Friday, February 26, 2016

Fairy Tales: Chocolate-Lager Cake with Tangerine Dream Frosting

We all have fairies in our lives, people who do things for us that make life that much sweeter, richer, and enjoyable—and, if we're lucky, we're able to do the same for them in return. With just a bit of thought and effort, even the simplest things become a special treat. A little everyday magic definitely goes a long way.

Now, it's true I don't drink beer often, but when the Beer Fairy delivered a six-pack of Brooklyn Lager one day, I was thrilled—it reminded me that I'd been wanting to experiment with just such a brew in my cooking and baking. It was perfect, and I couldn't wait to get started. The first thing I tried was adapting this cupcake recipe, and here's how it went:

Chocolate-Lager Cake with Tangerine Dream Frosting Slice

Chocolate-Lager Cake with Tangerine Dream Frosting

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Brooklyn Lager or other amber-style beer

For the frosting:
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one tangerine (or a small orange)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan or deep-dish pie plate and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt until combined. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, then stir in vanilla extract. Starting and ending with flour mixture, blend in batches alternately with beer until you have a smooth batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spread out evenly and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

In a medium bowl, combine frosting ingredients and stir until completely smooth. Frost the top of the cake, spreading evenly out to the edges. You can serve right away, but the cake will slice more cleanly if you allow it to chill in the fridge for an hour. Cover and store any leftovers in the fridge as well.

Notes: The sweet, creamy frosting pairs wonderfully with the bitter tang of the cake. However, I felt the cake's texture was a bit dry, so in future I might try using a neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed or extra light olive oil in place of the butter. Use any flavorings you like in the frosting, or simply leave it plain. If you don't have or don't like beer, substitute with freshly brewed (and cooled) black coffee or tea.

Have you been doing any everyday magic in your kitchen? Please share in the comments!


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