Chocolate and Mocha Chantilly Mini Trifles

These chocolate cubes at the bottom are actually Alice Medrich’s “Chocolate deception” cake that I failed to unmold and extracted in two pieces. I should have known better that this kind of cake wouldn’t be easy to separate from the pan after an overnight refrigeration. I should have trusted my inner voice and baked it in a spring-form pan wrapped in foil, just like a cheesecake. But frankly, I was too lazy to bother with foil, and Alice’s suggestion was to use a regular pan, so … that’s how it ended.

Since the initial plan to present the cake in one piece and slice it at the table was out of the question, I needed a plan B. The cake was chopped in cubes, divided between small bowls and topped with mocha chantilly – milk chocolate whipped cream infused with French-roast coffee beans. It all ended well. And nobody would have known about my little mishap if I hadn’t blogged about it.

By the way, the cake – is to die for. It’s rather melt-in-your-mouth dense chocolate mousse, than a cake. But what surprises the most is how being so rich in taste the cake contains so little fat. I do highly recommend it, only bake it in a spring-form pan.

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Valentine’s Day Roses and Pearls Cake

I wish everyone the most romantic Valentine’s Day!

This heart-shaped cake was a Valentine’s Day surprise from a loving mother to her son and daughter-in-law (quite a nice gesture on her behalf, if you ask me).

There’s a ton of white chocolate inside and out. The roses and leaves are made from modeling chocolate. The ribbon around the cake is fondant. First, I wanted to make it from the same chocolate plastic, but the yellowish tint of chocolate didn’t go so well with these pink roses and ivory cameo, so I opted for the cleaner light ivory-colored fondant instead. The pearls and cameo are made from gum paste.

This is an orange-flavored cake, soaked in grand Marnier syrup and filled with St. Dalfour strawberry jam and white chocolate-cream cheese filling, and frosted with Swiss meringue orange buttercream.

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Thomas the Tank Engine Tutorial

The long time promised tutorial for the Thomas the Tank Engine figure is available now! I included the instructions for setting the figure on a cake and finishing it with ties and rails. If you have any questions I am always happy to help, don’t hesitate to ask.

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Oatmeal Coconut Raisin Cookies

After all fancy holiday cooking and baking, and overindulging (pigging-out is actually the word), I crave simple things. These are as good as it gets. Freshly baked, they have a great texture – crispy outside and chewy interior. The following day the crispiness, unfortunately, is gone, but the flavor gets even better, so I think it makes a perfect sense to bake as many of them.

The recipe is from Alice Medrich’s Cookie book.

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Gingerbread Pizzelle with Eggnog Buttercream Filling

I hope everyone had truly wonderful Christmas. I wish you a prosperous and joyful 2012, and the most amazing New Year celebration!

There are dozens of possible filling choices for pizzelle. The buttercream has a major advantage – it doesn’t soften a crispy pizzelle shell even if they were filled a day in advance. There’s just one thing to remember when choosing buttercream as a filling: roll the pizzelle cookies tight, so the amount of buttercream inside wouldn’t be excessive and in a good proportion with the cookie itself.

Smooth and creamy crème anglaise-based buttercream is so naturally turned into eggnog-flavored one by addition of nutmeg and dark rum. It goes well with crispy spicy pizzelle shells.

Happy New Year!

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Chocolate Cocoa Nib Cherry Biscotti and Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Here I am speeding up the baking process. These two different in taste biscotti are made from one chocolate dough.

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