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    Chocolate Dipped Orange Madeleines

    Madeleines are buttery French tea cakes with a distinctive scallop shell shape. This version is a riff on the classic sponge, but with bright orange flavor. A dip in chocolate glaze makes them an indulgent tea time treat.

    I haven’t posted madeleines to this weblog in years, but I make them every so often for an afternoon pick-me-up. I decided to remedy the situation a couple of days ago when my new shell pan arrived. I have the classic madeleine pan with a more elongated shell shape, but the new pan holds a little more batter per cavity. And I’m all for a more robust madeleine!

    I’ve used the same recipe for these cakes for more than 10 years. It’s adapted from Epicurious and is likely the most unfussy version of madeleines you’ll find. As written, it is classic with zesty lemon flavor, but it’s also a fine blank canvas for other zests and flavorings.

    Many madeleine recipes require resting the batter or chilling the pans before baking, all in an effort to achieve a crisp exterior and the signature bump that develops during baking. This recipe skips those steps and, in my experience, the cakes always turn out perfect. I noticed in my new pan with deeper cavities, the bump was a little more pronounced. This turned out to be a good thing, because the cakes can be held by their bumps for easy dipping.

    This adaptation was inspired by an extra-large orange in my refrigerator. It had the most beautiful fragrant peel, and it deserved to be used in something special. Chocolate and orange flavors together are a favorite of mine, so they were destined for dip in semisweet glaze.

    Speaking of chocolate, I’m not sure if I’ve shared this here previously, but I prefer to melt chocolate in the microwave, as do many modern chocolatiers. With the right timing, it’s less likely to overcook or seize from the steam created in a double boiler. The key to the microwave method is to use a Pyrex bowl to hold fine chopped chocolate and heat in 30 second intervals. Between heating intervals, stir well using the residual heat from the bowl to melt the chocolate. Using this method in this recipe creates a very smooth, nearly flawless glaze.

    What a treat! These just beg to be enjoyed with a cup of hot tea and a good book. We’ve had grey skies here this week, and these buttery little cakes have been a bright spot in such chilly conditions. 

    If you’re in need of a madeleine pan, you’ll find links to the ones I own below. These are affiliate links. I’ve included instructions for both pan sizes.

    Chefmade 12-Cavity Non-Stick Spherical Shell Madeline Bakeware
    Chicago Metallic Professional 12-Cup Non-Stick Madeleine Pan

    [click to print]
    Chocolate-Dipped Orange Madeleines
    Yields 15-20 cakesA madeleine pan is required for this recipe, which can be found online for purchase and in cookware stores (see blog post for sources). Shallow shell pans will yield more cakes, and require less bake time. Pans with deeper cavities will yield less cakes and require longer bake time.Cakes
    2 large eggs
    2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
    1/8 teaspoon fine grain salt
    1 cup (123g) all-purpose flour
    10 tablespoons (141g) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly but still warmGlaze
    1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips (or bar chocolate, chopped)
    2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil such as vegetable oilPreheat oven to 350°F.Coat a madeleine pan with flour-based baking spray (or butter and flour well, which is in keeping with tradition). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, orange peel and salt. Add flour; mix until just combined. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended.For large, deep cavity shells (such as the one pictured) spoon batter into the cavities 2/3 full. If using a shallow shell pan, spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. Bake large shells for 20-25 minutes, or until browned around the edges and a bump develops on top. Bake shallow shells about 16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, washing the pan and greasing it before baking each batch. Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack.For the glaze, place the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe bowl (Pyrex recommended). Heat in 30 second intervals at 100% power. Stir well between heating intervals using the residual heat from the bowl to melt the chocolate. When a smooth, thin consistency is achieved, the glaze is ready to be used.Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Holding the madeleines by their bumps, dip the faces of the madeleines into the chocolate and transfer to the prepared pan. When all of the cakes are dipped, transfer them to the refrigerator to chill until the glaze is well set. It will lose its shine and take on a matte appearance (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. Keep cakes stored airtight, or in a dish covered with plastic wrap.
    link Chocolate Dipped Orange Madeleines By Heather Baird Published: Friday, February 05, 2021Friday, February 05, 2021Chocolate Dipped Orange Madeleines Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake

    Strawberry puree gives this no-bake cheesecake its pink blush and ripe berry flavor. Fresh whole strawberries cover the top and a thick drizzle of chocolate makes this dessert worthy of its name. 

