Thursday, May 29, 2014

Awesome ways to use Beer!

Beerfest is in a couple of weeks, and with beer so wildly loved in this hot, hot state of ours, we put on our (still sober?) thinking caps for the 5 Best Uses for Beer:

1) Beer Spa

Detoxification, purification, relaxation and rejuvenation - beer bath enthusiasts can't get enough of submerging into vats of beer - especially when the medical benefits run a mile long on the spa websites. And of course you get your very own beers to chug while immersed in the beer barrel. Let's hope that isn't where the used beer from the earlier beer spas goes :)

> Some of our feel-pretty desserts:

2) Spicy Food

Mugs up if you're ever chased mad spicy food down your belly at the hawker center with ice cold beer, I know I have! Something strangely effective about cold beery bubbles nuking the chilli burn, highly recommended.

> 'Healthy' foods: Fruity cakes & shakes  
> Rustic food: Red velvet cake

3) Polishing Pots


When you've got a bit of leftover beer (how and why that would ever happen, we don't know), don't throw it out. Grab your nearest copper pot, pour on the leftover beer, let it sit for a while and wipe off. Viola, spiffy shiny pot is born. That's what the Idaho Brewing Company claims anyways. 

4) Beer Shampoo

Pour another... for your hair. Yet another way alcohol seems to aid beauty - enterprising personal care companies have kicked beers up a notch and brought them into the daily bath routine with beer shampoos. Silky shiny hair, with beer run-off so conveniently tasty while rinsing off, what's not to like?

5) Guinness Cake

There's ALWAYS a good reason to bring dessert into the picture. Beer + cake = perfect sense. The Chocolate Guinness Cake is velvety heaven on a plate, with a very subtle hint of the alcoholic brew. Nigella has an excellent recipe for an inky black cake, that has a place in every celebration.

The secret to a fantastic Guinness cake: good ol' malted
Guinness and sour cream. That's right, sour cream - it
lifts the cake, injects airiness, and is
responsible for the tender crumb and moist bite.

I love edible science experiments.

The bubbly brew wells up under the chocolatey
egg mixture, giving it lift and lightness.

This next step isn't in Nigella's recipe, but you'll need to sift
the flour well, or you'll end up with little flour craters
that won't break up well because of the beer's airy bubbles.

You can't taste the beer per se, so don't be
 disappointed if you don't get hit with a huge
 slug of Guinness. Its role is in lending texture
and a slight hint of the brew's dark tang. 

Nigella does a beautiful cream cheese
frosting in her recipe, I've swopped mine
out for a rich Bailey's irish cream frosting
 which upps the indulgence level.

To make the frosting: Beat 450g butter in mixer
 till light and fluffy, add 2 cups confectioner's
sugar + 4 tbsn Bailey's, beating for a few min
till fluffy again. This should be enough to
frost and top an 8" cake generously. 

I like to tuck in a bit of surprise when I can,
and this cake has a hidden layer of crunchy
chocolate balls and crushed oreo biscuits to
give it more texture when you bite in.

Style the cake any way you want, the frosting
is a forgiving canvas. Chill the cake to let the
frosting set, bring it out about 20-30 min
before eating - perfect texture.

Experiment and play around with shapes and
sizes, I made some cute tiny sunflower cups
 with the cake batter. They took almost no time
at all to bake (argh yes, I forgot to time them so
I don't have an exact bake time for you), and
taste gorgeous even on their own with no frosting.

More chocolate desserts: 
> 4 Melt-in-your-mouth decadent chocolate treats
> Chocolate cake, 10 years young
> Curious George (sorta!) cake pops
> Chocolate Minion cupcakes

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