Easy, Foolproof Way to Temper Chocolate

Easy, Foolproof Way to Temper Chocolate

The Easy, Foolproof Way to Temper Chocolate

Tempering chocolate was this ridiculously intimidating thing I use to totally suck at…

I desperately wanted to master it though, because chocolate decorations just look so beautiful and they TASTE WAY BETTER than fondant, gum paste, modeling chocolate and all that “edible” baloney.

I even went for a short chocolate course and did the whole marble slab thing.

Even though I did it more or less correctly in the class, I STILL totally ruined it back home and I just could not get it to work!

Now before I get into the actual method, I just quickly want to talk you through WHY Chocolate needs to be tempered and what “tempered” actually means.

Understanding a bit more of the science really helps a lot!

 

Why Does Chocolate Need to Be Tempered?

  1. Un-tempered chocolate melts VERY quickly! If the chocolate starts to melt while you are trying to transfer chocolate decorations onto a cake it is one huge and panicked MESS.
  2. Un-tempered chocolate tends to bloom when it sets. Blooming refers to those weird light spots or streaks you see on chocolate. It looks a bit like mould I guess. Although blooming doesn’t make the chocolate taste bad, it really just looks severely unappetizing.
  3. Tempered chocolate sets (technically it crystallizes) nice and hard, making it a breeze to transfer without it ever beginning to melt!
  4. Tempered chocolate has a lovely sheen to it which makes very beautiful and elegant decorations for your bakes.

Are you struggling with tempering chocolate? The whole marble slab thing is a mission and even then the chocolate doesn't always cooperate! BUT, I've found a way to side-step the entire marble slab method and find my own, SUPER easy, effective and foolproof way to temper chocolate! Click through to see my method. #chocolate #cakedecorating #baking #chocolatedecorations #temperchocolate

 

The Hard Way to Temper Chocolate

The classic tempering method with a marble slab takes you through a process where you to melt (overheat) the chocolate and then bring it back to the right temperature on the marble slab with correct technique and experience.

But it’s SUPER difficult to master and super sensitive…

So don’t even go there! Why make life so difficult when it’s not necessary?

Here’s the big secret: The Chocolate you buy in the store (or at the Chocolaterie) IS ALREADY TEMPERED!!!

So I’ve discovered that it’s WAY EASIER to just keep it tempered rather than trying to temper it all over again… WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL??

And the way you KEEP chocolate tempered is by NOT overheating the chocolate – not taking it above body temperature.

It’s far easier to just not overheat the chocolate in the first place and rather maintain the crystal structure it already has. Prevention is better than cure.

So when it comes to tempering chocolate the easy way, you just need to remember this ONE THING:

DO NOT OVERHEAT THE CHOCOLATE.

That’s it.

When you overheat chocolate, you break the structure of its crystallization – specifically the structure of the cocoa butter. Successfully tempered chocolate has optimal cocoa butter structure.

When you overheat chocolate it basically means it won’t be stable – it will melt easily.

It also won’t be shiny, but it will be dull or have blooming (those light streaks and patterns that look like mould or something). And it won’t have a nice snap.

Click here if you want to geek out on the polymorphic structure of chocolate like I did.

 

The best way to prevent chocolate from overheating comes down to three things:

1. The container you melt your chocolate in

ALWAYS melt your chocolate in a PLASTIC BOWL. Ceramic, glass or aluminium bowls conduct heat FAR too easily and quickly.

They also remain hot for a very long time. This will force up the temperature of your chocolate within 20 seconds – seriously.

PLASTIC BOWLS do not become hot easily and they lose their heat very fast.

The plastic bowl basically becomes “invisible” in the chocolate melting process, allowing the chocolate to melt at its own pace.

2. The type of heat you apply

Although the bain-marie thing (bowl of chocolate over barely simmering water) is quite a standard way to melt chocolate – it’s not ideal.

Sorry if I’m being controversial here, but it really isn’t ideal because it overheats the chocolate.

Firstly because you can’t place a plastic bowl over a bain-marie. It could melt the bowl and as we have established – plastic doesn’t conduct heat very well.

Even if the water is barely steaming, it will still be enough to overheat your chocolate.

Chocolate melts with VERY LITTLE heat. It melts at 30°C/86°F! So the heat you use needs to be super subtle and above all – controllable!

For this reason I like to use my microwave. I can control exactly how hot things get and stop it abruptly at any point I wish.

3. How long you apply the heat for

If you apply any source of heat for too long, your chocolate is going to overheat. For this reason it’s best to melt the chocolate with 30 second bursts in the microwave.

Dark chocolate can take a bit longer to melt, but BE PATIENT!

Stick to 30 second bursts! Take it out of the microwave, squash and stir it a bit (even when it’s not melting yet) and then return to the micro for the next 30 second burst.

I know it’s tempting to put it in there for longer, but don’t do it!

 

Now that you understand the science and super important basics, let’s move on to the FULL method of easy, foolproof Chocolate Tempering.

 

Easy, Foolproof Chocolate Tempering – Step by Step

IF you happened to skip to this part, go back up and read the full post. All the info above was shared with great reason. If you do not understand this whole process, the chances of you failing at this really increase drastically.

