Just Dessert · Tuesdays With Dorie

TWD – Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Cakes

I'm still trying to get back on the Tuesdays With Dorie train on a regular basis.  I didn't participate last week, but I made sure to find out in plenty of time what the next recipe was.

Kristin of I'm Right About Everything chose the Milk Chocolate Mini Bundt Cakes, and I thought these were just the thing for dessert the night my 17-year-old nephew came to stay the night with us (before going skiing/snowboarding in NH the following day with my husband). 

The only thing was, the ingredient list and my pantry list didn't exactly line up.  So I made a few changes.

First of all, I didn't have any milk chocolate on hand except for a few Hershey's Kisses left from Christmas.  Not enough to make any sort of cakes; mini, bundt, or otherwise.  But I had semi-sweet chocolate chips, so that would work. 

Another thing I didn't have were mini bundt pans.  Hmmm.  Didn't want to do anything large.  Mini springform pans?  Nah.  Mini loaf pans?  No.  Okay, we'll go with a 12-cup muffin tin.

And I really wasn't in the mood for walnuts.  And I didn't have pecans.  I took a peek at my dwindling nut supply to see what my remaining options were.  Sliced almonds or – Ooh, perfect!  Macadamia nuts!  Perfect.  But…I wanted more.  What would go nicely with macadamia nuts?  Why had I bought them in the first place?  Oh, that's right.  To make biscotti around Christmas time.  And I never made the biscotti – ran out of time – so I had those and the other intended ingredient – candied ginger.  Nice.  And what other flavor could I toss in there?  How about some lime zest.  Done.


I used about half a cup of nuts, a quarter cup of chopped candied ginger, and the zest of one small lime. 


I mixed those with the cocoa powder and sugar called for in the "swirl" portion of the ingredient list.


The only change I made to the dry ingredients was the addition of half a teaspoon of ground coriander.  Next time I'd probably up that to a full teaspoon.


I also used brown sugar instead of white.

The wet ingredients were not messed with. 


On with the baking.  First, the butter and sugar…

Then the addition of the egg, and the addition of the vanilla.  Yes, Dorie, it is kind of curdled-looking.  But I'm not worried.


Mmmm, melted chocolate is next…

And, finally, the dry/milk/dry additions.  We have batter.


I placed little liners in the muffin pan…

And then placed a healthy tablespoonful of batter in the bottom of each paper cup.  The batter was pretty sturdy – I had to press it down a bit so it would cover most of the bottom of the cups.

I divided my nuts 'n' stuff swirl mixture on top of the batter,

And then I distributed the rest of the batter in nice, big dollops.


Into the oven they went, for 23 minutes, if I remember correctly.  I let them cool in the pan for five minutes as directed,

And then I took them out of the pan and started pulling open the paper cups.


When the paper was removed, I left them to finish cooling while I made the glaze. 

Or, rather, I made a couple of attempts to make the glaze, but when I added the corn syrup, the lovely smooth melted chocolate siezed up and became ugly and stubborn and completely NOT glaze.  After the second batch failed to impress, I warmed some half & half and mixed that into one of my failed glaze bowls…and that worked very nicely – the chocolate relaxed and blended nicely into the warmed half & half.  At last.  Glaze.  Julia helped with the stirring.

Once the glaze was…glazey…I lined a sheet pan with parchment, placed my rack of cooled mini cakes on top, and poured a river of chocolate on each little cake.


My pouring skills were better when I wasn't taking the picture.  Really.

Anyway, once the glaze was poured, I topped each mini cake with a couple of thin slices of candied ginger.  I thought of zesting another lime so I could sprinkle them all with threads of green, but I thought that might be overkill.


So cute.  They almost look like they should have some sort of fluffy white filling, don't they?  But instead, these have some crunch from the macadamia nuts and a bite of sweet heat from the candied ginger.  I didn't notice the lime.  Maybe I'd add more if I made them again.


I liked them, but I didn't love them.  The cake was a little on the dry and crumbly side, but I suppose if I'd served them as cakes, maybe with some ice cream on the side, this wouldn't have mattered so much.

My kids thought they were okay.  My nephew ate one in just about one bite – you know how seventeen-year-olds can be.  I think he said it tasted good.  It was a bit hard to understand him.


My husband was ambivalent.  Dessert has to be something really special to get an enthusiastic response from him.

I liked the flavors.  I'm glad I used semi-sweet chocolate – I think it went nicely with the other changes I'd made.  Also, with the exception of the glaze issues, these were very simple and straightforward to make.  And the possibilities for the swirl are endless.  So many nuts to choose from, so many combinations.  Hmmm…almonds and shredded coconut?  There's a thought.

If you'd like to bake these little chocolaty cakes, you can find the recipe on Kristin's site at some point today, or on pages 188-189 of Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours.  And if you'd like to find out what the other TWD bakers thought of this week's recipe, your best bet would be to go here.

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