Chocolate-Habanero Cake with Chocolate-Avocado Buttercream

web-article-sunset-park-shopping-eric-werner-mya-henry-hartwood-restaurant-tulum-mexico-chocolate-habanero-cake-avocado-buttercream-chile-spicy-dessert-recipe

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

INGREDIENTS

For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon finely ground coffee

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ancho chile powder

½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder

Pinch habanero powder

1¼ cups whole milk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened

1 ripe avocado—halved, pitted and mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch kosher salt

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms and sides with parchment paper and grease the parchment. Set aside.

2. Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coffee, cinnamon, allspice, ancho powder, chipotle powder and habanero powder.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, oil, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of a layer comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set on a wire rack until slightly cooled, about 10 minutes, then turn them onto the wire rack. Remove the parchment and let the cake layers cool completely.

4. While the cake is baking, make the buttercream: Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and set it over medium-low heat. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set it on top of the double boiler. Melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, and set aside to let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the avocado, vanilla and salt. Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until fully combined. Add the cooled chocolate, mixing until fully incorporated.

6. Put one cake layer on a serving plate and frost the top. Stack the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2003

Serves 12 to 14

For crust
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For filling
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

For topping
2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)

Garnish: pecan halves

Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.

Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.

Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.

Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.

Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.

Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

Karen’s note: I modified this cheesecake recipe (2/3 portions and modified cooking time for minis) and then loosely followed this for the topping:

Topping
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream and a splash of bourbon
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or a little less of a coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

3/4 cup (85 grams) pecans (I coarsely chopped 1/2 cup, left the last 1/4 cup in halves)

In a small/medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.

Biko (Filipino Sweet Sticky Rice)

ivoryhut biko recipe

Makes one 9×13 pan

You need to use sweet rice or sticky rice (sometimes called glutinous rice) for this recipe. Coconut cream is found in most Asian and ethnic stores but if you can’t find it, just use the the thick cream from the top layer of a good quality can of coconut milk. Don’t worry if you end up with less coconut milk to use with the rice—simply add enough water to reach the desired amount of cooking liquid.

This recipe can easily be halved. If you like crunchy rice edges, cook the biko in muffin pans or brownie bar pans. Be careful when you pull it out of the oven; the caramelized brown sugar is very hot and can burn you if you try to taste it immediately.

Ingredients:

3 cans (14 oz. can) coconut milk
4 cups sweet rice
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup coconut cream

Pour coconut milk and about a cup of water into a pot and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. When simmering, add in the rice and stir constantly to prevent burning. Lower the heat if necessary. Preheat oven to 350F.

When rice is fully cooked, sticky and almost dry (it will look like sticky risotto), about 10-15 minutes, add 1 cup brown sugar. (Note: If rice is already sticky but not yet fully cooked, add small amounts of water, stir and continue cooking. Rice must be fully cooked before it goes into the oven.) Stir well and take off heat. Pour into a lightly buttered 9×13 pan and smooth the top. Mix the remaining 1 cup brown sugar and coconut cream until smooth and pour it over the rice.

Bake for about 1 hour or up to 1 1/2 hours, until topping is dark brown and has thickened. Cool slightly before serving.

 

Mixed Berry Pavlova

truly awesome

Mixed Berry Pavlova
Inspiration from Ina Gartenmeringue directions adapted from Joy of Baking andShuna, and raspberry sauce of my own creation

Meringue Cake
4 large (120 grams) egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor) or regular sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.

Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

Jaworski notes: You can make the meringue cake several days in advance. Just store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. However, once the whipped cream and fruit are placed on the meringue, the dessert should be eaten immediately as the meringue will start to soften and break down from the moisture of the cream and fruit.

Raspberry Sauce
This is as good for desserts as it is over plain yogurt. Keep it refrigerated.

1 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved.

99 percent of the time, I find the consistency of this sauce to be perfect, as is. If you like your thicker, add between one-half and one full teaspoon of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder to thicken it, stirring to make sure it’s fully dissolved.

Cool the sauce.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm. Be careful not to over-do it, or might end up with a bowl of homemade butter.

Mixed Berry Topping
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Mix these with 1/2 cup of the raspberry sauce (recipe above).

Pavlova Assembly
When the meringue disk is cooled, put it on a plate. Spread the top completely with the sweetened whipped cream. Add the mixed berries and sauce mixture, spooning them carefully into the middle of the pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

Strawberry Avocado Tequila Popsicles

Ingredients:

– 2 cups diced avocados (about 4 small avocados)
– 1 cup sliced strawberries
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup water
– 4 ounces tequila
– 1 ounce lime juice

Tools:
– popsicle molds
– blender

Instructions:

1. Start by making a simple syrup. Mix one cup sugar and one cup water in a pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove from heat and set aside.

2. Dice avocados.

3. Thinly slice strawberries.

4. In a blender, puree diced avocados, simple syrup, tequila and lime juice. .

5. Combine avocado puree and sliced strawberries in popsicle molds.

6. Freeze for four hours or until completely solid.

Margarita Pie

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
– 1 cup butter, softened
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– lime zest from 1 lime
– 2 cups flour
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– lime zest from 2 limes
– 1/2 cup lime juice
– 2 tbsp tequila (optional)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2/3 cup agave nectar (can substitute honey)
– 1/3 cup whipping cream
– 5 eggs
– 2 tbsp coarse sea salt (we recommend Maldon brand)

To make crust:  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar and salt, mixing until well combined.

Add flour and zest.

Mix on low until dough starts to come together but is crumbly.

Press crust into a 9-inch shallow pie pan.  Set aside.

To make filling:  Melt butter in microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until melted.  Whisk in remaining ingredients.  Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 45-55 minutes until firm but still slightly jiggly.  If edges start to brown during baking, loosely cover with foil.  Allow to cool completely on the counter or in the refrigerator.  Liberally sprinkle with sea salt right before serving.