Nov 2, 2009

Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream

When you apply to colleges, the standard advice is to apply to a mixture of "reach," "match," and "safety" schools. The safety schools are the ones you're sure to get in; a match school is a good fit for your qualifications, and the reach schools are the ones you want to go to, but probably won't get in to, like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.
As I looked through this cookbook, I divided the recipes in a similar way. The safety cakes are the ones on the quick-and-easy list. The match cakes are a little more complex and time-consuming, but within my range. The stretch cakes, though....that's another story. As I browsed the book, I saw some cakes that I knew I just couldn't make. My Harvard cakes. This pumpkin cake was one of them--not for the cake itself, which is easy--but for the icing and the decorations. Those were clearly beyond me. And yet, I finished it. It took two tries for the burnt sugar creme anglaise, and the frosting job has kind of a sixth-grade look about it, but still. I did it.

The buttercream was amazingly good, and such complexities of flavor! My first try on the creme anglaise was a disaster. Ironically, the reason for the disaster was that I was trying to make sure I'd get it right. A burnt sugar creme anglaise is the first step in making this buttercream, and I decided I'd get a new instant-read candy thermometer, so there would be no doubt about the temperature of the sugar.

Here's a picture of my pan with the sugar turning just about the right color of deep amber. But the thermometer was reading only about 200 instead of the 370 degrees it was supposed to reach. So I let it cook, and cook some more.


Any moron can see that this is beyond deep amber, but my thermometer was still nowhere close to 370. Finally I gave up and poured in the hot milk. Indeed, it did "bubble up furiously," as the directions promised. But it smelled a lot like burned sugar. I don't mean burnt sugar, as in a nice burnt sugar cake. I mean burned sugar, as in charred. I persevered, and got a disgusting dark brown mess that I couldn't even strain because it was too thick.

I was still deluding myself that possibly this was what it was supposed to look like until I tasted it. It was gross. I dumped it out and started over. I looked at the my brand-new instant-read thermometer directions (some might recommend doing this before using it) and saw that its temperature sensor was three inches above the tip of the thermometer, which might work splendidly if you were making a big pot of fudge, but didn't work at all for a tiny quantity of creme anglaise. And, while I'm being cranky, I'll point out that the creme anglaise recipe says it makes two cups, which is completely impossible when it contains only 3 egg yolks, a half-cup of milk, and a quarter-cup of sugar. But it worked just fine on the second try.

I think this is more or less what it's supposed to look like.
After my second try, I decided I'd had enough for the day and put it in the refrigerator until Pumpkin Cake, Day 2.
Bright and early on Day 2, I made the cake. Completely uneventful and easy.
Because I was in such a good mood, I worked extra hard on skinning those dang walnuts.


Here's what the cakes looked like coming out of the oven in the pumpkin-shaped pan:

And this is what they look like after being unmolded from the pans:

When I saw how cute they looked, I was glad I'd used the pan.
Back to the frosting--the next step is the Italian meringue, which I'd already made so the thrill was gone. Jim said the boiling sugar/water combo looked like a thousand little fish eyes. I wished he hadn't said that.

My hand mixer died a few weeks ago, and I have trouble beating a small amount of meringue (this one uses only one egg white), so I had to run to Target for a new one. I couldn't remember which one was recently recommended by Cook's Illustrated, so I bought a KitchenAid. It works just fine.

You can't tell from the picture, but I'm pouring about a quarter-cup of reduced orange juice into the frosting. The instructions say you can either use frozen orange concentrate or reduce your own by microwaving freshly squeezed orange juice until it's thick and syrupy.

Now it was time for the decorating: the moment I'd been dreading. I called my daughter Sarah and whined to her about how I was going to mess it up and she, of the more artistic nature, should come and help me. She was busy, so I took a deep breath and started in on it.
Enough orange food coloring to tint the frosting light orange and a smaller amount a darker, deeper orange.

Slicing off the top of the cakes and putting a little buttercream between the layers.

