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PRODUCTS: 4 New Favorite Foods & Beverages

Belvoir Elderflower & Rose Lemonade

Cholula Sweet Habanero

[1] A drink that says “summer” (photo courtesy Belvoir Fruit Farms). [2] A new, limited edition Cholula Hot Sauce (photo courtesy Jose Cuervo).

 

In two days we head to the Fancy Food Show, a trade show of specialty food producers so vast that, like Disneyland, you can’t possibly see it all, much less eat it all.

So before we head out to find new favorites, here are five more of our current faves, in alphabetical order.
 
 
1. BELVOIR FRUIT FARMS: CORDIALS & FLAVORED LEMONADES

Belvoir calls their beverages “non-alcoholic fruit cordials.” We’d call them elegant non-alcoholic sparkling drinks or a very sophisticated soft drink. But evidently, in the English countryside where they are made, says the company:

“Cordials were originally a way for country people to preserve some of each summer’s glut of fruit for the coming winter. Adding sugar to the fruit juice would stop fermentation and keep the juice fresh for a few months.”

Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland. The current duke’s mother infused elderflowers, grown on the estate, into a delicious beverage for family and friends, who couldn’t get enough of it.

Her husband saw a revenue potential, and the family business has been pressing and cooking fresh flowers, fruits and spices since 1981, combining them with local spring water. The line expanded, and is now sold worldwide.

The all-natural flavors include:

  • Elderflower Cordial
  • Ginger Cordial
  • Flavored lemonades: Elderflower, Organic Elderflower, Elderflower & Rose
  • Ginger Beer
  •  
    Each one is a must-try. There are 25.4-ounce full bottles and 8.4-ounce individual bottles. Buy them for yourself, buy them as party favors or as gifts to summer hosts.

    Discover more at BelvoirFruitFarms.com.

    Trivia: Originally, all the elderflowers were handpicked from bushes growing around Lord and Lady John Manners’ garden. The whole family helped to make the first batch of elderflower cordial, chopping the lemons and stirring the syrup. Lord John then popped the 88 cases of drinks into the back of his car and went around to local farm shops, persuading the owners to buy a bottle or two.
     
     
    2. CHOLULA HOT SAUCE: SWEET HABANERO

    Cholula Hot Sauce as had a cult following for some time. Now the cult has another flavor to enjoy.

    Sweet Habanero is a limited-edition flavor in a line that includes Chili Garlic, Chili Lime, Chipotle, Green Pepper and Original. The sweetness comes from pineapple flavor, and it’s a charmer, especially to those, like us, who like sweet + heat.

    The brand is thanking fans for their support by launching the Order of Cholula, in tandem with the new Sweet Habanero.

    Only 1,000 bottles of Sweet Habanero were made, so head to the Order Of Cholula and sign up.

    Trivia: The hot sauce is named after the 2,500-year-old city of Cholula, Puebla, the oldest still-inhabited city in Mexico. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) Chollollan, meaning “the place of the retreat.”

    Cholula, a third-generation family business, is now licensed by Jose Cuervo. It was begin by the Harrison family, originally of Chapala, Jalisco, now of Dallas, Texas. The image on the bottle is a portrait of Harrison family matriarch, Camila Harrison.

     

    3. DR. PEPPER CAKE

    Café Valley Bakery, a leading bakery producer for better grocers, has partnered with Dr. Pepper to create a Dr. Pepper Cake.

    We’re wary of foods that sound like gimmicks, but we’re always willing to try a sample when offered. We’re both happy and sad about this, because Dr. Pepper Cake is so delightful, we ate the whole thing.

    Made with real Dr. Pepper, the cake has a bottom of yellow cake, topped by a Dr. Pepper-flavored layer. The cake is drizzled with white icing.

    Dr. Pepper Cake is is certified kosher (dairy) by OK Kosher. It joins an array Café Valley Bakery soda cakes, including 7UP, Orange Crush, and A&W Root Beer (we haven’t tried any of these).

