Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chocolate Sunday

On the second Sunday of each month during Chocolate: Seed to Sweet, the Garden hosted demonstrations by Atlanta pastry chefs and chocolatiers.  For the final Chocolate Sunday, we welcomed CocoaTown and Chef Cynthia Wong from Cakes & Ale.  CocoaTown demonstrated small scale equipment used to turn cocoa beans into chocolate bars.  Scroll down for photos and a tasty chocolate cupcake recipe.

Chocolate comes from the fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao).  This particular cacao pod is slowly growing in the Fuqua Conservatory at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  

The CocoaTown Roaster roasts up to five pounds of fermented cocoa beans. 

Roasted cocoa beans are cracked, resulting in smaller pieces known as nibs.  Other machines involved in the process winnow and grind the nibs into chocolate liquor.  A pressing machine separates the chocolate liquor into cocoa butter and cocoa solids.

Cynthia Wong, Pastry Chef at Cakes & Ale demonstrates Dulce de Leche German Chocolate Cupcakes.

Cynthia Wong’s Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups Valrhona cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
12 oz butter
4 extra large eggs
¾ cups crème fraiche
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beat until fluffy.
  5. Fold in half of dry ingredients, then crème fraiche, then rest of dry ingredients.
  6. Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back lightly when touched.
Makes 2 dozen