Posts Tagged 'Savory Spice Shop'

Chocolate Stout Cake (aka My Best Denver Cake Yet!)

The luck o’ the Irish was with me in the kitchen today, because I made my best high-altitude cake yet. Not my most beautiful, mind you, but definitely the most delicious. I tore this recipe out of the March 2012 issue of 5280 with some trepidation… While I’ve had some success with the recipes they’ve shared in the past (Fuel Cafe’s Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pecan Cookies, for instance), 5280 isn’t a cooking magazine. There’s no test kitchen. I figured, however, that a cake recipe from a Boulder bakery was worth a gamble. (Thanks, Kim & Jake’s Cakes!)

My initial game plan was to make a half recipe (which I thought would result in a single 9-inch round layer of cake, according to the recipe instructions) to make sure the cake itself behaved at high altitude and tasted good. Once I whipped up a half recipe of batter, though, I realized that it was enough to make two 9-inch round layers. My cake pans are 1 1/2-inch-deep Wilton pans; I imagine you’d have to have super deep pans to bake the entire original recipe as only two layers. Since I was going to have a full cake, I decided I might as well frost it. The cake recipe below is as I baked it (double it for the original recipe and extend baking time to 50 minutes); I made a full recipe of frosting, though. If you’re not a frosting person, feel free to cut that in half as well.

Chocolate Stout Cake
Makes a 2-layer 9-inch cake

Ingredients:
3 eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup oil (I used vegetable)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (I used a combination of Savory Spice Shop’s Black Onyx and regular Ghirardelli)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups stout beer (I used Breckenridge Brewery’s Oatmeal Stout; 1 1/2 cups is one bottle)

Method:
Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut two 9-inch circles of parchment paper. (Use the bottom of a cake pan as a guide.) Butter the cake pans, place a circle of parchment in the bottom of each, and butter over the parchment. Set pans aside.

Mix eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, salt, and baking soda together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, alternating with the beer, 3 to 4 times, until completely incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. (My cakes were perfect at 37 minutes.) Remove from oven, cool in pans for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment and frost before serving.

Milk Chocolate Malt Frosting

Ingredients:
1 pound butter, softened
2 pounds powdered sugar
3/4 cup dark cocoa (I used a combination of Savory Spice Shop’s Black Onyx and regular Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup malt powder (I used Carnation Malted Milk Powder, which I found at SuperTarget)
Splash of vanilla

Method:
Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, malt powder, and vanilla.  Incorporate completely.

Source: 5280/Kim & Jake’s Cakes

Chocolate Stout Cake

This is a phenomenal dessert.  The cake is moist with a nice springy crumb, and there was absolutely none of the center sinking I so often see with cakes at high altitude.  It has a nice level of chocolate flavor (far better than the chocolate cupcakes I posted before), though I couldn’t really taste the stout.  The frosting didn’t end up being super smooth (hence the slightly ugly cake), but the flavor is to die for; the malt powder really makes it.  Overall, the cake and frosting make an amazing combination.

So this is going to be my go-to chocolate cake recipe from here on out…  I think I’ll have some fun with it by turning it into cupcakes next time and maybe trying some other chocolate frostings.  I’ll be sure to post any updates!

TIPS: If you make this frosting (highly recommended, it’s delicious!), I’d suggest smoothing it out with a hot, slightly wet icing spatula after you get the initial layer on. Doing so improved the appearance of my cake immensely.

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Chicken Ras el Hanout

When my mom came for a visit last month, I took her to one of my favorite places: Savory Spice Shop.  It’s locally based with several Colorado locations; for me, that’s a big reason it will always win out over some of the national competitors that have tried to move in on SSS’s market.  I love being able to get super fresh spices in a variety of quantities and I really appreciate their selection of unusual spices and custom spice blends.  I’ve also consistently received friendly, helpful service, which is a huge draw.

One of the fun aspects of SSS is that there are recipe cards available throughout the store that incorporate the spices sold there.  When my mom and I were at the Boulder location, I noticed a recipe for Chicken Ras el Hanout.  I had purchased some Ras el Hanout when I was experimenting for Greek-themed gourmet club back in September, and I still had a decent amount left in the pantry.  I purchased a small bag of crystallized ginger to round out my ingredient list (along with some mulling spices and a muslin bag for wine!), and we were on our way.

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Ras el Hanout
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
16 dried plums or apricots

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an oven-proof, lidded sauté pan, cook onions in olive oil until softened.  Add garlic, Ras el Hanout and chopped ginger.  Cook another 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat.  Salt and pepper chicken.  Remove onion mixture and put chicken in pan (adding more oil if necessary) and cook about 2 minutes on each side.  Return onion mix to pan with dried plums or apricots and chicken stock.  Cover and put in oven for 30 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking time.

Serve with rice or couscous.

Recipe courtesy of Vivian Peterson, Savory Spice Shop customer

Chicken Ras el Hanout

This dish was really tasty, and it was a nice departure from “everyday” chicken.  I’m a huge fan of the sweet-savory flavor profile created by the combination of the dried plums and the sautéed onions and garlic; the ginger added a hint of heat and spice but certainly wasn’t overwhelming (as ginger sometimes can be).  The end result was pretty “saucy.”  I was advised by a SSS employee to cut the amount of broth, which I did by 1/4 cup.  Admittedly, though, this was more because there’s actually 1 3/4 cups of broth in a can instead of a full 2 cups.  I actually liked the amount of liquid in the dish, though; I think it helped keep the chicken moist during cooking, it plumped up the dried plums, and it also made a nice sauce to go with the couscous for serving.  Since it was easy and delicious, I would definitely make this recipe again.

TIPS: Without fail, I end up touching the hot (!) handles of any cookware I’m used to using on the stove top but have placed in the oven for a particular recipe.  Stay on your toes!




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