Organic Chocolate Cake with a Strawberry Acai Buttercream

I just got these fabulous cookbook, “Organic and Chic,” By: Sarah Magid. I was so excited to find this because I LOVE her philosophy being Organic and local as possible! This is completely up my ally… I must admit though, the only little thing that I was disappointed about was the food coloring she uses. It is the generic “chemical” kind. But for my recipes I want ALL of my ingredients to be as pure and chemical free as possible. Therefore, I have discovered this amazing naturally made  food coloring by “India Tree.” I paid $19 for it, but to me it’s worth it 🙂

 I made the Pink Macarons with an Organic Strawberry Acai Buttercream I had left over buttercream so I wanted to make a cake… and Since I love ANYTHING Chocolate, I made Sarah’s “Easiest Chocolate Cake…”

Ingredients

(This is the recipe cut in half for a smaller cake)

1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic AP Flour

1 Cup scant Organic Cane Sugar

1/2 Cup Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon ALMOND EXTRACT (This is a change I made; Original recipe called for Vanilla Extract)

1/3 Cup Organic Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Organic White Vinegar (Apple Cider is what I used)

1 Cup Cold Water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Butter and flour a 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the extract, oil, vinegar, and cold water. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, 

being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but this is okay. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-24 minutes.

Allow cake to cool then frost it with the Strawberry Acai Buttercream.

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Organic Açaí Berry Cupcakes topped with Roasted Cocoa Nibs

With my rising obsession with Cupcakes, I am adapting “Anti-Aging and Healthy” ways to completely indulge in these sweet treats… Therefore, the well known Superfood, Açaí, was next on my list! I paired the cakes with Roasted Cocoa Nibs, so it would compliment the taste of this luscious berry and it turned out AMAZING!!

So what is Açaí?…
Açaí is the high-energy berry of a special Amazon palm tree. It contains a remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine. Also, Açaí has the synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health. As well as an almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

To make these lovely little cakes you will need:

1 1/2 Cups Organic AP Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Organic Cream

1 Tablespoon Organic Açaí Berry Powder

1 stick Organic Butter, unsalted & room tempurature

3/4 Cup Organic Sugar

2 Organic Eggs

For the Frosting:

1/2 stick Butter

1 Cup Organic Powdered Sugar

1/4 Cup Organic Cream

1/2 teaspoon Açaí Powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low, add half of dry ingredients, followed by the cream and Açaí. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Frosting:

In a medium bowl, with an electric mixture, beat the butter, powdered sugar, milk and Açaí until smooth.

The frosted Cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.

Your taste buds, body, health and skin will LOVE the benefits of these decadent cakes!!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with a Vanilla Bean Chocolate Ganache

Guinness is one of my FAVORITE beers. So I couldn’t wait to pair it with chocolate in this exotic cupcake! The Guinness hits your palate subtly but lingers in your mouth like a taste of wine. Its deep coffee-cocoa flavor is a perfect match with the chocolate and vanilla bean ganache. So if you enjoy a good brew you will LOVE these little cakes!!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 Cup Organic Sugar

1 Cup Organic AP Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt

6oz (half a bottle) Guinness Stout

1/2 stick Organic Butter, unsalted and melted

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Beans

1 Large Organic Egg

1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic Sour Cream

Ganache

4oz Dark Chocolate, Valhorna 70%

4oz Organic Heavy Cream

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Beans

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, vanilla beans, flour, baking soda and salt.

In another medium bowl, combine the Guinness and melted butter. Beat in the egg. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Dived the batter equally between 12 lined muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pan. Bake another 12 minutes until risen and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a rack or in the muffin tin.

To make the Ganache

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and cream together. Once melted, stir in the vanilla beans. Set aside to cool. Once cooled at room temperature, dip the cupcakes into the ganache and sprinkle with cocoa powder to finish!

Caramel, Chocolate and Salted Almond Tart

I got inspired for this recipe when I was looking through “The Art and Soul of Baking,” by Cindy Mushet. I came across this insanely gorgeous “Baci Tart with Frangelico Cream” which, the photo itself is stunning and the ingredients were delectable. So I had to take on this recipe… with a few changes I came up with this decadent Chocolate, Caramel and Salted Almond Tart.

Ingredients

Chocolate Dough Recipe

1/2 Cup Organic Heavy Cream

1/2 Stick Organic Butter

1/4 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Almond Flavored Syrup or 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Cup Salted Almonds, chopped

2 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped

Coarse Sea Salt for garnish

Chocolate Dough Recipe Ingredients

1 stick Organic Butter

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg Yolk

1 Cup Organic AP Flour

2 1/2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Valhorna is what I use)

Directions:

1: Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the egg yolk and beat well.

2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Blend just until the dough comes together.

3: Scrape the dough in a tart pan. Use the heel of your hand to press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and up the side of the pan. Press from the center of the pan outward, building up some extra dough where the bottom meets the side. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use

1: BAKE THE SHELL– (You can use a tart pan or 6 small tart pans)Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Bake the tart shell(s) for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack while you prepare the filling. You may leave the oven on.

2: MAKE THE FILLING– Combine the cream, butter and chocolate in small saucepan and heat just until the cream begins to simmer and the butter and chocolate is fully melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture sit while you make the caramel.

