Tag Archives: dessert

12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Frosting Rehabilitation

23 May





It was colossus and had something called mint chocolate ganache in it. Totally seemed appropriate for a Friday night. Well totally just seemed appropriate in general. Chocolate seems to go with just about everything … especially if it’s three layers.

Granted that this ganache thing got messed up on my first attempt, even though I followed the directions, there it was all mushy and lumpy, looking nothing like the picture. It was sad really, a chocoholic failing at chocolate. I almost turned in my chocolate lover’s membership card.

After all these years of chocolate eating, I should know the chemistry behind the cacao bean and the hormonal changes it suffers when put under duress. I should know about the emulsification process and the ability to fix soggy, lumpy, or watery frosting disaster. I should know.

But I didn’t.

Eventually I figured out how to make it nice and smooth again. And when I say that I figured it out, I mean that I looked up baking failures on the Internet and someone with baking genius knowledge provided the answer. You know … like someone with mad baking skills that got tired of answering failure questions and just posted the answers on a page so that baking failures like myself could feel like a success again in two hours.

I almost killed the cake, but was able to turn it around, which is probably why it took me like half a day to bake this one. Usually when failure hits my baking experiments, I just have to throw it out and give up, or start over if I have enough butter. Luckily I found a secret ingredient and was able to make the miracle of smooth chocolate filling happen. I was also able to bookmark a web page that helped rehabilitate frosting failures like myself.

And I’m so glad I did, because in truth I wanted it to be a knee-buckling awesome type of cake. Not just because it was a mint chocolate chip lover’s dream, but because it was my sister’s birthday this week and I wanted to do something spectacular in her honor. I thought three layers … yeah that seems pretty honorable. Granted she lives like seven states away and wouldn’t be able to taste it, but I could still wish her a happy birthday and let her know I’m celebrating her in spirit and in a big way. With a huge slice.

So for the 11th cake, I discovered The Grasshopper. Something that once again required a paddle attachment, a baking tool that I do not have so I tend to improvise, a process that tends to help sculpt and tone my forearms.

It’s a chocolate workout.

The Grasshopper also required Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, something that was invading every block within a five-mile radius a few months ago. But something I could not find today. So once again I improvised. I used the famous Milano Mint Cookie. Something that my sister really enjoyed snacking on when we were younger.

But regardless of the number of substitutions, frosting failures, and strenuous amounts of manual labor, I eventually finished putting together this light and tasty three-layer chocolate goody. And even though it took me half a day, it was definitely worth it.


Recipe courtesy of Pass The Sushi.





12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Getting Drunk on Chocolate

25 Apr

To make up for last week’s chocolate disaster I wanted to make a change-your-life cake that would actually live up to its hype.

You know … make me breathe different. Make me change my state.

Now normally the frosting or the filling on the cakes blows me away and sort of takes over the chocolate challenge. But I gotta say this week the sweet stout-infused whipped cream frosting came in second to the amazingly moist light chocolate stout cake with a tender crumb that makes you close your eyes and sigh.

I thought beer was just good for burgers and carne asada.

Never cakes.

I mean I was a little worried considering my chocolate beet disaster from last week. I didn’t really want any surprise ingredients. And if you want to know the truth I’m not a real big stout drinker. All I knew about stout was that Guinness made one. My stout education was limited. So when I went to pick up a bottle stout for this recipe I had no idea which one was sad and which one would rock my world.

My pub expert TB Markinson lives way across the Atlantic Ocean and I didn’t realize I’d be stout shopping, otherwise I would have totally asked her for some guidance before today’s baking adventure began.

So after about thirty minutes of studying bottles and cool labels I asked the beer dude to give me some recommendations on good stout. He got into an apples and oranges discussion about preferences, textures, and finishes. Then the “say-what?” expression on my face made him realize I was a stout rookie and he just pointed me in the direction of Samuel Smith.






I could have easily eaten half of the cake and gotten drunk off of it … but I didn’t need to go into a sugar coma, so I showed some restraint and only ate two pieces.

I’m back on the saddle again. Giddy up.



This recipe is ginormous so unless you’re have a gazillion people I suggest you half the recipe and create a more modest two layer cake.


Recipe courtesy of Brooklyn Supper


Chocolate Stout Cake (adapted from Bon Appétit via Epicurious)
makes three 8-inch layers

for the cake
2 cups good stout, such as Samuel Smith’s or Guinness
4 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch cake pans, line bottom with a parchment circle, and then butter that too.

In a heavy-bottomed medium-sized sauce pan, heat the butter and stout over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, turn heat to low and whisk in the cocoa. Remove pan from heat, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.

Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sour cream together on low speed. Slowly add the cocoa mixture, mixing just until combined. (Scrape down the sides as needed.) Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat just until it is well-incorporated. Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and catch any stray flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, and then slide into the oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

After 10 minutes, flip the cakes onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

for the whipped cream stout frosting (adapted from Gourmet Live via Epicurious)
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup stout
3 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Use a mixer or whisk to beat all of the ingredients to stiff (but still supple) peaks. Frost and assemble the cake.

Keep in the refrigerator until your are ready to serve for optimal looks.

Weekly Image of Life Challenge: Red, White, and Blue

8 Jul
My tasty 4th of July dessert :)

My tasty 4th of July dessert 🙂



Enjoying my Martha Stewart effort.

Enjoying the red, white, and blue.

Enjoying every spoonful with my family.




Weekly Image of Life Challenge Courtesy of This Man’s Journey