What happened to the week? It's Friday already, and my mid-week cake roundup has had to wait until end-week to be posted. Work is just cutting too much into my baking time. I would judge the double-chocolate heart cake to be quite successful, although I must say that there were an unusual number of minor glitches (my cake was not the only one that suffered from a broken heart).
Mendy noticed that his "cake came out a little lopsided without the proper height." And this was after his first attempt came out too dry. But, despite being lopsided, the second cake was "moist, fudge-y (, warm) and yummy!" And his cake, even though he thought it was "funny looking," was demolished by hungry and admiring guests, while a more level-headed bakery cake was left standing.
Monica didn't have difficulties with lopsidedness, but the double-flipping required by the recipe drove her to distraction: "I needed to move it to the serving plate, so I tried to do a flip and flip and realized that it was not going to work. So, I tried to slide it, and nope, nada. Next up lifting the cake with two spatulas and transferring it to the serving plate, and it seem to work, except that I did not count on it still being wet at the bottom, so when I tried to remove the spatulas, the cake started to split ... YIKES! Abort! Abort! And yelled for HELP!" Just as I did, she found out that the fact that the cake split didn't mean that all was lost.
Gartblue had an entirely different issue. She had no problems at all until she started smelling something burning. When she looked in her oven, she saw a cake having a growth spurt and suffering at least second-degree burns. Puzzled, she checked the temperature gauge and saw that it had somehow been turned to 250. (That's Celsius--in Fahrenheit, it's over 480). likely. Unless, I accidentally turned it to max when I leaned over to get the clingwrap for the ganache. Well. Damage was done. When she took the cake out, she said it looked like Mount Kinabalu. That's the highest mountain in Malaysia, and who says you can't learn geography from a cake blog. When she tried to brush on the ganache, she didn't get just one crack, but a whole seismic event, and the cake completely disintegrated.
On the bright side, Raymond not only loved the cake, but also loved the raspberries that he splurged on. He said the produce manager gave him a sample before selling them because he knew that Raymond "would make a fuss if I got them home and they were tasteless." Raymond, is there some way you could become an ombudsman for all purchasers of produce? You could go from store to store promising to kick up a fuss if there's any substandard produce. Granted, it's not the kind of field that superheroes generally get into, but you'd sure be a hero to me.
On the other hand, Jennifer praised the "familiar comforts of baking a butter cake" after our forays into more complicated and unfamiliar terrain.
And Vicki, who made cupcakes, had great fun with her Frosting Fun Gun, filling them with ganache, or raspberry mousse, or whipped cream.
Nancy B. also used texas muffin pans, as well as Mary Ann pans. She was pleased with the results, but there wasn't enough ganache to cover all the surfaces of her mini-cakes. Nancy, there are a couple of recipes that we'll get to eventually that call for those very same small Mary Ann pans. Do not give them away.
Finally, I just have to call your attention to the breathtaking basketweave decorating on Hanaa's cake. Look at it and weep.
Our FEATURED BAKER this week is Toni, for many reasons. First, the adorable picture of her daughter inspecting the cocoa powder--taken just nanoseconds before she breathed on the cocoa and sent it skittering all over the counter. Second, her brave search for raspberries. Third, her demonstration of how to make your own cake strips. Fourth, her mini-muffin after-school-snack version of the cake. Fifth, her pictures of snowpeople commenting on her cakes.
But the real reason is that I want to know whether Toni wants to be called Virginia. I swear that when I first got an email from her asking about being in the group, she signed it "Toni." But I also swear that she now identifies herself as Virginia. Is there a split personality thing going on here? Or did I just screw up?
Stay tuned for answers to this, and other life's questions. And I hope that you're all giving serious thought to what cake you're going to bake this weekend when you're not chained to my schedule. It's total freedom for you this week!
Also, note that there's been a change in the schedule. Saira had asked to do the banana cake as guest host on March 15. As you may recall, Saira's father died suddenly in January, and she has been with her family. She's almost ready to start baking again, but has a lot to get caught up on, so she asked to move her stint as guest host to April. Monica noticed the pistachio cake, and asked if we could put that on the list of cakes to bake soon, so I decided to move that one up to take the place of the banana cake.
Note that Rose has a preferred supplier for high-quality pistachios. A lot of you probably have access to good, fresh pistachios, but you'll want to get the best ones you can find since they're such an important element of this cake.