{November 4, 2018}   Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake

Geeky Cakes

Chocolate stout cake is one of my favorite variations on chocolate cake.  Rich, chocolate-y, and not too sweet, it tastes great paired with poured ganache, vanilla, chocolate, or coffee Italian Meringue Buttercream, or even just whipped cream (add Frangelico or other tasty liqueur for a delicious variation.

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For those not familiar with chocolate stout cake, no, it doesn’t taste like beer!  Just as brewed coffee is sometimes added to a chocolate cake without giving it a coffee flavor, stout can add depth to the color and flavor of a chocolate cake.

I absolutely love the chocolate stout cake recipe from Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which is filled with eggs, butter, and sour cream.  Of course, not everyone eats dairy or eggs, so I set out to re-create a suitable vegan alternative.  Rebecca August’s excellent Chocolate Midnight Cake recipe as posted in the Vegan Meringues — Hits and…

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Geeky Cakes

Italian Meringue Buttercream without eggs or dairy?  Impossible, you say?  Not with the miracle of aqua faba (the liquid drained from a can of beans)!

If you’ve never had Italian Meringue Buttercream before (or its cousin, Swiss Meringue Buttercream), you’re in for a real treat.  I often say that IMBC is the finest icing on Earth — silky smooth, light, and not too sweet, it’s a wonderful change from the confectioner’s-sugar-based American Buttercream, which some would argue isn’t a proper buttercream at all.  Meringue Buttercreams are very often used on wedding cakes, and with good reason.  They look great and taste luxuriously elegant.

11061334_10153450238039179_1004034007435769031_nFor my initial experimentation with this recipe, I chose 100% organic palm oil shortening because others have reported success using it as a butter substitute in egg-based IMBC — it’s creamy and luxurious, and creates a buttercream with a lovely texture, which pipes like a dream.  Unlike…

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{November 4, 2018}   Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake

via Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake

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18765994_10209606262095759_5350010286680538053_nHere’s my recipe for a tasty “jam” that takes advantage of the sweet small cherry or grape tomatoes and smoky salty porky American Bacon.  Throw Sweet Vidalia onions in to the mix and you have my TOMATO, BACON AND ONION JAM.  A Sweet and Sour mix of heavenly flavors that really work on grilled meats like Burgers, Hot Dogs,  and even tasty over a block of cheese or sliced cheeses on a crouton or cracker.  The trick is to be patient, the bacon needs to fully cook or you have rubbery, wobbly unwanted surprises in the jam.  Nobody wants that.  Let make some JAM! My favorite application of this jam is on a cheeseburger, as pictured above.

1 lb.   CHOPPED AMERICAN BACON, some like thick cut for this, i do not. Regular cut is what I use.

2 pts. CHOPPED CHERRY OR GRAPE TOMATOES, tossed with some Kosher Salt to…

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{April 30, 2018}   Pancakes

The Minnesota Farm Woman

Call them griddlecakes, flapjacks, or silver dollars, the pancake is a food item found in most cultures around the world.  My mom’s parents immigrated from Finland, but they were of Swedish descent and spoke Swedish.  I often wondered aloud why people who lived in Finland for many generations just didn’t call themselves Finns, but nobody ever answered me to my satisfaction, so I still wonder all these years later. Mom always made the best pancakes, and the ones she made most often were a nod to her Swedish heritage.  These thin, light-as-air circles of love were made many Sunday mornings and wherever we had company.  She sometimes had two pans going on the stove, but each pancake was made and served one at a time, and that’s how we ate them, everyone’s plate getting an equal turn.  I preferred a stack of them, and for that luxury, I had to either get…

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Megan In Sainte Maxime

The Fifi Awards run by The Fragrance Foundation France were held last Wednesday evening, the 11th of April in Paris. It’s the  major perfume award ceremony in France and there are a range of prizes to be won. There is the Fifi d’Or (judged by a panel of artists)the Prix d’Experts (judged by journalists, evaluators and bloggers), as well as a variety of awards in the Prix de Professionals (a jury of professionals), and the Prix du Public. 

Here are the prize winners :

Collage Fifi Awards Megan In Sainte Maxime

Le Prix des Experts 

Best fragrance of an independent niche brand : This was a tie between 2015 LE PHÉNIX : Les Bains Guerbois: Perfumer : Michel Almairac from Robertet AND Nuit de Bakélite  by Naomi Goodsir: Perfumer : Isabelle Doyen

Best fragrance of a niche brand affiliated to a group : Concrete by Comme des Garçons : Perfumer : Nicolas…

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