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Thursday
Jan142010

Dark, Bitter and Handsome: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes from Rainy Day Gal


CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Rainy Day Gal (a.k.a. Jenny Miller), a fellow Seattle blogger with a major sweet tooth.

Once in a blue moon, I love a good dark beer.

But every day that ends in y do I love chocolate stout cake.

It's rich, moist, and tastes like an indescribably dark chocolatey-chocolate cake without being overly sweet. Plus, you get to pour beer into the batter. Which is fun. For those of you wary about adding beer to chocolate cake, fear not--they don't taste like beer, the stout just keeps them moist, rich, and prevents them from being overly sweet. I came across an intriguing recipe that was begging, nay, pleading to be turned into cupcakes. Because, c'mon. Who bakes whole cakes anymore? We are living in a cupcake world and I am a cupcake gal. So without further ado, here they are. Fair warning: this recipe makes an ungodly amount of cupcakes. Make a half-batch if you don't know 48 people who would like to eat a chocolate stout cupcake in the next two days. Oh, and fair warning #2: You should probably also be drinking a stout while you're making these. Just sayin.

First, let's make the ganache because it'll need a few hours to chill. You need one pound of bittersweet chocolate (chopped or in chip form) and one pint (or 2 cups) of whipping cream. Again, halve this if you don't want to make a billion cupcakes.

Place the chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wisk attachment. You could also use a hand mixer if you're more in the mood.

Bring the cream just to a simmer on the stove and then remove from heat. Immediately pour the whipping cream over the chocolate. Mix on medium-low until totally combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

You should probably lick this. It's okay. No one is watching. I'll wait. All done? Wasn't it delicious? Good. Let's move on to the cupcakes.

You need at absolutely sinful amount of butter. 4 sticks or 2 cups unsalted. Paula Deen would be so proud. Also find some sour cream (1 1/2 cups) and four eggies.

For the dry stuff, grab some baking soda (1 tbsp), all-purpose flour (4 cups), salt (1 1/2 tsp), and granulated sugar (4 cups. Yes. I'm serious.). Oh, and you'll also need 1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder. Sorry--forgot to snap a photo.

Finally, the goods: Guinness. Or a similarly dark stout. You'll need two cups, which turns out to be about 1 1/4 bottles. Ready? Let's go. Preheat your oven to 350°. If you want to. Or wait 'till later. Measure out your beer. It won't hurt it it's a few sips less than 2 cups. I promise.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the stout. Bring just to a simmer and then remove from heat. I never thought I would have a pan of butter and Guinness heating on my stove.

Grab your cocoa powder...

...and immediately whisk it into the butter/beer mixture until smooth. Set aside to let cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mix your dry ingredients together in a big ol' bowl...

...and put the sour cream and eggies into another bowl. I love cracking eggs. It's my favorite part of baking. But I'm also completely terrified of finding a little baby chicken fetus inside. I would cry for days. Too much information? Alright. Moving on.

Cream together the sour cream and eggs using an electric hand mixer on low speed.

Ummm....don't lick these blades. Even I don't love sour cream that much. For the next step, grab a big bowl....

...and dump the sour cream/egg mixture into it. Pour the beer/cocoa/butter mixture on top. Mix on low with the electric hand mixer to combine.

Next, dump in the flour/sugar mixture. Beat a little with the electric mixer just to get it started...

...and finish it off with a spatula. Shiny.

Pour into greased (or lined) muffin pans. I usually use liners, but all I had were the ugly ones left from a Christmas variety pack. I couldn't handle dancing reindeer today. Where's Bella when I need 'em? Bake, one pan at a time, for 16-18 minutes or until...you know the drill. Clean toothpick. Or not. Sometimes I think when the whole toothpick comes out clean that I've already over-baked them. You're the judge of your own cupcake world---you decide.

I filled them up almost to the brim because I like big cupcakes.

Let cool on wire racks.

See what I mean? Ungodly amount of cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes have cooled and the ganache has hardened, let's frost those suckers. Give the ganache a good stir before we start.

Spread it around. Spread it around good. I used about a tablespoon and a half per cupcake and still had a little leftover. You frost 'em however you like 'em.

Oh my. A moment of silence, please.

I wasn't drinking that Guinness while eating a cupcake. You must be thinking of someone else.

Nope. Not me (*licks chocolate ganache from lips*).

The verdict on chocolate stout cupcakes? They were divine. Moist. Rich. Chocolatey with a hint of stout. The bittersweet ganache made them ultra-decadent.

When I make them again, however, I'll try a few variations:

1) Use a more flavorful stout. Maybe a local brew, or something with a little more body. Maybe I'll even boil a larger quantity down to make it more concentrated. I wanted more Guinness-y flavor and less sweet.

2) Halve the recipe. Too. Many. Cupcakes.

3) Try not to eat so dang many. There goes one full week of salads. Happy monday!  

The original recipe for chocolate stout cake can be found right here. Just follow the directions above to make them cupcakes. Enjoy!

Thursday
Dec102009

Cake Byte: Sweet Cupcake and Boston Terrier Collaboration with All-Mighty!

Sweet New Products from All-Mighty!

What happens when puppy love meets Cuppie love? You get a whole bundle of cuteness, that's what.

