Nov 17, 2009

Last Cake, Next Cake
There were some very impressive-looking lemon cakes being made out there last weekend, not to mention hundreds of egg yolks being turned into lemon curd. It seems that almost everyone had some kind of problem with the buttercream. Mine curdled. Sherrie also ended up with a "curdled mess," which she managed to whip bake in shape. Raymond's buttercream didn't curdle, but he had to keep refrigerating it to get it to the right consistency. And Bungalow Barbara's separated into a "grainy mess," but she righted it too.
By the way, I wrote about a dental floss trick that I'd read about, and several readers said they'd never heard of such a thing, except with cheesecake. That made me wonder whether I had imagined it, but I googled the appropriate words and ended up with many, many hits. Not to mention the fact that Raymond explained the dental floss trick himself. What I didn't realize is that you use the dental floss as a kind of cake garrote, placing the floss around the cake and pulling it together as if you're strangling the cake. You also have to have unwaxed, unflavored floss. I'm still going to try it sometime.

The FEATURED BAKER this week is Jenn, of Knitty Baker.
Jenn has been a dedicated Heavenly Cake Baker, and has so far made the Almond Shamah Chiffon, the apple-upside down cake, the Hungarian Jancsi Torta, the pumpkin cake, the baby chocolate oblivions, and now, Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake. (Doesn't that sound so much more impressive than plain old lemon cake?)
I think the only thing that she's missed were the Barcelona brownie bars, and she made up for that by getting Rose's Bread Bible from the library and baking the olive bread and the raisin pecan bread, plus Rose's chocolate cupcakes with chocolate egg-white buttercream in one crazy baking weekend.
Jenn requested this cake in the early days of this baking group, and I was only too happy to oblige because I love anything that's lemon. Although Jenn eventually turned out the cutest lemon cake ever--with lemon peel roses and adorable buttercream decorations, she gives a frustrated account of the full weekend she spent baking (and rebaking) the cake. Unlike some of us, Jenn had no problem with the curd or the buttercream, but the perfect cake seemed to elude her (or so she says. I say it looks good).
Check out her cake--baked in 6-inch pans--and her beautiful lemon roses--and tell her she was not crazy for spending 3 hours composing the cake because it looks gorgeous!

The next cake--the Catalan salt pinch cake--has no buttercream or icing at all, and some of us (at least me) will be relieved. There is no equipment necessary for this cake other than a 9-inch springform pan and plenty of parchment paper.
Looking ahead, the next recipe after the pinch cake is a pumpkin cheesecake. This cake requires a hot water bath, and you can either wrap the cake pan in layers of foil to protect it from the water, or you can put the springform pan into a 9-inch silicone pan. When I baked the ginger cheesecake, my foil wrap turned out not to be completely waterproof, so I went out and bought a round silicone pan just for this purpose. I'm excited to try it out. (Only fellow bakers can understand how "excited" and "silicone pan" can be used in the same sentence). And looking ahead even further, if you're going to bake the fruitcake, you might want to think about ordering the dried fruit. Rose does not like citron, which is included in most mixed fruit peels, and she specifies "high-quality glaceed fruit." The glaceed fruit that's readily available in my supermarkets does not, frankly, look particularly high-quality. And it probably contains large amounts of citron, which is apparently like millet seed in birdseed mixes--nobody likes it, but it's cheap. So if you want to go whole hog (shamelessly mixing metaphors), you might consider buying, as recommended, candied orange and lemon peel from chefshop.com. You want to soak the fruit in rum for at least a week before baking the cake, so start thinking about this if you are planning to do it.
Please someone else do it--I am not a fan of fruitcake, but I'm taking Rose's word on this. I don't want to be the only person slaving over a hot fruitcake that weekend. (The picture does look awfully pretty).

14 comments:

Vicki said...

I look forward to seeing everyone's baking projects on Monday and then Last Cake-Next Cake for a recap and heads up. There is no way I'd ever have the foresight to buy high-quality glaceed fruit a month in advance.

Jenn said...

Thanks for a very nice write up Marie! I was smiling as I was reading it, :). You did a really good job summarizing my baking adventure so far (you really are an amazing writer, I'm always so happy reading your write up). Speaking of raisin pecan bread, I'm currently baking it! About the fruitcake, the recipe also calls for candied cherries. I don't have the specified pan for the recipe, I wonder if I can use bundt or something else?

Bungalow Barbara said...

Jenn, I think there are some suggestions for other pans in the recipe -- let's see (pulls out book) -- yep, "Note, page 81, you can also use two 9x5 inch loaf pans or two 10-cup fluted tube pans, filling each with half the batter...(Don't be tempted to pour all the batter into one 10-cup fluted tube pan...You can, however, use two 6-cup fluted tube pans. The batter will rise a little past the tops of the pans.)"

Anonymous said...

I made the pumpkin cheesecake last week and it rocked! The texture was smooth, creamy, and not as firm as a NY style cheesecake. I took heart though by a comment of a friend who said he doesn't normally like cheesecake but this one was perfect.

Mendy Greenstein said...

ב''ה

Went out on a special trip to get the ginger snaps and got some mini spring-forms for the cheese cake.

evil cake lady said...

have fun on the next two weeks of cakes, fellow heavenly bakers! my roommate and i are baking 3 pies for thanksgiving and i'm going to attempt a gluten-free version of rose's pumpkin cake (as cupcakes). so i'll still be baking, just not along with you all. i can't wait to read all your adventures with the pinch cake and the pumpkin cheesecake!

marie, you won't be alone; i'll be baking the fruitcake after thanksgiving! my fruit is soaking as we speak.

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Christina said...

You can always purchase a cake leveler to cut your cakes. It's best when the cake is cooled off and it works pretty well. The "cutter" is almost like a dental floss material and you have to slowly "saw" your way thru the cake. You can purchase them at AC Moore or Michaels (using a 40-50% off coupon) so it's pretty cheap for the small one. The larger one is a bit pricier. http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E30D67E-475A-BAC0-5792C543763E855E

lanier said...

Has anyone made the Chocolate Genoise with peanut butter ganche from the sponge cake chapter?

Marie said...

I have a friend who's making a fire-truck cake for her four-year-old son's 4th birthday. She's looking for a good-tasting chocolate cake that will hold up to being cut into various shapes. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the post. Thank author for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I love citron--it doesn't have a bitter flavor like some candied orange and lemon can have. Everyone's tastes are different, so don't rule it out--you might like it too!

Shoshana said...

Thanks for the recap! I have the fruit for the fruitcake soaking in the cabinet so I will absolutely be baking that one. We will have to see about the cheesecake, it is a busy baking week!

Bungalow Barbara said...

For any of you who haven't made the "Pinch Cake" yet -- I was very alarmed when I added the sugar to my soft-peak egg whites and they then refused to beat up to firm peaks. But then I took a look the directions again and it didn't say they should beat back to firm peaks. So I perservered and all was well!