The Salvation, a Gin Cocktail
Last summer we visited Seattle for the first time and had a blast eating and drinking our way though many of the fabulous restaurants in that city.
One restaurant stood out, called Heartwood Provisions, in downtown Seattle. They’re known for pairing cocktails instead of wine with every menu item. While there we had a gin cocktail with celery bitters paired with a gorgeous yellowtail crudo. I was so struck by unusual the flavor of the celery bitters that I knew I wanted to play with it myself. When I told my mother about the drink, she said “I can make celery bitters for you!” You can also buy them of course, here.
Fast forward to the end of the year when we had a celebration at our house for my mother’s birthday (a big one, ending in a zero). On the menu was a wide assortment of canapes and two custom crafted cocktails I created to celebrate the occasion. This was the menu:
For this cocktail I used Bombay Sapphire gin, but you can use which ever kind you prefer. I’d recommend avoiding the more “floral” flavored gins for this one however.
This recipe calls for simple syrup. While you can buy it, please don’t. Why spend $5 to buy something you can easily make for about 12 cents?
Simple syrup really is simple. Take two equal parts sugar and water (1 cup of each for example) and combine in a small pot. Heat and stir until the liquid becomes clear. Cool and store in a clean glass jar or bottle in the refrigerator. It should last a couple of months. If it becomes cloudy, discard it (sometimes mold can grow).
- 2 ounces gin
- .75 ounce lime juice
- .75 ounce simple syrup
- 3-4 drops celery bitters
- cucumber ribbon for garnish
- Measure out the gin, lime juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for a count of 10. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with cucumber ribbon.
- For the cucumber, use a peeler to cut thin flat ribbons lengthwise from the cucumber. Thread onto 6" bamboo skewer and place atop cocktail.
Note; Some links in this post may be affiliate links. They are there to provide examples of items I mention and should you chose to buy from Amazon, your cost is the same and I get a few cents to help support the cost of running this site. Thank you!
Chocolate Spice Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling
This is not the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made.
It may not be Pinterest-worthy or inspire a thousand “likes”.
It’s no tart dressed up for the prom (see what I did there…tart…get it…oh never mind…).
The cake is rich with dark chocolate, and fragrant with spices and sweet pears that remind me of a cool Fall day. It’s also not particularly difficult to make and it holds up well enough to bring it to a dinner party or Thanksgiving.
Basically, this cake is your favorite sweater and softest pair of worn jeans. It’s not fancy. It’s humble and home made, a little sweet and a little special, and best of all, delicious.
Chocolate Spiced Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut paper to fit the bottom of two 9" cake pans. Butter and flour each pan then line the bottom with the paper rounds.
- Cut the pears into quarters. Cut out the core and then thinly slice lengthwise. Lay the pears on the paper in the bottom of each cake pan in a single layer.
To make the batter:
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Whisk them together to get rid of any lumps.
- Melt the chocolate in a large heat proof bowl, either over boiling water or in the microwave in 30 second increments. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then whisk the oil, sugar and vanilla into the melted chocolate.
- Whisk the buttermilk, egg and coffee into the chocolate mixture.
- Add half the flour mixture into the chocolate mix and stir. Add the other half of the flour mixture and stir until smooth.
- Pour the batter into each cake pan, dividing it equally.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
- Set the pans on a baking rack until cool enough to touch. Run a knife around the edge and then invert onto a baking rack. Remove the paper and finish cooling.
To make the filling:
- Using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese for a few minutes. Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Select the cake with the nicest looking pears and set it aside for the top.
- Take the other cake and pear side up, place on a serving plate. Using a cake spatula, spread the cream cheese filling over the top of the cake on the plate. Set the first cake on top on the cream cheese filling with the pear side up. Sprinkle the top of the cake lightly with powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve.
Tip: Sprinkle on the powdered sugar right before serving. If you do it in advance, the moisture from the cake and the pears may make it melt and disappear.
Chocolate Spice Pear Cake with Cream Cheese Filling.
*Amazon link in the recipe is for an example. If you choose to order something your cost is the same, but I get a teeny-tiny percentage which goes to help support this site.