Just a Reminder – Chocolate Guinness Cake Day

guinnesscakeExperimentation: chocolate cakes and communicators | Full Circle Associates. Keeping on my reblogging of this St. Paddy’s day treat.

This year I used a different recipe, and then altered it for a slightly healthier version.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder – I upped the antioxident power to 1 cup. I love chocolate…
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened – I used one stick of butter plus 3 tbs and 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar – I used just over a cup of coconut sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Guinness stout (do not include foam when measuring)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans – I added a bit more nuts, plus 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan or springform pan. Dust the pan with flour.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine, and set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat at high speed until very light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the stout in two additions and mixing just until blended. Add the pecans and mix just until combined. Remove bowl from the mixer stand and stir a few times with the rubber spatula to make sure the batter is evenly blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

4. Bake the cake for 70 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. I cooked mine for 70 minutes in a convection oven. 

5. Invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely. With the springform pan, I just slipped the bottom out. This cake is delightful served warm.

6. Just before serving, dust the top of the cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. I did consider making the cream cheese frosting from the NYTimes version, but I resisted. Have a bit of Guinness with your cake as a beverage choice, or a nice cup of coffee!


From: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipes/cookbook/choc_guinness_cake.html

Happy Holidays (and make some great fudge candy!)

Fudge Dark, rich and sweet Fudge!

fudgeThis is the recipe my family has been making for the holidays FOREVER! (Well, at least for the last 40 or 50 years!) Since I am spending time with family and not so much blogging, I thought it would be good to share the recipe yet again.

Put in large bowl (really big, big, big) to allow stirring room:

  • 3 packages chocolate chips – 36 oz. total I recommend Nestles or Guittard — don’t go cheap!
  • 1 8-oz jar marshmallow cream – if you can only find 7 oz jars, that’s OK
  • 2 cubes butter- buy a brand name — sometimes the cheap stuff is full of water and it will ruin the fudge — very sad
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Have ready at hand

  • 2 cups chopped nuts optional — you can even add coconut!

Put in large kettle. Again, I mean big – the mixture boils up to four times it’s original volume as you cook it!

  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk – not skim or lowfat!

Bring the sugar/milk mix to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Cook a full eight minutes timed once the mixture comes to a boil — critical!!!.

Take off heat and pour over chocolate/butter/marshmallow  mixture.  Beat with mixer until creamy. Add nuts and spread in a pan to cool. Lick the bowl and beaters before washing!

I like to use a cookie sheet with high edges, but the size of pan depends on how thick you like your fudge. Mine is about 13×24. My siblings use smaller pans. My mom uses two Pyrex pans. Cut into pieces and enjoy! I like to put each piece in a little candy paper and pack into pretty packages to give away. But some years, the fudge is gone before that happens.


What I Did in Hawaii – the real truth

Alan Levine, aka Cogdog, took this funny picture of me while we were at a “tweet-up” dinner at EdMedia 09 in Hawaii in June.  I really enjoyed the dinner, new friends, conversation, and of course the chocolate cake.

Consider this a gratuitously off topic Fourth of July post!

Experimentation: chocolate cakes and communicators

I made a really great chocolate Guinness cake last night, and I was trying to figure out how to weave it in with the rambly theme of my blog. After all, this isn’t a food blog, as much as I love food.

I had tweeted that I was going to make this cake in celebration of our finally naming “the book,” and I was amazed how many people wanted the recipe. I kept sending the recipe url to people who tweeted in reply.

It is interesting what captures our attention, what stimulates us to want to experiment.

Is it the chocolate? The Guinness? The cake? Cooking? Food? In any case, the interest prompted me to blog about the cake. Oh, and the cake is really good – though I’d suggest using a little less butter. I added some grated unsweetened coconut and I’d suggest adding some chopped, roasted pecans as well. I substituted mascarpone for the cream cheese in the icing (because that’s what I had on hand) which makes a subtler icing. I think I’d prefer the cream cheese!

What gets us moving beyond our customary habits and patterns?

Recently many people have complained they have not been able to hear me properly on VOiP or telephone calls. I swapped headsets, but with no discernible result. (My telephone is also VOiP.) When I talked on my phone with out headsets, sometimes it made things better, sometimes it didn’t. My son has some fancy-pants headsets he uses as a gamer, and I was going to try them, thinking perhaps the mic plug on my computer was the problem and that might help me figure it out. But I just procrastinated finding a definitive solution. There were too many other things on my to do list.

Then in the mail a box arrives with a Polycom Communicator 100s, courtesy of a conference call company I use. It is not something I would have bought myself (pricey) and it is like a speaker phone, so intuitively I would have thought headsets would be better. But because it was here, in front of me, I tried it. And wow, it worked pretty darn well with my initial test calls.

The cake? Someone blogged about it (and darn, I can’t remember where I saw it) and my curiosity was piqued. I love chocolate and my husband enjoys his Guinness. But if the idea had not shown up in front of my, in my business, I would have never sought it out.

In our busy lives, sometimes it takes a ping, a tweet, a box in the mail, to pull us out of our traditional trajectories and get us to try something new. And what a wonderful and productive, chocolately surprise that can be.

What brought your head up for a new view today?

Virtual Love Children

yummy dummy chocolatesThis post from the sparky, smart and witty Vicki Scholtz is the best chuckle of the day for me. This post is a response to participation in the recent e/Merge 2008 which I blogged about last week.

Carnivorous Cow | Repassionated
“Maybe that’s it,” Keitu admitted. “Maybe it was exactly that notion that resonated – a kind of Woodstocky feel only with better hair and cooler clothes, and far nicer toys. But that sense of idealism, of belief, of… of passion! Somehow, although I let it go, it wouldn’t let me go!”

Bob chuckled. “You’re talking about Howard sitting barefooted under his plum tree! I wonder how many fermented plums you’ve been eating…!”

“Well,” Keitu admitted, “it makes a change from all the chocolate. Hey!” she looked up. “Do you think I could be the secret love child of Nancy White and Howard Rheingold?”