Sometimes you just want something re-ally decadent. Last week was my birthday (woo!) and I wanted cake, birthday cake in fact. The kind with chocolate and cream and... and... and I decided to bake one of my childhood favourites - black forest. Now, clearly the photos in this post are not of a black forest cake which is a typically a light chocolate cake layered with a cherry sauce, cream, repeat and coat in chocolate ganache, no, I didn't get a good photo of my birthday cake this year (only this instagram shot). I actually wasn't 100% happy with the recipe I used which is why I'm not sharing it today. I will share it later though, right after I tweak it to my liking I promise!
Now, if you move your focus from a light cream filled chocolate black forest cake to these rich, decadent chocolate brownies topped with a coffee laced chocolate mascarpone cream and a little smashed up praline. You know, just for good measure!
Chocolate Brownie Tarts
Makes 4 x 3inch tart, adapted from Donna Hay's 10th Birthday Issue
125g dark chocolate
110g (1/2cup) brown sugar
75g (1/2 cup less 1 tblspn) plain gluten free flour
Preheat oven to 175degrees Celsius. Grease 4 3inch, loose bottomed tart cases and line the bottom with baking paper rounds, place on a baking tray for easy transfer to and from the oven.
Melt together butter and chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Ensure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Remove bowl of melted chocolate and butter to a heatproof surface and allow to cool slightly, you don't want to cook the eggs.
In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar to combine and the sugar has dissolved. Mix in the chocolate and flour until just combined. Brownie's become tough if over-mixed. Now's the time where you'd add in a 1/4cup of chopped walnut or hazelnuts if the mood took you.
Divide between the tart tins and bake for approximately 13-15minutes, you do not want to overcook these babies as they'll be too dry, so if unsure take them out a little earlier if anything. Allow to cool in trays, then remove from tins.
105g (1/2cup) castor sugar
1/3cup almonds, roughly chopped
In a small saucepan place 2 tablespoons of water and the castor sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has begun to boil. Boil without stirring for 5-7minutes until it has just changed in colour. Turn off. Working quickly arrange your chopped nuts in a small round on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Pour the boiled sugar over the nuts until they're all covered.
DO NOT touch the sugar with your fingers this stuff is HOT! Allow to cool completely before breaking up with a sharp knife or your fingers.
Coffee Laced Mascarpone
125g dark chocolate (I'd possibly use half dark, half milk next time so it's not, you know, SO rich!?!)
60ml (1/4cup) freshly brewed espresso coffee, cooled, or 2tsp instant coffee disolved in 60ml water
250g tub of mascarpone, at room temperature
4-8tblspn gluten free icing sugar, sifted
Using your preferred method melt the chocolate with the coffee. Allow to cool slightly.
Using a hand held mixer or whisk on a KitchenAid (like me - love it!) whisk or beat together the mascapone and cooled, melted chocolate. Add a four tablespoons of icing sugar and whisk in. Check the taste, is it sweet enough for you? If not add more icing sugar until it's sweet enough for you.
The assemble the Chocolate Brownie Mascarpone Tarts:
Ensure the baking paper is removed from the bottom of your cooled brownie tart. Transfer the coffee laced mascarpone to a piping bag fitted with your preferred piping tip (I used a Wilton star tip, only after I realised I didn't have a large round tip!) carefully pipe a decadent amount of mascarpone onto the tops of your brownie tarts. I did what I call ice cream piping as it looks like a Mr Whippy ice cream cone, start from the middle and pipe in a circular design, when you're about 2cm from the edge of the brownie tart start moving your piping bag back into the middle and up so that you create the ice cream effect.
Top with the crushed praline. Serve immediately, preferably share a tart between two, as they are rich.
If you want you can prepare all of this a day ahead and simple assemble. Any leftover mascarpone can be used on other cakes, or would be delicious used to sandwich some cookies together.