About two weeks ago, my sisters and I took a "Cooking With Beer" class at A la Carte in Lynbrook (Long Island). I know that most people would be excited for something like this, but I'm not much of a beer drinker. Don't get me wrong; back during my early college career, I mainlined Natural Light like it was my job. Of course, it would usually involve me screwing my eyes shut, holding my nose and chugging, since I found the taste absolutely vile. Even now, after trying an assortment of brews and flavors from around the globe, I just can't drink the stuff. The smell of it alone can make me a little queasy.
So, when my sisters and I received the cooking lesson as Christmas gift from our dad and stepmom, I couldn't help but to feel a little bit of trepidation. My track record for cooking is bad enough, but cooking with beer? Ouch.
Ya know what?
It really wasn't that bad.
Unfortunately, I got stuck at the office and arrived about 15 minutes late, but I think it worked out because I ended up being assigned to workstation with one of my sisters. Our task: bake a Chocolate Stout Cake. At first, the idea of combining something so perfect like chocolate with something so icky (to me) like Guiness seemed sacrilege. Then again, stuffing a beer can up the rump of an uncooked chicken didn't seem too thrilling to me either. (Side Note: Doesn't the title "Beer Butt Chicken" make you giggle?)
Well, let's just say my concerns melted away the moment that I set my eyes on the 1lb of chopped chocolate. It is a glorious site to behold.
Anyway, we followed the directions and I cautiously combined the unsalted butter, stout, and cocoa until it was a smooth, creamy mixture. It was incredible to watch and I could hardly believe that it contained beer! We flew through the rest of the recipe and poured our completed batter into the buttered and parchment-lined baking pans. Once they were set in the ovens, we turned to the chocolate icing.
Forget the wheel. Moveable type is overrated. Who cares about electricity? Chocolate icing is the most amazing thing ever invented by mankind.
And who knew it was so easy to make? Whipping cream and chopped chocolate...that's all. So easy! Just think, I can make it whenever I want! ...Do you know how FAT I am going to get now?!
Kidding. Or not.
We set the bowl of icing into an ice bath so that it would be cool enought to frost the cakes. The cakes themselves baked rather quickly, and I was happy to see that they not only didn't burn, but appeared to stay very moist.
We set them to cool and wandered around the rest of the kitchen to spy on the others.
Hehehe. Beer Butt Chicken. Okay, okay, I'll stop now.
When the cakes were cool enough, we set about frosting them and decorating them at our leisure, since everyone else was still putting the finishing touches on their dishes. My sister even added a bit of coconut to hers, which looked awesome.
I spent a lot of time trying to make a design with the frosting. It didn't turn out too well in the photo, but I was rather pleased with the actual results.
The cakes were delicious; very rich and moist, but not overpowering. I was really pleased with the results. When I have the time, I'm going to attempt to make one again, maybe this time in a bunt pan. While surfing the web, I've seen a few variations that look like they could be interesting. We'll see. I will certainly post the results of any such experiment.
That's all for now, lovelies!