Tag Archives: Desserts

Pippa Middleton Eats Cake. This Cake.

16 Apr

chocolate Guinness cake

I keep coming accross different representations of the same quote on Pinterest: “If you want to know where your heart is, look where your mind goes when it wanders.” If true, my heart might be in entertaining because my new medium of procrastination is tweaking recipes and hosting gatherings where I can have others help me ingest all the goodies I’m making!

On Sunday night, I had some friends over for dinner and as an entertainer extraordinaire I had to ensure my friends had something homemade for dessert. What’s dinner without dessert anyway? This is what I told myself, but really I had been longing to make chocolate cake and needed some help eating it. Just kidding. Ok, maybe I’m being a little bit honest here.

It was a delicious dinner and a great start to a week that I have promised myself not to include much deviation from my productive schedule. Of course, every good dinner comes with even better conversations.

Between bites of cake, one of my friends says: “Have you heard about this lady that spent $10k in plastic surgery to get Pippa Middleton’s butt?” Well, yes. “This cake is delicious by the way. 10 points for you and Pippa’s butt.”

Ever since the Royal Wedding, Pippa Middleton’s behind has had a great following worldwide. Plastic surgeons are banking on the Pippa buttlift, personal trainers are helping women break a sweat with the Pippa Middleton boot-y camp and a group of highly regarded intellectuals with a specialty in aesthetics have founded the Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society on Facebook.

I guess no one has broken the news yet that the secret to Pippa’s sought-after bottom is actually in the Guinness chocolate cake I made this weekend. Ok, so this might not be exactly true but I am sure that as an English gal Pippa does enjoy a proper pint of stout. And well it’s safe to say that very few ladies do not enjoy a good serving of chocolate.

I have tried a few chocolate cake recipes and I must tell you, this is probably the most deliciously light and moist chocolate cake I have ever baked. It is definitely worthy of the palates of today’s royals, socialites and commoners alike.  There’s a cup of Guinness in it that can be substituted for strongly brewed coffee, although I advise against it since the Guinness really brings out the chocolate flavor.  And well, why choose coffee over Guinness?

chocolate Guinness cake

Pippa’s Guinness Chocolate Cake (with Guinness-Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus about 2 teaspoons for dusting the cake pans)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Guinness

For the frosting:

8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons Guinness

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the pans with about a teaspoon of flour for each pan and gently tap out any excess (there’s a good tutorial for doing this here). Preheat the oven to 350°.

Sift together the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix everything for about a minute at low speed using the paddle attachment. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Heat up the the Guinness in the microwave for about a minute. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the Guinness until fully incorporated.

Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the enter of each cake comes out clean). Allow the cakes to cool, in the pans, for about 30 minutes. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper and discard.

In the meantime, melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler or use a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir the chocolate chips until completely melted, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Using the electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the vanilla and beat for about 1 minute, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula. Slowly beat in the confectioner’s sugar at low speed, for about 1 minute. Add the Guinness to the melted chocolate and mix until well incorporated. Slowly beat this mixture into the butter until just combined.

Set a cake layer on a serving plate or cake tray, flat side down. Level the cake using a serrated knife. Evenly spread about one third of the frosting over the cake just until you reach the edge. Level the second cake and place on top of the frosted cake. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and cover the sides of the cake.

Enjoy responsibly and in moderation.

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Life is Sweet When We Are All Alone

11 Sep

It’s a pity It’s a crying shame
He pulled you down again
How painful it must be
To bruise so easily
Inside
It’s a pity it’s a downright crime
It happens all the time

But don’t cry
You know the tears will do no good
So dry your eyes
They told you life is hard
Misery from the start, it’s dull
It’s slow, it’s painful
But I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
There’s so much more, be grateful.

Excerpt from Life is Sweet  by Natalie Merchant

Sweet Cherry Tomato Pocket Pies

20 Jul

Sweet Cherry Tomato Pocket Pie with Ricotta Cheese Cream

Who said tomatoes can only be eaten in savory dishes?

A couple of years ago, I had candied tomatoes for dessert at a small restaurant in my hometown. It was the first time I had ever had or seen this kind of tomato dish, and it sure made an everlasting impression on me. I picked up some cherry tomatoes at the grocery store the other day, and thought, why not make them into a sweet cherry tomato pie?

Williams-Sonoma Star Pocket Pie Mold

I was running a couple of errands yesterday afternoon and was lured into Williams-Sonoma by a big “SALE” sign on the window. I found this star pocket pie mold on sale for $4.99, and of course grabbed it for my sweet cherry tomato pie recipe.

Just make sure you have a couple of hours to spare before starting this recipe. It is simple, yet time consuming.

Sweet Cherry Tomato Pocket Pies

Makes about 8 pocket pies

Pie Crust

Follow this traditional pie crust recipe or use store-bought pie crust dough if desired.

Sweet Cherry Tomato Filling
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup of sugar
3 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp lemon zest
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of Kosher salt

Add ingredients to a saucepan big enough to hold tomatoes in one layer. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and ladle about 1 ½ cups of liquid off the pan. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Once tomatoes are very tender, remove from pan without liquid. Discard cinnamon sticks. Reduce liquid over high heat to half its volume. Add tomatoes, stir and let stand for a couple of minutes until cool.

Sweet Ricotta Cream

½ cup ricotta cheese
Confectioner’s sugar (to taste)
¼  tsp vanilla extract

Whisk ingredients together until well blended. Start with 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar and continue adding sugar until desired sweetness is reached.

To Assemble Pocket Pies

Roll out pie crust dough on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour and cut out star shapes using both sides of the Williams-Sonoma Pocket Pie Mold. The small star cutout on one side will serve as a vent when baking.

Place solid star-shaped dough on smooth side of the mold, gently press it down and fill with about 1-2 sweet cherry tomatoes. Brush the sides of the crust with egg wash, place a piece of dough with small star cutout on top and close mold to seal and crimp pie.

Place pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm with sweet ricotta cream and enjoy!

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