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Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate Shards, Honey Comb and Salted Caramel Popcorn

Chocolate Mud Cake

This chocolate mud cake with mint chocolate ganache is a GAME CHANGER. It is essentially your familiar mud cake taken to the next level. The cake is incredibly moist and intensely rich in chocolate flavours, and the mint chocolate ganache rounds it off with a hint of freshness.

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I tailor-made this birthday cake for a client whose son is a huge mint chocolate fans like me. *high five* There were two main requests: mud cake, and mint chocolate. Well, I was thrilled about the order as I could let my imagination run free. As you can see the cake has that mysterious, galaxy vibe thanks to the dark theme and gold sprinkles. With the chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn as the extra elements, this cake cake looks luxurious and captivating, unlike an ordinary mud cake. (Secret: I’ve decided to put it on my menu when I have my own patisserie in the future, and I am gonna name it Mud, lol) 

 

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For the cake base, I used the recipe from Cake Paper Party that yields a rich, moist dark chocolate mud cake. If you are interested, I recommend you to take a look at the recipe as explains how she came up with the best mud cake recipe which makes perfect sense. I poured pure cream and baileys onto my left over chocolate cake and it’s sooo good. 

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I considered using Lindt Intense Mint Chocolate for the  ganache, but I didn’t because I found it so much sweeter than the normal 70% dark chocolate. Therefore, I decided to introduce the mint flavour by adding mint extract, which went extremely well. That said, however, feel free to leave out the mint extract if you prefer to stick with the original dark chocolate taste. I used to have problems making ganache as it would split once I mixed the hot cream and chocolate together. But now I realise the key to making ganache is to let the cream-chocolate mixture sit for around 3 mins before you gently stir it. Also, try to stir as gently as possible as you don’t want to incorporate too many air bubbles into the ganache. 

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Thank you for reading and have a good weekend as always! 

Ingredients :

Dark Chocolate Cake (the cake batter is enough to pour into two 8 inch cake pans, each cut into two layers) 

  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, broke into small pieces 
  • 350g caster sugar 
  • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300ml hot water 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature 
  • 280g all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Mint Chocolate Ganache 

  • 2 tbsp mint extract 
  • 400g dark chocolate 
  • 500ml pure cream 
  • 50g soften unsalted butter 

Chocolate shards with gold sprinkles

  • 200g dark chocolate (I tempered my chocolate using XX)
  • Gold sprinkles 

Honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar 
  • 150g honey 
  • 80ml water 
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda 

Salted Caramel Popcorn 

  • 100g salted caramel (find the recipe here) 
  • Popcorn *I used the plain microwave-popcorn and mixed it with homemade salted caramel, or you can directly buy salted caramel popcorn if that’s what you prefer

Instructions:

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175C). Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line the pan bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use the microwave, but check every 30 seconds.
  3. Mix the instant coffee powder and hot water. Set aside to let cool a bit until ready to use.
  4. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder into chocolate-butter mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 additions while whisking constantly until fully incorporate.
  6. Add vanilla and then the eggs( one at a time).
  7. Now, prepare the dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another mixing bowl with a beater attachment. Beat in low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
  8. While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.
  9. Change to medium high speed, beat for 1 min. Scrap the bottom and continue beating for 30 seconds until smooth.
  10. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in pans for 10 mins before you take the cake out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  12. Cut each cake into two 1.5-cm thick layers with a cake cutter or serrated knife. Set aside until ready to use.

Mint Chocolate Ganache

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a sauce pan, boil cream and pour onto the chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3 mints before gently stirring it until incorporated.
  4. When the mixture is cooled to around 35C. Stir in the butter and whisk until fully mixed.
  5. Cool the mixture using an ice bath until the ganache reaches a pipable consistency.
  6. Put the ganache into a pipe bag with a 6mm round nozzle.

Honey Comb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

  1. Mix the salted caramel and popcorns together until the popcorns are evenly coated with salted caramel. 

*if your salted caramel is a bit firm, microwave for 20-30 seconds so that they can evenly coat the popcorn. 

Tempered Chocolate shards

  1. temper the chocolate and spread it thinly on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Put some gold sprinkles on top of the chocolate before they’re completely set. 
  3. Break them into pieces to your liking.

Assemble

  1. Place one layer of cake onto a cake turntable and top it by piping ganache in a swirling motion. Smoothen the ganache with palette knife. Repeat with the second and third cake layer, and then last layer of cake. Frost the cake with remaining frosting.
  2. Decorate with chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn. Enjoy!

 

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Banana Salted Caramel Mascarpone Parfait




This banana salted caramel mascarpone parfait is everything you’re looking for as a party dessert or romantic dessert for two – it has its own visual impact while pleasing your palate to the last bit. It is intricately layered with light mascarpone cream, banana slices, biscuit crumbs, salted caramel, and topped with salted caramel cream and cocoa powder.




