Dec 8, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

Here are Rose's pictures of the original marzipan candle, and the original recipient of the cake and candle:

I'm afraid that this week's roundup may be a little boring. One after another, bakers reported that the cake was not only easy, it was also delicious. But how many ways are there to say "good" and "easy"? Let us count the ways.

For example, Jennifer found it "simple to make" and "satisfying to eat."

Joan said it was "luscious" and "not difficult or time-consuming."

Raymond judged it "so easy" and "nice and light and flavorful."

Katya thought it was "very simple" and "easy to eat," although, to be honest, she was perhaps more enthralled with her new Heritage bundt pan than with the cake.

Lois, still cooking in her "little Polish kitchen," thought the cake was "soft and tender." She thought it was easy even thought she had to substitute migdałów aromatycznych for the aromat waniliowy, which you'd think would be enough to drive anyone to drink.

Vicki declared that the cake was "incredibly light crumbed" and "very easy to make."

Andrea thought it was "super simple," but hadn't tasted yet as of posting time.

Monica really said it all: The cake is "perfect because its easy to make, easy to decorate, easy to served and the most important easy of all? To eat."

For Kristina, it was so easy that it didn't present enough of a challenge--she had to try the marzipan candle in order to make it interesting.

Mendy, who found the cake "delicious," also tried the marzipan candle. Nice work, Mendy, but the marzipan decoration isn't as pretty as your Hannukah candles.

For Sarah, the candle was the hero (or villain) of her piece. Villain because she thought it looked "ridiculous," and made both her and Steve "burst out laughing."

Although Jenn found the cake "dense and fudgy," she wasn't jumping on the quick and easy bandwagon, mostly because she broke her stride when she realized she'd forgotten to add sugar. She recovered, but worried about overbeating, and also worried that part of the cake stuck to the cake pan. She's going to give it another shot, though.

And Nancy was having so much fun making quick and easy chocolate cakes that she added another one: the Black Chocolate Party Cake, which she made in addition to the assigned chocolate fudge cake.

Our featured baker this week is Gartblue. As you may have noticed, I'm a pushover for anyone who goes all out, since I like to go all out myself. So I love it that Gartblue gave a birthday party for her daughter Ayisha that included not only the Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake ("what a surprise this cake turned out to be despite its deceptive appearance"), but also the Lemon Canadian Crown, which she'd stashed in the freezer last week, AND the chocolate ice cream cake. A birthday lunch at Gartblue's also includes lamb kebabs, meatballs in black pepper sauce, and fried vegetables. Coincidentally, this is what I want for my next birthday lunch.

Our next cake should also be quick and easy--unless, of course, you try making it with marzipan candles. Then I'm not responsible. It's the Financier-style Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes. You'll need half a vanilla bean, as you might guess, and egg whites only. Check your freezer. And isn't it about time for you to break down and buy those silicone financier pans?

After that, it's another Free Choice week. We've never had so many, but I want to give everyone a chance to play Catch-Up.

By the way, since cocoa is the basis for nearly all of the chocolate cakes--which means almost half the cakes in the book--Jenn was wondering if people have found a brand of cocoa they're satisfied with, and, if so, what is it and where do you get it?
I used Droste almost exclusively. Then I ordered a big bag of Perugina from King Arthur, and I've been quite pleased with it. It has a higher fat content than cocoa you can buy in the supermarket. I'll either buy it again when I run out, or I'll try some French cocoa and compare.


ButterYum said...

Oh shoot.... I didn't get mine posted in time to be a part of your summary. Well, it's up if you want to visit.

To answer your question (or rather, Jenn's question), I use Penzey's Cocoa. Fabulous stuff.

I'm off to read all the HCBs posts about this cake.


Katya said...

True. The pan is marvelous. And I'm not alone--I got more comments than usual, and almost all were about the pan. My quite discerning grandmother was also blown away.

I use bulk cocoa that I buy at Sahadi's, a middle eastern bulk foods and importer in Brooklyn (best place ever). They have dark and regular, and I buy regular, usually. It's very rich.

And, thank you for your ideas, all of you re: over the top cakes.
I'm now making a wedding cake this August, and the bride has requested a 7-layer dobos torte style, so I may have future off topic questions re: this as I experiments.

Congratulations, GartBlue!

Jenn said...

Great write up Marie. It's nice to see that we are positively in agreement about the cake (at least mot of us, I still need to re-visit :)).

And thanks for posting my question. I hope I'm not being too high maintenance!

I am currently using Ghiraldelli and Schaffenberger cocoa powder. Though just ordered Droste from Amazon.

Marie said...

Here's a link to Cook's Illustrated's evaluation of several cocoa powders. Callebaut was the only one to win its "highly recommended" rating.

