cocoa cashew bites with bark (adapted from Marcel Desaulniers' Death by Chocolate Cakes)
preheat oven to 325F.
grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with 1 tsp. melted butter, then flour with 2 tbsps. all purpose flour, shaking off excess flour.
sift together 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 2 tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt. set aside.
cream 1/2 cup sugar and 2 ozs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, then beat on medium until soft, about 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. beat on medium for an additional 2 minutes, until very soft. add 2 egg yolks and beat on medium for 1 minute until slightly fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl. add 1/4 cup sour cream and beat on medium for 20 seconds. operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sifted dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 45 seconds.. add 2 tbsps. buttermilk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract and mix on low speed for 15 seconds. remove the bowl from the mixer, add the 1/2 cup of chopped cashews, and then use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
pour 1 slightly heaping tabsp. of the cake batter into each muffin cup. place the muffin tins on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 17 to 18 minutes.
remove the cakes from the oven and cool at room temp. for 10 minutes. invert the pans to release the cakes. use the tip of a plastic knife to cut around the edges of each cake if necessary. set aside and make the raspberry puree.
place 3 ozs. cream cheese, 1/2 cup of red raspberries, and 2 tbsps. of fine granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. pulse the ingredients for 15 seconds, and then process for 1 minute.
top each cake w/ 1 scant tsp. of the raspberry puree. set aside at room temp. while preparing the chocolate cashew bark.
use a cook's knife to cut cashew into large halves. set aside.
melt the chocolate in a small glass bowl in a microwave oven set at medium power for 1 minute and 20 seconds, or on top of a double boiler. remove the chocolate and use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until smooth. transfer the melted chocolate to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. use an offset spatula or a cake spatula to spread the chocolate into an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick 4 X 6 inch rectangle. sprinkle the cashew nuts evenly over the surface of the chocolate. set the chocolate aside at room temp. for 10 minutes until firm.
use a cook's knife to cut the bark into 24 portions. cut the bark in half lengthwise across the center. then cut each half lengthwise in half again. now make five cuts crosswise on each section to make equal sixths. place a piece of bark, nut side up, onto the red raspberry puree on each cake, and serve immediately.
lemon poppyseed baby cakes (adapted from Marcel Desaulniers' Death by Chocolate Cakes)
preheat oven to 325F. grease 24 cup minimuffin pan with 1 tsp. melted butter.
combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 tsp. baking powder. sift onto a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper and set aside until needed.
place 6 ozs. butter and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed for 1 minute; then beat on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beater. beat on medium for an additional 2 minutes until very soft. add 2 eggs one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl after both eggs have been incorporated.
operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sfited dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 45 seconds. add 1 tbsp. minced lemon zest, 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp. poppy seeds, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. mix on low for 20 seconds. remove the bowl from the mixer then use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
use 2 teaspoons to portion the batter into the muffin tin. place the in on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. cool at room temp. for 10 minutes.
remove babycakes with the sharp tip of a knife carefully sliding around each minicake. set aside and frost with the optional frosting...
blend 8 oz. of cream cheese with 1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar and 4 ozs. melted semisweet baking chocolate until homogenized.
lemon poppyseed baby cakes are delicious plain, as is, as well.