Jim ate most of the scraps from the top-slicing-off exercise, and proclaimed them excellent.
I taste the burnt orange meringue buttercream and also proclaim it excellent.
It does not, however, go smoothly onto the cake. Observe my icing skills, all you people who think I'm being too hard on myself when I say I'm not a polished cake baker.

This is the best I can do. My pumpkin is not nice and smooth like the picture in the book. My pumpkin looks like it has warts. On the other hand, my cocoa-colored marzipan stem is more successful than I thought it would be. (If you don't think it's successful, there's no need to be brutally honest).

The marzipan tendril--not as successful, but it's a recognizable tendril. Maybe a squirrel sat on it. Not everything in nature is perfect, you know.

I had a leaf-shaped cookie cutter, so I wasn't left to my own devices in shaping the leaves, for which I was grateful. One leaf is green, the other is starting to turn colors.

I was really getting into stamping out the leaves. And the brown tendril looked better than my earlier green ones.

By the time I'd done the cocoa tendril, I was getting tired of the whole marzipan thing, and I was hungry. Fortunately, as my cake was by no means perfect, it didn't bother me too much to cut into it.

This cake was so good. As is true with so many of Rose's cakes, the flavors and textures blend perfectly and you want to savor each bite because there are so many levels. Here, the buttercream is intensely and authentically orange because of the homemade orange concentrate and fresh orange rind, and the undertone of burnt sugar is a perfect counterpart to the tartness of the orange. It's rich (well, of course, it's buttercream), but the meringue makes it so light you forget you're eating two sticks of butter. The cake is just about perfect. You expect a pumpkin cake to be dense, but this one manages to be light as well.
But, while I'm pleased that I did the whole pumpkin shebang because it was a real challenge to me, I don't think I'd go that route again. It would be so much easier in a bundt pan or a couple of loaf pans, and is so rich in flavors that I'm not sure it even requires a frosting. I think an orange glaze might also be a good idea and much easier. This cake is so good that it deserves to be made more than a special-occasion, pull-out-all-the-stops kind of cake. We're going to be making a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, but this would also be a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert--or a dessert that you make just because you feel like having pumpkin cake.

TASTING PANEL


Sarah: "A perfect autumnal cake. It's really good, and the spices are perfect. The nuts add a lot to the texture."
Jim: "I love the pumpkin flavor and the frosting is not too sweet."
Karen: "It's a nice, light frosting. The cake is great. It's moist, but light too--the pumpkin could make it heavy, but it didn't. It's everything you'd want in a pumpkin cake."
Rochelle: "The best cake you've baked."



* * * * *
We have three new bakers this week. Welcome Jeanne, who hails from a small town in Mississippi that was nearly flattened by Katrina, and who lives in Louisiana now.
Also new is Shoshana, who will adapt the recipes to be non-dairy. Her blog should be a helpful resource for people who need to make those kinds of recipe adaptations.
Finally, as you might guess from the name of her blog, Positively cupcakes

is a big cupcake fan. We'll have to see whether she converts all the recipes to cupcakes. That could be a challenge.

I'd like to get people's input on whether we should think about limiting the number of bakers. I'd hate to say no to people who are willing to make the commitment to do this, but there is an advantage to being small enough so we can check each other's blogs and learn from one another. Please let me know your thoughts.

53 comments:

faithy, the amateur baker said...

I love your pumpkin cake! You did a very good job in frosting and decorating Marie!! I know what you mean about the candy thermometer measuring the temperature!..the amount is too little for the candy thermometer to register an accurate reading..i have the same problem too! :)

Mendy Greenstein said...

ב''ה

Well done!

I wish my buttercream would have come out like yours did.

"While I'm being cranky..." LOL

faithy, the amateur baker said...

Hi, Marie, i'm not too sure if you realise that your blog post date is set on a wrong date. i only notice it when your lastest blog post doesn't show up as latest on my blog list..:) Thought i just let you know. :)

Hanaâ said...