  1. Chop your chocolate. There should be no pieces larger than 7mm x 7 mm. SUPER IMPORTANT: Use TOP quality chocolate!! Commercial chocolate bars like Nestlé and Cadbury contain too much sugar and not enough cocoa butter, so they are always too soft and unstable. Lindt is always a safe bet, but also search out a local Chocolaterie – that’s what I did and I’ve never looked back.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate into a PLASTIC bowl.
  3. Microwave in 30 second bursts. Dark chocolate can take a bit longer to melt, but BE PATIENT! Stick to one 30 second session at a time! Take it out of the microwave after every 30 seconds, squash and stir it a bit (even when it’s not melting yet) and then return to the micro for the next 30 second burst. I know it’s tempting to put it in there for longer, but don’t do it!
  4. While you wait you can prepare your piping bag, transfer sheet, acetate (whatever you’ll be using).
  5. When the chocolate BEGINS to melt reduce your next microwave session to 20 seconds. And now the next bit is crucial.
  6. THE TRICK TO GOOD TEMPERING IS TO MELT MOST, BUT NOT ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE IN THE MICROWAVE. The bits of melted chocolate may be enough to melt the rest of the chocolate pieces in the bowl, so stir and squash it thoroughly to see if the rest will melt. And keep tabs on the temperature of the chocolate by testing a bit of it on your lip. If it’s the same temperature or cooler you are on the right track. (If the temperature is warmer you have overheated it. Rather start again with new chocolate.)
  7. If the heat of the melted chocolate is not enough to melt the remaining solid pieces, return it to the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. Stir super thoroughly after each 10 seconds to see if the rest of the chocolate melts completely. YOU WANT THE LAST FEW PIECES TO MELT OUTSIDE THE MICROWAVE.
  8. Once everything is melted and smooth, stir the chocolate thoroughly another few times (about 20 times). Test the temperature again – it should be roughly the same temperature (or a little bit cooler) as your lip.

Immediately scrape the melted chocolate into a clean & dry piping bag if you plan to pipe lettering or shapes and delicate decorations.

OR proceed to pour it onto your transfer sheets, acetate, templates or whatever you want to use to make a chocolate collar, disks, panels, etc.

You can also pour it into a large, rectangular Tupperware container (or an empty rectangular ice cream container) to create one large, solid tempered chocolate slab which you can use for making chocolate shavings or curls.

Click here to see how I make my chocolate shavings and curls.

Tempered chocolate does set quite quickly so you’ll need to work fast.

This process might take 3 or so attempts before you are comfortable with it (especially with working through all my instructions), but then it’s so quick and easy!

I thought it best to rather explain as thoroughly as possible so that you have a great chance at success from the very first attempt!

I know you can do it – you’ve got this!!

If you use my method for easy, fool-proof Chocolate Tempering, please let me know by tagging me @philosophyofyum because I would love to give you a virtual high five and shout-out 😀

Who has the patience for a marble slab?? Ugh! Save yourself the agony and learn how to temper chocolate the EASY way! It's a method that no one ever talks about and it will make your baking and cake decorating so much easier. Click through to see the easiest way to temper chocolate. #cakedecoratingtips #bakingtipsandtricks #chocolatedecorations #temperchocolate

Chat soon!

Aurelia

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Write on Cake Without Free-Handing

How to Write on Cake Without Free-Handing

How to Write on Cake Without Free-Handing

Writing on Cake without Free-handing is possible and actually quite easy 🙂

I simply HAD to figure this out because no matter how much I practiced, I’ve always SUCKED at free hand piping! As I’ve said before, artisan home baking is my thing, cake decorating is NOT my passion.

My MAIN focus is to make my bakes DELICIOUS, not pretty.

That being said, the motivation behind learning how to write on cakes is actually not to make them “pretty” per se, but rather that it makes a cake more personal. Home Bakeries are founded on being personal!

For some people the whole “neat handwriting and accurate spacing” thing comes naturally. Unfortunately the last time I had a neat handwriting I was 9.

When I tried to write something free hand on a cake I ALWAYS ended up running out of space and needing to squash in those last 3 letters. And on a good day I would win at the spacing, but still have UGLY writing.

 

To me, artisan home baking is the ULTIMATE approach to baking, but here’s the sad news…

 

Even if you bake cakes that make people pass out from YUM-overload, you will need to write special and personal messages on cakes at some point. It is absolutely inevitable.

And unfortunately, ugly writing on a cake CAN put a damper on a client’s whole experience of your cake.

 

So if your handwriting is ATROCIOUS (like mine) and if you SUCK at free handing (like me) – what do you do??

Fret not my friend, there is a solution for writing on cake without free-handing! It’s relatively simple and after trying it a few times, you will rock it. And most importantly your writing will look SUPER professional 😀

This process might take 3 or so attempts before you are comfortable with it (especially with working through my lengthy instructions), but then it’s so quick and easy!

I thought it best to rather explain as thoroughly as possible so that you have a great chance at success from the very first attempt!

I know you can do it – you’ve got this!!

How to Write on cake without free-handing: step by step tutorial #homebaking #chocolatedecorations #cakedecorating #cakedecoratingtips #cakedecoratingideas

 

Chocolate is the Answer

Since my Ultimate Vanilla Frosting and Ultimate Chocolate Frosting BOTH have quite a high water content, using something like Royal Icing to write on my cakes was not an option. The royal icing (and all other high sugar decorations) melt into the frosting within a few minutes.

