Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

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Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas garnished with blueberries and mint sit on a white cake tray decorated with blue flowers.

Where the heck is spring??  As I write this it is literally -15°C.  I think global warming has skipped over us here in Alberta.  But these bright and cheery Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas are sure to brighten and warm any day.  Crisp yet chewy pavlova nests are filled with lemon curd and whipped cream filling.  They are lovely topped with fresh berries such as blueberry or raspberry and perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day. 

Mini pavlova nests piped onto a baking tray lined with parchment and ready to be baked for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas.

Sadly, with the way the world is these days, most of us may not be having much of a family gathering at Easter.  It will most likely be a modest meal with homebound family members and chats throughout the weekend with family and friends on Facetime or Skype. And this is okay because it’s what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe. As for this beautiful dessert, perhaps it will have to wait for another special occasion. Maybe Mother’s Day, bridal shower or what the heck, how about the first day of summer! There are always reasons to celebrate, so you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.

Lemon curd for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas in a small glass bowl that is resting on a blue and white cloth.

Here are a few helpful hints for this recipe:

-make sure your mixing bowl is very clean (grease will hinder a great meringue).

-use egg whites that are at room temperature (warm egg whites incorporate more air than cold ones).

-you can grind granulated sugar for about 10 seconds using a mini grinder if castor sugar is not available.

-stick the parchment to the baking tray with a few dabs of meringue to prevent it from moving while piping.

-place the tray on a damp towel to prevent the tray from moving while piping.

-don’t open the oven door until it has completely cooled as the warm dry air inside helps to dry out the meringues without further cooking.

-baked meringues will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature.

-add filling to the meringue nests when ready to serve or up to a couple hours in advance. Adding it more than a couple of hours ahead will cause the meringues to soften too much.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas sit on a white cake tray in the background while one is served on a while dessert plate and garnished with blueberries and mint.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Ingredients
      Mini Pavlovas
      Lemon Cream
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Mini Pavlovas
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment and mark out 8-3" circles. Flip parchment over.
      2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks are starting to form. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 6-7 minutes using a stand mixer.
      3. Add vanilla and whip to combine.
      4. Sift cornstarch over the meringue and fold to combine.
      5. Fit a large piping bag with your desired tip, I used a Wilton 1M.
      6. Fill the piping bag with meringue and squeeze a dab of meringue onto the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking tray. This will help keep the parchment from moving while you pipe. Place the baking tray on a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent the tray from moving. Fill in the traced circle, creating a base. Continue to pipe along the edge of the base for two turns, creating a basket.
      7. Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 80 minutes, turn off the oven and allow meringues to remain undisturbed in the oven until completely cool. Meringues will be firm and hollow sounding with a slight bit of tackiness and chew in the bottom layer.
      Lemon Cream
      1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth.
      2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool completely and chill until ready to use.
      3. When ready to assemble pavlovas, which should be no more than 2 hours in advance, whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into lemon curd and fill meringues generously. Top with fresh blueberries and serve.
      Recipe Notes

      -Using egg whites at room temperature will result in more volume.

      -If unable to use castor or superfine sugar, simply grind regular granulated sugar in a mini coffee grinder for about 10 seconds.  Even this is not true castor sugar, it breaks down the sugar enough for better absorption into the meringue.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Chocolate Pots de Créme

      Chocolate Pots de Créme

      Chocolate Pots de Créme

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      Chocolate Pots de Creme in small white ramekins, garnished fresh raspberries and whipped cream.

       

      Love is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate the ones we love. As a foodie, I find there’s no better way than to share and indulge in a luscious chocolate dessert. Chocolate Pots de Crème is a decadent and indulgent spoonful meant to be eaten slowly, savouring every bite. Preferably with a tender kiss in between.

      These lovely baked chocolate custards are very simple to make but taste like you’ve spent hours labouring. Your Valentine is sure to be impressed!

      Ingredients for Chocolate Pots de Creme arranged on a small white platter on a dark background.

      Good quality chocolate, heavy cream and egg yolks make up the structure and the water bath baking ensures they bake gently, creating a smooth and creamy texture. They can be made in advance, leaving you plenty of time to spend with your sweetheart without the worry of fussing with food. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, I hope your day is filled with love…and chocolate!

      Other Valentine’s Day treats to share!

      Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies

      Cinnamon Heart Cupcakes

      Chocolate Pots de Creme in small white ramekins, garnished fresh raspberries.

