Tuesday, April 09, 2019

A Chocolate Glaze That Hardens - for Cakes and Cookies

Hi there! It's been a while. Since Redding, I've been to the LA area to visit my daughter, done some gardening (mostly weeding), cleared out a whole bunch of books from the living room bookcases and scrubbed them down. Today I realized that they need painting - not so surprising since they haven't been painted for something like 30 years - and, a little less than a week ago, made some cute desserts for my scholarship group, P.E.O. as our local chapter hosted the Presidents of eight other regional chapters for lunch.

I've become known as the chapter baker, which isn't too surprising. About a month ago the luncheon chairman asked if I could provide dessert for the luncheon. I love a challenge like that and was only slightly worried when I found out that she wanted to plate the dessert before lunch started. Usually the cake (since that is the easiest dessert to make for a crowd, in my opinion) serves as decoration and is cut after lunch. I had even thought of doing a flower tiered cake since spring is beginning to be experienced now.

A plated dessert could still be a cake, so I baked my favorite chocolate cake, Maida Heatter's 86-Proof Chocolate Bundt cake, but baked the batter from one batch in small cake pans...four designs in all. There were twenty seven little cakes in the end, shaped like stars, swirls, little half round mounds, and hearts. Unfortunately three of the shapes didn't release easily from the pans, so they didn't look pretty enough for this lunch as they were.

After searching the internet, I decided to try a recipe that claimed that it made a coating that hardens when cool since that would work well in covering up the rough spots on the little cakes. The recipe is super simple, with margarine, cocoa, confectioner's sugar, hot water and vanilla. It's from Genius Kitchen, recipe by Nana Lee. At first I was concerned since the mixture looked pretty thin, but the glaze was thick enough to cover the mistakes and dark enough to make a nice contrast to the rest of the toppings.

It took some time (and two batches of the glaze) to coat each of the 27 little cakes. I placed them on wire racks over sheet pans so that the sheet pans would catch the drips (to be reused). I also made a quick batch of ganache to put on the Bundt cake that I made with a second batch of cake batter, for extra servings. After the disaster of the first batch I didn't have the patience to bake the second batter as little cakes!

After the glaze cooled, I made a thin icing of confectioners' sugar and lemon juice, which I tinted with a bit of rose gel coloring. I drizzled that across the cakes, then immediately sprinkled on a topping that I created by mixing a few store bought toppings which included pearls, sprinkles, tiny flowers and hearts. It looked really great and everyone was enthusiastic about those little chocolate cakes. A challenge met!

Chocolate Glaze That Hardens When Cool
by Nana Lee

2 tablespoons melted margarine or 2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine melted margarine or oil, cocoa, and hot water. Blend in confectioners' sugar and vanilla.

Pour or spread on cake (or brownies, or dip cookies in the glaze)

Glaze will harden when it cools.

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