Mint will always be my favorite flavor to pair with chocolate. I can never get enough of those girl scout cookie Thin Mints(I really need to start stock piling those….when is it girl scout cookie season, again?) or mint chocolate chip ice cream, or Green & Blacks mint chocolate bars. ANYTHING mint chocolate.
These babies only feed the obsession:
MINT CHOCOLATE MINI CAKES
Mint Chocolate. Good.
Miniature sized. Even better.
I baked these cakes in a jumbo muffin tin. They make the perfect sized dessert.
These cakes are rich and dense with the perfect hint of mint. My favorite part of making them? Eating the hot cake tops left over from leveling the cakes just after they come out of the oven. Amazing is all I can say.
After the cakes have cooled they have a rich, chocolatey ganache draped over the top that has the perfect hint of mint. A pile of whipped cream is swirled on top and it is garnished with chocolate shavings and a mint leaf.
A tip for making chocolate shavings:
Microwave your chocolate bar for a few seconds(you may need to do this several times) until is just softens slightly, but is not melty. The slightly softened chocolate will form curls much easier as you run a potato peeler down the sides of it. Hard chocolate will usually just form chocolate shards or flakes.
Makes about 16 mini cakes
4" spring form pans may also be used. If using spring forms, you will get about 10 mini cakes.
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 C. Hot Water
- 1 t. Instant Espresso Powder
- 1 C. Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 C. Sour Cream
- 1/2 C. Heavy Cream
- 3 C. Flour
- 1/4 t. Salt
- 1 t. Baking Powder
- 1 t. Baking Soda
- 2 1/4 C. Sugar
- 1 1/2 C.(3 sticks) Butter, softened
- 4 Eggs
- 1 T. Vanilla
- 1 t. Mint Extract
- FOR THE GANACHE:
- 2 C. Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate(preferably 60% cacao)
- 1 C. Heavy Cream
- 2 T. Butter, softened
- 1/2 t. Mint Extract
- 4 C. Stiffly Whipped, slightly sweetened Whipped Cream
- Chocolate Shavings
- 16 Mint Leaves
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 1/2 jumbo muffin tins( I only have 1 pan, so I only do 6 at a time).
- Place the instant espresso powder and the cocoa in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the hot water until smooth. Add the sour cream and 1/2 C. heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and mint extracts and mix in.
- Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the liquid cocoa mixture. After the last addition of flour, scrap the bowl down and mix just until combined.
- Add the batter to the prepared pans, filling them about 2/3 full.
- Bake in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes, or until tops spring lightly back when touched but are firm.
- While cakes are still in the muffin tin, cut the domed tops off with a serrated knife to level. Eat immediately.
- Remove cakes from pan and cool on a wire rack.
- FOR THE GANACHE.
- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Pour the whipped cream over the top of the chocolate chips and microwave at 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth and silky. Add the butter and mint extract and whisk in until melted and smooth.
- Pour a spoonful of ganache over the top of each cooled cake(bottoms up, cut sides down) and smooth over the tops until the chocolate just drips over the edges. Place in the fridge and chill until ganache is firm.
- Pipe a swirling of whipped cream on top of each cake, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and top with a mint leaf.
Cake recipe slightly adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
You might like these little cakes as well:
Well, here we go with the mini desserts again. But things are just better this way, I tell you. So much easier to share
I have the perfect little elegant Autumn dessert for you:
BROWNED BUTTER CARAMEL PUMPKIN SPICE BUNDT CAKES
In mini form, of course.
Here’s the ever-necessary breakdown:
Little pumpkin spice cakes, full of fall flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice. They are super tender and just the perfect size for an individual dessert. If you want your house to smell like fall, just bake a batch of these babies!
The topping? A homemade browned butter caramel made with buttermilk. I love this because I don’t always have cream on hand. I don’t have buttermilk on hand all the time either(actually, rarely) but all I did to make the buttermilk for this recipe was to pour 3/4 C. of milk into a bowl, stir 1 t. of lemon juice into it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Instant buttermilk. And who doesn’t have milk and lemon juice on hand?
For the caramel, that’s it. Sugar, browned butter, and buttermilk. Super simple and the browned butter in it is just killer.
