Peat bogs and holey cakes

Ohhhh I know…

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It’s a CAKE!

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[There’s a hole in this cake…]

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But… I fixed it!

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There is now a hole in this cake and alcohol as well. Because… why not?? Also because… Happy Belated, Vacuum Vati! He has this penchant for drinking scotch out of these special glasses (and I can tell what he’s had because it’s either scotch or graham crackers with milk. That’s random, you say…. but actually there is a method to his madness. The wide mouthed glasses let the scotch breathe properly and also are the appropriate width for graham cracker dippage). Actually it’s really fun to just tell him I know exactly what he’s been drinking and have him be slightly baffled as to how I know. Muahhaha. Exemplary powers of observation, that’s what that is. And mildly hilarious to watch him drink scotch and carefully put a coaster over the top of the aforementioned wide mouth glass to discourage escaping peat-boggishness. Because my mom rightfully dislikes the peat bog smell that emanates from certain bottles of superior scotch. He has a special peat-bog-discouraging coaster. It’s hilarious and I love it.

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And actually I essayed a teeny sip of scotch today and it was DISGUSTING. I coughed for days. It burns all the way down. BUT. Then you put it in chocolate cake. With coconut sugar. And chocolate. And five spice. And CARAMEL and ohmygod is it actually delicious. I mean really, how is cake NOT delicious. But this one is especially good.

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Many happy returns, Vacuum Vati! So pleased you like your peat-bog-chocoalte-caramel decadence. Because everyone deserves a little indulgence on their birthday!

Also ps: I was in Texas visiting fam for the last several weeks and I will put up some pictures eventually probably if they’ll ever load. So cake first, vacay second. I’m sure you’re just sitting on the edge of your chair waiting with bated breath…

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Chocolate Scotch Cake with Whiskey Caramel Glaze

Recipe adapted from Love and Olive Oil, here! Recipe yields a normal sized bundt cake. Refined sugar free (though it IS sweet, as per VV’s request), whole wheat, and healthy fats from the avocado oil. So it’s good for you! Uh. No. But indulge accordingly, because that’s what birthdays are for! Don’t worry–it’s not overly scotch-y, either. I like it quite a bit and I don’t even like scotch. It’s like chocolate cake that is deeper and richer than your average fair.

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Let’s get our cake on:

  • 1.5 c coconut sugar
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp five spice
  • 1 c lowfat buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c avocado oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 1/4 (or closer to 1/3… I went heavy handed) c good quality Scotch whiskey [preferably one that smells less like a peat bog]
  • 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips

For the caramel:

  • 1 c coconut sugar
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp Scotch whiskey

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Get yo’ cake on:

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease the living daylights out of a bundt pan. Standard bundt size is fine {I use coconut oil for greasing}. Combine 1 tbsp flour+1 tbsp cocoa powder, and flour the inside of the pan, tapping out all the excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, sifted cocoa, baking powder+soda, salt, and five spice until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, avocado oil, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and use an electric mixer to beat until just combined. Add water and scotch, and continue mixing until just barely incorporated (don’t over mix, puhhleeez). Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted into the fat part of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack in the pan until cool enough to handle, then flip out and cool completely (the cake, not you. I know the cake is fabby but don’t flip out. You can eat it… soon!!).

While the cake is baking, make the caramel! In a high-sided sauce pan over medium-high heat, add sugar and cream of tartar. Pour water around the edges and bring to a boil, then cover and let sit for 2 minutes (the steam melts the sugar evenly). Uncover, and boil for a few minutes more, until frothy. It should NOT smell burnt, just delicious. Remove from heat, whisk in cream and butter until the lumps are gone (carefully, it can splatter). Return to heat and whisk a few minutes more until smooth. Remove from heat again, and cool in a heat proof container until ready to use, preferably an hour or two to let it thicken.

Pour about half the glaze over the cooled cake once you’re ready to serve! Then slice away and drizzle mooooore caramel over the individual slices because why not?? Because caramel, that’s why. Eat immediately. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for longer cake preservation… if you’re crazy enough to have leftovers.