Your cake turned out great, Marie. You certainly went to great lenght to be as authentic to the recipe as possible. The frosting sounds and looks amazing. Will have to try them next time. I agree that the cake was delicious. I already had a favorite oil-based pumpkin cake but this replaced it. The brown sugar in Rose's recipe definitely adds a nice caramel undertone to the cake (my recipe uses white sugar). I'll try to post my cake tomorrow. Unfortunately, I won't have many pictures as I ended up giving it away.

Btw, to smooth out the frosting... you can refrigerate the cake which hardens the buttercream. Then take a glass filled with hot water, dip an offset spatula in it, wipe it, and finish smoothing out your frosting. Repeat :o)

Hanaâ said...

Oh, and as for the membership cap, I totally agree. It's much more fun if it's a relatively small group. That gives us a chance to visit everybody's blog and post comments. This other group I'm a member of, called Sweet Melissa Sundays capped it at 50. I would say that capping it between 40-50 would be good. And if people stop baking with us after X number of weeks, and we've reached our MAX, their spot gets filled with that of a person on the "waiting list".

Bungalow Barbara said...

I'm impressed that you made the cake and the decorations too!

Just wait, by the time we get to the end of the book, your cake decorating skills will ROCK!

I agree, this cake doesn't need frosting. Love the orange glaze idea!

I'm a member of Tuesdays with Dorie which has several hundred members. It's just about impossible to keep up with all of them. And apparently there are even more in the Daring Bakers. Yikes!

The idea of limiting this group to 40-50 sounds good to me.

Rebecca said...

The cake looks great! I'm very impressed that you went for the full effect on this one... it's inspired me to give it a try sometime! I also want to taste the cake as everyone has been raving over it's deliciousness and I didn't get a bite of mine...

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of your skills Marie, I just flipped over the page when I came to this cake, it's way beyond my decorating skills! Bravo! Jeannette.

lanier said...

Your frosting job is way beyond the 6th grade level! I think it looks great. I wish I was able to make this cake this weekend. It is one that is on my list for the near future.

Rozanne said...

Your cake looks really good Marie! I love the two shades of orange.
Here's my version
http://heavenlycakesenjoyedonearth.blogspot.com/2009/10/pumpkin-cake-sans-silk-meringue-burnt.html

doughadear said...

Marie,
Your cake looks just fine and I would be proud to display it on a dessert table and I think that the marzipan leaves and tendrils look great.
I bought a thermometer for making jam without commercial pectin and my jam gets so thick before it even reaches the "stated" temperature that I think I'd rather not use a thermometer any more and just stick to good old reliable pectin. So, I get nervous if a recipe for frosting calls for a thermometer. I've made buttercream using corn syrup where you don't need a thermometer and when I beat the hot syrup into the egg mixture it sticks to the beaters and although it eventually turns into buttercream, I always wonder if it is quite right. I guess if I made it often, with practice, I would get it right.

Sugar Chef said...

I think your cake came out great and I know how hard it was to frost the cake. Love your story and pictures of the whole process.

JC said...

Your cake looks great. I thought the directions for this buttercream were way over complicated. I just tossed them and did it my way and it turned out great. Never sell yourself short, you can do any of these cakes.

Raymond

Shoshana said...

I think it looks great! I love the autumn leaves.

Marie said...

Faithy,
There must be such a thing as an instant-read thermometer that could read even small amounts, but I have no idea what it is. I started writing this post earlier, and I can't get it to date it on the day that it's posted, rather than the day I wrote the first paragraph.

Mendy,
Thank you--I'll check yours out later today.

Hanaa,
Thanks for the frosting tip--that sounds very useful! And thanks for the feedback on the membership cap.

Hanaâ said...

Marie, this is the digital thermometer I use: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=120845. You might think it's for meats only but I use it for everything (including candy making). I use one of those paper clamps to attach it to the pan (and I roll up a small amount of paper towel to create a small space between the probe and the side of the pan, then I use a clamp). I can send you a picture of my contraption if my description is a bit vague :o)

ButterYum said...

Bravo Marie!!! Can you believe you made that cake??? You've come a long way in such a short time!

:)
ButterYum

Melinda said...