I would suggest only pouring the caramel on top just before serving, unless you want caramel soaked cakes(which isn’t a bad thing). But if these sit with the caramel on top for longer than 5-10 minutes, the caramel will soak in. If that’s your thing, try refrigerating it. It firms up the caramel that has soaked into the cake and is SO. GOOD.
This caramel can also be made several days ahead of time, if you wish, and kept refrigerated. Just pop in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then giving it a good stir before using.
Makes 24-28 mini bundt cakes. This may vary depending on the size and depth of each mini bundt pan, as there are many different shapes and sizes. My pans have 12 wells per pan.
*The caramel can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Reheat slightly to achieve a pour-able consistency for drizzling over cakes.
- For the Caramel:
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1/4 C. Water
- 4 T. Butter
- 3/4 C. Buttermilk
- For the Pumpkin Cakes:
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 C.) Butter, softened
- 1 1/4 C. Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 1 t. Vanilla
- 2 1/4 C. Flour
- 2 t. Baking Powder
- 1 t. Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
- 1 t. Allspice
- 1/2 t. Salt
- 1 1/4 C. canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can; not pie filling)
- 3/4 C. Buttermilk
- For the Browned Butter Caramel:
- Heat the butter in a small saute pan on medium/high heat. Melt butter and continue cooking. Butter will foam and after 30 seconds to a minute butter will start to brown. Cook until butter is a medium brown with a nutty aroma. Remove from heat.
- Place the sugar and water in a medium sized saute pan. Stir to wet the sugar thoroughly with the water. Place on the stove on medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved completely, swirling the pan on occasion but not stirring. Use a pastry brush dipped in water and run it along the sides of the pan to wash down any sugar crystals.
- Once the sugar has fully dissolved(if it is not fully dissolved it will crystallize past this point), turn the heat up to medium high. Cook for another minute or two, until the sugar starts to turn an amber brown. At this point, you can push the sugar around the pan with a very clean silicon spatula to help it caramelize evenly. Once it reaches a medium amber color, pour the buttermilk in. The mixture will bubble up furiously and parts of sugar may harden. Don't worry, keep letting it cook, stirring with the spatula, and it will melt back down(this should take about 30 seconds). Add the browned butter to the caramel and stir in as it bubbles. Once the mixture calms down a bit and is smooth, remove from heat. Transfer to an airtight container(I like to use a mason jar and let cool while you make the cakes.
- For the Pumpkin Spice Cakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 2 non-stick mini bundt pans. If your pans are not non-stick, thoroughly grease and flour them.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs in 1 at a time, scraping the bowl with each addition.
- Add the vanilla.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
- In another small bowl, mix together the pumpkin and buttermilk until smooth.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix in until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined.
- Add the remaining dry and wet ingredients in the same manner, mixing only until combined.
- Spoon about 1/4 C. of batter into each bundt well.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and firm on top.
- Remove from oven and immediately invert cakes(they come out easiest if this is done as soon as they are finished cooking). The easiest way to do this is to place a wire rack over the top of the cake pan, and then holding on to both sides, flip it over and remove the cake pan.
- Let cakes cool and then drizzle the tops with the browned butter caramel.
Cake recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious
More Fall Desserts? Sure!
I know that pumpkin season is in full swing right now. And I fully support that.
But one flavor who’s arrival I anticipate even more than pumpkin is gingerbread. It’s of those flavors that fully spans the entire holiday season, to me. Ok, so it is a little Christmas-y, but I feel like it belongs in more months than just December.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy gingerbread is with these:
GINGERBREAD CREAM CHEESE DOUGHNUT MUFFINS
These muffins have a cake doughnut sort of texture and soft and loaded with spices. The best part, of course is the cream cheese. Slightly sweetened, it swirls through the doughnut like little ripples of cheesecake.
What I really like about these muffins is that they are not overly sweet. So often I eat a muffin for breakfast and it seems like it’s not much different from having an early morning cupcake. Now, I’m not saying that dessert for breakfast is bad(or dinner food for that matter. For heaven’s sake, I had a Ribeye basted in butter the other morning), but sometimes it’s nice to have something that is satisfying and sweet, but not super sugary, you know?
These muffins accomplish just that. Sweet tooth satisfied, sugar coma avoided. WIN.
