of the flour mixture and half of the milk. Scrape down the bowl. Add another third of the flour mixture and all the remaining milk. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.

5. Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then turn the cake out onto a clean plate, remove the parchment, and turn the cake back over onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

I generally cannot tolerate the mint/chocolate combination. But these cupcakes are sensational. I will admit they can’t be healthy. The icing is a mint  buttercream… emphasis on butter. The cake part of it is so easy to make, but the icing is the most complicated icing I’ve ever made. That’s not an exaggeration. You really can’t make these cupcakes and leave off the chocolate mint leaves. They just top it off (literally!). So if you have some time on your hands and some pounds to gain, these are the cupcakes for you. If you don’t, make ’em anyways! The recipe is here.

Here’s the chocolate mint leaves in the making:

Chocolate Cheesecake

I had a sudden urge to cook today. What could be a better recipe than chocolate cheesecake?!?! Though I’ve made mini cheesecakes, I’m not sure if I’ve ever made an actual single cheesecake, much less a chocolate one. I always feel guilty for getting Food Network magazines and oooh-ing and drooling over every picture, but never actually making the stuff in there. The March magazine was the ultimate chocolate issue, and, having already gotten the April issue, I almost missed cooking anything ultra-chocolate. That problem has been sitting in the back of my brain, so in my spare time today, my little brother and I flipped through the pages until we found Nigella’s chocolate cheesecake. We made it. It’s a keeper.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Prep Time:
35 min
Cook Time:
1 hr
Serves:
10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped small
  • 2 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bird’s custard powder (available at baking supply stores)
  • 3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

For the glaze:

  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dark corn syrup

Directions

To make the base, process the graham cracker crumbs, butter and cocoa powder in a food processor until it makes damp, clumping crumbs. Tip them into a 9-inch pie pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder, beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks and the sour cream. Finally, add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate and mix to make a smooth batter.

Take the pie pan out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Bake in the oven 50 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.

Let it slightly cool. Put in the fridge once it is no longer hot and leave to set, covered with plastic, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, very gently melt the chopped chocolate, cream and corn syrup. When the chocolate has nearly melted, take it off the heat and whisk until smooth. Let it cool a little, then Jackson Pollock it over the cheesecake. Use the remaining glaze as an accompanying sauce.

REAL chocolate truffles!!!!

The reason I say “real” is because I had a kind of hard time finding a real truffle recipe. There were “oreo balls” (NOT a truffle) and “easy decadent truffles” (a chocolate cream cheese ball… really?!?!) but no plain chocolate ganache truffles. I finally found Ina Garten’s recipe which worked well. It’s really easy but you might refrigerate them instead of let them set at room temp. So here’s the recipe…. Oh yeah, I rolled mine in powdered sugar and cocoa =D

Total Time:
1 hr 53 min
Prep
20 min
Inactive
1 hr 30 min
Cook
3 min
Yield:
60 truffles
Level:
Easy
 Ingredients

Directions

Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. Place them in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate. With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm. Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball. Roll in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, or both. These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature.