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Salt Kissed Raspberry Cake at Kitchen Notes

What an exciting, crazy, silly, hot summer it’s been! And here we are:  June gone, July quickly melting away into August. Where does the time fly? I mentioned to the security guard at work today that it’s hard to believe today is July 8. I’ll close my eyes and tomorrow will be 2014. To which he told me to slow down.

Duly noted. I probably need to slow down on the berry purchasing, because I can’t seem to keep up with eating or baking them fast enough. In truth, I don’t think it’s too good for me to eat all the berry baked goodness that’s been frequenting this house this summer.

Fresh Raspberries at Kitchen Notes

As mentioned in my last post, I’m working my way through multiple pinterest pins involving summer berries. I recently tried Heidi Swanson’s salt-kissed buttermilk cake: a chewy, dense whole wheat snacking cake studded with (summer’s best fruit) raspberries and garnished with sugar and some large grain salt flakes.

I enjoyed  slices with coffee in the morning or served with a bit of cream for dessert in the evening. My concerns over a completely whole wheat snacking cake being too dry quickly dissipated when I took my first bite. The buttermilk and melted butter certainly do their diligence with this dish. A warning to the lackadaisical recipe reader: do read Heidi’s note about omitting the  large grain salt if you don’t have any. The full recipe is here.

Salt Kissed Raspberry Cake at Kitchen Notes

In other news, Parker is please (in a mildly annoyed way), to announce that Casey and I adopted a kitten two weeks ago. She’s taken to the name Lyla and chases all sundry of objects at 3 in the morning, while choosing to doze off at 7 am when her humans (that’s us) are having their morning coffee.

Lyla the kitten at Kitchen Notes

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I’m having a hard time believing it’s Easter weekend. Not because I don’t like Easter – chocolate, spring colors, chocolate (what’s not to love?) – but because it feels too early this year. Or too late in the year.

Or, perhaps it’s easier for me to say: It’s hard to believe April is just around the weekend. Where did March go? March was a good month, resplendent with jeweled couscous, mexican hot chocolate cookies, and a delicious birthday cake. Yet, March proved to be more than these three dishes and also proved to move too quickly for me to write about the other ones. (Note how I am blaming the month, not my procrastination).

Here’s a snapshot of what we ate in March, including additional pizza adventures. With my long weekend, I’m promising myself to stop procrastinating and get these recipes out to you! How are you spending your weekend?

a flavorful, caramelized veggie and chickpea hash

a flavorful, caramelized veggie and chickpea hash

a soup made for spring: asparagus and parmesan soup

a soup made for spring: asparagus and parmesan soup

german cheesecake - light fluffy, and not too sweet

german cheesecake – light fluffy, and not too sweet

a flavorful stir fry with steak and brussels sprouts, courtesy of BA

a flavorful stir fry with steak and brussels sprouts, courtesy of BA

Casey made this with the lovely pizza peel he received for his birthday...

Casey made this with the lovely pizza peel he received for his birthday…

Not so unknown fact about me: I dislike beer. What’s a girl to do, with left over Guinness in the fridge? Pull out the Guinness Cake recipe that’s been stashed in the recipe folder since fall of 2008! During my senior year of college, after deciding to move to the state capital where 115 was a normal summer temperature, I went a little food overboard by purchasing up all the old summer issues from years past at the local used bookstore. This recipe for a chocolate cake caught my eye, first because I have a brother-in-law undeniably attached to Guinness, and second because of the simplicity of the recipe.

The recipe comes together quickly, particularly if, like me, you tend to combine steps 1-3 and complete all at once. But there’s not need to rush anything here. Total prep time can’t be more than 10 or 15 minutes, and the recipe can be completed blender free. The blender free aspect could work nicely into those New Year’s resolutions to work out more (just make sure to switch arms halfway through so that you’re getting an even workout).

Chocolate scents wafted from the kitchen as the cake baked to a beautiful, deep color. I was impatient enough to try removing from the pan before the cake was cool, leaving me with a slightly distressed cake. Topped with powdered sugar, the cake looked delicious. Beautiful. Served with a scoop of java chip icecream, this Chocolate Guinness Cake wasn’t such a bad way to end the day.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Recipe from Vegetarian Times, 2006

2/3 cup stout, preferably Guinness

10 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 and 1/2 cup flour

1 and 1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup sour cream (you can use low fat)

powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an eight inch round cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and buttering the sides and the paper. This will help when removing the cake and is a much recommended step. (I left it out with my cake).

2. Combine stout and softened butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Slowly bring to a simmer then allow to cool slightly.

Bring the stout and butter to a simmer on medium heat.

3. While allowing the butter and stout in step two to come to a simmer, whisk together sugar, baking soda, flour, and salt in a large bowl.

4. Combine egg, the additional yolk, and the sour cream, beating well with a whisk or electric mixer. Slowly whisk in the stout-butter mixture. Add the flour and whisk slowly until combined, then gently fold the batter till combined.

5. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake about 50 to 55 minutes on the center oven rack. When finished, cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing the cake from the pan. To remove the cake, run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it. Then turn the cake pan on to the rack and lift. Allow the cake to cool completely.

6. Sift powdered sugar over the cake. Serve warm or room temperature.

This cake is best eaten within a day or two of making. To freeze, forgo step 6 and wrap well in foil. Freeze for up to one month. Let the cake thaw, then sift the powdered sugar over the cake.

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