Marie, I think your cake looks just fine. OK...we both are not cake decorators and have 'perfect' looking cakes, but I think you just might get into Harvard with this cake and with this funny essay in how you made it!
The texture of the cake looks excellent, very nice crumb. Definitely an A+ for that.
I bought a really good wand type digital thermometer for my recent mousseline batches, and I have to hold it in place. So it would actually work on such a small amount of syrup. The brand is Rosle, the 'o' is an umlaut but I can't find it on my keys anywhere!
You pumpkin pan looks like it might be a silicone pan. Is it?
I would like to have this pan. I think it looks really sweet all decorated up.
Cheers x

Marie said...

Barbara,
I can't believe you're in Tuesdays with Dorie AND this group too. You must do so much baking--but of course that's a very good thing.


Rebecca,
Unfair to bake a cake and not get a bite of it! The only good thing that can be said for that arrangement is that it does give you a reason to make it again.

Jeannette,
It's beyond my decorating skills too. This sounds crazy, but I was waking up nights worrying about those marzipan leaves. Once I got the leaf cookie cutter, though, I could sleep like a baby again.

hector said...

Marie, most important message i want to say is: CONGRATULATIONS. i absolutely adore this recipe, there are many components useful to learn, plus the completed cake is adorable.

when i made this cake, took me 2 months to complete!!!!!! it is one of those cakes that is really truly honestly EASY to do, but have several components, so if you plan to do it all at once, it is overwhelming! one weekend we did the burnt orange smbc. one weekend we did the cake baking. one weekday we composed the cake. i have so much footage that i will be placing on youtube just from this recipe! stay tuned.

for everyone on the bake along, i can suggest getting a chest freezer, and try to hit 2 or 3 recipes or steps at once, and freeze the components, it will save you some time. for example, make a big batch of lacquer glaze and use it for all the cakes using this. the same for mousseline (you can make a base plain mousseline, and then flavor it or then transform it to silk meringue).

how fun, we may need to add some gingeng and guarani to our cakes, to keep up the energy.

Marie said...

Lanier,
I think everyone is going to like this cake, so I hope you get a chance to try it. I feel like I'm always such a cheerleader for these cakes, but sometimes it seems like each cake is better than the last.

Rozanne,
Now THAT is what I call decorating skills! I love the little row of pumpkin candies that you added.

Oriana,
That's just what I was thinking about decorating--if I made frosting three or four times a week, I'd get good at decorating. But maybe it's not worth it. I did fine with the written directions to "cook until deep amber," so maybe I'll just go by that and forget about the thermometer.

Sugar Chef,
Thank you!

Shoshana,
I loved those little leaves too. I think the ones in the book's picture are freeform, or from a hand-drawn template, but the cookie-cutter shapes are much easier.

Anonymous said...

Marie--

Great job on this cake! I am impressed by how many people were able to get a pumpkin cake pan. I didn't want to invest in a pumpkin pan specifically for this (at least not until I get a slightly bigger kitchen) and my local cake decorating store (where I rent special pans) has (OF COURSE) been out of it, so a tube pan for me it is.

Hector - great idea on freezing ahead in a chest freezer. I am looking at those for purchase now.

Rachelino said...

Oops1 That was not supposed to be anonymous. it is me, Rachelino!

Bungalow Barbara said...

Rachelino, you'll love having an extra freezer! Great for someone who loves cooking or gardening (we do both).

Chest freezers are more energy-efficient and less expensive but things tend to get buried at the bottom. When our first freezer, a chest freezer, bit the dust, we got a stand-up freezer with a door that opens like a refrigerator. Things still tend to hide away on the back of the shelves, but it's a bit easier to find them.

They do need to be defrosted once in a while. As soon as we get some really cold winter weather here, stuff is going outside in various containers while we defrost ours.

Marie said...

Hanaa,
Thanks for the link--that one looks good. Has anyone tried the Thermapen? It's VERY expensive, enough so that I would never buy it without great recommendations, as in "I couldn't get along without my Thermapen."

