There is always a cake for you! – Gluten free dairy free chocolate cupcakes with ganache topping

Can you imagine sitting in a room with 30 other people indulging themselves with home made cupcakes, and all you could do is watching them enjoying these beautiful little cakes? I certainly can, but I would be so deeply depressed!

So a couple of days before a charity children party organised by Birthdays with Love, and thanks to my good friend and mentor Three Thrum Mum, I had a little experiment with some gluten free and dairy free chocolate cupcakes. They do taste just like what you would expect – luxurious, heavenly chocolaty, melts in your mouth – as a good chocolate cupcake should be!

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This is how I made them (12 standard cupcakes):

Ingredients for the chocolate cupcakes (gluten free and dairy free):

120 g of gluten free flour (1/3 corn starch, 1/3 rice flour, 1/3 sweet potato flour)

1 tsp of gluten free baking powder

1/4 tsp of xanthan gum

1/4 tsp of kosher salt

40 g of good quality unsweetend cocoa powder

Mix the above dry ingredients and sieve once

2 medium size eggs

60 g of unrefined cane sugar/ light brown sugar

60 g inverted sugar (this is the magic ingredient to keep the cakes moist for longer)

70 g of grape seed oil (I prefer this to coconut oil for it would not affect the taste of the final product)

50 g of soy milk or water

Step 1 – Pre-heat your oven to 180 degree C

Step 2 – Whisk the eggs together with the sugar until its fluffy and pale (hand held mixer or stand mixer)

Step 3 – Sieve in/ pour in the dry ingredients, the inverted sugar, the oil and the soy milk into the egg mixture. You can either turn on the stand mixer just for a a few seconds or by hand folding in the ingredients until blended

**Please note the batter is very liquid but it would make some lovely light fluffy and round cupcakes

Step 4 – Pour roughly around 35 g of the batter in each of the cupcake cases and bake them in the oven at 180 degrees C for around 15 minutes

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Ingredients for the dark chocolate ganache (dairy free):

100 g of good quality dark chocolate (chopped to small pieces and 70% would be the best option)

100 g of soy milk

a dash of vanilla essence

Step 1 – Bring the soy milk to boil. Pour onto the dark chocolate.

Step 2 – Let it sit for a minute or two, and then stir with a spatula until all melted and glossy

Step 3 – Use it however way you like it! I just simply hold the cakes upside down and drown them into this chocolate bath!

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What is next? EAT THEM!

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My Sachertorte ….. My Raspberry gluten free Sachertorte!

Okay I do have a soft spot for my husband. When he said “Darling, I am pretty sure you could do much better than The British Bake Off Contestants”, I am obliged to answer to his request for a gluten free Sachertorte.

To me, Sachertorte is just a fancy name for an almond based chocolate cake with creamy yummy dark chocolate ganache and a layer of apricot jam. Personally, I much prefer something with berries. The sharpness of the berries compliment the bitterness of dark chocolate. As much as I adore chocolate, too much of it can be a little sickling. So why not have a go to make it with Raspberry Jam and top up this very chocolaty chocolate cake with some fresh raspberries? Yay!

In minutes (well it’s more like an hour), we have this beauty for a Sunday afternoon tea. Isn’t it just great?

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It’s a pretty simple cake, and I made it so quick I hardly took any photos. My apologies this is going to be a very text heavy post. But wow the taste of this cake is just amazing, especially for those (including me!) who loves good quality dark chocolate and raspberries. What a wonderful marriage of these two beautiful ingredients!

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Let’s get straight to the ingredients!

(I used a 6 inch square cake mould)

The Almond Cake Base

160g Dark Chocolate (must be 70 percent cocoa and real chocolate – not compound chocolate where the cocoa butter has been replaced by vegetable oil)

150g Unsalted Butter softened (use clarified butter if you’d like a caesin free version)

110g Unrefined brown sugar

1 vanilla pot (we just want the seeds. Alternatively, a few drops of vanilla essence would do)

5 medium eggs (white and yolk separated)

80g Ground Almond

30g Ground Buckwheat

30g Corn Starch

5g xanthan  gum

The Very Berry Topping

Raspberry Jam – as much as you need to cover the top of the cake (I am very generous)

The Very Chocolaty Topping 

150g Dark Chocolate (yes 70 percent cocoa)

150g Raspberry puree

15g Unsalted butter (clarified butter for caesin free)

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How do you do it?

