Apr 14, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

I'll admit I felt a little left out when everyone but me was making the banana cake, especially when I remembered that I wanted to try it again without the almond extract in the frosting. I dumped too much in the last time, giving it way too almond-y a flavor, and I decided it wasn't essential anyway. I was reminded by Nicola, because she insists that "almond essence is the work of the devil." I was struck with how everyone made this simple and delicious cake uniquely their own. In fact, Jenn was one of the few who made it exactly as written.

Lois added some banana extract to "bump up the flavor." (Nicola will have to weigh in on whether she also considers banana extract the work of the devil.) Katya doubled the recipe to make a two-layer cake and piped rosettes around the bottom and middle of the cake.
Monica used special Manzano bananas, and also added lime peel to the lemon, part of which she sprinkled on top. Please go to her blog and look at the last photograph in her post--if that doesn't want to make you eat this cake, there is nothing that will. Vicki used coconut white chocolate for the frosting, and thought it worked quite well; she also has a good hint for ripening bananas if you've got some that aren't quite ripe enough. Hanaa frosted hers with caramel whipped cream instead of the dreamy, creamy stuff. Much as I like that white chocolate frosting, I'll admit the caramel whipped cream sounds mighty good. Jennifer skipped the frosting entirely, and just served the cake with ice cream. Omitting the frosting would make this cake super easy--and a good breakfast cake. (Jennifer is always looking for breakfast cakes). Raymond, on the other hand, gussied his up with sliced almonds and bananas on top, and with the frosting piped instead of just swirled.
Kristina and Nancy B. both had cakes that were slightly underdone and sunk a bit in the middle. Each one solved the problem in her own way, and loved the cake--at least the parts that were done.
I am naming Saira the FEATURED BAKER of the week. "What!" I hear you say. "That makes no sense. How can she be both Guest Host AND Featured Baker?" I guess I agree in principle, but I've already admitted to being arbitrary and capricious in my selection process. But I wanted to acknowledge Saira's great step-by-step instructions and really beautiful photography! (I kept scrolling back up to the picture of the bananas and sour cream.) Also, I was impressed with the way she just up and decided--at the very last minute, without even planning it--to make a whipped white chocolate frosting instead of the dreamy, creamy etc. As I believe I've mentioned ad nauseum, I am a rule follower, and am therefore awed by people who go around willy-nilly breaking rules. (Saira has been advised to try the prescribed frosting, and I hope she does, one day when she's in more cream cheesy kind of mood). Saira said that this will be her "go to cake" for light entertaining, given its combination of ease of preparation and deliciousness. And welcome back to the fold, Saira!

Next week is the Whoopie Pie. Nothing special needed here, and a sneak preview from Kristina, who calls them the Best Thing Ever.
After that, the coffee chiffonlets, which are supposed to be made in mini angel food cake pans. I don't have those yet, and if I can't find them, I think I'll use the mini Mary Ann pans that I do have, and which we'll use someday to make Chocolate Bull's-Eye Cakes.
We have another baker this week--Jinene (or Jaye, as she's called). She's a student at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, although she's not a Southerner by birth.
By the way, I've counted up the cakes that I've already made and the ones I have yet to make, and I'm over the hump! Fewer in the to-do list than in the already-done list. That makes me feel like baking through the whole book is a possibility--for all of us!


Jenn said...

Marie - I have to admit I missed your post. You don't want to know how many times I checked your blog to see if you have posted your "Last Cake, Next Cake" summary. If this doesn't convince you that you have a fan, I don't know what would :).
Congrats Saira for being the Featured Baker and the Host (girl you come back with a bang!).
Marie, I'm curious as to how many cakes you have made. Should be in the 50 range I would think, if it's over the hump. I've only made 21 cakes, since I missed some every now and then. Honestly, the end seem very far for me - though I have enjoyed the journey tremendously!

Katya said...

I also made the whoopie pies a little early, and they were so wonderful that I'll be making more this weekend--maybe with strawberry buttercream.

anitsirK said...

For anyone reluctant to add another set of pans to their growing collection, I can assure you that the coffee chiffon(lets) bakes up beautifully in an angel food tube pan. I pulled mine out of the oven an hour or so ago. Baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Saira said...

Wow! Thanks Marie! that was truly a surprise....thanks so much for the compliments. I really struggle with the pictures so I'm really happy someone liked them:D and ofcourse I was wondering what to do with the extra cream cheese...cheesecake ofcourse;)

Saira said...

oh and I agree with Jenn, I did miss your post...when I wasn't participating I alway read your posts just so I knew what cakes I was missing;) I did feel like something was missing...looking forward to your next post!

Saira said...

oh I have to agree with Jenn, Marie. I missed your post too...felt like something was missing and the heavenly cake blog wasn't the same! looking forward to your next post;)

evil cake lady said...

Kristina--THANK YOU. I didn't want to buy the pan and was thinking of cupcakes--but a big ol traditional chiffon would be prefect. Lots of hugs and kisses for that!

Congrats Saira!

Marie, count me in as another who missed your post. But it is a nice chance for us to catch up with you!

Saira said...

i'm sorry guys i don't know what's going on...i think i'm just too tired...bad bad job hunting day...my last comment didn't show so i wrote again and then they both showed up...lol thought i'd clarify

Vicki said...

Cngrat's Saira! I, too, was impressed you switched icings at the last minute. Completely took me by surprise.

I have to say Marie, I'm always discombobulated when you aren't posting! This banana cake was such a hit it's already being requested again.

Nicola said...

Kudos to you Saira, I imagine the pressure of hosting the week's cake could be immense! Your photos were great and you justly deserved the FB award.

Great to have you back Marie! My first guess is that banana essence would also be in the work of the devil category. I once worked for a company that stocked alot of those dasterdly essences as ingredients - it used to turn my nose and very quickly thereafter, my stomach, all those fake smells competing with each other!

Better than half way through HCB makes me tear up a little. The thought of no more weekly cake and twice weekly posts from you Marie makes me feel all emotional.

Hanaâ said...

Congrats Saira!! Well-deserved.

Kristina, thanks for letting us know about baking the Coffee Chiffon cake in an angel food pan. I was about to post that question here :o)

Mendy said...


Congrats Saira. Well done.

Marie said...

It's so nice to have a fan!
Here's how I figure the cakes: I have 44 left to do. This doesn't include any of the wedding cakes. It doesn't count the Angel Foood Cake Base Recipe, although, if people want to try another angel food cake, I could be persuaded to add that as an option. I don't count any of the frostings that are listed on their own as "cakes," and I count the brioche and the caramelized pineapple pudding cakes as one item. I also count the ladyfingers and the lemon Canadian crown as one item. I've baked 49 (that includes 47 that I've blogged about, including Monday's Whoopie pies), and two that I've baked but haven't posted about. I always try to stay a little ahead so I can take an occasional weekend off.
That's probably more information than you wanted!