And just in time for the holidays, all this sweetness is ready for purchase! Just check out the sweet new products just released by All-Mighty, featuring CakeSpy artwork. They've got totally sweet totes and tees featuring sweet treats and a Boston terrier getting some street food (brand new!), and of course if you missed them when they were first released, you're not going to want to miss the adorable buttons and card and checkbook holders featuring some worldly Cuppies and Puppies jetsetting in London, Paris and more!

It's all available at the uber-cute site all-mighty.com.

Thursday
Dec102009

Lovin in the Oven: Almond Tea Cake Recipe

So, a few weeks ago I received this package in the mail with a bunch of recipes from Love N Bake, a company which makes fancy pastry fillings (almond paste, praline filling, chocolate filling, etc). "Whatever" I thought.

And then two days later, a big ol' box of said fillings arrived in the mail. Sweet! I was excited not only because they were free (cheapskate!), but because each flavor had recipes on the label (don't you just love back of the box recipes?). So I set to trying out the recipe on their almond paste package, for Almond Tea Cake. Don't let its unassuming appearance deceive you--this cake is heavenly. Simultaneously light and buttery all at once, it's got an amazingly luxuriant feeling in the mouth, and is equally as delicious as a breakfast treat, teatime companion or (with whipped cream) a respectable dinner dessert.

Almond Tea Cake

  • 1/2 cup almond paste (I used Love N Bake's...but you probably guessed that)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1/2 cup white chocolate, cut into coarse pieces (I scattered them on top just before baking--yum)

Procedure

Beat the almond paste with the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add ther butter and beat until fluffy. eat in the eggs. Stir well and then fold in the baking powder, flour and vanilla.
Spread the batter into a greased 8-inch cake pan. If you'd like to add the white chocolate, add it now, scattering it evenly over the surface of the cake (it's ok if some sinks). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool on a rack, and unmold. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Thursday
Dec102009

Holiday Beer Cheer: Beer Honey Torte With Banana and Rum Flambe Recipe

Honey torte w/ banana and rum flambe
In case you didn't know it, there's a website out there called BitterSweet Partnership--and it is dedicated to "unleashing women's love for beer". I know, who knew, right?
But I was instantly intrigued when they emailed me a rather delicious-looking dessert recipe (developed with UK chef Allegra McEvedy) which includes, of all things, an unlikely pairing of beer, bananas, honey and rum: a recipe for a Honey Torte with Banana and Rum Flambe. Now that sounded good enough to share! While I haven't tried the recipe yet, I thought it was fascinating enough to post. Feeling brave? Here's how you can make it:

Beewyched Christmas Honey Torte With Banana & Rum Flambé
Part of the Bittersweet Christmas Beery Menu

Ingredients
  • 1 bottle beewyched beer
  • 400g stoned dates – the stickier the better
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 50g sultanas
  • 150g butter, unsalted and at room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 30g soft dark brown sugar
  • half a tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp honey
Topping ingredients
  • 2 to 3 bananas
  • a handful of flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar
  • 80ml rum
  • 1 tub vanilla ice cream
Procedure
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC. Simmer the dates and sultanas in the beer, stirring occasionally for 15 mins until like a very thick compote.
  2. Either vigorously by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter, then add the eggs one by one.
  3. Sift the flour with the bicarb and then fold into the mix, along with the honey, ground almonds and vanilla extract.
  4. Once the compote has reached a suitably dolloping consistency, spread it out thinly on a large plate/baking tray to cool down.
  5. Use a knob of butter to grease the inside of a springform cake tin about 20cm across by 6cm deep. Then toss in a small handful of plain flour and coat the inside lightly in it, knocking out the excess into the mix.
  6. When the date compote has stopped steaming, fold it into the mix and then tip everything into the cake tin.
  7. Cook for 1hr 10mins, then leave to sit for 10mins before lifting out onto a serving plate (ideally your torte will still be warm-ish when you are ready to serve)
  8. When it comes to the bananas, get a heavy-based frying pan onto a medium/high heat and melt the butter in it so that it starts to fizzle. Cut the bananas into oblique 2cm thick chunks and fry them and the flaked almonds for just a couple of minutes until the ’nanas begin to soften and get a slight colour.
  9. Sprinkle on the soft brown sugar and swirl and toss until all the sugar has melted in the butter and the bananas are coated. Spoon these on top of the torte then take the cake to the table and turn off the lights!
  10. In your smallest saucepan gently heat the rum until it’s steaming and just about to start simmering, then quickly pour the hot rum all over your cake and spark it up with a match. Voila!

Thursday
Dec102009

Magic in the Middle: The Sandwich Cookie Pan by Williams-Sonoma

I want this cake pan!
O.M.G. alert. Really, this awesomeness doesn't really need more than an introduction. Say hello to the Sandwich Cookie Cake Pan by Williams-Sonoma.

Here's what they have to say about it:

Sandwich cookies are a childhood favorite one never outgrows. Our pair of baking pans captures this nostalgic treat as a luscious cake. Enjoy the classic pairing of chocolate and vanilla cream or try a more sophisticated combination such as espresso-fudge cake with cappuccino cream filling. The set includes two nonstick baking pans that turn out cakes embossed with "cookie." The cast aluminum pans spread heat evenly for uniform baking. Our exclusive ceramic-reinforced Goldtouch™ coating ensures easy release and cleanup. Hand wash. 9" diam. Set of two pans. A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.


Buy it--now!--at williams-sonoma.com. P.S. If you already knew about this pan, why didn't you tell me about it?
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