Tequila Test Kitchen: Avion Espresso Cake

avion espresso, Avion Espresso Cake, tequila test kitchenTequila Test Kitchen

You may have heard about the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen.  I’d like to share one of our projects with you today.

When Ken Austin was kind enough to send us a bottle of Avion’s brand new Avion Espresso, I fell so deeply in love with this rich nectar that combined my two favorite things, coffee and tequila, that I knew I had to cook with it.  Here’s how the Avion Espresso Cake panned out.

Making Avion Espresso Cake

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I have personal issues with sugar so I started with the Pillsbury Sugar-Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix.  You may want to use your favorite Devil’s Food Cake mix or mix yours from scratch.

I added the eggs, water and oil (I use extra light olive oil) according to the instructions on the box.  Then I took a left turn and added the awesome.  This wasn’t just going to be some chocolate cake with a tequila liqueur splashed on it.

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I was determined that this should be one of these most magnificent mocha desserts ever!

So based on that logic, I added 2 heaping tablespoons of Hershey’s Extra Dark Cocoa Powder.  I didn’t just want an everyday chocolate cake.  This had to be intense enough to stand up to espresso.

 

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I also wanted the cake to have some mocha punch to it, so I added 2 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee crystals.  Enough to let you know it was in there but not so much it would be overpowering.  Since this was going to be an adult dessert, I didn’t worry much about the level of sweetness in the cake.  There would be frosting to balance out the strong coffee and dark chocolate.

 

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I whisked everything together to form a smooth batter.  You may prefer to use an electric mixer.

Then I poured it all into a 9×11″ baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray and baked the now mocha cake (or “double-moo-cow-chunk-chunk” as Mike likes to call it) according to the directions on the box.  (Please don’t judge the oven.  We’re working on a budget here and it does the job.)

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When the cake had finished baking for the amount of time recommended on the box and tested done, we had a beautiful, dark mocha cake with a bit of a curve in the middle.  The center part was cut off for aesthetics (and to allow the testers to be sure the cake was good).

Avion-Espresso-bottle

 

 

 

It was important to do that while the cake was still hot because the next steps required the heat to complete.

I used a fork with long tines to poke holes through the whole cake from top to bottom.  I didn’t want to destroy the structural integrity of the cake so I kept the holes about 1/2 inch apart.

Then I carefully measured 1/4 cup of Avion Espresso and poured it (as evenly as possible) over the warm mocha cake.  I may have also had a nip or two while the bottle was uncorked.  I welcome you to try this method as you may find this makes cooking more enjoyable.

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After adding the Avion Espresso and while the cake was still hot out of the oven, I microwaved a jar of Pillsbury Sugar-Free Chocolate Frosting for 30 seconds (just enough to soften it) and then slathered half the jar over the still hot cake.  (What you do with the rest of the frosting is your business.  I don’t judge.)

 

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With the cake properly doused with Avion Espresso and the tequila goodness sealed in with a generous layer of melted chocolate frosting, it was time to take a break.  The cake went into the refrigerator (uncovered) for several hours in order for it to cool and allow the frosting to set into a dark ganache (like fudge).

 

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Four hours later, we pulled the cake out of the refrigerator and it had set beautifully.  We cut it into 12 pieces and served it up.

Notice the dark line near the bottom of the cake – that’s where the Avion Espresso Tequila Liqueur settled after filtering through from the top of the cake.  (We also found the corners to be rich with the liqueur.)

It was delicious!

We’ll share our thoughts during the actual tasting of this cake, as well as a comparison with a chocolate cake made commercially with Patron XO Cafe, in our Tequila Test Kitchen tasting session coming soon.

Check out our Recipes Page to stay up to date on what’s going on in the Tequila Test Kitchen.

The opinions expressed here are those of Lisa Pietsch and not necessarily those of Mike Morales, Alex Perez, or any other contributors at Tequila Aficionado Media.  Tequila Aficionado and its representatives never accept payment for Test Kitchen features.  If we like your juice, we’ll play with it.  If we make something great, we’ll share it, and we welcome you to share it as well.  The Avion Espresso used in this recipe was received as a free sample courtesy of Avion Tequila.  Thanks, Ken!

