Oct 12, 2009

Last Cake, Next Cake

Everyone loved the Barcelona Brownie Bars, and there was a great deal of ingenuity involved in how to make them. People who didn't have the financier pans, and there were many, used mini-heart shaped pans, mini muffin pans, and a variety of other shapes and sizes. Some omitted the nuts (or wished they had), some did the cherry variation, and one person ingeniously made ghost brownies! I had some serious ganache envy when I looked at some of the other photos, but then reminded myself that it's not a contest.
Our featured blogger today is Kristina (or anitsirK--it took me a while to figure it out), at EatsNDrinks. Kristina used the 8" square pan, cleverly reading Rose's directions so that she knew to 1 1/2 times the recipe. (Coincidentally, Kristina also baked Rose's butter-dipped rolls over the weekend, which was also my other baking project). She did the cherry variation, purchasing a dusty bottle of Cherry Heering for the occasion. She poked ganache holes in the cake, and then (very neatly) added ganache from a pastry bag made from a plastic bag. She had enough ganache left over that she drizzled more on top of the brownies. (There's that ganache envy rearing its ugly head again).
Check out Kristina's version, as well as the brownies made by the other Heavenly Bakers. The list is getting long--we added three more people since the last post.
We already had geographical diversity, and now we have a little gender diversity as well. Raymond at YourJustDesserts discovered a few years ago that he loved cake decorating. He has a picture on his blog of the first wedding cake he made a while back--in his blog, he notes the "amateurish" nature of the cake. Since I am a person who thinks that baking and decorating a wedding cake is as achievable as me flying to the moon, I nearly choked when I read that apology! Raymond is especially interested in getting tips on photography and presentation.
On the other hand, Mendy, over at GreensteinsBakery, admits to being a newbie, although his stuff looks pretty good too. Mendy, who describes himself as "just a Shmo who lives in Brooklyn," bakes only Kosher, and makes the recipes containing dairy in a toaster oven. I'll be interested in watching how he deals with the additional challenges this must present.
Finally, Jana, of SmartCookie, works at John Wiley & Sons, and is actually the person who sent out the copies of Heavenly Cakes to the first ten to sign up. Jana is a baking masochist. She's already a member of Tuesdays with Dorie--and now this! She was a huge help to me in setting up this bake through, and, in fact, is the one who introduced me to the whole concept.

Next week is Apple Upside-Down Cake. I wanted to make this during the heart of apple season, and, at least in Minnesota, that's just where we are. It requires no weird equipment - just a 9" round cake pan - and no weird ingredients (unless you count Muscovado sugar, which is not even a requirement or Maker's Mark Bourbon for the Bourbon Whipped Cream topping). I'll be curious to see what apples people use for this cake: Rose says her favorites are Macoun, Northern Spy, Rhode Island Greenings, and Golden Delicious. I think I'll probably use Honey Crisp, unless I can find Sweet Tango, the new University of Minnesota variety which is supposed to be even better than the Honey Crisp.


ButterYum said...

I lived in the Twin Cities for 7 years... have never found a better apple than a Honey Crisp! Too bad their season is so short. I hope you find the Sweet Tangos - maybe they're available at Byerly's, Kowalski's, or Trader Joes.

Looking so forward to the apple cake!!

PS - thanks for posting the link for my ghost brownies.

anitsirK said...

Aww.. thanks for featuring me! :)

I did end up using Kirsch, though, as the guy at LCBO (Ontario's provincial government owned monopoly on liquor) said he hadn't seen the Heering in a long time.

breadbasketcase said...

I think the season has gotten a little longer, or at least they're available for more weeks than they used to be. I was very taken with your ghost brownies.

Oh, so you couldn't even get a dusty buttle of cherry heering? Now that you have the kirsch, you'll have to make a Black Forest cake.

hector said...

dear marie, just love that you have the 'last cake, next cake' summary, it is nice summary of everyone's work.

anitsirK said...

Marie, no, couldn't get even a dusty bottle. There's one other location I might check next time I'm near there, but the kirsch seemed to do the trick. Black forest cake sounds like a good plan, regardless. :)

I just posted a list of the cakes -- thought it might be helpful to others for keeping track. Even if others don't use it, it'll help me have an idea of what's been done.

Rebecca Khair said...

i'm dying to do the apple cake this week but my book hasn't arrived yet! I will be baking it as soon as it arrives though, even if i'm late... maybe for my dad's birthday next week, he loves apple cakes... me too :)

lanier said...

I'm a little early on this one, but this comment is regarding the Nov. 2nd pumpkin cake. I came across this article and thought I'd share:


My grocery store was out for a few weeks, so when I noticed it back last week, I stocked up.
Pumpkin may just be by favorite seasonal ingredient so I didn't want to run out!

Nancy B said...

I've also been looking ahead to the pumpkin cake, and found the cake pan over on eBay at a 'make an offer' entry. My offer wasn't very low (but under what it would cost at Amazon after shipping) and the pan's on its way to me.

I had tried to get it at Cake Art (located way too close to me for the health of my pocketbook), but when I called they said "is that the one on the cover of Southern Living?" Seems SL pictured it, and there's been a run on the pans--at least here in the South where SL is so popular.

NancyB, possessor of an ancient and dusty bottle of Cherry Heering, I think. Must dig in the back of the cabinet....

Jenn said...

Kristina - I just checked out your list. It's awesome. What a great idea to do the list and then scratch out the ones that you've done. It definitely helps keeping track.
PS: I know the book is thick but it's amazing how LONG the list of goodies is once you've started listing out.
Ok this is kinda scary. Based on Kristina's list, I counted we have 99 more cakes on the list (excluding frostings). This means that if we bake every week, we'll finish the book by September 12th, 2011! :). Ladies & Gents, we will get to know each other very well by then - and our baking skills will significantly improved :).

anitsirK said...

Jenn, is that with or without the ones that Marie has already finished? I never counted.

Regardless, this should be quite a journey. I know HanaĆ¢ is in the middle of a kitchen renovation right now, and with any luck, I'll be finished with my own kitchen renovation by the time this project is over. That should be fun!

Jenn said...

The list is basically everything except the 2 that the HCB's done (Hungarian Janci Torta and Barcelona Brownie Bars). Of course I didn't account for the fact that some of us will do only 2 a month etc. I counted 3 times to be sure.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

does this meant that i have only til sept 2011 to launch the next book?!

breadbasketcase said...

That list is daunting, isn't it? I don't count the wedding cakes, though, and the recipes for ladyfingers and lemon canadian crown should just count as one recipe. Ditto the brioche and pineapple pudding cakes. The frostings don't really count, either, and I don't count the angel food cake base recipe as a single recipe either. So my count is only 93. Only. Ha.

Nancy B, I borrowed the pan from Woody. I like to collect pans, but wasn't sure I'd ever repeat the pumpkin cake. If I like it, I'll try eBay--that's a great idea.

I read about the great pumpkin shortage too! Stock up because the pumpkin cheesecake is coming too.

Why don't you take a nice vacation?

anitsirK said...

I come up with 92, if I include the Groom's cake, but remove the frostings, the Lady Fingers, the basic Angel Food Cake (I guess you're planning on covering this as part of the Chocolate Tweed cake), the Brioche, and the two cakes some of us have already made. I copied that list into a text editor with line numbering, so I know I didn't miscount, unless I accidentally removed an extra line.

92 weeks from this past Monday takes us to Monday July 18, 2011, according to this calculator. :) (can you tell I write software for a living? There's a computer program for everything, you just have to find it!)

I agree with Marie, Rose. You should take a much deserved vacation. There's so much information in this book, and it's so beautiful. You've really outdone yourself.

Jenn said...

Marie and Kristina,
I counted everything (i.e. ladyfingers and tiramisu separately) - so indeed it's probably not accurate. Agree with Marie & Kristina too, Rose, you should take a month-long vacation after you're done with the book tour. I miss reading about your travels!

breadbasketcase said...

That is so funny. Whatever the number, and I'll bet you're accurate, it's a lot of cakes. Is there a program for figuring out how many calories if you eat one piece of each cake? If there is, I don't want to know about it.

I was thinking about buying the ladyfingers instead of making them, but it looks like you'll keep me honest! I can't cross it off the list if I don't make it.

Maria said...

When I went into the bookstore to see if this book was a must-have, it was the apple upside-down cake that won me over and made me decide I shouldn't wait until Christmas to own it!

That being said, I think I'd love to join you all in baking this cake! I don't know if I have any of the right sort of apples left from my recent trip to the apple farm, though. I guess that means I get to buy some more apples!

(If you need my blog address, please email. I don't want to spam it here.)

Beth.Glixon said...

Hi, everyone. Turns out I'm "almost" baking along, though in a different order. I've come back to cake baking after a long break. I made the apple cake last week, so will be really interested to see how everyones' turns out. I did not get the caramel effect I see in the book, even though the cake was baked on a hot baking stone (I had previously made a hearth bread). Happy baking, everyone. Beth

p.s. I think I'm making the spice/peanut butter cake today and tomorrow. That will be my 4th in 3 weeks.

breadbasketcase said...

I'd love to have you join us. I can't email you because Blogger doesn't give me your email address. I can't list you as one of the Heavenly Bakers unless I have your blog address, so that would be public, but if you don't want your email address public, just email me at mlwolf2@comcast.net

That spice cake was the first one I made, and it made me pretty sure the book was going to be a winner. Please let us know if you ever decide you want to join--otherwise, just chime in when you bake your cakes!

Jenn said...

Marie - homemade ladyfingers taste 100% times better than store bought. Store bought ones taste like nothing whereas the homemade ones taste like spongy egg heaven. Initially in my newbie baking adventure, I use store bought ones, until one day I was gonna make tiramisu for my birthday - went to 4 grocery stores and couldn't find any (they ran out or don't carry - imagine that!). What's a birthday gal to do?!? Ended up making it. It's fun and taste super good. The recipe that I used was James Peterson's Cooking cookbook (not to be confused with James Patterson the Fiction novelist). Long story short, can't wait to try Rose's recipe and her version of tiramisu.
PS: Let's not go down the path of counting calories. We should just remember to try to eat in moderation perhaps :).

breadbasketcase said...

I'll take your word for the virtues of homemade ladyfingers, and I'll probably even make them. Sometimes I'm almost sorry if I discover how superior a homemade version is because then I feel obliged to make it. I'm with you on the calories.

Beth.Glixon said...

I made the spice cake last night, will make the frosting today. I baked it in 2 7 inch pans, and sampled from the "less perfect" layer. It was incredibly tender and delicious. Really a wonderful experience to taste it for the first time. I hope the potluckers will enjoy it - I wasn't supposed to bring dessert, but I really wanted to make this cake, and I had a smile on my face all last night, before, during, and after. I can now see how much I've missed baking cakes! So, this is my third RHC so far: golden genoise, upside down apple, and now the spice cake. Since I don't have a blog, and don't have time to start one right now, I'll just pipe in from time to time. Happy baking. Beth

breadbasketcase said...

This cake-baking thing can get addictive, can't it? I'm getting used to planning my weekend around the cake of the week. I'll be curious to see what's next on your agenda.

Gartblue said...

*greener with envy still*

marie .. you have never failed to make me look like an idiot, laughing to myself everytime I read your post. hilarious, really!

In fact, I can almost picture you and jim, one with the paddle and one with a camera, exchanging murderous looks, over cake batter .. seriously, you are one happy couple!

Anyhow, on my front. I have failed to get a copy of the book, online or physically walking down the malls.

But, a a good friend of a business trip to London is bringing me back a copy. Yay!

At last, I can join you happy bakers.. can't wait.