    I’ve gotten out of my morning smoothie habit, which has temporarily been replaced by the Baked Oatmeal I’m currently obsessed with. I can’t explain it, but those oats are helping me live my best life right now. So, the big bag of frozen strawberries I use for smoothies has been hanging out in my freezer with no purpose, other than getting in my way when I’m looking for something else.

    Then I remembered that there’s a romantic holiday coming up, and a strawberry dessert would be timely right now for those planning ahead. I decided to thaw and puree those berries for a special Valentine’s Day dessert (although you don’t need to a special occasion to make it!).

    Chocolate cookie crumbs mixed with melted butter forms the foundation on which the cheesecake is built. Press the mixture into a springform pan and 1-inch up the side, but don’t worry about getting it perfect. An irregular crust edge gives this cake rustic appeal and will save some prep time. The crust is the only portion of this recipe that is baked, and that’s just for 10 minutes to set it.

    The billowy filling consists of a holy trinity of creamy ingredients: cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped cream. Strawberry puree gives all of this cream bright berry flavor and a light pink hue.

    The cheesecake refrigerated overnight while I considered an appropriate topping. Since chocolate-covered strawberries are practically the Valentine’s Day mascot (sorry Cupid!) I had my answer and added fresh strawberries to my grocery list.

    The capped berries placed with their points skyward almost look like a strawberry mountain range from the right angle. Much like a French fruit tart, I brushed them with strawberry preserve which gave the berries some extra sweetness and shine.

    Chocolate is generously drizzled on top of the berries. Of course this is heavenly on the fresh strawberries, but it also ties well with  the crumbly cookie crust. 

    Chocolate-covered strawberry goodness, right here!

    I could not resist a dusting of powdered sugar on top. It’s totally unnecessary, but I love the snowy appearance.

    Light and fluffy, this cheesecake is the polar opposite of dense New York cheesecake. It’s almost mousse-like and when you plate a slice it has a slight wobble, almost like panna cotta. 

    It’s wonderfully soft and the sour cream gives it tangy flavor. It would be a special dessert for Valentine’s Day, but the flavors of chocolate and strawberry together are evergreen. This cake should be enjoyed year-round! 

    [click to print]
    Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake (No-Bake)
    Yields 8-10 servings1 1/4 cups (150g) chocolate cookie crumbs
    1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, melted
    16 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed
    16 oz. (2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup (230g/8 oz.) sour cream
    1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
    2 envelopes (.25 oz. each) powdered unflavored gelatin
    1/2 cup cold water
    1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
    24 fresh strawberries
    1/3 cup (113g) strawberry preserves
    4 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon vegetable oilPreheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Mix well to coat the crumbs with the butter. Pour into the springform pan and press into the bottom and 1/2” to 1” up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes to set the crust. Cool completely on a wire rack.Puree the thawed strawberries in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender until no lumps of fruit remain. Set aside.In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar. Beat well until creamy and consistent with no lumps. Pour in the strawberry puree and mix again. Let the mixer run on low speed while you prepare the gelatin mixture.In a small saucepan sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water. Let stand until well absorbed, about 2 minutes. Place over medium-low heat and cook just until the gelatin liquifies. With the mixer still running, pour the gelatin in a thin stream into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the whipped cream (this step may take some time, and if lumps remain, disperse them by lightly whipping the mixture with a whisk). Pour the batter into the crust and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or overnight. To unmold, lightly run a knife’s point around the top edge of the cheesecake; loosen the springform collar and allow the cake to naturally pull away from the collar as you slowly loosen it from all sides of the cake.Wash, dry, and cap the fresh strawberries. Place the berries on top of the set cheese cake cut-side down. Place the preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave at 100% power until melted, about 30 seconds. Let cool slightly. The preserve should be runny and liquid. Brush the berries with the preserves using a pastry brush and pour any remaining preserve liquid over the center of the cake.Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 100% power in 30 second intervals until the chocolate can be stirred smooth. Immediately add the vegetable oil (you can use any neutral-tasting oil) to the chocolate and mix until well combined. Transfer the melted mixture to a piping bag with the end snipped, or a zip-top bag with a corner snipped. Drizzle the chocolate in thick ribbons over the strawberries, allowing it to fall over the peaks and crevices of the fresh berry topping.Refrigerate until ready to serve. To slice, use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut through the berries and chocolate on top. Store leftovers covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
    link Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake By Heather Baird Published: Thursday, January 28, 2021Thursday, January 28, 2021Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Classic Opera Cake

