Friday, August 31, 2012

August Roundup

Thanks to everyone for the lovely anniversary wishes and thanks for participating in the chocolate challenge. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Makin' Whoopie... Pies, that is...

Posted by - Dorrie

First, congratulations to my beloved friend Rena and Have the Cake on the blog's three year anniversary this month.  Who among us knew three years ago that the blog would become this big, this popular (and that I would participate so little)? Sorry about that Rena!

But this month, with an open-ended challenge of anything chocolate, I found time to participate, went for it with gusto and made Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies with Chocolate Ganache filling.

Whoopie Pies are not something I know much about, as this is not a food served much here in the Rocky Mountains, but we have some close friends who are natives of New Hampshire who did grow up with this treat.  They recent gave me a book by Viola Goren, aptly titled "Whoopie Pies" and kindly told me that I was a good enough baker to be trusted to recreate them.

As with all sea-level baking recipes, I made a few high altitude adjustments in order to save myself the disappointment of sunken cavities in the centers of the cakes.  6,000 feet high in the Rockies is a wonderful place to live, but not to bake, unless you know how to fix sea-level recipes.  The moisture (sugar, oil, eggs, etc.) must be reduced in a few places to allow for the lack of oxygen up here.

Below is the original recipe with my high-altitude adjustments noted:

Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pie
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 oz. butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar (reduced to 1 cup for high altitude)
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (reduced to 3/4 cup for high altitude)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet (or sheets) with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside.  In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until light.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients until well blended and then add sour cream and chocolate chips (I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips).

Drop the batter onto the previously prepared baking sheets, ensuring at least 2 inches of space between each.  Bake for 7-10 minutes, testing for the cakes to spring back from a gentle finger touch in the center.

Allow to cool before filling.

Chocolate Ganache Filling
10 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons butter

Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from the heat immediately.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter in a bowl and allow to stand for about 1 minute.  Stir or whisk until the mixture is smooth and shiny.  Set aside or put in the refrigerator to cool and firm up until spreadable.
Spread the ganache on the flat bottom of one cake and press another on top to make sandwiches.
Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pie with Ganache Filling
Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pie with Ganache Filling
If you're like me, then make every attempt to hold off eating one until you've had a square meal that involves plenty of vegetables, fail miserably and eat one while the ganache is still a little warm.  And then have another for dessert, because you're the chef and you deserve a little Whoopie! for your Whoopie Pie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Posted by -colleen

Chocolate Chip Cookies are my all-time favorite cookie so I will try just about any recipe in my search for the best one. It's been a while since I've posted for Have the Cake, but this month's challenge presented an excuse to try another variation!

I have been finding tons of recipes on Pinterest and this particular one caught my eye last week:

The author's description made these sound too good to be true so it seemed like a no-brainer. Sadly, they are not my new favorite. I didn't do my usual recipe-tweaking (replacing butter, oils, sugars, etc) and stayed mostly true to the post. The only change was the amount of chocolate. 2 pounds seemed like too much. I was was wrong. I ended up with a lot of plain cookies. Also, this recipe makes A LOT so be prepared! I still have some dough to bake up in my fridge!

Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies
1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.
- Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.
- Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Here's my take on these: They were too buttery and probably could have used more brown sugar. The texture was perfect but the taste was just not quite right. I brought them to work and people loved them so I guess it was just me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August Monthly Challenge - Chocolate

Posted by - Cynthia L. at Feeding Big

Baking for One

Big is out of town, so I am cooking for myself again. I must admit, this week I have been busy canning and freezing vegetables and haven't felt much like cooking. I did make some Sopa De Fideo on Wednesday. It was delicious!

I am a lover of sweets but have always hated to bake for myself because that means I have to eat it all! I grew up with my parents telling my brother and I to eat everything on our plates. I guess I still feel that way and will not waste food.

When I was at the library a couple weeks ago, I found the book, Small Batch Baking. The book has recipes for Cakes, Tarts, Pies, Cookies and even some breads and muffins. Most recipes serve 2.

I enjoyed making the recipe. It was quick and easy to pull together. The brownie was moist and chewy and very flavorful. I am looking forward to trying many more of the recipes!