    The new flavor is available at grocers nationwide. The 26-ounce cake has a suggested retail price of $5.99. Here are the retailers that carry the line.

    Trivia: The Dr. Pepper soft drink is made from a secret formula of 23 flavorings.
     
     
    4. P.B. CRAVE: COCONUT MILK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER

    We have long been fans of P.B. Crave’s flavored peanut butters. These days, the line includes peanut butter and chocolate combinations:

  • Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter
  • Raspberry Dark & White Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Sweet & Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter
  •  
    and the latest:

  • Coconut Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter
  •  

    Dr. Pepper Cake

    PB Crave Milk Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter

    [3] A Dr. Pepper Cake, which goes great with…Dr. Pepper soda pop (photo courtesy Dr. Pepper). [4] The latest in a line of chocolate-peanut butter flavors (photo courtesy PB Crave).

     
    The company calls their newest flavor “a Caribbean beach escape with a blend of coconut, organic honey, and milk chocolate chips.”

    Resistance is futile!

    Discover more of this all-natural line at PBCrave.com. Might we suggest an all-flavor tasting party?

    Trivia: Peanut butter was originally developed by a physician as a protein-packed food for patients who no longer had teeth to chew meat. Here’s the history of peanut butter.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Special Cake Fillings

    Naked Cake With Strawberry Filling

    Apricot Whipped Cream Cake Filling

    Red Velvet Cake Filling

    Cake Layers With Different Fillings

    [1] A pumpkin naked cake with a filling of whipped cream and fresh raspberries (photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries. [2] A white chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and chopped dried apricots. Here’s the recipe from Epicurious. [3] Chocolate cake with red velvet cake filling, based on cream cheese. Here’s the recipe from Cook The Story. [4] Three different fillings: key lime, raspberry and blood orange. Here are more from Brides.

     

    If you bake layer cakes, even only now and then, from box or from scratch, here’s an easy tip to make yours more special:

    Add something fun and tasty to the filling between layers.

    FOR MORE CAKE FUN, CHECK OUT ARE CAKE GLOSSARY

    TYPES OF CAKE FILLINGS

    Common cake fillings include:

  • Buttercream*
  • Cream cheese*
  • Custard
  • Ganache*
  • Jam
  • Lemon or other curd
  • Whipped cream* with liqueur, nut-flavored buttercream or pure whipped cream
  •  
    The asterisked* cake fillings are easier to flavor, with anything, from fruit to Nutella to rum.

    Additionally, each filling can be made more complex complex with the addition of:

  • Citrus zest or peel
  • Dried fruits: berries, coconut, raisins, and others that complement the cake flavors
  • Crushed or sliced nuts
  • Extracts
  • Fresh fruits, diced or sliced
  • Fresh or dried fruits, soaked in liqueurs or spirits
  • Liqueurs or spirits (the difference is below)
  •  
    ADD SOME CANDY TO YOUR FILLING

    You don’t have to be a kid to appreciate a bit of candy in your cake.

  • Candy: M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, Heath Bar or Skor Bits, Red Hots, etc.
  • Chocolate: chips, chunks, curls (dark, milk, white)
  • Cake decorations: confetti, sprinkles, sugar pearls,
  •  
    FILLING, FROSTING, ICING: THE DIFFERENCE

    Filling goes between the layers of a cake. Each layer can have a different filling; for example, one layer of ganache and one layer of custard. The frosting of a cake can be used as the filling as well.

    Frosting is used to cover the top and sides of a cake, and often as a filling between the layers. It is typically made from sugar plus a fat such as butter and/or milk or cream. Frosting is generally flavored with vanilla extract or other flavoring—cocoa powder, coffee, lemon, lime, orange, strawberry, etc. A vanilla frosting can be colored with food coloring, which adds gaiety without additional flavor.

