Chocolate Stout Pound Cake with Whiskey Cream

Chocolate Stout Pound Cake with Whiskey Cream

~ Chocolate Stout Pound Cake with Irish Whiskey Cream ~

When life hands you lemons you make lemonade. When life hands you lemons and Guinness Stout, I’d ignore the lemons and drink the stout. But be sure to save a bottle or two, because you can use any extra beer to make Irish Beef Stew and a decadent Chocolate Stout Pound Cake, which I’m including in a double post series this week in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. And just in case life has, in fact, been handing you lemons lately, I will post the dessert first. Simple things like chocolate, stout, and the phrase “dessert first” are guaranteed to make things better.

Chocolate Stout Pound Cake
Makes 1 large pound cake or bundt cake  (or 12 mini-bundt cakes)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup stout beer
12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and line a large loaf pan with parchment. Butter the parchment paper. If using a bundt pan or mini-bundt pans, butter the pans.
2. Heat the butter and stout in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the dark chocolate and stir until smooth.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
4. Whisk the eggs and sugar until light. Whisk in the sour cream and add to the chocolate. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine without over-mixing.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or mini bundt pans. Place on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the cake is set and a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes clean, 55 to 65 minutes for a large cake or 25 minutes for mini-cakes.
6. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and cool completely. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream.

Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Irish Whiskey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream in the bowl of an electric mixer until traces of the whisk are visible. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to whip until soft peaks form.

Flourless Chile-Chocolate Cake

Add a little spice to your love life, I mean, chocolate, for Valentine’s Day. It’s never a bad idea to shake things up, and this flourless chocolate cake does just that. Laced with chipotle, cayenne and cinnamon, this dense fudgy cake has a naughty kick of smoke and heat cloaked in chocolate. Now that’s an exciting Valentine’s cake. To read more and for the recipe, head over to PhanPhatale where I have been asked by author (and new mother!) Jackie Pham to contribute a guest post. Happy Valentine’s Day!

This month I have the pleasure of guest posting on Jackie’s wonderful blog. When I discovered Phamfatale it immediately resonated with me. It shares a similar love for feeding friends and family, while influenced by our international family and life. Jackie’s Vietnamese parents, Parisian upbringing and vegetarian, sweet-loving husband create a kaleidescope of good eats which keep me coming back for more. And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I can’t think of a more perfect way to share a little blog (and chocolate) love with her readers than with this guest post.

Flourless Chile-Chocolate Cake
Serves 8 to 10

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in pieces
3/4 pound semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Powder sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch springform. Line with parchment paper; butter the parchment. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and cayenne. Mix to combine. Pour into springform. Bake until cake is set and top begins to crack, about 40 minutes. (The center will still be moist.) Cool completely on a rack. Remove the side of the pan. (Cake may be made up to one day in advance. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve sprinkled with powder sugar.

Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

Buttermilk Pound Cake, Cranberries, Candied Walnuts, Orange Mascarpone Cream

Here is a holiday trifle that I couldn’t wait for Christmas to make. The good news is that it’s perfect for Thanksgiving, too. This sumptuous dessert is sweet, tart, crunchy and creamy at once. Buttermilk poundcake is blanketed with layers of cranberry compote, orange infused mascarpone whipped cream and candied walnuts. (Do you see why I couldn’t wait?) Each bite is light and airy with the pop of sweet-tart cranberries and the crunch of cinnamon dusted nuts, so be sure to get a little bit of everything in each spoonful. And, even better, the trifle can rest in the refrigerator overnight, so it’s a perfect do-ahead holiday dessert.

Cranberry Orange Trifle with Candied Walnuts

While there are several components to this trifle, each one may be prepared in advance, and each one is stand alone good, so feel free to use them on their own. Serve in a trifle bowl or individual goblets. Makes 8-10 servings.

For the buttermilk pound cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Butter a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment; butter parchment. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl; set aside.
Beat sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add half of the flour, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour, mixing well to combine after each addition. Pour into loaf pan. Bake in oven until wooden skewer inserted in center comes clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely. Pound cake may be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate until use.

For the cranberry compote:
12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and release juices. Remove from heat and cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 4 days.

For the candied walnuts:
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange walnuts on a baking tray. Bake in oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Heat sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. As soon as it begins to dissolve, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is liquid and amber colored. Add walnuts and stir to coat. Add salt and cinnamon. Remove from heat and pour walnuts onto a baking tray lined with parchment or silpac sheet. Allow to cool completely. Break into pieces. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

For the orange mascarpone cream:
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, chilled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream and mascarpone in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until traces of whisk are visible. Add remaining ingredients and continue to beat until peaks form. Refrigerate until use. (May be made 4 hours in advance.)

Assemble the trifle:
Reserve a few whole cranberries from the compote for garnish. Pour a thin layer of cranberry compote into the bottom of the trifle dish or individual glasses. Cut the pound cake in 3/4 inch cubes. Arrange a layer of pound cake over the compote. Top with a layer of cream. Sprinkle with a few of the nuts. Repeat layering process, finishing with a layer of cream and nuts. Garnish with reserved cranberries and finely grated orange zest. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered up to 24 hours before serving.

