Monday, April 25, 2011

German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

2 missions were accomplished today: baking a cake all by myself and tasting German Chocolate cake. This recipe is actually Bobby Flay's so I had some high expectations this will be good. The cake was so moist and flavorful, you'll love it.

His original recipe for the frosting called for a coconut-pecan cajeta which is a thickened syrup made by goat's milk. Unfortunately goats milk is not readily available in typical supermarkets, so I substituted it with whole milk.When I tried his frosting, it didn't turn out very well and the milk curdled really fast, so I opted for a different type of frosting with coconut milk with coconut and nuts (see below).
There are other substitutions that I made to help those bakers who do not have access to certain ingredients. Dutch processed cocoa is also hard to find at ordinary supermarkets. I did some research and found that you can Dutch processed cocoa is cocoa powder with alkaline to neutralize the acid in the cocoa. Thus, we can substitute this with regular cocoa but add an additional teaspoon or two of baking soda. To be more accurate, you want to substitute equal measurements of Dutch processed cocoa with regular cocoa and add 1/8 teaspoon per every 3 tablespoons of cocoa.

The other substitution is buttermilk. Unless you make quite often with buttermilk, you don't need to make the extra trip to purchase it. Just substitute equal amounts of buttermilk with regular milk and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk. Let that sit for 5 minutes to allow the acid to react.

This modified recipe makes 2 9-inch cakes that will be divided to make 4 layers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bandwagon Brew Pub

Bandwagon Brew Pub

Restaurant Info:
114 N. Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850
607- 319-0699

Siddharth heard about this restaurant down near the Commons through the actual restaurant's food blog, where the chefs design interesting 8 oz. burgers decorated with any ingredients on hand to challenge their friend to eat under 7 minutes. So far, according to the blog, the challenger has yet to come across a burger that he couldn't finish. The restaurant is also known for brewing their own beer in addition to serving many other American beers.

I made reservations on a Friday night for 7:30pm. One thing nice about this is you can make reservations in advance via email or call for same day reservations. There are several restaurants in Ithaca that do not take reservations and at most, you can call ahead. That can be quite annoying especially when you have already called ahead but there are still 10 parties ahead of you on a weekend and you're starving. We mistakenly arrived at Bandwagon Brew 15 minutes late and our table was given away. The host was deeply apologetic but we knew it was our fault. He suggested we wait in the lounge and have a drink at one of the two bars. We asked if we could sit and eat at the bar instead of waiting for another table and he said that was fine too.

We started with our meal by sharing an appetizer of breaded and fried pepper jack cheese with spicy marinara sauce. This is a twist from your typical mozzarella sticks, but better. Mozzarella doesn't have that much flavor in general and the taste is mostly dependent on the breading. But the pepper jack cheese is a better cheese to hold in breading plus it has its own flavor. 

For drinks, we decided to try one of BWB beers called Strawberry Cream Ale and also my favorite, Abita Purple Haze. Since I'm not expert in beers, I'll let Siddharth comment on them. They restaurant also served flights of beers which were pretty popular that night.

BWB offers customers several beer flights as well.
When it was time to order our entrees, Siddharth was torn between 2 dishes, the shrimp, andouille, spinach,  and cherry tomatoes in red pepper-chili sauce over cornmeal waffles or the roasted duck with orange-ginger-parsley sauce over mashed sweet potatoes with steamed broccoli. After careful consideration, he chose the shrimp and andouille.

I chose the local maple-horseradish pork chops with BWB's own bbq sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Here is a full review: