Skúffukaka – Icelandic Chocolate Cake

August 24, 2018

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I can’t believe that I didn’t experience Skúffukaka until our 7th visit to Iceland, considering it is a traditional dessert. Indeed nearly every Icelandic family has their own version of the recipe, complete with closely guarded secret ingredients. Basically it is a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, sprinkled with coconut flakes. It isn’t fancy per se – in fact skúffukaka means “oven pan cake” or “baking tray cake”. They have a similar version of this recipe in Sweden which is called Kärleksmums (love-yums), but folks in Iceland are pretty practical, so they’ve decided to call it Baking Tray Cake. But don’t let its rustic name put you off, this cake is delicious! I was served my first slice at The Garage Apartments by our lovely host Anna. The Husband and I didn’t know we were eating Skúffukaka at the time, we just knew we loved it!

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The Skúffukaka baked for us by our lovely host Anna at the Garage Apartments.

Anna served us wonderful baked goods every day of our visit. The first being that amazing Varmahlíð Apple Cake that I told you about in my previous blog. I was able to search around the internet and figure out that the chocolate cake she served was called Skùffukaka and then I researched a recipe, which I will share here with you today.

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But let me also take this opportunity to both tell you more about that fantastic trip to Iceland that the Husband and I went on last September as well as alert you to a new feature on my blog. If you look up at the top navigation bar, there is now a “travels” section you can choose. I have organized all of our travel posts here. So it will be much easier to find that trip we took to Prague way back in 2013, should you be searching. These posts not only feature a delicious dish that we experienced on our trip, but are also chock full of lovely pictures and recommendations with links for hotels, restaurants, guides, shops etc, should you be inspired to visit the destination yourself. But back to this Iceland trip from 2017. After we had so much fun on the South Coast, we headed towards the East Fjords. The East Fjords are really a hidden gem in Iceland. Well, I guess they aren’t really hidden. They are right there in plain sight. They are just often overlooked by tourists. Most visitors don’t venture that far from Reykjavik and the Golden Circle. That, and the fact that only roughly 3% of Iceland’s population lives in this area of the country, ensures you will be able to experience some peaceful, beautiful isolation.

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On our way north-east, we stopped by the stunning  Jökulsárlón. Actually we stopped by on our way north and then again when we came back south. We just can not get enough of its breathtaking beauty.

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Jökulsárlón is a large lake which was formed by a glacier. It is located in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Bits of the Vatnajökull glacier break off (calve) into the lake, forming icebergs. These icebergs float around until they melt enough to fit through the narrow opening of the lake and drift out into the ocean,

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though some do wash up on the nearby black sand beach, known as Diamond Beach.

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The first time we visited it was in December of 2013. It was really chilly that day, I’m talking like 12°F (-11°C). We braved the temps as long as we could, but we were pretty dang cold! So visiting in September was quite a different experience. It was sunny and warm both days. We really lucked out!

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A couple of seals swimming about

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Once we were able to finally tear ourselves away from Jökulsárlón, we continued on our northeast journey, taking a bit of time out to soak up the beauty that is Vestrahorn. Vestrahorn is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. It is located on the Stokksnes peninsula. One of Iceland’s earliest settlement farms was located in this area. The 454 meter high Vestrahorn mountain rises up from the lava dune strewn shore line. Truly a photographer’s paradise!

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We spent the night in an adorable little cabin

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where we were lucky enough to see a quick glimpse of the Northern Lights through the clouds.

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The next day we continued on towards Seyðisfjörður where we would be spending several days. On the way, zigzagging along the fjords on route 1, we saw many sleepy fishing towns surrounded by rugged mountains and dramatic coastlines. When we reached Egilsstaðir, we ventured off the ring road, up and over the Fjarðarheiði mountain pass, descending down into charming Seyðisfjörður (population 675). Nestled at the end of the fjord and surrounded by often snow peaked mountains and cascading waterfalls, picturesque Seyðisfjörður delights. Populated by many artists, musicians and craftspeople, this friendly town feels so welcoming.

