Search Results

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

I'm hosting this week's Last Cake, Next Week while Marie are off in France - eating beaucoup croissants and macarons.

I love baking the same thing with everyone. It's fun to see if the cakes turns out differently, who make cupcakes (this is important!), and whether everyone has the same consensus on taste. Free Choice week is also equally exciting. It's like a mystery game to see who will bake what, and how many people bake the same thing. Yes I know I'm a dork. There! I said it!!!

This week, most of the HCBers chose differently. Here are the round-ups:

Faithy, made not only one, but two Southern Manhattan Coconut Cake, one with fresh coconut juice and the other with canned juice. She's not a big fan of coconut but figured that the attendants of church gathering at her place could help finish it up. Faithy stacked the cakes together to save fridge space and adorned with freshly grated coconut. The cake was a hit, with some people noticing the layer with fresh coconut juice less sweet and some didn't noticed. If you haven't seen her cake, check it out. It looks so pretty with fresh coconut.

Both Lois and Lola made the Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream. Lois brought it TGI Fridays, her "Cheers" in Poland. "The staff and other regular patrons all sampled a small slice, and it was a hit.  Remi asked if the cookbook I was using was available in Poland.  (I wasn't able to find evidence of Rose's books in Polish, but they're ready for you, Rose!)" Lola, who said that Lois inspired her to make this cake, calls it "light and lovely" with a frosting that is "yummy and easy" and "not to sweet."

NancyB, who will finish baking the same time as Marie (yay to you!), made the Red Fruit Shortcake. She used strawberries and raspberries on her cake as she couldn't find currants. Though the "berries did not produce much juice despite a nice long maceration period" and "genoise is never going to be my favorite cake," Nancy said "the cake is a light vehicle to hold the pile of berries, and the tang of the crème fraîche is a good counterpoint to the sweet." Nancy also posted the Deep Chocolate Rosebuds, a catch up post as she made this cake back in December 2009.

Both Jane and Vicki did some awesome quick thinking to save their cakes.

Jane made the Apple Caramel Charlotte.  Jane thought she messed up the bavarian cream ("it turned into jello") by letting the custard too hot. Jane "put it in the blender and pressed smoothie and it did the trick. I don't know if it totally messed up the consistency but in the end it was nice, just like it was supposed to be!" Though this is a cake she's "been looking forward to making for quite a while" but unfortunately the flavor didn't wow her.

Vicki made the No Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake, to which she added "Fool" at the end, because she "a Fool out of Rose's No Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake." The cake is supposed to be refrigerated for 4 hours, but she took it out after 2 and it started disintegrating. So she served it in an ice cream cup with some raspberry sauce.

Raymond made the Red Velvet Cake, despite his hesitation of using food coloring. "At any rate, I have to admit it isn’t half bad, although the nauseous red color still puts me right off."

Katya made the "most adorable cake in the book": Miette Tomboy. This is the 2nd time she made it, though last time it was unfrosted. She also had great success with the mousseline this time, "possibly the best and fluffiest mousseline I've ever made."

Jennifer made the Ginger Cheesecake. She began her post by declaring that "ginger is something I have grown to appreciate." She detested it growing up until she learned - during her study of acupuncture - that it "promotes healthy digestion, warms the digestion, stimulates the immune, and even kills parasites." She liked the "soft and creamy" ginger cheesecake, though warning that "you have to be at least okay with ginger to enjoy it."

Next week we have another Free Choice. I will be making Zach's La Bomba (I will be away the weekend it's on the schedule) but will do a catch up post.

The week after that, we have the White Velvet Butter Cupcakes. For those of you who have made the White Velvet Cake, it's the same thing, except this is in cupcake form. The frosting is different, as this one calls for the Golden Neoclassic Buttercream. If you have access to golden syrup, the buttercream is lovely with it.

Just when you thought this Last Cake, Next Cake posting from Jenn is finally coming to an end, I have a public service announcement to make. I thought since I'm doing the summary this week, I'd take the opportunity to post the first two cakes for the HCB continuation. I'm planning to start week after the May 16th finale with Marie. The format will be the same, 3 weeks of scheduled baking and 1 week of free choice. First up on the list is Barcelona Brownie Bars on the 23rd, followed by the Chocolate Raspberry Trifle on May 30th.  The cakes on the schedule would be the 21 cakes I have left, ending with Bernachon Pale d'Or Gateau on Nov 21st. I thought since this is the cake on the cover of the book, it would be the perfect one to end with. I know a lot of you will not be done by the time Marie is, so I'm hoping you'll join me! It'll be fun!

Monday, April 25, 2011

HCB Free Choice: Devil Food's Cupcakes

For the free choice this week I made Devil Food's cupcakes.

Again, you said?

We just made it 6 weeks ago.

Yes. It's that good.

So instead of catching up on the remainder 23 cakes left, I made this again.

It also helps that I have leftover Midnight Ganache in the freezer, as I didn't use it all last time.

This time, I used the book's method of mixing. The result is a fluffy cupcake, not dense and fudgy like next time. It is really good. I like the texture this way.

