The first time I made these chocolate cakes, my chef kept creeping up on me and saying/screaming “don’t fuck up the cakes…people want cake!” On some level he was joking and it was amusing, on another it really wasn’t. I didn’t fuck that batch up, or any subsequent batch. It became one of those things I did without even thinking about. So I decided to shake things up, and make a Troegs Javahead chocolate cake. And since I’m tired of making all the desserts in the same disposable aluminum souffle tins, I decided to use one of my larger springform pans and to cut out pieces.
All great ideas…in theory. First, the cake wouldn’t set. Maybe it was too big, maybe the batter was too dense. Second, the damn cake fell apart the second I tried to pop it out of the springform pan. Third, I finally get it out of the pan, only to find out the cake hadn’t actually finished cooking. After a string of expletives that would have made my mom super proud, throwing the pan, and throwing the cake in the freezer so I wouldn’t have to look at it. The same chef who constantly claims to know dick about baking suggested I turn it into a bread pudding. Full of hope, the last thing I did tonight was set up the bread pudding to soak overnight. We’ll see how this turns out…
The owner of my restaurant informed me a few weeks ago that something called the Iron Cupcake competition wanted to have their fall event at Alewife. They asked if I’d be interesting in participating as either a contestant or a judge. Obviously I chose to compete…I’m a pretty competitive person plus something I probably shouldn’t openly admit…I don’t particularly care for sweets.
Each competition has a theme, this particular one was BOOze (get the double entendre for halloween and alcohol). Fortunately for me, it was a combination of two of my favorite things. Ended up making dark and stormy cupcakes…ginger cupcake base, rum caramel filling, and rum caramel buttercream.
That was the easy part, next I had to figure out how to make it Halloweenish. Grabbed a bunch of food dye from the store, and dyed the buttercream pitch black. It was a start and still needed more. At this point it was thirty minutes before the competition and I had a decent amount of other work to do before dinner service. Glanced around the prep kitchen, grabbed granulated sugar, red and yellow food dye, and who knew it all of a sudden I had orange sprinkles. Done and done!
I ended up with a perfect score tasting wise from the judges (yipee!) But placed third overall. It would have been shady if I won, plus what am I going to do with a gift certificate to my own restaurant and free dessert?
There’s a decent backstory to this. My restaurant serves A LOT of burgers. Its gotten a fair amount of hype…smoked gouda cheese blended into four cuts of beef, melted gruyere cheese, chipotle aioli, a brioche bun, and most importantly apple wood smoked bacon. So its fair to say we go through a decent amount of bacon. Now whenever you cook off bacon, you end up with rendered bacon fat, which we put to good use making bacon salad dressing (there’s an oxymoron in there somewhere) and bacon cream. But we got to the point where I made them comment, there’s probably enough around to fill up our table-top fryer. And then my chef mentioned using that to make doughnuts. We laughed, joked about our food ultimately giving someone a heat attack, and then forgot about it.
A few weeks ago, Heavy Seas brewery hosted a beer and bacon event. Since my chef had already planted the idea in my head to make some sort of bacon doughnut. So we took this as the opportunity to make this happen.
Decided the whole frying doughnut in bacon fat might be a tad too extreme, and decided make a glaze using rendered bacon fat, confectioners sugar, and maple syrup. Then I played around with flour, yeast, beer ratios until I stumbled upon the perfect combination for the doughnut itself. Stuffed them with some lovely raspberry framboise jelly the first time around and apple cider jam the second time. And I had it…the perfect heart unhealthy dessert. Beer, bacon, jelly doughnuts.
Some goat cheese cheesecake and my chef’s desire for someone on his staff to have a hidden pastry talent.
A year later I’ve had the chance to do some pretty off the wall stuff…fish desserts, beer/bacon doughnuts, a cupcake competition, a four-tiered wedding cake. Next up I’ve got to come up with the most unhealthy dessert possible. Currently leaning towards something with deep fried cheesecake and candied bacon.