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On our second day there we set off on a hike to see Tvísöngur, the sound sculpture created by german artist Lukas Kühne.

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This concrete structure consists of five interconnected domes, each with its own resonance that corresponds to a tone in the five tone harmony of traditional Icelandic singing.

After exploring the structure, we continued hiking on the Tvísöngur loop which took us up onto a plateau where we were treated to a bird’s eye view of the town and the fjord.

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Later that night we were delighted when the Northern Lights again made an appearance.

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After leaving Seyðisfjörður we headed south again, stopping at the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon where the Aurora put on an amazing show. It was so intense, it was actually difficult to get a good picture because rather than a wispy trail of green against the black sky, the entire sky turned green.

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Our final adventure on this action packed trip was going on a glacier walk on Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell National Park with Icelandic Mountain Guides. They showed us how to use crampons and ice axes and then off we went.

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Svínafellsjökull glacier is where the scenes that took place “beyond the wall” in Game of Thrones were shot.

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So I’m sure you must be really inspired now to plan your own adventure in Iceland. Please take a look at the helpful links below if you need some assistance in planning. And do whip up some moist and decadent Skúffukaka while pouring over maps and booking sights. With a slice of that chocolatey goodness and mug of coffee, hepped up on all that sugar and caffeine, there’ll be no stopping you!

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Skúffukaka

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Belle -ÆÐISLEG SKÚFFUKAKA

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 280 grams sugar
  • 125 grams butter- room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs – room temperature
  • 200 grams flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100 ml milk

For the Frosting:

  • 130 grams salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 250 grams confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons cream
  • 1 -2 Tablespoon strong coffee – cooled
  • coconut flakes to sprinkle over the cake

Directions:

For the Cake;

Preheat the oven to 355° F (180°C).

Butter and flour one 9X9″ baking tray.

In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for 1 -2 minutes. Add the eggs, mixing well after the addition of each egg. Add the vanilla extract. Mix on medium high-speed for 6 -7 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the dry mixture to the butter & sugar. Mix until just combined.

Add the milk and mix until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tray and spread evenly. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Set on a wire rack to cool before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and egg together until combined. With the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioners sugar slowly, 1/4 cup  at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the cocoa and vanilla. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and continue mixing.

Mix in the cream and 1 – 2 Tablespoons of the cooled coffee to taste. Continue mixing until the frosting is smooth. If the icing is not the correct consistency for frosting the cake you can either add a bit more confectioner’s sugar or refrigerate for a short time to allow it to set.

Spread frosting over the cooled cake. This recipe makes a good amount of frosting, so you may not use all of it on the cake. Add as thick a layer of frosting as you prefer. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Enjoy!

Skúffukaka brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Skúffukaka:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Links for Planning your vacation in the East Fjords Iceland:

Accommodation:

Bragdavellir Cottages: located 10km from Djúpivogur, just off of Route 1, these cottages are clean, cozy and offer a fantastic view. Our only regret is that we had just one night’s stay.

Lónsleira Apartments: located in Seyðisfjörður these apartments are perfection! Stylishly furnished, sparklingly clean with amazing location and view!

Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon: We loved this hotel! So chic and stylish, not only are the rooms beautiful, but it is also located between Jökulsárlón and Skatafell National Park, two amazing destinations. We can not wait to visit again!

Restaurants/Bars:

Íshúsið Pizzeria: Located in Höfn, right on the harbor, this friendly pizzeria serves up some outstanding pies! We stopped on our way north and again on the way back south.

Kaffi Lára – El Grilló Bar: Located in Seyðisfjörður. Warm and friendly, you will love relaxing in this local bar/restaurant. Everything we tried here was very good, burgers to barbecue, but there was one standout item….they serve the BEST baked potatoes I have ever eaten. I kid you not. One night when we were there, we saw a couple who had just finished their meal. The lady ordered a slice of pie for dessert and her companion ordered another baked potato! Amazing!!!

Tours:

Icelandic Mountain Guides: Want to go on a glacier adventure? Contact these professionals! They won’t let you down!

