Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Chocolate and Raspberry Mini Cakes with Blueberry Buttercream

So how is your February going?
Mine so far has been cold, in limbo and a little depressing but also full of opportunity. Kind of all over the place! January had no schedule to it. We had a million snow days and two hour delays at school and I forgot what working really was. Now we're back for 10 weeks of school with no days off until our Spring Break. It's nice in a way because kids get back on a routine and I can actually teach a lot of art lessons- but everyone knows that these next two months are full of lingering wintery grossness and cold rain with only hints of spring. Do you wear your trench coat, or your hoodie- your rain boots or your cute flats- do you even bother blow drying your hair? I stopped doing that a few years ago because it's just absolutely pointless. Plus my skin is crazy dry and I'm super pale. I'm trying to think of ways to enjoy these last months of cold and hibernation so I plan to bake a bunch of recipes for future posts, take long walks in the brisk weather as the days get longer, and I'll treat myself to a pedicure at the end of February after I hopefully pay off this dang credit card!

Some great things did happen just this week though! I sold a custom painting on Etsy, I have a few wedding painting orders in the works from friends, I was put in touch with a commercial realtor so I can start looking at bakery spaces and pricing, and I found out that our friend and realtor's grandfather owned a local bakery for 40 years! I plan to be best friends with this man. Last night I had a love fest with our group of friends about my future bakery and I was blown away with how excited and supportive they are. And to top it all off, I found Rainbow Mini Cakes by Molly Yeh, which obviously inspired this cute mini cake recipe! She bakes and cooks and has gluten and dairy free options for her boyfriend, her name is Molly, and she just moved from NY to a farm in North Dakota. Done.

And for a little insight into my mini cakes, the cake is sweetened with honey and palm sugar and I used all fruit raspberry spread which is sweetened with fruit juice. The buttercream is colored just from the blueberries (which I just love so much!) and I used Trader Joe's Organic Powdered Sugar which is made from tapiocha starch and "pulverized unrefined organic sugar made from the first crystallization of organic cane juice". So I feel a little better using Trader Joe's option than using normal processed powdered sugar made with corn starch and highly processed sugar. But it's still cane sugar, so it will still spike the blood suga'.

Valentine's Chocolate and Raspberry Mini Cakes with Blueberry Buttercream
makes 3 mini cakes

Chocolate Cake
A day ahead, use my recipe for Perfect Chocolate Cake and bake in a parchment lined brownie pan so it's a little thinner.
Bake for 15 minutes until the top is dry
Let cool, wrap the whole brownie pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (making ahead of time is not totally necessary, but it does keep the cake from crumbling so much)

1/2 jar All Fruit Raspberry Spread (I use Trader Joe's)

Blueberry Buttercream
Based on my Strawberry Buttercream recipe
1/2 C blueberries
1/4 C room temperature butter (very important)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
3-4 C powdered sugar (from one 1 lb. bag)
(pictured is a thinner buttercream, add more powdered sugar to make it thicker)

To make the Blueberry Buttercream,
You can prepare the frosting ahead of time (just thaw to room temperature the day you want to use it) 
First place the blueberries in the food processor and process 3 times until they are very small
Then slice the room temperature butter and place it in the processor with the vanilla, lemon juice and honey Process 3 times until everything is a mixed up- don't worry that it has separated into smaller pieces
Scrape down the sides with a spatula and process again
Next pour in half of the powdered sugar, process and wipe down the sides
Repeat this two more times until the bag of sugar is empty and the frosting is well-mixed 
Carefully remove the blade from the processor and wipe off the frosting
Scoop the frosting into a large ziploc bag to use as a piping bag
Squeeze all of the frosting down to the bottom corner, get all of the air out and cut a small tip at the corner
(start small because a lot comes out and you can always make it larger)
Use this technique to pipe the frosting onto your cake layers

Remove the wrapped cake from the fridge and use a round biscuit cutter (I used these) to cut 9 circles from the cake layer
Transfer the base cake layers for your three cakes to little plates or a cake stand
Top each layer with a circle of frosting around the edge and then a dollop of fruit spread in the center
Top with another cake layer and repeat two more times to make three layer mini cakes
( I saved the extra cake pieces in a bowl and topped with some frosting and fruit spread- I call it Dump Cake but I really need to think of a better name for it...)

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