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Happy Birthday, Vaccuum Vati!!

Happy Birthday, Vaccuum Vati!

Whaat. October already?! Sheeesh.

Time to bust out the pumpkin, ahhh yeahhh. Because as we know, I am the Queen of Orange.

But before we do that (and because of this ridiculous Indian Summer we’ve got going here: a hundred degrees in October?! Excuse me?! We know I loathe hot weather. Can’t it just be fall already?? I can’t quite do pumpkin until it’s at least a little cold-ish)… I bring you the end of Birthday Month!! Slightly belatedly, but hey–better late than never. So with that in mind, here’s this little bit of deliciousness: Vaccuum Vati’s birthday cake!!

mmm

As per request, things got a leeeetle spiiiicayyy up in hurrr since Vati wanted cayenne pepper in some form of dessertness. I thought about brownies for a split second but nahhh, why make brownies when you can make cake?! Pssh. Brownies. It’s a birthday, after all.

I’ve never baked with cayenne before, though I’ve had desserts where it was sneakily present.

hehhe.. edge on!

I think I’ve decided I like it, at least in this cake—the pepper sneaks in subtly, rather than punching you in the face going “I’M SPICY! EAT ME AND CLEAR YOUR SINUSES, PITIFUL HUMAN!” Or at least that’s what a lot of those less subtle desserts feel like to me… sort of like the sea salt and vinegar Kettle Chips. But I digress. This cake is super hydrated (remember, we don’t like the m-word), rich, chocolately and spicy. Just sweet enough (though I didn’t cut the sugar on this one as per request as well, as SOMEONE has an (inherited, I’m sure) sweet tooth the size of Texas). And the frosting?! Oh yes. The frosting. Hooooly crap. I had to save myself from cleaning the bowl out with my face, it is that good. Maybe if you make this,  double the frosting and save the second bowl for something creative. I don’t know, like eating with a spoon or something, with a token graham cracker so you pretend you’re using it as “dip”. Haha. Yeah right. I’m sure you’ll think of something, you’re a creative bunch.

The first word that comes to mind is… craggy. Um. No comment.

Anyway. Go in the kitchen, get out a bowl. It’s simple. Spicy chocolate cake, you know you want it… you’ll thank me later!

mmm.

Spicy Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting

Slightly adapted from Baked Bree, here! I made a half recipe in 6″ cake pans, so I’ll include those measurements here.

For the cake:

  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 + 3/8 c whole wheat pastry flour (sorry for the awkward measurements…)
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 4.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk bev (I used 1% milk)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4.5 tsp Bourbon vanilla

This couldn’t be simpler… in fact, it’s pretty close to instant cake gratification. Lezzz dooo eeeet!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 6″ cake pans, line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper, and then lightly grease that (coconut oil is fab for this). In a largeish bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: cocoa through salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, oil, applesauce, egg, vinegar and vanilla until combined. Pour wet into dry (see? EASY.). Chuck batter into prepared cake pans (ideally the top is evenish, if not.. oops oh well, you get to do trimming, which means there are cake scraps to be eaten), and bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (For full-size cakes, increase bake time to 45 minutes). Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then upend onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Subliminal messaging eeeeaattt meeee!!!

While the cake is baking: make the frostinggg (Keep your fingers away from the bowl, please) (as if). I made half the recipe. Don’t kid yourself, make extra. My measurements below are for half but really… what else would you do with that leftover mascarpone?!

  • half of 1 tub (8 oz) of mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Bourbon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c heavy cream

Whip yo’ cream (and yo’ hair) until stiff peaks form. Once cream is whipppp-ed, set aside. In a bowl, “whisk” (and by whisk, I mean sort of stir) mascarpone, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. Fold cream into the mascarpone mixture, and try not to eat it all at once. Some is supposed to go on the cake, you know…

With half the recipe, I had enough to put a layer between the two cake layers, and frost the whole thing.

Drool. Eat. Love!

Vaccuum VATI! (Loves his ducks)