Look! Proof that I did something!

It’s the question stay at home moms probably dread the most.  “What did you do with your day?”

Even though you’ve probably accomplished about a million and one things “I did five loads of laundry, wiped so and so’s nose 50 times, took what’s his name to school, picked him up, went to the grocery store with two little ones {and survived}…” somehow always sounds lame.  So more than likely you say something like “I was busy but…”

I didn’t plan on featuring food in most of my January posts, but for some reason it feels just right.  My ever-growing fondness for cooking and baking is noticeably growing by the day.  I’ve discovered that when the day is dragging, whipping up a batch of cookies or trying a new recipe for dinner always revives me.  The simple act of using multiple ingredients, mixing them together and TA-DA! is almost magical.  Without fail, it provides a euphoric feeling of: “Even though I’m running on three hours of sleep, had only one cup of coffee and kept three kids alive today – Look what I made!”

January is a month for setting resolutions and getting into shape for most.  Not me.  My poor husband – bless his heart – is at the gym by 6:00 a.m. each morning and is trying to make healthy food choices.  Yet he lives with a woman who is nursing an infant.  This means I must consume 500 calories more than the average woman in my age/weight range.  I know, I know – boo-hoo – but after one week of practically starving to death and making “healthy choices” I decided to heck with it and pulled my cookbooks out.  {I do however realize that as a woman who has either been pregnant or nursing since 2004, I might be in for a rude awakening when my metabolism is left to work on it’s own.}

So for now, I will continue to mix, blend and cook away.  I’ll embrace the challenge to work my way through a recipe and discover the reward.  I’ll enlist the help of my boys as they are learning their way around the kitchen {or their play kitchen when I must concentrate and shoo them out of my kitchen.}  I’ll probably snap a photo or two and share the recipe.  As proof of what I did with my day.

That said, it only seems appropriate that I share the recipe for the chocolate cake that we rang in the New Year with.  {Before Alex was making healthy choices.}

Perfect Porter Chocolate Cake with Mocha Ganache*

*I’ve had this recipe for almost four years and found it too intimidating.  It has many steps, but don’t be afraid to give it a try – it’s worth it.  {Just cross your fingers that the kiddos take long naps.}

Cake:

1 cup porter beer

1 cup {two sticks} unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened, good-quality cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup golden brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups sour cream

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

Ganache:

3/4 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 tbsp coffee liqueur {optional}

2 tsp instant espresso powder

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch fluted tube or Bundt pan {if using a 10-inch pan, reduce cooking time by about 10 minutes}.  Bring porter and butter to a simmer in large saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter is melted.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl.  Stir together vanilla and espresso powder and add to the porter-chocolate mixture.  Slowly add the porter-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine.  Add flour mixture in two additions and beat until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.  Let cake cook on a rack for 10 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely.

For ganache:

Bring cream to a light boil in small saucepan.  Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth.  Let cool, covered for 10 minutes.  Stir together liqueur and espresso powder and whisk into the ganache.  Let cool until ganache is thickened, but still pourable, stirring frequently, about 45 minutes.  Drizzle over the cake very slowly so that it forms a smooth, even glaze over the entire cake.  Let cool completely so that the ganache is set before serving.

*If you can’t find espresso powder, substitute instant coffee granules.

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6 thoughts on “Look! Proof that I did something!

  1. I hear ya Libby – I often make cookies (at least twice each week) for the same reasons. It helps a slow day go faster and makes me feel like I did something! And Cody loves to stand on a chair next to me and “help”, which I love too!

  2. I always was looking for new things to be “creative” with when my girls were little. . . We all loved your meatloaf recipe. Yumm!

  3. Libby – I feel your pain! I started the 30day shred DVD, but am still nursing, so calies are a must! desert has become a must too..hate to see what happens when I wean Parker..good thing I have more time to wean myself from sweets! :) Cake looks delicious! Lara

  4. yum. I love that recipe. Do you know a mutual friend actually wrote it? She made mini versions for me for my birthday one year. A very special recipe indeed. Everyone should try it!

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