    This classic French cake is made with layers of almond sponge, potent coffee syrup, French buttercream, and chocolate ganache. It's worthy of any special occasion.Ah, Opera Cake. This coffee lover's dream-come-true is a six layer affair, stacked with three layers of almond sponge, soaked with espresso syrup and alternating layers of French buttercream and butter ganache. It has been described as 'elaborate' which is true. Its preparation calls for your time, patience, and a candy thermometer, but the end result is so worth the effort. It is one of my favorite cakes of all time, and it's certainly one to try if you're looking to hone your skills in patisserie. Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO

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    Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler

    Made with mostly pantry staples, this chocolate cobbler comes together quickly for a warm and comforting dessert. Serve with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.

    Chocolate cobbler is one of those old-school recipes that has endured for decades because of its genius simplicity and seemingly magical transformation in the oven. It is also one of the most deliciously warm and comforting desserts you’ll ever find. It’s easy enough to throw together on a weeknight, but you’ll want to make it for company. It’s good any time of year, but it’s especially good to tuck into on a cold winter’s night.

    This cobbler is made using lots of dry pantry staples, milk, and butter. Eggs are conspicuously missing, but that’s what makes this dish cobbler instead of cake. 

    If you have considerations for Veganuary (which is a popular thing, I hear!) this recipe can easily be altered. Butter could be swapped for Earth Balance ‘buttery sticks’ (margarine) and milk for oat or another plant-based milk. Also be sure your chocolate chips are a dairy-free brand such as Enjoy Life.

    The first step is easy enough and familiar to studied cobbler makers – melt the butter in the baking dish in a preheated oven. Next you’ll stir together the base ingredients predictably enough: add wet to dry. It’s the moment when you remove the dish from the oven and begin dolloping the batter over the butter that you may start to question things. 

    Yes, it’s a lot of butter.  No, you’re not doing anything wrong. My advice is to be at peace with this step and know the end result will make you happy and feed your soul. 

    Another layer, a dry mixture of sugar and cocoa is sprinkled over the batter and will help form the cobbler crust. 

    The final step before the cobbler bakes is to pour boiling water over everything in the dish, which sounds totally bananas, but it works. No stirring allowed! All of those layers will transform in the oven to a crackled, chewy crust with chocolate pudding hidden underneath.

    There will be a bit of jiggle to the cobbler when it comes out of the oven, and you don’t have to worry about the middle being underdone – remember, there are no eggs in this dish. It’s supposed to be completely ooey-gooey underneath that crackled crust.

    The cobbler will need to cool slightly before digging in. The pudding underneath will be molten and too hot to eat at first. This dish is best served warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream which cuts the richness and creates pools of cold cream over the warm chocolate pudding (swoon). If you don’t have any ice cream, then freshly whipped cream is lovely, too. 

