Nov 3, 2009

Last Cake, Next Cake

This week's headline: Rose's Heavenly Cakes has just been named one of Amazon's Top 10 Cookbooks of 2009. For those of us who are working our way through the book (and who have used Rose's other cookbooks), this isn't a big surprise, but it's certainly deserved. Congratulations, Rose!
Some of the other books on the list look good too. Does anyone have any experience with any of the others?

The pumpkin cake brought out a burst of creativity in the Heavenly Bakers. Not only were there some great decorations, but there were also some clever substitutes for the pumpkin mold. Kristina used a Fairytale Cottage bundt pan, but ended up lopping off the trees because they stuck in the pan. Several people used bundt pans, and others made cupcakes. Mendy made a layer cake and Hanaa used a 9 x 13-inch pan. (This is the first week Hanaa has had a workable kitchen, so she was finally able to bake along). Faithy has got to get the award for the cake that's most unlike the illustration in the book. She covered her pumpkin cake in white fondant and made it her 20th Anniversary cake! (Check out the wedding couple on and around the cake). Also worth checking out is Kate Coldrick's blog. Kate is the woman who has gained fame by figuring out how to turn British flour into an approximation of American cake flour. She and fellow blogger Melinda have dubbed themselves the "Fallen Angels" because, although they follow the adventures and misadventures of the Heavenly Bakers, they have decided to cheer us on from the sidelines.

FEATURED BAKER
This week's Featured Baker is Nancy B. She managed to buy the pumpkin cake pan at a bargain price on eBay, an excellent idea if you plan ahead. Nancy said the pan was out of stock at her regular cooking supply store because a cake using the mold was recently featured in Southern Living and there was a run on it at the store. Good thing it wasn't feature on Oprah, or none of us would have it.
Nancy decided to make Rose's golden neoclassic buttercream instead of the burnt orange meringue buttercream, but she had a few difficulties with that. (There is a theme in this week's icing attempts. Only a lucky few got it just right the first time). She also thought it was tricky to frost the pumpkin and was not completely satisfied with her marzipan ornaments. I personally think her completed pumpkin looks terrific! But we're more critical of our own work, aren't we?


We get a total break from any kind of icing, buttercream or otherwise, for the next cake: Baby Chocolate Oblivions. I think a lot of us have made this cake before. I first heard of it from Evil Cake Lady, who referred to it as a gluten-free cake. Which it is, I guess, but calling it gluten-free makes it sound so healthy and virtuous, whereas the cake itself is so ... not. The recipe has only four ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs, and sugar.
Rose highly recommends using silicone cupcake pans for their ease in unmolding the little cakes. I made these cakes last weekend and had a little batter left over, so I made one in a custard pan that I sprayed with Baker's Secret. It unmolded very easily with a sharp knife, so I would recommend that as an alternative to the silicone cupcake pans. In fact, it actually unmolded a little easier than the cakes in the silicone pan, which tended to leave behind a small bit of cake. This was actually good, because you couldn't tell it when the cakes where rightside up, and it also allowed me to sample little bits of the cake.

27 comments:

evil cake lady said...

oh! thanks for the link!! the oblivion truffle torte (or the babies, in the case) are a good example of how gluten free isn't terrible! fear only the commercial gluten free products! ;)

i have silicone cupcake cups, and was thinking of baking the babies in them. i was wondering how readily they would stick. thanks for your forewarning. i will spray heavily and hope for the best.

i think i might end up being a renegade heavenly baker, as melinda and i are getting ready to bake the fruitcake wreath and i'm also getting ready to bake the baby oblivions!

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

thanks marie--i was dying to know who the other 9 tens were! lots of baking books.

Sugar Chef said...

Thanks for doing this synopsis each week, it is very informative and summarizes everyones experiences. Looking forward to the next recipe.

Nancy B said...

Thanks for the Feature spotlight this week--I'll pass the compliments for the marzipan along to my niece.

Bungalow Barbara said...

Love the idea of the "renegade heavenly bakers" or "fallen angels!"

Some other groups also have "spin-off" groups. The Bread Bakers Apprentice group has a "Slow and Steady" subgroup who bake less often. The Bread Baking Babes only have 12 members, but anybody can be a Bread Baking Buddy.