I was not about to switch to overly sweet buttercream or flavourless fondant – EVER! So I had to find another ingredient to use.

Chocolate ended up being the perfect “ink” to work with for several reasons:

  • It has a higher fat content which prevents the sugar from melting into my frosting.
  • Chocolate is obviously way more delicious than royal icing!
  • Top Quality Chocolate sets hard (technically it crystallizes), so this enables you to write neatly on a printed template and transfer the words onto the cake.
  • Chocolate comes in a variety of shades! I use white or dark chocolate, depending on the shade of frosting or ganache coating the cake. Using a contrasting colour of chocolate really makes the writing “pop”.

But using chocolate means that there will be tempering involved. BUT, before you panic, just consider that I have a SUPER EASY chocolate tempering method to share with you today!

RELATED: How to Make Gorgeous Chocolate Shavings

 

Why Does the Chocolate Need to Be Tempered?

  • Un-tempered chocolate melts VERY quickly! If the chocolate starts to melt while you are trying to transfer the words onto the cake it is one huge and panicked MESS.
  • Un-tempered chocolate tends to bloom when it sets. Blooming refers to those weird light spots or streaks you see on chocolate. It looks a bit like mould I guess. Although blooming doesn’t make the chocolate taste bad, it really just looks severely unappetizing. These light spots & streaks are cocoa butter that has separated out of the chocolate.
  • Tempered chocolate sets (technically it crystallizes) nice and hard, making it a breeze to transfer without it ever beginning to melt and stick to the palette knife!
  • Tempered chocolate has a lovely sheen to it which makes it a very beautiful centerpiece for your cake 🙂

 

How to Temper Chocolate – EASILY

Tempering chocolate was this ridiculously intimidating thing I could never master.

I even went for a short chocolate course and did the whole marble slab thing. Even though I did it more or less correctly in the class, I totally sucked at it back home and I just could not get it to work!

 

When it comes to tempering chocolate, REMEMBER THIS ONE THING:

DO NOT OVERHEAT THE CHOCOLATE.

That is it.

 

Struggling to pipe lettering on cakes? You're not alone! Here's a simple trick to help you out. Writing on Cake Without Free-Handing is simple and ideal for "non-decorators"! This step by step tutorial will teach you how to write beautiful messages in ANY font you want. #cakedecorating #cakedecoratingtips #cakedecoratingideas #homebaking #bakingtips

 

When you overheat chocolate, you break the structure of its crystallization – specifically the structure of the cocoa butter. Successfully tempered chocolate has optimal cocoa butter structure. When you overheat chocolate it basically means it won’t be stable – it will melt easily. It also won’t be shiny, but it will be dull or have blooming. And it won’t have a nice snap.

Click here if you want to read more on the polymorphic structure of chocolate.

The classic tempering with a marble slab allows you to overheat the chocolate and then bring it back to the right temperature on the marble slab with correct technique and experience. But it is difficult to master and super sensitive.

So don’t even go there! Why make life so difficult when it’s not necessary?

It’s far easier to just not overheat the chocolate in the first place and rather maintain the crystal structure it already has. Prevention is better than cure.

 

The best way to prevent chocolate from overheating comes down to three things:

  1. The container you melt your chocolate in. ALWAYS melt your chocolate in a PLASTIC BOWL. Ceramic, glass or aluminium bowls conduct heat FAR too easily and quickly. They also remain hot for a very long time. This will force up the temperature of your chocolate within 20 seconds – seriously..
    .
    PLASTIC BOWLS are poor heat conductors, so they do not become hot easily and they lose their heat very fast. The plastic bowl basically becomes “invisible” in the chocolate melting process, allowing the chocolate to melt at its own pace.
  2. The type of heat you apply. Although the bain-marie thing (bowl of chocolate over barely simmering water) is quite a standard way to melt chocolate – it’s not ideal. Sorry if I’m being controversial here, but it really isn’t ideal because it overheats the chocolate.
    .
    Firstly because you can’t place a plastic bowl over a bain-marie. It could melt the bowl and as we have established – plastic doesn’t conduct heat very well. Even if the water is barely steaming, it will still be enough to overheat your chocolate.
    .
    Chocolate melts with VERY LITTLE heat. It melts at 30°C/86°F! So the heat you use needs to be super subtle and above all – controllable!
    For this reason I like to use my microwave. I can control exactly how hot things get and stop it abruptly at any point I wish.
    .
  3. How long you apply the heat for. If you apply any source of heat for too long, your chocolate is going to overheat. For this reason it’s best to melt the chocolate with 30 second bursts in the microwave. Dark chocolate can take a bit longer to melt, but BE PATIENT! Stick to 30 second bursts!

    Take it out of the microwave after EVERY 30 second burst, squash and stir it a bit (even when it’s not melting yet) and then return to the micro for the next 30 second burst. I know it’s tempting to put it in there for longer, but don’t do it!

Now that you understand the science and super important basics, let’s move on to the FULL method: Writing on Cake without free-handing, from start to finish.

 

Writing on Cake Without Free Handing – Step by Step

IF you happened to skip to this part, go back up and read the full post. All the info above was shared with great reason. If you do not understand this whole process, the chances of you failing at this really increase drastically.

 

Create and Print Your Desired Template

  1. Measure the space you want to fill on top of your cake.
  2. On your computer, in Photoshop or Canva (free program), create a block a bit smaller than the measured size. A little bit smaller is always a good idea here.
  3. Choose a good font. Cursive is better here because the letters are all connected into one item. This means that “Birthday” becomes one item to transfer instead of 8 separate letters to transfer. My favourite font to use is “Dragon is Coming”! I downloaded it for free on dafont.com – click here.
  4. Type your desired message and print it on ordinary paper.
  5. Cut around your message to make the size of the paper smaller. Stick it onto the bottom of a cake tin base plate with some sticky tape. If the tin’s base has a lip, make sure it faces the bottom so that your top surface is completely smooth and level.
  6. Cut a square of NON-STICK, opaque baking paper/parchment (not wax paper) big enough to cover the writing. You should be able to see the writing through the baking paper. Make sure there are no bumps or kinks in the paper and that it is absolutely clean. Place it over the writing template and secure it in position with a few pieces of sticky tape.

How to write beautiful lettering on cakes - without free-handing! Step by step tutorial

 

Temper the Chocolate

  1. Chop 50 g of your desired chocolate. There should be no pieces larger than 1 cm x 1 cm. SUPER IMPORTANT: Use TOP quality chocolate!! Commercial chocolate bars like Nestlé and Cadbury contain too much sugar and not enough cocoa butter, so they are always too soft and unstable. Lindt is always a safe bet.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate into a small PLASTIC bowl.
  3. Microwave in 30 second bursts. Dark chocolate can take a bit longer to melt, but BE PATIENT! Stick to one 30 second session at a time! Take it out of the microwave after EVERY 30 seconds, squash and stir it a bit (even when it’s not melting yet) and then return to the micro for the next 30 second burst. I know it’s tempting to put it in there for longer, but don’t do it!
  4. While you wait you can prepare your “piping bag”. Even though I have many piping bags, I prefer using a small, plastic sandwich bag for this (not Ziploc though. It gets in the way). Open it up and place it with one point facing down into a glass or cup. Fold the edges of the plastic bag over the side of the glass.
  5. When the chocolate BEGINS to melt reduce your next microwave session to 20 seconds. And now the next bit is crucial.
  6. THE TRICK TO GOOD TEMPERING IS TO MELT MOST, BUT NOT ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE IN THE MICROWAVE. The bits of melted chocolate may be enough to melt the rest of the chocolate pieces in the bowl, so stir and squash it thoroughly to see if the rest will melt. And keep tabs on the temperature of the chocolate by testing a bit of it on your lip. If it’s the same temperature or cooler you are on the right track. (If the temperature is warmer you have overheated it. Rather start again with new chocolate.)
  7. If the heat of the melted chocolate is not enough to melt the remaining solid pieces, return it to the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. Stir super thoroughly after each 10 seconds to see if the rest of the chocolate melts completely. YOU WANT THE LAST FEW PIECES TO MELT OUTSIDE THE MICROWAVE.
  8. Once everything is melted and smooth, stir the chocolate thoroughly another few times. Test the temperature again – it should be roughly the same temperature (or a little bit cooler) as your lip.
  9. Immediately scrape the melted chocolate into the prepared plastic baggie. Tempered chocolate does set quite quickly so you want to get it in the bag and close to your hand as soon as possible. The warmth from your hand will keep the chocolate melted.

 

Piping the Chocolate Lettering

  1. Twist the end of the baggie thoroughly (but not all the way up against the chocolate. You don’t want the melted chocolate to be under pressure and burst out when you snip off the end) and secure with a paper clip, clothes pin or anything you want. I mostly just keep the twisted end closed by pinching it in the space between my thumb and index finger while I’m piping (see image below).
  2. Snip off a tiny bit at the end. You can always snip off more. You can test to see how thick your line will be. The ideal line thickness is about 2 mm, but it’s totally up to you.
  3. Whenever you want to stop the flow of chocolate, just lift the tip of the baggie vertically upwards.
  4. Pipe the lettering with the melted chocolate while constantly keeping the side of your hand on the surface for some stability. Slide your hand on the surface as you move along. Do not let your hand hover in the air. I’m left handed, so I need to write the words backwards, starting from the right. If you’re right handed you can start from the left.

writing on cake without free-handing step by step tutorial

 

Transferring the Chocolate Lettering

  1. The chocolate will have begun to set once you are done piping the words, but allow the chocolate to set fully in the fridge for 5 minutes.
  2. Depending on how well you tempered the chocolate, this next bit could be super easy or a bit more difficult.
  3. The first thing you need to do now is loosen the lettering from the baking paper/parchment. Remove the sticky tape keeping the non-stick baking paper/parchment in place. Slide the parchment with the lettering on it to the edge of your work surface. Starting from the one side, grab the paper firmly on either side with your hands.
    Carefully slide the parchment over the edge, pulling the parchment down with your one hand
    . Go about 1 – 2 inches in. You obviously don’t want to crack the lettering or have it fall on the floor! Rotate the paper 90 degrees and repeat the process. Repeat for remaining two sides as well. Test with your clean and dry palette knife if the lettering is nice and loose on the paper.
  4. In my experience it it’s better to transfer the MIDDLE word first. Guessing the exact middle of your cake is much easier than guessing the top third. The middle is a great reference point.
  5. Carefully slide your clean and dry palette knife under a bit more than the top half of the word, keeping the bottom half unattached (see image below). Carry it over to your cake.
  6. Let the unattached bottom half make contact with the surface of the cake where you desire to place it. Allow it to ease off into position as you gently lift away the palette knife.
  7. Repeat with remaining lettering and then you’re done!!

writing on cake without free-handing step by step tutorial

 

This process might take around 3 attempts of practice before you are comfortable with it (especially with working through all my instructions), but then it’s so quick and easy!

