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Almost like a Ferrero Rocher, these little hazelnut squares from The Australian Women’s Weekly will, without a doubt, remind you of the famous Italian candy from the very first mouthful. They are a bit labour intensive if you plan to make the hazelnut meal from scratch but you can easily save on time and energy by purchasing a sachet of ground hazelnuts from the nearest supermarket. Be sure to toast the store bought stuff for a couple of minutes in a preheated oven to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste before they go into your cake batter. The milk chocolate topping gives a characteristic Nutella feel to these mini bites but you can switch to dark chocolate, if you fancy a more intense cocoa flavour.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SQUARES

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g ground hazelnuts

20g all purpose flour

150g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease a 8 x 8-inch square baking pan and line base and sides with baking paper.

  • Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one by one.

  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and sifted flour. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Stand in pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare glaze by combining the chopped milk chocolate and oil.

  • Stir in a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water until chocolate mixture is smooth.

  • Spread the chocolate glaze over the slice with spatula, and gently tap pan on bench until glaze is smooth.

  • Refrigerate until chocolate glaze is set before cutting it with a sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts.

  • Store the hazelnut chocolate squares in a large air tight container for up to one week. Makes 16-20 pieces.

Hazelnut Chocolate Squares

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Like so many people out there, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. And because it is Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary [since the release of its first book and the start of my love story with the series] I had to bake a cake to celebrate the event. A tall, heavenly chocolate cake with the magical goodness of everything that makes chocolate cake that special something it is to everyone who loves birthdays and cakes. As soon as I saw this lovely chocolate cake on Diamonds for Dessert, I had my heart set on recreating it from scratch with the delicate pink icing and lopsided birthday wish scrawled carelessly across in green. The whole thing cannot help reminding me of the scene where Hagrid comes over to announce to an 11-year old Harry that he is wizard about to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“Anyway — Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here — I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.” From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

Harry’s birthday cake is also the first cake from the magical world we get introduced to, well before we hear of Bettie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, and many other strange sweets muggles like us can only dream about. So if you’re having a Harry Potter themed party, this is the perfect cake to have on your table though you could as well bake them into cupcake format, decorate them with the ‘Happee Birthdae’ message and give them away as party favors along with a couple of Hagrid’s rock cakes. And the magic lives on…

HARRY POTTER’S BIRTHDAY CAKE

For the Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature

3/4 cup fresh full cream milk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup boiling water

For the Chocolate Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 to 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/6 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red and green food coloring

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Stir in eggs one at a time. Add milk, oil, and vanilla extract and mix. Now add the boiling water.

  • Spray two round 9-inch diameter baking pans with nonstick spray. Pour batter in the two pans.
  • Place pans in oven and bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • When the cakes are totally cooled, slice them into half so you end up with 4 circular cake layers.

  • For the chocolate frosting, mix cocoa and powdered sugar together. Cream butter till it is fluffy.
  • Mix in 1/3 of the cocoa/sugar mixture to the creamed butter. Slowly, add about 1/3 of the milk.

  • Repeat this until all the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk are combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • The frosting should be spreadable at this point. If it is not, add in more milk or sugar as needed.

  • For the vanilla frosting, cream butter. Mix in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and add 1/2 of the milk.
  • Repeat with other 1/2 of sugar and milk. Add vanilla extract. The frosting should be spreadable.

  • Now scoop out a portion of the frosting into a separate bowl, just enough for the frosting letters.
  • Add few drops of red food coloring to the remainder of the frosting and mix to get pink frosting.

  • In the other bowl, add green food coloring to get green frosting. Keep covered until ready to use.
  • To assemble, spread frosting on the first cake and smooth it out. Place another cake layer on top.

  • Dollop frosting and smooth. Repeat process with third layer of cake and top with final cake layer.
  • Press down to make sure it firmly sandwiched. Apply a crumb coat with the pink vanilla frosting.

  • Continue the crumb coat on the sides of the cake. Chill, then apply a second layer of pink frosting.
  • Place the green frosting in a piping bag and scrawl “Happee Birthdae Harry” on top of the cake.

Happy Birthday Harry!

If you have Nutella but no chocolate mousse, dnt panic. We can fix that right away. All you need is a brilliant recipe for Nutella mousse like this one from Purewow. To use what I had on hand, I substituted the cream cheese for a tub of mascarpone and used only a quarter of the amount of sugar stated. I can imagine that you can totally go without any added sweetener as the Nutella should be enough for any seasoned sweet tooth. If you are patient enough, leave it to set in the fridge for a couple of hours to achieve the distinctive mousse-like texture but if you cannot keep yourself waiting for so long, grab a dessert spoon and simply dig in after topping with fresh cream and chocolate shavings [from the photos you can guess this is exactly what I did!]

NUTELLA MOUSSE

Ingredients:

250g mascarpone, room temperature

3/4 cup Nutella hazelnut spread

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate

Whipped cream, for topping

Method:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese with the Nutella.

  • Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a medium bowl.

  • Wipe out the bowl. In the bowl of the electric mixer, fitted with whip attachment, whip cream to soft peaks.

  • Add sugar and vanilla extract, and whip to medium peaks. Add a third of whipped cream to Nutella mixture.

  • Fold with a rubber spatula to combine. Add another third of cream and repeat, folding it until incorporated.

  • Add the final third and fold to combine. Divide mousse among serving dishes and chill for 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Top mousse with a dollop of whipped cream, garnish with chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate. Serves 4.

About Me

PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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