Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mudslide Cake

       Hello recipe-hunting-community! How are yeh? I'm doing fantastic, and the above picture is part of the reason why. You see, I recently celebrated a birthday (being a lady, I shall not admit to the age (just know that I'm younger than my sister, hehe)) and recieved one of my favorite birthday presents from my brother: a Barnes and Noble gift card. (I'm not advertising, I just love books. I am an English Major after all.) He knows me well. In my opinion, this gift card is nowhere near impersonal, but rather sensical. I buy books so often that not many people can keep up with the current inventory of my personal library. Anyway, my brother has very good taste because, you see, he inadvertently purchased me a recipe book called Booze Cakes. No, I'm not a heavy drinker, but I do like enjoying a glass of something every now and again. Wanna know the best part about this purchase? Even my brother was super stoked about it! We made two cakes the very next day. (Stay tuned, cake two is coming soon...) This was the cake I chose. The Mudslide Cake. Wow. So good! The cake itself wasn't super fudgey, but a nice chocolate flavor with a hint of coffee. Just the way I like it. Plus, all the toppings were super fresh and delicious tasting, and spiked with Bailey's. Ultimately, I think this is a cake that is going in my permanent sweets cookbook.

Mudslide Cake
Recipe from Booze Cakes


For the Irish Cream Cake
  • 1/4 strong espresso (about 2 shots)
  • 3/4 Irish cream liqueur (you get what you pay for, so use Bailey's)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (room temperature is best)

For the Irish Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (Bailey's)
For the Irish Cream Caramel Sauce
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (really, any brown sugar will do)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (Bailey's)


For the Cake

--Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

--Prepare 2 round cake pans (9in to 10in) by greasing and flouring.

--In a glass, combine the espresso and Bailey's, then set it aside for now.

--In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt. Set that aside for now too.

--In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cocoa, sugar, and vanilla until it is light and creamy. (About 3-5 minutes.)

--Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is fluffy. (About 4 minutes.)

--Next, add the flour mixture and liquid mixture to the stuff in the mixing bowl in alternating additions. (Half the flour, the liquid, then the rest of the flour.)

--Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, the cake is done.

--Remove from oven, and let the cake rest in the pans for a couple minutes. Then flip the cakes from the pans and allow to cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely.

For the Whipped Cream

--In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the whipped cream and Bailey's.

--Using the whisk attachment, beat the liquid on low for a few seconds, gradually increasing the speed until the liquid won't splash you when the power is on high.

--Whisk until stiff peaks form, but don't overbeat unless you want homemade butter.

--Refrigerate the whipped cream until you're ready to use it.

For the Caramel Sauce

--Bring a saucepan up to medium heat. Then dump in the brown sugar, butter, and cream.

--Stiring constantly, bring the sauce to a boil.

--Then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes.

--Next, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and Bailey's.

--Let cool just a little bit so you don't melt the whipped cream when drizzling.

--The longer the caramel sits, the thicker it gets.

Stacking the Cake

--Get out your favorite cakestand and place a small dollop of the whipped cream on its center.

--Place the first layer of chocolate cake on top of the dollop, centered on the stand.

--Take half of the whipped cream and spread it evenly over the first layer of cake. If desired, you can drizzle some of the caramel over this section of cake to add a stronger caramel flavor to the completed cake.

--Next, stack the other cake layer on the covered first layer, making sure the edges line up on all sides. Top with remaining whipped cream.

--If desired, garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate swirls. I used a semi-sweet Baker's bar and shaved a piece of it with a potato peeler.

--Drizzle the stacked cake with as much caramel sauce as desired. If you don't use all the caramel (like me) put what's left in a small dish and let people drizzle extra caramel over their individual pieces.

--Enjoy, and please eat responsibly ;)

Happy Baking!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Baked Dorothy Lynch Chicken

       I'm not sure if anyone outside of the Upper-Midwest knows what Dorothy Lynch is, but growing up in my house it was a staple used as often as ketchup. Dorothy Lynch is a sweet "Homestyle Dressing" that is probably most commonly used on salads. That's not the way I was taught to use this stuff, though. Nope, my dad showed me that it could go with any hotdish (casserole), meat, salad, potato, you name it. As I was reminiscing about my dad's fascination with Dorothy Lynch I thought to myself, "Dipping chicken in Dorothy Lynch is really good . . . why don't I try marinating chicken in it?!" So I did. (Unfortunately my "clever idea" wasn't so clever as the packaging itself recommends using the dressing as a marinade. Who knew?) To give the chicken a crunchy texture, I rolled it in some panko crumbs. I had never tried marinating anything in Dorothy Lynch before, so this was a fun and new experience for me. The dressing gave the chicken an extra level of sweetness that it usually doesn't have. Plus, it made the chicken extra juicy. Super yummers. Anyway, for anybody who grew up loving Dorothy Lynch, this chicken is a great excuse to go and buy yourself another bottle. For those who have never heard of Dorothy Lynch, this is a fun recipe to try to introduce you into the world of sweet dressing awesomeness.