I thought it best to rather explain as thoroughly as possible so that you have a great chance at success from the very first attempt! I know you can do it – you’ve got this!!

RELATED: How to Make Gorgeous Chocolate Shavings

If you use my method for writing on cake without free-handing, please let me know by tagging me @philosophyofyum because I would love to give you a virtual high ten 😀

Chat soon

Aurelia

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes – Secret Recipe!

Sharing my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe with you this week seemed quite fitting because it is (or actually was) Philosophy of Yum Blog’s 1-year Birthday!! Yayyyy! 😀

I wanted to share a super special recipe on this special occasion and also to just thank you for your support over the last year. It means so much to me.

Many of you have asked me why I don’t share my bakery’s “claim to fame” recipes like Double Chocolate Brownies, German Apple Cake or Dark Chocolate cake.

The simple reason behind this is that my home bakery (Philosophy of Yum) is by FAR my main source of income. These recipes are my bread and butter so sharing them with the world is still a little bit risky at this point.

This week however, I’m making an exception because of my blog’s birthday 😀 So I am sharing with you my top-secret recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes!

Looking for that ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe? Super moist, ridiculously chocolate-y, not too sweet and packed with flavour? This is the chocolate cupcake recipe you've been looking for. Click through to get therecipe! #chocolatecupcakes #bestchocolatecupcakes #chocolatecupcakerecipe #homebaking

 

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe Development

Chocolate Cupcakes are really just one of those classic and sacred baked goods that ring nostalgic notes for ALL of us. They were and are always present at every kid’s birthday party, every bake sale, every church bazaar, every bakery and every grocery store.

I’ve probably tried out about 15 different recipes for chocolate cupcakes in my life. You know me by now. If cake doesn’t melt me with its powers of YUM, then I’ll stop eating it. Why waste the calories? I tried recipe after recipe.

Often tweaking a recipe 3 times before finally moving on to the next one. It became my mission for many years to finally find THE ONE!

I’ve found that butter based recipes are just not ideal for any kind of chocolate cake. Oil locks in a great deal more moisture!

The method is also absolutely critical. Once a hot liquid is added, you really want to keep the mixing low and slow.

The chocolate cupcakes recipe I was finally and fully pleased with ended up being a combination of a few plus some added tweaks I made on the spur of the moment. It worked perfectly and I am so grateful!

The base recipe was from Homemade by Holman. One huge perk about this recipe is that you can mix it in one bowl from start to finish which means less dishes – yes please!

Recipe Introduction

The texture of these chocolate cupcakes is very moist, soft and creamy. And the flavour is SUPER chocolatey! The smooth chocolate ganache and slightly tangy chocolate frosting round off an indulgent texture and flavour experience.

The chocolate frosting recipe I shared in my previous post here. You can also make your own fancy Dark Chocolate shavings like I did! I posted a whole step by step tutorial here. I didn’t think I would share one of my best recipes this soon, but here it is…

My top-secret Philosophy of Yum recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes!

Are you a total Chocolate Cupcake Snob? Well, so am I. It HAS to be super moist, ridiculously chocolate-y, not too sweet and packed with flavour! This is the ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe - seriously. It's the one you've been looking for. #chocolatecupcakes #bestchocolatecupcakes #chocolatecupcakerecipe

5.0 from 6 reviews
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Author:
Serves: 14
Ingredients
  • 240 g Granulated White Sugar
  • 190 g Cake Flour
  • 50 g Cocoa Powder, best quality you can find
  • ⅓ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 55 g Egg (out of shell)
  • 115 g Milk (4-5% Fat)
  • 125 g Canola Oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Water (just boiled)
  • FOR GANACHE: 100 g Cream (about 35% fat content)
  • FOR GANACHE: 100 g Dark Chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C.
  2. Line a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add in the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs.
  4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the same mixing bowl.
  5. Warm the milk in the microwave for 20 seconds to bring it more or less to room temperature. Add it to the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Beat all the ingredients together with the paddle attachment on a low speed for 20 seconds to roughly combine. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  7. Switch on your kettle at this point for the boiling water.
  8. Beat the batter once more on medium high speed for 2 minutes. The batter will be very stiff! As the sugar dissolves, it will become a bit looser.
  9. Pour the ½ cup boiling water into the batter.
  10. Mix in light pulses on super low speed to stop the boiling liquid from splashing everywhere. After a few light turns it should be safe to turn up the speed to a steady low. Mix until liquid is no longer separate.
  11. Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and stir the batter thoroughly with a metal spoon till you have an even and smooth consistency.
  12. Divide the batter evenly between 14 lined cupcake holes.
  13. Make sure your oven has two oven racks inside. One rack should be in the top half of your oven, and one in the bottom half of your oven so that your oven cavity is basically divided into 3 equal spaces. Place an empty muffin tin, roasting tray or any other baking tin on the top rack. Place your cupcakes on the lower rack.
  14. Pour about ½ cup water into the bottom of your oven to create some steam. If your oven has an element right on the bottom or if you have a gas oven, pour 1 cup of water into the baking tin on the top rack in your oven.
  15. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if the cupcakes are cooked. Ideally there should be a few moist crumbs sticking to the skewer… Remember, they will continue to cook for a minute or two more after you remove them from the oven.
  16. Read below for decorating instructions with chocolate ganache.

 

Decorating the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes:

I love the combination of chocolate ganache and frosting! The chocolate frosting I used here is my signature ultimate chocolate frosting I use in my bakery every day. It’s the tastiest frosting in the whole world!

Place a round tip nozzle in your piping bag and fill with the ultimate chocolate frosting. Hold the piping bag directly over the top of the cupcake (about 2 cm away from the surface) and squeeze out the frosting while keeping the bag stationary.

Once you are satisfied with the AMOUNT of frosting, stop. Use a teaspoon to flatten out the surface and spread the frosting more to the edges.

Place the frosted cupcakes in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you make the chocolate ganache.

To make the ganache, simply heat the cream till it starts to simmer and add it to the chopped dark chocolate. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes and stir till smooth & dreamy.

Just spoon the semi-runny ganache over the frosting and work it around the top till you are happy with the look. Do not dunk the frosted cupcakes in the ganache! This frosting is a lot softer than traditional frosting and it will probably fall off.

Finally, I topped my ultimate chocolate cupcakes with some beautiful dark chocolate shavings. Click here to see how to make your own!

I really hope you make these yourself at home! They are just DIVINE. If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram #philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

The Most DELICIOUS, Ultimate Chocolate Frosting!

The Most DELICIOUS, Ultimate Chocolate Frosting!

The Ultimate Chocolate Frosting Recipe

This Ultimate Chocolate Frosting is not a recipe that happened over night. I used to HATE frosting actually! Maybe you feel the same way about icky sweet buttercream as I do?

My childhood memories of frosting are completely grim. Conventional Chocolate Buttercream piped onto semi-dry sheet cakes with a star tip was a STAPLE at every single birthday party as a kid.

Oh and don’t forget the garnish of chocolate vermicelli sprinkles, glace cherries or the tiny rosettes of dulce de leche! Even though every birthday party had a themed cake, there was always one of these chocolate sheet cakes on standby in the background.

As fond as my memories are of childhood birthday parties, the chocolate sheet cakes are not included in that fondness.

That frosting was just too darn sweet. The overwhelming sweetness penetrated into your gills and made your mouth turn skew!

Every time I ate chocolate cake, I hoped this chocolate frosting might taste different, and every time the outcome was the same…

I ended up having one tiny bite, proceeded to SCRAPE OFF ALL THE CRAZY-SWEET FROSTING and ate the semi-dry cake on its own instead (which suddenly seemed a whole lot yummier after tasting that awful frosting!). Did anyone else also do this??

In the end I was so opposed to ANY kind of frosting.

I’d just never tasted a frosting that actually had FLAVOUR of its own. Not just sweet fat to make a dry cake seem less dry. I apologize for the clouds of criticism… I’m just so passionate about flavour 🙂

 

A Second Date with Frosting

My mother was writing Low Fat Low GI recipe books throughout my school years. The series is called “Eating for Sustained Energy”.

The carrot cake recipe is just fantastic! Naturally they had to take a road less traveled when it came to the frosting. Butter is not exactly “low fat” 😀

They also wanted a frosting with less sugar. Problem with buttercream is that you need to add a LOT of sugar to achieve the right consistency and something resembling flavour.

Thus, a smooth cottage cheese (which is even lower in fat than cream cheese), was the option they went for.

IT

WAS

SOOOOO

GOOOOOD!!!!!!

Finally, a frosting that had a great flavour and didn’t make my head spin from sweetness! A frosting you wanted to eat, as is, with a spoon!

The frosting was often a bit temperamental though… If you mixed it too much, it would go runny in seconds. Even so, the flavour and different approach was a great lesson I would draw from in the future.

 

Ultimate Chocolate Frosting Development

When I started baking part-time in 2012, I kind of avoided frosting. I knew I wouldn’t use buttercream. EVER. And I was honestly too scared to make my mom’s frosting out of fear that it would go runny. I needed something pipe-able.

Ultimate Chocolate Frosting elevates cake to a whole new dimension of YUM! It goes with EVERY CAKE FLAVOUR known to man. You'll never want to eat buttercream again. #deliciousfrosting #creamcheesefrosting #lowsugarfrosting #chocolatefrosting

I realized that cream cheese on its own would be too solid and cheesy tasting, so adding whipped cream would make it lighter. Truly, I had never read about whipped-cream-cream-cheese-frosting before or heard about it or anything! It just seemed like a good idea.

The great thing about cream cheese is that it already has flavour and it’s softer than butter, so you can add WAY less sugar to achieve the right consistency and sweetness. Wonderful!

It worked out PERFECTLY. Easy to pipe, super yummy and it seriously goes with ANY cake.

At this point I was still using chocolate ganache as my chocolate frosting. Although I LOVE ganache, it is a bit intense and heavier – even if you whip it. I wanted something more mellow, but still very chocolate-y.

