So, I got all kinds of confident after my layer cake success for my last post and decided, “what the heck! – I’m going to make pretty chocolate eggs with some kind of super yummy filling in them for Easter”! Keep in mind that I had never tempered chocolate, nor had I ever used a candy or chocolate mold. We’ll call it a learning experience…. At the end of a full day, I completed this delicious White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Eggs treat. I have to say, that I’m really happy to have learned the process for tempering chocolate and know that it’ll be valuable in my future candy making adventures. If you don’t feel like you’re up to the challenge of molding chocolate and filling it with mousse, you can just make the super easy and wonderfully delicious white chocolate mousse and serve it in pretty glasses with a few raspberries and/or shaved chocolate on top. It looks elegant and tastes like you spent hours on it. Happiest of Easters, everyone!!
- 12 ounces dark chocolate (I used Guittard bittersweet) Do NOT use chocolate chips.
- 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
- Using a large, sharp knife, chop the chocolate into small pieces, about the size of a pea. Divide the chocolate; 8 ounces into a medium glass bowl, and 4 ounces in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Put the medium bowl of chocolate (8 oz.) into the microwave and melt on high in 20 to 25 second increments, stirring until it is melted and with a temperature of 115° to 118° F. When the chocolate is almost melted, reduce your microwave time to as little as 5 seconds so the chocolate doesn’t burn.
- Begin “seeding” the melted chocolate by adding the chocolate pieces in the small bowl (4 oz.), a little at a time, gently stirring until they are completely melted. Stir and seed until the temperature of the chocolate is 88° to 91° F, and the seeding pieces are fully melted.
- Your chocolate has now been tempered. Use the chocolate in its tempered range. If it begins to cool, you can microwave it at half power to bring it back up to temperature. Alternatively, you can place the pan of chocolate on a heating pad turned to low; place a towel on top of the heating pad. Check the temperature of the chocolate frequently to insure that it stays in the recommended temperature range.
- To “build” the chocolate eggs, simply follow the instructions on the mold package. I found mine here, but you can find all kinds of chocolate molds on-line that will work just as well.
- Using a sharp knife, cut “holes” in the top of each chocolate egg half, so that when you glue them together with more chocolate it leaves a hole in the top of the egg for the mousse to be piped into.
- Place white chocolate in a large glass bowl. Add ⅓ cup heavy cream and microwave until melted and smooth. Heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between. Allow to cool until it reaches room temperature.
- In a large, chilled bowl beat the remainder of the heavy cream with either a stand or hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture and whisk by hand until smooth. Add half of the remaining whipped cream, folding gently until combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until combined and smooth. Chill the mousse for about 2 hours, or until set.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the mousse and carefully fill each chocolate egg through the hole you left on top.
- Sprinkle with chocolate shavings or top with a couple of raspberries.
Oh my gosh, it’s going to be Easter in just a couple of weeks!! Yeah, I know…news flash! Clearly this holiday has sneaked up on me, so I got busy experimenting with some Easter dessert options.
My first is: Better for You Banana cake. Until now, I haven’t brought you a layer cake recipe and that’s because I’ve always had such bad luck with them – they’ve all been “leaners”. You know…the ones that no matter which way you turn them, are always tilted. Which is kind of embarrassing since I’m supposed to be a baker, and that includes making layer cakes that don’t look like they’re going to fall over.
So I stepped out of that comfort zone I’m so fond of and went about learning the “technicalities” of making a straight up, level, flat cake layer. And it wasn’t nearly as scary or daunting a task as I had thought it would be. Imagine that? Basically, you just need to wrap some wet strips of towel around the edge of the cake pan in whatever width the pan is, usually 2-3″, attaching them with large safety pins. The moisture from the wet towel strips help the cake to bake more evenly, preventing the dome that forms, which is the primary reason layer cakes lean. You can find more detailed information for the procedure on one of my favorite blogs: The Kitchn.
You really should give this Better for You Banana cake a try. It’s been lightened up from the original recipe; both the butter and sweetener has been reduced (as usual, I used real maple syrup for the sweetener). This banana cake is moist, flavorful, and downright irresistible. So why resist?
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup butter, room temp
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 3 ripe bananas mashed, about 1½ cups
- 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, optional
- Spray three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy (or similar) spray. Set aside.
- Whisk the milk and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and syrup in a large bowl until combined, adding in the syrup a little at a time until fully incorporated (The mixture will appear slightly “curdled”, but don’t worry, it’s just fine).
- Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the milk and flour mixture in alternating additions, beginning and ending with flour, mixing on low and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Finally, mix in the mashed bananas until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pans in the oven halfway through baking.
- Cool cakes in the pans for 15-20 minutes; then remove from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes until creamy. Mix in the maple syrup.
- Add in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
- With the mixer on medium, blend until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add remaining tablespoon of milk, if needed and mix until combined. Frost cake.
- Place the coconut in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring gently but constantly. The coconut will start to turn light brown; watch carefully, because it burns quickly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the coconut to cool completely. (I spread mine out on a paper plate so it wouldn’t continue to brown in the warm pan and would cool faster.)
- Sprinkle cake with the toasted coconut.
Preheat oven to 325°F
I don’t recall when I first made this recipe or where I got it (it’s scribbled on an old index card with way too many splatters and spots…), but I’ve made this Lemon Layer Dessert many times for potlucks and family gatherings over the years. With Easter on the way, and especially for the kids out there, I decided to decorate the whipped cream top with pastel coconut “nests” and jelly bean eggs. Yes, it’s a wee bit on the sweet side, but any other time you can substitute some lemon zest or a light sprinkling of toasted coconut on top for a more “adult” version. This is my first post to include preparation pictures; I hope they make the process just that much easier for you. Happy Easter everyone!
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 (3 3/4 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
- 3 cups milk
- 1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip or Tru Whip, for a more natural alternative
Preheat oven to 375°
- Process flour, butter, and pecans or walnuts for a minute or two in a food processor.
- Press into a 13×9 inch baking dish.
- Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown; cool completely.
- Beat powdered sugar, and cream cheese until fluffy.
- Spread evenly over nut crust.
- Stir together pudding mix and milk (and lemon juice, if using); when thickened, spread over the cream cheese layer.
- Spread container of Cool Whip or Truwhip evenly over top.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Decorate as desired.
If you want to decorate with the coconut nests and jelly bean eggs, divide 2 cups of shredded coconut into four ramekins or small cups, put 1 drop of food coloring onto each 1/2 cup of coconut and stir until the color is well distributed. Spoon small mounded circles, 2″ – 3″ wide onto the whipped cream layer. Place jelly beans on top of the nests. Festive and fun!
Any flavor instant pudding can be substituted in this recipe. I’ve tried chocolate and butterscotch and they’re both delicious!