Melinda,
The pan isn't silicone; it's the NordicWare cast aluminum that I now have quite a collection of. I know you don't think much of your own cake decorating skills, but you can make rosettes, so I give you an A+ for that.
The Rosle looks good--that's what I thought I was getting until I realized the heat sensor wasn't at the tip. The Rosle goes up to 572 degrees F. I think you've sold me.

Raymond,
I'm such a direction-follower; I'm going to have to have a lot more cakes under my belt before I toss the directions and do it my own way. But good for you--the world needs more free spirits!

ButterYum,
You are so right! I can't believe I made it. I was seriously a very novice cake baker when I started this project--didn't even have matching 9" round cake pans.

Hector,
You think big! I've been mulling over the idea of a chest freezer for a while now. My supply of frozen chocolate and nuts alone has forced out almost everything else. When Jim looks for a frozen pizza, he just finds frozen egg whites.

Rachelino,
Great idea to rent those specialty cake pans. The people at your store are smart.

Nicola said...

Marie,

I love your pumpkin cake and your dedication to the cause! I laughed reading your first attempt at the Creme Anglaise - I had just about a mirror experience, except mine was because I was depanning Barcelona Brownies...

Chocolate Oblivions - I last made this as the bottom tier of my wedding cake over five years ago, so I will be a little nostalgic this week!

faithy, the amateur baker said...

Hi Marie! You can change the date of your blog post at "Edit Post" mode under "Post Options" at the bottom of edit page & you will see a "Post Date & Time"..you can set it at a later date & time or any date you want.

Sometimes i would write on Sunday night, change the date & time to be posted on Monday and published it - and my post will be automatically published on Monday at the time i set. :) HTH!

Hanaâ said...

My first HCB post is finally up. Yay! Check it out at: http://hanaaskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/11/hcb-pumpkin-cake-with-molasses-flavored.html.

As for the thermapen... all I can say is that it comes highly recommended by America's Test Kitchen. It's fast (takes 3-4 seconds to figure out the temperature). My personal issue with it (even without never having used it): you have to hold it and it's $$$. Let us know what you decide. If I had the budget to buy any thermometer I wanted, I would buy the laser pen that Alton Brown uses in his shows. Sweet Celebrations carried it (also about $100). The reading is pretty much instantaneous. But it too has to be held.

Slowish Food said...

Congratulations on the cake! I took the coward's way out and just baked it in a bundt pan, but you've inspired me to give the whole thing a try one day when I have a little free kitchen time. Really great post, and bravo on the results!

anitsirK said...

I need to find somewhere we can safely hook up our second (!) freezer. The one major appliance we purchased as renters was a stand up freezer (we had to buy it to house 1/4 of a cow some relatives gave us -- long story). When we bought our house this summer, it ended up unexpectedly coming with a functioning chest freezer, so now we have 2! If I can just get Jay to run another outlet in the basement for it, I can have my own freezer for baking, and he can stop complaining about my leftover bits of frosting taking up space he wants for his homemade stocks. :)

Nancy B said...

I keep drooling over the ThermaPen, but haven't yet been willing to spend the money. On the other hand, I'm not happy with any of my current candy thermometers, so maybe I should. Notice that I punted on the frosting recipe that needed temperature control this week, and tried a simpler one. Not that it worked out well, either....

Marie, your cake looks really good, and the leaf cookie cutter was a great idea. I was lucky to be able to turn leaf production over to my niece. <g>

faithy, the amateur baker said...

All these talk about freezer..makes me want one too! But then i live in a small apartment, no space to put any freezer..:(

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll order the quicktip that Rose recommends sometime. I think that you'll really like it. It is great with small amounts and it is accurate! Plus it is inexpensive.

evil cake lady said...

i think your pumpkin cake turned out wonderful! i have to admit i've avoided rose's silk meringue buttercream because it sounds too complicated--so my hat's off to you for making it.

evil cake lady said...

oh, may i also suggest that you use blogger's blogroll gadget to list the heavenly bakers? you could set it so that it shows when a baker posts, as well as the post title, so that when looking to see who baked this week's cake, we can do it without having to click on every single blog (unless we wanted to, of course)! it might make it easier to keep up on each other.

