Monday, April 13, 2009

Ultimate Fudge Cake Workshop

I'll be teaching Ultimate Fudge Cake Workshop, a hands-on class, at Shermay's Cooking School on 15 May 2009 (Friday), 16 May 2009 (Saturday), 17 May 2009 (Sunday), 29 May 2009 (Friday), 30 May 2009 (Saturday) and 31 May 2009 (Sunday) - the May schedule has all the necessary details. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email

The idea behind this class was to showcase what I like to think of as a "go-to chocolate cake" - a fabulous chocolate fudge cake one can trot out time and again for every occasion and celebration. Birthday bashes, dinner parties, pot luck, teatime snack, picnics in the park...this do-it-all crowd-pleaser has it covered. A cake equally irresistible to kid and adult alike. The kind of cake fondly remembered by all who've ever tasted it and is oft-requested for said occasions and celebrations, thus making your baking life as easy breezy as could be.

That's the big idea. As for the bonus recipes (see right at the end of this post), that's a constellation of many little ideas, so if the mood should strike or the moment should call for, you can easily ring the changes by changing the finish or the filling or the frosting or the soaking syrup or the (you-get-my-drift). Having grasped the master recipes and the fundamental techniques, it's a matter of playing around with the component parts to present a - as far as your eating audience is concerned - bold and brand new chocolate cake eating experience.

For the whole idea - and I sincerely hope it sounds as empowering and liberating to you as it does to me - to have authentic value and practical application, it was decided the class lent itself best to a hands-on format.

As this is a hands-on class, each participant will be making from scratch their very own Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake. This comprises of 2 master recipes:

Ultra Moist & Tender Chocolate Cake An easy chocolate cake recipe with guaranteed delicious results, using a unique technique/format to ensure the most tender possible texture. The recipe features a combination of both Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% and Valrhona Cocoa for a full-bodied and intense chocolate flavour.

Creamy Chocolate Fudge Frosting A deep, dark & decadent chocolate fudge frosting

Each participant will then split, fill, frost and finish their handcrafted cake for taking away.

Key areas covered during class include:

Mastering Mise-en-Place Meticulous, accurate preparation and measuring is the key to success; learn how

Layer Cake 101 How to effortlessly split, fill & frost a layer cake with professional results

In addition, I will demonstrate some of the various alternative finishes described in detail within the comprehensive recipe pack, such as:

Stippling/Swirling Using a spoon or offset palette knife to create a casual chic finish

Combing Using a fork or cake decorator’s comb to draw straight or wavy decorative lines

Gold Leaf Gilding for a luxurious finish

Writing Using chocolate to pipe a message

Chocolate Curls How to make these easy yet stunning decorations

Toasted Nuts How to finish a cake’s sides using flaked or chopped toasted nuts

Piping Using tips to pipe decorative borders and accents

Small is Beautiful Crafting miniature chocolate cakes

I'll put up a separate post about the Bonus Section with Extra Recipes & Ideas for Other Chocolate Layer Cakes included within the recipe pack. This section covers:

Chocolate Cake Variations:
*Chocolate Orange Cake
*Chocolate Lemon Cake
*Chocolate Coffee Cake

*White Chocolate Buttercream using Valrhona Ivoire 35% White Chocolate. A rich and luxurious buttercream that’s the perfect foil to an intense chocolate cake. Variations on this include:
*Orange & White Chocolate Buttercream
*Lemon & White Chocolate Buttercream
*Raspberry & White Chocolate Buttercream

*Milk Chocolate Frosting using Valrhona Jivara Lactée 40% Milk Chocolate. A creamy and comforting chocolate frosting. Variation on this is:
*Mocha Frosting

*Dark Chocolate Glaze using Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate. A dark chocolate glaze if you prefer a silky and shiny finish

Some complete layer cake ideas given include:

*Orange Grove Chocolate Cake Chocolate Orange Cake Layers Soaked in Cointreau Syrup with Orange Marmalade and Orange & White Chocolate Buttercream

*Lemon Surprise Chocolate Cake Chocolate Lemon Cake Layers Soaked in Limoncello Syrup with Lemon Curd and Lemon & White Chocolate Buttercream

*Framboise Chocolate Cake Layers Soaked in Framboise Syrup with Fresh Raspberries and Raspberry & White Chocolate Buttercream

*Mocha Madness Chocolate Coffee Cake Layers Soaked in Espresso & Kahlua Syrup with Mocha Frosting

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Easter Egg-tras

With Easter weekend just round the corner, and coinciding with this upcoming round of chocolate-centric sessions, I simply couldn't resist gussying up some Nutella Cupcakes to holiday-appropriate effect for an Easter basket. Snug in straw nests lining a ceramic egg carton, nestled up against some blown, dyed and hand-painted eggs, I think the whole thing works nicely either as a table centrepiece or hostess gift. It just occurred to me that another treat, if individually wrapped in pretty metallic candy foil, that would work really well in these gift baskets would be some Truffles.

Aside from springtime floral themes for decorating the Nutella Cupcakes, the other approach would be more chick/bunny/egg heavy (see this old Easter post for some ideas along these lines) - I think this latter approach is perfect if you're crafting baskets intended for little ones.

To everyone who will be celebrating, Happy Easter!

PS: Both the Nutella Cupcakes and truffes au chocolat are some of the recipes being taught during Ultimate Chocolate Treats II, a demo class held at Shermay's Cooking School on 11 April 2009, 12 April 2009, 25 April 2009 and 26 April 2009 . For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email