Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chocofetti Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

My "little” guy just had another birthday. His fifth! It just seems like yesterday, he was still my sweet baby boy and now, he is getting so big and independent. It all happened so fast. Too fast!

This year, he wanted to bring funfetti cupcakes for his birthday celebration at school. Great! So here I am, searching the internet for a homemade recipe that would look good and taste good. It turns out I didn't have to look too far. I found THE recipe from Laurie at Simply Scratch, one of my favorite blogs. Since every recipe I have tried from her is a winner, I didn't even do a trial batch. The funfetti cupcakes, topped with cream cheese frosting, were fantastic and the kids devoured them.

Then, a few days later, came the real birthday party... and another 60 cupcakes to bake. I decided to make a few variations to Laurie's recipe and I am really happy with the results. The cake is even more moist and airy and perfectly balances out the richness of the chocolate ganache frosting.

Makes 24-28 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
  • ¾ cup egg whites (about 6 large egg whites) = 175 ml de blanc d'oeufs
  • 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk = 235 ml de lait entier ou ribot
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract = 2 cuillères à café d'extrait de vanille
  • 3 cups unbleached cake four, sifted = 350 g de farine à gateaux, tamisée
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, sifted = 300 g de sucre, tamisé
  • 1 ½ tablespoon baking powder = 1 ½ cuillère à soupe de levure chimique
  • Pinch salt = une pincée de sel
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened = 170 g de beurre, ramolli
  • ½ cup (about 3 oz.) chocolate sprinkles = 85 g de vermicelles au chocolat
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
  • 1 ¾ cups natural unsweetened cocoa = 200 g de cacao en poudre (type Van Houten)
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar = 450 g de sucre glace
  • 1 cup heavy cream = 235 ml de crème liquide
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened = 230 g de beurre, ramolli
  • Pinch salt = une pincée de sel
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract = 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille

Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC and place paper liners in cupcake pans.

Whisk together the egg whites, vanilla extract and milk in a medium bowl.

Combine the dry ingredients (sifted cake flour and sugar, baking powder, salt) in a mixing bowl. Use kitchen-aid fitted with the paddle attachment to stir the dry mix with the softened butter. Slowly add the milk and egg mixture, stopping and scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl a few times. Gently fold in the chocolate sprinkles and pour batter into each paper liner, about half way up.

Bake for 17-18 minutes. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the ganache frosting: mix the cocoa and 1 ½ cup confectioners' sugar in a bowl.

Bring cream to a simmer on the stove and whisk into cocoa/sugar mixture. Whisk for a minute until no lump remains. Set aside.

Place butter, salt, and remaining 2 cups confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add cocoa mixture until it's all incorporated. Scrape the bowl, then beat at medium speed for one more minute.

Frost cupcakes with the ganache mixture (use Wilton 1M tip for a nice swirl design). Keep frosted cupcakes in the fridge until about one hour before ready to serve. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Creamy Marsala Mustard Sauce

This sauce is rich but so flavorful that a little goes a long way. Serve it on top of sautéed chicken or grilled pork chops, or toss it with plain pasta for a quick vegetarian dish.

Makes one batch, serves 4
  • ¼ cup Marsala wine = 60 ml de Marsala
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard = 1 cuillère à soupe de moutarde à l'ancienne
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard = 1 cuillère à café de moutarde forte (Dijon)
  • ½ cup heavy cream = 120 ml de crème fraiche liquide

If you sautéed some chicken or pork, use the same skillet. If not, use a medium saucepan.

Heat skillet/saucepan over medium heat, add Marsala and simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half. Add both mustards and heavy cream, stir and cook until heated through. Done! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salmon Chowder

Except for a few freezing days, the winter has been pretty mild this year. Yet, I still have been making soup almost weekly. While I never get tired of healthy vegetable soups, I find this creamy chowder brings a nice change to the table.

Serves 4-6
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), rinsed and sliced = 1 poireau, rinsé et coupé en rondelles
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced = 2 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill = ½ cuillère à café d'aneth séchée
  • 4 or 5 baby red potatoes, scrubbed and diced = 4 ou 5 petites pommes de terre rouge, nettoyées et coupées en petits dés
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour = 2 cuillères à soupe de farine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth = 475 ml de bouillon de légumes
  • 2 tablespoons capers = 2 cuillères à soupe de capres
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice = 1 cuillère à soupe de jus de citron
  • 1 ½ cups milk (2 %) = 350 ml de lait écrémé
  • ½ cup heavy cream = 120 ml de crème fraiche liquide
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon, chopped = 115 g de saumon fumé, coupé en petits morceaux
  • Pepper = poivre
  • Salt (optional – taste before adding as smoked salmon is already quite salty) = sel (facultatif)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic and dill. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes and flour, cook for a couple of minutes. Add broth, capers and lemon juice. Stir and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk and heavy cream while stirring. Let milk/cream get warm, then add smoked salmon. Season with pepper (and salt, if using). Serve immediately. Enjoy!