I must confess....I'm falling in love with coffee after making these...They look stunning but really not that tough to make if you spread the workloads into 2 days....This is supposed to look like a cup of cappuccino where the chocolate cake is the cup with coffee ice cream as the cappuccino in the cup. The whipped cream represents cappuccino froth. Finally, a dust of cocoa and serve with a chocolate spoon tucked into the cream completes it all....
I cannot tell you enough how much I love the ice cream. It's from a real good quality vanilla bean ice cream base and anyone would tell you it is such a waste to throw in some Moccona and call it a coffee ice cream. But the fact is, I've used a classic medium roast Moccona granules and they really lifted up the whole ice cream flavour. This is not your usual homebrand, this is Moccona people. I don't know about you but it was a rather expensive you can buy off the shelf in supermarkets here in Australia but Aaron is drinking coffee almost on a daily basis so we bought a better one rather than the cheap homebrand instant coffee powder. Trust me, we've both procrastinated long enough to buy this....it's worth it, I could proudly say so now.
Frankly, I don't quite like the chocolate cake base. I baked it the night before and store them in anair tight container but this morning when I wanted to assemble them, the chocolate cake is dry, rather on the crumbly side. I tried microwaving it a while but it didn't work, it's just dry but not the tough rock type, just plain dry. Flavour wise is really good I would say. It comes together with the recipe and is meant to be not to compliment the ice cream.
Though crumbly, I have no problem scooping the centre out to make room for the ice cream. A melon baller is really, really and I stress again, really very helpful here. I scoop out the centre of the chocolate cake really nicely and ake plenty space then I could for the ice cream so they could compliment the dry cake better. And I again use the melon baller to scoop these really cute mini size ice cream balls. Aren't they cute in mini scoops???? How can anyone resist cute stuffs really!
Again, the recipe for the chocolate cake makes way to many muffins than I wanted. I cut down the initial recipe by two-third but it still yield 12 or more muffins. And it's supposed to make only 6! How stupid can that be???
Anyway, recipe is adapted from my new book too! It's not Tess, it's Iced: 180 very cool concoctions given to me by my lovely housemate, Samantha (click click!!! she has a food blog too!). I found the recipe here but I strongly suggest using your favourite chocolate muffin recipe or if you insist to make these, use just one-third of the recipe and bake them on the same day you're going to assemble them.
Anyway, below is what I've done and the recipe proportion I'll use in future. I'll definitely make these again! and again!
Cappucinno Ice Cream Cakes
makes 6 but I yielded about 8 medium size cakelettes
80g good-quality dark chocolate, melted
I use the microwave because I couldn't be bothered with bain-marie and because I know my microwave too well. Place them in greaseproof handmade piping bag and snip off the pointy tip. Place the teaspoon template underneath a sheet greaseproof paper. You need not grease the paper. I use the template below that Aaron made for me and start off by piping the outline for about 10 teaspoons. Then snip a larger hole and fill up the teaspoons, rather thickly else it'll be too fragile for you to tuck into the cream later. Freeze that well. The spoons should come off nicely when it's well freeze. Keep that in an air tight container and forget about it for the mean time.
Real Good Coffee Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
(makes 2 cups)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1'3 cup vanilla castor sugar
Place all the above in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring for a few minutes until sugar has dissolved and the milk mixture is just about to boil.
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Whisk the vanilla paste with the yolks until pale and creamy in a large ceramic bowl. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the milk mixture, whisking as you go. Keep doing the tempering process until you eventually could feel the saucepan and the ceramic bowl are about the same temperature. When you are there, you could actually pour the milk mixture into the yolk in a steady stream (the other hand keep whisking vigorously and do not stop) and your mixture will not scramble or curdle. Return all the mixture back on the stove and add in 1/2 tbsp heaped of good quality coffee granules and whisk into submission. I always start off the thickening process on medium heat with a whisk, whisking nonstop. When I see that it's a little thicker, I use a silicone spatula and keep scraping the bottom and sides and use low heat. It's a fine line between scrambled eggs and smooth custard so use your instinct and when the custard are able to coat your spatula and cling on to it rather well, turn off the heat. Transfer the mixture to a large shallow tray to completely cool down before transferring it into an airtight container to chill overnight.
You might wanna pop the ice cream maker into the freezer now too!
(Makes 12 medium sized cakelettes)
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 12-hole medium sized muffin pan with butter generously.
125g unsalted butter softened
1 cup vanilla castor sugar
Whisk the butter and egg until really creamy and fluffy. Add in 2 large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in 1.5 tsp vanilla extract and beat again (I omitted this as I was using vanilla sugar).
In a spouted jar, measure 180ml of buttermilk OR in my case, I measured 4 tsp of lemon juice into the jar and top up with enough milk until it reaches 180ml. Let it stand for 10mins or so before using but my mixture curdled almost instantly.
In a large bowl, place the sifter on top of it and throw in:
150g plain flour
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking soda
60g good quality cocoa powder
Alternate the flour mixture into the egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin holes and bake them in a preheated oven for 25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.Cool them in tin briefly before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
1/2 cup double cream
1/2 tbsp icing sugar (I use vanilla castor sugar)
I think this works best for me when I'm whipping cream in small quantity so do try it. Measure the cream into a one-cup capacity ceramic cup. Place one beater of the mixer into the cup and freeze that for 5 mins or so. Take it out and connect the beater to the mixer body and with one hand holding the cup and the other one holding the mixer, beat the cream on highest speed possible until it reaches stiff peak. It usually took me less than 3 mins. When it's almost there, turn the speed to low and let it run a while more before you stop. Cling wrap it until needed and your cream remains whipped, stiff, no yellow skin/crust on the surface and remain smooth until needed.
When serving, use a melon baller and remove the centre of each cakelettes, leaving approximately a 1 cm shell. The leftover could be used for something else. A cheesecake base sounds good or just mix it with ganache to form cake pops. Scoop the ice cream again with a wet melon baller and pile 3-4 mini scoops into each cavity and let it come slightly above the top. Dollop each with some whipped cream mixture to represent cappuccino froth. Finish off with a dusting of good quality cocoa powder (tea strainer is awesome as a sifter here!!!) and serve with a chocolate spoon tucked into the cream.
Now present to your crowd and wow them! There is little you can do in the kitchen that has the same 'look-what-I-made' satisfaction than to serve up scoops of very own ce cream to salivating family and friends, and watch them marvel at the difference to the stor-bought flavours they are used to!