Rental Cars:

Blue Car Rental: We ALWAYS rent our car from Blue Car Rental. Friendly Icelandic company, well maintained, newer, quality vehicles – they’ve never let us down and at this point we have rented from them on six different visits and have had excellent experiences every time. The price they quote on their website has all of the insurance included so there are no surprizes when you show up at their rental desk. Highly recommend!

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Varmahlíð Apple Cake

August 12, 2018

 

 

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Last September the Husband and I went on an amazing trip to Iceland. It was our 7th time visiting and we just can’t get enough of the place! Indeed since this trip we have visited again in February 2018 and are planning another visit this Fall! But let me not get ahead of myself. I’m just going to tell you about the September 2017 visit right now. Believe me, there be more to come. So last September, we were mostly focused on visiting the East Fjords, but we did spend some time revisiting the South Coast. Although we had been there several times, there were still plenty of things in the area that we hadn’t experienced. I first encountered this Varmahlíð Apple Cake

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at The Garage Apartments, which are an absolutely wonderful base of operations if you are visiting that area of the country.

P1010297 (1)These lovely modern rustic apartments are found in former old garage that is located on a family farm belonging to Anna & Siggi. This picturesque homestead is nestled right up to the foot of the mountain topped by the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, under which the famous air traffic interrupting volcano resides.

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Varmahlíð actually means “warm hill”. There is another Varmahlíð in North Iceland. With all the geothermal activity on the island it is easy to see why there would be more than one place known as Varmahlíð. But here I’m referring to an area on the South Coast near the Ejyafjallajökull volcano.

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Siggi’s family has been living on this land for over 200 years. Now Anna & Siggi are operating a “gentleman’s farm” on the site as well as managing several apartments for Iceland’s ever-expanding tourist market.

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Located exactly between the two famous waterfalls Skógafoss

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and Seljalandfoss,

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You can walk behind Seljalandfoss for an alternate view!

these exceptional apartments are the perfect central location for taking in all the South Coast of Iceland has to offer. We of course visited the waterfalls, not our first visit but they never seem to get old. We spent some time on the black sand beach near Vik

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and visited the plane wreck at Sólheimasandur.

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Next we travelled out to the breath-taking Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar).

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Once there we met the adorable Tóti, Vestmannaeyjar’s famous puffin

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and saw the whole town turn out to rescue baby pufflings at night (for more info on the pufflings and Westman islands (see Iceland links below). We went on an exciting rib safari tour around Heimaey.

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The Famous Elephant rock

Drank some local beer at the Brothers Brewery,

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visited the Eldheimar museum which documents the story of the surprise 1973 eruption of the volcano which caused the roughly 5,00 locals to flee on fishing boats in the middle of the night to the safety of the mainland. The eruption, which lasted for 5 months, buried 1/3 of the town in lava and destroyed over 400 houses and businesses. The resilient islanders did return and rebuilt the thriving community you will find today. Fascinating stuff! You really should consider visiting.

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One of the recently uncovered houses which had been buried by lava & ash during the eruption.

And if all the gorgeous scenery hasn’t convinced you, we had the best meal we have ever had in Iceland, which is saying something because the food there is fantastic. The restaurant is Slipurinn. Located in an old machinery shop this family owned eatery features seasonal local sourced dishes often including herbs and seaweed foraged right there on the island. Simply divine food in a friendly and casual environment. Don’t miss it!

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The Husband and I atop the newly formed volcano – Mt. Eldfell

Back on the mainland, we hiked the magnificent Fimmvörðuháls trail, a big accomplishment for us. This challenging 13 mile hike took us up over a mountain (approximately 3,600 feet elevation), past 22 waterfalls,

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past the still warm lava fields from the most recent eruption,

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between two glaciers,

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over the Kattarhryggur (cat’s spine)

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and down the other side through Goðaland (the land of the Gods),

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finishing in Thorsmork (Thor’s Forest).

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It was just jaw dropingly gorgeous and occasionally somewhat terrifying! – Narrow paths with steep drop-offs are not for the faint of heart!