Also this time, the brandied cherry tasted more boozy. I can feel myself swooning after finishing a cupcake. I better not drive.

Note: My apologies for such a short post. But since this is a repeat performance, I don't know what else to write, ^o^!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake - two ways

I had made this cake for hubby's birthday a couple of years ago. I made dinner and had several friends over. I remembered the cake was easy to make but the buttercream was time consuming. The addition of flaked coconuts into the buttercream made it difficult to frost the cake. I did not anticipate this when I planned my time throughout the day. So, when the guests arrived, the cake was partially frosted. Thankfully, one of my friend bakes and so she finished frosting the cake.

It was so hectic that evening (for me at least - everyone else were busy eating) that I forgot to take a picture of the cake until it's almost gone! But as you can see from the photo below that the cake was a success. It's soft and crumbly, in a good way. And considering this cake feeds 16-20 and we only had 10 people, that speaks for itself.

Hubby loved the cake so much that once everyone got their piece, he covered the piece that's in the photo and put it in the fridge. I looked at him confused, until he whispered to me "so no one eats it and I can have it for tomorrow."

At this point, you might be asking yourself what are the cupcakes in the photo at the beginning of this post.

I was planning on skipping this week's cake and bake ahead - making something for the free choice next week.

That was the plan, until I saw Hector's post about coconut curd. I was intrigued and Hector was nice enough to give the link to the recipe. If you follow the comments' conversation in his post you will see that I thought of making this cupcakes with coconut curd whipped cream. And that's exactly what I did.

First I made the coconut curd. Hector's recipe yield 400 grams. I made half the recipe. Making coconut curd is like making any other curd, in that it takes forever and you have to stand there and stir and stir. About 10 minutes in, I got impatient, so I grabbed a stool to sit down and started reading Zach's La Bomba recipe just to kill time. It helps.

Here's the picture of the finished curd. So yellow. Looks just like lemon curd isn't it?

Next, I made the cupcakes. 1/3 recipe this time. It turned out it yield 504 grams in total, enough to fill 12 cupcakes, 42 grams each. I know this because I weigh each cupcake, a tidious process that I find annoying but I do it anyway because I like the result. Each cupcake looks the same.

Here are the cupcakes. I filled the middle with a little dollup of coconut curd. There are only 10 cupcakes in the photo, the other two didn't make it to the photo because the photographer was hungry (YUM!).

I had planned to make fluffy whipped cream that I will pipe decoratively and beautifully on top of the cupcake. That's not how it turned out. The whipped cream wouldn't reach any pipeable-stiffness, even with numerous chilling attempt. I think adding the coconut curd into the whipped cream made it runnier. I tried adding a couple of tablespoon of powdered sugar. It didn't help. Next time I will try using more the cornstarch or maybe use gelatin.

I was pretty happy with the result though. It looks kinda rustic and the toasted coconut made it looked better.

Tasting impressions:
YUM! So good! The curd is good by itself but it's better added into the whipped cream. The cupcake is very soft and crumbly. Hubby loves it and said it's very coconut-y. I'm not a big fan of coconut dessert myself, but this one is really good.

Monday, April 11, 2011

HCB: Miette Tomboy

This is the very pink Miette Tomboy from RHC, baked in 2 6 inch pans. I have been looking forward to this cake since we started the bake off. It looks so pretty in the book and I love the name!

I opted to make the alternative raspberry version as vanilla mousseline tasted too plain to me. Instead of using raspberry jam, I thought of making my own sauce with recipe from TCB. I poured a bag (10 oz) of frozen raspberries in a strainer over a saucepan - and left it on the countertop to thaw overnight. By morning the raspberries is completely thawed, and I got only 1/4 of liquid, so I didn't bother reducing it. Don't own a food mill so I strained the raspberries with a fine mesh and got about 1/3 of cup of raspberry puree. The puree was flavorful enough so I used only the puree for the mousseline.

I was very nervous about the mousseline. The last time I made it was back in July, it curdled and looked horrible. It tasted good but looked funny. And I remembered that once before that, I made it and it was a complete failure - and had to toss it. I blame both failure on hot weather, but this weekend it was pretty warm here, about 66 degrees at 8 AM. I read the recipe 4 times during the week, and read it again on Sunday morning before I started.

I had placed the frozen egg whites and butter on the counter overnight to thaw and soften. My plan was to start bright and early. So 8 AM I was in the kitchen and started the sugar syrup. Everything when smoothy until I added the egg whites into the butter. It curdled. I checked the temperature and it’s 66 degrees, so it should be ok, but it was a bit watery. Since this is within the 65-70 degrees range that Rose said, I didn’t know what to do. So I put it over simmering water while mixing it and it started watering even more. I placed it in an ice bath until it’s about 65, whisk again and it still curdled. I was so frustrated and wanted to give up. Sad images of chucking it into the trash came through my head. But if I trash it, what do I frost the cake with? I can’t imagine starting over, don’t feel like it, plus I have no time. I thought, I could frost the cake with whipped cream, but I don’t have any. And I don’t want to run to the store. Yes I know I was in a sour mood!

