Thursday, November 5, 2009

Better Baking with Beer

Once upon a time, a few years ago, I tried to make a Guinness Chocolate Cake. The operative word in  that sentence being, "tried." It did not go well. However, never one to be bested by inanimate objects or ingredients, I knew I had to try again. Despite or perhaps because of Boyfriend's taunt of, "You remember what happened last time you tried to mix Guinness and chocolate, right?" I felt compelled to try Modern Domestic's scrumptious Chocolate-Guinness Oreos. Yum! 

At the time, I'd never made a layer cake before and was very excited about the idea. I love chocolate cake and Boyrfriend loves Guinness; what could be better than a decandent chocolate stout cake? I ran right out to the store and bought some one-use cake pans. (Big Mistake #1).

As I mentioned, I have never made a layer cake before. Come to think of it, I don't think I had made a cake, period, other than my trademark (read: idiot-proof) pistachio bundt cake, before attempting this four-layer edifice. Suffice is to say, I had no idea what I was in for. As you can see, the recipe calls for 4 cups of flour. Having little or no previous cake experience, this did not strike me as a large amount. So I went along my merry way, sifting and mixing and happily humming to myself, as I often do when baking.

Holy mackerel, did I make a mess. Big Mistake #2: I didn't let the cake layers cool enough before trying to stack and frost. Big Mistake #3: when my not-porperly-set cake layers started to crack and fall apart I tried to "glue" them back together with frosting, which, of course, was melty rather than sticky because the cake was still warm. Right about now, my kitchen had started to resemble the scene from "Sleeping Beauty" when the little green fairy tries to bake a birthday cake without magic - or an oven. If I had a broom, I certainly would have tried to prop my cake layers up with handle. (Big Mistake #4: Not making a fantastic "Slime Rickey" from YumSugar, to get me through the hard times). Unfortunately, at this point, panic had set in. As softball-sized chunks of semi-frosted cake goo tumbled to the floor, I  frantically attempted to salvage the base layer, by throwing - yes throwing! - falling, double handfuls of cake across the room into the garbage bin. (Big Mistake #5) By this time, I am literally covered in cake and frosting, nearly up to my elbows, not to mention that I have stepped in cake and am tracking it all over the kitchen. All the commotion drew Boyfriend, who, surveying the scene, kindly informed me that, "It's ok; I don't even like chocolate cake." Blerg!!

The moral of this story? Well, there really isn't one. I can tell you that throwing mounds of semi-solid cake across the room creates more problems than it solves. Right. How about: if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. 
Chocolate-Guinness Flavored Success!

P.S. It has been brought to my attention that I didn't actually write about these amazing cookies in this post.  Therefore, it should be noted that these cookies were yumtastic. It has to be a pretty exceptional recipe to get me excited about roll-out cookies. These were well worth the effort. They weren't too soft or too sweet. As one of my work colleagues put it, "Ohh, that cookie was a moment."

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