Monday, December 7, 2009

yes, I'm celebrating

Today most desserts are much smaller,
But my entry needs to be baller,
I know what I'll bake!
A big Malt Ball Cake!
And I'll win because mine is much taller.

Yes, what you see there is my rather sorry attempt at a competitive limerick.  What's a competitive limerick you might ask?  Well, long story short, it's what you write when you've challenged a room full of friends to a cooking/limerick writing competition.  The rules are simple:  submit any dish you please for judgment alongside a limerick which includes the name of the dish.  All limerick-less entries will be disqualified.  Er, would you be surprised if I told you I won a poetry contest when I was in 2nd grade?

If you've never hosted a Competitive-Cooking-and-Limerick-Writing-themed holiday party, I suggest that you consider it.  This past Sunday, my buddy Hillary and I threw a soiree in my rather small Wicker Park apartment, and holy heck did we have a good time.  There were people from all over our chaotic lives: culinary students, medical students, boyfriends, wives, toddlers, former roommates, and friends of friends of friends.  And each brought a dish/limerick to share with all (and to compete for the super secret prize that was awarded at the end of the night). 

The competition was as stiff as well-beaten egg whites.  Gustavo brought chewy Brazilian birthday confections, while Tony assembled bite-sized Thai chicken curry cups.  Will unwrapped an entire smoked leg of lamb, and David baked off a swiss cheese, caramelized onion and fig pizza.  But I thought I would share the two winning entries with you since they were just so gosh darned tasty.  In first place came Hillary herself, with a Sweet Corn Spoonbread Topped with Spicy Carne Asada, and in second place came my darling man-slice with Chocolate Peanut Butter Malt Shooters.  I'd say at least 95% of us finished the evening with quite a belly ache.

And then there was my entry.  I chose to make a three layered Malt Ball Cake because I was celebrating.  Yes, celebrating.  Celebrating the fact that my dear friend Kylie is engaged to the love of her life.  Celebrating the fact that I only have 10 days left of work at my old job before starting off on my next professional adventure.  Celebrating the fact that I got a stage at my all-time favorite bakery.  Celebrating the fact that I finally finished a draft of that manuscript for the cookbook I'm ghost-writing (did I tell you I was hired to ghost write a cook book?).  Celebrating the fact that I was surrounded by a group of fascinating, wonderful people, eating delicious food, and brimming with excitement about the upcoming changes in my life.

Sorry to get all gushy on you.  I just feel like there's so much to celebrate.  Won't you have a slice and celebrate with me?

Malt Ball Cake
Recipe adapted from the cookbook Baked

2.25 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1T baking powder
1t baking soda
3/4t salt
1/4t fresh nutmeg
1 cup malted milk powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening at room tempurature
2 cups sugar
1 T vanilla
2 cups ice cold water
4 large egg whites at room tempurature

8oz bittersweet chocolate
8 oz milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
2T light corn syrup
3 sticks butter, soft but cool cut into 1 in pieces
malt balls for decorating

1.       Preheat oven to 325F.  Butter three 8 in round cake pans.  Line each with parchment paper circle and butter the parchment.  Dust everything with flour and knock out excess
2.       Sift flours and other dry ingredients.  Whisk in malt powder.
3.       In mixer bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium until creamy, 3-4 min.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat on medium until fluffy, about 3 min.
4.       Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture alternating with the ice water in three additions beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
5.       In medium bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into the batter.  Divide batter among the prepared pans and smooth tops.  Bake for 40-50 min. until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer cakes to wire rank and let cool for 20 min.  Invert cakes onto rack, remove pans and let cool completely.  Remove parchment.  If you want to make your cakes ahead of time, this is when you would wrap each cake well in plastic and freeze.

1.       Chop both chocolates finely, put in mixer bowl.
2.       Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil, then pour directly over chocolate.  Let stand for 3 min, and whisk cream in.  Let mixture rest until it returns to room temperature
3.       In mixer bowl with whisk on medium speed, gradually add butter pieces and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Frosting should be completely smooth and silky.
4.       Refrigerate frosting until it is thick enough not to be drippy.

1.       Layer each cake on top of one another with just under 1 cup of frosting spread between each layer.
2.       Coat outside of cake in a thin layer of frosting.  Chill cake until frosting is slightly set, and frost again with remaining frosting.  Garnish with malt balls.



  1. Holy malt balls! That is the most delicious looking this I've seen all day, and I've seen a LOT of delicious looking things today. Though I'm a little suspicious that you just wanted an excuse to use the term "man-slice" in a post.

  2. I like your poem, and that is a beautiful cake!

  3. I want to hear the other limericks. Especially the winning ones--the spoon bread and chocolate peanut-butter shooters! Please????

  4. I want an invitation to your next party!

  5. Here's the limerick for my spoon bread/corn casserole:

    As a child, when comfort I sought,
    Mom's corn casserole sure hit the spot.
    Now I've topped it with meat,
    For a Mexican treat...
    Here's hoping you'll like it a lot!


  6. Noah's Malt Shooters Limerick was:

    When up against cooking elite,
    It's best to make something real sweet.
    Blend chocolate with malt,
    And all with exalt,
    "This is the best thing to eat!"

  7. These limericks are awesome. I think Noah should have won.

    Also, fun fact: this is now the #2 result on Google for "malt shooters".

  8. Kylie - man-slice is a completely acceptably term and I'm shocked it hasn't yet gripped the nation :)

    MollyCookie - Well, gosh, thank you!

    Mom - you will most certainly be invited to the next party. Perhaps we'll host it in New Jersey?

    Hillary - thanks for posting you poem!

    Andy - Noah sorta won. Hillary was disqualified from the prize since she was co-hosting the party, so Noah got to take home a big bottle of baileys. You should come drink it with us!

    Janice - Thanks for the compliment! We hope you'll stop by again...



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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009