We are some fancy motherf*ckers here, and by "prepared deserts" we don't mean something easy, like brownies or jello. Instead, what we've got here is the perfect way for you to use those spare bottles of Dark Lord - perhaps making the ladies in your life a tiramisu desert for the holidays is the ultimate gateway into better beer.
Before you begin make sure you read the whole recipe through. If you don't have an electric mixer or a sifter you're going to be out of luck when you hit those later instructions.
Recipe adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1996 Edition.
Before you start, you should know there are two ways to do this - (1) the time consuming way, or (2) the even more time consuming way. You might think that baking a cake from scratch sounds difficult - then again I've managed it more than once - and if that's the case you should skip steps 1 through 4 (and ingredients list #1) and just go buy two or three packages of ladyfingers from the grocery store.
I realize "two or three packages" isn't exactly the clearest set of instructions, but it's been a while since I made it that way. Just buy three or four to be sure - buying ingredients for this thing is like asking Kroger to kick you in the ass anyway.
If you want to bake your own cake (it tastes better this way), you'll need:
Ingredients List #1 - Hot Milk Sponge Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Pam for Baking Spray to grease and flour the pan
Some wooden toothpicks to test cake doneness
If you're like me this list of ingredients is going to come straight off the store shelves - you'll end up with a giant can of baking powder you won't see again until you decide to make this again in 3 years - and you'll only find that can again after you went and bought another one (don't worry, that old can is probably expired anyway).
The last time I made this I purposely passed on buying sugar at the store, then came home and discovered not one but five half empty cans of sugar in my cabinets. I have no idea when I bought any of them, but I ended up using most of them in the recipe. No one died.
You can lighten it up with skim milk or margarine (I guess) but seriously this thing is probably come out at about 800 calories per serving anyway, so I bother trying to fool myself that there's anything light about this.
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease (I used Pam for Baking, which also contains flour) a 9x9x2 baking pan (actually I use and 8x8x2 and it turns out fine), set pan aside. Stir together flour and baking powder and set aside.
2) In a mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for about 4 minutes or until thick*. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy*. Add the dry mixture (the flour and baking powder), beat on low to medium speed just until combined - you're looking for a fairly consistent mixture (it is cake batter, after all), but don't freak out if it seems too lumpy yet. You'll be adding a little moisture in step 3.
*In this case thick, light, or fluffy are whatever you think they are. I've been known to see a timer because I get paranoid about it. That'll at least get you close.
3) In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter just until butter melts, add to batter, beating until combined. Pour batter into your pre-greased pan.
4) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes (until a wooden toothpick can be poked into the cake and comes out completely clean). Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then continue to cool on a wire rack.
(The recipe says that this makes 9 servings, but the end result will depend entirely on how you cut this. Because I made it and I wanted a lot, we ended up with something like 9 servings).
At this point you can go ahead an open that bottle of DarkLord (or any Russian Imperial Stout). You should only need about half the bomber for the recipe, so go ahead and pour yourself a small sample. That cake will take a little while to cool anyway.
In the case that you don't have Dark Lord and decide to use a different Imperial Stout, you'll want to go with something heavy on coffee flavors - and probably stay away from any RIS that's heavy on smoked meat character. Remember, you're making a desert, and smoked meats and whipped cream do not a desert make.
Let's make a Tiramisu!
You're already thinking "that was a lot of work" because if you're like me you sit at a desk all day looking for funny youtube videos, and all that standing in the kitchen is enough to make you reconsider how fun Top Chef looks. Good news! You're just getting started.
Ingredient list #2
1 recipe Hot-Milk Sponge Cake (or those ladyfingers you bought because you're lazy)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 bomber of Dark Lord (or 2 regular bottles of Russian Imperial Stout*)
2 8-ounce containers of mascarpone cheese or two 8-ounce packages of cream chese, softened
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used some old kahlua - this ingredient is probably optional)
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
*You may not need two bottles but you can always drink the other one.
1) Prepare Hot-Milk sponge cake. You've done that already. Or if you're using ladyfingers*, open the first package.
2) Prepare your syrup - pour the Dark Lord (or RIS) into a container that will work with your pastry brush.
3) For filling, in a medium bowl stir together mascarpone or cream cheese, powdered sugar - You sifted it, right? I ran mine through a splatter screen. That was a pain in the ass and made a huge mess. BUT I got it done - and vanilla. Stir in the 2 ounces of grated chocolate.
4) To assemble your tiramisu, cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. You'll need a long knife. Put your first (bottom) cake layer back in the cake pan (or just layer ladyfingers in there until they fit), and brush the layer with Dark Lord until the whole thing is coated. You can go as thick as you want here, but remember that the alcohol isn't cooked off here, and that means this can get pretty strong. I brushed the layer until the whole thing was wet but not soaking. Now spread half of the cream cheese filling on top of your first layer. Repeat layering the second layer, following the same steps - paint with Dark Lord, spread the other half of the cream cheese. Now place the final cake layer on top, and brush with more Dark Lord. Don't be shy - you don't want this thing to be dry, you're looking for moisture throughout.
5) In a chilled bowl combine whipping cream and a couple tablespoons of Dark Lord. I threw in two tablespoons of coffee liquor (Kahlua) here because I like eating myself drunk. Beat the whipped cream/beer/liquor with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks* form. Spread whipped cream over top cake layer; sprinkling with the 1/2 ounce grated chocolate. Refrigerate at least four hours before serving.
*Your guess is as good as mine.
*Can we talk about the name "ladyfingers"? After you realize they're not based on a Bond movie title, you're left with this:
Joe: "Hey guys! I'm baking some tiny cake things!"
Guys: "Tiny cake things?"
Joe: "I'm thinking of calling them ladyfingers!"
Guys: "You're a f*cking creepy bastard, Joe."