A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Chocolate Stout Cake

In Food on March 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

chocolate stout cake


This weekend I’ll be celebrating my sons’ and husband’s Irish heritage with some good friends, who are going all out with corned beef and cabbage. I’m bringing a chocolate stout cake for dessert. When I was at Bon Appétit, an editor cult favorite was a recipe for Chocolate Guinness layer cake that I was pretty sure could never be bested. And then I tried Heidi Swanson’s Chocolate Bundt Cake, which calls for chocolate stout instead of Guinness. Chocolate stout refers to a style of stout that is brewed with roasted malts, which impart a chocolate flavor.  This one, below, which I picked up at Whole Foods, has actual chocolate in it. And while I wouldn’t want to drink it, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is perfect for cake baking purposes.

chocolate stout

Heidi’s recipe is inspired thanks to several other innovative ingredients—such as whole wheat flour, yogurt, maple syrup, darkest muscovado sugar for moisture—and much less butter. If you are familiar with her website, 101cookbooks.com, you know that she often improves classic recipes by making them healthier and cutting out unnecessary sugar or butter. She’s kind of a genius. And the proof is in this cake.

dark muscovado sugar

Imagine a perfectly rich but not too sweet chocolate cake with subtle malty notes, frosted with buttermilk cocoa icing and sprinkled with Maldon salt.



And then imagine it disappearing faster than you can say blarney…


Ask the Foodinista: Holiday Shopping

In Design, Food on November 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Dear Foodinista,

Please bestow upon us your great wisdom…what the hell are you buying for all those little holiday gifts this season seems to suddenly require? The babysitter who only comes five times a year and the housekeeper and the twelve teachers at preschool? Gift cards always seem so crass, and I am stumped for something I can actually afford, that they will actually enjoy.

Signed, Venice Beach

Dear Venice Beach,

Your email arrived at a perfect time. I’ve been putting together some gift ideas for the holidays, which I will start to roll out this Monday. But let’s start today with a few ideas that won’t break the bank. If you run in foodie crowds, and I know you do, look no further for the perfect holiday gift: Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans. The packaging is gorgeous—just wrap with a little rafia bow—and these heirloom beans are sure to make any cook simply giddy. And at $5 a bag, the price is right.

If you need to step it up a little, I’d hightail it over to Heath Ceramics on Beverly today or tomorrow as everything in the ENTIRE store is 20% off. Like these beautiful bud vases, $25 (less 20%). They come in any number of gorgeous Heath glazes. There were also charming tea towels, wooden servers and Weck jars (below). I stocked up on a bunch this morning, because it’s always important to remember yourself when shopping for others.

For the babysitters, teachers and others who make daily life all the more sweet, I’ll be heading to Valerie Confections. Valerie’s four-piece chocolate box ($13) is every bit as delicious as it is pretty. Or if chocolate isn’t their thing, check out this sweet little box of four petits fours. If Valerie or Stan is behind the counter, be sure to tell them the Foodinista said hello. And that she is cooking up her next excuse for ordering one of Valerie’s ludicrously divine rose petal cakes.

Flowers for Foodies

In Design on August 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

I went hiking up in Griffith Park this morning with my friend Mia, who quite simply has great taste in everything she does. And by trade, that includes renovating and interior design. This morning she gave me this Oncidium Sharry Baby ‘Sweet Fragrance’ orchid, which smells like CHOCOLATE! I’m not kidding—my entire kitchen smells like Alice Medrich just set up shop. Just imagine the disappointment when Mr Foodinista walks in the door tonight and wonders where the brownies are. (He should know better; I don’t bake.) And every bit as delicious as the chocolate fragrance perfuming the air is the gorgeous mid-century pot in which it sits. Mia found it at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. Whenever she sees interesting vintage pots, she grabs them for hostess gifts later. How great is that?

Trick or TREAT!

In Food on October 31, 2009 at 9:20 am

Woodhouse Chocolates

For Halloween, my father sent my sister and I a little treat from our hometown, St. Helena. We’re talking about a box of four evil little cookies called “Caramel Helenas” (so-named for the town) from Woodhouse Chocolates. One of the chocolatiers at Woodhouse, in fact, calls them “evil, as in you crave them day and night evil.” These little devils involve a buttery layer of caramel between two almond crisps, covered in chocolate and then sprinkled with fleur de sel. Sweet, salty, chewy, crispy evil! The salt is really what gets me—just divine. You can order a box by clicking here, and do yourself (if not your waistline) a favor and snap up some of their heavenly salt caramels. Thanks, Dad!!!!

Caramel Helenas

Everything’s Coming Up Roses and Violets

In Food on October 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm

charbonnel et walker

Today I had lunch at Joans on Third with my friend Booth, who is freshly home in LA from back-to-back New York / London / Milan / Paris fashion weeks respectively. Booth valiantly makes this trek twice a year, and yours truly is often the lucky recipient of smuggled Pierre Hermé or Ladurée macarons upon her return. Yes, I’m very spoiled and, yes, have the most awesome friends on the planet. This time, Booth surprised me with some unexpected bonbons…a large box of my VERY FAVORITE CHOCOLATES IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD…English Rose & Violet Creams from Charbonnel et Walker in the UK. They’re filled with voilet- or rose-perfumed fondant cream and topped with a crystalized rose or violet petal, and taste wonderfully old-fashioned. When my sister and I were kids growing up in England, my father would get us a small box on very special occasions and Claire would eat all the rose-flavored chocolates, and I the violets. They are, quite simply, DIVINE. Thank you, Booth!

Let’s Do Brunch

In Food, Recipes on April 12, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Today had to be one of the most beautiful days of the year, starting with a perfect sunny morning at All Saints in Beverly Hills and progressing to the BEST BRUNCH EVER a few miles east at our friends Booth and Adam’s house. Every last detail was gorgeous, starting with these stunning raspberry Sferra hemstitched table linens. (I have to admit, I came home from brunch and ordered some monogrammed in azure.)


Booth and her sister, Kathleen, had gotten us all chocolate bunnies and Easter baskets from the original Sees Candies on La Cienega. Even Tiny G got a basket! Oh, and those placemats (below) are amazing—baroque silkscreen on thick brown paper—picked up on Booth’s last trip to Milan for the fashion shows.


Also, how pretty is this spring bouquet with pale pink tulips and roses and purple hyacinths and kale?


Now for the food. Kathleen made a totally indulgent strata (a savory bread pudding) with sausage, roasted red peppers and mushrooms. Oh yeah, and cheddar cheese. Holy smokes, it was good. Click here for recipe. 


Booth made an herb salad, riffing on her favorite from Ladurée in Paris. This one was comprised of butter lettuce, dill, sage, basil, and a dressing of olive oil, fleur de sel and lemon juice. Amazing. And a great counterpoint to the richness of the eggs. Adam made satisfying and delicious Rosemary Garlic Buttered Potatoes. And we washed it all down with Piper Heidsieck Champagne


For dessert we had my grandmother’s cinnamon buns, which are fodder for another post. It’s noteworthy to add that her recipe states: “to die FOR and FROM.” 


After which we all dispatched to our respective locales for an Easter nap. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.