Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Designer Chocolate Baby Grands

To me, baking these designer chocolate baby grands feels like running a marathon... Having three major components, these beautiful cupcakes with glossy chocolaty finishes require so much time and "stamina" to bake and assemble. With all the housework, husband, child and baking, I was totally exhausted at the end of the day and had chocolate all over my hands and body...

Being a persevering baker, I wasn't put off at all by this super-lengthy recipe and love all sorts of baking challenges. Having said that, the ironical part of me tells me that I will need extra courage and support to bake these cakes. And, so I have recruited my two baking buddies, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena, from Frozen wings to bake-along these challenging cupcakes with me. Evil me! LOL!

In actual fact, these designer chocolate baby grands are quite technical to bake. There are three different components in this bake, the cake itself, the chocolate ganache and the shiny glaze. When every component was assembled together, the cupcakes do look very grand with nice and glossy chocolaty finishes. Here are my rating for these cupcakes:

Looks wise - Grand! 10 out of 10!
Taste wise - Very moist and chocolaty! 10 out of 10!

These cupcakes are so delicious because their sponge-like cake base absorbed warm chocolate ganache very well, giving them a very moist and chocolaty texture. Instead of making milk chocolate ganache as described in Rose's recipe, I have made a dark chocolate ganache using dark chocolate with 70% cocoa, resulting my cupcakes having lots of chocolaty flavours and just the right amount of sweetness for us. Ultimately, the finishing layer of glossy chocolate glaze gives these cupcakes a nice final touch... Being a chocoholic, I would strongly recommend eating these cupcakes for a wonderful chocolate experience. It feels like eating chocolate-infused chocolate cakes with lots of semi-solid chocolate sauce. Yum!

With the same recipe, I have given myself a double challenge by making these cupcakes even smaller. My son was very impressed with the extra-baby grands knowing that these are made specially for his little mouth to nibble... LOL!

designer chocolate baby grands Rose's heavenly cakes Rose Levy Beranbaum
My designer chocolate baby grands
My designer chocolate EXTRA-baby grands - My son was excited seeing these!
Making the cake batter
Filling up my foil cupcakes liners
Happy to see that my cupcakes are ready!
Getting ready for the next step
Applying the dark chocolate ganache onto the cupcakes
Making the lacquer glaze
Enjoying the cupcakes... Just one mouth and the extra-baby grand is gone!

Can you see the intermediate layer deeply infused with dark chocolate ganache? Having this extra-baby chocolate grand all in one mouth is as heavenly as you can imagine...

Here's the recipe from the book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
(with my modification and notes in blue)

The Cupcakes

Makes 14 cupcakes

33 g unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil, at room temperature 
(I used canola oil)
2 large eggs, separated, plus 1 additional white, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
37 g cake flour
37 g bleached all-purpose flour
150 g superfine sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (replaced by baking powder)
1/8 tsp salt

14 foil cupcake liners, white inner liners still attached, coated with baking spray with flour, set in muffin pans

Preheat the oven 20 min or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the cocoa and liquid ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, by hand, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 min. To speed cooling, place the mixture in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

Add the oil and yolks to the chocolate mixture. Attach the whisk beater. Starting on low speed, gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1 minute, or until smooth and shiny, and resembling a butter-cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla for a few seconds.

Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make the batter. Add half the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remain­ing flour mixture. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for I minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. The mixture will be very thick.

Starting on low speed, add the egg whites. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 mins. The batter will now be like a thick soup. Using a silicone spat­ula, scrape it into a 2-cup or larger cup with a spout. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners. They will be just under half full, 3/4 inch from the tops.

Bake the cupcakes. Bake for 15 to 20 min, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. While the cupcakes are baking, make the ganache syrup. When the cupcakes are baked, set the pans on a wire rack.

Milk (or Dark) Chocolate Ganache Syrup

Makes: about 2/3 cup

85g (3 ounces) milk chocolate, 40% to 41% cacao (or 2 ounces lower percentage milk chocolate and 1 ounce dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao), chopped
(I used 80g chocolate with 70% cocoa)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Make the milk chocolate ganache syrup. In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. In a 1-cup or larger microwavable cup with a spout (or in a small saucepan over me­dium heat, stirring often), scald the cream (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will appear around the periphery). With the motor of the food processor running, pour the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth. (Alternatively, grate the chocolate, place it in a small bowl, and stir in the scalded cream until the mixture is uniform in color.) - I chose to use the alternative method.

Transfer the chocolate syrup to a microwavable bowl and stir in the vanilla.

