Archive | January, 2012

Vanilla Stout Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Icing

31 Jan

So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter, staring at this cake.

Just staring at it.

He’s staring back.

You don’t believe me? There.

It’s kinda creepy. I know what he’s thinking. He knows what I’m thinking.

Cake: Eat me.

Fabi: Ok.

Let’s rewind a bit to how this whole cake began….

I’m a lover of all things stout and porter related. It’s like a meal in a glass, this is true, but sipping a small amount all night is a pretty heavenly situation to get yourself into. When I was graciously presented with a bottle of vanilla bean stout from the wonderful Great Lakes Brewery, my heart skipped a beat: how exciting!

Immediately, I began thinking of all the different ways I might enjoy this bottle of yummy goodness. Who would I share it with? When would I open it? I felt, finally, that the best candidate for sharing this beer with me would be a chocolate cake. Most people would drink a glass of this and enjoy it and that would be all. The beer would be gone. A cake, would gratefully take it in and then continue to give back in a very delicious way.

I liked this idea. So I baked a cake. It’s a pretty simple recipe, and requires very little effort. You are also permitted to drink beer while baking the cake if you should be so inclined; I know I was….

Frost it with a cream cheese icing laced with blood orange juice and zest, and vanilla of course.

Insert into your face and love life. That’s what I did.

Vanilla Stout Chocolate Cake

250ml Stout

250g unsalted butter

75g cocoa

400g sugar

150ml sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

275g all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the stout and butter into a saucepan and heat just until the butter is melted.

Stir in the sugar and cocoa at this point. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Mix into the stout.

In another bowl, mix the baking soda and flour, then whisk into mixture until combined.

Pour into springform pan, and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan. It is a rather moist cake and certain individuals that shall remain nameless may or may not have learned that being eager to remove said cake will only result in sticking, messes and a few tears.

Blood Orange Icing

250g cream cheese, softened

2 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 blood oranges, zested and juiced.

Beat cream cheese and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and orange. Frost cake when it is completely cooled unless you want it to dribble over the sides like mine did. What can I say….I couldn’t wait.

Cranberry-Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

24 Jan

Who can say they’re a model law abiding. broccoli eating, regular oil changing, bathroom mildew cleaning, “i”dotting, “t”crossing, cat-in-tree rescuing, paper and plastic-separating citizen?

I can’t, that’s for sure. I’m far from perfect. I’m ok with this. I do try….I try to be the very best Fabi I can be.

I know you try too. We all do. We try to steer clear of the bad (most of the time) and keep striving for good.

That’s why things like doughnuts are a treat. We know that they’re not the ideal thing to give your body. We tend to avoid them. They’re a treat. Treats are good once in a while. But….not always.

That’s where these come in. They’re what fill the gaps between doughnuts and salad in our lives. They’re still a treat. But not too much. Just the right amount.

They’re not really doughnuts but I baked them in a doughnut pan and glazed them…so that must count for something.

Tart cranberries, and the buttery crunch of a pistachio here and there. It’s pretty magical.

With these and a cup of hot tea, I’m ok with knowing that it’s time to scrub my bathroom floor or pay my bills.

That’s my two cents anyway. Or 50 cents is more like it.

Make these. Be good. Be bad. It’s life.

Cranberry Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

adapted from joy the baker.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup medium or fine ground cornmeal (I used white cornmeal)

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup honey (or pure maple syrup if you have it on hand)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

1/2 heaping cup fresh cranberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.

In a smaller bowl whisk together honey, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Fold in the cranberries and pistachios.

Divide batter into 6 donuts if using a donut pan, or 6 muffins, or a small loaf pan….your choice.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a plate or board and let cool.

Cranberry Glaze

1 cup cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup icing sugar.

splash of vanilla extract.

Cook cranberries in sugar until they burst. Mash them, and strain through a sieve.

Add the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Add water if necessary to achieve the right consistency.

Drizzle on cooled donuts.

Jump for joy. Squeal with excitement. Shove one of these bad boys into your pie hole. Love life. Repeat if necessary.