    Icing is technically different from frosting. Icing is made with confectioner’s sugar, also called icing sugar. Most consumers aren’t aware of this technicality, and use the words interchangeably.
     
    LIQUOR & LIQUEUR: THE DIFFERENCE

    Liquors are distilled spirits; that’s why they’re also known as spirits.

    They are made of grains or other plants that are fermented and distilled into high-proof alcoholic beverages. Bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, tequila and vodka are examples.

    The distillation process separates the water from the alcohol, increasing the alcohol content to at least 20%/40 proof. Japanese shochu is an example of this. Western spirits are typically distilled to 40% alcohol/80 proof, although some rums are distilled to a higher proof.

    Liqueurs are sweetened spirits. with with various extracts, oils and other flavors added. Brandy, rum and whiskey are common base spirits for liqueurs.

     
    Liqueur flavors vary widely—from chocolate and coffee to fruit, herb and nut flavors.

  • Cream liqueurs have dairy cream added.
  • Créme liqueurs are different: They refer to a much sweeter likened to a potent syrup, as opposed to the original liquers, made from medicinal fruits, herbs and roots. Think Grand Marnier as opposed to Benedictine.

    The alcohol content of liqueurs ranges from a low of 15%/30 proof to 55%/110 proof.

    Here’s the difference between cordial, eau de vie, liqueur and schnapps.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Strawberry Shortcake – Tiramisu Fusion

    Srawberry Shortcake
    [1] Today’s recipe: an Italian spin on strawberry shortcake (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Strawberries In Colander
    [2] You can buy strawberries year-round, but summer strawberries are (no surprise) the sweetest (photo courtesy California Strawberries).

    Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake
    A traditional strawberry shortcake combines strawberry, whipped cream and biscuits. It might have been a way to use leftover biscuits (photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries).

    Strawberry Shortcake With Ice Cream
    [4] Trade the whipped cream for ice cream, on a biscuit or in a layer cake (photo courtesy Nestlé).

    Blueberry Tart
    [5] This is what a tart looks like: It stands free of the tart pan (photo courtesy Chilean Blueberry Committee).

    Blueberry Pie
    [6] This is what a pie looks like: It needs to remain in the pie plate (photo courtesy Taste Of Home).

    Tart Slice

    [7] A tart has a solid filling (photo courtesy Butter Flour Sugar).

     

    June 14th is National Strawberry Shortcake Day, and we have a recipe below that builds on the concept.

    But first, a request that you not name your recipes with the name of a different recipe. We mean no disrespect to anyone involved with naming a recipe: It’s a teaching moment for everyone.

    In fact, yesterday we received a recipe for a banana cream pie, that is clearly a tart. Here are all the differences; the first is that the crusts and fillings are different.

  • A tart crust is buttery, firm and stands up on its own. The filling solidifies, like a custard.
  • A pie crust is soft and pliable, made with shortening. It needs the support of the pie plate. The center is usually runny, especially in the case of fruit pies. (Others, like pecan pie, solidify.
  •  
    See photos #5, #6 and #7.

    Now onto today’s misnomer. The recipe below (in photo #1) is called a Berry Tiramisu Cake by its creator, a professional baker. The name follows the downward slope of appending the name of a well-known, popular food to something new.

    Hence, for example, there are hundreds of cocktail recipes called a [add a modifier, e.g. cherry] Margarita or [chocolate] Martini, because the name “sells.” But it dowesn’t track: The ingredients do not build on the essential ingredients of the recipe they claim to represent.
     
    WHAT’S THE BEEF?

    You can build on a basic recipe—for example, make a flavored Martini. But if it doesn’t have vermouth plus gin or vodka in addition to the fruit, chocolate, coffee or whatever, it isn’t a Martini. Simply adding vodka (or tequila) to a recipe does not a Martini (or Margarita) make.

    See our rant on this topic.
     
    ON TO DESSERT!

    Following the beef above, we now comment on the concept of “Berry Tiramisu.”