Cool idea for those who don't want to make the commitment at least two of the cakes on our list per month. I look forward to seeing what you folks do!

ButterYum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ButterYum said...

To answer your question Marie - Yes, I baked the Deep Chocolate Passion cake as the base for my sister's wedding cake about a month ago. It was Amazing! (frosted with Amaretto flavored Mousseline Buttercream, as per her request)

http://butteryum.blogspot.com/2009/10/wedding-cake-for-my-baby-sister.html

anitsirK said...

I think a separate "fallen angels" or "renegade" list would be a good idea, because it's nice to know which blogs I should expect to see regular Heavenly Cake activity on. It seems to me like there are already a few who signed up that I haven't seen a single post from, but they could just be slow getting started.

I have a semi-related question. If we bake something from the book out of sequence, would you prefer if we wait to blog about it until the group does that cake? I'm working on the "True Orange Génoise" this week in an attempt to satisfy a request for "not too sweet" and "citrus".

Marie said...

ECL,
I added you to the list, but you can be a renegade too. We're baking the fruitcake on December 7, so you can bake it anytime and just wait to post. Well, of course you can do whatever you want to. Are you getting the wreath mold? I haven't decided yet.

Rose,
Some of the books look interesting--but not as good as yours.

Nancy,
Tell your niece that her tendril was perfect!

Barbara,
I like the idea of the Fallen Angels myself--especially if the pace gets to be difficult for some, it would be a good alternative to just giving up.

ButterYum,
It sounds amazing!

Kristina,
I know that some people just got the book, and I think there are a few who are new to the blogging world, so I haven't been rigid about enforcing the two cakes a month rule yet.
I would have no problem with your posting a cake ahead of time, but remember that if you would like a particular date for a cake that we haven't done yet, I can just put that cake on the schedule (unless there's some reason that it won't work for that week). I think we all need a little flexibility in our schedules.

anitsirK said...

Marie: I never plan far enough ahead to request something in time. By the time I solidified this plan, I'm sure several had already bought their chocolate for the Baby Oblivions. ;) Besides, this cake would be better suited to the season where you can actually get the Seville oranges (supposedly closer to Februray).

That being said, Sticky Toffee Pudding, English Gingerbread, and the Holiday Pinecone cake all seem like good choices to me for December. The fruitcake is a great choice too, of course.

Maria said...

My mom bought Well Preserved and I think she's happy with it. But I'm equally as happy with my copy of Ball's Blue Book of Preserving. As for the rest, I have quite enough baking cookbooks, thank you. LOL

Rebecca said...

I would like to request at least one non-wintery-type cake for December! I think there is only so much heavy (though I'm sure delicious) winter cakes/desserts my family will eat in the heat of the Australian summer! :)

evil cake lady said...

Thanks Marie! I can save my fruitcake post until the HCB date. I am also still undecided about the wreath pan. Willams Sonoma sells it for 35.00 That is a serious chunk of change for a pan I may not use more than once! However...using the pan would look so festive!

anitsirK said...

That's a very good point, Rebecca! Since this is a global group, we do need to remember that what is "seasonal" for North America isn't the same elsewhere. What are traditional Christmas foods in Australia, since it's summer, there?

Rachelino said...

Marie- I cannot find any silicon pans that are the correct size, and I don't want to be late for the chocolate oblivions next week. When you say you made them in custard pan, do you mean ceramic ramekins? (as for small souffle or individual creme brulee?)
Just checking--I think the terms ramekins and custard cups are used interchangeably.
Sorrry if this is a silly question: I think it might help any other bakers that are in the same situation.

Hanaâ said...

Marie,
I will be out of town on a business trip starting Sunday. Between now and this Sunday I won't have a chance to bake the Baby Choc Oblivions unfortunately (good thing I already made the Oblivion Torte many times before). My next HCB cake will be the Catalan Salt Pinch Cake (which sounds really really good). Just FYI...

Hanaâ said...

I love lemon, so I'll definitely have to do a rewind and make Woody's Lemon cake sometime :o)

Rebecca said...

