Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A series of failures, and a success with no pictures

Do you know what’s more frustrating that making a recipe and not liking the outcome? Making one and liking it, only to realize later that you forgot to take any good pictures for the blog! *facepalm*

I made things like egg drop soup, which I normally love, but that recipe wasn’t good enough. I tried a new recipe for creamy polenta with sausages and roasted grapes, but it was nothing special. I should have known, since I already have excellent recipes for both roasted sausages with red grapes and polenta. >. I made an onion dip that ended up bitter and atrocious.

For dessert, I made an apple torte with breadcrumb-hazelnut crust, because it looked really good and different from my usual apple pie recipes. The accompanying article had said that the breadcrumb crust was probably created when white flour wasn’t available in Italy during the war. I found the recipe to be somewhat poorly written, the dough to be uncooperative, and the cooking time to be a little off (the torte came out of the oven looking beautiful, but burnt as it finished cooking on the cooling rack). When we ate it that night, I thought it was good for what it was, but questioned whether it was worth the trouble it took to make; as for the Engineer, he said that he’s sure it was good during wartime, but he doesn’t like it. When I had it again on the second day, the crust had become mushy and I was no longer enjoying it, though the apple filling was good. I threw the last few pieces away and won’t be making it again. The following week, I tried a new recipe for chocolate pudding, but the consistency was too thick and the taste wasn’t that great; I'm sure I’ve got better pudding recipes.

For breakfast, I made some sort of cinnamon roll muffins, but they weren’t rolls at all, and they were pretty dry. The point was supposed to be that they’re faster to make than real rolls, but really, the extra time would have been worth it. I’ve got another recipe up my sleeve, we’ll see if that one works out.

As for products, I tried Zevia, a zero-calorie soda that is sweetened with stevia instead of artificial sweeteners. It sounds like it would have everything I like, except that… it turns out I don’t like stevia. It really tastes like artificial sweeteners, which I hate!

Finally, the recipe that is worth sharing: chocolate-cinnamon bundt cake with mocha icing. I ended up making this on a whim, and since all the ingredients are pantry staples, I already had everything that I needed (well, I used regular-sized chocolate chips instead of miniature ones, but that worked out fine). The only problem was that the unmolding was disastrous, so my recommendation is to dust the bundt pan with cocoa after it’s greased (I’ll include that instruction in the recipe below). That’s basically why I don’t have good pictures. The mocha mixture helped camouflage that, but I think it’s more of a glaze than an icing, and I still didn’t get a nice picture of it. Anyway, the cake itself was moist and really good, and all the flavors went well with each other. Next time, though, I might try replacing 2/3 of the oil with applesauce, for a healthier version. I hope you like the recipe!

1 cup boiling water
½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
4 tsp instant espresso powder, divided
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided (or use regular-sized chocolate chips)
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used cold margarine)

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Generously brush 12- to 15-cup nonstick Bundt pan with oil and dust it with cocoa.

Whisk boiling water, cocoa powder, and 2 tsp espresso powder in 2-cup glass measure.

Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds longer. Beat in half of flour mixture, then cocoa mixture. Add remaining flour mixture; beat to blend. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; cool completely.

Meanwhile, stir remaining ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tsp espresso powder, and 2 Tbsp water in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add butter and remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips; stir until butter and chocolate melt. Cool slightly. Using spoon, drizzle icing over cake. Cool cake completely, slice, and serve.


malt_soda said...

I was like, "Oh no! How can I pin this recipe without a picture!" Even the original recipe had no picture. Then I happened to be flipping through my recipes, and I saw this one. I've already made it! I thought it looked familiar.

Amélie said...

Until you said that, I hadn't even realized that the original recipe had no picture! I'm guessing they also had trouble making it look good after getting it out of the pan.

I bet you feel better, too, being able to take something off your to-do list so quickly! :)