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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Cake Truffles from left overs Tutorial!

Well as you all know I made a giant cupcake a few days ago and from the excess batter I made a batch of surplus cupcakes.  I was keen to try something new and was initially tempted to make Cake Pops.  They are super cute but I didn't have any sticks and I didn't really fancy making a trip out specifically to get some.  The obvious answer was cake pops without the stick AKA Cake Truffles!

I managed to rustle these up pretty much from left overs, admittedly I did have to nip out to buy 300g of milk chocolate and a bag of white buttons.  We live opposite an Aldi and seeing as I was raised on German chocolate I love the stuff!  My huge stash of chocolate came to £1.25 - not exactly breaking the bank.

Have decided to post my first ever tutorial, forgive me if it isn't clear - I will do my best!

Step One - Cupcake Supply

I had 16 normal sized cupcakes in total; 7 were topped with a chocolate ganache and 9 were plain.  I didn't weigh any of my ingredients during this process as know from research that it can differ each time.

Step Two - Preparing Cupcake's

I crumbled both the plain and chocolate topped cupcakes into bread crumbs.  This recipe would have probably worked better without the chocolate topping but as I was using left-overs I really didn't want to whip up a new batch.  Chocolate was going to be added anyway so this just made the crumbling process a little messier then ideal!

Step Three - Preparing the Chocolate

I took 150g chocolate and melted it in a double boiler.  You can use the microwave but I have had terrible experiences of burning chocolate with this method and try to avoid it.  A double boiler is simply a pan of boiling water with a heat proof bowl placed over and then your chocolate put inside the bowl.  The heat from the water melts the chocolate and is less likely to burn.

Step Four - Combining the Chocolate and Cake

I slowly added the melted chocolate to the bread crumb mixture, making sure it was fully combined after each addition.  I found that adding the chocolate a spoonful at a time ensured that I didn't add too much!  As my quantities are not exact you may find that you need more or less chocolate then me.  I melted 50g at a time and gauged whether more would be needed by how dry the mixture was after each addition.

Step Five - Dividing the mixture

Lots of recipe's tell you to divide the mixture by X amount but as I had made this up from leftovers it wasn't possible.  Instead I weighed it and figured out a decent size per truffle based on the over-all weight.  I picked 25g as it was a nice size and made sure there was no waste!

Step Six - Shaping the Mixture

Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and then start to weigh and shape your individual Truffles.  Sadly I was alone in the house and couldn't take a photo of this stage.  I found the mixture a little dry at first and know that other Cake Pop recipe's recommend adding oil if this is the case.  I personally don't like the idea of uncooked vegetable oil being added to my cake mixture as knew the taste would be strong, instead I melted some butter and added this.  When shaping the truffles I found it easier to really squeeze the cake together a few times first to make sure the chocolate and butter really stuck.  I wouldn't recommend over-handling the mixture as I found it started to crack and split.

Step Seven - Refrigeration

The great thing about these Cake Truffles is that they can be made up in advance and stored in the fridge until needed.  Due to the fact that sponge tends to dry out in the fridge, I wouldn't recommend storing them in this way for more then 24 hours.  They can however be frozen at this stage and defrosted when needed.  I placed mine in the fridge for 2 hours.  Just before you move onto the next stage they need to be placed in the freezer for 10 minutes - this will help the ganache set quicker.

Step Eight - Ganache Icing

Ganache is made by taking equal amounts of chocolate and double cream and melting over a double boiler.  I also added a smidgen of butter as it helps give the ganache a glossy sheen once set.  I used 150g of chocolate and 150ml of double cream but again these quantities will differ depending on the batch size of cakes used.

Step Nine - Covering the Truffles

This bit can get a bit messy!  I found it easiest to pop a truffle into the chocolate and then use to forks to cover and remove.  The prongs in the fork allow the excess chocolate to drain back into the bowl ensuring a fairly even coverage.

Step Ten - Refrigeration Take Two

Position all of the truffles back on the baking tray and place it back in the fridge for one hour.  If you have any extra ganache left over (I had plenty) pop it in the fridge - once set this will make an amazing pudding which is heavenly!

Step Eleven - Preparing the White Chocolate

Using the double boiler method again, melt the white chocolate.

Step Twelve - Decorating the Truffles

Dip a spoon in the melted chocolate and quickly run it back and forth above the truffles to make a nice striped pattern.  You can keep building up this pattern but be warned it does get messy!  Once complete store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Step Thirteen - Ta Da!

