Did the same woman who concocted the Apple Caramel Charlotte really devise the Many-Splendored Quick Bread as well?
It would seem so. And I guess that doesn't really indicate a Jekyll-Hyde personality, since both cakes are wonderfully delicious, in their own way, but it sure does point to the breadth (no pun intended) of what's available in this book.
Almost no one had trouble with this bread, except for poor Faithy, who painstakingly peeled her zucchini, substituted cashews for walnuts, and, after one bite, declared it inedible, fit only for the trash can, which is where it went.
More bakers were in Jenn's camp, who asked, rhetorically, "Doesn’t it look super yummy?" and concluded that she was "very pleased with the result." (Actually, Jenn's pictures do look super-yummy.
No one was quite sure what kind of bread this was.
Vicki called it zucchini bread, but thought that adding "carrots, banana and [her own addition of] lemon zest gave it a completely different flavor than ordinary zucchini bread."
Jennifer referred to it as the "zucchini/banana/carrot/oatmeal bread," and "wasn't sure" about the idea of it, but a group of enthusiastic doulas gave it solid ratings.
Katya dubbed the "banana-squash-carrot loaf" a "phantasmagorical concoction."
Sarah said she couldn't figure out why it was called "many-splendored" until she tried to describe it. Not zucchini bread, not carrot bread--she finally ended up asking her friend if she'd like "a slice of ... very special bread."
Mendy thought it was "splendiferous."
By the way, Woody said that there was some consternation after the book was published, when people found out that "splendored" wasn't really a word. I said, "But it's just like the old song, 'Love is a Many-Splendored Thing.'" Blank stare from Woody. I guess that song was before his time.
As usual, there were a few additions or embellishments to the original recipe:
Kristina substituted chocolate chips for walnuts, and decided that next time, she'd add even more, for "just a bit more of a chocolate punch." (And congrats to Jay on his new job!)
Lynnette brushed it with honey and sprinkled it with a sugar-cinnamon mixture. She thought it was "tender, moist and colorful" but would add a few spices next time.
Lois pronounced it "perfect with a cup of tea," and that it might be even better with "more or darker sugar, maybe some chocolate chips or cinnamon."
Katya used winter squash instead of zucchini, and added a little tea from her teacup in place of some of the water.
Nancy B. added part of a bag of mini dark-chocolate chunks and substituted toasted pecans for the walnuts.
Monica--who beat Raymond to the "first post" punch this time--thought it smelled "tantalizing," and tasted even better, even though it had oatmeal in it ("not so yum").
Lola said it was "perfect with your second cup of coffee in the morning."
Raymond went her one better and said it's good to have around "all the time." "Perfect toasted for breakfast, a grab and go snack anytime during the day, perfect with coffee or tea in late afternoon, that nice little nibble after dinner and the go to snack for raid the kitchen in the middle of the night." (I think I want to live at Raymond's house).
Andrea loved "the green and orange specks in it" and thought it "almost looked healthy." Julie agreed that the ingredient list looked "pretty darn healthy," but then she did a nutrition check: lots of Vitamin A, calcium, and iron, but 341 calories in an innocent, vegetable-laden slice.
Nicola gets huge numbers of catch-up points. She blogged about the many-splendoured bread, but also gave us pictures and stories about 1) the chocolate-tomato cake, 2) the apple caramel charlotte, 3) the plum and blueberry upside-down cake, 4) the marionberry shortcakes, and 5) the lemon meringue cake.
You might not be surprised to hear that Hanaâ is this week's FEATURED BAKER. Really, how could I not give her that title when I saw first-hand what an excellent baker she is. (I totally and categorically deny that naming Hanaâ Featured Baker has anything to do with the fact that she brought me a delicious, prize-winning lemon cake.)
Hanaa omitted the walnuts and used dark brown sugar, which she preferrs to light brown, but thought she might try toasted almonds next time (she's not allergic to almonds, oddly enough.) Since her husband rated this bread 9.5 out of 10, she figured there would be more than one next time. She also thought a bit of orange zest would be nice, as would her favorite spice combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
A word about the next cake: Angel Food Cake (any way you like). When I first took on this project, I browsed the table of contents, counted the cakes, and wondered what on earth I'd gotten myself into. I couldn't figure out how I should count the Angel Food Cake Base Recipe on page 154. Should it be considered a separate recipe, or should I declare that the Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake was the only actual recipe that merited its own week.
I initially came down on the side of the Tweed cake only, but I had misgivings. When I finished the book, that meant I'd still have one recipe not crossed out. That thought did not appeal to the OCD part of my nature. And then I baked the Chocolate Tweed cake. Too painful to revisit, but for those of you who don't remember/care, it did not go well. That fiasco made me determined to try again, and that line of reasoning is what gives us next week's cake--the do-whatever-you-want with Rose's base recipe.
Just take that recipe,and let your imagination run wild. The base recipe has one egg white, and would make one mini angel-food cake. I bought a small (but not mini) tube pan with a 9-cup capacity. I'm going to multiply the base recipe by 8 (or, more easily, divide the quantities in Chocolate Tweed by 2).
You can make whatever quantity you want, in whatever shape pan you want to try. You can add any flavorings you want. You might want to use coconut extract in the cake, frost it, and cover the frosting with coconut. You might crush up some peppermint candy and use that for flavoring. Or lemon. Or chocolate. (My mother used to make a chocolate angel food cake that she slathered with whipped cream--and, later, to prove she was modern, with Cool Whip). I don't recommend the Cool Whip, but the chocolate cake was quite good.
I'm hoping we'll end up without any duplicates. But, frankly, what I'm really hoping is that my own cake doesn't fall out of the pan and collapse into a messy heap on the counter.
The following week, we finally get to The Bostini, which for some reason seems to hold the record of the most-baked cake that has not been assigned. Those who have made it have given it rave reviews.