      Author:  Compelled to Cook, adapted from Epicurious

      Chocolate Pots de Créme
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        40 minutes 3+ hours
        Servings Prep Time
        6 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        40 minutes 3+ hours
        Chocolate Pots de Créme
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          40 minutes 3+ hours
          Servings Prep Time
          6 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          40 minutes 3+ hours
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
          2. Combine cream and milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Allow chocolate to sit for a few minutes and then stir until chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
          3. In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in an approximate 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture until combined, repeat with another 1/4 cup and then slowly whisk in the remaining hot mixture. Whisk in espresso powder and salt.
          4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then skim off any foam on the surface.
          5. Pour evenly among six 3/4 cup ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a 9"x13" baking pan and add enough boiling water to come up the ramekins halfway. Cover entire pan with foil and bake on centre rack for approximately 40 minutes until the edges are set but centers still jiggle when shaken.
          6. Remove from oven and remove custards from pan. Allow to rest for 10-20 minutes and then chill until cold, about 3 hours.
          7. Serve with fresh raspberries and lightly sweetened whipped cream.
          Recipe Notes

          -If you do not use boiling water to start with the cooking time will be longer.

          -You can also use good quality semi-sweet chocolate, however bittersweet results in a richer custard.

          -Do not skip the straining as it ensures a smooth custard.

          -Can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered and chilled.

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          Apple Galette with Almond Pastry

          Apple Galette with Almond Pastry

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          Freshly baked Apple Galette with Almond Pastry sitting on a wooden board with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the centre.

          Galettes are easy to love with their flaky, rustic pastry and sweet or savoury fillings. Apple Galette with Almond Pastry comes together easily and tastes just as delicious as apple pie. It’s the perfect ending to your entertaining occasions, but particularly Thanksgiving when apple desserts are sought after.

          A basket full of green apples in preparation for Apple Galette with Almond Pastry.

          What is a galette anyway? A galette is a free form tart that can be made with sweet fillings such as berries and apples or savoury fillings like chicken and mushrooms. They’re unique in the way the pastry is shaped around the filling into a rustic form without the use of a pie dish. This eliminates the need for a top crust and fussy crimping, yet the filling stays snuggly in place.

          An assembled Apple Galette with Almond Pastry on parchment paper ready for the oven.

          What makes a good galette? Like a traditional pie, a lot depends on the pastry and this means using cold butter that is cut into the dry ingredients until crumbly and the butter bits are no bigger than the size of a pea. It’s also very, very important to use ice-cold water. This helps keep everything just a little bit colder, especially the butter which tends to soften as you work with it. Keeping everything as cold as possible helps the butter hold its size, which will create flaky layers when it melts during baking. There’s no need to overfill a galette, it’s meant to be flatter than a pie. So resist the urge to pile your filling sky high because the filling needs to cook at the same time as the pastry.

          Apple Galette with Almond Pastry
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            8 slices 50-60 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            40 minutes 1+ hours
            Servings Prep Time
            8 slices 50-60 minutes
            Cook Time Passive Time
            40 minutes 1+ hours
            Apple Galette with Almond Pastry
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              8 slices 50-60 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              40 minutes 1+ hours
              Servings Prep Time
              8 slices 50-60 minutes
              Cook Time Passive Time
              40 minutes 1+ hours
              Ingredients
              Pastry
              Filling
              Servings: slices
              Instructions
              Pastry
              1. In a large bowl combine flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter cubes into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or a knife until the flour is crumbly with small bits of butter.
              2. Drizzle water and vinegar over flour mixture and toss with a fork until dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and work gently to bring everything together and the dough has smoothed out.
              3. Roll dough into a ball and then flatten into an approximate 6" disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
              Apple Filling
              1. Peel and core apples and then cut them into thin slices. Drizzle slices with the lemon juice as you slice to prevent oxidization.
              2. To the apples add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss to combine.
              3. In a small bowl whisk together egg and milk.
              4. Preheat oven to 375°F.
              5. On a lightly floured surface roll dough to an approximate 13" circle adding a sprinkle of flour to the top and bottom as you go to prevent it sticking.
              6. Trim dough to a neat 12" circle by using a plate or pie plate as a guide (see note). Roll dough onto your rolling pin and transfer to a large parchment-lined baking tray.
              7. Pile filling in the centre and spread out towards the edge leaving a 1 1/2" border of plain dough.
              8. Fold the dough edge up and over the filling, crimping slightly as you go around. Sprinkle the apples with dots of butter. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until the pastry is golden and apples are tender.
              9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with ice cream.
              Recipe Notes

              -The pastry does not have to be a perfect circle. If you'd like a nice rustic look you can leave it as you roll it as long as it is an approximate 12"-13" in diameter and 1/8" thick.

              -If you like a neater look you can also arrange the apple slices in a concentric circle.  I'm partial to piling the apples in as they fall.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Graveyard Brownie Bites

              Graveyard Brownie Bites

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              These chocolatey Graveyard Brownie Bites are fun Halloween treats. They’re easy to make and great fun for everyone. Get the kids involved dusting the tombstones, crushing cookies and squeezing on the blood for some spooky fun!

