Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patty's Day Cake!

It was a grand quest- though I must admit I was often distracted- often ambivalent- and even on during some times- totally disinterested. But then it would pop back into my path- and I would be once again reminded! But let me start from the beginning. And the beginning is a glass dome cake platter- on a pedestal even.

Part 1:
I saw this glass cake platter at the local "Glass Barn" and immediately had visions of it sitting on my table with some delicious cake or other waiting to be eaten. The "Glass Barn" is truly a cheap glass outlet that has all kinds of glass stuff at really cheap prices - I mean really cheap. This vision despite the reality that Don and I are neither terribly crazy about cake (Don much prefers pies) and of course when the kids were all home who has time to bake- and now that they're all gone cakes are just TOO BIG for just Don and I. So mostly the glass dome cake holder sits empty- only the promise of a cake- almost never a cake. Oh, from time to time I'd put some cake or other onto the platter- and would usually discard much when it became too dry to appeal even on the hungriest of afternoons. Those cakes were really pretty sitting under that dome, but eventually they just got thrown away. I mean, how much cake can two people eat?

Part 2:
Remember I told you about the hippie restaurant in Chicago- the Heartland Cafe--

Well what I didn't tell you- that on the desert menu (we were too full after our meal to eat any desert- so we didn't try anything)- Anyway- on the desert menu there was a cake that sounded interesting- very interesting- a CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE- I snapped a picture of the menu so I wouldn't forget the name- and we were off to another adventure in the Windy City- and this cake definitely to wait for another time.

Part 3: I have a soft spot for all things Irish. My best friend Clare and her husband Oliver (from Oklahoma City) would take me every year to the Irish Festival in Dallas- we'd go on the cheap- all 3 of us in the same room. And we would drink the Guinness. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Guinness. Why it coats so perfectly the whole mouth- so by the end of a day enjoying Irish music and dancing- and that wonderful, wonderful Guinness- my whole mouth would have the soft velvety coat of the dark beer. But there's just not much Irish here in Cincinnati. The Germans invaded, staked out their claim so we have Oktoberfest- German Beer Gardens- and of course sausage and Goetta... And about this time of the year I'm always a bit lonely for my Irish friends.... Cincinnati does have an annual St. Patrick's day parade and we went one year. Boy was that ever a bust. Mostly anybody that had a green hat walking down the street along with lots of political folks riding in cars. It was pretty awful.

But this year there is at least the CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE!
I found the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs:

I really think you'll like it. It's really, really, really good. So here goes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bundt pan being very careful to get butter in all the creases- I think I'll also try to flour my next time because my cake did stick in a couple of spots on top. 2. Combine 1 cup of Guinness and 1 cup of butter (2 sticks- don't substitute margarine) and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup of good quality unsweetened cocoa. Whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.

4. Whisk 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of sugar and 1.5 tsp of baking soda and 3/4 tsp of salt. Using an electric mixer (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer- how how I love my KitchenAid Stand Mixer!) to mix 2/3 cup of sour cream and 2 eggs. Add the Guinness mixture beating until mixed using the low speed. Add the flour mixture and mix briefly on the lowest speed. Now use a spatula to finish blending. Pour into prepared pan.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes- until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

6. Cool on rack while still in pan. Turn onto platter when cooled.
7.Now you're going to make the ganache to drizzle onto the cake.

Melt 60z of good semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tbs. of heavy creme and 3/4 tsp of instant espresso coffee over double boiler ( I just used a smaller pan sitting in a larger pan with boiling water in the larger pan because I can't remember where I put the double boiler that I use so seldom- but this worked just fine so I'm going to stop looking for the lost double boiler.) Drizzle the ganache over the cake.

And I will mention that Don was at work while I made this cake so-

Clean up was all mine- Yuck!

And of course if you bake a new cake you have to have "testers"- And I do have wonderful "testers'-

Actually Taylor was "cooking" his own playdough cookies.

And Sam was much more interested in her new talent at crawling about!

You got to love these pigtails!

But at least Mary did try the cake and claimed it to be wonderful. In fact she even took about a fourth of it with her. Thank goodness, she took it so we didn't have to throw it away. We have eaten more of it than almost any other cake Max has made in the last few years.

This was the week for PERFECT PRESENTS! First, Vickie sent us a venturi to aerate our wine-

Don administered a "blind" taste test- and it really, really, really works- I love it!

OK, for all of you who forgot your basic physics class: The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of pipe. The fluid velocity must increase through the constriction to satisfy the equation of continuity, while its pressure must decrease due to conservation of energy: the gain in kinetic energy is balanced by a drop in pressure or a pressure gradient force. An equation for the drop in pressure due to venturi effect may be derived from a combination of Bernoulli's principle and the equation of continuity.

A venturi can also be used to mix a liquid with a gas. If a pump for forces the liquid through a tube connected to a system consisting of a venturi to increase the water speed (the diameter decreases), a short piece of tube with a small hole in it, and last a venturi that decreases speed (so the pipe gets wider again), the gas will be sucked in through the small hole because of changes in pressure. At the end of the system, a mixture of liquid and gas will appear.

So to put it simply, you pour the wine through this little glass funnel and it sucks a lot of air into the wine as it goes through. The result is the wine being "smoothed" with the harsh flavors being removed. It actually works.

And then Amy sent me the most beautiful "charm" to wear- close to my heart- to remind me of our beautiful time in San Fran. I LOVE IT!



The Life and Times of Poose and Hawk said...

The cake looks DELICIOUS! And Don, i have no idea what you are talking about, sorry. Happy St. Patty's Day. 3 years ago Don and Clint shared green beer with baby Reeder!

vjb said...

Thank heavens you don't have to understand physics to appreciate what the Venturi does to wine. Happy drinking. Vicki

Lucas said...

I too have nothing to say but "Duhhhhhhh" after reading Don's science lesson. I must have had a big slice of stupid instead of a big slice of that delictable looking cake.

And I'm glad you liked the charm. Just thought you had to have it. Love you!

Beyond The Strip said...

The cake looks really yummy! Thanks for the physics recap!

lil sis said...

I know two people who could make a cake dissappear all on their own. I have seen it done with only the crubs left behind. With out naming any names, I gave birth to them and they are not Darby and Lucas!

Liz said...

Wow! I think I may try that recipe!