 

 

 

Welcome to the Tequila Test Kitchen!

Great recipes for tequila cocktails, cooking with tequila, and pairing with tequila are always welcome here at Tequila Aficionado.  We’ll share them with our readers in our articles and on our Pinterest boards.

Click on any of the images below to explore our Pinterest Recipe Boards:

margaritas, tequila test kitchen tequila drinks

Click on any of the images below to explore recipes we’re working on in the Tequila Test Kitchen:

Some tequilas are perfection when sipped, others need a cocktail to shine, still others long to become part of a delicious dish. Here at Tequila Aficionado, we love sipping, but when a tequila begs to be prepared in a recipe or paired with something special, we enjoy exploring those options too. As our Tequila Test Kitchen efforts grow, we’ll share our boards here for your enjoyment.
Whether you prefer to sip, mix a cocktail or pair perfectly with foods, we’ve got something for you.

While we love sipping tequila, we understand that every agave deserves a place at the table.  We hope you’ll enjoy these recipes and pairing suggestions as much as we’ve enjoyed developing them.

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de la tierre, recipes, tequila test kitchen

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peligroso cinnamon, recipes

 

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Want us to use YOUR tequila or liqueur?  We’ll create a Pinterest Board just for your product while we develop some great recipes for you and your customers to use and share.  Just send us your sample and we’ll start cooking!  Email Kitchen@TequilaAficionado.com to get started!

 

Watch our Recipes Page and Pinterest Boards for updates coming soon!

 

 

 

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Are You Watching the Mad Men Premiere Tonight?

don draper sips, mad men

Suit?

Check.

Sexy Secretary?

Check.

An Old Fashioned?

Check!

 

don draper sips, mad menThat might be Don Draper’s checklist for the final season of Mad Men… knowing the twists, turns and cliffhangers awaiting viewers; Hornitos hoped to offer our readers a taste of Draper’s favorite cocktail – this time with a twist of their own. A Black Barrel® Old Fashioned uses the NEW Hornitos® Black Barrel® – this inventive spirit starts as 100% blue agave tequila, which is aged three distinct times to impart flavorful whiskey notes!

HRLGO_10, hornitos, mad men

 

They suggest this recipe for a sexy twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail: Old Fashioned, hornitos, mad men, old fashioned

 

 

 

Black Barrel® Old Fashioned

  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 1 ½ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
  • 0.5 part amaro
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 2 dashes Orange bitters
  • Orange peel

Preparation:

  • Add simple syrup, Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila, amaro and bitters together and stir, adding in ice. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with an orange peel.

 

Old Fashioned, hornitos, mad men, old fashionedHornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila is redefining the traditional tequila experience.  Triple aged to create a unique Añejo tequila with whiskey characteristics, Hornitos® tequila is aged for 12 months in new toasted American Oak barrels.  Then, it is carefully placed into deep charred American Oak barrels for four months.  In the final aging process, the liquid is transferred to specially toasted American Oak barrels for two months to enhance the whiskey-like notes.

 

 

Sipping Off The Cuff™ with Baron Blanco

baron blanco Baron Blanco Tequila

Mike and Alex were so impressed with Baron that they nominated it for the 2014 Tequila Aficionado Brands of Promise Awards in both the Blanco and Packaging categories.

 

Baron-Tequila, baron blanco

 

Baron Online

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From Baron Tequila: 

WELCOME TO
THE NEWEST PREMIUM TEQUILA ON THE MARKET!

Baron Tequila is a new, ultra-premium tequila handcrafted in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico and certified gluten free and kosher. We embarked on a two-year tequila fact-finding mission to create the category’s next premier product. At Baron, family is very important to us so to carry out our vision, we partnered with the family-owned and operated Ansan Distillery, where 20-years of experience oversees each step of the tequila making process – from growing and harvesting the agave to the triple distillation and bottling. We have spared no expense or amount of time to make Baron Tequila the epitome of quality spirits. We look forward to you joining the Baron family as you experience our product and share our love of premium tequila!