Prepare your topping –

1. I work my way from the topping. Place your chocolate (buttons or cut up smaller piece if its a bar) in a glass bowl.

2. Bring your cream or fruit puree to boil, and then pour that into the chocolate. Add the butter too.

3. Now leave it for a few minutes and then stir it very well until all the chocolate has melted.

4. Leave it in room temperature to set and thicken for spreading

Prepare your cake –

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, and don’t forget to grease your cake tin

2. You will need 3 bowls. The first one, put in the chocolate and melt it over simmering water (bain marie).

3. In the second bowl, beat the butter until fluffy and then add in the sugar. Continue to beat it until pale and airy.

4. Now add the melted chocolate, vanilla, and egg yolk into the butter and mix well.

5. Sieve all the dry ingredients/ flour into the mixture and gently fold it in.

6. In bowl number 3, put your egg white in it and whisk it till 80% peak (hard peak but not to the stage where the egg white is dry and separated/ lumpy)

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg white into the second bowl and mix well. And gradually add the rest of the egg white. Make sure you do this very quick but with very gentle folding to keep the air. There is no other raising agent in the cake.

8. Into the tin, and bake it for around 50 minutes. Check if its cooked by running a knife in the middle of the cake and check if its clean.

9. Once cooled down, spread a layer of jam, put the cake into the fridge for an hour and then spread the chocolate ganache onto the cake. Topped with raspberries and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

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Its gluten free! But sorry it isn’t calorie free………

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One more Macaron Tower. One Year Wiser. (orange liquor, candied orange peel & dark chocolate ganache)

I have been very quiet but in fact I had a pretty full couple of weeks of non stop baking and cake making challenges! Thanks to my lovely friends for trusting me on creating something for their loved ones. I had another opportunity to put together a macaron tower. Happy Birthday Vincent!

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You would think making macarons is like breathing or walking to me, after all these years of practice. Sadly, these little cookies are so moody, sometimes the results are still not up to my standard. This time round I had no trouble making the macarons but I didn’t make quite enough macarons to cover a tower!

So after carefully placing them onto the cone, I found out I am short of 10 macarons! Well making another batch wouldn’t work as the colours would be different. Thank you to my lovely friends I managed to distribute 100 macarons to my neighborhood, so I don’t have to stuff myself with them and get sick. Thank you N, E, K and K!

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It’s not so bad to make new batches of macarons. Perfection all came down to practice. I do get a lot of practice this time round! I am not going to repeat myself on how to make a Macaron tower/ cone. You could refer to my previous post to get some ideas on the material and tools.

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How about I share the recipe on one of the fillings? – Dark Chocolate Ganache with Orange liquor & Candied Orange Peel

(Filling for 25 Macarons)

You would need:

100g dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa)

100g whipping cream

15g unsalted butter (soften in room temperature)

15g Orange Liquor (the more the merrier!)

Small amount of candied orange peel and cut into smaller pieces

This is how you make the ganache:

1. Cut your chocolate bar into smaller pieces (or you can use chocolate buttons) and place then in a glass bowl

2. Bring the cream to boil and then pour it into the chocolate

3. Put the butter into the chocolate and let it standard for a few minutes

4. Still the chocolate with the cream and butter with a spatula until all melted

5. Pour 15g of orange liquor and mix it well

6. Now leave it in room temperature to set to thicken and set to the consistency for piping. Don’t be tempted to stir it! You will know when it’s ready. The colour goes from shiny to dull.

7. Then what you have to do is to pipe the ganache onto the macaron shells and place a couple of the candied orange peel onto it for texture and flavours

Just in case you are interested, the silver ones are passionfruit lemon almond cream and the blue ones are salted caramel. Here is the recipe for passionfruit lemon almond cream!

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Maybe it is too sharp for some people. But I truly love them – Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffles (dairy free)

I have just finished making 60 macaron pops and I still have about 100g beautiful Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache left. I know what is going to happen. I put it into the fridge and thought I would use it in the next couple of days. My experience tells me I will forget about it and it will get wasted!

So what can I do with them. I really do not fancy making another batch of macarons. And then I thought of this tin of wonderful freeze dried raspberry powder from www.iherb.com. Why I don’t I just roll up the ganache and make a few nice little truffles! You cannot beat that can you?

