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Monday, January 31, 2011

HCB: Cradle Cake


The cradle cake that my friends Monica and Hanaa have been waiting for is here. I've flipped through Rose's Heavenly Cakes so many times and always pass by this cake without a moment's pause. I think it's the name. It just does not sound interesting. But now of course that I've made it, it made perfect sense.

This cake has a layer of dacquoise outside along the bottom and the sides of the cake, and the cake batter is in the middle. So the dacquoise is essentially hugging the cake, hence Cradle cake as the name. At least, that's how I interpret why Rose named this Cradle cake.

I've read the recipes a couple of times last week and thought that the cake sounded easy to put together. On Friday afternoon, I got an email from Monica where she said that her cake had sunk. Picture attached and I was horrified. Not at the picture (though Monica, as sweet as she is had written a warning in the email that the picture would be shocking). I was horrified thinking that if she had failed then I would too. I emailed her and said that maybe I should skip this cake and make something else. She wrote back saying, "oh no, you don't get to skip. You have to make this one." Okay okay.. I said.. It's nice to be able to count on good friends to keep me in line!

The cake is pretty easy to put together. Toast the pecans in the oven for 7 minutes. After it cooled, process it in the food processor with unsweetened chocolate and sugar. I speed-read the recipe and missed the part where Rose said to save some sugar for the meringue. So by the time I made the meringue, I added a tablespoon of sugar. I think I should have added more but I don't want to risk making this overly sweet. Once the meringue is stiff peak, fold it into the pecan chocolate mixture.

Rose said that it is best to use silicone pan. As I do not own a silicone loaf pan and I want to make half a recipe anyway, I get to use my somewhat new Wilton mini hearts silicone pan. Yay!

Putting the dacquoise on the bottom and the sides of the silicone pan is kinda fun (yes yes.. I know.. this sooo proof that I am a geek if I think things like this is fun). Anyway... the dacquoise mixture keep sliding off the sides of the pan and I thought it must have been because I put too much baking spray. Then this morning I read Monica's post where she said that her dacquoise stayed put because she waited until the egg whites reached stiff peaks before adding the sugar.

The cake batter is a typical butter cake. I can say this now, having made 27 cakes from the Butter & Oil cakes section *grin*. Miix all the dry ingredients together. Add the butter and a bit of buttermilk. Whisk the egg yolk, buttermilk, and vanilla until combined. Then add it to the cake batter in 2 additions.

Once the cake is baked, make the chocolate glaze. I realized that making chocolate glaze for 1/2 recipe is tricky. I got the heavy cream too hot, and when adding it to the chocolate, the chocolate started looking shiny and oily and unattractive. No I'm not kidding, chocolate separating is really unattractive to see. I added some cold heavy cream until it started looking better. In the end, I think I made a ganache :).

The ganache/chocolate sauce was fluid enough that I could make the drizzle with a spoon.


Tasting impressions:
It is pretty good. I like the crunchy-ness of the dacquoise. It is a bit too sweet though and I wonder if I can reduce the sugar a bit without compromising the structure. The cake part is uneventful, though it does go together nicely with the dacquoise. I am mostly happy with how the cake turned out. Yeah, I know I am a sucker for pretty little cakes. But it's just so cute. It makes me happy just looking at it :).

9 comments:

  1. I'm going to call you the queen of pretty baby cakes... (can you hear Raymond screaming in CA?)

    I love and I mean LOVE the pretty baby heart *sigh* so darn cute.

    Glad that you did not have any sunken episodes... I'm surprise that you did not care so much for it. We love it over here, in fact the ugly cake got eaten faster than the pretty cake, but I think that is because we are not home today to keep picking at it as we walk by the kitchen.

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  2. your little cradle hearts are so cute, and i love your cake/dacquoise tops. i also love your plates--are they egg shaped?

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  3. Bravo - I love your little heart cakes, and your ganache drizzle is the perfect finishing touch! Great job.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  4. How pretty!! And the drizzle on top takes it over the top. Great job as always. I too ended up making half a recipe but used an oval pan. To keep the cake from tasting "plain", I could have added some spices (and I knew you'd get a kick out of that, ha ha) but instead I added some orange zest. I didn't want to be predictable :o) Oh, I should add this to my post: I didn't have buttermilk so I used milk + some lemon juice. It worked fine.

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  5. Well done for perservering even though you were worried about a sunken cake! And yours turned out perfect! I love your presentation

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  6. Your little hearts turned out perfectly!

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  7. Your cakes are so adorable! I want to make some cute heart shaped cakes now!

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  8. These are absolutely darling, excellent interpretation!

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