If a sweeter muffin suits your fancy, well, THESE should take care of that. Same muffin, sweet, tangy glaze.
Makes about 22 muffins
- 1 recipe Gingerbread Muffins(sans pomegranate glaze)
- 1 pkg. Cream Cheese(8 oz), softened
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 1 Egg
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Make the muffin batter according to recipe instructions.
- Grease 22 muffin tin wells. These muffins pop out very easily when I bake them in a well greased non-stick muffin pan.
- In a small bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add the egg and mix in until the cream cheese mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides a few times, as necessary.
- Fill each prepared muffin well with about 2 T. of gingerbread muffin batter.
- Top the batter with heaping t. of the cream cheese mixture.
- Top the cream cheese with another 2 T. of muffin batter.
- Finish by topping each muffin with one more t. of the cream cheese batter. I give the cream cheese on top a little swirl with my fingertip, dragging it around the batter a little so that it mixes in and gives a pretty little swirl that will stay when baked.
- Bake muffins for 12-14 minutes, or until tops feel firm to the touch.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes In the pan.
- After 5 minutes, remove from pan.
- Store in an airtight container.
More Muffins? Sure thang. Check these out:
I’m getting pretty far away from fall-themed recipes this week. Well, except for THIS post, which is highly appropriate. But yesterday’s and today’s posts are a bit…Springy.
I know berries aren’t really(ok, definitely are not) in season any longer, but I had a family member request a strawberry cake for her birthday and y’all know I like to oblige. [Read More...]
Last night was my little sisters birthday.
I made her a normal sized cake, of course.
But you all know how I love my individual desserts. [Read More...]
SLOW COOKER CREAMY CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP
Using a slow cooker is currently my favorite way to make soups. Even this Olive Garden copycat can be made in one with ease.
I wouldn’t consider this a super easy soup to throw together but the slow cooker breaks up the steps and makes it seem so much more effortless. [Read More...]
I’ve been craving a good, soft cinnamon roll full of autumn flavors.
But the fact of the matter is, I’m currently feeling a bit lazy and don’t really want to spend 3 hours making the dough, letting it rise, rolling it, cutting it, letting it rise…..you know the drill.
These scones are the perfect solution. [Read More...]
One of my favorite hearty, cold weather soups is good old classic Beef Barley.
This version is even better because you can throw everything into a slow cooker and forget about it for 6 hours. After about 4 hours your house will smell amazing, which is one of my favorite things about using slow cookers. This soup is thickened to make for a more filling meal, but if you prefer your soup a little more broth-y, leave out the cornstarch. [Read More...]
When I was about 10 years old I received my first cookbook. A little book of cookie and cracker recipes published by Country Living.
I made several of the cookie recipes, here and there. The cheddar cracker recipe was quite lovely. But I found one recipe that would follow me to the ends of time( this it true, but I probably shouldn’t write posts while watching dramatic historical romances. Sorry guys.) [Read More...]
One of my favorite easy but incredibly delicious meals of all time would definitely have to be this -
PASTA CARBONARA ~QUICK & SIMPLE~
One of the greatest things in the foodie world would have to be a dish that is the combination of something that is quick and easy to prepare, taking almost no time at all, but having all of the best components. Richness, flavor, texture, color, contrast.
That is why I love this dish so much. I’ve been making it for years and it will always stay in rotation because it is all of those things listed above. So quick to make, it literally takes no more than 15 minutes from the moment your pasta water starts to boil. AND the ingredients used are things I almost always have on hand. [Read More...]
I guess bars have become my new favorite dessert.
Maybe it’s because they’re easy to throw together and serve.
Maybe it’s because Autumn flavors offer so many bar-compatible combinations and I absolutely adore the flavors of Fall.
Whatever the reason, the certainly make one legitimate, satisfying dessert.
CINNAMON CARAMEL PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE SHORTBREAD CRUMBLE BARS
That’s a mouthful, huh?
I’ll break it down.
Buttery, super tender shortbread crust .
Topped with a layer of creamy, rich, not too sweet pumpkin cheesecake.
Topped with a swirling of sour cream cheesecake batter.
Topped with a crumbly, cinnamon-y, buttery, shortbread crumble.
