As you can see, I've updated my blog to have the links of everyone's blog. A couple of bakers who haven't posted in the last 2 months were excluded. Please do let me know if you are still interested to be part of a group (and please bake as soon as possible :)), and I would add you to the list.
Now onto the summary...
Not a single person this week followed the book's recipe exactly, everyone omitted the ganache, baked the brownie in a different pan, and substituted at least one ingredients.
Monica, happily made these by hand, thus avoiding having to wash half her bowl collection. She calls them "chocolat-y and not super sweet at all." She substituted the pecan for walnuts and opted out of the ganache. Instead, she tried these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and called it "perfect."
Katya made these with hazelnuts and cacao nibs. She's "not a giant brownie person" though she calls them "perfectly nice" and "glad to cross them off the list."
Lois made a cherry version, "soaking dried cherries in brandy for a few hours before chopping them up to be added to the batter." She made double recipe and topped the brownies with Chef Jean-Pierre's buttercream. She calls these "smooth as silk, melt in your mouth, CHOCOLATE, and wonderfully fudge-y."
Hanaa, back from her vacation in the Netherlands (welcome back!!!), posted Miette Tomboy as an alternate. She made it a couple of weeks ago while on her vacation. She baked it in a 8 inch square pan, decorating it with sweetened whipped cream, which she noted "complimented the dark chocolate flavor in the cake perfectly." "The cake was a breeze to make, my mom and sisters liked this cake a lot." Hanaa also posted a link to her Barcelona Brownie Bars, made in Feb this year. She thought that they were really good, "dense, moist, a little fudgy and velvety smooth."
We have a new baker in the group, Melissa, who hails from Canberra, Australia. Welcome Melissa! She is very excited to be part of Heavenly Cake Bakers and was extremely happy "to start on a fairly straightforward baking assignment." She substituted the pecans with dried blueberries, though she first "soaked them in some boiling water so that they would plump up a bit." Melissa loved the cream cheese in the brownie, saying that they "add a nice complex tangy taste" and her children enjoyed the afternoon tea with them (I don't know about you guys but I sure would love to grow up in a house where there's afternoon tea.)
Our FEATURED BAKER goes to Evil Cake Lady, who currently cannot eat too much sugar due to spring allergies. But she made these brownies anyway, decided on keeping a piece for herself and giving the rest away, but then changed her mind and thought maybe she should "save a couple of brownies so she could try one with the strawberry ice cream in the freezer." ECL did make this back in 2009, she said it didn't count because she omitted the nuts, the cream cheese, and the ganache. What's left, you asked? She added more sugar, butter, and chocolate chips. "They were still pretty good brownies, but they weren't the real thing." This time, she followed the recipe, though she baked it in an 8 inch square pan, following the comments in post over at Rose's forum, in order to make it into a gooey type of brownie. Jennifer calls this the "perfect brownie" and "dreamy brownie" and have started fantasizing about all sorts of variations that she could do (I count 4 variations and knowing ECL, there will be more.) She also made brioche - to make up for her using store-bought brioche when she made the Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cake back in Oct 2010. It's a "two day process" that yield "a thin, crispy crust and a soft, rich interior."
A shout-out goes to Kristina, who though didn't make anything new from the book, posted a link to her brownie - made back in Oct 2009. She did bake Cordon Rose Cheesecake from the Cake Bible (drizzled with leftover glaze from La Bomba) for her husband's birthday. Happy Birthday to your husband!
Speaking about Kristina, she and Jennifer was wondering if they can swap out things already baked as a free choice. I think that's a great idea, and this way everyone can still bake as part of the group and finish the book. I do have one request. Please include the link of the scheduled cake in your post. So let's say for this week's Barcelona Brownie Bars, you already made it back in November 2010 as a free choice, so instead of making the bars again you make La Bomba as a catch-up. Please include the link to the Barcelona Brownie Bars post in your post. Which, if you look at Hanaa's post, is exactly what she did. This way we can all admire your Barcelona Brownie Bars while drooling over the La Bomba (I'm totally making all these up as an example, there's no one who made the La Bomba this week as an alternate post.)
Next week we have Chocolate Raspberry Trifle. I'm very excited about this cake and I hope you are too! I purposely scheduled it for Memorial Day weekend, so we have more time to compose it. It doesn't seem to be as complicated as the Saint Honore Trifle, but it is one of those dessert that require some time and coordination to do. The good news is that some of the components (like the moist chocolate genoise base and the creme anglaise) can be made ahead If you are not equally excited about this, go check out Marie's pre-HCB post, back in 2009.