    Tiramisu is a recipe that comprises sponge cake or ladyfingers (sponge fingers), soaked in espresso liqueur or a coffee syrup (for a non-alcoholic version), and layered with a mascarpone cheese and custard mixture. It is garnished with a dusting of cocoa powder or shaved chocolate.

    To build on it and still call it tiramisu:

  • You can switch the mascarpone and custard for ice cream and have a tiramisu sundae.
  • You can combine espresso liqueur, vanilla or Irish cream liqueur (for the mascarpone) and vodka and have a tiramisu cocktail, garnished with chocolate shavings and perhaps, a ladyfinger on the side.
  • You can use a different cake instead of the ladyfingers; for example, a pound cake or pandoro tiramisu.
  • You can substitute the custard for heavy cream, for a frozen tiramisu.
  • You can add a layer of fruit, for a cherry tiramisu.
  •  
    But you can’t get rid of the coffee.

    Coffee is an indispensable ingredient in tiramisu: The name means “pick me up,” referring to the caffeine in coffee.
     
    WHY DOES IT MATTER?

    Why does accuracy in anything matter?

    End of teachable moment.

    RECIPE: ITALIAN-STYLE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

    This recipe, developed by MaryJane Robbins of King Arthur Flour, is called Berry Tiramisu by its creator. You can watch the step-by-step production here.

    We have renamed it Italian-Style Strawberry Shortcake. Here’s the history of shortcake; you’ll see why shortcake is an apt description.

    As for “Italian-style,” the shortcake uses mascarpone instead of whipped cream, and soaks the sponge layers in syrup.

    Whatever you wish to call it, prep time is 35 to 45 minutes; bake time is 20 to 23 minutes.

    The syrup and cream can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and held in the refrigerator until the cake is ready to assemble.
     
    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Cake

    For The Sponge Cake

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    For The Citrus Soaking Syrup

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (grated peel of 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  •  
    For The Citrus Cream Filling

  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 quarts fresh berries of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and line with parchment two 9″ square* pans. Combine the eggs, sugar and almond extract in a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the eggs thicken and lighten in color, about 5 minutes.

     
    2. WHISK together in a separate small bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle 1/3 of the dry mixture over the beaten egg and gently stir it in. Repeat twice more, using 1/3 of the flour mixture each time. The batter will begin to look spongy and fluffy.

    3. POUR the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and place on racks to cool in the pan completely.

    4. MAKE the syrup: Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for one minute, or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, strain, and set aside to cool.

    5. MAKE the filling: In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and orange zest. Gradually stir in the heavy cream until the mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar.

    6. ASSEMBLE the cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and brush it with syrup. Allow the syrup to soak in, then apply more. You’ll use about half of the syrup for the first layer.

    7. SPREAD half of the sliced berries over the moist cake. Dollop on half of the cream filling, and spread in an even layer. Top with the second layer of cake, repeating the soaking process. Spread with the remaining cream filling, then top with the last of the berries. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour (or up to overnight) before serving.

    Store any leftover cake in the fridge for up to 2 days. Freezing is not recommended.

    ________________

    *If you don’t have two 9″ square pans, you can bake in two 9″ round pans. The layers will be slightly thicker, and will take a few extra minutes to bake.

    MORE SHORTCAKE RECIPES

  • Cupcake Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
  • Easy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
  • Matzoh Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake Recipe
  • Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake Recipe
  • Triple Berry Shortcake Recipe
  •  
      

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    RECIPE: More Stout-And-Sweet Recipes

    Following our recent recipes for Chocolate Cheesecake Stout Pops and a Chocolate Stout Float, we have stout for breakfast (French toast) and stout for dessert (a rich chocolate cake).

    Why stout? Stout is more popular in recipes than other beers because its more robust flavor carries through in the cooked recipe. Here are the history of stout and the different types of stout.