    [click to print]
    Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler
    Yields 8-10 servings3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 185g) salted butter
    1 cup (120g) self-rising flour *see recipe notes
    1/2 cup (3 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
    3/4 cup (160g) packed light brown sugar, divided
    1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, divided
    7 tablespoons (67.5g) unsweet dark cocoa powder, divided
    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) boiling water
    Vanilla ice cream to servePreheat the oven to 350°F.Place the butter in an 11×7-inch baking dish (or similar size such as 8×8 square, I used a 1 1/2-quart round dish). Place the dish in the oven until the butter melts completely, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven.In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, chocolate chips, 1/2 cup (105 g) of the brown sugar, 1/3 cup (65g) of the granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons (30g) of the cocoa. In a separate measuring pitcher with a pour spout, combine the milk and vanilla; mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until batter forms with no streaks of flour remaining.Dollop the batter over the melted butter in the pan but do not stir. The batter will sink and the butter will pool to the top.In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining 5 tablespoons (37.5 g) of cocoa, 1/4 cup (55g) of brown sugar, and 2/3 cup (135g) of granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the baking dish. Do not stir.Gently pour the boiling water over the layered mixture in the pan. Do not stir.Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is formed and set on top. Cobbler may jiggle a little when removed from the oven, this is normal. Let cool slightly before portioning warm cobbler to dishes; top with scoops of vanilla ice cream.Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator. Re-warm bowls of cobbler in the microwave, or reheat ramekins of cobbler in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.Notes:
    If you don’t have salted butter, add a pinch of salt to the batter.If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Use in place of self-rising flour in this recipe.
    link Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler By Heather Baird Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2021Tuesday, January 12, 2021Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Lightened Up Mini Cheesecake Cups

    These small bites are just the right size to satisfy sweet cravings, and they're made lighter with fat-free ingredients. A simple kitchen trick transforms crisp pizzelle cookies into cookie cups.Many people use January to rethink their eating habits and reduce indulgences. I personally think that 2021 is not the year for reducing any small pleasures we can come by (so far). Here, dessert is – and will always be – on the menu.However, the holidays brought many rich things to our plates in the form of stately layer cakes, decadent chocolate, and so much candy. A few lighter desserts are in order, I think. These small cheesecake cups are made with creamy fat-free yogurt and cream cheese, so they taste absolutely indulgent but won't weigh you down.  Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO

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    Peppermint Stripe Mousse Cakes

    These festive tree-topped mousse cakes are wrapped in a red striped sponge and filled with pink peppermint mousse. Decorate them with your favorite holiday sprinkles.

    O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
    How lovely are thy … sprinkles?

    I couldn’t resist. I had a lot of fun making these cakes, and they are created using one of my favorite pastry techniques. Stencil paste is a pastry medium made with egg whites that you can whip up at home. Just tint it a fun color and then use it to pipe or stencil designs onto a silpat or parchment paper. 

    For these cakes, I spread the stencil paste on a silicone baking mat and used a cake comb to create striped designs in the paste. Some of my lines were a little wavy, but the cakes turned out cute anyway!

    The paste is chilled until it stiffens, and then sponge cake is spread evenly on top. 

    After a quick bake in the oven, the sheet of sponge cake is turned out to reveal the design. Then you can cut it or roll the cake according to your inspiration or design.

    For this project I cut lengths of sponge to fit inside 3″ pastry rings, and then filled each of them with delicious pink peppermint mousse. 

    After the mousse is chilled, the cakes are topped with a layer of snowy white buttercream, and then topped with a sugar cone. With just a little baker’s magic (green food color and a piping tip) the sugar cone becomes an evergreen tree.

    Gold and white sugar pearls made beautiful mini baubles for decorating, as did some super teeny tiny candy canes – I just love those!

    You can find the recipe and more instructions for these little cuties over at Food – and I’ll link it below, too! Also, be sure to check out the video I shot of the creation of these cakes, right here. 

    Peppermint Stripe Mousse Cakes on

    link Peppermint Stripe Mousse Cakes By Heather Baird Published: Thursday, December 17, 2020Thursday, December 17, 2020Peppermint Stripe Mousse Cakes Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Blue Holly Gingerbread Cake

    Celebrate Christmas this year with a pretty cake in hues of pink and blue! Layers of fluffy gingerbread cake are covered with silky Swiss meringue buttercream and crowned with a wreath of edible blue holly leaves. 

    My favorite Christmas décor tends to be nontraditional holiday colors. Red and green are nice (and I will always love red tartan!) but when December rolls around I festoon the workshop with white pine garlands, big pink globe ornaments, glittery turquoise pinecones, and magenta bows. It’s a happy place to be.

    I was inspired to make this cake while I was shopping for Christmas china in those nontraditional colors. I happened upon a retired pattern, vintage, and completely sold out. Powder blue holly floated around the rims of the plates. It was so beautiful that I decided right then to bring blue holly to life in one of my confections.