And not only was the Garage Apartments location ideal for all our explorations, but Anna was also such an amazing host, so friendly, warm and welcoming. Her spacious apartments were stylishly decorated, sparklingly clean

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and filled with thoughtful little touches,

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Adorable mice on the bed side table!

and as if all of that was not enough, she served us scrumptious freshly home-baked desserts every day! This delicious Apple Cake was one of them.

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This particular Iceland trip was chock full of activities and I can not tell you how happy we were to come back to find home baked treats waiting for us. What a pleasant surprize! Moist and tender and not too sweet, it was just perfect with a nice hot mug of tea. Anna kindly shared the recipe with me, which I will now share with you.

 

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I must admit, I had to do a few conversions before baking this cake. I don’t have any measuring devices marked with deciliters – but I was able to figure it out pretty quickly. I baked the cake in an 8X8″ pan, but you could also use a 9X9″ – just make sure you adjust the baking time.

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And if you are planning a trip to Iceland anytime in the future and want to visit the South Coast, you’ll know exactly where you should book your accommodation. As a matter of fact, the Husband and I are taking our parents to Iceland this fall. It will be their first trip so we will be playing tour guides for them. And guess where we’ll be staying…That’s right! We are very much looking forward to our upcoming stay at the cozy Garage apartments. For further Iceland recommendations, see my guide at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, try this recipe and enjoy a slice of Varmahlíð Apple Cake while you plan your upcoming adventure.

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Varmahlíð Apple Cake

  • Servings: 9 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Anna, owner of the Garage Apartments

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams soft salted butter
  • 2.5 Deciliter Sugar (1 cup + 1 Tablespoon)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Deciliter Cream (100 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 -5 green apples – sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 355° F (180°C)

Place the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the cream and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add the flour/baking powder mix to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Place the batter in a buttered deep 8X8″ baking pan and top with the apples. ( I sprinkled the top of my cake with cinnamon sugar, but this was not included in Anna’s recipe. If you love cinnamon like I do, just mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples before baking.)

Bake for 45 -50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean at 355°F (180°C).

Enjoy!

Varmahlíð Apple Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Varmahlíð Apple Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Links for Planning your vacation in Iceland:

I have tons of links, as well as some lovely photos, and delicious Icelandic recipes in previous blogs that I have written about our adventures in Iceland. For some inspiration take a look at:

December 2012 Visit to the South Coast & Reykjavik featuring White Chocolate Skyramisu

December 2013 Visit to the South Coast, Jökulsárlón & Reykjavik featuring Kanilsnúðar

July & December Visit to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, The Westfjords & Reykjavik featuring Ástarpungar aka Love Balls 

Here is a fun video that show you some of the beauty Iceland has to offer, which will surely get you excited for any upcoming Iceland visit. And it will teach you a few words in Icelandic as well. It is known as “The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World”! Sing along to Inspired by Iceland’s “A – Ö of Iceland”.

If you enjoyed this video, take a look at Inspired By Iceland’s site. They have great little videos showing you gorgeous scenes from each area of Iceland, while teaching you a few more Icelandic words along the way.

Westman Island links:

To Buy tickets on the Herjólfur Ferry as well as read about all the things to see and do take a look at: Visit Westman Islands.

Hotel Vestmannaeyjar – Great accommodation on the Islands.

Stofan Bakhús – Great bakery! Got the best kanilsnúðars there that I have ever had in Iceland! We also got some great sandwiches to take on a hike. Everything there looks delicious. Go be tempted!

On puffins: If you travel to the Westman Island at the end of August/beginning of September there is a good chance you will see baby puffins (pufflings) being rescued by the local children. At this time of year, the pufflings leave their nests but get confused by the lights of the town and rather than flying out to sea, they end up flying into town. The children go out at night with flashlights to find them. They take them home in cardboard boxes for the night. The next morning they take them to the Saeheimar Aquarium to be measured and weighed and the children can have their pictures taken with their little charges as well. Once done, the kids take the little birds to the shore and release them back into the wild during daylight hours so that they won’t become confused. We were lucky enough to be there when this was happening and it was unforgettable!

