Dad came to town this past weekend. He left on Monday Tuesday (thanks for the extra day, Sandy) and I’d be lying if I said I don’t already miss that man like crazy. There’s something so special – so precious – about our relationship that makes me regret not living closer to him. But long weekends like the one we just had make me thankful we’re only a three hour plane ride apart. (Remind me of this in December, when I’m bitching about aforementioned plane ride.)
On the first morning, we rose early and walked four blocks, in the dark, to my favorite cafe. We conversed over warm, caffeinated beverages and good eats, and sat there until crowds of thirsty people cluttered the entrance, making the place much too stuffy for our enjoyment. High on sugar and caffeine, we took a trip to the natural grocer (dad’s first!) and picked up necessary ingredients to make cake, gumbo, pizza, more cake, and nachos. We headed back to my place and got to work on the gumbo; me chopping the vegetables, him preparing the roux. We made coffee (twice!), and laughed over our mugs about the impending election and how funny it is that he wound up with a bunch of liberal kooks for children. We savored lunch at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, followed by cappuccinos (yup, more coffee) on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re keeping track, that was a handful of my favorite places, all in one day, with one of my most beloved people in the galaxy – it just doesn’t get much better, folks.
After parading around lower downtown for all things food related, we settled back at my place and called it a day. Despite having six caffeinated beverages in an eight hour time span, dad fell asleep on the couch, to the tune of college football. I stood in the kitchen, over the pot of boiling gumbo, watching him and thinking how lucky I am to have this man as a father. Even if he is a loud snorer. A really, really, really loud snorer. I’m grateful for him, our close relationship, and weekends spent in Denver drinking copious amounts of coffee and teaching my poppa how to cross the street like a local.
If you’re wondering where this cake comes into play, let me tell you – this is a watered down version of one of his favorites: chocolate stout cake with Irish cream frosting and whiskey ganache. But since I only make that cake on St. Patrick’s Day or dad’s birthday, I decided to make a special rendition of it to celebrate my old man’s arrival to the Mile High City.
And dad, just in case you forgot – you’re my favorite. Thanks for being all sorts of awesome.
Notes: If you don’t like the idea of using tofu, you can replace it with almond milk. But! It’s likely the cake will stick to the bundt pan (no matter how much you oil/cacao powder it), so do yourself a favor and bake it in a regular pan (loaf, round, square). If you don’t have sucanat, use brown sugar. And if you don’t have stout, you can use dark brewed coffee (another favorite way to make this cake in our house). Also, please be sure to buy organic canola, as non-organic canola is usually genetically modified. Eww.
CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE WITH WHISKEY GANACHE, FOR DAD
3/4 cup unbleached flour
6 tbsp cacao powder
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup soft silken tofu, blended
1/2 cup extra stout beer
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
3 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp Irish whiskey
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 3 cup bundt pan with oil and/or coat with cacao powder; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, sucanat, salt and baking soda. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, silken tofu, stout beer and vanilla extract; whisk until clump free. Transfer batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake at 350˚ for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack. Dust with cacao powder, if desired.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the ganache. Add the chocolate to a small mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the almond milk and whiskey to a boil, pour over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes; stir to combine. Let cool for 10 minutes then pour over cake. Cake will keep in an air tight container for up to five days.
Yield: 4-6 servings