Apply the syrup. Remove the cupcakes still in the muffin pan to a wire rack. While they are still hot, poke about 12 deep holes in each cupcake with a wooden skewer. Brush the cupcakes with syrup. It penetrates most readily when at least 110°F/43°C almost hot to the touch (Mine was 52°C when I applied my syrup). If necessary, reheat as it cools by giving it a few seconds on high power in the microwave. Allow them to sit for a few minutes, and then apply more syrup to fill the little holes left by the skewer. Continue applying the syrup until all of it has been used. There should be a thin coating covering the top of each cupcake. Allow the syrup to set until, when touched with a fingertip, it leaves no mark, about 1 hr.

Lacquer Glaze

makes: 1 1/3 cups
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp powdered gelatin
(replaced by 1 1/2 gelatin leaves, about 6g, pre-soaked in water first just before use and lightly squeezed to remove excess water)
133 g sugar (reduced to 100g)
1/3 cup water
28 g golden syrup or corn syrup (I used golden syrup)
66g unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder
1/3 cup heavy cream

Make the lacquer glaze. Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a medium metal bowl. In a small bowl, place the 1/4 cup of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir to moisten and soften the gelatin and allow it to sit for a minimum of 5 min. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and set aside. (I skipped this step because I have used gelatin leaves)

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Stir constantly with the whisk until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the pan from the heat and, with the whisk, gently stir in the golden syrup and then the cocoa until smooth, making sure to reach into the corners of the pan. The mixture will be glossy. Using a silicone spatula, stir in the heavy cream.

Return the pan to medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to the boil­ing point (190°F/88°C). Bubbles will just start to form around the edges.

Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture into the medium bowl. Cool slightly, for about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should register 122 to 140°F or 50 to 60°C. With the silicone spatula, stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved completely and no longer streaky.

Strain the glaze into a 2-cup heatproof glass measure or bowl. (Metal will impart an undesirable flavor if the glaze is stored in it.) Cool for a few minutes, stirring very gently so as not to incorporate any air (I didn't strain the glaze again). For these cupcakes, the glaze coats best when just made (80°F/26°C). If the glaze is made ahead and reheated. it will be thicker and should be used at 82 to 85°F or 28 to 29°C.

Lift the cupcakes from the pans and carefully remove them from the foil liners, leaving the white inner liners still attached to the cupcakes. Set the foil liners aside.

Glaze the cupcakes. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack set on a 17 1/4 by 12 1/4 by 1-inch half-sheet pan or a large piece of aluminum foil to catch the excess glaze.

Use a regular tablespoon (not a measuring spoon) to coat the tops of the cupcakes with the lacquer glaze. Smooth it into place with the rounded back of the spoon in a circular motion. Some of the glaze will cascade over the sides and can be reheated and re-poured. Use the aluminum foil as a funnel to pour the excess glaze back into the glass measure. Should they appear, any tiny bubbles can be pierced with a sharp needle. Allow the glaze to set for about 1 hr, or until just barely tacky when touched lightly with a fingertip. Set the cupcakes back in the foil liners. They are at their most shiny within 6 hrs of pouring the glaze. To revive the shine, brush lightly with a soft brush or wave a hair dryer set on low heat briefly over the cupcakes. If desired, encircle them with cupcake wrappers.

Note: Using this recipe, I have baked 7 standard size cupcakes and 11 smaller ones and baked them at 160°C fan forced for 20 min (standard size ones) and 15 min (smaller ones).

Happy Baking
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. A notice to all Chocolate lovers, this has to be chocolate heaven. Love what you have created; I'm not surprised; I am always with your posts and recipes.

  2. Your cakes are so perfect...that glossy chocolate icing is amazing! Love the super cute size too and I admire your baking perseverance...another great bake! :-)

  3. I can see why they were gone so fast. :D Besides the ganache, which looks absolutely heavenly, the texture of the cupcakes themselves looks perfect. I wish I could have one now.

  4. Zoe, there is X'mas feel in this post. Love the shiny topping, it doesn't need any decorations but still looks so tempting to try! We are leaving for our holidays on 6th Dec but unfortunately, both my children are sick at the moment. Took them to see the doctor yesterday but only my little one was given the antibiotics. My son is having sorethroat & his fever keeps coming back so later, I have to take him back to the see the doctor again & this spoils the actual plan for today, ie buying school uniform & taking the graduation photo for him. Hai. If he is on antibioctic today, he may not be able to finish his usual course(2 bottles) in time. Will see what the doctor says about it. You take care of yourself with the coming busy x'mas celebration, working & baking! 2-3 more postings then I'll be going for 4 weeks!

    1. Hi Jessie,

      Hope everything is ok for you and your kids. Please take care...

      2-3 postings before a big break... I have at least 8-9 more to go before my Xmas break.

      Will say a final goodbye before your trip... Ciao!


