A few years ago I was walking down the hall at work on St. Patrick’s Day, and I ran into my boss. He said “You are in so much trouble.” Then he paused. In that split second pause, I ran through a list of things in my head that he might be talking about. What had I done that I … Read More
While I don’t have room in my back yard for a vegetable garden (or the green thumb for it), I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful farmer’s market just a few blocks from my house every Saturday. It’s one of the best farmer’s markets in the area, with just about anything you could want. Local produce, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked … Read More
Sure, these aren’t my usual cakes or cupcakes, but a girl has to eat breakfast, too. We had friends staying with us over Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to serve brunch the morning after they arrived. Serving breakfast or brunch for a group is one of those things that can be as easy or as difficult as you make … Read More
There are so many people in my husband’s family (including my husband) that have birthdays in July, that they have a big combined celebration each year. We go to his aunt and uncle’s house on a lake, where people can kayak, fish, and enjoy the scenery. His uncle cooks some normal food, and then insists on adding something a little … Read More
A few weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that I had been enlisted to make a cake and cupcakes for a birthday party, which resulted in a longer discussion about my my penchant for baking. He asked if I ever made whipped cream frosting, and I told him that I have, but that I generally prefer to use an Italian meringue buttercream. The rest of the conversation went something like this:
“I don’t like buttercream.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do. You’ve just only had American buttercream. And American buttercream doesn’t count.”
So the following week I brought him a chocolate cupcake with Italian meringue buttercream, along with a small tub of extra frosting just in case. Then I watched as he not only ate the cupcake, but continued to scoop extra frosting out of the tub with each bite. He was amazed. Not only does he not hate buttercream, but this buttercream warranted joyous exclamations and enthusiastic comparisons to more…carnal pleasures.
Years ago, before I knew about the various types of buttercream frosting, I still got complements on cupcakes with homemade American buttercream. Because anything is better than frosting from the grocery store shelf, or the grocery store bakery. But after making my first batch of meringue buttercream, I can never go back.
This is my new favorite chocolate cake. It has a pleasantly dense texture that just melts in your mouth, with a rich chocolate flavor and wine that you can taste. Combined with the smooth sweetness of Italian meringue buttercream, plus a drizzle of red wine chocolate syrup, it’s divine. I wasn’t in the mood for a cupcake when I put these together, but after the first bite I couldn’t stop.
Deb Pearlman from Smitten Kitchen is probably my favorite food blogger of all time. You can never go wrong with one of her recipes. So when I was looking for a wine and chocolate cake recipe, and found that she had one, I knew it was a winner. It’s also in her cookbook, which we should all buy right now. And you should read the story on her blog that accompanies the recipe, because it’s rather great.