Topped with a heavy drizzle of thick, cinnamon-spiced caramel.
Anything with that many layers of wonder HAS to be good.
AND IT IS.
Now, I know it seems like a lot of components.
BUT, it’s not as bad as all that.
The shortbread is made, 1/3 of it is reserved(the other 2/3 is pressed into the baking pan) and oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar are quickly mixed in in the same bowl.
The cheesecake is the same sort of deal. The cheesecake batter is made, almost all of it is poured over the crust(which has been par-baked at this point), and the little bit of batter that is left is mixed with sour cream and swirled on top of the cheesecake batter.
Sprinkle that crumble over the top and bake.
While it’s baking, you can make the caramel sauce. Or, you can make it ahead of time, if you like. *Just note that this caramel is quite a thick one, and will need to be re-heated to be thin enough to pour if you make it ahead of time.
If you are looking for the perfect dessert to feed a crowd this Fall season, this would definitely be the one to go with.
I like to double the recipe so that I can serve 20-30 people(depending on how small the bars are cut).
A NOTE ON DOUBLING THE RECIPE:
If you decide to double the recipe, line a full baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment reaches well over all sides of the pan. When you pour the cheesecake batter, and topping in, along with the crumble, you will be all the way to the top of the pan. I was a little worried that the cheesecake would puff up too much, but it turned out perfectly. Nothing went over the pan. BUT, only use 3 eggs instead of four, if doubling. If you use all 4, there is a chance that the extra egg could raise that cheesecake right over the pan. 3 eggs will still give you a wonderful cheesecake.
Makes 12-15 Bars
- 2 1/2 sticks(1 1/4 C.) Butter, softened
- 2 1/2 C. Flour
- 2/3 C. Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 C. Oats
- 1/2 t. Cinnamon
- 1/4 C. Brown Sugar(lightly packed)
- 2 pkg.(16 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 t. Vanilla
- 3/4 C.(heaping) Pumpkin Puree
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 C. Sour Cream
- FOR THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- 1/2 C. Sugar
- 2 T. Water
- 1/3 C. Heavy Cream
- 1 T. Butter
- 1/4 t. Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9x13" baking pan with parchment paper(parchment paper should go all the way up the sides).
- Place the softened butter, flour, and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix together until it just forms a dough.
- Place 2/3 of the in the prepared pan and press evenly over the bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven and remove.
- While the crust is par-baking, add the oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar to the remaining 1/3 of the dough and mix together until the dough is broken down into medium sized crumbs. Set aside.
- Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth, scraping down the sides 2-3 times.
- Add the sugar and pumpkin pie spice to the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree and beat until smooth. Scrape down sides.
- Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scrape down sides after mixing in and give one more good mix to make sure that the batter is perfectly smooth.
- Pour all but 1/2 C. of the cream cheese mixture over the par-baked crust and smooth out evenly.
- Mix the remaining 1/2 C. of batter and sour cream together.
- Spoon the sour cream mixture over the top of the cheesecake batter(in several different areas)and swirl over the entire pan.
- Sprinkle the reserved crumble evenly over the top of the cheesecake batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven or until the cheesecake is puffy and the crumble is golden brown.
- Let cool. Refrigerate until cold(I like to pop them in the freezer for 30-45 minutes so I can cut them sooner).
- TO MAKE THE CINNAMON CARAMEL:
- Place the sugar and water in a saute pan. Stir together until all the sugar is moistened. Heat on high and bring to a boil. Brush the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. When the sugar turns a deep, amber color, pour in the cream, butter and cinnamon. Mixture will bubble up intensely. Let bubble until mixture becomes smooth.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Drizzle the cinnamon caramel over the bars.
- Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and sliding them out.
- Cut into 12-15 bars.
Other Fall Favorites:
No soup speaks Autumn to me quite as much as a bowl of steaming hot, velvety smooth butternut squash soup. To me, it is about as “Fall” as a soup can get, especially served alongside freshly baked rolls. Make it a cold evening full of pumpkins and colorful leaves and I’m in Autumn heaven.
Who has pumpkins out on their front porch already? Come October and we’ll be taking the kids pumpkin picking at a local patch right up the road. I think once we have pumpkins on our porch it will really, truly feel like fall. [Read More...]