Friday, February 6, 2015

Spiced Molasses Cake [with whipped cream, candied orange peels, citrus glaze]

Spiced Molasses Cake [with whipped cream, candied orange peels, and citrus glaze]
I had my doubts about this one. The pervasive scent of dark molasses as the batter dripped into the bundt pan, the full tablespoon of ginger - plus dry mustard, plus fresh-ground black pepper? This was either going to be amazing or a waste of my time, flour, and sugar. Fortunately, it was the former.

This richly aromatic spiced cake is a new favorite. The cake itself is dense and decadent without being cloying or heavy and the whipped cream cuts through the bite of ginger while the candied orange peels and citrus glaze keeps the cake bright and fresh. Without the citrus the cake is good, but only a touch away from deep, dark, singing "Pictures of You" 87 times a day territory. We need a little brightness in our lives, in our cake, and especially in the middle of our winters. If you aren't up to candying your own citrus peels, a sprinkle of chopped candied ginger and pour of ginger simple syrup over the cake would be nice too. And feel free to play with the spices, as is the mustard and pepper didn't shine through on their own, but complimented the molasses and espresso - next time I make it I plan to double them just to see what happens.

Spiced Molasses Cake w/ whipped cream, candied orange peel, and citrus glaze
slightly adapted from Renee Erickson's A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus


2 1/2 cups [~230 grams] all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 tablespoons butter, plus extra for pan, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup unsulphured molasses
4 shots espresso or 2/3 cup strong-brewed coffee, plus whole milk to equal 1 cup

Candied Orange Peel:
2 organic oranges - Erickson recommended Sevilles for their sour bite, I used 2 small blood oranges and 1 cara cara
1 cup sugar

Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat over to 325°F Thoroughly butter a bundt pan, making sure to cover all crevices. Dust well with flour and tap pan to be rid of excess flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, mustard, and black pepper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 1 minute.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the espresso, milk, molasses, and eggs.

Add the molasses mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix on low until blended, taking care to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. [The mixture may have a few lumps or a curdled appearance.] Add the flour mixture and mix on low until nearly combined & only a few streaks of flour remain. Finish mixing until just incorporating by folding with a rubber spatula by hand.

Pour the batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes [50 was perfect for mine.] Cake should have a puffed appearance and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean or with very few moist crumbs clinging to it. While cake is baking, prepare candied orange peel.

Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet or a sheet of aluminum foil with the edges turned up to prevent glaze from running.

Candied orange peels & citrus glaze:
Halve and juice the oranges over a strainer set over a liquid measuring cup. Add water to make 1 cup of liquid. Cut pith [the bitter white part of the orange] away from the peel taking care to leave just the bright orange peel behind and slice peel into 1/4" strips. [I need practice with this and found it easier to cut the pith away after slicing the peel into strips, but this took longer. Do whatever method you find easiest to leave as little pith behind as possible.] Add peel strips to a 2qt saucepan, cover with water, boil for 5 minutes, and drain the water. Return orange peels to saucepan and add the water/orange juice mixture and sugar. Bring to a low-boil and cook until peels are shiny and nearly translucent. Remove candied peels to a sheet of parchment paper to dry, reserving syrup for glazing the cake.

Once cake has cooled for 10 minutes begin brushing all over with the citrus glaze, allowing glaze to soak in for a few moments before brushing on another coat. Continue until all glaze has been used. [If glaze has become too thick, returning to heat for a few minutes should loosen the consistency.]

Whipped cream:
Whip the cream with powdered sugar to your desired consistency just before serving. [My husband and I take a few days to go through a cake this size, so I whip half the cream the day I bake it and then do a fresh batch later in the week.]

It's good after dinner. It's good with coffee. It's good. ♥

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Beehive Distillery Sundance Party

Last Thursday I was invited to go to Beehive Distilling's Sundance Party in Park City. Despite living in Utah for 14 years, I'd never visited Park City during the film festival. It was much, much more low key than I had imagined - party due to it being held mid-week during the tail end of the festival, partly due to my come early, leave early agenda thanks to #momlife ;)

Jenn was my hot date that evening. We don't get nearly so many marathon chatting & binge-watching Grey's sessions these days. It was great getting some bestie time to catch up during the drive up and down the canyon and in the quiet moments before other guests arrived and the band started... [who am I kidding, I'm almost positive we had left and I very well could have been back home and in bed by the time the band started. PARTYHARD.]

A handful of babes from cocktail club were there as well - I don't know that my liver, wallet, or waistline would appreciate more frequent cocktail club meetings, but once a month isn't nearly often enough to spend time with these ladies. "Mommy wars" and women tearing women down are talked about with such frequency that I think it's time we shine the spotlight on how motherhood/womanhood can be such an incredible time for women to support each other. Each new friendship I've made in recent years has opened the door more new relationships. My tribe has grown tenfold in the months since and prior to becoming a mother and I'm so grateful for this community.

I'd like to thank new friend, Amanda, for the invitation & drinks last Thursday. On top of being a mom & Heartbeat Nosh Cocktail Club member, she's a PR representative for Beehive Distillery. If you get the chance to try Beehive's gin you absolutely should. It's great finding local products to support, but it's even better when that product is the best you've had. Their Jack Rabbit Gin is amazing, but if you come across a bottle of their limited edition Barrel Reserve [it sells out... fast] you've got to pick up a bottle... and maybe one for me too, please. It's aged in charred French oak barrels and has a subtly sweet, smokey richness on top of their pop of juniper and blend of botanicals. If you're one of those monsters who thinks they hate gin & it might as well be nail polish remover, I dare you to give it a try. I like to think of Barrel Reserve as gin for a whiskey lover. [And if gin & whiskey are your befri/stends like me, all the better!♥]

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*You can learn more about my friend Chelsea's Cocktail Club here at her blog, Heartbeat Nosh, on Facebook, or on Twitter and Instagram as @noshmaven
*Find out more about Beehive Distillery at their website, Facebook, or on Instagram as @beehivedistilling