Sunday, January 11, 2015

Someday, we WILL visit a new restaurant...

The other day, I was on the Internet looking for a new place to try.  I found a French restaurant in Tübingen that looks promising and is in a part of the city with which we are unfamiliar.  I gave serious thought to reserving a table there last night.

Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling my best this week thanks to a wicked case of PMS.  So we did go out last night, but opted to visit The Mad Scientist instead of the French place.  We went there because we knew what the food would be like.  We knew there would be plenty of free parking.  We knew it would not be any problem getting a table, nor would we feel underdressed if we didn't dress up.  And we knew our old friend would take good care of us.


I had gyros.  Bill had suvlaki


Afterwards, we had Greek coffee and a shot of ouzo...

I spent most of yesterday baking a Blackout Cake, most of which my husband will take to work with him this week because there's no way we'll be able to eat the whole thing.  I was in the mood to bake because of Aunt Flow... and I apologize if you're male and don't know about periods or cravings, but that's honestly what prompted me to undertake this project.  This cake also happens to be one of my husband's favorites.  It was one of the tools I used to lure him to the altar.


Blackout Cake... it's the perfect antidote to "PMS Blues".

For some reason, this particular cake stays moist forever.  Seriously, they usually stay good for weeks.  But I don't want this sitting around the house, especially when I have an even bigger passion for beer.  My ass gets enough presents as it is.

Anyway, if you're interested in the recipe, here it is...  I have added my own notes based on years of experience making this cake.

Blackout Cake
Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 35-40 minutes Serves: 12 to 16

1 1/2 sticks softened butter
3 C sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla extract (or powder, which is what I use.  I have also been known to use flavorings.  Yesterday, I used a little rum and kirschwasser in addition to the vanilla.)
4 (1 oz.) squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 C flour
3 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 C buttermilk (note- In the past, I have also used Saco buttermilk powder mixed with water-- also works very well)
1 1/3 C boiling water
3/4 to 1 C diced roasted almonds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well-blended. Add melted chocolate and beat 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to chocolate mixture in two additions, alternately with buttermilk. Beat until well-blended. With mixer on low speed, add boiling water and beat until smooth (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 to 15 minutes, then unmold onto racks and let cool completely.

5. Cover a cake layer with a little more than one third of Chocolate Ganache. Set second layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining ganache. Press almonds into sides of cake. Refrigerate cake 3 to 4 hours, or until ganache is firm.

Chocolate Ganache
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 3 minutes Chill 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Makes enough to fill and frost a 2 layer 9 inch cake.

18 oz. semisweet chocolate chips or 3 C semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped  (12 ounces chocolate chips also works fine.)

1 1/2C heavy cream (half and half works just as well-- fewer calories, too)

2 T butter, cut up

1t vanilla extract (I've been known to use other flavorings, too-- raspberry, coffee, or orange liqueurs work well)

1. In a 2 qt. glass measure, combine chocolate chips and cream. Heat in a microwave oven on high for three minutes, or until melted or smooth when stirred. Stir in butter and vanilla.

2. Cover and refrigerate (or put in freezer for 30 minutes) 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until ganache holds its shape or is thick enough to spread on cake.

I got this recipe from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts (1991) by Natalie Haughton.


We will probably have lunch somewhere today.  Since today is Sunday, it's probably going to be at The Auld Rogue... or maybe not.  We are in need of a change of scenery, even though next weekend we'll be in Hamburg.  Stay tuned.

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