Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Daring Cooks: Create Your Own Recipe! plus Year of the Cupcake #10 - Chocolate Heartache Cake (GF)

Hello all. I've been a Very Bad Daring Cook of late, between my laziness and my surgery and some other bullplop stuff going on in my life and what have you. This month isn't really an exception, because the entire idea of Daring Kitchen is to extend yourself a bit and actually cook the challenges that they post! I hope the Daring Kitchen gods won't smite me...

I'm a Daring Cook and not a Daring Baker, because I already bake (more than I should!!! *pats food baby*) and I want to extend myself as a savoury cook. But I baked instead of cooking this month because of a last minute dinner invitation from a friend visiting from interstate, and also because I needed to bake cupcakes for my own Year of the Cupcake challenge. Yes, I am aware that I shouldn't leave things until literally the last possible day, but there was Easter and a trip to Brisbane and recovering from surgery and coping with returning to work, so I was sort of painted into a corner.

I had my recipe picked out, and the ingredients ready to go, and instead I ended up going to the exceptionally tasty Mamasita *drools* I have no idea whether it, or Taco Bill's, is closer to authentic Mexican cuisine, but Mamasita beats the pants off Taco Bills. Even though you may have to line up for extended periods of time to get in. Which we didn't, because we opted to have dinner at Nanna O'Clock (5:30pm)!

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!

Basically what we had to do was pick one from each of the following groups of ingredients and make a savoury meal out of it. I broke the "savoury" rule, but I did make something with three of the ingredients, and I'm really glad that I did because I have offically found THE WORLD'S BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE!!! I'm serious. If you don't try this then there's no point in living.

No, I'm not prone to drama at all. Why do you ask?

These were the groups of ingredients:

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

And this is the recipe I had originally picked out - meatloaf with BBQ sauce (contained vinegar and coffee), to be served with roasted parsnip. And then I had decided to kick it up a notch and caramelise the parsnip in maple syrup, and serve it with a potato and cauliflower mash, using goats cheese instead of butter to mash it. That obviously didn't happen. I used the Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) Recipe Maker widget to narrow down my recipes, where you just enter the ingredients you wish to use and it spits out recipes. The downside about the widget is that if it can't find a recipe with all the ingredients listed, it will just return recipes that include any of those ingredients and you won't know that until you read through the recipe.

Anyway.

I made Chocolate Heartache Cake, which various sources on the interwebs tells me is from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. Oh! And the interwebs also just informed me that Harry Eastwood is a she and not a he! Anyway, my understanding of the book is that most (all??) of the recipes contain vegies to reduce the amount of fat (butter) required, so theoretically they're not all that bad for you. Except for the part where it contains 200g of honey and 300g of chocolate...

This one contains eggplant, goat cheese and maple syrup.

CHOCOLATE HEARTACHE CAKE omgyoumustmakeitnowitwillchangeyourlife

2 small (400g) aubergines (eggplants)
300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
50g cocoa
60g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g clear honey
2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt (oops! Forgot to put that in...)
1tsp brandy (I used dark rum as it's all I had in the house *adjusts pirate eyepatch*)

Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease and oil a 23 x 7cm tin/pop cupcake liners in cupcake tin (I made thirteen cupcakes but could probably have squeezed fourteen out of it if I hadn't sampled so many stages of the recipe and accidentally-on-purpose left some batter in the bowl...

Stab your eggplants all over with a fork and put them in a covered microwave safe bowl in the microwave. (I added a wee drop of water because I was paranoid that it would shrivel and catch fire if I didn't, but I don't know if it made any difference. It certainly didn't burst into flames, anyhow!) Microwave for 8 minutes (I flipped it over half way through), remove from microwave and drain any juices in the bowl and let it sit until it's **just** cool enough to handle.

Strip skin off it (you may need to scrape some flesh off the inside of the skin - don't waste the eggplant, but also don't get any bitter skin gunk in it), puree it and then add the chocolate and stir it around. The hot eggplant will melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Pick out the big chunks that refuse to melt and eat them to confirm that eggplant and chocolate actually do go well together.

Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together and then mix the eggplant mixture in.

For cupcakes, bake for around 20 mins (check at 18mins because mum's oven sucks at regulating temperature). For cake, bake 30 mins. I judged them to be ready when the skewer came out with moist crumbs (but not liquid) stuck to it. I put them on a rack almost immediately but the recipe says to leave the cake in the tin for 15 mins first.

