Chocolate leaf cupcakes

cucakes creme anglais chocolate leaves (4)I was asked to bring dessert to a party last minute. I popped some cupcakes into the oven but how was I going to decorate them?
I looked in my cupboard for inspiration and found a small box of chocolate leaves that were given to me as a gift. Perfect! I filled the cupcakes with some creme anglais, then piped on some buttercream, a drizzle of melted chocolate and then topped them with the moulded leaves. I think it worked really well.

 

Torta di pera e cioccolata

Torta de pera e cioccolateIt was -20C outside over most of the weekend and I just didn’t want to face it, so I baked. This week’s food section in the Ottawa Citizen featured “The rustic flavours of Florence” and I thought anything that gave even a small suggestion of Tuscany in this tundra-world I live in, might warm things up around here.
The cake they featured was a gorgeous thing called Torta di pera e cioccolata. Pears and chocolate. I had a couple of pears kicking around the house. Why not give it a try?
The challenge for me was there were no cup or teaspoon measurements in the directions. All weighed ingredients in either grams or ounces. So I pulled out the trusty scale and gave it a go. And I think it worked really well. It tasted great!
Recipe from the book: Florentine: The true cuisine of Florence by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant, Chronicle Books, 2016).

Happy National Chocolate Cake Day

chocbarbs-60thI think it’s pretty funny that every day of the year is designated as a national food holiday. Believe it or not, there’s a Lobster Thermidor Day (Jan. 24), a day dedicated to Cold Cuts (March 3) and even one called Something on a Stick Day (March 28).
January 27th has been deemed National Chocolate Cake Day. Now there’s a day I can get behind! Happy National Chocolate Cake Day to all!
If you want to see all 365 days and their particular food designations, here’s the link: National Food Holidays.

Gardener’s chocolate cake

floral-for-sigrunA friend of mine celebrated a milestone birthday this past weekend and I offered to make her a cake. Her only request? Chocolate.
Sigrun is a long distance runner, a cook extraordinaire and a gardener who has an encyclopedic knowledge of flowers. She’s also a very accomplished artist and has taught art classes too. So…what to make. A running shoe cake? Buttercream flowers? Hmmm.
I decided on doing something a little more free than my usual cakes…something that recognized the gardener in the birthday girl but also the artist.
So, I piped flowers from coloured chocolate and placed them on a four-layer chocolate cake, topped with a dark chocolate ganache drip.
A super bright and happy cake for a gal with a sunny disposition.