Optional: Brush each layer of pound cake with Cointreau or Gran Marnier for an adult version of this dessert.

Holiday Pumpkin Pecan Roulade

Pumpkin Pecan Roulade with Orange Mascarpone Cream

The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to get dressed up. The silver needs polishing, the shoes need shining and the kids need scrubbing. Even our food gets dressed up, with stuffings and dressings, garnishes and twists. Nothing escapes scrutiny, including dessert where dustings and dollops are par for the course. And, in the spirit of fancifying, what is known as the ordinary cake roll becomes an elegant roulade at the Thanksgiving table.

What is the difference between a cake roll and roulade? you may ask. Well, nothing. Both terms describe a light cake which is rolled in a spiral with a creamy filling. Yet the blandly descriptive cake roll is what I might consider an afternoon dalliance. For my Thanksgiving dinner, I am inviting the roulade, a French term which elegantly and aptly sums up the nature of the dessert as the word itself rolls off the tongue. I want that dessert at our dressed up holiday table.

Language aside, there are other reasons to include a roulade on your menu. It’s elegant yet uncomplicated, remarkably easy to prepare with stunning results. It’s a no-fail recipe, which is a welcome relief during the holidays and frees up more time to dress ourselves up for the guests.

Pumpkin Pecan Roulade with Orange Mascarpone Cream
Inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten. Serves 8 to 10.

For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the filling:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Prepare cake:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.) Butter a 12 by 9 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper and dust with flour.
Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer until light and thick, 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and vanilla; mix until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until combined without over-mixing. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle pecans over batter. Bake in oven until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 12-14 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack 5 minutes. While the cake is cooling, lay a clean kitchen towel on the work surface. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar. Invert cake onto the sugared towel. Carefully peel away the parchment paper and discard. Starting at the long end, carefully roll up the cake, jelly-roll style, in the towel. Cool completely on the wire rack.

Prepare filling:
While the cake is cooling, combine mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar, cream and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in orange zest.

Assemble roulade:
Gently unroll cake on work surface. Spread filling evenly over cake with a spatula. Carefully roll the cake back up in the same direction, using the towel. Arrange seam-side down on a platter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut in 3/4 inch slices to serve.

Banana Coconut Bread

~ Banana Coconut Bread ~

In the mood for a pre-packaged healthy snack? Or how about a slice of quick bread to accompany a cup of tea? Look no further than the ubiquitous banana. All zipped up in its own skin (which doubles as a nifty handle) the banana is transportable as a nutritious snack on the go – naturally sweet and rich in potassium, magnesium, B and C vitamins. As bananas ripen, they soften and their sugar content and starch increases. At this point, blend the fruit  into a wholesome sweet bread or cake – or pop them un-peeled into the freezer to save for the proverbial rainy day when baking is requisite.

I prefer to eat bananas just under-ripe, while they are still firm and not overwhelmingly sweet. When they reach the mushy tipping point I toss them into a banana bread. While the ratios for my banana bread remain the same, I sometimes fiddle with the ingredients. This is a heartier recipe with a blend of whole wheat, all-purpose flour and a dusting of wheat germ. Coconut flakes add texture and a tropical brightness. If I were feeling naughtier, I would have added chocolate chunks, but somehow I managed to behave myself. How do you prefer your bananas?

Banana Coconut Bread

Makes one large loaf.

3 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a loaf pan, line with parchment, and butter the parchment.
Mix the bananas and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the eggs until blended, and then mix in the oil, vanilla, and cinnamon until just combined.
Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in the coconut.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle additional coconut on the top. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes clean, about 55 minutes. If the cake is golden brown on top and still not entirely cooked, loosely cover with foil and continue to bake, checking every 10 minutes until done.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove the bread from loaf pan and cool completely.

Fig and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

Fig and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake



~
Upside-down baking is  irresistable to me, whether it’s in the form of a tarte tatin or a cake. The common denominator is a gorgeous, gooey caramelized bottom, which, once inverted, becomes the top. Nestled in the sticky caramel goodness are chunks of seasonal fruit, which release their juice and perfume the pastry, while studding the topping like jewels in a crown.

The other winning quality of upside-down desserts is that they are generously flexible with the seasons. In the fall, pears and apples are the fruit of choice. In the summer, stone fruit, figs and berries display their wonders. Mix and match to your taste. It’s impossible to go wrong.

~
Fig and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

Serves 8 to 10

1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
8 large figs, halved lengthwise
3 ounces raspberries
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (meal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Tightly wrap the bottom of the pan with foil.
2. Melt the 1/2 cup butter and the light brown sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine. Pour into the springform pan. Arrange the figs, cut side down in a circular pattern in the sugar. Fill in the gaps with the raspberries.
3. Mix the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl.
4. Beat the 3/4 cup butter and the granulated sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in 1/4 of the flour mixture to blend. Add the sour cream mixture and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix to thoroughly combine without overmixing.
5. Drop the cake batter over the fruit in large spoonfuls, then carefully spread the batter to cover the fruit and caramel.
6. Bake the cake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes then invert onto a plate. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.



Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

~
Flourless chocolate cake is the little black dress of desserts. Minimal, simple and universally pleasing, this go-to recipe is a classic. With a short list of ingredients, minus any flour,  you can whip this cake up in an hour. It’s a lighter version of my Sinfully Rich Chocolate Cake, which makes it more of an every day cake and a guaranteed hit with children. Serve simply naked or adorned with a dusting of sugar and a scoop of whipped cream.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

With so few ingredients, quality makes a difference. If possible, use a European-style butter such as Lurpak or Plugra and a high quality dark chocolate. I prefer Valrhona or Lindt. Serves 12.

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F. Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler over just-simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl; cool to lukewarm. Whisk in the egg yolks.
Beat egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Mix 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake until edges pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries

Strawberry Coriander Pound Cake

A while back I posted a recipe for an Orange Pound Cake perfumed with coriander, and I blamed it on the egg yolks. You see, I had 6 yolks in the refrigerator and felt compelled to use them up, so I came up with a recipe for an Orange Spiced Poundcake.

Well, now I can say that the Orange Spiced Poundcake made me do it. While the cake was pleasantly fresh with orange, it was elusively intriguing with its hint of coriander. I wanted more. So, in an eternal quest for perfection, I had another go at this cake. Instead of 6 yolks  and buttermilk, I used 3 whole eggs with whole milk, relying on a method by Rose Levy Beranbaum which I’ve used for years. Instead of orange juice, I simply added zest for brightness and stepped up the coriander note, not only in the cake batter, but in a syrup which I used to baste the cake. To top it off, I added strawberries to some of the left over syrup and left them to macerate while the cake cooled, before spooning them over slices of the cake. Fruity, spiced and light, this is a luscious springtime dessert which embraces the coriander spice and takes advantage of the season’s strawberries.

Coriander Spiced Pound Cake with Strawberries
Makes one loaf – approximately 8 servings

For the syrup:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped

For the pound cake:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 pound strawberries, hulled, quartered
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
Orange zest, for garnish

Prepare the syrup:
Combine the sugar, water, and ground coriander seeds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool completely before straining. Once cool, strain the syrup into a bowl and set aside.

Prepare the pound cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl.
3. Briefly mix the flour, sugar, coriander, baking powder, and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer to blend. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute to aerate. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack. Brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack and brush the sides and bottom of the cake with the syrup. Cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)
5. While the cake is cooling, toss the remaining syrup with the strawberries in a bowl. Beat the cream and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
6. To serve, cut the pound cake into 3/4-inch slices. Spoon some of the strawberries with syrup over the cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with orange zest.

 

Orange Spiced Pound Cake

Orange Spiced Pound Cake


Orange Spiced Pound Cake

The egg yolks made me do it. Do you ever have an ingredient you feel compelled to use, and end up building an entire recipe around the singular ingredient? That’s how I came about this recipe for an Orange Spiced Pound Cake. I had 6 egg yolks sitting forlornly in my refrigerator, cast aside when I needed just as many egg whites to create a salt crust for a whole-baked salmon. I couldn’t throw them away, so I decided to make a pound cake. It was a bit of an experiment, because normally I use 3 whole eggs in a pound cake, and this time I substituted 6 yolks instead.

Anticipating a yellow-tinged cake enhanced by the yolks, I decided to run with it. Instead of my go-to lemon, I added orange juice and zest which would be visually asserted by the rich cake color. Since oranges are sweeter and rounder than puckery lemons, I added a teaspoon of coriander to ground the orange flavor. The result was a softly sweet and light cake, redolent of orange with a faint hint of earthy spice. Best of all? It had a rich and beautiful color.

Orange Spiced Pound Cake
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a cake or loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment and butter parchment. Dust with flour.
Combine sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lightened. Whisk into the sugar and butter.
Combine buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, coriander and salt together in another bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour to the eggs, mixing well to combine. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and continue to alternate, finishing with the flour. Mix in the orange zest. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in center comes clean, about 1 hour. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)

Aebleskivers

Aebleskivers

aebleskivers tf011

Danish Æbleskivers

Referred to as pancakes, dumplings or even doughnut holes in English, æbleskivers are served as a treat throughout the month of December, almost always with a glass of gløgg.

Makes 20.

1  1/2 cups whole milk
.6 ounce fresh yeast (1 cake) or 1 envelope dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 vanilla bean
2 eggs, separated

Unsalted butter
Raspberry or strawberry preserves
Powder sugar

Heat milk in a small saucepan until lukewarm.  Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl.  Add yeast and let it dissolve.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and cardamon in a medium bowl.  Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg yolks into the milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix well. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until stiff.  Fold into batter.  Let rest one hour at room temperature.
Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in each indentation of an aebleskiver pan over medium heat.  Pour batter into each indentation, about 2/3 full.  Cook until golden brown underneath, 3-4 minutes.  Using a knife or skewer, turn aebleskiver over and continue to cook until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove æbleskivers from pan, and repeat with remaining batter.  Serve æbleskivers with powdered sugar and preserves  – and a glass of steaming gløgg.

Note:
An aebleskiver pan is a stovetop pan with 6 or 8 holes/indentations. While non-stick is available, choose a cast iron pan for best results.