Recently I read an interview with the pastry chef of Bittersweet, Kris Padalino. In the article she urges bakers to put an end to vanilla extract and use more interesting spices, extracts and liquors to flavor sweets. These wise words inspired my latest project: a pumpkin layer cake with caramel whiskey frosting.
The whisky flavor in the frosting was fairly subtle and if I had more friends of legal drinking age I probably would have doubled the amount. However, since most of my underaged friends are only used to drinking flavored cheap vodka, they wouldn’t have been able to handle the flavor of top shelf liquor. If you are making this for people with more sophisticated palates I would recommend using a heavier hand.
Find the layer cake recipe here.
Whisky Caramel Frosting
1 cup butter
2 cups powered sugar (if you like your frosting stiffer, use up to three cups)
3 tbs caramel flavored whiskey
2 tsp vanilla
1) Beat softened butter with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and light in color.
2) Add powdered sugar until reaching desired consistency. Mix until no powdered sugar lumps are left.
3) Beat in whiskey and vanilla to taste. I like the alcoholic flavor of both vanilla extract and whiskey so I might have added a little more than written above…
Trade Joe’s is one of my favorite grocery stores, especially because I really admire their business techniques. The line to the cashier happens to wind through an endless maze of fresh baked treats and excotic chocolate bars. By the time I get to the cash register I have usually eaten my way through a salted chili truffle bar and filled my bag with a paychecks worth of pumpkin biscottis. This week I almost fell pray to a bag of peanut butter blondies, but because my arms were already filled with vanilla Joe Joe’s, and because I didn’t want the grungy-cute cashier to judge my sweet tooth, I decided to just make them myself at home.
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have an unhealthy obsession with Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce. I have been drizzling it on ice cream, swirling it into banana bread and even went so far as to use it as chip dip. I just can’t get enough. So clearly caramel was the perfect addition to these blondies. I just split the dough in half and poured the caramel in the middle. Obviously outdoing the Trader Joe’s original.
2013 has been the year of hybrid dessert. Starting in May, people across the world proved this with their unsatisfiable Cronut fetish. I don’t remember what life was like before the Cronut become a household name, but I can safely say I don’t want to go back to a day when this French-American love child didn’t exist.
Because I’m a sucker for trends and over-the-top-sweets, I decided to jump on the hybrid dessert bandwagon. Starting with: pecan pie… baked into chocolate cake. I haven’t yet decided on a catchy name, so on the comments below please feel free to leave your advice. Although this cake is extreme, I think next time I will bring it into overdrive by making it into a layer cake. Imagine cutting into a cake and discovering each layer is stuffed with pie… I need to copyright that idea.