Chocolate Stout Cake

St. Patrick’s Day is in less than a week and as someone with predominantly Irish heritage, I always enjoy celebrating the holiday with some Irish inspired dishes. This week, I’ll be sharing with you some Irish dishes that you can make to celebrate too!

I spotted this recipe, a chocolate stout cake, on one of my new favorite baking blogs, Sweetapolita, a week or so ago and realized I had all the ingredients on hand to make it. Few things go together better than chocolate and Guinness and then add the fact that you can eat them together in cake form. Brilliant!

Start this cake by measuring and cutting parchment paper to line the bottoms of two round cake pans. Then spray the pans with baking spray.

Heat the Guinness and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts.

Remove it from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.

Pour it into a separate bowl and set it aside to cool completely (I put mine in the fridge to speed up the cooling process).

In a medium size bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In an electric mixer, mix together the eggs and sour cream until well combined.

Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix until well combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and combine on low speed.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Once cooled, frost with the whipped vanilla bean frosting.

This cake was delicious. It tasted chocolaty but also had another layer of flavor from the Guinness. There is a visible difference between my cake and the one from Sweetapolita, my cake is lighter in color. I think I may have needed a darker cocoa powder but I couldn’t find any at the grocery store. I may have to start ordering some baking ingredients online in order to get what I truly need.

The frosting was sensational! Creamy and light and the addition of the vanilla bean was a great idea, it looked like vanilla bean ice cream covering the cake. The flavor in the icing paired very well with the cake. All in all, a simple and delicious recipe and perfect for your St. Patty’s Day celebration!

The recipes for both cake and frosting can be found at Sweetapolita.com.

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, I decided to be a nice co-worker and make red velvet cupcakes to take into the office. I would have rather made a red velvet cake, but the cupcakes are so much better for sharing. I found really cute cupcake wrappers at the grocery store which made the cupcakes even more special.

I found a recipe from Paula Deen, because Southern ladies know their red velvet, and got to work.

Start the recipe by sifting together the dry ingredients.

Using an electric mixer, mix together all the wet ingredients, including the red food coloring and vinegar. Slowly work the dry ingredients into the wet ones.

Once the batter is well incorporated, scoop into the prepared cupcake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before icing.

I prefer my red velvet cake with butter cream icing, as opposed to the more popular cream cheese. So I whipped up a batch of my favorite butter cream and piped it on top.

I don’t think I’ll use this recipe again, they were decent but not good. I felt the cupcakes lacked in flavor overall and I while I baked them I thought I should have added more cocoa than the recipe called for, but talked myself out of it. I usually like to follow a recipe the first time I make it and then makes notes afterward about how it turned out for the next time I make it.

Even thought they didn’t taste amazing, they certainly were pretty and put everyone at the office in a Valentine’s mood!

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Print
Author: Paula Deen
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

 

Sugar Cookies

I have launched a full search for the perfect sugar cookie this holiday season. Typically, I make flatter, chewy sugar cookies and decorate the tops of them with colored sugar and holiday candies. These are one of my favorites because of all the butter and sugar but they also look beautiful with all the sugars however I’m hoping to make a sugar cookie this year that includes icing. I have considered the cookies that you roll out and cut with cookie cutters but I honestly don’t like that sometimes those cookies are hard, I’m a soft and chewy cookie person. This week I attempted the old fashioned cake-like sugar cookie and topped it with a white frosting.

I have bought these types of cookies at the grocery store before and was attempting to duplicate those. This recipes is a typical cookie recipe, its simple and straight forward with few steps. All you truly need is an electric mixer and a recipe to follow and anyone can make it.

Start the recipe by creaming the sugar and butter with an electric mixer.

 

Add the eggs and mix well after each. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the milk, alternating with the dry ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are well combined, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Chill the dough for up to an hour.

Once chilled, scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet (parchment paper truly does save your cookie sheets and extend their life!).

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the cookies spring back quickly when you touch the top lightly with your finger.

Allow the cookies to cool completely and while you’re waiting, mix up the icing.

Simply mix together all the ingredients, adding the powdered sugar in slowly. Add enough milk until the frosting is the consistency you like.

