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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

This week's Mud Turtle Cupcakes is well loved. Everyone who made it raved about it. And it is so fun to see everyone's little turtles all lined up for photos.

Poor Jane. She had to make the caramel twice. Her first batch burned because "the heat on the stove was too high." The second batch took longer but the result was worth it "voila! yummy caramel." The cupcakes were a hit, with Jane herself dubbing it "heavenly" and one of her housemates giving it 10 out of 10.

Alice also had some difficulty with the caramel. It started to smell like burning at 280 degrees. She let it on to about 330 degrees when it started smoking so she called it good. The caramel turned out a bit too strong for her, but it still got rave reviews at her wine and cheese party/book club meeting.

These cupcakes triggered some childhood memories for Melissa. It reminded her of the chocolate caramel toffee turtles, one of the first thing she made when she was little. Back then, her attempt at making the turtles was "complete time-consuming failures. The caramel toffee never set hard enough, instead pooling into blobby bits of sticky stuff with pecans and chocolate oozing out everywhere." This time (some 30 years or so later), she had a different result. "No disasters now." The cupcake turned out and the caramel worked. 

Lois made Catalan Salt Pinch Cake as a catch-up. The cake reminded her of angel food cake, except it uses yolks. It's an easy cake to make, and "came out perfect and fluffy." The cake was a hit, with her husband having not only one but three slices. You can find her Mud Turtle Cupcake post here.

We have two FEATURED BAKER this week. The first one is Vicki. She has been on a baking frenzy, making the Ginger Cheesecake and the Bostini. Vicki calls the Ginger Cheesecake "a refreshing variation," noting that the most difficult part was "grating the ginger and squeezing the juice."Unlike some of us who divide recipes (yes I'm looking at myself :)), Vicki increased the gingersnap crust by half "to up the ratio of crust to cheesecake." She topped the cheesecake with fresh blueberries, noting that next time "'I'll try another fruit and make a sauce, maybe mango." The cheesecake was a hit, perfect for the hot summer weather. The Bostini was a hit as well, with adults giving it two thumbs up and baby granddaughter already went through 2 cupcakes.

Our second FEATURED BAKER is Hanaa. Now let me first explain why there's two featured baker. Yesterday, while reading everyone's post, I felt like giving Vicki the featured baker title (yes I'm deciding based on feelings. I don't have any guidelines for choosing). Today, after reading Hanaa's post, I wanted to give her the title as well. You see, Hanaa forgot to add sugar to her cupcakes, realizing it only after they came out of the oven. "I should have known something was wrong when I made half the recipe and only had 6.75 cupcakes instead of 8. After 17 minutes in the oven, I noticed they look different. The top was cracked (like those chocolate crinkle cookies)." Not one to give up, she made the full batch of caramel and used all of them on the cupcakes, as the amount of sugar in the caramel is the same as what's missing from the cupcakes. She even decorated it so prettily, swirls of caramel on top with a little stack of sliced almonds on one side. You wouldn't think, looking at the pretty cupcakes, that those were the result of a mistake. Good save Hanaa!

A shout out to Mendy, Kristina, and Katya, who all posted their links to the Mud Turtle they made back in February.

Mendy: "These cupcakes were delicious. The complex flavors played together nicely on the palette."
Kristina made it for her husband to bring to work for his new job." So, I took the cupcakes and the chocolate banana cake to work, and put them in Jay’s new office when his manager sent out a “please welcome new employee” email. I think he enjoyed the attention the cakes got."
Katya:"I rarely buy pecans, so the nuts of choice were walnuts. My taster, who is also my long-lost photographer, home from the opera wars, approved of them, looking askance at the number that I proposed to bring to work."

A belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jennifer. Her birthday was the end of May and she posted a yellow cake with strawberries that she made (or is it strawberries with yellow cake - judging from the amount of strawberries she had in there! :)). Jennifer has been absent due to a nasty cold. Let's wish her a super speedy recovery so she can come back and bake with us!

Our cake next week is the Red Fruit Shortcake. I am excited about this cake! I do get super excited when it comes to sponge cake with alcohol sugar syrup, fruits, and whipped cream. What's not to love there? :) No special ingredients needed, though I am curious to see who can find currants as I've never seen it where I live. Plan ahead, the recipe said you should macerate the berries at least 2 hours ahead. Also, the cake pictured in the book used a fluted tart pan with recess, but the recipe gives an alternative of using one 9 or 10 2-inch round cake pan.


  1. I can buy fresh red currants here. I was so excited; I've wanted to try them ever since I saw them on the cover of Rose's Heavenly Cakes. . . they were a huge disappointment. I was OK with the tartness, but they were full of little seeds. Ugh! I'll be substituting something for the currants.

  2. Thanks Jenn! I'm determined to bake this next cake!! Last year I saw currants at the big Saturday Farmer's Market, so I'm hoping to find some...raspberries are a ways off though. Mine might just be mainly strawberries, but that's not really a problem!

  3. Thank you, Jenn. That is very sweet of you! :o) I’m pretty sure I won’t be forgetting sugar in recipes for a long time to come (I might forget other ingredients, but not the sugar) :o)

  4. I'm so jealous that you can get fresh red currants!! Where do you live lois?

    I went to the farmers market when I made them and they told me if I found red currants anywhere around here they'd be shocked. I'm from MS. we really need to get on things down here.

    And happy birthday jennifer! I hope you get better soon!

  5. Jane - I live in Poznan, Poland.

    Thanks Jenn for another great writeup.

    Congrats Hanaa and Vicki!

  6. Lois, thanks for reporting on the currants. Now I don't feel so bad about not finding them.

    ECL, GO strawberries! I think mine will be mostly strawberries with some raspberries.

    Hanaa, now I remember that I once forget baking soda in a banana bread. It turned out awful, not edible. We had to throw it away. Very sad.


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