About 2 years later I was watching another episode of Unique Sweets (all my stories seem to involve this show! LOVE IT!). The crew was visiting The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co in Seattle, Washington. It is a unique cupcake eatery that makes an INSANE amount of cupcake flavours. Like 150+ flavours! The frosting they use is Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC).

The one cupcake flavour on the episode was the “Tomato Soup Cupcake”, which is a flavour one of the owners had as a kid at every birthday party. Amazing! On top of this cupcake they put chocolate SMBC and it just looked divine.

At that moment I realized that I can easily turn my vanilla cream cheese frosting into a chocolate frosting by adding melted chocolate. I tried it and it was amazing.

Low Sugar Chocolate Frosting is so easy and TASTIER!! Photos by Alice Swan

So here is my super classified (until now) Philosophy of Yum Ultimate Chocolate Frosting recipe. I have made it 1000’s of times, refined it and perfected it in my 5 years of full time baking.

I guess if you wanted to be technically correct you could call it whipped-cream-chocolate-ganache-cream-cheese-frosting.

 

Reasons to Make This Ultimate Chocolate Frosting:

# It’s so flipping DELICIOUS!!! So delicious in fact that it makes you giggle, squirm and dance from the deliciousness.

# My Ultimate Chocolate Frosting contains a staggering 75% – 80% LESS SUGAR than any other frosting, but it is completely sufficiently sweet enough.

# It’s actually a whole lot quicker and easier to make than buttercream or traditional cream cheese frosting.

# You don’t need a stand mixer to make this chocolate frosting! A simple electric hand mixer is ideal.

# Because there is no butter in this frosting, it is also 55% lower in fat than any other conventional frosting. What a bargain!!

Let’s get started! My instructions are going to be rather thorough so that there’s little room for error. I really want  you to experience the awesomeness of this ultimate chocolate frosting.

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Ultimate Chocolate Frosting
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 30 g Whipping Cream (at least 33% fat) with ½ tsp Granulated Sugar
  • 50 g Dark Chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 70 g Whipping Cream (at least 33% fat), ICE COLD
  • 200 g Full Fat Cream Cheese (at least 25% fat), non-aerated, ICE COLD
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 65 g Pure Icing Sugar
Instructions
  1. First make the chocolate ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a ceramic or glass bowl.
  2. Place 30 g cream and ½ tsp sugar in a saucepan and heat till just simmering.
  3. Add the hot cream to chopped dark chocolate. Stir well until fully combined and glossy. It's totally fine if the ganache splits a bit. Transfer to the fridge to cool down for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Next make the frosting. Whip cold cream to stiff peaks with an electric hand mixer in a medium mixing bowl.
  5. Beat in cold Cream Cheese till smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat again till smooth and thickened. About 1 minute.
  6. Beat in Vanilla and icing sugar. Leave to stand for 2 minutes in the fridge so that sugar can melt into the cream cheese.
  7. Beat again till smooth and thick – about 1 minute. The frosting will be a bit runny at first, but just keep your beaters in one spot and keep beating on max speed and it will thicken up. You're essentially re-whipping the cream inside the frosting.
  8. Beat in the cooled chocolate ganache till the frosting is uniform in colour. If you want your frosting even more chocolatey, go ahead and beat in some cocoa powder.
  9. If I'm using the frosting for layer cakes I use it as it is. Let each layer of frosting chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before adding another cake layer on top. This frosting isn't ideal for stacking more than 2 layers of cake.
  10. If I'm using this chocolate frosting for cupcakes I make sure that it's at the perfect consistency first before I start piping it. Signs of my perfect consistency: when you tap the side of the bowl, the frosting jiggles a tiny bit. When you scoop up a spoon, it takes about 2,5 - 3 seconds to drop back into the bowl.
  11. Stir the chocolate frosting with a spoon to smooth out any air bubbles before transferring to a piping bag or smoothing onto a layer cake.
Notes
This batch of frosting is enough for about 12 Cupcakes

I hope you’ll try out my Ultimate Chocolate Frosting Recipe! It’s a perfect match with my Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes, not to mention my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes.


If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram #philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!

Next time I’ll be sharing a recipe to go with this frosting… a VERY special recipe since it is Philosophy of Yum Blog’s 1 year birthday! 😀

Chat soon!

Aurelia 🙂

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)

How to Make Chocolate Shavings

How to Make Chocolate Shavings

How to Make Gorgeous Chocolate Shavings

Chocolate shavings were basically the first decorative thing I could associate with. In my first few years of baking the term “cake decorating” always scared me off.

It seemed like this super fancy skill which you can only acquire through years of studying and practice.

On top of all that I could not reach equilibrium in my mind over fondant and gum paste… I didn’t like them at all because they have NO FLAVOUR whatsoever, but it seemed like those are the only materials to use in cake decorating.

Should I give in? I guess it is okay that gum paste decorations are flavourless… isn’t it?

For me, the main reason I add anything to a cake is because it contributes to the flavour – a very honest and bare approach. And that’s me in a nutshell; I cannot pretend to save my life.

This meant I had to find a way to decorate cakes in an honest fashion. The simplest answer was this…

Quality Ingredients as Decorations

Taking an ingredient that is inside the cake already and presenting it in a beautiful way on top of the cake. To me the final product is incredibly inviting.

Beautiful chocolate curls and fresh berries call out to my taste buds, but silver deco balls just don’t get my mouth watering (anyone else feel the same way?).

