Dark Chocolate Cake Pops

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Oh those luscious mounds of chocolaty goodness, that crunchy bittersweet dark chocolate coating giving way to a mouthful of moist, sweet chocolate cake bound together with a delicious vanilla buttercream! Who could say no to that? (If you can, you’re really missing out!)

My love for cake is enormous; my favorite hobby is to look up recipes on the internet for a variety of flavors of cake, only to end up in the kitchen, electric mixer in my hand, whisking away. To say I enjoy baking is an understatement. However, eating a whole slice of cake has given me that nagging feeling of guilt way too many times; I cannot afford to eat much cake as I would like to bake. So I started reducing my portions – from a whole cake I shifted to baking cupcakes, and from cupcakes to cake pops!

Cake pops are a wonderful innovation in the world of all things sweet. They are tiny and bite sized and they are just as amazing as that delicious slice of cake you wish to scarf down; they don’t make you feel as guilty and they certainly don’t make you scrutinize yourself in front of the mirror for a good five minutes. Cake pops are essentially tiny spheres of cake, bound together with a dollop of frosting, coated with your favorite chocolate and hoisted onto a lollipop stick. But even though I have a bunch of pop sticks lying on my shelf, my cake pops never make their way on to them. (I mean they are ready to EAT, who cares about the stick?!)

IMG_1871Here’s what you need

  • One chocolate cake, baked, cooled and crumbled by hand. You can use your favorite chocolate cake recipe.
  • Vanilla buttercream – 4 to 5 tbsp (You could also use a store bought vanilla frosting)
  • Semi-sweet or dark chocolate – 150 g, chopped
  • Any kind of sprinkles, or chopped nuts for decoration

Here’s how you make these luscious dark chocolate cake pops

  • Once your cake is cooled, crumble it with your hands.
  • Add in the vanilla buttercream to the crumbled cake and mould it until it comes together like a dough. Make sure you do not add in too much frosting so as to retain the crumble and cake-y-ness of the cake.
  • Once the dough is ready, with the palms of your hand, sculpt small portions of the dough into bite sized spheres. Put these cake balls on a baking sheet lined with butter paper and pop them into the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In the mean time, melt the semi-sweet or dark chocolate in the microwave oven for 3 minutes on Medium Low heat or until the chocolate is smooth and creamy and no longer lumpy.
  • Use a fork and spoon to drop each cake ball into the melted chocolate and turn over until completely coated. Once coated, line the cake pops on the butter paper, top with your favorite colored sprinkles or nuts and put back in the fridge for about an hour and a half to set.

If you’re a fan of chocolate and you just can’t get enough, you have got to try these cake pops; they are perfectly balanced with a crackling bitter-sweet coating and a sweet melt-in-the-mouth center which is to-die-for. It’s like a two-in-one offer, you have the crunchy sweetness of a chocolate bar and the goodness of cake packed in each cake pop. My circle of loved ones love these, as do I. I’m certain you’ll love them too.

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If you want to use my recipes for the chocolate cake and the vanilla buttercream, do check out my post on Double Strawberry Chocolate Cupcakes.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

There is nothing like this. Trust me, you will never want to stop eating this. There is no such thing as too much Sticky Toffee Pudding. This is the BEST dessert ever! Period.

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It was a usual laid-back evening. Curled up on the couch, the boyfriend and I were putting ourselves through another excruciatingly-torturous-for-our-stomachs episode of the current season of Masterchef USA that is being aired on Star World. The contestants were to cater for the wedding of an extremely picky couple. We were both sitting there, clutching our hungry tummies, watching the guests gobble up the glorious-looking food, when chef and host Gordon Ramsay produced the dessert for the night – his signature Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brown Bread Ice-Cream. That just did it for us – now our stomach’s hurt like they had been punched in the gut. I mean, where on earth were we to find those smooth, soft date puddings, doused in a sticky salty toffee sauce? (Where… WHERE?)

That was our sorry state a couple of days ago.

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Today, about a week after that really depressing-for-the-stomach ordeal, I woke up with a strong urge to bake. I have these out-of-the-blue urges to bake something immediately, and once that feeling has overcome me, it is very hard to shake it off. That is the trigger; and within minutes I find myself determinedly searching through the internet for ideas to try something I’ve never baked before. So today, I decided to put an end to my torment and Sticky Toffee Puddings is what I made.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding is a traditional English dessert – a moist steamed date cake drenched in a warm toffee sauce. It is one of those desserts which are to be eaten warm and a dollop of vanilla ice-cream is the perfect accompaniment to it. I am not a big fan of steamed puddings – I find the texture to be sludgy. So, instead of a steamed base cake, I decided to bake the date cakes instead.

Here’s what you’re going to need for the date cakes:

  • Boiling Water – 1/2 cup
  • Dates – 225 g, pitted and chopped finely
  • All Purpose Flour – 1 and 1/3 cups
  • Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Butter – 6 tbsp
  • Dark Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 tsp

This is how you make them:

  • Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Soak the dates in the water. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until soft. Incorporate the eggs one at a time.
  • Then add the soaked, softened dates into the mixture.
  • Stir in the flour mixture into the batter until flour streaks are no longer seen. Add vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix.
  • Divide the batter into the greased cups of 12-tin muffin pan and pop them into the oven. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Once your little date muffins are done, take them out and cool them upside-down on a rack. While the cakes are baking, you can make the toffee sauce on the side.

Here’s what you’re going to need for the sauce:

  • Unsalted butter – 113 g
  • Dark Brown Sugar – 1 cup
  • Heavy Cream – 3/4 cup
  • Cinnamon Powder – a tiny pinch
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

This is how you prepare the Sticky Toffee Sauce:

  • In a skillet, melt butter and brown sugar on low heat.
  • Once melted, gradually add in the heavy cream while stirring continuously until the sauce becomes thick.
  • Add in the cinnamon powder and salt and bring to a boil.
  • Once it bubbles, take it off the heat.

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Once you’ve got both – the cakes and the toffee sauce –  ready, it’s time to plate up. Place the cakes on a plate and with a skewer or a toothpick, prick holes into the top of the cake – this is to make way for the sauce to seep into the cake. Then pour the sauce on to the cakes until they are covered completely. Then pop the plate into the microwave oven for a few seconds just to warm it up a bit. And lastly, dig in!

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Ideally, this dessert is perfect for a chilly winter day. The wholesome warmth oozing from the flavor of the dates and the sweet and salty stickiness of the sauce, all come together to fill your mouth with a delicious velvet texture and make your insides cave in and crumble with its decadent pleasure. But this dessert is just as good on a hot summer’s day too – that extra bit of ice-cream will surely help.

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I must be honest, I didn’t know how these sticky puddings would turn out and if any of my loved ones would like them. Having never had anything like it before, I had that feeling of uncertainty constantly nagging me while I was putting these together. But one bite taken by the boyfriend and I had nothing to worry about anymore – “Oh my God, Babe,” he said, “this is freaking amazing!” ( And after a little playful coaxing, I got him to admit that he thinks I’m a genius) My mum hasn’t tried them yet, but she loves dates and she’s excited that the dessert is made with only brown sugar, I’m sure she’s going to love them. Personally, the first time I took a bite just after baking them, I felt they were okay. But then a couple of hours later, I gobbled one up and I immediately teleported to sweet sweet heaven!

Once you take a bite, you’re just going to keep coming back for more.

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