3: Combine the water and syrup in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the sugar and almond syrup over the top. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof silicone spatula, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Turn the heat to high and boil rapidly, swilring the pan occcasionally (do not stir) to cook the sugar evenly, until it turns a golden honey color. Then remove from the heat and immediately add the warm cream and butter mixture. Be careful!

4: Stir with a spatula to blend the caramel and cream. If there are any bits of hardened caramel, put the pan over the lowest possible heat and stir gently until the caramel melts. Add the almonds to the caramel and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel turns a light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately pour the filling into the cooled tart shells.

5: Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely. Then sprinkle with the coarse sea salt for garnish.

… and oh my goodness!

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

One of my favorite treats ever… Chocolate Chip Shortbread. In this new recipe I used semolina flour instead of arrowroot starch and it creates the perfect texture. Just wait.. you’ll see what I mean!

Ingredients

6oz Organic Salted Butter

2 Cups Organic AP Flour

1/3 Cup Semolina Flour

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt

1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Organic Sugar

1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Beans or Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cake or tart pan with parchment and butter the bottom. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together, then add the vanilla. Mix well. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk together. Combine the dry ingredients with the butter mixture and press in the bottom of the prepared pan. Press the chocolate chips on the top on the shortbread. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Just remember… There are nutrients in butter, so there should be NO guilt here 😉

Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies

Almond Paste-Butter-Dark Chocolate… These cookies are sinfully AMAZING!

Ingredients

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Butter, Softened

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 oz Almond Paste

3oz Dark Chocolate, Chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla and mix. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients and chocolate chunks. Drop a spoonful of dough on a cookie sheet with parchment. Chop the almond paste into small chunks and place on top of the cookies. (I did it this way so you have different textures to bite into, but you may add it with the chocolate chunks if you prefer.)

Bake 12-14 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another simple peanut butter chocolate recipe… This time flourless and of course incredible!!

Ingredients

1 Cup Organic Peanut Butter (Smooth or Crunchy)

1/2 Cup Raw Sugar

1 Organic Egg

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Measure out cookies and place on a buttered baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. These cookies are crumbly so they make fall apart and melt in your mouth!

Chocolate, Graham Cracker and Marshmallow Muffins

My original objective for this muffin was a simple chocolate.. To say the least, my plans changed. As I had Graham Crackers baking  in the oven the aroma of cinnamon filled the room, I then thought “Oo I will add some of the crackers to my chocolate muffins! Good idea, but why not add the fluffy white balls of goodness that are starring at me through my pantry door!!” So yes.. They suddenly became Chocolate, Graham Cracker and Marshmallow Muffins and may I say..

these are -NAUGHTY deliciousness-

Ingredients

5 Tablespoons organic butter, melted

2 1/4 cup organic flour

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

12 marshmallow, cut into thirds

1/4 cup homemade graham crackers

1 organic egg

1 1/4 cups organic milk

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place 12 muffin papers in a muffin pan. Melt the butter

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, sea salt and sugar.

3. In another bowl combine the egg, milk and melted butter. Stir in the flour mixture, add the chocolate chips and fold gently until all combined.

4. To assemble to muffins sprinkle 1 teaspoon at the bottom of each muffin paper then 1 of the marshmallow thirds then some muffin batter, continue the pattern until each muffins has 3 marshmallow pieces.

Bake for 22 minutes.

Chocolate Doughnuts with Powdered Sugar

After making these delectable Chocolate Doughnuts I was waiting for my husband to get home from work. So I was watching “The BEST thing I ever ate,” on my favorite show Food Network (of course). Shortly after the show was over my husband got home, and I gave him a doughnut I had made… his eyes then rolled back and after a few minutes he yelled, “This is the best doughnut I’ve ever had! The best thing I’ve ever eaten!” I just had to giggle because I was just previously watching that fun show. So anyways, here is what could be one of the BEST things you ever eat as well!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups  whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 large organic eggs

3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

2-4 cups canola oil  for frying

1/2 cup powdered sugar to coat

Directions

1. In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt then whisk together well.

2. In another bowl stir together the sugar, melted butter, eggs and buttermilk. Then, add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.

3. Prepare a brown paper bag by filling it with the powdered sugar.

4. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees F.

5. Using an ice cream scoop, drop dollops of doughnut batter into the hot oil. Only a few at a time. Do not over crowd the pot. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side or until the doughnuts are browned and crispy.

6. Take the doughnuts out and immediately put into the paper bag and shake to coat each doughnut.

Serve right away!

Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache

For my 23rd birthday I wanted to make cupcakes! I had never made cupcakes before so for this special occassion it was on! Cupcakes are so perfect for a party because they are easy to eat and they do not require plates, forks, ect… So now for parties Im definately going cupcakes!

Ingredients

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

4 Tablespoons melted butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup buttermilk

3 Tablespoons fresh espresso

Chooclate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped

pinch of sea salt

Directions

1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk till blended well.

2. In another medium bowl combine the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, espresso and buttermilk. Whisk till the mixture is blended.

3. Combine the wet to the dry ingredients and fold together. Do not over mix.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes until a toothpick insert comes out clean.

To make the Ganache…

In a double boiler heat the cream, add the chocolate and sea salt, stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside and cool until you are ready to dunk your cupcakes!!

To finish.. dunk your cakes and decorate with chocolate curls.

Happy Birthday!