    And here is the result!  This gingerbread cake is three layers tall, filled and covered with lovely Swiss meringue buttercream, and covered with a white ganache drip. 

    A set of holly plunger cutters is required to make the wreath on top of the cake. I love these tools so much, because you can vein the fondant as you stamp out the leaves! Make them a day ahead. They’ll need to dry so they become rigid enough to stand upright in the buttercream on top of the cake.

    I hope you’re not tired of drip cakes yet! I still love the effect, and I think it looks really pretty against the pink on this cake. A fat rope of piped blue buttercream on the top edge of the cake serves as a wreath base for all those holly leaves!

    I couldn’t resist a sprinkle mix with red, blue and pink baubles. I can no longer find the mix I used available for purchase, but you can find some very similar sprinkles right here (just add a few pink Sixlets to get a near match)!  

    This gingerbread cake is for people who aren’t shy about using ginger! It uses both ground and fresh ginger, and the baked cake has deep brown sugar and molasses notes. It will definitely wake up any sleepy winter taste buds with zingy flavor!

    This cake tastes like the holidays – there’s no denying it! Its bold ginger flavor is tempered by the silky, creamy texture of the buttercream. It’s the perfect ending to any holiday feast!

    Blue Holly Gingerbread Cake
    [Click for Printable Version]
    Yields about 12 servings

    Cut the fondant holly leaves a day before you plan to assemble the cake. They need time to firm up enough to stand rigid on the top circle of frosting.

    Blue holly leaves
    1/2 lb. light blue fondant
    Holly fondant plunger cutters (see post for link)

    Knead fondant until pliable. Roll to 1/4-inch on a countertop lightly dusted with cornstarch. Punch holly leaves out of the fondant using the cutters. Dry the leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet overnight.

    Gingerbread cake layers
    3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon cloves
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup (227 grams) butter, softened
    1 cup (210 grams) packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup (280 grams) blackstrap molasses
    1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    1 1/4 cup (296 ml) whole milk

    Preheat oven to 350F. Spray three 8 inch cake pans with flour-based cooking spray (recommend Baker’s Joy) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. 

    In the bowl of an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer running, slowly add molasses, followed by grated ginger. Beat until well mixed.

    Scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour mixture with the milk in 3 additions, scraping down sides of mixing bowl after each addition. Begin and end with flour. Mix until well combined.

    Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven on the same rack together, about 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out  clean. Check at 25 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and allow the layers to cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning them out. Cool completely.

    Swiss meringue buttercream
    10 egg whites
    2 cups/400g sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 lbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
    Pink gel food color
    Sky blue gel food color
    Pink, blue, and red sprinkle mix

    Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
    Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl (I suggest a stainless bowl). Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (120-140 degrees on a candy thermometer, to be sure).

    Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
    Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
    Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).

    Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition. The mixture will deflate as the butter is added – don’t worry! Just keep adding all of the butter. When the last of the butter has been added, beat on high speed until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract.  

    Remove 1 1/3 cups of the frosting to a bowl; cover with a damp towel. Remove about 2/3 of the remaining frosting to a mixing bowl. Add pink gel food color and mix until consistently pink. Cover with a damp towel until ready to use. Tint the remaining portion of the frosting with a few dabs of blue food color until a light blue color is achieved. Transfer the blue frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large open star pastry tip. Set aside.

    Place a cake layer on a serving plate or stand. Fill cake each cake layer with about 2/3 cup of white frosting. Apply a thin crumb coat of pink frosting to the outside of the cake; refrigerate until firm. Apply a second thicker coat of pink frosting to the outside of the cake as evenly as possible (a cake smoother or bench scraper is recommended.) Refrigerate until firm.  Meanwhile make the white ganache drip.

    White ganache drip
    12 oz. bright white candy melting wafers
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

    Place the melting wafers and heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mixture at 100% power for 1 minute. Let stand 1 minute and whisk together until smooth and glossy. Let cool until barely warm but still pourable.

    When the cake is well-chilled, pour the ganache onto the top center of the cake, allowing the excess to drip down the sides of the cake (you may not have to use all of the ganache).  Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

    When the cake is chilled, pipe a thick undulating rope of the blue icing around the top edge of the cake. Immediately top with some of the sprinkle mix. Arrange holly leaves in the frosting around the entire top edge of the cake, creating a wreath of blue holly. Add more sprinkles, if desired.