*On a sad note: Tóti the Puffin passed away in July. He was a great ambassador for Vestmannaeyjar and brought joy to many. The Husband and I are so glad we were able to meet him. He will be sorely missed.

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Interested in hiking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail? See here:

If you are interested in hiking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, you can go all on your own. However, we strongly recommend going with a guide.  Weather at  the top of the mountain is very unpredictable and many tourists have ended up having to call ICE-SAR to be rescued. Don’t let this happen to you! We absolutely love the tour company Midgard Adventure and have gone out with them on many exciting adventures. They not only provided us with a knowledgeable and engaging guide but when we descended down into Thorsmork after our epic 9 – 10 hour hike, the folks from Midgard had grilled some hot dogs and were waiting for us with a cooler of beer as well as other snacks. It was just perfection! Check out their other tours as well. They are an amazing company! And they now offer cozy accommodation as well. Take a look at their basecamp where you can find a restaurant, cafe and bar as well.

 

 

 

 


Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

March 17, 2018

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Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, the last post of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe run features a cupcake. Well, not an American style cupcake, but what is known as a Butterfly Cake or also sometimes as a Fairy Cake in Ireland. Butterfly Cakes consist of a light Victoria sponge style cake that has a circle carved out that top, the resulting hollow has been filled with jam, topped with whipped cream and then had the halved top circle reinserted so as to resemble butterfly or fairy wings. Then the whole shebang is dusted with confectioners sugar. Butterfly Cakes are staples at children’s birthday parties. What I’ve got for you today is the adult version. My whipped cream is heavily laced with Baileys. Yup…these Butterflies are a wee bit tipsy!

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And I did say that you might see that delicious homemade Strawberry Jam that I mentioned in my very first post this St. Patrick’s Day season – Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream. And it has indeed made an appearance again filling these adorable little butterfly gems. The recipe for that Strawberry Jam comes from my friend Theresa’s cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. She grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents.

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Theresa definitely knows her way around a jam jar. Every single creation of hers that  I have tasted has been exquisite and her Strawberry Jam is no exception. Simply divine! So I knew that it would be the perfect filling for these Butterfly Cakes.

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It is strange that as popular as these lovely treats are in Ireland, they never really made it across the pond to the States. American cupcakes generally are piled high with very sweet buttercream frosting. Now don’t get me wrong. I love cupcakes, pretty much all of them. But I will say that my least favorite of all of the frostings is American Buttercream. It is often grainy and toothachingly sweet. As I’ve said in many previous posts, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the way to go. If that is the frosting you’ve got, go ahead and pipe a mini mountain onto each cake! The Husband, who really doesn’t care much for chocolatey type sweets, but loves any fruit based dessert, thought these treats were the bees knees. Not too sweet and just bursting with jam and fresh cream. I’m sure the Baileys presence didn’t hurt either! A delight on St. Patrick’s Day but a great recipe to have in your arsenal for use the entire year through.

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Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

For the topping:

  • strawberry jam – I just made up a batch! See the recipe here. or use store bought if you are short on time
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 -2  Tablespoon Baileys (optional)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions:

Line cupcake tin with liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk egg white and buttermilk together in small bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat butter until pale and creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed and continuing to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla paste and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the buttermilk/egg mixture, beating only until just combined.

Using 1/4 cup scoop, divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted shows a few moist crumbs.

Cool cupcake tin on wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pan to finishing cooling on rack.

When ready to decorate, cut out the center of each cupcake, angling the knife at a 45° angle. The piece you remove should look like a cone. Cut the cone top of the cupcake in half so as to resemble butterfly wings. Fill the hollowed out part of the cupcake with strawberry jam. Top the jam with a dollop of Baileys whipped cream, or you can pipe the cream on as I did. Place the “wings” upright at an angle in the cream.

Dust generously with confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!

