I thought that this interesting "bundt" cupcake pan would be a great way to put the new camera to use! (Thanks so much to everyone for listening to me blab on and on about this camera for the last month! And thanks so much for all of your advice and suggestions! I finally decided on the Canon Rebel XS kit with the 18-55 mm lens and also got a 50mm lens for these close shots. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the results and love the camera and lenses!)
Here's the pan that inspired me:
(I'm going to put a really cool photo here when it doesn't take an hour to upload it!)
I'm not sure what the pan is really intended for, but I decided to make petits fours. Petits fours are little mini cakes that are super cute and super dainty. I should have read up on how to make petits fours before I started, because as it turns out I left out a few steps! So let's call these, "Baker's Cakes Easy Petits Fours." I began with a batch of my strawberry buttermilk cake. I think strawberries and chocolate make the best combination, well, right after peanut butter and chocolate! I was concerned about all the nooks and crannies in the cake molds and getting the cake out, so I sprayed it with a generous spray of Baker's Joy. Great name! (On a photo note, I am still trying to find enough light in my kitchen so I don't have to rely on the flash quite as much, especially with such a reflective subject. It was a rainy day, so I had no choice but to use the flash.)
Chocolate Ganache (from the Joy of Cooking)
Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan:
3/4 cup heavy cream
Remove from the heat and add:
8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
Stir until most of the chocolate is melted. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes (Ooops! I totally missed this step, that explains a LOT!) Stir or whisk very gently. For a pourable glaze, let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the mixture cools to 85' to 95'.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Apparently here is where I should have covered the chocolate and cream mixture and let it be. I kept stirring until it got down to the pourable temperature and couldn't figure out why it was so thick and seemed to separate a bit!
After I baked the cakes, I trimmed off the bottoms of the mini bundts and ate some for breakfast, yum! (Another photo note, here is the best example of why I am loving the 50mm lens. I focused it on the second row of cakes and it blurred the first row and the background. My loyal reader will have to bear with me until I get this new depth of field excitement out of my system, I just can't get enough of these shots!)
When the ganache reached 94' or so I spooned it over the top of the petits fours. It was a bit thicker than I would have liked, but I now think I know why!
Here's that awesome depth of field shot again! I just can't get enough of it!
It turns out, the traditional petits fours steps I left out, also happen to give the cakes that slick fancy look I was trying to achieve. Apparently, one can brush the cakes with a coat of warmed strained fruit preserves and then top that with a layer of rolled marzipan (I can just imagine how the strawberry cake would be with strawberry preserves and almond marzipan! Yum!) and then top with a coat of chocolate ganache. But, that wouldn't be "Baker's Cakes Quick Petits Fours!" I think the heart shape came out the best.
On the more traditional bundt shapes, I spooned a bit of ganache on top and let it drip down the sides, like a much much bigger bundt might look.
And so loyal reader here I must add one final disclaimer, ganache is not sweet. It is very rich and very chocolatey, and not for the faint at heart. My six year old is a true chocolate lover, and thought these were delicious. His father said they were, "Not sweet enough." Very interesting.