Thursday, November 20, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipes--Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes and Chive Risotto Cakes

This month there are not one but two bonus recipes to post in addition to our regularly scheduled posts and they are both "cakes". So let the fun begin!

Our first recipe is Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes, from Barefoot Contessa Parties selected by Lisa from Lime in the Coconut who created our great new Barefoot Bloggers avatar. (See it on the side of the page!) Being able to both cook and design graphics well--I am envious! Lisa picked a recipe that I doubt I ever would have tried with these mini cakes. I have never been a big chocolate-orange combo fan. I always thought that those fall apart chocolate oranges you see at Christmas were cool because of the segments but I never liked to eat them. But this is Barefoot Bloggers, I vowed to make all the recipes and Ina has not let me down yet so I blindly went ahead. I say blindly because it probably would have made my life easier to read the recipe ahead of time and read it again carefully while cooking. I think I just kind of glanced at it quickly. Actually reading it would have meant that I had all the ingredients, like say buttermilk. Luckily, you can make your own with milk and lemon juice. It also would have made me notice I needed to make syrup and brush the warm cakes with it before I had to go back and do the process. Regardless of my disarray and discombobulation on this one, this is a very forgiving recipe and my cakes turned out pretty well.

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties
1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/8 cup grated orange zest (2 large oranges)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces buttermilk at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup good semisweet chocolate chunks
For the syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

For the ganache4 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 6 individual serving baking molds, such as the flexible non stick 100 percent silicone molds. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest. Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in thirds to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and add to the batter. Pour into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Remove the cake from the pans, put them on a rack over a tray, and spoon the orange syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of the cakes.

Notes/Results: Not having mini pans (and NOT being a baker so why go buy them?), I decided to make these into cupcakes (Thanks to Anne Strawberry who mentioned the idea on musings). Cupcakes always taste better than a big cake to me and are easier to give away. I also decided to swirl the cupcake tops into the ganache rather than drizzle it--easier. These are really good. I guess I thought it was chocolate cake (again a reason to READ the recipe) but the orange cake studded with the chocolate chips was delicious. I had a lot of ganache so I did what anyone with extra ganache should--made truffles. Some with a green tea cocoa powder mixture and some with a curry cocoa powder mixture too. Yum!

I gave the cupcakes out to some co-workers who really liked them. Thanks Lisa for a great pick and a wonderful avatar!

Our next recipe pick is from...Me! Although not talented in design like Lisa, apparently I had the most links to the Barefoot Bloggers site from my blog this month. I feel a bit guilty because I just picked a recipe last month, but not guilty enough not to pick the first recipe I marked as soon as I bought Ina's new book, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Chive-Risotto Cakes. They looked like a small slice of heaven although how they ended up in the vegetables section of the cookbook is interesting. (Are chives Ina's vegetable like mint is Paula Deans?)

Chive-Risotto Cakes
Back to Basics, Ina Garten
Ina says: " I used to have to wait until I made risotto in order to make risotto cakes from the leftovers. So I decided to do a recipe for risotto cakes that I make from scratch. Most of this can be assembled early in the day and then sauteed just before dinner. The yogurt, chives, and Italian Fontina give these a delicious creamy interior, and the panko gives them a wonderful crunchy crust."

Kosher salt
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 ½ cup cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (5 ounces)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Good olive oil

Bring a large (4 quart) pot of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, Fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 1/4 –inch) ice cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Place 4-6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Serve hot.

Notes/Results: I guess some of the BBs had trouble with these cakes staying together but I got lucky after my first two "test cakes" and the rest came together nicely. I mixed it up the night before and fried them the next day which may have helped. Also Natashya mentioned she used a higher heat and plenty of oil and I did the same. A long flexible spatula and making them 3-4 at a time also helped. These are REALLY good. The taste, the texture--very decadent. I served them simply, on top of a salad of local greens and a little bit of asparagus with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lots leftovers (I got 14 out of it) for lunch and I reheated and fed them to a friend with dinner and they were still tasty. It would be fun to experiment with different cheeses in these.

Once more two great Ina recipes. These are optional so not all Barefoot Bloggers may do one or both of them but you can check out the ones that did here. You can join us there too and maybe I'll get to pick another recipe! ;-)
BTW--If you are also a Tyler Florence fan(atic):
Don't forget to join us for Tyler Florence Fridays.
Get the details at the TFF site here!


  1. The cupcakes are adorable - I love the little swirl!
    I loved the chive risotto cakes and I am pretty sure that little bit of green in there does make them health food. Yours look perfect.
    These were great recipes to get us out of our comfort zone. Looking forward to the Mexican Chicken Soup now. Ina does great work!

  2. Those risotto cakes look "to die for." I just bought Ina's new book and was going to make them this week, but craved pierogi with the roast pork recipe I made last night. Simple, but wonderful also. I love her recipes, but would venture to say that refrigerating the risotto or the cakes for a few hours before frying will insure that they stay together. I've made risotto cakes at the CIA, but want to try her recipe. The chocolate cupcakes also look like a winner.

  3. Look at you, making truffles with your extra ganache -- I'm telling you Deb, I think you're a natural baker! I am feeling such regret that I did not make these. The chocolate orange cakes look fabulous, but those risotto cakes are seriously yelling my name. I think I might go ahead and make them and post late. This all looks seriously delicious!

  4. Great pick on the rissoto cakes--I ended up posting them with the onions last week, but they were so good!

    And great idea to swirl the cupcakes in the ganache, yours are really pretty!

  5. I just wanted to come over and say Thank you so much for choosing the Chive Cakes! They were so good- I absolutely loved them. Possibly my favorite BB recipe so far. I mixed them up the night before too and didn't have any trouble with them falling apart. I am posting them tomorrow though. Yum! Thanks

  6. Deb, both of these look great. Thanks for picking the risotto cakes. Soooo yummy!!!

  7. Wow, it seems I really must have gone wrong with my risotto cakes since everyone seems to love them! I might just have to give them another go and be extra careful with draining/drying the rice. As for the orange & chocolate cupcakes - yours look so good I am tempted to make them despite a strong aversion to any fruit in my chocolate! Thanks, Deb!

  8. I love your tip about swirling the cupcakes into the ganache. And thanks for the great choice with the risotto cakes - a fantastic new recipe to have in my repertoire.

  9. I love the cupcakes!! And the risotto cakes look lovely too!!

  10. Everything looks great! I loved the risotto cakes too. The frosting on your cupcakes made me want some. Impressive for someone who claims not to be a baker.

  11. Your cupcakes are beautiful, I may have to do them as muffins since the kids liked the cake so much. Thank you for chosing the risotto cakes, they were the 'stand out' recipe of Ina's new book for me and did not dissapoint. Your cakes look so perfect and crispy!

  12. Thank you for picking such a great recipe! The risotto cakes were DELICIOUS! Even my husband, who doesn't really like risotto, loved these! :)

  13. Such a great pick... I loved the Risotto Cakes! I linked back to your blog:


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