The finished product not only looks cute but tastes great too!  As I have used soft set ganache these need to be stored in the fridge until just before serving or else they will melt.  If you would prefer to have an un-refrigerated version then omit the ganache coating for just melted chocolate.  If using a melted chocolate coating you can make it thicker (less likely to melt at room temperature) by repeating the dipping process - just make sure the chocolate covering is hard before repeating.

Hope you all enjoy!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Giant Cupcake

Well our first craft session was good but I managed to make absolutely nothing :(

Having two friends completely new to sewing meant that my time was spent helping them with everything.  I naively didn't realise that this was going to be the case and just presumed we would all be able to sit at the dining table crafting in unison!  They both picked things up really quickly and I am sure that it won't be long until they are teaching me!

The naughty bunting was a success!  My friend used a big fat quarter of Kath Kidston style fabric and just made plain triangles.  Perhaps stating 'just made plain triangles' detracts from the effort that was involved.  The template was a doddle but achieving nice straight lines with a crisp point on the triangle was near impossible.

I think she is very pleased with her efforts as this has pride of place hanging above her mantle!  This taught me many great things about bunting, the most import being that using a no fray piece of material or even felt would not only be a million times easier but also look a lot better as it would lay flat and have a crisper finish.

My other friend made a very cute large patchwork pillow, the zip insert could have been a little more polished but as I had never attempted one before it was a little bit of the blind leading the blind!  My friend was so impressed with her accomplishment that a few days after our crafting session she went out and spent a small fortune on a sewing machine and equipment!  Sadly due to heavy work load at the moment I have been unable to make a repeat performance but we have made plenty of plans for our next creations!

It is my Mother in Laws birthday today and she is one of the sweetest women I have ever had the pleasure of being 'related' to.  Having sons she has never been spoilt by her offspring with the girly birthday touches and I vowed to make her an amazing birthday cake.

My MIL is as much as a chocoholic as I am and many hours have been whiled away hotly discussing this topic.  With that in mind I knew I had to have something distinctly girly with a heavy chocolate twist, what is cuter then an over-sized cupcake?

My own Mother is obsessed with giant cupcakes and owns a few silicone moulds.  She usually uses the moulds but then tries to attempt none cupcake creations such as a Christmas tree, a witch and a few other interesting looking designs.  I personally love cupcakes and believe if you are going to use a cupcake mould then it is a crime to try and make it look like something it isn't.

After a lot of research I came across an amazing channel on youtube called MyCupcakeAddiction where there were a few in-depth tutorials related to giant cupcakes.  I am personally not a fan of rolled icing to cover cakes as I find my OCD kicks in and I hate the way it highlights every single uneven edge and blemish.  MyCupcakeAddiction had the novel idea of making a chocolate 'case' with the lower half of the cupcake mould.  Not only did this give a clear, sharp and defined look to the case it was also made of chocolate!

After scrutinising the videos I decided to make a vanilla sponge cake layered with chocolate ganache and then iced with yet more chocolate and a final layer of vanilla butter-cream.  Despite owning several my Mother was not keen to give me one of her giant cupcake moulds but she did agree to me borrowing one.
The one used was called a big top Giant Cupcake mould;

I am pleased to report that these can be purchased for under £5 on ebay and I will definitely be investing after the success of my first attempt.

During my research the main issue that people kept complaining about was having a cake recipe that was successful most of the time.  I decided to bite the bullet and use a recipe from GoodtoKnow as it had been rated by over 800 people and had achieved an average of 3/5.  Not perfect but the highest rated (en masse) that I could find.  This recipe was specifically made for the wilton metal cake tins and I knew it was a gamble but was running out of more time to research.  I used the recipe for both the cake and the buttercream icing and found that I had enough batter left over for 20 normal sized cupcakes - perfect for my next trial of cake truffles!  To see the recipe simply follow the GoodtoKnow link above and have a look. 

Here is the finished article;

My Mother in law was in love with it and I felt especially touched when she told that no-one had ever made her a birthday cake themselves before!  I didn't sample it myself as we had just got in from a lovely meal but my Brother in law had seconds and said it was good.

I have been asked to make some little Wedding Cakes for after a wedding ceremony in August and am very nervous about the prospect!  Lots of research and trialling is going to be needed for which I can't wait!