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Archive for March 8, 2014

RECIPE: Upside Down Irish Whiskey Cake

Irish whiskey cake: an upside down apple
cake with a mascarpone filling. Photo
courtesy Betty Crocker.

 

This cake was originally pitched to us as a holiday fruitcake—an upside-down apple cake with whiskey-soaked fruit. But we liked the idea of it for St. Patrick’s Day as well.

The recipe, from Betty Crocker, was developed with Betty Crocker SuperMoist Yellow Cake Mix. But if you prefer your own homemade cake mix with butter instead of vegetable oil, you can make the cake from scratch.

  • Prepare it in advance. You can prepare the dried fruit the night before, bake the cake layers, and/or whip up (and refrigerate) the topping the day before. Assemble the cake on the day you serve it.
  • Single layer option. Instead of a layer cake, you can make two single layer cakes. Place a single cake layer, apple side up, on a cake stand. Top with a dollop of the mascarpone topping and garnish as desired.
  • Substitute whiskey. You can use Bourbon or other whiskey instead of the Irish whiskey.
  •  
    RECIPE: UPSIDE DOWN IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

    Ingredients

    For The Fruit Cake

  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 3 red apples, unpeeled, quartered, cored, very thinly (1/4 inch) sliced
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, finely ground*
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  •  

    Filling & Topping

  • 1/4 cup apple jelly
  • 2 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Optional garnishes: fresh raspberries† or
    cranberries, thin orange slices
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MIX dried cranberries, apricots, orange peel and bourbon in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or overnight.

    2. PREHEAT oven to 350°F (325°F for a dark or nonstick pan). Generously grease bottom and sides of two 8-inch round cake pans with shortening.

    3. LINE bottom of each pan with cooking parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with shortening. Line bottom and side of each pan with overlapping apple slices, cutting slices as necessary to line side of each pan.

     

    Mascarpone-230

    In the U.S., mascarpone is sold in eight-ounce tubs. Super-rich and thick, in Italy it is served with berries instead of the American favorite, whipped cream. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.

     

    4. BEAT cake mix, water, ground almonds, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed until moistened, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in soaked dried fruit and ginger. Gently pour into pans over apple slices.

    5. BAKE 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately turn pans upside down to release cakes onto cooling racks.

    6. MAKE glaze: In small microwavable bowl, microwave apple jelly uncovered on High 15 to 30 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds, until hot. Brush over apples on top and side of each cake to make shiny. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in medium bowl…

    7. MAKE filling: Beat mascarpone cheese, whipping cream and sugar with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.

    8. ASSEMBLE on a serving plate: Place one cake, apple side up. Top with whipped cream mixture. Gently place remaining cake layer on top of cream, apple side up. Garnish with fresh cranberries/arils and orange slices and toasted sliced almonds. Cut into slices with serrated knife. Cover and refrigerate any remaining cake.

     
    *Grind the slivered almonds in small food processor, or very finely chop with knife.

    †You can roll the raspberries in sugar—ideally superfine sugar—for a special effect.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Beer

    murphys_stout-bkgd-mully1.wordpress-230

    A glass of Murphy’s shows off the chocolaty
    color. It also has chocolaty flavors, and a
    sweetness which makes it an ideal “dessert
    beer.” Photo courtesy Murphy’s.

     

    Many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with beer. But this is not the occasion to pull out your favorite American craft beers or mass-market standards such as Bud, Coors or Miller.

    No, this is time for Irish beer.

    You’ve got two choices here:

  • Imported beers brewed in Ireland
  • Irish-style beers brewed in the U.S.
  •  
    There is no one style of Irish beer. The brews range from light and crisp to strong, rich and full-bodied for sipping, to light and crisp. So whatever your style of choice, you’ll find an Irish beer or two that fits the bill.

    But lager is the style of choice in the Emerald Isle, accounting for 60% of the beer sold. Stout is the second favorite at 34%, and ale comprises the remaining 6% is Ale. [Source: Irish Beer Market Survey 2010]

    How about an Irish beer tasting party for St. Patrick’s Day? The selection will depend on what’s available in your area, but here are brands to look for.

     
    Irish Lager

  • Harp Lager, perhaps the best-known Irish lager in the U.S., is a crisp, light lager, clean and refreshing.
  • Porterhouse Bohemia is a black lager style that’s relatively new to Ireland. The recipe was developed by a Czech brewer using Pilsner Urquell yeast, but delivers the roasted chocolate flavor that Irish stout drinkers crave.
  •  
    *Not all oyster stouts are made with oysters. The name indicates a style of stout, popular with the oysters served at pubs.

     

    Irish Stout

  • Beamish is a bit lighter and spicier than the iconic Guinness, dark and chocolaty.
  • Guinness Draught, the most famous of Irish beers, is rich and creamy with roasty malts and hints of chocolate. Compare it with the stonger Extra Stout and Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, hoppier like an I.P.A. and higher in alcohol.
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout (photo above), lighter and sweeter than the first two, has caramel, chocolate and espresso flavors that make it just right for dessert. Seriously—try it with an apple tart.
  • Ohara’s Irish Stout is an old-school style: robust, full-bodied and hoppy with roasty notes from the barley and a subtle sweetness. O’Hara’s Celtic Stout has a very different profile: smooth and dry with flavors of coffee and licorice.
  • Porterhouse Oyster Stout is actually brewed with fresh oysters, shucked into the tank*. The oyster flavor is very subtle (it has been compared to the brininess in an Asian fish sauce), and oyster lovers might prefer that those oysters were in front of them on the half shell. But they do create a different flavor profile, which includes some conventional stout flavors (creamy, roasty, malty).
  •  

    murphys-irish-red-230

    Irish red ale has a ruby hue—naturally, from roasted barley or in lesser brews, from artificial coloring. Photo courtesy Murphy’s Irish Ale.

     

    Irish Ale

  • Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, smooth and creamy, dates back to the 14th century. Brewed by Guinness, the amber ale has been described as a less hoppy Smithwick’s. It has a creamy head like Guinness, a malty aroma and flavor and is sweet and creamy on the palate, offset by a touch of bitterness.
  • Murphy’s Irish Red (photo above) does have a red hue, generated by small amounts of roasted barley (caveat: some manufacturers artificially color their “Irish red” beers red). In America, darker amber ales are sometimes labeled (or mis-labeled) as red ales. Murphy’s Irish Red is the real deal: dry, crisp, hoppy and highly carbonated. It delivers hints of caramel and fruit.
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat, a golden wheat ale, is a lighter thirst-quencher in the style of Belgian wheat beers. It delivers notes of bananas, peaches and plums.
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale dates back to the 14th century; Smithwick’s is Ireland’s oldest operating brewery (and the largest ale producer in Ireland). With a similar profile to Murphy’s, it delivers a deep caramel maltiness and a hint of hops and roasted barley, coffee and sweet fruits.
  •  
    DON’T LIKE BEER?

    Look for Irish hard cider. It’s a relative newcomer—the first large commercial batches were brewed in the mid-1930s by William Magner. Cider now accounts for 12% of Ireland’s “beer market,” much of that Magner’s Irish Cider, which can be found in the U.S.

      

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