HOW IT’S MADE

Baron has achieved a uniquely, clean smooth taste through a natural process maximizing the power of the agave itself. After 10 years of growth, only the best parts are harvested for production and then slow cooked at a low heat allowing for all of the sugars to caramelize. Hand-guided pot-still distillation cooks off all of the impurities leaving only the “heart” (the best part). Baron is then distilled three times. Not once, not twice, but three times resulting in an extract that gets cleaner and cleaner ultimately achieving a zero-zero taste profile; eliminating any bad odor and bitter taste. Unlike larger industrial producers, Baron is able to achieve a pure taste without the use of glycerin or other additives. And to make sure our product is consistent, a panel of three tasting experts samples each batch to confirm it matches the original. Quality and consistency are of the utmost importance.

THE BOTTLE:

All of our bottles are also made on site by glassblowing artisans with decades of bottle-making experience. Ansan’s glassblowers first select the best quality glass possible and then engage in what they call a “four-touch” process guiding the glass into shape utilizing both human touch and sophisticated machinery to mold the ornate design directly into the glass itself. The 750ml bottle features decorative floral embellishments wrapping around the bottom and sides of the bottle, while the top boasts an engraved version of the Baron logo featuring two dragons flanking an agave plant.

baron blanco

WHY DRAGONS YOU ASK?

In Spanish, Baron refers to a magnate or mogul, a nobleman in some cases; a higher power. The project to create Baron began during the year of the dragon, considered by the Chinese to be the luckiest. In fact, many Eastern cultures associate dragons with wisdom and outstanding people. We immediately felt a connection and synergy between the symbolism of the dragon and the name of Baron.

 

Tequila Peñasco Plata Review by Steve Coomes

Penasco Plata, Peñasco, silver, blanco

As an old journalist, I fancy myself a decent researcher, but gathering good intel on Tequila Peñasco is difficult. Its website is buggy and provides scant information about what appears to be a young brand. The oldest press releases there date back to 2013 and its distribution in the American market is only to seven states. Its extra añejo expression is 39 to 42 months old, however, which proves the brand’s given its products at least four years’ consideration.

There’s no claim that Peñasco distills its own juice (made from Highlands [Jalisco] agave, according to another website), so it’s likely the spirit was made at an unnamed plant and sourced and, for all we know, blended by Peñasco.

Thankfully, its four-expression lineup is simpler to understand, especially its plata. It’s about as straightforward as tequila gets. Flavorful, smooth, sippable or useful in cocktails. Aficionados everywhere try, try and try again to find deeper more complex flavors in everything we sip, but this one hides nothing: it’s all up front and presented on the proverbial platter. No deep thought needed. Just taste and appreciate.

Immediately and throughout the mouth, you get roasted agave and white pepper. With a moment’s wait comes a little lime. Nice. A couple more sips delivers a pleasant toasty note backed by a little fusel alcohol and some shy minerality.

After its peppery-fruity intro, you get more minerals and a bit of brine mid-palate, which I love. Unfortunately, that effect doesn’t come back with more tasting; I only get it when my palate is completely clean.

Since it’s light bodied and refreshingly sweet, it’s good (maybe best?) consumed neat. But there’s no lingering finish at all. You swallow it and it’s gone. Some will definitely find such cleanliness ideal, but I like some “mouth memory” for further consideration upon exhaling.

It works in cocktails, of course, but it doesn’t stand up well to particularly sweet or fuller-bodied mixers. For example, if your sour mix is straight lime and agave syrup, be sure to thin out your syrup at least 1:1 to help this plata cut through. Otherwise it doesn’t stand a chance. Even fresh-squeezed white grapefruit gave it a bit of a fight. The rest of the line, which I’ll review later, stands up admirably to the mixer test.

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