Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake: a Steampunk Holiday Recipe

The holidays, as wonderful as they are, can also be, well…a bit challenging. Okay, maybe a lot challenging.

My normal remedy for handling the headaches, stress, and drama brought on by exceptionally busy days, loud in-laws, rampaging children, and endless renditions of Jingle Bells is usually to drink.  A lot.  However, that isn’t always feasible nor acceptable, so let me present to you an excellent alternative: the Holiday Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake (or Steambundt cake, if you will.)  This is virtually guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and help you get to the new year in one piece.

Chocolate Absinthe Bundt Cake

Recipe makes 1 9-inch bundt cake, assuming you don’t drink all the absinthe before you begin.

Tools

  • An electric mixer, strong arms, or an unwitting volunteer with strong arms.
  • One 9-inch bundt cake pan
  • Wire cooling rack

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup absinthe
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully blended after each addition.
  2. Add the absinthe of your choice (if it’s not a brand you’d drink, don’t use it); beat until blended.
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and anise in a separate bowl and mix well to disperse ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients from step 3 to the sugar mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.  Mix in  the extracts last.
  5. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch Bundt cake pan.
  6. Bake at 300° for 60 minutes.
  7. Cool while in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Optional Glaze:

If you’re like me and you like glaze on your cakes, here’s an excellent quick glaze to go on top of this cake:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon absinthe
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon water
  • Zest of one lime
  1. Once the cake has cooled completely, whisk together the glaze ingredients above until smooth. Please note: Only use the lime zest in the glaze if you plan to eat the cake the same day it’s made.
  2. With the cake still on a wire rack, place it over a cookie sheet or other pan. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Scoop up the excess glaze that has fallen on the cookie sheet, and continue to pour it over the top of the cake. Make sure to get an even coating on every surface of the cake.

~ A guest post by Evalynn

The sweet dark neverland: a Steampunk poem

I wake down.
In the chocolate insanity,
the sweet dark neverland,
I own a small but respectable burger joint.
My fare is decadent and greasy:
the fattening french fries of fantasy
the cholesterolic baconburgers of secret desire
the non-lite beer of childhood make-believe.
This is what I want to be.
An infiltrator pouring weirdness into the water supply.
A gremlin in the gears.
A toymaker, an eternal space cadet:
a purveyor of rhapsody
a whisperer
of wish.

~Jeff Mach
www.patreon.com/jeffmach
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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

Death of a Candyman; remembering Gene Wilder’s passing

Gene Wilder’s death is just under five months back, and I still find myself thinking about him.

In my heart of hearts, I was sure my first Steampunk event was going to look just like that giant room in the original Willy Wonka movie, the vast landscape where everything is made of candy.

But in my heart of hearts, all the best places in the world looked like that.

It was that scene, that, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which first introduced me to the cornerstone of my life: the idea that there is a more fabulous, more wonderful world out there than the one we see every day, that there is more to existence, that there could be places where everything is candy.

It’s how and why I started doing events: I wanted to make an experience that would be like being in The Chocolate Factory all weekend long. With, perhaps, a slightly lesser chance of being murdered by Oompa-Loompas.

It’s part of why I started writing. It’s why I joined the SCA, the gamer’s clubs, pretty much anything I could find that had roots in both everyday reality and some otherworldly, better dreams.

You can say a lot about Roald Dahl’s work, and I’m a huge fan, but Gene Wilder made that part work, created that role as we know it. If you look up his notes and interviews, he was very specific on how Willy Wonka had to have something up his sleeve; he might have been a hero, but you couldn’t exactly trust what he was doing, because if you were ever trying to pin him down, make him act just like everyone else, make what he was doing ordinary, he would overturn things around you and cause glorious merry chaos.

Gene Wilder did so many brilliant things, but for myself, in his memory, I’m going to hold onto that one image – the moment he steps into a room where everything is sweet, everything can be enjoyed, everything is magical. And I’m going to keep looking to find those moments, and keep looking to create those moments, and keep looking to be around other people who want to be a part of those worlds of endless possibility.

Also, I’m going to cry a lot, and eat a huge dang chocolate bar.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.

What I want for my birthday

In just over a week, I become 42, that most important of all ages of geeks,  at least those who, like me, were influenced by Douglas Adams.

Here’s I want for my birthday:

  1. A gritty Cyberpunk reality.  I was promised that, by now, computers would be overtly trying to take over the world, and large corporations would take over countries, not through subtle financial pressures, but through force of arms.  Let’s go, people!  I want to join the rebellion!
  2. The question to the answer of  “Life, the Universe, and Everything”. To go back to the start, Douglas Adams said that the answer was found and it was the aforementioned “42”, and suggested that we we didn’t understand the question.  I’m going to keep asking questions until I figure it out.
  3. The Post-Apocalypse.  I’ve been practicing so hard.  I’ve been working on maintaining a perfect tan while out in the desert.  I’ve been learning how to spend all day, every day, cautiously pointing a rifle through the rubble which once was major cities.  I’ve been learning how to find the other Last Humans on Earth, and I’m totally ready to hoarde Twinkies like there’s no tomorrow, which there isn’t.
  4. More worlds of imagination.  Because I’ve decided that creating spaces for Steampunks, Faeries, Goths, and Geeks isn’t enough.  I want to make the world a weirder place all day, ever day, and I’m ready to do it.
  5. I do not want a flying car.  I don’t even need a self-driving car.  I just need a very snarky car, like Kitt from Night Rider.  (Which could, yes, self-drive, but that wasn’t the important part.)  I want a witty vehicle which will crack one-liners at me as I cruise through the night, defending the innocent and trying to go on dates with this week’s love interest.
  6. I would really like some more chocolate, please.

~Jeff Mach

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Jeff Mach runs Jeff Mach Events, which in turn runs the world’s largest Steampunk event, The Steampunk World’s Fair; the peculiar Faerie festival Glimmerdark, and co-runs Dark Side Of The Con (with VampireFreaks).  He’s on Twitter @steamworldsfair.