Monthly Mystery Munchies #23: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Yes, the title is a mouthful, but so are these cupcakes! This month’s theme made me so incredibly happy! I mean, I freaking love baking, and I love frosting, and filling of any variety, so let’s play! Ann’s instructions were: something with frosting and/or filling and you can use frosting as filling and vice versa. I mean!! Listen to this: Chocolate cupcakes hollowed out and filled with cream cheese frosting, then topped with chocolate ganache. Hashtag inheaven! When you first bite into the cupcake, there’s a distinct chocolatey taste, swiftly followed by a burst of creamy vanilla, then finished with a creamy ganache. Lots of creaminess, so much of!

Please click your way over to Grubbs n Critters and check out Ann’s delicious offering for this month’s challenge – choux (cream puffs) with Mascarpone cheese filling. The tummy wants what it wants! I have no doubt you will luh it!

Here we go…

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling Topped with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcake Supplies:

1 cup (100g) flour
¾ cup (75g) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup (80g) white sugar
½ cup (80g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling Supplies:

100g butter, room temperature
150g plain cream cheese, also room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or essence)

Chocolate Ganache Supplies:

80g dark baking chocolate
80ml cream

Making It Happen:

Cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F). Whisk the butter and sugar on high until well mixed.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk on low for 10 seconds. The batter will be crumbly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom well.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla essence, beat on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom and give it one last beat, about 5 seconds.

Fill the muffin cups half full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes our clear. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for half an hour.

While the cupcakes are chilling, make the filling, and then the ganache.

Cream Cheese Frosting Filling: In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter and cream cheese on high for a minute. about 5 seconds. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla paste and give it one last stir.

Remove the chilled cupcakes from the fridge and hollow out the centre using a serrated knife, slicing the top off and keeping aside. Using a piping bag, fill the centre of each cupcake with frosting. Place the top back on, kinda like a lid. Refrigerate again.

Chocolate ganache: Heat the cream and add the chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and allow to cool. Once chilled, scoop one tablespoon onto the cupcakes.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon (Obviousy)

Split pea soup 6

This, my friends, is the shizzz. This creamy, bacon-y pea soup is the only pea soup you’ll ever need! And need I do. I need this in my life. Regularly.

Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy peasy juice squeezy
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Supplies:

Split pea soup 1200g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and thinly sliced
2 cups green split peas, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
250ml cream
Sea salt to taste, reserve until the end
Freshly cracked black pepper
Parsley to garnish
Fresh bread, toasted

Making It Happen:

Split pea soup 21. In a large pot, fry the onions and garlic in butter on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the onions are soft.

 

 

Split pea soup 32. Add the split peas and paprika and stir well. Pour the stock and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot, for minutes 30 minutes(check your package instructions) until the peas are tender.

 

Split pea soup 43. While the peas are simmering, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry in the canola oil until slightly crispy. Set aside, reserving the bacon juices. Once the peas are tender, remove the pot from the heat and blitz the soup, either in a food processor, or with a handheld blender. Return to the heat, add the lemon juice, cream and bacon, including the bacon juices. Simmer for a further 5 minutes until the soup is well-heated.

Split pea soup 54. At this point, taste the soup and season with salt if necessary, and pepper. The bacon will make it salty, so it’s important not to add salt until this stage. Garnish with parsley and serve with toasted bread.

You can refrigerate this soup in advance for up to two days.

 

Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce 4 2Homemade marinara sauce is incomparable to store-bought sauce. The ingredients are perfectly blended to give you a herby, tomato-y sauce packed with flavour, and all of the ingredients are easy to come by. You can add a cup of cream if you like, and I tend to alternate. With ravioli, I add cream. With meatballs and spaghetti, I leave it out. It’s entirely up to you. I use both tinned whole tomatoes and fresh baby tomatoes. When the baby tomatoes burst, they release a wonderful flavour that’s tastier than large tomatoes.

Marinara sauce is versatile and doesn’t have to be limited to pasta. You can use it in casseroles if you want a tomato-based flavour and it makes a wonderful tomato soup. I’ve used it on meatloaf many times, or blitz it in the food processor and serve with a ciabatta as a soup. Once you’ve made this sauce, you will realise its potential to be used in many different dishes and it’s easy! Like, super mission-free and takes a total of half an hour.

Marinara Sauce

  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Marinara Sauce ingredients500g baby tomatoes
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
Basil leaves
Fresh parsley for garnishing
Mozzarella for sprinkling (optional)
1 cup cream (optional)
Olive oil – 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Marinara Sauce 101. Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the garlic, onion and oregano and fry for 5 minutes.

 

 

Marinara sauce 62. Add the baby tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato paste. Turn down the heat, add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes, with the lid on for the first 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
OPTIONAL: Stir in the cream. Top the dish with mozzarella and fresh parsley.

 

Marinara sauce 8 23. The sauce boils down, with the baby tomatoes bursting and releasing their flavour.

 

 

Marinara sauce 1Serve with a variety of food – in this case meatballs and spaghetti.

