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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Cannonball Depth Charge!

spoooongebob!

SO. Indulgence time, ready…go.

These cupcakes have THREE kinds of alcohol in them. Impressed? Yes. You should be. And no… I did NOT bake these in my car… though I’m pretty sure my car would smell aaaamazing if I had done so. Though perhaps making your car smell like alcoholic beverages is really not the best idea…

Anywayyy.

As a belated Vati’s Day reward for Vacuum Vati (AAND as a virtual birthday present for Carl—Happy Birthday!!), I decided to make him/them cupcakes! But wait. Not just ANY cupcakes, oh no. These correspond appropriately to the logic these two jokers so often spout when they get together: beer = a meal in a glass; cupcakes = sissy dessert. By my logic, then: beer in a cupcake = a complete meal + non-sissy, manly dessert. QED. Ha. Infallible logic, don’t you think? And why settle for just beer in a cupcake, when you could have 2 more types of alcohol as well? And what better compliment to beer than Irish whiskey and Bailey’s?! Let’s be real, Bailey’s goes with anything.

mmm

That being said, these cupcakes are indulgently delicious. No stinting on the butter in these babies (live a little every so often!). The cake is moist (eww no, not that word again!) HYDRATED, and delicately compliments the slightly bitter chocolate-whiskey ganache. Bailey’s buttercream completes an already ridiculous combo, rounding out the flavors perfectly. Guinness, Jameson, and Bailey’s… an inspired trifecta! These take the Guinness brownies to an entirely new level (and I definitely like them better)… are you salivating yet? Hmm, I thought so.

In endeavoring to be politically correct and inoffensive to all parties involved, let’s call these..

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Depth Charge Cupcakes!

(hehe. get it?! Like a shot dropped into a beer… use your imagination.) I made a half-batch and ended up with 12 cupcakes, a perfectly manageable number for 3 people. I’ll give my measurements here; double if you need a mega-batch. Recipe very slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker! I reduced the sugar slightly—it may even be okay to take it down a bit more, as per sweetness preferences.

Let’s do this:

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For the cupcakes:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • very heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1/2 c Guinness
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softish
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c unsweetened cocoa powder

For the whiskey-ganache:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate (I used one bar of Trader Joe’s 72% Fair Trade Belgian chocolate)
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp butter, softish
  • 2 tsp of Jameson or other Irish whiskey (mine were two teaspoons that *oops* accidentally mega-runneth over)

For the buttercream:

  • 1 c unsalted butter (2 sticks), a bit soft
  • 2.5 c powdered sugar
  • a good glug of Bailey’s (somewhere in the vicinity of 5 tbsp)
  • a dash of Jameson (I didn’t measure, likely around 2 or 3 tsp)
filled :)

Proceed!

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cupcake/muffin tin with liners… mine happened to be Spongebob. Don’t judge! In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together egg and yogurt until combined. In a small saucepan, bring Guinness and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder. Let cool a bit. Once cool(er), add the Guinness-butter mixture to the egg/yogurt, and beat until combined. I ran the mixer on low while adding mine, since it was still on the warm side, to prevent scrambled eggs (ewww, who wants that?!). Reduce speed to low and add in flour mixture, beating until combined (but minimally, to keep cupcakes fluffy!). Fold in any remaining flour. Pour batter into cupcake tins, and bake for just about 17 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

up close and cupcake personal

While the cupcakes are baking, make the ganache! In a small saucepan, heat cream until just barely simmering (watch it like a hawk—we don’t want it scalded! Ewwwy). Break chocolate up into smallish pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. When the cream reaches the simmer point, pour it over the chocolate and let sit for one minute, then stir it carefully together until incorporated. Add butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let sit for a bit, until it firms up just slightly but is still scoop-able.

For the buttercream: I recommend a stand mixer for this. Do as I say, not as I do… a hand mixer was not the smartest choice…

Beat softened butter a few minutes until fluffy. Add in powdered sugar gradually, until completely incorporated. Add in Bailey’s and whiskey and beat until combined. It should be spreadable: light and fluffy!

Assembly:

Using a metal decorating tip (I found a small spoon for scooping to be helpful), cut out the centers of the cooled cupcakes, about 2/3 of the way down (extra bonus: eating the centers is totally acceptable). Fill the resulting hole with slightly-cooled ganache. Frost as desired. Sprinkles are nice :)

Imbibe. Indulge. Enjoy your canon ball depth charge in cupcake form.

I know, I know… don’t be jealous ;)