Rebecca said...

I also would like an extra freezer... mine is full, egg whites are a common sight for me too..

I would love a new thermometer as well, I'm looking at an infrared one maybe, though they are very pricey... has anyone used one of know of any that come with a good recommendation?

Along with the many new cake pans I would like, I think my christmas list is starting to take shape...

Oh and about restricting the number of people in the group, I agree with the idea that it might be a good idea to cap it with maybe a waiting list...

Looking forward to chocolate oblivions this week... :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool looking cake!

I am so glad Jim is in charge of the photography and not the text after his fish eye comment! He's right, of course, but ICK!
Chris in RI

Rachelino said...

Agreed that the group is more manageable when smaller. There are already other giant baking groups out there - TWD and DB.

Also, I can second the recommendation for the inexpensive thermometer Rose posted about on the blog - CDN. It is GREAT.

I am surprised at all the speciality pans called for in so many recipes in the book. while I am glad I have the option to rent, I really thought I had a huge supply of bakeware before I started, but no silicone cupcake pan for the oblivions, and no financier pan, and certainly no pumpkin pan. Happily rose tells which can be subbed.

Jenn said...

My entry will be late. I got very sick over the weekend. I did make the pumpkin cake yesterday but without butter cream. It was all I could manage to do. Regarding limiting the number of people. I am actually voting for 20-30 (looks like we have 26 now). I personally feel 40-50 is too many and I would agree that a small group is better. But at the end of the day Marie, since you are the one who's organizing this and also wrote the summary every Wednesday, it sort of all depends on what you're capable of handling. I would guess that you probably would rather spend time cooking/baking than reading 40-50 blogs so the final decision would be in your hands. On a happier note, I think your cake looks cute. It does not look like the work of a sixth-grader (I wouldn't be able to do this when I was in sixth grade - Hector might, but Hector as we know is in a whole different league!). I have to say though that this latest entry of yours is the best one you've written! I couldn't stop laughing (I actually read it twice!). And being so sick, it's not easy to make me laugh so thank you!

Jenn said...

My entry is posted. http://www.knittybaker.blogspot.com/

hector said...

chest freezer everyone! i got mine's in 2007 when i made the big cake for the waikiki yacht club. when properly used it is the best for cake bakers! be aware, never plug it off, because it rusts!!!!! even if totally clean and dry.

get a chest freezer that doesn't have a defrost cycle, so the temperature will be constant, thus less freezer burn formation. if you don't open and close your chest freezer daily, the ice build up on the freezer walls isn't much, and even with it, the chest freezer performance is fine fine fine, if not better, you just end up with less pace due to the igloos building. and, it is rather quick to thaw/flush a chest freezer.

energy efficient, too.

and MARIE: i am so happy you have chosen Rose's recipes to bake along. Your project is proof that everyone can bake when given a well explained well written recipe. i hope you don't plan to complete your project in 365 days, because it will get you and all of us crazy, and also because we won't have much to do on the 366th day.

ok, a little advertising, be sure to visit my website www.myyellowkitchen.com, new project launching soon, plus a link where you can order Rose's BREAD dvd taped by general mills (gold medal). the more bread dvds i get to send out, the sooner i can start copying the cake dvds. wish i started reverse, oh well.

Marie said...

Nicola,
We're not the only ones who had to do more than one try to get this buttercream right. I can't believe you made your own wedding cake!

Faithy,
Thanks for the tip on how to change the date--I corrected the date on the pumpkin cake.

ECL,
If I'd known how touchy this buttercream was, I might not have tried it. There's something to be said for ignorance.
And thanks for the tip about the blogroll--great idea. I'll get working on it.
P.S. Can I add you?

Rebecca,
As soon as I decide which thermometer I want(thanks to everyone for the recommendations!), that is definitely going on my Christmas list!

Chris,
"Ick" is exactly what I said.

Jenn,
It's amazing that you kept baking when you were sick! That's dedication. I'm glad the pumpkin cake saga cheered you up a little.