  5. I want to lick the screen!It was really worth it!
    Kisses,sweet Zoe!

  6. Wow, it looks like it really took some time to make them.. But they sound and look really divine :)

  7. These are so cute and I bet they taste very good. :-)

  8. The baby ones are so cute! These do look terrific! These might be a bit more difficult to make than other things, but your instructions are very clear and to-the-point. These are definitely something I could make. Good stuff - thanks.

  9. One can never go wrong with chocolate, Zoe! But you've just made it even more fantastic! I love the shot of the dimply surface :)

  10. Who can resist the shinning gloss topping, you must be very proud of yourself! And I love those cupcake case, simply beautiful!

  11. So beautifully done - I just saw Lena's and Joyce's. I believe it taste just as superb!

  12. wah, another tempting choc cake... i tink i must try soon:)

  13. Looks like a lot of steps baking this baby grands...your glazing is very neat and smooth. yummy chocolate too.

  14. hi zoe, not only exhausted making these cupcakes, also exhausted reading the recipe! haha! But have to agree with you that these cupcakes are truly delicious, no regrets at all making these!When i cut the cupcakes for picture taking, i was like 'wow' the ganache was seeped thru the cupcake itself and can see that! It is really a heavenly piece of cake! thanks zoe for picking this recipe, if not i dont think i will be making them in any near time :)

  15. Hi Zoe, Your extra baby grands looks really cute! This is one delicious cupcake, the best choc cupcakes I've eaten! and yup, all the washing with choc stains everywhere, argh!! But I guess, looking back, worth it in the end! hahaha! thanks for picking this "lots of work" but so delicious pick! :)

  16. You made it so successfully! Very gorgeous... I can't decide if I really want to post mine, because its not that nice... But since i made it, just post and take it as a learning!

  17. These cupcakes are great especially for Christmas bakes. I don't have the leIsure to bake such cupcakes so just 'enjoy' yours one. Very nice looking and elegant chocolate cupcakes. I wish I can have one now :D Have a nice day!

  18. This cup cake must be a hit among kids. Most kids love chocolate. This cake is so rich in chocolate.

  19. Sinfully rich chocolate cupcakes , Zoe ! Love each chocolaty layers :D

  20. Beautiful and moist cupcake love chocolate overflow.

  21. Zoe, I just came over from Mich's and Lena. You girls were really up for the challenge you set! All came up with such shiny, chocolaty goodness. Love your cupcakes, Zoe! Somehow lazy me is very intrigued by these cupcakes and hey, I might take up the challenge myself :)Ok, going over to Joyce's now!

  22. such gorgeous cupcakes!! awesome job, they look spectacular!

  23. Love chocolate and this is a piece of gorgeous baby grands

  24. Good job Zoe! Baby and ExtraBaby Grands!

    I may or may not attempt this.

  25. nice presentation.. liked your space.. glad to follow you too :)

  26. OMG! Look at that glossy frosting on this decadent cupcakes! Looks so tempting & very inviting! Simply SUBLIME! Now, can I have 2 cupcakes to go with my latte, PLEASE! :p heheheheeheh

  27. You must love your boys so much to come up with such lovely chocolate work of art. All the hard work you've put into it!. We're full of envy with what you've accomplished!!

  28. These are too good for children?:) They look fabulous.

  29. Oooo Zoe, your red cupcake liners look exquisite. :) This is indeed a very long recipe.... you really have the patience to go thru all the steps.

  30. No kidding, this is a chocoholic's perfect dessert! Looks so luscious...i have put on a few pounds just by drooling over it :p

  31. they look seriously delicious..... worth the effort i would say!

  32. Oh wow! I can see why these were like a marathon. That recipe is looooong!

  33. Zoe,Zoe ,
    This is such a pretty cake. I love your lacy cupcake liner. It's really lovely:) This cake gives me the Christmas feel!!
    Ohhh!! I guess this is a DDMT cake ya..LOL

  34. Zoe, I really "pei fu" you gals on reading such "long" recipe, being impatient and careless me, sure cannot make it lol. Really love the shiny glaze, can act as mirror liao.

  35. This little cupcakes look great Zoe...I think I would eat lots and lots of them :)
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

  36. I feel like I'm covered in baking ingredients everytime I bake!

  37. They look well worth it if it makes you feel any better...... but that is a huge effort.!

  38. Gosh, u're making me drool! This is just perfect for the coming X'mas. Send some over, won't u?? Hahaha!

  39. Zoe, These are just lovely to look at ... and with that shiny gorgeous choclate topping, so tempting to bite into! I love the red wrappings that you used for presentation too! Totally festive!

  40. Love the way you present these cupcakes. They sure look amazing!

  41. These cupcakes look absolutely gorgeous my friend, stunning job :D


  42. OMG!...These look so tempting...perfectly made Zoe...I'm drooling here.
    Have a lovely week ahead :)