              Brownie bites stacked three high on a wooden rack scattered with cookie crumbs in preparation for Graveyard Brownie Bites.

              The two-bite brownie base is key for these tasty treats. They’re soft and chewy but hold up well to be decorated any way you’d like.

              Thin chocolate wafer cookies are very versatile and in this recipe double as the dirt and tombstones. The tombstones are created by cutting the wafer into thirds, tapering the cut inward towards the bottom. The sides that get cut off are crushed and used for decorating as dirt. I was able to find edible candy bones but use what you can find. Spiders and worms would also be great choices. Finish by decorating with red decorator gel to mimic blood Wilton Red Gel from Amazon. The most important thing to remember is to have lots of fun creating a spooky sweet treat.

              Graveyard Brownie Bites resting on crumbled cookie dirt scattered with sculls and bones.

              Graveyard Brownie Bites resting on crumbled cookie dirt scattered with sculls and bones.
              Graveyard Brownie Bites
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                36 mini brownies 60-80 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                12 minutes 60 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                36 mini brownies 60-80 minutes
                Cook Time Passive Time
                12 minutes 60 minutes
                Graveyard Brownie Bites resting on crumbled cookie dirt scattered with sculls and bones.
                Graveyard Brownie Bites
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  36 mini brownies 60-80 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  12 minutes 60 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  36 mini brownies 60-80 minutes
                  Cook Time Passive Time
                  12 minutes 60 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: mini brownies
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
                  2. Prep 36 non-stick mini muffin tin cups by either spraying generously with non-stick spray or greasing and flouring. See note.
                  3. Chop the semi-sweet chocolate and measure out 4 ounces. In a large bowl combine the 4 ounces of chocolate with the butter and microwave at 30-second intervals until melted, stirring often.
                  4. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fully combined.
                  5. Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt directly into the bowl. Whisk to combine just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
                  6. Scoop the batter into prepared mini muffin cups using a level 2 tbsp scoop.
                  7. Bake on the centre rack for 12 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan.
                  8. Meanwhile, prepare the tombstones but slicing each cookie wafer into thirds, tapering the bottom slightly inward toward the center piece to create a tombstone shape. Reserve the side pieces that have been cut off.
                  9. Crush reserved cookie wafers that have been cut off the sides to a fine crumb that resembles dirt and set aside.
                  10. Dust each tombstone piece with a small amount of powdered sugar by rubbing the sugar lightly onto the cookie wafer.
                  11. Melt the remaining 3 ounces of chopped chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave using 30 second intervals and stirring often until melted.
                  12. Remove brownie bites from the pan and spread the tops with a small teaspoon of melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with crumbled cookie wafers and press lightly to adhere.
                  13. Push a tombstone wafer into each brownie bite, cutting a small slit in the brownie if needed to push in far enough to hold in place.
                  14. Decorate with candy bones, spiders, or worms as desired. Drizzle with red decorating gel to mimic blood. Serve and enjoy!
                  Recipe Notes

                  - I have used both pan preparation methods with similar results.  The key is to allow the brownie bites to cool completely in the pan before trying to remove them.  Loosen the tops from the pan with a sharp knife if necessary. Twist the brownie lightly to loosen and the brownie should pop out.

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                  I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
                  Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake

                  Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake

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                  This Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake is a cool and creamy show stopper with lovely strawberry flavour.  The pretzel crust adds a nice crunch and a hint of salty goodness. I love to serve it with extra macerated strawberries for even more wonderful flavour. It’s absolutely perfect for summer.    

                  A basket of fresh strawberries tipped over and spilling out, surrounded with pretzels and a cup of yogurt.

                  Fresh strawberries are deepened in flavour by roasting them to purge any excess moisture. They’re then pureed with sugar and will provide the fantastic strawberry taste.  Cream cheese and vanilla yogurt are whipped up light and creamy and combined with the pureed strawberries.  Heavy cream is whipped to stiff peaks and folded into the cream cheese mixture.  The batter is then poured and spread onto the cooled crust and then allowed to freeze for at least 6 hours.  

                  It’s important to note that the quicker the cake freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be.  The smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the texture.  Be sure to keep all elements cold until ready to mix and freeze immediately in a draft-free freezer.  In other words, don’t be opening and closing your freezer door while the cake sets….if possible.  

                  Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake with a large wedge cut out and resting on a serving plate.

                  It’s a tall 10” cake that will feed plenty.  Be sure to let the cake sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to allow it to soften slightly for slicing.  It’s a solid cake that takes some time to thaw into a melty mess, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t get to slicing it for another 10 minutes.  In other words, you have some wiggle room.  Enjoy!

