It's back to reality for me. No more glitz and glamour. No more famous dessert divas baking up secret cakes. It's back to the same old grind. But I can't complain too much when I get to look at, and write about, about a dozen versions of the beautiful Bernachon Palets d'Or Gâteau.
As we all know by now, although we all follow the same recipes, we're not going to end up with cookie-cutter cakes.
Raymond, a self-professed Francophile, was in love with this French cake, and gave it the simple-but-ritzy treatment, served on an elegant gold plate and topped with just a few artfully placed strawberries.
Nancy B.--in a hurry this weekend--skipped the glaze. Look at her cake if you haven't checked it out already; with the ganache swirled decoratively on top, this looks like a completely different cake. Mendy also decided against the glaze, in the interests of saving time, but sprinkled some little gold hearts on top. To battle any possible dryness, Mendy added just a little extra water. From the looks of his photo, as well as a description, "rich, creamy...Heaven!", dryness was not an issue. Vicki was the third baker to omit the chocolate glaze. She couldn't find fresh currants (her Fruit Exchange told her, "Tomorrow!"), so she drizzled it with currant jelly. A fine substitute, and I'll bet the tartness of the jelly was wonderful with the ganache.
Monica not only took some fine photographs of her gold-flake-sprinkled cake, but she also gave us a brief history of chocolate, which, according to Monica, was first greeted with great suspicion in France, where it was referred to as a "noxious drug." Monica, who admits to being a chocolate snob, is glad that the French got over their suspicion and started making fabulous chocolate.
Lynnette (welcome, Lynnette!) made her debut cake by flouting the instructions and using a peanut-butter chocolate ganache instead of the creme fraiche one specified in the recipe. But she also made a super-shiny glaze and a skillfully crafted sugar design.
Katya, who described the cake as a very simple one "under a few layers of fancy," had access to a baker's sheets of real gold leaf, and had fun "peeling it on."
Commiseration to Joan, who had one of those weeks when everything goes wrong. Despite the best-laid plans, she ended up with a seriously overbaked cake and a "lumpy," "gritty" glaze. She thought she could rescue the cake only with lots of ice cream (which is really not that bad an idea). And commiseration of a different sort to Kristina--no trouble with the cake, but she ended up giving it away to the neighbor who came to the rescue of her and her husband, who were trying to pry a deeply embedded piece of concrete from their front yard.
The FEATURED BAKER this week just has to be Nicola. Why? Well, the sensible reason is that she decorated her slice of cake a simple strewing of pomegranate seeds. Inspired! The real reason is that she made me laugh with her links to treggings and to Kylie Monogue. Maybe the subliminal reason is that she also linked to my blog. Nicola, have you been getting enough sleep lately?
Matthew also joined us for this cake. He actually used both the recommended currants and the gold leaf (the currants were frozen from last summer), and his cake looks perfect. I'm glad I didn't see it before I started baking--I might have been too intimidated to bake my own version.
Just in case you forgot the rules for next week's Free Choice week, you can bake any cake that I've already baked and blogged about, and you've missed. If I'm counting right, I've done 52 cakes, so even the most diligent of you have a few cakes you haven't done yet. The following week is Quick-and-Easy chocolate cupcakes. What's not to like there? The week after that we'll try the Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake, which is not really a strawberry cake at all. It's a white cake, filled with strawberry mousseline. You'll get another chance to use up some of those frozen egg whites. The strawberry butter from American Spoon Foods is pecified for the buttercream. I ordered this on line from American Spoon Foods, and am eager to try it out. You can also use strained strawberry preserves.