Butterfly Cakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butterfly Cakes filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Oxo Good Grips Baker’s Dusting Wand


Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

March 15, 2018

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So today is the Ides of March, but there is nothing to fear here. I’m serving up a bunch of these Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes to anyone who might darken my doorstep!

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That’s right – little individual sized Baileys spiked chocolate cheesecakes topped with Baileys whipped cream and drizzled with an Irish Whiskey laced chocolate. Hmmm…on second thought, perhaps your liver should beware the Ides with all that booze!

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These decadent little devils are rich, creamy and just the perfect serving size. Recently I’m somewhat obsessed with canning jars. Not only are they adorable, but they also make serving folks at any gathering a breeze. No worries with slicing cakes or flimsy serving plates. These supremely portable jars are the way to go!

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Easy to make and even easier to eat, these Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes are a St. Patrick’s Day delight!

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Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 12 - 4 oz. canning jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Irish Baking Adventures

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200 grams Graham Cracker crumbs (you can use Digestive Biscuit crumbs if you like)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

For the Cheesecake filling:

  • 360 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 200 grams melted milk chocolate
  • 120 ml. sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 70 ml Baileys Irish Cream

For the topping:

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 75 gram confectioners sugar
  • 60 ml Baileys
  • 200 grams chocolate, melted – for drizzling
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey (optional – once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Whiskey if desired).

Directions:

Preheat the 325° F (160°C). Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs in the bottom of each jar and pat down firmly to create a crust.

Place the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa in a stand mixer and mix on a low speed until combined.

Add the sour cream, vanilla, melted chocolate and Baileys. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding the next.

Divide the batter evenly between the jars.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or baking dish with sides. Carefully add hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Just before serving, whip cream on high until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and Baileys and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Pipe the whipped topping onto the mini cheesecakes and drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 


Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

March 13, 2018

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I am so excited about the recipe I have for you today…Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème! Why so excited, besides that fact that I’ve got 2 days of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-palooza done and dusted (only 4 more days to go…)? Well, I am excited about that, but I’m also thrilled because these little treats are quite possibly a game changer for me. Not only were they delicious, and I’m talking a swoon-worthy kind of dessert, but they were so easy to make. I’m serious. No baking. Just a few whrrrr’s of the food processor, a bit of stove top warming and some chill time. And then before I knew it I had these simple yet elegant, boozy, rich, salted caramel chocolatey decadent desserts, ready to be garnished and served.

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Pots de Crème (pronounced Po – think how southerners might pronounce “poor”- de Krehm) are a french custard which dates back to the 17th Century. Traditionally served in little pot shaped dishes (hence their name) or demitasse cups they are usually baked at low heat in a water bath. Their consistency is similar to a chocolate mousse but more dense yet not quite as firm as a flan. But this recipe today is for the new fangled Pots de Crème. As I said…no baking is involved. I’m telling you these little dreams are so easy to make you could do it first thing in the morning, while you’re still sleeping…perhaps before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee (or tea). Well, that might not be true, but they are pretty dang easy.

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However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a couple of really important things you must do to ensure the success of this recipe. First of all, those eggs need to be room temperature. I promise you it will not work if you pull the eggs straight out of the fridge. Easiest thing to do is just set them out the night before. Oh come on! They are not going to go bad sitting out over night! But if this makes you nervous, you can let them soak in a bit of warm water to bring them up to room temperature. Again, I said warm water. Not boiling hot water. You don’t want to cook them at this point. Next important thing to remember is that it needs to be HOT cream, not room temperature and definitely not cream straight out of the fridge. That cream has to melt all the chocolate as well as kill any bacteria that might be in those raw eggs, so don’t mess around. Warm it to just shy of boiling. Put it in the microwave if you must and nuke it…nuke it real good! And finally once you’ve added the very HOT cream, make sure you run the blender long enough that the chocolate is thoroughly melted and uniformly mixed. That is pretty much it. You just pour it into whatever containers you plan to serve it in, leaving plenty of room for the whipped cream and pop them into the fridge. In 3 -4 hours they will be set and ready to serve.

