chocolate stout cake

When I first saw the recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake in the October 2009 issue of Bon Appetit, I thought… why would I waste good chocolate stout on a cake? Incidentally, I was at a class at Formaggio Kitchen last weekend where they served Brooklyn Brewery’s Dark Chocolate Stout. I liked it… but I didn’t truly appreciate it until I had the Rogue Chocolate Stout again. The Brooklyn is faaaaar superior. But I didn’t finish my beer on Friday night, and the recipe came to mind.

I had quite a bit of leftover beer so I made a double recipe. It may be time for me to get a new mixer, as I reached capacity.

My cake is definitely not as dark as the cake pictured with the recipe.

The cake itself was very moist and flavorful. It wasn’t overly sweet and it had just the tiniest hint of stout. As the recipe suggested, I waited until the next day before making the icing. The recipe calls for a chocolate ganache frosting. You really can’t go wrong with chocolate ganache, can you?

I stirred the ganache every so often but I let the ganache sit in the refrigerator for too long. I left it out at room temperature for a bit which made it a little easier to spread, but it wouldn’t quite stick to the cake. No pretty pictures, just the picture I took of the work cake (all bundled up and ready to go!)

It’s not overly chocolately but the ganache does make it quite rich. I think I would opt for a more simple icing next time. (I tried it with my cool whip/nutella concoction and that was pretty tasty.)

I would make this cake again… except that I also realized that chocolate stout tastes just as terrific when it has been sitting out in the open at room temperature overnight. It would be difficult to pick between making cake or enjoying the beer as is!



Once again… CORN. I didn’t realize you could so easily find corn on the cob in October. But there it was in the CSA crate again. There was also cabbage, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, a variety of peppers, a butternut squash… and a kumbocha squash. I had seen these at the grocery store, but I would not have dared try one… until attending the Formaggio Kitchen Oktoberfest class on Sunday evening. Julie served a kumbocha squash puree which was delicious. I remember liking the bratwurst they served with it, but I was so taken with the squash puree that the sausage was not my focus.

I still had a head of cabbage from last week, so I made this unstuffed stuffed cabbage recipe from Gourmet tonight and I love it. Reminds me of my mother’s cooking! I will definitely make it again.

I’m thinking about signing up for a winter CSA but I haven’t decided yet. I’m looking at Boston Organics and Enterprise (delivered by Metro Pedal Power). The delivery would happen on a Wednesday, which complicates things a little. I’m usually home on Mondays and Tuesdays, but later in the week it’s a little harder to predict. And as someone said, do I really like kale all that much?

weekend baking

I did a bit of baking yesterday… which went better than my attempt at cassoulet!

I have used this recipe for old-fashioned oatmeal honey apple cake from Cooking Light magazine many times before. Usually I use chunky store-bought applesauce and I use a heavy hand with spices. This time I used a spiced plum and apple sauce that I made earlier in the week, using CSA plums and apples. The cake was too thick, so the glaze didn’t penetrate. I should have used a bigger pan.

I also made a loaf of jacked-up banana bread using a recipe I found at Smitten Kitchen. I skipped the bourbon, I used 4 bananas, I opted for more sugar rather than less, and I added more than a pinch of cloves. Finally I threw in 1/2 c walnuts. It was quick and easy – I mashed everything together using a potato masher, saving me the trouble of cleaning up the mixer.

cassoulet… kinda

I got off to a good start, but things meandered off course very quickly.

I used flageolet beans and I remembered to soak them overnight. The beans soaked up a lot of water – they easily expanded to twice their original size.

In the morning I realized that I had forgotten to prepare the duck legs for the duck confit. So rather than curing overnight, the duck legs only cured for about four hours. They still had a good five hours on the stove, though. My home still smells like duck fat!

While I was making the duck confit, I started cooking the beans in the water and beef broth. I added the onions and bouquet garni but I hesitated. The recipe from Gourmet in December 2002 calls for tomato paste to be added to the beans while they are cooking. I had thought that you weren’t supposed to add any acid (e.g. tomatoes) before the beans were fully cooked through. So I didn’t add the tomato paste until much later… much, much later as it turns out, because the beans were still undercooked after two hours.

While the beans were still cooking (and the duck confit was still… confit-ing) I cooked up some bacon and pancetta, and I added that to the bean mixture. I prefer restaurants that serve duck confit on the top or to the side of the cassoulet, so I used a little duck fat in a skillet to crisp up the duck confit. At the same time, I should have been browning the garlic sausage. But I forgot about the sausage.

And because it was late, I didn’t even attempt the bread crumb topping, and I didn’t bake it. I was hungry! So in the end, I didn’t have cassoulet, I had fancy pork and beans. They tasted good but it was a far cry from Hamersley’s! I’ll have to give it another try.


When I picked up the CSA crate today I thought it was full of root vegetables. I forgot how heavy corn on the cob can be. I did receive some root vegetables, amongst other things: acorn squash, white radishes, turnips, apples, onions, cubanelle peppers, bell peppers (which are already on the squishy side), a head of cabbage, and three gigantic tomatoes, which went straight into the freezer since I know I don’t have time to use them this week.

I’m excited about the turnips, since I haven’t actually cooked turnips before. I know I like turnip puree but I don’t think I’ve even eaten turnip greens before. So that’ll be an interesting experiment.

And yes, I am still tired of corn on the cob!


This week I received green leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, grapes (the same delicious little ones from last week), two big beefsteak tomatoes, green peppers, radishes, corn on the cob (yawn), lots and lots of plums, and an acorn squash! I’m excited about the squash. Not so excited about figuring out what to do with the corn. I have been away for almost a week, so I still have things leftover from last week (cabbage, for instance, and apples, which will probably be used in the Shaker walnut apple cake from Cooking Light a couple of years ago).

Last week I made zucchini and summer squash noodles…

Tonight I just made scrambled eggs with peppers and onions.

I’m pretty busy this week, so I don’t know when I’ll have time to cook. It’s a shame, because I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now, and having some quiet cooking time would probably help relieve my stress!