White Chocolate Blondies
Adapted from Small Batch Baking
by Debbie Maugans Nakos

Makes 4 Brownies - Serves 2 - 4


Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the loaf pan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 TBL well beaten egg
1 TBL unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds, lightly toasted
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Pan required - 1 standard loaf pan (9 X 5 inches)


Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of aluminum foil to fit down the length and up the short sides, with enough extra length to extend over the edges by about 1 1/2 inches. Lightly grease the foil and set the pan aside. (Note: I used a small square corning ware dish and used parchment paper to line the bottom and up the sides.)

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk to blend

Place the brown sugar, egg, butter and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to blend.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until blended. Stir in the white chocolate chips and the almonds.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until the top is golden and dry, 22 to 23 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan. Then, use the edges of the foil to lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into 4 bars.

I hope you will consider trying this recipe. It would be good as an after school snack, a date night desert or something you make for yourself when the house is empty and you want to treat yourself!
Thanks for stopping by! Look forward to seeing you again!
Linking to: Have the Cake, monthly challenge (Chocolate)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Hedgehog Cupcakes

Posted by - bakingaddict 

Happy Anniversary Have the Cake!!

As soon as I saw these super cute chocolate hedgehog cupcakes on one of my favourite blogs Not Quite Nigella I knew I had to make them. They were bumped up to the top of my to bake list and I'm glad I did as they are really fun to make and tastes deliciously chocolatey. It's a chocolate mud cupcake with a chocolate sour cream frosting decorated with even more chocolate in the form of Twirl bars - a true choc-a-holic's heaven :)

As I used Twirl bars which contain the letter "T", I am entering them to AlphaBakes which is hosted by myself this month and co-hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes. There will be a very special prize for AlphaBakes this month so check back later to see what it is and get baking in the kitchen for a chance to win - trust me you won't want to miss it :)

I'm also entering this to bookmarked recipes hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes who was recently voted top vegetarian food blogs by Red magazine online - congratulations!

As these are cupcakes, I'm entering them to Cupcake Tuesday hosted by Liz from Hoosier Homemade, the Cupcake Lady!

 The batter will be quite liquid but don't worry

 Lots of cracks but no one will know once you've decorated them :)

 making the sour cream chocolate frosting - yum! 

 I used twirl bars as they are one of my favourites - you can also use flake bars which might look more realistic. I used a tube of white chocolate writing icing for the eyes and edible black 'eyes' that I bought at Cake International earlier this year. 

 Smooth the icing on top of the cupcake - don't worry about neatness. Form the eyes and nose as shown 

 add chopped twirl bars vertically to create a hedgehog effect 

 so cute! 

 2D version  as I ran out of twirl bars and only had the crumbs left! 

Addendum 4/8/12 - My friend Kate loved these so much she decided to make a giant hedgehog cake for her sister-in-law's birthday! Awesome job! 

 Victoria sponge cake with chocolate buttercream decorated with flakes and M&M's 

Recipe from Not Quite Nigella

Makes 15 cupcakes 
For chocolate mud cupcakes

165g butter
120g dark chocolate broken up into pieces
225g light brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup plain flour
30g cornflour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg

Chocolate sour cream frosting

40g unsalted butter
85g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
150g icing sugar
1/2 tablespoon golden syrup
65 ml sour cream

To decorate:

8 twin twirl bars, chopped into 2cm/1 inch pieces and crumbled up
Edible eyes 
White chocolate writing icing

1. Preheat oven to 150c fan forced or 170c non fan forced.

2. Place butter, chocolate, sugar, the water in small saucepan over low heat until melted and combined. Cool for 15 minutes.

3. Using a whisk, add flour, cocoa and then egg (at this stage it will look like liquidey dark chocolate ganache). Spoon into cupcake cases. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin.

4. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a microwave. In a food processor, whizz the icing sugar to get rid of any lumps and then add the sour cream, melted chocolate and butter and golden syrup.

5. Spread over the cupcake generously (you will need it a thickish coating to allow the chocolate to sit up. Refrigerate to make the icing a bit firmer.
6. Decorate as shown above.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happy Anniversary & August Challenge

Today is Have the Cake's THIRD anniversary!

Welcome to all our new bakers and thank you to my friends and fellow bakers who have been along for the ride since the beginning. 

To celebrate our third anniversary, our challenge this month is CHOCOLATE! GO CRAZY! Make anything you want with chocolate. I'm excited to see what you come up with.

photo from

Posted by - Rena