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I made a version of these a few years ago with Baileys and coffee. I was inspired to reboot it this year when I saw that Valhrona had come out with a Salted Caramel Chocolate. I love salted caramel and couldn’t resist doing this recipe over with new ingredients. Valrhona also has these Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls that I used for my topping. I did not see these available on amazon and it looks like Valrhona might only supply Sur la Table with this item. Valrhona also makes a Dulcey white chocolate which has toasty buttery shortbread notes to it. I can see I’ll have to give that a whirl as well. In the meantime, please enjoy these Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème and don’t forget the Baileys whipped topping!

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Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

  • Servings: 6 -10 jars - depending on the size of your jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Valrhona Lait Caramelia
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (possibly more depending on your mood…) Bailey’s Irish Cream, separated
  • 1 cup piping HOT whipping cream
  • an additional 1/2 pint cold heavy whipping cream
  • chocolate shavings or cocoa powder or even fresh fruit, for additional garnish

Directions:

Pour 1 tablespoon (or a bit more if you’re feeling a bit saucy) of Bailey’s Irish cream into the whipping cream and stir. Place into a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until just shy of boiling.

While cream is heating, add chocolate and room temperature eggs (really – I can not stress it enough – not cold out of the fridge, but room temperature eggs) to a blender or food processor and pulse, about 5-6 times, until the chocolate is broken up into small bits. Small folks, try to make it as easy as possible for that cream to work its melting magic.

Once cream/Baileys mixture is hot, with the blender running, slowly stream in the Baileys cream and continue blending until the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 small mason jars, martini glasses, ramekins or tea cups and refrigerate for 3 -4 hours or until set.

Right before serving the pots de crème, add whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining tablespoon (and perhaps a bit more…) of Baileys until well mixed.

Dollop the Baileys whipped cream on top of the pots de creme and serve with chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Enjoy!

Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com) 

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème:

Valhrona Lait Caramelia

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

 

 


Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

November 1, 2017

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So what in the world?!! I’m posting again so soon! Usually months go by between my posts. It must be some sort of Halloween miracle! It is just that I couldn’t wait to share these adorable Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider cupcakes with you. I made them for our Halloween festivities last night, but then ran out of time to actually post the blog about them. So even though Halloween is over, I’m sharing this recipe anyway. You’ll be all set for next year.

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These cupcakes not only look fantastic, if I must say so myself, but they also taste amazing. The cake portion is a moist Guinness chocolatey, coffee cake. And then it is frosted with a smooth and velvety Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh be still my heart…I am in Cupcake Heaven! No wait….I mean to say the torturous depths of Hell (it is Halloween right?).

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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This year’s Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes combine the whimsical and boozy together in one perfect Halloween treat! The little spider darlings (I mean horrible, terrible scary spiders) are fairly easy to make. I used two malted milk balls for the body and head (turns out Maltesers -the body- are slightly larger than Whoppers – the head), but you could also use a malted milk ball and a chocolate covered peanut. You get the idea. The legs are made with black candy melts. I piped them out onto parchment paper, let them harden and then attached them to the body with more candy melt. Then I used Wilton mini Candy eyes for their googly eyes. You could also probably use mini M&M’s here. And There you have it…. Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes!

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Truth be told I am terrified of spiders, so it is a bit weird that I decided to make these cupcakes. And  I’m not one of those girly girls that is scared of all bugs and mice and snakes. Nope, I pretty much like most bugs – mosquitos excepted – but it’s more hate where they are involved rather than fear. Snakes are pretty cool and I love mice. But spiders….no way!  I keep trying to make a treaty with them in which I will leave them alone as long as they are outside, but they are not allowed to come into my house. Rather than squish spiders that do venture inside despite the treaty, I show them mercy by capturing them and escorting them outside- all the while telling them that they must spread the word of our treaty to their friends. Those jerks agree at the time (spiders are full of deceit..), however once they get outside unscathed, I think they tell their little spider friends that I’m a softie and they shouldn’t worry about going into my house. Sigh….spiders are the worst! I’m just saying!