    RECIPE #1: STUFFED FRENCH TOAST WITH STOUT CUSTARD & BOURBON CREAM CHEESE FILLING

    Wow, what a mouthful of a name. This recipe, created by Heather Lewis of Beer Bitty and sent to us by CraftBeer.com, is also a mouthful on the fork.

    Use your favorite breakfast stout custard batter and stuffed with cream cheese frosting spiked with bourbon.

    What is breakfast stout?

    Breakfast stout is the name given to a creamy stout with a coffee aroma, that’s brewed with coffee, bitter chocolate and oat flakes. Coffee-infused beers have been made by American craft brewers since the early 1990s, but this was a leap forward.

    The first breakfast beer was conceived by Dave Engbers of Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan (along with a bourbon-barrel aged Kentucky Breakfast Stout). It debuted in 2003, made in the style of American Double/Imperial Stout.

    While other craft brewers followed suit with breakfast stouts and porters, the original remains one of the more popular breakfast stouts on the market. If it’s pricier than other beers, it’s because it the coffee-handling equipment and chocolate equipment add multiple steps to the brewing process [source].

    The bottle label features a young, towhead boy with a napkin around his neck, lapping up a bowl of cereal (photo #3). Some states, including the brewery’s home, Michigan, forced the brewery to eliminate the child on the grounds that it encouraged young people to drink. Really, Michigan? Has the legislature nothing more important to legislate?

    A second label was created for Michigan showing only a cereal bowl on a table. You can see the revised, tongue-in-cheek label here.

    Other brands subsequently introduced breakfast beers, including Dogfish Head Beer For Breakfast Stout, Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast, One Barrel Brewing Company’s Breakfast Beer Imperial Coffee Stout, 21st Amendment Brewery’s Toaster Pastry India Red Ale, Uiltje Brewing Company’s Full English Breakfast and Wicked Weed’s Barrel Aged French Toast Imperial Stout.

    Ready for breakfast? Prep time for the French toast is 30 minutes. If you can’t find breakfast stout, you can substitute chocolate stout, double stout or milk stout.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    For The Egg Batter

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup breakfast stout
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  •    

    Stout French Toast

    Glass Of Stout

    Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout

    [1] A special French toast recipe, with multiple dimensions of flavor (photo courtesy Beer Bitty). [2] A glass of breakfast stout: Drink it with the French toast (photo courtesy True Beer). [3] The original, and favorite, breakfast stout from Founders Brewing.

     
    For a pumpkin variation, add 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; omit the vanilla extract.
     
    For The Bourbon Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 ounces bourbon (substitute pumpkin purée, stout or vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    For The Toast and Toppings

  • 1 loaf braided challah bread, cut into 1-1/2″ slices
  • Butter for cooking
  • Maple syrup
  • Garnish: chocolate chips, blueberries, blackberries
  •  
    Plus

  • More breakfast stout for drinking
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the cream cheese filling. Beat the cream cheese, butter and salt in a stand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the bourbon and mix until well combined. Reduce the speed to low; add the powdered sugar and mix until fully incorporated. If the mixture feels a bit loose or if a sweeter filling is desired, add an additional tablespoon of powdered sugar, at bit at a time until a spreadable frosting consistency is reached.

    If preparing the filling in advance, or if you have leftovers, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to a week.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 200°F and make the French toast. Create a pocket in each slice of bread by using a paring knife to cut horizontally into the bottom or side crust. Carefully fill each pocket with 2 tablespoons or so of cream cheese filling. You can use a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, but a butter knife also works well.

    3. THOROUGHLY whisk together all the batter ingredients in a baking dish or pie pan. Place each slice in the egg batter, allowing it to soak for 10 seconds per side.

    4. MELT 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, place the challah slices into the skillet to brown. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat as needed, until golden brown.

    5. TRANSFER to a baking sheet and place the finished slices in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining slices. Serve warm, topped with maple syrup and berries, alongside a glass of breakfast stout.

