Tag Archives: peppermint

Recipe: Chocolate Truffle Cake Pops That Really Should Be Vegan

Why yes, this is indeed another Wedding Cake Leftovers post.  Is anyone really surprised by this?  This time, the cake bits in question were the vegan sachertorte cakes.  I also had leftover dark chocolate, leftover milk and leftover cream – which is why these cake pops didn’t turn out vegan.  But there is no reason why yours shouldn’t be!  I was really just trying to avoid wasting ingredients, and decided that on this occasion, that was more important than feeding my vegan scientists.  I’ll make something for them next time, don’t worry.

This is another super easy recipe, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out – the cake pops really taste like chocolate truffles, but they are much easier to make, because the cake crumbs make them a bit less sticky than pure ganache, and a lot more inclined to roll into nice, neat balls.

Because I had what seemed like acres of chocolate cake crumbs, I wound up dividing my mixture in two and flavouring half of it with freeze dried raspberry powder that I had discovered in my freezer, and the other half with six little peppermint candy sticks leftover from Christmas, which I found in my pantry.  So despite being an extremely decadent, rich, fudgy chocolate truffle recipe, this also counts as an extremely frugal recipe!!!

Yeah, that’s not so convincing, is it?

But it is quite a good pantry-and-fridge-clearing recipe, which counts for something, I think.

 

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Recipe: Choc-Mint Birthday Cupcakes for Andrew

It’s Andrew’s birthday today!  Happy birthday, Andrew!  Every year, I ask him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, and every year, I get a slightly terrified look (you want me to make a decision?  About food?), followed by a sheepish acknowledgement, after some discussion, that yes, he does want something chocolatey and minty.  Again.  Because being an Andrew means wanting choc-mint everything all the time.  (He knows what he likes…)

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The problem with Andrew having a birthday at this time of year is that he never gets a truly elaborate birthday cake, mostly because I am in the middle of grant season.  This grant season has been particularly diabolical, too, what with the NHMRC compressing all the due dates so that all the grants are due a week apart, changing the rules twice (so far), and then our finance department providing the coup de grace by introducing new costings for all our internal services the day all the budgets were due to the grants office.   It’s all rather exhausting, not to say demoralising, and while it’s awfully early in the year to be losing the will to live, I, for one, am getting close to that point.

(The good news is that I’m getting a lot of singing work, which is always a balm to the soul.  Though not conducive to blogging.  So yes, there is a significant chance that I will be disappearing off the radar quite a bit over the next couple of months.  And I’m sorry about that lengthy whinge.  As I said, I’m feeling rather demoralised.)

Here, have some cupcakes to un-demoralise you.

Here, have some cupcakes to un-demoralise you.

Anyway.  Cake!  So, as you may have gathered, my priority for Andrew’s birthday cake is to produce a cake that is on the one hand suitably choc-minty and decadent, and on the other hand really, really fast to make.  Which, oddly enough, tends to mean vegan or nearly-vegan, since most of those cupcake recipes are very straightforward.  As a bonus, of course, this means that I can easily cater to my sister-in-law, who prefers to avoid dairy if possible.

These cupcakes, then, are just a nice, simple, vegan cupcake, flavoured with really good cocoa, and an optional (non vegan) cube of mint-filled chocolate in the centre.  I’ve topped them with a really basic peppermint-spiked chocolate tofu mousse, which is, frankly, easier to make than chocolate ganache, and not a lot more complicated than chocolate buttercream, and much tastier.

Not elaborate, but entirely delicious.  Which is really all you can ask for from a cupcake…

Your Shopping List (Makes seven big cupcakes – one for everyone in the family, plus an extra one for the birthday boy)

2/3 cup almond milk + 20 ml for the topping
3/4 tsp cider or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup plain flour or plain spelt flour
1/4 cup really good Dutch-style cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
7 squares of Cadbury Peppermint Block, or similar (optional)
125 g silken tofu
2 tsp creme de cacao (optional)
115 g dark chocolate
6 drops peppermint oil, or peppermint essence to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon)
Green sugar, optional

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Recipe: Weirdly Addictive Mostly Raw Peppermint Raspberry Truffles

I can already hear what you are thinking.  You are thinking, wow, that’s a really bizarre combination for truffles.  And you are quite right, of course.  These truffles are not love at first bite.  Your brain and palate are far too busy trying to work out whether they are peppermint truffles or raspberry truffles to really delight in them.  But when you sneakily go back for more – just to try to work out what they actually do taste like – you discover that, actually, they really are rather good.  And you want another one.  And another after that.

The fact that they are shaped like teeny tiny teddy bears doesn’t hurt, either.

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Of course, this still doesn’t explain what possessed me to come up with such a bizarre flavour idea.  In fact, it was a unique conjunction of events.

First, today is Andrew’s birthday (happy birthday, Andrew!), and Andrew really likes chocolatey peppermint things.  Over the fifteen or so years we have known each other, I have been steadily escalating the chocolate-mint birthday cakes to ever more ridiculous levels of elaboration and richness.

But the last few weeks have been absolutely hellish at work, and not a lot of fun outside it.  Which I haven’t been, very much, because I have been working very long hours just to keep up.  So by the time I got home yesterday evening, I was in no mood for serious baking.  Raw truffles seemed like just the thing.

Which brings me to the third factor (which may be the one you don’t want to know about, but if I have to suffer, I don’t see why others should escape scot-free), and that is the fact that I currently have my period.  And, in addition to causing quite a bit of pain and other un-fun side effects, my period has a truly bizarre effect on my sense of smell.  Since I cook largely by smell, this means that my culinary judgment at this time of the month becomes seriously iffy, and in really good months, I get to have a nervous breakdown about the fact that I can’t cook, that everything I cook tastes terrible, that everything I cook will always taste terrible, and if I can’t cook, then what is the point of even being a Catherine?

Add all this together with the fact that I’m seriously tired, and what you get is a Catherine who is trying to adapt a recipe while simultaneously not being capable of reading it correctly, and who then finds herself with something that tastes like Dreadfully Wrong Peppermint Truffle, casts wildly about the pantry and the freezer for something with which to fix it, and randomly throws in an entire packet of freeze-dried raspberries.

Of such conjunctions, brilliant recipes are not made… but, in spite of everything, this is still actually quite a good one.  The coconut oil is optional, because I put it in by accident and strongly suspect that this was the reason my truffle mixture separated in such an unsightly fashion.

After all this, you might well ask why I am posting such a manifestly imperfect recipe.  It’s quite simple, really.  I can’t stop eating these things.  They are seriously more-ish.  I have no idea what it is that makes them work – they shouldn’t work, I’m quite positive, and yet, I keep going back to the fridge for more.  And my sister-in-law felt the same way about them, so it’s not just weird Catherinishness.  There’s something in this flavour combination that actually does work.  I just don’t know what.

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This teddy bear is here to help you.

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1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder or good dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted cocoa butter
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup pistachio butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
5 tbsp water
1/2 tsp, or thereabouts, peppermint oil
40 g freeze-dried raspberries

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