Hector,
Thanks for the info. Um, just wondering--by "everyone can bake," do you mean "any moron can bake"?

Vicki said...

Marie,
I'm so glad you post when you do. There is no way I could have mustered the strength to throw out my first batch of caramel creme anglaise and start again without reading your post. I can't believe something so hideous the first time around was beyond delicious the second.

Been pondering your question all afternoon. I like this honeymoon phase where we can read each other's blogs and cheer one another on. But I also remember feeling very disappointed when I wanted to join one of the popular (unknown to me) bake along groups and membership was closed. I suppose if there had been a waiting list it might have spurred me on to wait my turn when someone dropped out. I would hate for someone's enthusiasm to get dashed before they got started. Maybe Melinda and Kate can start an offshoot of Fallen Angels where by bake if you want, or not!

Anonymous said...

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/05/at_last_a_terrific_affordable.html

evil cake lady said...

yes please, you can add me! i am home and ready. i am actually really bummed i didn't join in to bake the pumpkin cake, especially after reading everyone's posts about how delicious it tasted.

Goody said...

Personally, I seem to be cursed when it comes to candy thermometers, which is why I keep a variety of them in my drawer to "check" the others (I'm neurotic that way). I've yet to find one I really like, and keep returning to the old glass ones-until I break them, which I do-frequently.

I think your cake looks adorable. Who wants perfectly decorated cake that looks like it came from a bakery anyway? Home baking, right?

eattheblog.blogspot.com

Marie said...

Vicki,
I guess we can all congratulate ourselves on making this difficult frosting, especially those of us who didn't even know how tricky it was (until we had to dump out the first try).
I have the same mixed feelings about the group's size. I hope that it will just stay at a good number, and I won't have to decide.

Anon.
Thanks for the link--it looks good! Maybe I'll have to get two different thermometers and compare.

ECL,
That's great--I'll add you! (Re pumpkin cake--never too late to try).

Goody,
I ended up using my old glass theremometer myself.
I agree about the home-baked cakes looking good in their own less-than-perfect way. Besides, the home-baked cakes don't end up on Cakewrecks.

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

Greetings everyone! I am so glad to have finally arrived, and to see all the marvelous responses to this cake - Not to mention seeing it, and looking so great. I have been attempting to establish a blog and am not quite finished, but decided to just come forward anyway. I have been baking some cakes to catch up - the Chocolate Babies, the Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache, and last weekend the Shamah Chiffon. Yum. This weekend I plan to tackle the Woody's Lemon. It will be so great to be among you and be privy to your wonderful insights, humor and support!

Melinda (the other one, I guess) said...

I have been out here lurking in the shadows and following along. I wanted to join you all in the bake along, but I recently discovered that I have a wheat intolerance so I am off wheat for a year. I didn't think making all those cakes was a good idea. But I do sell cakes and cupcakes for a living and I love Rose's recipes. I have been making her cakes when I have someone who wants to buy them! Last week I made the burnt orange buttercream for some cupcakes and I had to make both components 2 times. I burned my caramel and my sugar syrup. I stopped using the thermometer because I had the same problem. When I went by sight and smell, I did much better. My frosting was very smooth, but I had trouble with that at first too. Everything had to be room temperature before you began to beat it and then I beat it until I reached the consistency I wanted. Sorry for the long comment. I have been trying to get some pictures taken and will try to post what I have done even if I am not official. My website is www.deliriousdelights.com and I have a blog on it, but I need to be better at updating it.

breadbasketcase said...

The Other Melinda,
Coincidental that The Original Melinda was also having problems with wheat and so she stopped baking temporarily. You will have to check out each other's blogs and commiserate with each other about being off wheat.

ButterYum said...

Marie - I like the new blogroll in your sidebar.

:)
ButterYum

Marie said...

Joan,
I love your blog title!

hector said...

happy thanksgiving everyone, let me include a late entry for this wonderful CAKE. my friend Deanna just made the cake, alone as it is, looks stunningly delicious au naturel pumpkin colored.

http://myyellowkitchen.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/pumpkin-02-cake-page-125-bundt-take/