Marie said...

Correction: The cocoa I've been using is Pernigotti, not Perugina, and I bought it from Amazon, not King Arthur. Otherwise, I stand by my answer.

Mendy said...


Congrats Gartblue! Great looking party!

I also use Droste cocoa or one of the "heimeshe" brands like Leibers.

Jenn said...

Never heard of Pernigotti before, Marie. Good to know it's good stuff :). also has the Pernigotti cocoa powder. I've never purchased from this site but it was recommended by several members of Rose's forum.

NancyB said...

I'm using Green & Black's cocoa powder, largely because I can find it fairly easily at the big Whole Foods store. I might order some of the Callebaut just to give it a try, having been unable to find the G&B last weekend. The Scharffen Berger natural is fairly easy for me to find, but it was at the bottom of the Cooks Illustrated ratings--I think I'll give it a pass.

Sure wish Cooks Illustrated would update that article and include more of the cocoas that are now pretty widely available, like the ones we've been mentioning.

evil cake lady said...

Congratulations Gartblue! I would like to come to one of your parties :)

As for cocoa powder, I've used Scharffenberger (which I've liked despite CI flunking it) and am currently enjoying Dagoba cocoa powder. I've also liked Guittard's cocoa rouge. Surprisingly, I wasn't super fond of Green & Black's even though I love their bars.

Monica said...

Congratulations Gartblue! I love how all out you went on your daughters birthday - wow 3 cakes!

Jenn and I had a pow wow on the cocoa and like most of you I use Shcaffenberger and also Droste, which was a huge sticker schock (very expensive)...I heard of Pernigotti and most likely will give it a try.

anitsirK said...

I use um.. whatever Bulk Barn happens to carry? :) I just looked it up and Bulk Barn calls it "Ruddy Red".

I can't even get dutch processed cocoa powder at my grocery store, so I use what's available. I suppose I should look into ordering some good stuff, but I haven't had any complaints about what I've been using.

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations in advance, Gartblue. I have to go check out your fabulous post. Btw, when can we all come over for lunch at your place? :o)

@Jenn: I use Blooker cocoa which I bring back with me from The Netherlands when I visit. You can buy it online where they sell imported Dutch stuff. Here’s one: It’s US$6.39 for 250 grams. As ButterYum mentioned, Penzeys has good cocoa too. They actually carry two kinds: all natural and high-fat Dutch cocoa (22%) – “normal” (says Hersheys) cocoa usually has about 12% fat.

@Katya: I was browsing through an old book of Rose last night called Rose’s Melting Pot. She had a recipe in there for the Dobos Torte and a beautiful picture. I immediately wondered why she hadn’t included that recipe in “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”. It’s just gorgeous and probably as time-consuming as say, The Charlotte. I can email you the recipe if you like.

@NancyB: I agree. I wish CI would update their list. At least they should include Penzeys cocoa which I’ve heard good things about.

@Kristina: the company name I mentioned to Jenn is Canadian so you might be able to order the cocoa I use from there.

For those of you who like Droste cocoa, here’s another online store that my Dutch coworker uses all the time. Their price ($8.49/250gr) for Droste is cheaper than my local grocery store and it might be cheaper than Amazon too:

Jenn said...

Congrats to GartBlue. That's a lot of lovely cakes for birthday!

@NancyB - Green & Blacks cocoa powder have been discontinued in the US. Someone over at Rose's forum called G&B and that's what she's been told.

Thanks everyone for answering the cocoa powder question :).

Maja said...

I usually use Droste. I am not very fond of Ghirardelli Cocoa. I find the flavor to be very flat and when cocoa is the only chocolate ingredient, the result was never chocolately enough. I hope to get some Callebaut Cocoa Powder to test. I love dark, fudgy, intense chocolately flavor and so far, Droste delivers the best for me. Thanks for all your opinions. This was very helpful!

gartblue said...


thanks marie for featuring me .. and yes, if ever any of you find yourself in the tropic Kuala Lumpur, drop me an email and we should do lunch.

I wish I could get any of cocoa powder like Droste but I guess I havent been looking hard enough. I use primarily Van Houten, not liking the Hersheys too much.
*I still a fat slice of the Canadian Crown in the freezer for those secret midnight snack*

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

I use Green & Blacks and have had to resort to procuring it from their site online. I got about 8 cans last time after finding it impossible to locate previously. I am glad to find all these good suggestions here and will thankfully take advantage of the information!

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

Almost forgot - congrats Gartblue!

Baking Sorceress' Apprentice said...

The last time I checked for Rose's cocoa preference, it was Green & Black's - I wonder if she has another best choice now?