Holy Sundays + Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

chocolate-olive-oil-cake-with-chocolate-ganache

Yesterday in class, the teacher pointed out that last week was a busy one for many religions.. Many of those that follow the natural calendar and not set dates in the Julian had harvest festivals, new birth and rejuvenation ones and overall the celebration of life rediscovered...! 

Set your goals in March/April and your success rate will be higher

I love this time of the year, the cusp of Spring upon us, the opportunity to think about what really we can accomplish this year. I actually think, a new calendar year should start in April and not January. When you think about it, who makes good decisions when you are cold, feeling the effects of Holiday indulgence and having to face the pre-Holiday life again?!

I am not surprised, and I am going to go out on a limb and say, that is the reason 80% of resolutions made in January flail in under 2 months. I'll go even further and say, if we made a collective decision to have the year begin in April, as lunar calendars do, by the way, we all would have a much higher success rate! 

Try it for yourself! Set your goals in March/April and see how well you do compared those in January!

So, what does this have to do with today's post? Not a whole lot, except on the day of another rebirth celebration, I was thinking a lot about the idea of goal setting as well as what we consider Holy... or Traditional... or Routine...

Easter Sunday is a big deal, right? I mean, even if you are not a practicing Christian and you have a blog or have any form of social media account, you feel compelled to partake in the colorful eggi-ness of the world! It has been all about rabbits and eggs in my feed for the last week.

I gave in too. Sure. I am not Christian. But, I like the idea of having a tradition to follow. It makes me feel closer with whoever the experience is shared with - friends, family, kids, grandparents ....

This year, I made colored eggs with the full intention of then baking them into something sweet. Which, as it happened, I didn't do. I was a bit sick on the morning and I was to be honest rather bummed about not "following tradition" (that was all of two days worth of decision..!

Anyway, there I was feeling a bit sorry about not executing on my plan and creating a new tradition. That I totally forgot of our usual Sunday tradition... Of Croissants and Coffee...

Every Sunday morning there are fresh baked croissants and a bit pot of French pressed coffee, space, time to connect, think back on the week before, the day past, and share a cocooned space in time that was both something to look forward to and something to cherish each instance of it anew.

Now isn't that holy as well? I think, Yes, it is!

So I am celebrating every Sunday as a way to be born again...Making it the start of the week, that lets me look forward not just the Sunday, but, also make plans to make every day that follows as good a day as I can, until the next week, Sunday....

Celebrate every Sunday as a way to be born again
Will you Join Me?

chocolate-olive-oil-cake-with-chocolate-ganache+mascarpone-cherry-frosting

I recently did a Perugina chocolate making class at Eataly in NYC and it was a lot of fun!  I got to make my own bacis and also take away a really yummy chocolate olive oil cake that we frosted with cherry mascarpone frosting. The whole 90 minutes was a semi hands on class, filled with tips on tempering chocolate (from Elana Laciofano), pairing a wine with chocolate and drinking a lot of wine as we rolled the gianduja in chocolate with a single hazelnut peak. You can see my version there next to the company's! I think I did pretty well :)

I am sharing the recipe for the olive oil chocolate cake that we frosted. It is obviously not my recipe but I it really is too good to not share it with you. I am sharing the exact recipe I was given by the chocolate company and class organizers. You can certainly substitute your favorites for the chocolate and olive oil brands..

chocolate-cupcakes-with-mascarpone-cherry-frosting

Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling

{with permission from Perugina chocolates. Developed by Elana Laciofano}

For the Cake:

2-1/4 cup flour

7 oz Perugina dar chocolate, melted

1-1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsp sale

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking poweder

1-1/3 cup olive oil

1-1/2 cup whole milk

3 large eggs

2 T cherry juice (optional)

For the Frosting:

1 cup heavy cream

8  oz mascarpone cheese, room temp

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1/2 cup dark morello or sour cherries in their juice

For the Ganache Filling:

8 oz Perugina chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

chocolate-cupcake-with-cherry-mascarpone-frosting+ganache-filling

To Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two cupcake tins and line bottom with parchment. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together all, except the chocolate, the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate to the dry ingredients first and stir to combines. Mix in the wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake moulds and bake for 25 minutes, checking at 15 minutes for doneness. 
  4. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pans before moving them to a rack.

Ganache Filling:

  1. Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl
  2. Heat the cream on the stove top over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until completely melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the cooled ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a metal icing tip. 
  4. To fill the cupcakes, place the pastry tip on top each one and push down the center of the cake. Squeeze the bag slowly as you release the pressure finishing with peak of ganache as you pull out.

Frosting and Finish:

  1. In a bowl, combine the mascarpone, sugar and cream. Beat the mixture until almost smooth and soft peaks are formed (~60 secs).
  2. Fold in the cherries.
  3. Fill a pastry bag with the frosting and make patterns on the cupcakes to finish...!