Saturday, January 26, 2013

Some Baby Videos for Loved Ones Not on the Facebook

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I am now the proud owner of a 9 month and 29 day old walking baby :)


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Madeleine LOVES Gene Kelly.   Which is great.  This dance in particular (Newspaper Dance from SUMMER STOCK) gets her super bouncy :)


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And this is just a sweet little video of my dad playing ukulele while holding her.

The Very Best Chocolate Cake

A week ago it was my boyfriend's birthday.  He wanted fettuccine alfredo for dinner (more on that in my next blog) but I needed to find the recipe I was going to use for dessert.  Fortunately, the amazing guys over at thebittenword.com, Clay and Zach, posted a recipe for a chocolate stout cake that I pinned from pinterest awhile back.

This was clearly the time to make that cake!

I have a lot to say about this cake.  Mostly it's just inarticulate moaning w/ my mouth full of cake, but I'm reposting the recipe here w/ my observations in case you want to enjoy some foodgasms of your own.

Chocolate Stout Cake
From The Bitten Word

Servings: Makes 12 servings. (at least!)
Ingredients
Cake
2 cups stout (I used Guinness) (as I know Ian McCafferty would want me to)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter (I used salted.  didn't seem to ruin anything)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
Icing
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preparation
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.
For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

First, let me say: this is an ENORMOUS cake!!  (see photo for perspective)  If you are not planning on having 15 people over for cake you're gonna want to cut the recipe in half.  At least.  It's been 6 days and there's still cake downstairs.  If you know anything about me, you will know that's a long time for there to still be cake in my house.  We have been giving this cake away.  Seriously: I put an ad on our online neighborhood forum inviting people to come over for cake (and they did).  My mom even gave a piece away to the UPS guy!!
Second, if you are like me, you normally think that cake is just a vehicle for frosting.  This is not the case w/ this cake.  The frosting for this recipe is brilliant, but it's practically fudge.  I could tell the cake was going to be big (they do tell you to use 3 pans) so I thought I should make a lot of frosting; more than the recipe required.  Double it?  Maybe more?  I dunno, I got carried away and sent my brother downstairs to his apartment for more chocolate to use.
Don't make this mistake!  This frosting is so intense it really works better as a thin layer.  Maybe even don't wait for it to cool, just pour it over like a glaze.
It's super tasty, but I might be a diabetic now after eating it all week.
Third, I love the suggestion to use the parchment paper.  Made it very easy to get the cake out and kept the bottom of the cake in good form.  I didn't butter the paper, though, I used Pam.  I started to, but then it felt as awkward as me trying to wax my own legs and I moved on.  But I plan to use parchment paper as a base in my baked goods from now on.
Finally, I am right now living with my parents for the first year of my daughter's life so most of my kitchen stuff is in storage.  As a result I got some baking tins from the grocery store.  I knew I was supposed to get 8 inch diameter tins but I didn't write that they also needed to be 2 inches in height.  It didn't occur to me that they would make different height tins.  So the cakes all kind of bubbled up and over since the pans were too short.  So make sure your pans are the right height.
Otherwise, I say: MAKE THIS CAKE!!  It was an easy recipe to follow, it tastes BRILLIANT, and makes you look like a superstar.
Let me know how it works out for you :)