Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fudgy Chocolate Muffin Cakes

It's been quite a while since I did any baking, but sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery and a little bit of external motivation to kick me back into gear. 

As it was, right before I planned to return to Australia for a few weeks, I was contacted to try out Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Melts. 

Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Melts
Not being one who naturally turns down chocolate, I was interested to see how these would taste on their own. Could 70% dark chocolate sweetened with Stevia rather than sugar and designed to melt easily taste good enough to consume on its own? Almost. 

I must say that the chocolate wasn't quite 'rich' enough for my liking and there's an almost imperceptible chalkiness from the Stevia, but of course that would be completely unnoticed in dessert concoction.

Whilst I was sent plenty of sugar free recipes to try, I instead turned a staple recipe in order to satisfy my curiosity of whether this could taste as good as your standard dark chocolate. Fudgy chocolate muffin cakes with added sugar) was the result. With a very toothsome texture, these beauties are a heavy-hitting chocolate fix in a small package. Chocolate cakes are always better when they're slightly underdone and very fudgy in my opinion. 

To begin, I melted dark chocolate with butter (in the microwave) and was pleasantly surprised at how easily the chocolate chips melted.

Dark Chocolate with Butter
To this was added the mixed dry ingredients....

Dark Chocolate, Butter, Flour, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Salt
... followed by eggs, cream and vanilla (I used vanilla paste because I absolutely adore using it in baking). Mixing gently resulted in a smooth, slightly fluffy batter.

Fudgy Chocolate Batter
Usually I would bake a chocolate cake, but this time smaller cakes made in a muffin tin (henceforth called muffin cakes for all eternity) just felt more appropriate. Easier portion control I suppose.

I divided the batter evenly into a 6-hole muffin tin and then popped them into the pre-heated oven. 

Batter in a 6-hole muffin tin
Out of the oven came these glorious muffin-cakes, with their rich chocolate aroma and slightly cracked tops that promised a super-dark indulgent experience (with half the sugar that these would usually contain).

Fudgy Chocolate Muffin Cakes
A smear of dark chocolate ganache and these were ready to be devoured. And with sugar-free chocolate replacing the standard dark chocolate called for in the recipe but without a noticeable difference in flavour, these aren't as sinful as they taste!

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Ingredients:

Cake:
  • 85 g unsalted butter
  • 85 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, sugar-free if you prefer)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (or equivalent sugar-free sweetener if you prefer)
  • 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
Frosting:
  • 200 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 35 g butter
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and butter a 6 hole large-muffin tin.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter very gently in a microwave (in 20 second bursts), or in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth (either after each 20 second burst or continuously if using a saucepan). Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda a bowl and whisk together.
  4. Add chocolate mixture, eggs, cream and vanilla extract/paste to the flour mixture and mix gently until you end up with a smooth batter (do not over-mix).
  5. Divide batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (roughly 15-20 minutes).
  6. Make the frosting by combining chocolate, butter, coffee and milk in a double boiler and heating it gently (without stirring) until the chocolate begins to melt. Alternatively heat the mixture gently in 20 second bursts in the microwave. When melted, stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Add salt and beat vigorously for 30 seconds then set aside to cool and thicken until it's a spreadable consistency. 
  7. Spread frosting over the top of the muffin cakes. 
Fudgy Chocolate Muffin Cakes



Thanks to Well Naturally and WordStorm PR for sending me samples of Well Naturally Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Melts to try!