So I decided, let’s try to save it.
I tried chilling it faster. I put it in the fridge until the temperature was 63. Then I tried to whisk it (on high with the hand mixer) and it came back together. PHEW!!! I added the raspberry sauce, it curdled again!!

$*%&^ $&#*%&!

Checked the temperature and it’s 61 degrees. So it’s too cold. The oven was preheating for the cake so I placed it on top of the stove (heat from the oven). I mix it a few times to even out the temperature. When it’s 63 degrees I whisked it again with the hand mixer and it came back together. I immediately put it away from the stove.

Felt really good to have a successful mousseline. I’ve tried the RHC recipe once before and it curdled. And I threw it out! Felt so silly now for giving up that fast back then. But I felt I learned a valuable lesson this time - of trying to save it and and succeeding - it’s a good feeling to have :).

The cake itself is pretty straight forward. It calls for melting some chocolate by pouring boiling water over it. I had my doubts for a second because the amount of chocolate is so little compared to the water that the mixture is very watery. Unlike the usual method of combining boiling water with cocoa that produced a thicker mixture. I kept looking back to the weight measurement to make sure that I had the correct amount.

The next step is to combine all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and leavening. This cake used quite a bit of cocoa powder. I was excited about that, knowing that it will be a pretty chocolate-y cake, :).

Then mix the single egg in the mixer on high speed until it's pale, add in the canola oil and buttermilk and mix. I don't have buttermilk and don't want to buy a whole bottle for one time use. Plus Rose said to use non-low fat ones, and I haven't seen those in the store. So I took whole milk, added 1 tsp of lemon juice, and let it sit for a few minutes. Once it's mixed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

I wonder why we don't have to add the dry ingredients in 2 additions like some other recipes. I'm not complaining though, it's faster like this but just curious as to why.

I love that Rose said how much the batter should weigh for each pan, it makes it easier to split it.

Decorating the cake is really easy. It looks so fancy in the book but it’s super easy. I love that I don’t have to do crumb coat and smooth out the sides - since that usually takes the longest.


Tasting impressions:
So good! The chocolate cake is so moist and chocolate-y. This chocolate cake is now one of my favorite in the book. I love the texture so much more than the DFC’s chocolate cake. Tastewise, I don’t remember how it would compare. I think I need to make DFC soon LOL. The mousseline is very good, love the raspberry flavor.

Now this makes me crave for lemon curd mousseline...

Monday, April 4, 2011

HCB: Karmel Cake

This week's selection from HCB is Karmel Cake.I was pretty curious of how this cake would taste like. It looks pretty simple, the caramel being the main source of flavor. I was happy that it's going to be an easy cake as I was pretty busy this weekend and thought that I could whip this cake up in an hour.
This cake being so simple with no adornment, I thought it would be the perfect cake for my new Nordic Ware butterfly cakelet. I got it from Marshall's a couple of weeks ago. It looked so cute I couldn't resist buying.

This being a caramel cake, the first order of business is to make caramel. Mix brown sugar, milk, and butter over medium heat until it reached 238. The pour into a glass measuring cup. The caramel was exactly 1/2 a cup - perfect for my 1/2 recipe, so no need to add water. Then whisk in the remaining milk. To speed cooling, I placed the caramel in an ice bath.

Once the caramel cooled, I mix the dry ingredients, add in the caramel and eggs and mix. So easy.

1/2 recipe would be a 6 inch cake which is 3 3/4 cups. The cakelet pan is 3 cups. I thought I could get away with just using the cakelet pan so I fill up all the cakelets until it's about 3/4 full. 20 minutes in the oven, the cake rose a bit higher than the pan. I thought, no problem, I'll just trim it for the photos.

When I tried to unmold the cake, all of them refused to unmold. I pried and poked with my spatula and shook the pan and one butterfly unmold perfectly. The rest were disastrous looking. They looked like butchered and mangled butterfly - not pretty at all. I was pretty disappointed. The pan is supposedly non stick and I did use baking spray and apply them generously with a brush, going to every nook and cranies. Also, if you noticed from the picture, you see dark spots where the caramel crystalized. Rose said they should dissolve upon baking, and they didn't.

Tasting impressions:
I had some of the broken pieces of the cake when it came out of the oven and I thought it wasn't bad. Nothing special but not bad either. Once the cake cooled, hubby tasted it and here's how the conversation went:
Hubby: hm.. what's in it? what spice?
Me: there's no spice, it's a caramel cake.
Hubby: really? I can taste a spice but don't know what it is.
Me: there's no spice, it's the caramel that you're tasting.
Hubby: ok.
Me: so you don't like it?
Hubby: no.
Me: will you eat it?
Hubby: no, it tastes weird.

There you go folks. He actually deemed it inedible. This has never happened before! I wondered if I did something wrong but I don't think so (and no it's not just me being stubborn here haha). All my ingredients are fresh and I read over the recipe and didn't see any mistake. 

As for my tasting impression, the caramel flavor is not very distinctive at all. If no one told me it's caramel I would probably have thought there's a spice in it. It's almost like a nutmeg taste but not quite. Needless to say, this cake will not be on a repeat list :).