Fajitas and Cake

First off I've got to say, Browns, if this is how you are going to perform this season I'm massively disappointed. It's the Steelers and the home opener and the best you could fucking do is 7 points?

I've not done a cooking post in a good long time (cooking club not-withstanding), but really I've not been cooking a whole lot. The heat is getting me down and when that happens food is usually the last thing on my mind (beer and other adult beverages on the other hand are an entirely different story).

But there is something about the heat that lends itself to grilling, and when I get sick of the brats and burgers I lean towards one thing- fajitas. Thinly sliced, medium rare steak with grilled peppers and onions, with the traditional toppings of guacamole and sour cream. And also since I've now got a gas stove I've been heating the tortillas on that so they are warm and pliant with just the tiniest bit of char.

I don't go in for a super heavy rub on the fajitas because I prefer not to overwhelm the natural taste of a good piece of streak. Instead I got with a simple marinade that plays well with all the flavors that will be in fajitas.

Fajita Marinade:
Flank Steak
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of coriander
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Sear steak on a hot grill until it reaches your preferred doneness.

Not that the above is much of a recipe but what follows for the rest is less of recipe than most. I slice a bunch of peppers, if I'm lucky I can pick up some different colors at the farmer's market. I combine those with sliced onions and toss onto the grill. Unfortunately this is the part I've still not managed to master: not losing a majority of these through the grates of the grill.

As for the guacamole, it is a deeply personal issue to say the least, there are those that prefer to add tomatoes, onion and garlic to theirs. Personally I'm more a purist, I don't want anything getting between me and avocados. So I just go for simple lime juice, salt and mashed avocado.

But really, I'm longing for cooler temps and comfort food. I could go in for some low 60's, maybe even 50's where I can cozy up to a bowl of stew, cabbage rolls or even a good pot roast dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Instead I consoled myself with cake. Not usually a cake fan, this dark, dense beauty is heavy but still fairly unsweet. I don't care for cakes and other sweets that make my teeth hurt, instead I prefer something that is sweet but still a hint of savory buried in it's depths. I think Guinness and chocolate are a natural pairing, and I must thank Nigella Lawson for this most fantastic recipe (which I've made so many times in the last year the book naturally opens to that slightly beer stained page that holds the recipe).

It doesn't hurt that I wanted to do some photography this weekend that didn't involve tiny little pieces of guitars. Although I am not happy with what I shot, I blew out the white of the frosting and just couldn't get into the groove of shooting (I can't even believe I'm going to post these actually I'm so embarrassed). It was highly dissappointing since I'd hauled all the equipment to shoot in my kitchen, but at least at the end of the shoot I got to eat cake, right?

Nigella Lawson
Chocolate Guinness Cake

For the Cake:
1 cup Guinness
1 stick but 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 unsweetened cocoa
2 cups of superfine sugar
3/4 sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda

For the Topping:
8-oz of cream cheese
1 1/4 cups of confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and line a 9 inch spring-form pan.

Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter in slices and heat the until the butter until melted at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

When the cake is cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the frosting. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioners' sugar and them beat them together (I use less sugar than called for because, again, I don't go for overly sweet frostings). Or do this in the processor, putting in the confectioners' sugar first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.

Add the cream and then beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

(Now if you do follow my suggestion for less sugar, which is what gives this frosting it's bit of stiffness be prepared that it might be more malleable that you expect if you add the full measure of cream. Of course you can always cut back on the cream and depending on my devotion to my health that day I occasionally do but otherwise I just deal with a slightly softer frosting. Either way I've had no complaints when it comes to this cake.)

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  • At September 10, 2007 11:15 AM, Blogger orangek8 said…

    I got to have that cake one time. I love it SO. It's beautiful and delicious. I bet it would be good dunked in a pint of Guinness, a la donuts in coffee? Mmm.

  • At September 10, 2007 1:41 PM, Blogger Ian said…

    Beer AND cake? You now have my full attention. Sooo evil... it will be mine... oh yes...

  • At September 10, 2007 9:35 PM, Blogger LE said…

    That cake looks insane. I'll have to make it sooooon.

    CostCo in Colorado has these fantastic frozen, raw flour tortillas that kick the ass of the pre-cooked ones you can buy at any old grocery store. I am angry they don't sell them at the Chicago store. They are Just. So. Good.

  • At September 12, 2007 2:27 AM, Blogger Lincoln said…

    Okay. You've officially inspired me. I'm going to attempt that cake this Sunday for a little get together the Bozeman newsies are having. I'm a little frightened. But I'm gonna try.

  • At September 12, 2007 7:57 AM, Blogger Skeezix said…

    Lincoln, it is honestly a very easy cake. Just make sure you use a big saucepot, that way you only have one mixing vessel to clean up.

  • At September 12, 2007 11:43 AM, Blogger orangek8 said…

    Thank you so much for the cake! We ate it last night. SO DELICIOUS.

  • At September 13, 2007 12:07 AM, Anonymous Jemima said…

    Oh my God, is there anything in this world better than cream cheese frosting? If I'm wrong, I don't wanna be right.


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