Flourless Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

So, as is not uncommon, this year my birthday fell on Passover. The first night, to be exact. So, of course, I made cake. Flourless chocolate cake “crust,” raspberry cheesecake layer, and classic vanilla bean cheesecake layer. I made this cake the last time my birthday fell on Passover, too, decorating with chocolate curls. This year, I went all-out with chocolate ganache and shiny glazed raspberries.

Continue reading

Raspberry Brownie Bites

Let’s dress up a classic dessert – brownies – and get them all ready to go to a party, shall we?
 

I baked my favorite brownie recipe, by Smitten Kitchen, of course, into this awesome brownie bite pan.  It’s basically a mini cupcake pan, but with squares. It’s pretty shallow, which makes for perfect, bite-sized desserts.

After baking, I melted some dark chocolate and thinned it a bit with vegetable oil so it’s be nice and runny. I dunked some of the squares into the chocolate, lets the extra drip, and let them set on a piece of wax paper.  Not only does the chocolate coating taste great, but it also helps to seal in the freshness and moisture. You can see the chocolate covered ones below; they look like petit fours.

Some got chocolate ganache heaped on top of the brownie bites instead of a complete coating. 

And the white cloud of deliciousness you see is marshmallow fluff.  I was in a hurry so I didn’t have time to make frosting, plus the brownies were being served at a dairy-free event and I didn’t want to mess with margarine frosting, but I’m really happy with how the fluff looked and tasted.

They were topped off with fresh raspberries. 

The little squares looked like perfectly delicious gems. Next time, I think I’ll try a light glaze on top of the berries to make them really shine. Chocolatey, fruity, sweet and chewy.

And they’re so small that you can try one or two [every time you walk by the fridge].

Happy Birthday Michelle!

This weekend, I have the flu. This weekend, it is also my dear friend and suite-mate’s birthday. What does this mean?

It means I call my doctor to confirm that flu can’t be transmitted via baked goods, text some other friends for help, and start baking! Obviously, the birthday girl simply had to have a cake.

We ended up with this. It was 4 layers of chocolate cake. Between each layer is a delicious glob of chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries. It’s all covered in rich chocolate frosting. And it’s completely dairy-free!

I had great plans for this cake. It was going to be beautifully piped with fancy letters and designs.

Maybe with a touch of glitter on top. Ultimately, the designs were made using a little spatula.

I got a teensy bit too excited by the glitter.

And when you’re baking in a dorm, sometimes you have to use paper plates, even for special occasions.

But you know what?

This cake was delicious. The birthday girl enjoyed it and it was gobbled up in no time. What you see here is a very well-loved cake. And that’s what matters.

We invited people over for a “surprise” party that evening, which, for a number of reasons, turned out to not be such a big surprise after all.

But we decorated the apartment nicely.

We asked the guests to come in pajamas.

We decorated cookies.

Many cookies.

We made a mess. 

I took a couple pictures, but mostly we just ate.

Nothing that day went according to plan, but I think it was perfect.

We love you Michelle. Happy birthday!

A Truffle or Two

First, I should explain that I bake because I get this “I can do that” feeling whenever I eat something sweet. I get so much satisfaction from recreating treats I’ve tasted and that is how I ended up with dozens and dozens of truffles.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any in-progress shots, but I can show you the final product! Most of these pictures were taking by Stephanie, as usual. She rushed over to my house in the morning right before I delivered the treat.

 Oh yes, and I made the box out of chocolate, too (a graduation present for a good friend). It was easier than it looks and pretty sturdy, too!

Ready for each type of truffle?

Here’s the raspberry truffle.  I made a fresh raspberry filling – tart and just the right amount of sweet.

This one has a coffee buttercream center.

And a vanilla bean filling

This one was my favorite – cinnamon caramel filling with chopped pecans.

Mint chocolate ganache in the center

And creamy ganache dipped in chocolate, then rolled in toasted pecan crumbs.

Well, I guess I could have another…