Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

One of the first cakes I’ve ever tasted here in Australia is chocolate mud cake.

The Woolworths kind.

You know, the one that comes in those plastic containers, with a clear plastic dome cover and black plastic base? The one that what appears to be a huge muffin liner and drizzled with white frosting?

The one that goes on sale for $4.99 when it’s on it’s last days of shelf life?

Yes, that kind. And I thought it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. But don’t get me wrong. Cakes in the Philippines are not so bad. I guess it’s just different baking technique and recipes, but cakes in the Philippines seem to be more on sugar and butter and sugar flower decoration than actual taste. Or, maybe it’s just the ones I’ve tasted in the first 14 years of my life.

But I digress. Let’s go back to chocolate mud cake.

I didn’t even know the difference between mud cake, chocolate cake, chocolate torte and devil’s food cake. Aren’t they all the same?

Fast forward 10 or so years later, when I actually started baking and had an epiphany: Trish, how can you be so ignorant? Of course there’s a big difference between those cakes, along with chocolate buttercream, chocolate fudge and chocolate ganache.

I’m happy to say that I have tried plenty more varieties of the chocolate cake/mud cake/torte kind, but the feeling of tasting that first cake here in Australia still lingers. And it’s a nice feeling.

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Exclusively Food

Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
125g butter
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup water
1 cup plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 cups caster sugar
2 large eggs
20 ml canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Line baking tray with muffin liners.

2. In a saucepan, melt chocolate, butter, coffee and water together while stirring constantly. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, bicarbonate soda and cocoa powder. Add salt if using unsalted butter.

4. In another bowl, mix together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and oil. Add this to the flour mixture.

5. Add the cooled chocolate mix to the flour batter in alternate batches.

6. Pour into prepared baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Ganache
300g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/3 cup thickened cream

1. In a saucepan,  heat the thickened cream and bring to simmer.

2. Remove saucepan from heat and add chocolate pieces. Stir together until chocolate has melted into the cream.

3. Set aside to cool, or place in fridge for 5-10 minutes to thicken the consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

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Kulinarya Cooking Club October: Suman na may Latik

I must admit: when I was growing up, I hated suman. I was a very, very strange kid.

I didn’t like suman because it ticked all the right boxes of a sweet Filipino dessert, such as:

  • Sticky
  • Wrapped in banana leaves
  • Has coconut cream

But lacks one ingredient.

Sugar.

GASP! A dessert, with all the characteristics of the famed Filipino sticky rice dessert family, with no sugar? Abomination! Blasphemy! Injustice!

So I didn’t like it. It didn’t seem right. It confused my palate. The smell, texture and sight all screamed “DESSERT!”, it was indeed in the same family as Biko, Bibingka, Sapin Sapin, and even has similar characteristics as Casava Cake, but the taste wasn’t sweet enough for my kiddie palate.

So, for this month’s Kulinarya theme, I vowed to myself that I will make this suman the sweetest ever suman that my teeth can take. I will go back to my 7 year old self, offer this suman, and tell her to wait 18 more years and then she’ll be able to make, nay eat, the suman that she’s always wanted.

Just a side note as well: this month’s theme, hosted by Sheryl of www.crispywaffle.com and Divina of www.sense-serendipity.com was one of the most fun themes I’ve had in a long time. I must say never in a million years did I imagine I would be making my own suman. To me, suman must be left for the experts. It’s something that the mums, and aunts, and lolas make and us kiddies would just tuck in once it’s all prepared and cooked.

The preparation itself is just absolutely magical. The smells, sights and even sounds of the ingredients instantly brought me back to spending lazy afternoons in the province as my Lola Nena prepares the meryenda (afternoon snack) for her grandchildren. If only I could bottle up the smells of smoked banana leaves and coconut milk and give it to you dear readers, to show you a little insight of the beauty that is the Philippines.

This suman is the core of Philippine cooking and eating. This goes down to the traditions of the Filipino culture: simplicity with an aura of local pride and using local ingredients. The use of coconut milk in almost all of the cooking process, and utilising banana leaves both as wrapper and string pay respect to Mother Nature – a kind reminder that sometimes, all we have to do is go back to basics. And the results?

Still pretty amazing suman.

