Irish BOOZE Cake

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I know, I am a little behind in posting this delectable Irish treat, but better late than never!

Especially when it comes to this irresistibly rich and perfectly boozy dessert!

My dad brewed his own Irish Stout for St. Patrick’s Day, so of course I wanted to incorporate it in to the traditional family meal of corned beef and cabbage somehow, and what better way than mixed with chocolate in a cake!

I came across a food blog called Food Babbles which posted this amazing Irish Car Bomb cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and it was just too perfect to pass up!

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Jameson with my whiskey ganache.

 

It has all of the elements of the Irish Car Bomb beverage:

Irish Stout beer, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Isn’t the point of St. Patty’s day to get your drink on? This cake is the perfect compliment to whatever you find yourself sipping on.

Irish BOOZE Cake

Ingredients

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness, I used my dad’s home brewed Irish Stout)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache

Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson and at least doubled the recipe- add to taste)

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with parchment circles on bottom. (I also sprayed with nonstick spray)
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
  4. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until tester inserted in center come out clean, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack.

Ganache

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and until thickened a bit.

Frosting

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

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Enjoy!

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Winterfest! (Indianapolis Brewfest)

Waiting in line for Winterfest!

Waiting in line for Winterfest!

WINTERFEST!

Saturday was Winterfest in Indianapolis, where 70 breweries from all over the country joined at the Indiana State Fair Grounds to pour out unlimited 3oz samplings of their most cherished brews. It is 3 hours of all-you-can-taste beer sampling.

Sounds like heaven, am I right?

This event was entirely sold out weeks ago, with the VIP tickets selling out extremely quickly. Knowing this fact, we set out for the fairgrounds donning our pretzel necklaces, aiming to get there early, get a good place in line, and be in the doors with a beer in our hands at 4:00 on the dot.

Oy Vey.

About a half mile of excited beer enthusiasts in front of us, about another half mile behind us. Envy doesn’t describe our feelings for those who had purchased VIP tickets who were already warm inside enjoying their larger glasses and early access. (We will definitely pay the extra for VIP next year)

Once inside, it was like thousands of adults in an adult candy store.

Sea of beer enthusiasts.

Sea of beer enthusiasts.

Hopping brewery to brewery, trying to sample everything, from everyone.

With each brewery offering an average of four options, this was just not humanly possible, but you could pick and choose those that sounded most delicious or interesting to you, and trust me there was something there for everyone.

From the Imperial Stout infused with Ghost Peppers from Zwanzigz, to the firkin tent, to the Komodo Drangonfly Black IPA from Upland, to the Double 574 Double IPA from Bare Hands Brewery, any beer lover would not have any trouble finding their new favorite beverage.

The trouble is always remembering it the next day 🙂

The classics such as Sum Nug from Shoreline Brewery, Alpha King from Three Floyds, Superfly from Oaken Barrel, and Amazon Princess from People’s did not disappoint when stacked against the other offerings.

To be expected it was intensely crowded, verging on uncomfortable at times, with lines for the bathrooms extending into the common area (for both sexes). However, the lines for samples were never too long and usually gave you just enough time to enjoy your previous sample before asking for another… and another… and another…

The breweries in attendance included:

Breweries from Indiana:

Upland
Fountain Square
People’s
Thr3e Wise Men
Rock Bottom
New Day

A little blurry, but here we are at Winterfest!

A little blurry, but here we are at Winterfest!

Iechyd Da
Daredevil
Crown
450 South
Zwanzigz
Flat 12 
Bier
New Albanian
Triton
Three Pints
Powerhouse
Hawcreek
Evil Czech
Bulldog
Back Road
Black Acre
Sun King
Bloomington
Mad Anthony
Turoni’s Main St.
Shoreline
Tin Man
Ram
Half Moon
Figure 8
Broad Ripple
Bare Hands
Cutters
Three Floyds
Barley Island
Brugge
Twisted Crew
Oaken Barrel
Great Crescent
Four Horsemen
Big Woods
Big Dawg
Union
Lafayette

Out of State Breweries:

Ace Hard Ciders
Mendocino
Boulder
Sixpoint
Sampling some fine brews.

Sampling some fine brews.

New Holland

North Coast
Tyranena
Founders
Finch’s
Lexington
Falls City
Country Boy
Against the Grain
Traveler
New Belgium
Sierra Nevada
Destihl
Victory
Bluegrass
Rivertown
Schlafly
Bell’s
Boston
New Albion

It was a great time with great people, and I don’t think there was a guest in attendance that walked away disappointed.

Next year, the VIP pass will be a must!

… and our pretzel necklaces will be more creative… I’m thinking a mini pretzel version of my Soft Pretzels recipe…….

Chocolate STOUT Cake

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Happy 24th Birthday to my little sister!

She has been a little depressed about this birthday, moping around the house, saying things like “I can’t believe I’m so old”, “it’s all downhill from here”, “look at my grey hairs” etc.

I wanted to surprise her today with a very special cake, one that combines the celebration of her birthday with her love of stout beer. (A love we don’t share)

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Mission accomplished. It was almost too obvious, right?

Chocolate STOUT Cake!