     

    Chocolate Stout Cake

    Chocolate Stout Cake

    [4] and [5] A rich, moist stout cake from King Arthur Flour. Stout adds more dimension to the chocolate cake flavors.

     

    RECIPE #2: CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE

    Stout and other dark beers are often described as having chocolatey overtones, so why not enrich a chocolate cake?

    The flavor of this cake is multi-dimensional: The presence of the stout gives it a much more interesting finish. The hops from the beer act as a counterpoint to the sugar in the cake. We used a chocolate stout for an extra hint of chocolate.

    It’s an incredibly moist cake, too, and its rich, dark color comes mostly from the beer.

    This recipe makes two tall, imposing layers; be sure your 9″ cake pans are at least 2″ tall, or use 10″ pans if you have them. For a smaller cake, see the last tip below.

    Prep time is 25 to 35 minutes, bake time is 45 to 50 minutes.
     
    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 2 cups chocolate stout, other stout, or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  •  
    For The Frosting

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation;

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.

    2. MAKE the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

    3. WHISK together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

    4. DIVIDE the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

    5. MAKE the frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate). Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top. Spread 2/3 cup of the icing over just the top of the layer. Top with another cake layer, top side down, and repeat the process. If you baked three layers, add that one also. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper.

    TIPS

  • Here’s a step-by-step pictorial of the recipe process.
  • If you’re using salted butter, decrease the salt in the recipe to 1 teaspoon.
  • If you’re buying Guinness in cans 14.9 ounces), use 1 can and make up the difference in volume with water.
  • If you’re making 2 layers, be sure your 9″ cake pans are at least 2″ deep. If they aren’t that tall, use three 8″ layers instead.
  • If you have a scale, the batter for this cake weighs 5 pounds, 15 ounces or 95 ounces. A two-layer cake should have 2 pounds, 15-1/2 ounces of batter in each pan. For a three-layer cake, each layer should weigh 1 pound, 15-1/2 ounces.
  • If you use pure chocolate disks or chips, they’ll melt more quickly when making the frosting. King Arthur Flour used a bit of leftover tempered chocolate in the photos for this recipe.
  • For a smaller cake, downsize the ingredients as follows: 1-1/2 cups each beer and butter; 1 cup cocoa; 3 cups each flour and sugar; 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 3 large eggs; 2/3 cup sour cream. Bake in two 9″ round pans, at 350°F, for 35 minutes. Frost with Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting, with the optional espresso powder added. This downsized version also makes 30 standard-size cupcakes; bake them for 18 to 22 minutes, then remove from the oven, cool, and frost.
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    FOOD FUN: Lumberjack Cake

    This impressive Lumberjack Cake was created by Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company of Portland, Oregon, and author of Visual Guide to Cake Decorating.

    Another of her works of art is the Lumberjack Cake, inspired by her husband, who chopped down their Christmas tree in a lumberjack jacket.

    Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies Bakeshop in Lake Stevens, Washington took up the cause and created an entire lumberjack party.

    Every part of the cake is edible: The bark is made from chocolate, the axe is made from fondant.

    To both artists: Thank you for this most enjoyable bit of food fun.

    If you want to try your hand at honoring your favorite lumberjack, you can buy the tutorial ($15). Also scroll down that page to see the lumberjack wedding cake.

    For more cake pleasure, take a look at our Cake Glossary: the different types of cake, beginning with a brief history of cake.

    You may also enjoy the history of cake pans.

    And let’s not forget the history of the oven, and give thanks to all the bakers who labored under challenging conditions to create cakes that were attractive and delicious.

     

    Lumberjack Cake

    We don’t know any lumberjacks, but we want this cake! Photo courtesy Jenny Keller | Jenny Cookies Bakeshop.

     
    Now how did they keep the bottoms of the cakes from sticking and burning, in the many centuries before the invention of the cake pan and the temperature-controlled oven—and long before silicone oven gloves?

      

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