Suman na may Latik (Suman with Latik)

Suman

2 cups glutinous rice

3 cans (400ml each) coconut milk

1 cup water

1/2 cup raw sugar

Banana leaves

Latik

1 can (400ml) coconut milk

1. In a big pot, combine the rice, 2 cans of coconut milk, water and sugar under medium heat. Stir to mix ingredients together and bring to boil. Stir constantly to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

2. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat 1 can of coconut milk. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes until the coconut milk has reduced from milk, to oil with milk curds, to browned milk curd (latik) and the oil has separated. Discard the oil and set aside the latik.

3. Once the liquid has reduced and rice cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

4. For the leaves to become pliable and easier to use as wrappers, place banana leaves over an open fire and pass through the flame. The leaves are ready to be removed from the fire once they change colour and become shinier. Don’t leave for too long as it will burn the leaves.

5. Wrap the suman in the banana leaves as shown below:

Place a few spoonfulls of suman in the middle of the banana leaf.

Fold 1/3 of the leaf over the suman.

Fold both sides.

Continue wrapping the suman by “rolling” the remaining leaf, ensuring the sides are tucked in properly.

To secure, cut two small strips of banana leaf and tie on each end of the suman.

6. Place all wrapped suman in a big pot, add 1 can coconut milk and enough water to top up the pot. Cook under medium heat until all the liquid has almost dried.

7. Serve warm with the latik.

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine.

Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment – we would love to hear from you!

Say hello to the other members of the Kulinarya Cooking Club!
Kath – http://www.acupcakeortwo.com/
Trisha – http://sugarlace.com/
Trissa – http://trissalicious.com/
Olive – http://www.latestrecipes.net/
Caroline – http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/
Ninette – http://bigboldbeautifulfood.blogspot.com/
Peach- http://www.thepeachkitchen.com/
Althea- http://www.busogsarap.com/
Asha – http://forkspoonnknife.blogspot.com/
Malou – http://www.impromptudiva.com/
Cherrie – http://sweetcherriepie.blogspot.com/
Acdee – http://acdee.blogspot.com/
Valerie – http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/
Sheryl – http://crispywaffle.com/
Divina – http://www.sense-serendipity.com/
Anna – http://www.anniesfoodjournal.blogspot.com/
Dahlia – http://www.energychef.blogspot.com/
Joy – http://joyjoycreativeoutlet.blogspot.com/
Maribel – http://www.foodgeek.webs.com/
Tressa
Jen – http://www.jen-at-work.blogspot.com/
Pia – http://bisayajudkaayo.blogspot.com/
Malaka – http://thegrandinternational.com.
Mimi – http://lapinchecocinera.blogspot.com
Erika – http://ivoryhut.com/
Kat – http://twitter.com/alanokat
Lala – http://thislittlepiggywenttothemarket.blogspot.com/
Selfie – http://eats.sefiebee.com/
Connie Veneracion frm http://homecookingrocks.com/
Oggi from http://oggi-icandothat.blogspot.com/
Katrina Kostik from http://lardonmyfrench.blogspot.com/
Rochelle Ryan from http://www.whydiss.blogspot.com/

And of course… Kath of A Cupcake or Two and Trissa of Trissalicious!

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The Philippine Lantern & Cultural Festival

Christmas in the Philippines is truly special.

Fun fact #1: We start preparing for Christmas as soon as the “-ber” months roll in – September, October, November, December – until probably mid January. Yes. We love our Christmas. Apparently, the Philippines is the longest Christmas celebrants in the world.

Fun fact #2: The coolest weather rolls in around November/December, so everyone starts sporting jackets and wearing knits around town. We’re talking about temperatures between 25 to 30 degrees. Celcius.

Fun fact #3: Jose Marie Chan’s “Christmas In Our Hearts” is one of the biggest selling albums in the history of Philippine music. It was released in 1990, and everyone knows the title song. It is so popular that people still buy the album even when it’s not Christmas. True story! (I know because my aunt worked for the records company that distributes it, and tells me that it’s always sold out – whether it’s May or December).

Fun fact #4: Trish gains weight – alot of weight – from all the Christmas eating. We’re not talking about fresh fish and seafood and summer fruits and all things healthy and un-fried. We’re talking about sugared ham, Leche Flan, sweet, sticky rice desserts and dinners at 12 midnight of Christmas Eve.

Still not convinced that Christmas in the Philippines is a wonderful, colourful event? Why not check out Christmas in November, Saturday 20th November at Parramatta Town Hall from 11am onwards?

Oh and lastly…

Fun fact #5: Filipinos love anything free. And this is free entry.

See you there!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Trish just loves Christmas and if you haven’t gathered yet, she is Filipino.

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