Thursday, January 20, 2011

Root beer cake and kelp cookies

Little tornado
Owen made a tornado in a bottle for his science fair project which meant we had to buy a bunch of  plastic bottles of root beer and empty them out. There was more root beer around here than even he could drink, so I finally made the mysteriously alluring root beer cake from Baked.
How do you frost a bundt cake?
To make this cake you melt butter with cocoa and 2 cups of root beer, then mix the warm, dark sludge with flour and eggs and bake it all in a bundt pan. The frosting contains more root beer, more chocolate, and more butter. I really wanted to taste a root beer-flavored cake. This was not it. This was a fudgy cake with fudgy frosting, my least favorite kind of cake and while everyone else was thrilled with it, I was able to partake in moderation. In fact, after the first bite, I was able to partake not at all. Win-win!

I guess.

More Dorie Greenspan reports:

Cheez-it crackers. Delicious. Like cheese straws, but better than any cheese straws I've ever eaten. I need to examine her recipe to figure out why. Another one for the scrapbook.
Cheez-it and seaweed cookie. 
Seaweed sables. Strange. You chop up dried Japanese seaweed and mix it into a sweet, tender butter cookie dough, then add a lot of salt. These are definitely cookies, but they're also salty and seaweedy and totally confusing. I liked them quite a bit. Greenspan borrowed the recipe from David Lebovitz; his version is here.

Vegetable-barley soup with Indian spices. Good and easy and vegan, since I made it with water instead of broth. A rare dish in which I found parsnip inoffensive.

In other news.

My favorite.
Our Japanese bantam hen, Lily, weighs about a pound and, when she's laying, lays a small, pretty egg almost every single day. She's currently not laying, though, because she's gone broody for the fifth or sixth time since we got her, which is to say, she's trying to keep a clutch of eggs warm under her body until they hatch. She leaves the nest for ten minutes to eat and drink every morning, and then rushes back, settles herself over the eggs, fans out all her feathers and clucks. Here she sits, day and night. It breaks my heart. Not only will none of the eggs on our property ever hatch (we have no rooster), but she isn't even sitting on eggs this time. She's sitting on the golf balls we put in the nesting boxes to trick the hens to lay there rather than in the goat shed.

I find this so sad. I might go to Trader Joe's and get some of their fertile eggs and replace the golf balls. Or maybe the Chinese market for quail eggs? Give the little gal a fighting chance.


  1. I was just looking at the Baked recipe for the root beer cake and wondering if it was good. Thanks for baking it for me.

  2. You can also try wasted so many dollars on there trying to get Welsummers.

  3. Oh dear Lily....somehow this is a metaphor for life....eagerly sitting on golf balls hoping for the best and trying SO hard...on my more cynical days I feel like Lily is a metaphor for our efforts to end poverty ... I have a former student who is trying to better herself and end the cycle of poverty in her family and lately it feels like she is sitting on golf balls....

  4. I was disappointed with the not-very-root-beer-y-ness of the cake, too. what kind of Root Beer did you use? They advise Mug, but my husband got Sprecher, which, while better out of the bottle might not have been the best choice.

  5. Girl Detective -- We used the cheap store brand of root beer as we were really just after the bottles. I guess we should have used Mug, but it's hard to imagine how any root beer could stand up to all that chocolate.

  6. Thanks for the cake review. That was one of many recipes in that cookbook I wanted to try. Now I'll spend my time on a different one.

  7. It seems to me that root beer cake should not have chocolate in it ....wouldn't the chocolate always overwhelm the root beer?

  8. As it happens I've done some experimenting with root beer cakes. I couldn't find a recipe that actually let the taste of good root beer shine through. In the end it turned out that the best option was to nix the chocolate entirely and make a spice cake using a concentrated root beer syrup made by boiling down root beer of your favorite brand. This way you can actually taste the specific root beer you use.

  9. Kelp cookies...sounds very SpongeBob-ish.

  10. The seaweed cookies tasted just like seaweed cookie.
    The root beer cake tasted like cake into the batter of which root beer had been spilled.
    Regarding metaphorical of the chicken sitting on golf balls in hopes they'll hatch -- I'm sure there's a metaphor in there for people whose partners are golf addicts.

  11. Your root beer cake made me remember an old Esquire recipe Dennis tried out last week, for Coca Cola-brined fried chicken. (We still had unfinished soda from a holiday party.) Definitely not one for the scrapbook, though I will concede that the meat itself was ridiculously moist and yummy. The skin/coating was virtually inedible.

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