Wednesday, May 19, 2010
chocolate and root beer... Manu's favourite combination
You remember Manu right? Of baking sausage and cheese bread fame? I thought I would share with all of you his favourite dessert combination. You see, Manu loves, loves... LOVES root beer. It's the only type of soda he drinks, given the chance to have a soda; and he especially enjoys the one I'm about to share with you... an extra thick, super creamy brand... I use it as my "secret" recipe in the following cake.
You might be wondering why I'm making Manu the theme for this blog entry? Well you see, Manu is turning 10 in a few days... TEN!!!! You know what that means? He is leaving the world of single digits behind and joining all of us in the exciting land of the double digits!!!! I can clearly remember my tenth birthday; my parents wanted me to have an "extra special" cake: so they asked a family friend to make me a "professional" cake - in the shape of a sheep, with fondant icing... it certainly was memorable, but more because none of us (imagine a gaggle of ten-year old girls) enjoyed the thick butter cream frosting, nor the fondant... and felt horrible cutting into a little sheep!
So I figured I would share this cake recipe with Manu's mamie, fabulous aunt,and papa - all of whom I know would love nothing better than to make this little hobbit happy and bake him a cake he'll remember (and love to eat)!!!
Expect an intensely rich, moist, dense, chocolaty cake... with a hint of root beer. I've made this several times and have discovered the secret. You need to use 2 cans of root beer - the best, most organic quality you can find. Then you need to use it in the cake batter and in the frosting... and finally, you need to serve it with some whipped cream. Fresh vanilla whipped cream; it cuts the sweetness and actually reinforces the idea that this is a root beer float cake!
note: the flavour really comes out as this cake sits... so making it a day in advance is not only a good thing... it's strongly recommended ;0)
Root Beer Cake
2 c. root beer
1 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
Preheat your oven to 325 F. You can either bake this recipe in: a bundt pan, mini bundt pans (they look like big donuts that way - and you end up with 12) or a round pan... I was able to make one 6-inch round and two 5-inch rounds with this recipe. Obviously, anything goes - just spray with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the root beer, cocoa powder and butter until the butter has melted. Add the sugars and whisk until they've dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and the salt. Set aside.
Once your root beer mixture has cooled a little, beat the eggs and temper them with about 1/2 c. of the batter (you don't want them to curdle). Add the tempered eggs to the saucepan and whisk until well combined. Gently fold in the flour mixture (I used my whisk, I just was gentle). Don't worry if the batter is lumpy. Lumps are good and the batter is very loose.
Pour the batter into whatever baking pan you've picked and cook for 35 - 45 minutes. Once baked (your knife tip should come out clean when inserted in the centre), allow to cool on a wire rack.
Now for the frosting... I'd like to say that the measurements are completely accurate... however, as is the case with me making butter cream, I tend to add more of this and that as I go along... until it looks as thick as I want it to look, and tastes as sweet as I want it to taste.
Root Beer Frosting
1/4 to 1/2 c. butter at room temperature
1 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/3 c. root beer
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 - 3 c. powdered sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat the butter (use your paddle attachment). Add the cocoa powder, continue to beat. Toss in the salt, about 2 cups of the powdered sugar and 1/4 c. of the root beer. Keep beating until smooth... this is when I added more root beer for flavour and powdered sugar to thicken it up.
Once done, spread on top of your cake... whip up some whipped cream or scoop out some ice cream... and there you have it... A cake fit for a newly turned 10 year old, as well as all children at heart...
A root beer toast to you Manu, on your special day! And yes, I know it's not until the 25th of May - but this way I've given everyone who loves you a chance to make you your favourite cake! :0)