Baked Dorothy Lynch Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Dorothy Lynch
  • 2 cups Panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt

--Combine the Dorothy Lynch and chicken breasts into a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie. Let marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. (If you pound the chicken a bit flatter, you can probably marinate for only 30 minutes. My chicken breasts were thick so I went for an hour and could have even went longer. The longer you marinate, the more flavor soaks into the meat.)

--Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

--In a wide, shallow bowl, pour in a cup of the Panko crumbs and a half teaspoon of salt. (You can add more crumbs and salt to this mixture as you dip your chicken in it.)

--Take your marinated chicken, and before you dip it into the Panko make sure it is thoroughly coated in the Dorothy Lynch. Then lay the chicken in the crumbs, rolling it over to make sure it is thoroughly coated. Once completely covered in crumbs, place the chicken breast on a baking sheet. (The pan doesn't need to be pre-sprayed.) Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

--Once all of the marinated chicken breats are thoroughly coated in Panko crumbs and on the baking sheet, bake for 1 hour, or until done.

--Serve warm with a side dish of your choice and enjoy.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

       Whew! It's been a while since our last post. Sorry about that. Papers, conventions, and work got a bit too hectic for us to keep up. Actually, I just got home from a Sigma Tao Delta (International English Honors Society) convention from New Orleans! It was super fun. Seven members from my university were invited to present papers that we submitted--we were rather proud. Mine was on a novel called The Coquette written by Hannah Webster Foster in 1797. There is a large chance you haven't heard of it, and that's okay. =) The point of my  paper was that Hannah Foster was challenging the social conventions of the path to marriage during the eighteenth century . . . and that's all the further I will get into that. If you really are interested in knowing more, just shoot me an email and I'll send you a copy of the paper. Anyway, enough of the conference shenanigans, let's talk about New Orleans! I got to eat a lot of amazing food, including popcorn crawfish, sweet pototao crab soup, blackened drumfish, and beignets (from Cafe du Monde of course). I may have meandered down to Bourbon street a time or two as well. The whole time really was a fun experience, and to pay homage to my trip I decided I needed to make Bourbon Sweet Potatoes. So I googled, found one of the more popular recipes, and made it. Then I ate it, filled my tummy, and was happy. This recipe is seriously delicious--even ask my brother! He was my first taste tester and he LOVED them. I was so proud. The bourbon truly did "spike" the sweet potatoes up to the next level. They were sugary and sweet, and the bourbon gave it an extra little boost of complexity. (As a side note, make sure you use good bourbon as its flavor is very prominent.) Finally, the pecan topping was a perfect compliment to the bourbon sweet potatoes--they bring the tastebuds back down to earth with a warm, nutty flavor. Seriously, this recipe is so unique and delicious that I think you need to put it in this week's meal plan, just sayin'.

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes
Recipe barely adapted from Can't Stop Making Things

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


--Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

--Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.

--Meanwhile, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks. (The smaller they are the faster they get cooked.)

--Once the water is boiling, dump all the sweet potato chunks into the water and cook until softened. When stabbed with a fork, a sweet potato piece should slide off the fork easily.

--While the potatoes are cooking, make the topping. Combine the brown sugar and flour. Then, cut your butter into tiny chunks and incorporate them into the mix with a fork, like you were making pie crust. Once the mixture has many small, coated, butter chunks (they don't all have to be the same size), stir in the chopped pecans. (You can save a few whole pecans to decorate the top of the dish if you'd like.) For now, set the topping aside.
--When the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from heat and drain.

--Next, using a hand mixer (or food processor, or fork, or whatever is easiest), mash the sweet potatoes.

--Add the sugar, butter (which will melt in the hot pot), milk, bourbon, and salt. Mix after each addition.

--Pour the sweet potato puree into an oven proof pan, smoothing the top.

--Take the topping you made earlier and spread evenly over the sweet potato puree. Decorate with reserved whole pecans.

--In the preheated oven, bake for one hour.

--Serve warm, and enjoy!

Happy Cooking!