    Serve slices of cake at room temperature. 

    link Blue Holly Gingerbread Cake By Heather Baird Published: Friday, December 11, 2020Friday, December 11, 2020Blue Holly Gingerbread Cake Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes

    Fluffy almond cupcakes are filled with delicious plum preserves and topped with a tall swirl of purple buttercream. Lavender sanding sugar makes them sparkle and gives them a crunchy bite.

    It’s not hard to guess what inspired these cupcakes! I can practically hear Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies from the Nutcracker Suite when I look at them. When I was a teenager, my mom would take me to see the live ballet in December, and I’d marvel at the athleticism – effortless leaps and twirls that seemed to go on and on! It was pure magic.
    When I found a package of old-school ballerina toppers hidden in my stash of cake decors, I knew I wanted to capture a little of that magic in cupcake form.

    This recipe makes a whole troupe of cupcakes!  Plenty for you to enjoy and share with friends. If you do plan to share, you’ll need some extra-tall cupcake boxes (like this) to accommodate the tiny dancers, or you could scale down the frosting swirl just a wee bit! (I’m a frosting girl, can you tell?)

    The recipe begins with a one-bowl cupcake recipe. That means that all the ingredients are stirred up in one big bowl and there’s less dishes to do! The cakes bake to a firm yet soft crumb that’s perfect for filling. Damson plum filling is delicious in these cupcakes, and you can find the brand I use here. 

    For the piped frosting, I used a large drop flower tip (Wilton 2D) to pipe white flowers around the outer edge of the cupcakes. For the center, a large open star tip (Ateco 828) makes a tall soft serve-style swirl.

    These vintage-inspired ballerinas got a sugar plum makeover with pinky-purple acrylic paint and German glitter. You can find the ballerinas here, in my pal Amanda’s shop Cranky Cakes.  

    The plum preserves give the almond cakes a tart, fruity note which is nice with all of that buttercream, but I think my favorite part is the lavender sanding sugar on top. You’ll get a little sugar crunch between your teeth when you bite them!Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes 
    [Click for Printable Version]
    Yields about 20 cupcakesCakes
    2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar 
    2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup shortening (very soft but not melted, Crisco is best)
    3/4 cup milk 
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons almond extract
    1 1/2 cups plum preservesPreheat the oven to 350F. Line two cupcake tins with papers.In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the soft/room temperature shortening, milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat together using a hand mixer until all the ingredients are well blended; don’t over-beat (over-beating will cause the centers to sink as they bake).Pour into the prepared pans, about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to wire cooling racks and cool completely.When the cupcakes are cooled, cut a hole in the top of each cupcake and remove the cake piece. It should be large enough to accommodate 1 tablespoon of preserves. Trim the cake piece flat and replace on top of the cupcake.Almond Buttercream
    1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 lb. (1 large bag, about 8 cups) confectioners’ sugar
    Milk or cream to thin (I used 5-6 tablespoons)
    2 teaspoons almond extract
    Neon purple food color
    Lavender sanding sugar
    Ballerina cupcake toppers, 20 ct.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the butter until creamy; add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on low speed. When the sugar is mostly absorbed, increase the mixer speed. Add milk or cream a little at a time until the mixture comes to piping consistency (soft, but not too lax). Beat in the almond extract.Transfer 1/3 of the white icing to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. With the mixer running, add the neon purple food color a little at a time to the remaining buttercream. When a vibrant purple hue is achieved, transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. Have the sanding sugar placed in a bowl and ready to hand before you begin piping.Using the white icing, pipe stars around the outside edge of each cupcake. Using the purple icing, pipe a large swirl in the center of a cupcake and immediately sprinkle with lavender sanding sugar. Continue piping purple swirls on the cupcakes, and immediately after piping a swirl top it with sanding sugar (don’t wait around – the buttercream will crust and the sugar won’t stick!).Top each cupcake with a ballerina topper, if using.

    link Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes By Heather Baird Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2020Tuesday, December 08, 2020Sugar Plum Fairy Cupcakes Recipe LEGGI TUTTO