Posts filed under 'Truffle'
Starry Night Cupcake Project – cupcakes frosted with dark chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate stars brushed with edible gold dust and a sprinkling of silver dragees; includes a 6.5 inch round cake with a similar design. Price available upon request.
gold stars for a retired general
After three cupcake projects in a row, I was itching for a much-needed break. Then came M._’s email inquiring about a cake and cupcake package for her dad’s 65th birthday. To hell with that break; on with the new project!
M._ was a joy to work with because in her initial email, she gave me the specifics I needed: age and gender of the celebrator, type and date of event, quantity of cupcakes and the budget. She just told me to provide the theme. Since it was for an elderly male, I suggested the Starry Night design with devil’s food chocolate (frosted with dark chocolate ganache), mocha (frosted with mocha ganache) and earl grey tea (frosted with earl grey tea truffle) as cupcake flavors. Fortunately, I have a cake that has a similar design so I suggested that as well. M._ agreed with my suggestions and so the project was on.
Actually this is an upgrade of the Starry Night design. I love the freehand chocolate star topper I make but in this tropical weather we have, it melts easily because it is quite thin. I found a star chocolate mold and thought the molded chocolate topper will work better.
The cake, however, still has the freehand chocolate stars. M._ requested if I can write a birthday greeting on the cake, so there. The cake base is mocha with bits of chocolate coffee candies and is filled with dark chocolate ganache and covered in chocolate glaze.
When M._ came to get the cake and cupcakes, she told me that the design I suggested was perfect for her father who turned out to be a retired general. Coincidence, huh. I suggested the design because as the one celebrating a birthday, you are the star of the occasion and gold symbolises perfection, achievement, and power while silver symbolises strength. Anyway, thanks M._ for your trust and I hope your dad liked his birthday cake and cupcakes!
July 27th, 2011
Have you ever eaten one of those gourmet chocolates which have some sort of printed designs on their tops? I found out that they are done using magnetic chocolate molds and chocolate transfer sheets. Magnetic molds have two pieces, bottom and sides, that are held together by magnets. The transfer sheet is an acetate sheet that has a design on one side This is placed in between the molds which are then locked and when the chocolate has set, you pull apart the mold, peel the sheet and voila, the design (made of cocoa butter) is transferred to the chocolate and you have sophisticated chocolate bonbons ready to be savored. Here is an easy tutorial on how they are done.
I don’t have any magnetic molds on hand and I don’t want to splurge on them yet (price starts at $45), so I just used a 1″x 1″x 1/2″ petit four chocolate candy mold that has been gathering dust somewhere in our kitchen shelf. I cut the transfer sheet to fit each cavity and proceeded to make truffle-filled chocolate confections.
Don’t you agree that the chocolates look awesome? The green and black chocolates didn’t require any transfer sheet but they are spectacular as well. Now if I can only get my hands on that chocolate tempering machine that I so covet …
February 22nd, 2010
Matcha Harmony Cupcake v. 2 – buttery cupcake made with matcha powder, iced with white chocolate truffle flavored with matcha and topped with a white chocolate disc with a handmade imprint of the Japanese calligraphy character “harmony”. Now at reduced price!
same delicious taste at reduced price
I finally managed to check out the Japanese grocery stores in Cartimar after a recent visit there. My heart skipped a beat and I think I jumped a little from excitement when I discovered in the last store I entered a pack that appeared to be matcha. Though I could not understand the writing on the pack, the pictures told the story.
So I bought some and as soon as I got home, I prepared it the traditional way. It tasted pretty good, not as flavorful as the high-grade that I buy from Japan but good enough. There is also no trace of bitterness that usually characterizes lower grade tea. I thought it would work well with cupcakes and to my delight, it did—I was impressed! The taste is comparable to my original matcha cupcakes though the color is a lighter green. This is truly heaven sent! I will be using this matcha for my baked goods from now on. And since I don’t have to buy direct from Japan (no more expensive shipping charges!) that means the price of my Matcha Harmony Cupcakes will be greatly reduced.
Another thing I like about this matcha is that it comes in 1-gram foil packets. Aside from being convenient, I only have to open the packets I need so I get fresh matcha every time. Whereas in the traditional packaging, once you open it, you have to consume the matcha within several days or else the delicate flavor will begin to diminish.
The cupcakes made with this matcha still taste like Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream. So what’s not to love?
October 7th, 2009
Nutella Hazelnut Cupcakes – chocolate cupcakes with a generous filling of Nutella and topped with ganache made of more Nutella and chopped hazelnuts. Price available upon request.
crazy over nutella
Nutella (“new-tell-uh”) is a creamy spread made from ground hazelnuts, skim milk and cocoa. It is traditionally spread on bread but it is just as good (maybe even better) eaten out of the jar.
This chocolate cupcake is generously filled with Nutella (two teaspoonsfull!) and the topping is a chunky ganache made with cream, Nutella and chopped hazelnuts. This is my cupcake version of a well-known small chocolate confection with wafer and hazelnut center, enrobed in chocolate mixed with chopped hazelnuts and wrapped in gold foil. I was also tempted to name this cupcake after that confection but I might be sued by the Italian chocolatier who manufactures these!