I found this recipe on http://www.epicurious.com that was originally published in Bon Appetit by Barrington Brewery, MA in 2002. I used the Chocolate Bunny Stout from Rhinelander Brewing Co. instead of Guinness! YUM.

Chocolate STOUT Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • * I added 1 single-serve pack of Starbucks Via instant coffee

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
    Butter and beer.
    Butter and beer.
  2. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Icing

  1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate (and instant coffee) and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.
Cooling cakes

Cooling cakes

The cake looked and smelled beautiful throughout the creating process. However, after reading some of the responses to the original recipe posting, I decided to let the cakes cool almost completely in the pans before transferring them to a wire rack. MY CAKES STILL STUCK! The parchment on the bottom of the cake pans is a MUST! I had a nightmare trying to frost the cakes back together. Also, the three tiered cake was a little tall, when making this recipe again I will either do 2 cakes or a bundt cake.

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Enjoy!

Soft Pretzels

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I have been drinking a lot of craft beer lately. ALOT. Today’s recipe was inspired by the beers I’ve been consuming (Southern Tier- Unearthly, Greenbush- Retribution).

And what goes great with great beer?

They go together like peanut butter & jelly … like bread & butter … like tuna fish & chocolate mousse…

Soft Pretzels & Beer!

Can you think of anything better in this whole world?

Again, this is a first for me, I have never made pretzels before! I had always been slightly intimidated by the thought, but after reading through the Homemade Soft Pretzels Recipe by Alton Brown, I thought, I CAN DO THIS! And I did! And they’re fantastic!!!

Just give me some spicy mustard and I am one happy lady!

These babies took about 2 hours start to finish, but don’t let that scare you off! They’re beautiful, and they will be sure to impress!

Soft Pretzels

Prep: 30 minutes     Inactive: 1 hour     Cook: 25 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110-115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt

Directions

  1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

    Egg yolk wash

    Egg yolk wash

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  3. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
  4. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.
  5. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Fresh out of the oven, yum

Fresh out of the oven, yum

Enjoy!

BREWERIES!

Photo taken at Crown Brewing, Crown Point, IN

Photo taken at Crown Brewing, Crown Point, IN

It was about a year and a half ago when Wills and I discovered that we love craft beer… like we really really really LOVE craft beer.

North Peak Brewing Company, Traverse City, MI

North Peak Brewing Company, Traverse City, MI

For our 6 year anniversary we rented a cabin up in Traverse City, Michigan and while exploring the little downtown area, we decided to have lunch at North Peak Brewing Company.

We shared our first flight, a sample of five different brews, and we fell madly and deeply in love (with craft beer of course).

We had never heard of a flight or a snifter, a growler or a bomber, cask conditioned or bourbon barrel aged… we were seriously sheltered from this community of breweries and beer enthusiasts and we had a lot of ground to make up.

CHEERS!

CHEERS!

 

Wills decided last summer to make it a mission to visit as many Indiana breweries as possible or reasonable (though sometimes ‘reasonable’ was not a factor ).

His goal is to collect a growler from every brewery in Indiana so that when he has his ‘man cave’, or his own bar in our future home, he can adorn the walls with shelves of growlers from his home state.

The map below features all of the breweries we have visited thus far, and collected growlers from.Brewery Map 

People’s Brewing, Lafayette
Lafayette Brewing Company, Lafayette
Half Moon Brewery, Kokomo
Upland Brewing, Bloomington
Bloomington Brewing Company, Bloomington
Oaken Barrel Brewing, Greenwood
Crown Brewing, Crown Point
Powerhouse Brewing Company, Columbus
Big Woods Brewing, Nashville
Three Floyds Brewpub, Munster
Salt Creek Brewery, Bedford
Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis
Flat 12 Bierwerks, Indianapolis
Broadripple Brewpub, Indianapolis
Fountain Square Brewing Co., Indianapolis
Bier Brewery, Indianapolis
Shoreline Brewing, Michigan City
Figure 8 Brewery, Valparaiso

 

We also visited Greenbush Brewing Company in Sawyer, Michigan, and Northwoods Brewpub in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Greenbush Brewing Company, Sawyer, MI

Greenbush Brewing Company, Sawyer, MI

Not bad for one summer! It was like going on a mini adventure every weekend, and gave us something to look forward to!

Some were fantastic and worth the trip (Half Moon Brewery, Oaken Barrel Brewing), and others… hate to say it… but not so much (Bloomington Brewing Company, Broadripple Brewpub- like seriously is anyone here passionate about beer?).

 

 

Now, we have sampled brews from many Indiana breweries that are not on our list at the Beers Across the Wabash Brewfest and the Valpo Brewfest! Who doesn’t love a brewfest! All you can sample for three hours or so. Best. Idea. Ever. Can’t wait for Winterfest in a couple of weeks in Indianapolis!

Beers Across the Wabash

Beers Across the Wabash

There are about 50 breweries in Indiana according to the Brewers of Indiana Guild, and we will post as we continue to check breweries off the list, attend brewfests, and as Wills begins his own homebrewing adventure!

We’d love to hear about your experiences at Indiana Breweries as well!

Cheers!