 

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45 minutes in total
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Gnocchi Alfredo 8

 

Crispy Cheese Potato Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 8What’s better than cheese? Crispy cheese. Yes, please and thanks in advance. This dish is quick and easy to prepare and deliciously tasty. Creamy potatoes, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms topped with bubbling cheddar, it requires no cheese sauce. The onion soup powder, when combined with the cream, thickens perfectly in the oven, leaving you with perfectly cooked veggies smothered in crispy melted cheese.

Crispy Cheese Potato Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: Prep 10 minutes, cooking time 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 14-5 potatoes, thinly sliced
300g Brussels sprouts, par-cooked and halved
200g chopped mushrooms
60g white onion soup powder
1 cup cream
300g grated cheddar
Paprika
Non-stick spray

Making it happen:

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 31. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Turn the heat down to 180°C (350°F) as soon as you put the dish in. Spray a deep casserole dish with non-stick spray. Par-cook the Brussels sprouts until they’re just tender.
Thinly slice the potatoes and place half of the potatoes across the casserole dish. Place half of the mushrooms and Brussels on top of the potatoes.

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 52. Sprinkle half the packet of soup powder over the veggies and sprinkle paprika evenly over the soup powder. Put half the cheddar evenly on top. Repeat.

 

 

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 73. Pour the cream evenly over the dish and bake for 45 minutes until the cheese is crispy.

 

 

 

Crispy Cheddar Veggie Bake 10 1If you’re not into crispy cheese (say it ain’t so), cook for 30 minutes. If you are…

<— This.

 

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

Upside down cake 10It’s time to go retro! It’s nearly Spring in the Southern Hemisphere which naturally calls for a fruity cake. I use my basic vanilla cake recipe for this upside down cake and I always use buttermilk as it ensures the cake is moist and fluffy.

Let me give you a rundown of my most recent attempt. Off I go to the supermarket, taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the warmer weather. I get there and start cruising the aisles for ingredients. For some reason I’m in a bit of a daze so I’m standing at the tinned food section, see a large tin of pineapples and grab it without reading the label properly. Perfect. Right next to the pineapples is tinned cherries. Again, I grab a tin and carry on with my shopping. I get home, filled with excitement (it doesn’t take much, baking does that to me), and open the tins. Crap. I’ve bought chunks of pineapples instead of rings. Oh bother. Not to worry, we’ll carry on as usual. I open the cherries and I’m like, these aren’t glacé cherries. Really? Double crap, double bother. Now, I’m so excited to bake this cake so I soldier ahead, cut the cherries in half, remove the pips and make the batter. The reason I’m telling you this is because traditionally, pineapple rings are used, be they tinned or fresh, as are glacé cherries. But no, I had to complicate things. You can use pineapple chunks, they work beautifully, as do regular tinned red cherries, just remove the pips. However, you can substitute the chunks with rings and red cherries with glacé (I recommend this to avoid the schlep).

Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: Prep time 10 minutes, cooking time 40-45 minutes
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Upside Down Cake 1Supplies:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pineapple rings or chunks
  • Glacé cherries

 

  • For the cake:
  • ¼ cup pecans, crushed in your hand
  • 1¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Upside Down Cake 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Once it’s melted, add ½ cup of brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it starts bubbling. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a 25cm (10″) cake tin.

Upside down cake 112. Layer the pineapple pieces and cherries in the melted butter syrup and sprinkle the hand-crushed pecans over them (give them a decent hearty squeeze to crush them).

 

 

Upside Down Cake 53. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir/whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly mixed.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 64. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 180 for 40 minutes, until a toothpick instered in the middle comes our clear. If the toothpick is still wet, back for another 5 minutes until the toothpick passes the test.

 

 

Upside Down Cake 9 15. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Hold a plate or cakestand upside down over the cake tin, pressing down firmly. Flip over, tap the cake tin gently and slowly remove. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Salted Caramel Sauce

Chocolate brownies. Fried banana splits. Creamy vanilla ice cream. All delicious on their own but topped with caramel sauce, they are heavenly. This sweet, gooey sauce is made even better by adding a touch of salt and you just can’t get it wrong, it’s that easy and quick too! How quick? Ten minutes. That’s it.

Salted caramel sauce ingredients 11 cup brown sugar
75g (5 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 

 

 

Salted caramel sauce 1 2In a heavy-based medium pot, melt the sugar over medium-low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent from sticking. The sugar will form clumps, continue stirring, and it will start to melt.

 

 

 

 

Salted caramel sauce 2 2Continue to stir until the clumps have melted.

 

 

 

 

 

Salted caramel sauce 3 2As soon as the sugar has melted, take the pot off the heat and add the butter, and, you guessed it, stir continuously.

 

 

 

 

 

Salted caramel sauce 4 2Stir in the cream slowly, sprinkle in the salt and add the vanilla. Wait for it to cool thoroughly before tasting!

 

 

 

 

 

Salted caramel sauce 5 2

Yep, that’s right, that’s all there is to it!