                   

                  Looking for more summer desserts?

                  Ginger Pear Sorbet

                  Almond Peaches

                  Chocolate Hazelnut Affogato

                   

                  Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12-16 slices 60 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    46 minutes 6+ hours
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12-16 slices 60 minutes
                    Cook Time Passive Time
                    46 minutes 6+ hours
                    Frozen Yogurt Strawberry Cake
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12-16 slices 60 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      46 minutes 6+ hours
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12-16 slices 60 minutes
                      Cook Time Passive Time
                      46 minutes 6+ hours
                      Ingredients
                      Pretzel crust
                      Cake filling
                      Servings: slices
                      Instructions
                      Pretzel crust
                      1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
                      2. Using a food processor, blend pretzels and sugar until you have a fine crumb. Add melted butter and pulse until combined.
                      3. Press crumbs evenly into a 10" springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes, remove and allow to cool to room temperature while preparing the filling.
                      Cake filling
                      1. Increase oven to 400°F.
                      2. Hull strawberries and cut in quarters. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Flip strawberries and continue to roast for 20 minutes. Strawberries will be soft and jammy. Allow them to cool to room temperature.
                      3. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Beat in yogurt, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep chilled until ready to proceed.
                      4. Whip heavy cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until stiff. Keep chilled until ready to proceed.
                      5. Once strawberries have cooled, combine with the granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed and combined.
                      6. Stir strawberry mixture into the cream cheese/yogurt mixture until completed combined. Fold in whipped cream and pour over cooled pretzel crust. Smooth out top and place in freezer for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
                      7. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and remove outer springform ring at least 20 minutes prior to serving. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with additional whipped cream and fresh macerated strawberries if desired.
                      Recipe Notes

                      -strawberries can be roasted and chilled one day ahead.

                      -frozen cake well covered will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

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                      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
                      Irish Cream Cupcakes

                      Irish Cream Cupcakes

                      I just couldn’t resist making these creamy and chocolatey Irish Cream Cupcakes to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year.  They’re a fun and tasty way to celebrate Irish heritage and religion by lacing both the cupcakes and the frosting with Irish Cream.  These cupcakes are deliciously moist and not too sweet with a white chocolate ganache frosting. Good any day of the year in my opinion.

                      So what’s the Irish in Irish Cream anyway?

                      Simply put, Irish Cream is a creamy liqueur made with Irish Whiskey, which can only be named as such if distilled on the island of Ireland, among other regulations.

                      What are we celebrating on St. Patrick’s Day?

                      St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration recognizing the patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick who died on March 17th, 461. He is best known for bringing Christianity to Ireland.

                      Why do we wear green?

                      Ireland is also known as The Emerald Isle, referencing green.

                      St. Patrick used the green shamrock as a tool to teach people about the holy trinity.

                      Green is one of the primary colours of the Irish flag.

                      Wearing green makes you invisible to Leprechauns, who are said to pinch anyone not wearing green, and that’s reason enough for me LOL!

                      A single Irish Cream Cupcakes sits in focus in the foreground. It sits on a black cooling rack draped with a green and white checkered towel. The background is blurry.
                      Irish Cream Cupcakes
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        24 cupcakes 60 minutes
                        Cook Time Passive Time
                        16-18 minutes 4+ hours
                        Servings Prep Time
                        24 cupcakes 60 minutes
                        Cook Time Passive Time
                        16-18 minutes 4+ hours
                        A single Irish Cream Cupcakes sits in focus in the foreground. It sits on a black cooling rack draped with a green and white checkered towel. The background is blurry.
                        Irish Cream Cupcakes
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          24 cupcakes 60 minutes
                          Cook Time Passive Time
                          16-18 minutes 4+ hours
                          Servings Prep Time
                          24 cupcakes 60 minutes
                          Cook Time Passive Time
                          16-18 minutes 4+ hours
                          Ingredients
                          White Chocolate Ganache
                          Chocolate Cupcakes
                          Servings: cupcakes
                          Instructions
                          White Chocolate Ganache
                          1. Heat cream and Irish cream in a small pot until just at a simmer.
                          2. Add chopped white chocolate and butter to a medium size bowl. Pour hot cream over white chocolate and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill until cold, about 4 hours or up to 24 hours in advance.
                          3. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whip, whisk ganache until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use immediately or chill until ready to use.
                          Chocolate Cupcakes
                          1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.
                          2. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment combine all ingredients EXCEPT the water and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine.
                          3. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup of batter into prepared tins. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
                          4. Frost with white chocolate ganache frosting.

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                          Affiliate Disclosure

                          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com