My friend Brandon defended his dissertation this week. He had to fly back to PA from Korea to do it, and, defending your dissertation is kind of a REALLY big deal, so I knew I needed to make something super special for him. I used to doctor up basic brownie mix with bacon that was adored, and I thought I could just do that, but you only become a doctor once, so I decided to step up the game. When I thought about the most Brandon dessert I could make, I knew I needed to work in bacon, beer and chocolate. Another favorite past dessert were Irish carbomb cupcakes, but those are very high FODMAP. After a little googling and Pintrest board investigating, I found a recipe from Jules of GFJules for chocolate beer cake! Win! Thankfully my local Wegman’s carries Green’s Gluten Free beer, so I was able to pick some up easily. Win again! However if you’re not a beer drinker, you could substitute a low FODMAP soda option, like diet soda or real-sugar colas.
So, my creation – dark chocolate cake with layers of salted caramel, candided bacon and dark chocolate frosting! Yum!
I prepared the cake recipe as listed on GFJules, and then placed into two 8″ cake pans. Layers are crucial here. Make sure you:
- take the pan off the heat before adding your flour, stir quickly and get into the pans. You don’t want to cook the cake in the sauce pan.
- use a big enough sauce pan. Her ingredients fill a 2 qt saucepan to the point it becomes tough to stir in the flour.
Before the cake though, I made some candied bacon. I used uncured bacon. There was a minuscule amount of seasoning in it, but no nitrates. I didn’t experience any symptoms from eating this, but if your stomach is sensitive to bacon, proceed with caution.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix 3/4 c. of brown sugar and 1 Tbs of cinnamon.
- Spread bacon on a tray. (Covering the tray in aluminum foil makes for easier clean up of bacon grease.)
- Sprinkle half the brown sugar-cinnamon mix onto the bacon.
- Cook bacon for 10 minutes. Flip. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar-cinnamon mix onto bacon and place back in oven.
- Cook 10 more minutes or until crisp. Soggy bacon in desserts is no good.
- Let cool and try not to eat all the bacon for the cake.
- Dice bacon. You want small nuggets of sweet and salty, meaty goodness
As the cakes and bacon are cooling you can prepare frosting! I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder here, because I just LOVE dark chocolate. I eat the 85% cacao bars though, so if you’re not a fan, you can always use regular chocolate.
- 2 sticks of butter (8 Tbs.)
- 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (cream is low FODMAP in small doses but does contain moderate amounts of lactose and may not be suitable for lactose intolerant folks.)
- Cream butter. Stand mixer makes this easier, but my hand mixer works just fine.
- Add in powdered sugar half of a cup at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Incorporate powdered sugar fully before adding more.
- Add cocoa powder half a cup at a time.
- Pour in cream slowly, adding more as needed. You may need more than 1/4 cup to get the right consistency. You want fluffy and sweet, spreadable, not runny.
Finally, you need salted caramel. I base mine on a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, an its fantastic. You need slightly more than a cup, so I’ve modified the recipe a little.
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbs sea salt
- Melt all ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat until caramel colored and thick, stirring frequently. The caramel should run slowly off the back of the spoon, this is usually about 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, it will thicken.
- Yes, its that easy to make scratch caramel. Stop buying that stuff in a jar, this is WAY better, and with no unnecessary ingredients. Plus, everyone is so impressed when you tell them you made caramel!
- Place cake on serving vessel. As mine had to travel it’s on a cake caddy.
- Lay first layer down, and pour on half of the salted caramel. Spread over the layer.
- Sprinkle on a little less than half of the bacon, generously over the layer.
- Scoop on frosting and spread carefully over the bacon layer.
- Top with second layer, and repeat.
- Ice sides of cake. Use small amount of bacon to decorate the top. I added banners and tiny swords because they were appropriate to the occasion.
Serve as is, or with some vanilla ice cream (lactose free of course!)