Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate Whiskey Rum Bundt Cake

So I just watched the movie High Fidelity for the first time. It's fabulous
My favorite part of the film is this concept about The Top Five. In the film, your Top Five is a crucial part of your identity, a musical litmus test of your hipness, snobbishness and finally, personality. I've been thinking about my Top Five: 

Joni Mitchell     

Amy Winehouse
Bob Schneider

And then I'm stuck. I like all these whiny singer-songwriters, and I feel like I need a real BAND to complete my list. The thing is, I love so much, and picking my fifth... It's too hard. Maybe Louie Armstrong, but he's not a band. I kind of have this serious thing for The Rolling Stones. I'm actually reading this book right now: 

It's really interesting. It's also very, very long. He did a lot of drugs.

Anyways, I'm just not sure about who my fifth is.

On a similar musical note, since winter break began, I've rediscovered my adoration of Earth Wind & Fire:

It's kind of embarrassing. 
I love it.

I don't think that Earth Wind & Fire is exactly Top Five material for me. Maybe Top Ten, but no one cares about your Top Ten. I don't think my love of Earth Wind & Fire would impress the music snobs in High Fidelity. Actually I doubt that any of my Top Four + One I Haven't Figured Out Yet will impress anyone, music snob or not. 


Anyways, I started wondering what's in my Top Five of Favorite Things to Cook/Bake:

Scrambled Eggs
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Homemade Spinach Pasta
Desserts With Rum and Whiskey

Desserts with Rum and Whiskey are undoubtably The Best. There is something about the boozy, luscious quality of the liquor, that when paired with sugar and flour and butter, simply equals perfection. 

This Chocolate Whiskey Rum Bundt Cake is no exception. 

I mean, this cake is basically the reason to have a Top Five of Favorite Things to Cook. 

This recipe calls for American Whiskey, and forgive me, but I am not really a snob about liquor and figured no one would never be able to taste any difference, so I used what was left of our Irish Whiskey and then some Rum, because I really like Rum, and because I couldn't find any American Whiskey in our kitchen.  Anyways, as soon as I had combined this inventive duo with the rest of the batter, my brother informed me that we had a massive handle of Maker's Mark in the pantry. C'est la vie. 

Also, I added frosting, because obviously, a Chocolate Whiskey Rum Cake is not decadent enough. 

Also, did you know you can spell Whiskey two ways? Whiskey with and 'e' and Whisky without an 'e'. 

Who and what are in your Top Fives? 


Chocolate Whiskey Rum Bundt Cake
barely adapted from Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl 

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), plus 3 tablespoons for dusting pan
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee
1/2 cup American whiskey (Or Irish Whiskey or Rum or a combination of them all or whatever)
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 325 F. Butter Bundt pan well, then dust with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder; knocking out excess.
Combine coffee, whiskey, butter, and remaining 1 cup cocoa powder in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and heat over moderate heat, whisking, until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add sugar, and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool for 5 minutes. 
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into warm chocolate mixture until well combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). 
Pour batter into Bundt pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack. 
Run a thin knife around sides of pan, then invert cake onto a rack. Sift confectioners' sugar over cake OR frost with My Favorite Chocolate Frosting. 

My Favorite Chocolate Frosting


Adding this frosting unfortunately makes this cake look like a large chocolate doughnut. Which is okay. Only, massive doughnuts however delicious they actually are, are not photogenic or attractive looking. Also, sprinkles are always nice. 

1 cup butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add enough milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost and sprinklelify. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Swedish Visiting Cake

There is so much in world to be a snob about:

Basically Anything You Can Imbibe
Language i.e. usage of certain swear words as well as the words "like," "dude," "y'all" and "guys"

and in my case


I am a cake snob. The worst kind of snob.

Here is how you know if you are a cake snob:
You are at someone's party, usually a birthday party, usually for someone you don't know to well, because all of your friends are hopefully cake snobs as well. Anyways, the party is kind of boring, and the entire time you look forward to the cake, because cake should always be the high point of any party. Anyways, you wait and wait and wait until finally someone gets it together and lights some candles and stuff and you sing happy birthday and you see the cake and literally your mouth falls open in disappointment. Because it is from the supermarket there are strange technicolor frosting flowers all over it and too much frosting and no class and over-decoration and then the actual cake itself is too sweet and flavorless bland stale stale stale sweetness.

And life feels completely meaningless.

You will never have this problem with this cake.

I promise.
I suggest you defriend your non-cake-snob friends on facebook and hope they don't invite you to any more lame ass parties with lame ass cake. Alternatively, you could just offer to make it for your non-cake-snob friend's parties and then they will love you and your cake snob friends will love you. And it will just be lots of love + cake.
Which is an infinitely good thing.


Swedish Visiting Cake 
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 8 to 10 servings

This is simple and glorious. I added cranberries, for pizzazz and holiday festivity. Also there is no frosting, which is always a plus, and it is dense and moist and sweet and takes no time to make or bake and between the two of us my mother and I managed to eat more than half of it, basically in one sitting. Which is kind of embarrassing and awesome at the same time. Mostly awesome. 

1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not)

Cranberries (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch cake pan or even a pie pan.
Pour the sugar into a medium bowl.  Add the zest and blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended.  Whisk in the salt and the extracts.  Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour.  Finally, fold in the melted butter.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar.  If you're using a cake or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.
Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist.  Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it.  You can serve the cake warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.