If gum paste and fondant works for you in your cake decorating, that’s wonderful. We all have to discover what materials work for us and best represent, and express, us as creatives.

I am an honest purist at heart so if I approach cake decorating in the same way, I am way more likely to create a stunning product I am proud of and feel comfortable with.

Over the past 5 years I’ve discovered some nifty tricks to make cakes & cupcakes look spectacular in a matter of 5 minutes just by using ingredients to decorate my cakes.

It makes so much sense to me and the end result can hold its own next to a fondant cake any day 🙂 I would define my cake decorating style as “Purist Cake Decorating”.

Make your own luscious chocolate shavings in 5 minutes! I use this method DAILY for giving my cakes a professional edge. With these chocolate shavings I decorate cakes, cupcakes and tarts. Minimum effort for maximum results - EASY cake decorating at its best! #cakedecorating #chocolatedecorations #cakedecoratingtips #cakedecoratingideas

 

Isn’t it Hard to Make Chocolate Shavings?!

Please don’t panic! You don’t need amazing skills to do this. I don’t have any qualifications in working with chocolate, but just figured things out as I went along.

This technique is super easy and quick, I promise! And the finish is just so beautiful. It immediately adds a professional edge to your cakes!

The technique for making chocolate shavings is simple in principle. Very simple. It comes down to pressing and dragging a knife over chocolate.

First place I saw this technique was on The Naked Chef (I NEVER missed an episode).

Jamie was decorating a chocolate tart or something and in seconds he made these stunning chocolate shavings that made his homemade tart look like a centerpiece in a French Bakery!

RELATED: How to Write on Cake Without Free-Handing

What I love about this technique is that you just use an ordinary bar of dark chocolate to make them.

No need to fuss about with baking sheets and vegetable shortening which is the case when making proper chocolate curls. No thanks, too much effort.

Only problem is that these regular chocolate shavings can often seem a bit skimpy.

I’ve discovered a few hacks however that end up giving you fuller chocolate shavings which give you something in between a chocolate shaving and a curl… a shurl! 😀 Officially a thing.

Chocolate curls are too “stiff and organized” for me and regular chocolate shavings can look a bit skimpy, so chocolate shurls are absolutely ideal!

 

How to Make Chocolate Shavings/Shurls

You’ll need:

A bar of Dark Chocolate (56% – 65% Cocoa Solids. Anything higher is too hard and anything lower is too soft.)

A hairdryer

A smooth edged chef’s knife

Ceramic plate

Method:

I’m giving you the method here in WRITING but, as you know, it often helps to SEE someone doing the things we want to learn, right?

That’s why I’ve created a Chocolate Shavings Video Tutorial to SHOW you how to create these gorgeous chocolate shavings 🙂 And it’s only $15! Click the blue link if you want to SEE how it’s done.

Here’s the Method in Writing:

Put on an apron made of thick fabric (very important!).

Put your knife and plate to one side so they don’t get warm from the hairdryer’s heat.

Place the bar of chocolate on your work surface, perpendicular to your tummy. Make sure the smooth side is facing up.

Hold your hairdryer about 20 cm away from the chocolate and turn it on to its lowest speed. Gently move the hairdryer up and down the length of the chocolate, all the while keeping the hairdryer at 20 cm distance.

You only want to soften the chocolate slightly! You don’t want it to melt. The surface of the chocolate should become dull, but not shiny (then you’ve gone too far).

Press and drag your knife over the surface of the chocolate, starting at the furthest end and dragging it towards you, bracing the chocolate with your tummy.

Do this in one, swift motion. Drag the knife over the chocolate as fast as you can!

The chocolate shavings will cling to the knife. Very gently, starting from the top, loosen, curve and roll the shavings onto your ceramic plate with your fingers.

Even after the shaving has been made you can manipulate it to curve a bit more since the chocolate has been softened slightly.

Some chocolate shavings will already be quite curled, so in such cases you can just push them off the knife onto the plate.

Carry on shaving till the soft surface chocolate is used up. Repeat hairdryer process again before making more chocolate shavings.

In summer I like to place the plate of chocolate shavings in the fridge for a minute, just to firm up the chocolate a bit.

These thicker chocolate shavings are not as fragile as regular chocolate shavings, so you can easily pick them up with your fingers and place them where you want without breaking them.

I use this method DAILY for making chocolate shavings. With them I decorate cakes, cupcakes, tarts… anything really. Minimum effort for maximum results. Nice!

 

Struggling to Get The Chocolate Shavings Right?

This technique does require some practice to get just right!

Maybe you’ve been trying and trying to create chocolate curls like these, but they’re just NOT cooperating…

And now you’re literally covered in chocolate and giving up hope…

But just wait a minute!

As you know, it often helps to SEE someone doing the things we want to learn, right?

That’s why I’ve created a Chocolate Shavings Video Tutorial to SHOW you how to create them 🙂 And it’s only $15!

And there’s another video tutorial for White Chocolate Curls which is also $15.

I hope you give this simple & delicious cake decorating technique a go and WOW your friends and family with your super snazzy chocolate curls.

And then you can be all like “Oh yes, I spent my whole day doing this incredible chocolate work because you all are just so worth it!” and then take an elaborate bow! 😉

Thanks for reading! Chat soon!

Aurelia

Got a question? Something to add? Let’s chat in the comments section down below! (I respond to every single comment)