We have quite a few bakers who took this week's FREE CHOICE as an opportunity to catch up. Almost everyone made something different but everyone loved their choices.
Vicki made the Chocolate Financier and the Red Velvet Cake. The financier should have been an easy cake to make, she said, but in a scatter-brain moment she grabbed espresso powder instead of cocoa nibs. Also forgetting to add cocoa powder, she quickly poured the cocoa powder in the piping bag and "squished around to incorporate it." Fiasco isn't over, as she underweight the batter and it burned. It's still a hit though. "These little gems are not too sweet and the espresso powder gave them both a lovely flavor, burned and all. The family nibbled them up quite quickly." For the Red Velvet Cake, Vicki used beet juice instead of red food coloring, resulting in a "pinkalicious" cake. The roasted beets produced hardly any juice, so quick thinking again, she pureed and smashed it to get more juice. The color of the cake is a big hit to her little granddaughter.
Kristina made Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Neoclassic buttercream. She wanted to try her Lyle Golden Syrup that she found a while back but never used. She brought the cupcakes to work. "Only 2 cupcakes came home, so I think they hit the spot." At the end of the post, Kristina added that apparently she has made these cupcakes once before, back in June 2010, though back then she frosted them with leftover raspberry cloud cream from the freezer.
Our speedy and determined baker, Jane, has made 21 cakes since April 9th. Her latest is the Chocolate Streussel Coffee Cake. She made this cake the day before a test (because it's easy to make) and in someone else's home too. Those of you who are following Jane's adventure would know that her oven has been broken since June 1st. That did not stop her from baking. She has made 5 cakes since then. The Chocolate Streussel Coffee Cake, Jane said, is "easy to prep, easy to make, common ingredients, and a breakfast style cake that makes everyone feel at home."
Alice also made the Chocolate Streussel Coffee Cake. Not a big fan of cinnamon and chocolate together, she should have omitted cinnamon or substituted it for another flavor. The cake is still a keeper though. It is "delicious, very moist, not too sweet, with a light vanilla flavor." And she loved the sour cream in it. Alice then listed a slew of possible changes that she'd like to try: "an extract or liqueur, some lemon or orange zest, or some ground almonds or pecans would go very well instead of the cinnamon. A ring of ganache would also be really good instead...I wonder how that would bake up."
It is Banana Refrigerator Cake for Melissa this time, who often has over-ripen banana in the house. She used Lindt white chocolate for the frosting, which is "creamy, subtle, thick, just tangy sweet with a touch of almond taste." The cake was lovely, "light and moist, flavoursome but not overwhelmingly sweet and the frosting - the title says it all - dreamy creamy. My tasting panel of husband and children also really loved this cake." Now we know what will happen to the future over-ripen bananas in Melissa's house.
Hanaa made the Swedish Pear & Almond Cream cake, thanks to everyone's rave review of it last week. It would not take much to convince her though, as she loved almonds. Hanaa made her own "very tasty" almond cream, using Joe Pastry's recipe, with enough leftover for more Swedish Pear cake in the future. She prepared the cake batter at home and then brought it to a nearby friend's house and bake it there. Crossing her fingers and toes while the cake is cooling is proven to be successful, as the cake unmolded successfully, with nothing stuck to the pan! The cake looks beautiful in the Rose bundt shape, and everyone raved about the flavor.
Lois, who is "collecting marriage proposals from Polish airmen" because of her cakes, made the Hungarian Jansci Torta. She noted that the hardest part of the cake is preparing the pan. She had forgotten her cake strips back in the US, so she made her own with damp towels wrapped between 2 sheets of foil. She served the cake to her dinner guests, who "loved it, the consensus was that it was so light it melted in your mouth."
Next week we have Mud Turtle Cupcakes. If you are like me, a cupcake named "Mud" does not sound very appetizing, which is why I skipped it in the first place (sorry Rose!). There is no escaping it now! It is on the schedule and it will get made (said the determined baker writing this post). If you go read Marie's write up about it, she and everyone raved about this cake, which tells you that you shouldn't judge something by its name alone and that you should keep an open mind on all things cake-related (or just all things in general). One warning about this cake, the ganache should be made ahead as it might take a long time to cool and thicken. This happened to ECL. So please plan ahead, make smaller servings of the recipe, or use leftover ganache that you have hidden/stashed/forgotten in the freezer (I know I have a few tubs in mine).