Even though it is hot here in Australia for xmas we still traditionally have things like hot puddings and fruitcakes as well as roast turkey (can't completely get away from British traditions even though we are in a different hemisphere!) however this is changing more and more.... we'll often have seafood for our main meal at xmas and desserts are lighter... berries, lemon, trifle, pavlova (a New Zealand/Australian dessert of meringue, whipped cream and fuit)

faithy, the amateur baker said...

Rebecca, at least you get winter in Australia...we are forever summer in Singapore! LOL! But we celebrate Christmas! I love Christmas cos it's a time of giving & celebration/remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

For my family, we'll do the usual roast turkey, ham, beef, salad and dessert is usually christmas log cake. Fruitcake & pudding not so as they are too rich and usually, i think most Asians like the less-rich & less-sweet desserts..esp. the older generation like my mom, she thinks everything is too sweet & salty..so when she cooks, we have bland food..lol!

Marie said...

Kristina,
Thanks for the info about the season for Seville oranges. I checked on line, and the standard advice is that you can get them between December and February, so I'm going to schedule that cake sometime in January and hope that at least some of us will have access to Seville oranges.

Rebecca,
Point well taken. I need to remember that not everyone lives in the upper Midwest in the U.S. and not everyone celebrates Christmas. I'll try to include at least one cake in December that's suitable for Australian summers and the Singapore heat.

ECL,
If only you lived in MN, we could share a pan!

Rachelino,
I used the little pyrex custard cups (at least that's what I call them), but I would think that ceramic ramekins would also work. Not silly at all--it's not a surprise that you can't read my mind.

Hanaa,
I love lemon myself, and am really looking forward to Woody's cake, even though it requires icing skills. The Catalan pinch cake sounds very intriguing, doesn't it?

Rebecca,
I had a couple of versions of Pavlova when I was in Australia and NZ--one was excellent and one was not so good. Probably about the same ratio of good to bad that you'd get in the US with a random sampling of apple pie.

Jenn said...

Marie - we might want to think of doing an angel food cake that requires a lot of egg white for December or January. The Lemon Cake requires 17 egg yolks so we will have A LOT of egg whites left. I know we can freeze them, but I thought it would be good to put them to use soon and not let it be forgotten in the fridge. Of course I said that and I don't have angel food pan, :). I don't know if we can use bundt pan?

Rachelino said...

Jenn- that's a GREAT idea! Also, Rose has a great equipment section in the back where she talks about switching recipes for tube pans. If the recipe is made for a larger angel food pan, you can make 2/3 of the recipe for a typical bundt pan. However, I am not sure whether a true angel food cake (all egg whites and no oil) as opposed to a chiffon cake (beaten whites with yolks/oil) would rise the same way in a bundt pan, and I don't have the book handy.

Marie- You know what's funny....I didn't realize that it was an option to not bake every cake once I started! I must have missed that critical piece of info somewhere. I may skip the oblivions because my house loves lemon (so cannot skip that, my husband would kill me), I still have to get my pumpkin post up, and I am making a wedding cake for 11/14! (A pomegranate/dark chocolate cake with the lacquer glaze if I can manage it. Practicing this weekend!!)

Jenn said...

Rachelino, thanks! I have seen the equipment section but must have missed the part about angel food pan. I will have to check it out when I get home. Your wedding cake sounds so good. You would have to post pictures in your blog so we can all admire it!

Marie said...

Jenn,
Excellent idea about the angel food cake--I couldn't believe the lemon cake could possibly take 17 egg yolks, but I counted, and you're right! We definitely need a plan for the egg whites.

Rachelino,
Because probably everyone (including me), has forgotten the guidelines, I'm going to put them where they're more visible. You only need to bake twice a month to remain a member in good standing. The chocolate-pomegranate wedding cake with the new chocolate glaze sounds amazing. I haven't tackled that glaze yet, but it's coming up soon. I agree with Jenn--I hope you post pictures!

Jenn said...

Marie - your blog is looking nicer and nicer! Great idea of putting the rules on the sides and the rss feed for the HCB Bakers.

Bungalow Barbara said...

I like the new sidebars! But -- I'm not on the new list of bakers.

marie said...

Jenn,
It was Jennifer (Evil Cake Lady's) idea, and I like it too.
Barbara,
It's fixed!