Ice the cooled cookies using a pastry bag and round pastry tip. Sprinkle lightly with large white sugar.

While these cookies were good, they weren’t amazing. I felt the cookies themselves were too bland and needed something extra. Eric mentioned that he thought that were “too cakey” though I liked that quality about them; I think it pairs well with the frosting. I got no complaints about the frosting!

 

Here’s the recipe:

Cake Sugar Cookies with Frosting
Print
Author: Red Velvet
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • Cookies:
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cup powedered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each.
  3. Add in the vanilla, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  4. Add the milk and flour alternating and mixing well.
  5. Chill for up to 1 hour.
  6. Spoon onto greased or lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until just beginning to brown.
  7. Frosting:
  8. Cream butter and powdered sugar.
  9. Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  10. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Mix well until it has reached desired consistency.
  11. Top cooled cookies with frosting and clear sugar crystals.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping and Gingersnap Crust

My in-laws were scheduled to visit a couple weekends ago and typically I plan a nice meal to cook for them. This is always an interesting challenge for me because my mother-in-law is gluten free. I always try to make something that she wouldn’t normally think of. Steak, rice, veggies and ice cream is an example of what I would qualify has a “typical” gluten free meal. The main course is usually simple to come up with as well as the side dishes but dessert is always an exciting challenge.

This time, as I wandered through the grocery store, ideas began to come together in my head. First I thought I’d attempt to find a pre-made gluten free pie crust in the frozen gluten free section and that I’d make a pumpkin pie. I already had pumpkin at home and haven’t eaten any pumpkin pie yet this Fall. Alas, there were no gluten free pie shells to be found. But a box of gluten free ginger snaps caught my eye. Then I thought, “Pumpkin pie with ginger snap crust!” But still wasn’t being wowed by that possibility. My mind then went to cheesecake with ginger snap crust and then pumpkin cheesecake popped in; brilliant! I pulled out my iPhone and did a quick search on my Epicurious app for pumpkin cheesecake and came across a recipe that had a marshmallow and sour cream topping. SOLD. I grabbed the gluten free ginger snaps and headed to the dairy section to get lots and lots of cream cheese.

After arriving home with my booty, I immediately got to work on the cheesecake. For the crust, I put all the ginger snaps into the food processor and pulsed it until they were crumbs.

Add in the melted butter and sugar and mix well.

Pour the crust into the bottom of a springform pan and pat down well going a couple inches up the sides.

Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out of the oven and allow to cool while you mix up the filling.

In an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

Add the pumpkin and mix well; followed by the eggs, one at a time.

Add the dry ingredients, to make this recipe gluten free, substitute corn starch for the 3 tablespoons of flour.

Add the vanilla and mix well.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.

The following day, make the marshmallow topping by melting miniature marshmallows and milk over low heat.

Stir in the vanilla and salt and then take off the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Once cool, mix the sour cream into the marshmallow mixture until just combined and pour over the top of the cheesecake. Leave about an inch around the edges to give the cheesecake a nice look.

Chill the cake for at least an hour to allow the topping to set.

Slice and serve!

The cheesecake was amazing. The marshmallow and sour cream topping gave it an incredible flavor and added the perfect extra. The pumpkin flavor was delicious and almost the same as pumpkin pie but with the creaminess of the cheesecake. And the gluten free crust? I didn’t notice a difference; the ginger snaps were the perfect compliment to the pumpkin flavors.

Make this cheesecake, you won’t regret it!

Here’s the recipe from Epicurious.com:

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Marshmallow Topping
Print
Author: Epicurious.com
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 2 hours 30 mins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • For crust:
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 cup pecans (about 3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • For filling:
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • For topping:
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows or large marshmallows cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. Crust:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Grind cookie crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; using on/off turns, process to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Filling:
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate each addition. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat just to blend. Beat in vanilla. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack (filling will move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust. Chill cheesecake uncovered in pan overnight.
  5. Topping:
  6. Stir marshmallows and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Cool marshmallow mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add sour cream to marshmallow mixture; fold gently just to blend. Pour topping over cheesecake and spread evenly, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edges. Chill to set topping, at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Cheesecake can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.