GOAT CHEESE AND MAPLE FROSTING

60g cream cheese
120g goat cheese
1-2tbsp maple syrup (according to your tastebuds, and a darned fine excuse to eat frosting!)
2tbsp icing sugar

Beat cheeses together until light. Add the maple syrup and sugar and beat until mixed well. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

What can I say about these - they are moist and they are dense and they are wonderful. The honey as the sweetener is a much more exotic flavour than the usual old castor sugar that goes into most mud cakes. It seems a little bit Middle Eastern, what with the honey, almond and eggplant; and the lack of butter makes it seem lighter. Perhaps it is the serving size (cupcake!) but I wasn't hit with a sugar rush or that Cake Regret feeling you get with some baked goods. It is altogether out of the ordinary, and all those little quirks in the recipe takes it above and beyond a normal chocolate/mud cake. As Boy would say, it's like Taylor Swift and Rachel Bilson are making love on your tongue. The idea doesn't appeal to me as it does to him, but I think I understand the sentiment...

Please disregard the fact that there are only nine cupcakes on this tray.

Can't imagine why...

26 comments:

  1. Ok - eggplant cupcakes now officially take the place of the "most interetsting use of ingredients". I think you totally rocked this challenge - and cupcakes are a perfectly acceptable entree :-) If they aren't, they shoudl be...

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    1. Perhaps if I made them in mini cupcake wrappers they could be passed off as finger food ;)

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  2. I am so going to make that cake!!! asfoaf...sorry I think I shorted out my computer with all of my drooling. Nicely done, even if it was not the original plan.

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    1. There's a container of them sitting on my desk right now, and I fully intend to distribute them throughout the office, but I'm not entirely sure whether I will dehydrate from all the drooling before that happens...

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  3. I like the sound of the icing - there is a 'goat place' about 15 minutes into the countryside from work, so maybe I can make a lunchtime trip there.

    I *really* can't come at the idea of that much eggplant in a cake though - it's one of the few vegetables I really loathe. Though I did once make a lovely chocolate cake with beetroot...

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    1. Yeah, the frosting balances the tang of the cheese with a more subtle sweetness of the maple - a sweet flavour rather than just sugar-sweet. My mum wasn't a fan, which is how the icing sugar ended up in it (takes the edge off of the cheese) but you could fiddle around with it.

      Also, believe me, you won't notice the eggplant. You can't taste it or smell it or see it or anything. It's actually a little disturbing how well it replaces butter and flour!

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  4. Girl, I know you were seeking to cook instead of bake for this month's Daring Kitchen, but had you not trusted your gut (and gone for Mexican!) I would have never had the joy of reading this ridiculously awesome recipe. Way to go and I am definitely tucking this recipe away to try sometime. Cheers!

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    1. I trust my gut on a regular basis ;) And in this case I'm particularly glad I did!

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  5. That icing sounds incredible and I think I need some of it in my life.

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    1. I think I need more goats' cheese in my life. Good thing I bought too much! Tip: Start with just the maple syrup and then add icing sugar to get the taste/texture you like.

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  6. this looks so lovely…have a real thing for chocolate cake at the moment, seem to make one on a weekly basis, this definitely goes on the list of recipe’s to try.

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    1. It's definitely worth trying, no doubt about it!I have a thing for brownies right now and I'm wondering whether I can adapt this recipe to make one...

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  7. These look fantastic. And don't worry - I sneaked in a sweet challenge recipe too! I've seen this recipe a few times and been intrigued by it, and given your rave review, I'll now have to give it a shot!

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    1. I'm glad I have convinced you - you won't be disappointed!

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  8. Nice job with this month's challenge...thanks for stopping by to comment on my goat cheese chops! Nice to meet you...glad to be in Daring Cooks with you!!

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  9. Thanks for the comment! I love this use of eggplant (seems a lot of us thought that eggplant, maple syrup and goat cheese just seemed to go together well)- you are seriously inventive!

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    1. No problem. Yeah, those ingredients do go well together. I think I'll make more of an effort to combine random products in the future because if all turn out this well I'll be happy!

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  10. I have a friend who swears by an eggplant chocolate cake and now your cup cakes have pushed me over the edge. I think if I made these there will only be 1 or two max left

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    1. Your friend is a smart person :) I think they would be especially divine straight out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla icecream. And I'd be lying if I said I hadn't spread some frosting on a hot cupcake and let the awesomeness melt into it...

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  11. Lol you're doing better than me, there's normally no cupcakes left to eat in our house to photograph! One moment, and poof! gone.

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    1. I suspect they only reason they made it this far was because I only had time to eat one before I ran out the door for dinner!

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  12. The idea of eggplant in a dessert really weirds me out, but I've seen a number of people here do it, so there must be something to it! Your cupcakes look fantastic -- I'm glad you were able to participate in this challenge! Nicely done.

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    1. Thanks David, and thanks for the great challenge :)

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  13. This is just fabulous! Going to give it a try soon and can't wait. I bet The Chef will love it!

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    1. I invented brownies based on a similar concept yesterday. I'll let you know when I post the recipe!

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