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Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 - 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cake portion of the recipe from: Wife in Progress

Frosting recipe from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream (or you could substitute Kahlua or your favorite)
  • green gel food coloring

For the Spiders: 

  • 24 Maltesers or Whoppers (Malted Milk Balls)
  • 24 chocolate covered peanuts or raisins (or just use another malted milk ball as I did)
  • 6 ounces Black or Dark Cocoa Candy Melts, melted
  • 48 (or more if you prefer – spiders sometimes have lots of eyes!) Candy eyes (small size)

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add Baileys slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Melt 6 ounces of Candy Melts in the microwave. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pipe “L” shapes onto the parchment to form spider’s legs. Let harden.

Place a Malteser “spider body” on the center of the frosting. Place the chocolate peanut “head” in front of it. Pipe dots of melted chocolate on the side of the spider’s body to hold the legs in place. Gently place 3 – 4 legs on each side of the spider. Use a dot of the melted chocolate to stick the eyes onto the head.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes:
Maltesers
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes
Merkens Dark Cocoa Confectionary Melts

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

March 17, 2017

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Oh my gawd! It’s here, it’s here!! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon features cupcakes. And today I’ve got not just any old cupcake…no siree! What I’ve got here are Irish Coffee Cupcakes. Can’t get much more St. Patrick’s Day than that!

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So obviously, I’m giving you that classic Irish cocktail in cupcake form. It is surprising that the Irish Coffee is fairly young when one considers coffee cocktails. It was invented in 1943. Way back in 19th century France,  folks were already quaffing “Glorias” which were a mixture of “coffee & strong spirits”. And Viennese Coffee Houses had been serving Pharisäers, sweetened coffee, rum & whipped cream, for quite some time at that point. So fast forward to 1943, Joe Sheridan was the chef at Foynes Port in Limerick when he invented this warming drink and served it to a gaggle of cold and wet tourists. Eventually Stanton Delaplane, an american travel writer, encountered the drink at Shannon airport and brought it back to the US, writing about it extensively. And what do you know, it caught on. Folks loved it then, and still love it now.

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The classic Irish Coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish Whiskey and sugar and is topped with thick cream which is floated on top of the coffee/whiskey mixture. Soothing, warming and utterly decadent, you just can’t go wrong with this elixir. Serve it on a luxurious holiday morning or as a lovely nightcap – perfect every time. And these cupcakes…yeah, they’re worthy of their namesake.

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Tender, moist coffee flavored chocolate cake – filled with a creamy dark and decadent whiskey chocolate ganache and then frosted with a light and airy Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream and topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean…

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Dear Lawd! This is not only perfect on St. Patrick’s Day, but awesome year round. So what are you waiting for, you can have these ready for tonight’s shindig in two shakes of a lambs tail.

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Now me, I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe from: Wife in Progress

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon Jameson Whiskey

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 small carton of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Whiskey

Espresso powder (I used King Arthur Espresso Powder, but you could also use cocoa powder or even freshly ground nutmeg in a pinch) and chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Whiskey Ganache:

Heat heavy cream until just shy of boiling.

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Do not mix. Cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir the mixture starting from the inside and working to the edges. Add the whiskey and mix until incorporated

Let sit for 10 minutes or so at room temperature. The ganache should thicken a bit. You can pop it into the fridge for a bit to speed this process up.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:

Pour cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until Cream forms stiff peaks. Add Irish Whiskey to taste.

For Assembly: 

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut out the center of each cake with an apple corer, knife or special cupcake corer tool, taking care not to cut all the way through the cake.

Place the whiskey ganache into a pastry bag and pipe into the cored cupcake to fill.

Spoon the whipped whiskey filling into a pastry bag and frost cupcakes.

Dust with espresso powder and top with chocolate covered bean.

Enjoy!
Irish Coffee Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Coffee Cupcakes:
Cuckoo Luckoo Gourmet Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans – This link is for a 1 pound box of these beans. To be honest, I got mine at my local Starbucks. They sell them in little 1/75 oz snack packs!

 

 


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