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Raspberry Dark Chocolate Truffles

100g good quality dark chocolate (I use 70% Valrhona dark chocolate bars and I cut it into smaller pieces so its easier to melt)

100g raspberry (pureed and sieved out the seeds)

Some freeze dried raspberry powder to coat the truffles (you can just use cocoa powder as alternative)

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I know it is really this easy!

 

1. Put the raspberry puree into a small cooking pan and heat it up in low heat

2. Remove from heat just before it gets to the boiling point

3. Pour the hot puree over the chopped chocolate

4. Now this is the key. Leave the chocolate aside for 5 minutes and then you stir it to make sure all the chocolate melts completely.

5. The best way is to cool the mixture in ice, or you could just leave it in room temperature until it sets.

6. Once its set and you could pick up the ganache to shape it the way you want, then roll them into little balls and coat them with the raspberry powder or cocoa powder.

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Enjoy them with a coffee or simply snack on them during office hours!

I can see a rainbow … (and baseballs?) – yes it’s 7 colour wedding macaron tower

What a wonderful story! Baseball games and now we have a couple hand in hand exchanging their vows. Congratulations B & J!

To celebrate the colours of love and embrace their beautiful story of how they met, I took the honor to put together this Macaron tower for their wedding.

I know I know my little boy loves it. Look at his smile and his wide eyes!

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There are 7 colours and 4 flavours. So yes I baked 7 batches of macarons in 2 days. It was like a marathon! And I had a couple of disasters when I rushed through the baking. Yes listen number one on Macaron making – no rushing. It won’t work!

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Now it comes to the baseball macarons. Well being me (or should I say stupid?) I thought royal icing would be a good option and I just simply pipe the pattern onto the white macarons. Wrong! Even with the smallest piping tip, it’s still far too thick to make the delicate patterns on it. Then I thought hang on a minute, didn’t I buy some cookie writer pens that I never used? (It’s just one of the million baking related things I bought and never get used). They are just perfect and very easy to use.

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I didn’t take any photos of how I put together the Macaron tower. But I will when I do one next time and I will show you how easy it is to get one done. If you are up for a Christmas Macaron tower then don’t forget to sign up for updates from my blog (marketing? Nah just trying to sound interesting).

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I have not done anything too fancy on the flavours. They are just classic ones – dark chocolate ganache, salted caramel with coffee, green tea buttercream and passion fruit lemon. In my next post I will share my recipe on the salted caramel with coffee. I absolutely adore the diversity of the flavours and the surprises of the hint of saltiness.

Will keep you all posted on my next project!

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Sexy, Sophisticated, Sensational – a MAN-caron tower is born

A macaron tower for a man? No, no, no, it is not just for a man. It was an honour (yet a challenge) to create something special for the man who showed me macarons could be made from a home kitchen 4 years ago!

Macaron Tower,

I was pretty nervous as what flavours and colours would suit the occasion and for the gentleman. Thanks to some great friends for ideas and aspirations. It seems it is just natural to create some “adult” flavours – cocktail, liqueur, very bitter chocolate. So here we are the first cocktail macaron created in my kitchen – Mojito (mint, lime & rum) with black macaron shells and a dash of gold on it.

Mojito Macarons

And alongside with this sexy black are Salted caramel with coffee (burgundy ones) and Classic dark chocolate (white pearly ones).

This is how I made the Mojito Filling. And it is just THAT simple!

Ingredients:

  • 75g good-quality white chocolate
  • 20g whipping cream
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (add more to your preferred taste)
  • 20 ml fresh lime juice
  • 20 ml white rum
  • 50g ground almond

Steps:

1. Melt the white chocolate with the cream in the bain-marie (alternatively, in a glass bowl over some simmering water in a pan)

2.  Stir in the rum, the lime juice, and the chopped fresh mint. Taste it and adjust it to your preference (it best to have something sour to neutralise the sweetness of the macaron shells)

3. Let it cool in room temperature and then put it into the fridge for at least 12 hours.

4. Take the filling out from the fridge and stir in the almond to get the consistency you require for the filling. And this is your first Mojito Macaron Filling!

Mojito, Salted Caramel with Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Macarons

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