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The idea of making this parfait came up more than a month ago, but I was hesitant to make it because I didn’t have (and didn’t want to spend extra money to buy) the glasses that I thought were the best fit for the parfait. Students’ problems. However, for some reasons, I gave in as the urge of making this dessert became irresistbably strong when I was making tiramisu at work. As you can see, the plastic containers that I decided to use surprisingly looked good in the end!

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This mascarpone cream is essentially the cream used for tiramisu – it’s light and airy using just the simplest ingredients for baking. The recipe for the mascarpone cream is not sweet at all so it’s preferable to use riped bananas and, of course, you can go a little bit crazy with the salted caramel drizzles! To me, the key to a heart-winning parfait is having different layers and textures that well complement each other. For this reason, I added biscuit crumbs in the middle layer as the needed crunch among the smooth. Also, just to accentuate the flavours of salted caramel, I mixed it with the remaining mascarpone cream and pipe little cute blobs dusted with cocoa powder on top as the finishing touch. A small reminder: as the cocoa powder absorbs moisture very quickly after dusting, you should only dust it right before serving.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 50g  salted caramel* (to mix with cream)
  • 80g salted caramel (to drizzle)
  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  • 70g biscuit, crushed
    * I used the Homemade Salted Caramel recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction for this parfait.

Mascarpone cream

  • 350 mascarpone cheese
  • 250g pure cream (semi-whipped)
  • Sabayon:
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 100g caster sugar  
  • Meringue:
    • 2 egg white
    • 35g caster sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Semi-whip cream and keep it in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Make meringue by whipping egg white and caster sugar until stiff peak. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. While the meringue is whipping. Put and whisk well egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in bowl. Heat the mixture over bain marie while stirring occasionally to 65C. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer on high speed to make sabayon (it’s also called the ribbon stage when the egg mixture becomes pale yellow and thick).
  4. Turn to low speed, add mascarpone cheese to sabayon and mix until incorporated.
  5. Using a spatula, gently fold in the meringue in 2 times until just incorporated. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream just until the mixture becomes homogeneous.
  6. Reserve 200g of cream in the mixing bowl, transfer the remaining mixture to a piping bag topped with a round nozzle.
  7. Add 50g salted caramel to the mixing bowl, mix with the reserved cream on medium cream until well mixed. Set aside.  

Assemble:

  1. Pipe a layer of mascarpone cream into each mould.
  2. Sprinkle biscuit crumbs.
  3. Arrange a layer of banana slices.
  4. Generously drizzle salted caramel.
  5. Pipe another layer of mascarpone cream until it fllls up the mould.
  6. Smoothen the surface with a palette knife.
  7. Squeeze out any remaining cream from the piping bag, and transfer the salted caramel mascarpone cream into the same piping bag. Pipe cream on top.  
  8. Dust with cocoa powder.

Yum




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A Taste of Heaven @Janice Wong Dessert Bar

You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t update my blog much the past three weeks. The reason being a rainy getaway in Tokyo. The next thing you might notice is that this post is deliberately poetic. It can’t be helped – I felt obligated to express my feelings here after my visit to Janice Wong Dessert Bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Truth be told, I miss being a university student studying English and films a bit too much at the moment.

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Janice Wong, my idol, so bold, so brave, so adventurous, for her my admiration is like a tidal wave – unstoppable and recurring. A renowned Singaporean pastry chef, forever changing and challenging people’s perception of food. What she offers to the world is an edible form of art; she artfully puts forward a performance full of surprises, one that simultaneously stuns and mesmerises her “audience” in the most devilish ways. That said, looking through her dessert menu was eye-opening enough, for every dessert seemed so heavenly and well-designed that I couldn’t wait to devour all of them.

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After some intense struggles, I decided to order Chocolate H2O (please tell me who doesn’t find chocolate irresistible). One of the main factors of the unique eating experience here is that you, as the curious customers, get to witness/engage in the dessert-making process – I could see the focus and passion in the staff’s eyes when they brought the desserts into life, attending to every single detail of the final dish. As I watched, my hungry soul was already aching to have a taste.

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Chocolate H2O (Bitter chocolate water mousse/Salted caramel/ Yuzu kalamansi gel/ Yuzu sorbe) definitely made its presence felt through its visual aesthetics. One thing I can’t resist about Janice Wong’s dessert is how every single element of the dish maneuvers its ways into creating some sheer magic. The bitterness of the chocolate was effectively elevated by the salted caramel, but then balanced by the slightly sour yuzu components. Such a fine combination of flavours made every bite an absolute pleasure – it instantly filled my heart with happiness, as if some sort of ecstasy flew through my blood.

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To end this post, I am going to put up Janice Wong’s philosophy about her approach to food as a timely reminder for myself.

“Welcome to our artistic gastronomic world of flawless imperfection and flawed perfection.

It is not to complex. Open your mind as I have and you will, too, see, taste and feel differently.

These seemingly disparate sources of inspiration and the creation that stem from them are all threaded by a commonality a pursuit for perfection in imperfection, and an appreciation of imperfection in perfection.”

Note to self:

  • Be fearless and resilient, because
  • as long as you know what you’re aiming at, the sky is the limit to how far you should go to achieve it.
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