Hopp Diva's Blog


February Beer Finds February 27, 2019

I think the older I get the harder it is for me to wrap my mind around how quickly the months pass!  I try to reflect back to see what I have accomplished in the few weeks the months offer me.  Although February has flown by for me (as has most months) I did discover a few very interesting beers to cook with.

Morning Nightcap by Arcadia Ales, http://arcadiaales.com/, has been a fun beer to not only make marshmallows but also the beer cake that I make so often (you can find the recipe under the dessert tab on my web site ).   The Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Shake Stout by Rochester Mills Brewery, http://www.beercos.com/our-story/production-brewery/, was the beer I used to make part of the Vanilla Porter cupcake with Chocolate Cheesecake Milk Stout filling topped with the salted caramel Vanilla Porter butter cream frosting.  The cupcakes were time consuming but ohhhhhh boy were they delish!!!!  You can find that recipe under the dessert tab also.   A truly unique beer, Milk Shake IPA also from Rochester Mills,  was a big favorite of my husband Forrest.  I used the Milk Shake IPA to make marshmallows and they were a huge hit with everyone who tried them.  The beer offered a wonderful little bite on the back side of the marshmallow taste.  I didn’t have to dry hop the marshmallows very much to achieve the taste I wanted.  Another great beer I found for making cupcakes, marshmallows and even soaking pears in was from Brewery Vivant, https://www.breweryvivant.com/   A Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadruple Ale called Wizard Burial Ground   was so much fun to play with.  I soaked some pears in the beer for a few weeks and then made a delicious almond tart where I topped it with my soaked pears.  Talk about tantalizing your taste buds!!

Forrest and I have been to Brewery Vivant   in Grand Rapids Michigan a few times.  They are known for their sour beers, which Forrest is not a fan of but they do have other beers that are pretty solid.  One of my favorite things to get at Brewery Vivant is their  Duck Confit Nachos.  Holy Batman are they awesome!

I have to say that Forrest didn’t suffer too badly from all of my finds this month.  There are a couple of other beers that were ok for drinking but I didn’t feel they were worthy of creating anything with them.

I will post the Almond Tart Recipe that I made with the soaked pears soon but if you now have a bug you want to make them right after you read the blog post you can find the recipe on this web site    https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/almond-tarts-recipe   

The only things I changed with the recipe is to not put the raspberries on top or the icing.  I felt the pears were a great touch and  I did not want to take away from that flavor combined with almond flavor. Too much sweet from the icing pulls the flavor combination away.

I have high hopes for March.  Lots of recipes as well as beers to sample.

Thanks for reading!




Beer Cake April 20, 2012

Working in the Test Kitchen this week I had a great deal of flops and some of the cakes I tried to make were actually quite disgusting as my granddaughter would say.  There were cakes that lacked taste, were rubbery (which happens when you try to remove too much  fat from baked goods), weighed enough to be a boat anchor or tasted just dreadful.  And most of this took place on just one day!  But the next day I was determined to try again for a moist, but slightly dense, tasty cake and I found one!

The guilt came when I was making the cake and the recipe called for a box cake mix (oh, my mom would so not approve) and instant pudding.  The other cakes I tried were some of my old favorites and yes they were all from “scratch” as my mom calls them (ie; no box) and how would I feel if the cake I made from a box turned out to taste just scrumptious?  At this point I would happy if I didn’t have to dump out any more cakes to the animals in the field behind my house.

I peaked in the oven as the cake was baking and it looked wonderful, there was so much anticipation as it cooled slightly before I removed it from the pan and I was just beginning to start the glaze when………….hold the phone…..I was out of powdered sugar!  Crap, with all the flops I had experienced I forgot to check my pantry for extra staples.  Off to the store I went, came back made my glaze, still antsy with anticipation.  My husband came home just as I was slicing a small piece to try and as I handed him some his comment was “what, dessert before dinner”?  But I knew what he was really thinking, “oh God, I have to try another test cake”   But to my delight (and I’m sure my husbands too) the cake was fantastic.  Everything I had hoped for, moist, rich, very flavorful and still low in fat.

This cake is not for the young or anyone who has issues with alcohol because of the beer that is used.  Yes, the alcohol is baked out of the cake but you use beer for the icing also.   Please, don’t wrinkle up your nose yet before you try it because the cake was gone in 5 minutes when the taste testers got their hands on it.  Inhaled would be more like it.  I used a chocolate cake and devils food pudding for my combination but what is nice about this recipe is you can pare the cake to what ever beer you want to use.  I used a whiskey stout that my husband made but a blue moon style with a white  or yellow cake with white chocolate mouse or cheese cake pudding would be nice too.  I would stay away from real hoppy beer like an IPA.

I do have a quick note regarding the glaze for the cake.  There is a fine line between cooking the glaze too much where it becomes crystallized and where it’s still a glaze that only slightly sets up.  Be sure as the glaze is boiling you do not over cook it.       Enjoy!!!     For comments/questions contact me ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Beer Cake

1 box cake mix (not the one with pudding in the mix – higher in fat)  of your choice to pare with beer

1 3.5 pkg. pudding – any flavor that will pare with your cake

1 cup beer – flavor that will work well with cake mix (stout, wheat, etc)

1/4 cup oil

3/4 cup egg beaters

Spray and lightly dust with flour a bundt cake pan with Pam.

Combine cake mix and pudding mix in large bowl and whisk to combine.  Add beer and oil.  Whisk to combine.  Add egg beaters and beat with hand mixer on high for about 2 minutes or until lumps are gone.  The batter will be very thick and rich.

Bake 350 for 40 minutes (be sure if you have a dark bundt pan you lower the temp to 325 and check the cake after 35 minutes so you don’t’ over bake it).  Remove cake from oven and set on rack for 10 minutes to cool before you remove it from the pan.  Place on the rack with parchment paper under for the glaze.

While the cake is cooling start your glaze.  In a sauce pan, add 2 oz beer, 1 Tlb. Blue Bonnet Lite and whisk until butter is melted.  Whisk in 1 -1/2 cup powdered sugar and bring your glaze to a boil.  Continue to whisk so the glaze is clear and  there are no lumps.   Cool for about 2-3 minutes and then drizzle/pour over warm cake.  Let the cake cool before cutting it.  I saved a small piece from the second cake I made so I could try some the next day and wow it was even better.  Delish!!!

This picture is of my first cake where I cooked the glaze a bit longer than I should have.  It still tasted good but when it cooled I found it to be firmer than I wanted.  Be careful of that fine line in over cooking your glaze.  You just want the glaze to be free of lumps and be clear.


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