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Nutella was produced in the 1940s in Italy by Pietro Ferrero. It was World War II and cocoa was scarce so Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts to extend the chocolate supply. Called pasta gianduja, it was first made in loaf form and wrapped in tin foil to be sliced and placed in between bread slices to make sandwiches. A spreadable version packaged in a jar was soon made and this later on came to be known as Nutella. Nutella became so popular that it led to “The Smearing”. Children could go to their local food stores with a slice of bread for a “smear” of this “supercrema gianduja.”
Nutella can now be found in 75 countries and is reported to outsell all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide.
source: Nutella USA
May 15th, 2009
Matcha Harmony Cupcake – soft, buttery cupcake made with high-grade matcha powder from Japan, iced with white chocolate truffle flavored with matcha, and topped with a handmade white chocolate disc imprinted with a Japanese calligraphy character depicting “harmony”. Price available upon request.
going green and loving it
I admit I have never tasted a green tea cake before, let alone matcha when I thought of making these cupcakes. But I was intrigued by the flavor and its popularity in cupcake blogs so I gave it a try.
What is matcha anyway? Matcha is the green tea served in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It has also become a favorite of tea enthusiasts because of its health benefits; it is rich in theanine, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, caffeine, and minerals. It is unique among all teas because it is ground into powder, thus when you drink it, you ingest all the nutrients and natural flavor of the tea leaf, including oil soluble constituents (vitamins A and E, fiber) which are not extracted into water when brewing loose tea leaves. According to one site, one cup of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of brewed green tea in terms of nutritional value.
Finding the right matcha was a challenge. I found a sweetened matcha in the grocery but this was really just good as a beverage. I visited several local Japanese supermarkets hoping to get this precious stuff but I always end up empty-handed. After countless searches, I finally found this online Japanese store—yay! As I do not know which to buy, I chose one priced at mid-range and described as high quality (mind you, matcha IS expensive!). I liked it but there was a slight bitterness to it. Miss O._ of Ippodo advised me that the higher the grade of the matcha, the better it will taste. The Japanese refer to this unique flavor as “umami” which in green tea is characterized by full-bodied mellow sweetness (theanine, an amino acid is responsible for giving matcha this flavorful taste). Right. Higher grade = richer umami = costlier price!
I got another 20 gram-tin, two grades above the one I earlier bought. It definitely tasted better, brewed as a tea or used in baking. Still I searched for less expensive matcha. I had a friend send me restaurant grade baking matcha from the US but they were a big letdown. The color was a drab olive—it should be vivid green—and the bitterness stood out. To get the taste of authentic Japanese matcha, you have to get it from Japan itself.
To make these cupcakes, I added the matcha to a plain cupcake recipe. I wanted the flavor to stand out so these have a lot more matcha than other green tea cake recipes. To further highlight the flavor, I iced each with white chocolate truffle with matcha powder. The decorative topping is a white chocolate disc that I “imprinted” (using dark chocolate) with a Japanese calligraphy character depicting harmony which I believe is a very apt decoration. As declared by Sen no Rikyu, the revered Japanese master, there are four fundamental qualities that should be exemplified in the tea ceremony: harmony, respect, purity, tranquility.
These cupcakes are also the costliest in my repertoire. Aside from the fact that matcha itself is expensive, I get mine shipped direct from Japan via express mail service (EMS). Good thing Japan and the Philippines are neighbors; although still costly, whatever minimal savings I get from the EMS shipping rate is still welcome! The food grade is indeed a lot cheaper but the taste of high grade drinking matcha in baked goods is incomparable so that’s the only thing I use. The flavor of this tea also quickly deteriorates once a pack is opened so I never store matcha; I only buy this when there is a cupcake order to fulfill.
Because of all these tests, I have become a matcha drinker myself. I used to say earl grey tea is my tea of choice but it has now been relegated to being my second favorite—I am now a matcha junkie! I’m loving the matcha I get from Ippodo but I will surely try other brands coming straight from Japan as well. I would also love to get the special tea utensils so I can properly prepare matcha for drinking. Right now, I get by with a wire whisk, an ordinary teaspoon and a large cup. Serious matcha drinkers must be frowning upon me, I know! I’ll soon post a video on how matcha is prepared the right way.
I really love this cupcake because it is buttery and soft and to me, it perfectly captures the authentic taste of matcha. If you happen to like the Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream, then you will like these cupcakes!
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why is matcha so expensive?
Matcha is expensive because of the labor involved in producing it. The tea plants are completely shaded for about 20 days using a large framework of reed screens and rice straws. Most tea farmers pick the leaves entirely by hand although machine picking is not uncommon. The harvested leaves undergo several stages—steaming, cooling, drying, deveining and destemming. The resulting leaves, called tencha, are stone ground slowly—a stone mill produces only about 40 grams of powder in an hour—to finally produce matcha.
There are many grades of matcha, from the ceremonial grade to food grades. Food grades are of low quality and only used in cooking and as an ingredient.
Sources: Ippodo, Yuuki-cha, Matcha Source
April 11th, 2009