Dec 15, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

We are on a roll here. The second cake in a row from the Quick & Easy list (I hate to break this to you, but there are only 3 cakes left to do on that list, which may mean we have some killers ahead of us). That is, we will have some exciting challenges.

Most people loved these easy little gems, although several missed the richness that egg yolks generally bring to something named "pound cake," and a few thought the cake was just okay.

Jennifer, for example, was just a wee bit grumbly when she discovered there were no egg yolks in the cake, but she recovered, and admitted that once she got "over the lack of egg yolk, they really are quite lovely. Almost tea cake-like in their dense crumb, and with wonderful flavor." See, she's really quite open-minded.

Neither Nancy nor her always-willing-to-give-it-a-try family members were "wowed" but this cake. Nancy prefers the "tighter crumb" of traditional pound cake, and liked the "classic financier" best of the four financier (or pseudo-financier) recipes she's tried.

Monica also tsk-tsked a bit about calling these "pound cakes" when they're made sans egg yolks. Her final conclusion: "They were good, not spectacular; I guess I was missing the rich, dense texture that a true pound cake gives you."

On the other hand, ButterYum found them "moist and addictive," as well as "delicious and very easy to put together."

And Raymond liked them so much ("pound cake, vanilla, butter! Are there any better or sweeter words in the English language?") that he barely complained about their baby size, although he did say that the next time he made them, he'd try using his mini-loaf pans, brought back from Paris. They are "mini" but not as mini as a financier pan.

Mendy made his ("the taste was very vanilla-y eand fantastic") in his brand new tiny silicone fluted pans--a thoughtful Hanukkah present from his wife.

Gartblue sounds like she'll be making them again. Not only were they buttery, she said but she also loved "the vanilla bean effect on them. Pretty and tasted heavenly. Another winner in my book"
(By the way, Gartblue's post was the first one I read that pointed out that Rose had foresaw the curdling problem. I missed that little warning in the directions, so when I was making them, I thought, "This is weird--the batter is curdling. Hope that's okay." It was.)

Vicki also gave them high marks: "Topped with a dab of marscapone and apricot jam, these were delicious. Everyone very much enjoyed them and they go on the Make Again List."

Lois focused on their Q&E nature. How easy? "So easy that I've just whipped them up in the wee hours of the morning - before the sun is even up. If you can tackle a recipe before you're really awake, how hard can it be?"

Kristina also liked how easy they were. And how easy it was to write her blog post because she "refused to spend longer typing it up than [she] did making it."

Lola didn't make the pound cakes [yet}, because computer problems forced her to play catch up. She posted about last week's chocolate velvet fudge cake. Like everyone else, she liked it. And she also shared her "BTG" technique for baking, but not eating, whenever she pleases. "Buy-Taste-Gift."

The beauty of these little cakes is that they don't need much dressing up. They can be served as is or with a little fruit. But Maria, our FEATURED BAKER, showed that they also take well to getting dressed up. Maria put a single sour cherry atop the batter, and then carefully placed some green pistachio slivers around the cherry. Who would have thought these little financiers could double as Christmas cupcakes?

I warned you that I was going to load up the "Free Choice" weeks as we go into the final stretch. (I have only 16 cakes left!) You'll see from the "Next in the Oven" list that there's one scheduled for next week and another one on January 17, just a month later.

After the Free Choice week, the Cranberry Crown Cheesecake is up. It'll be a perfect winter dessert, whether or not you celebrate Christmas. You may notice that the cheesecake can be made with soft ladyfingers as a base. It can also be made with Savoiardi biscuits or angel food cake. YOU CAN BUY ANY THESE. You do not have to make the base unless you really, really want to.

And then, believe it or not, it will be 2011! We started this project in 2009. Holy crap.


Monica said...

Oh wow.. 16 cakes left? booo hoooo, I don't want this to end!

Congratulations to Maria, I totally love her take on them as well.. even if she used fruit.

I'm looking forward to when the Cradle cake comes into rotation.. *hint, hint* :)

Jenn said...

Congrats Maria! I haven't checked out her take yet. Will have to do that soon.

Yes we started in Oct 2009. It's crazy.

I have 42 cakes left - yikes! Have a lot of catching up to do.

Marie, with 16 cakes and 1 free choice a month, you will finish in 5 months. Can you believe it?

Marie said...

Don't go anywhere--the cradle cake isn't coming up anytime soon. It's one I've been looking forward to ever since I picked up this book, but I keep putting it off. I picture eating this cake as the tulips start to come up. Hint, hint.

I really don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I don't have a cake to bake every weekend! Rose suggested I might want to start with pies, but I think that's probably a bad idea.

Lois B said...

Congrats, Maja. I love the way you finished these.

Andrea said...

I finally got my post up. I'm a little late, but I guess late is better than never. There's a picture of the holiday cookies that have consumed me the last several days.

gartblue said...

2009? Yeah, I remember the time we all started and 16 cakes to go. hmm maybe more for me, I guess. :)

and congratulations to Maria for being featured! Yay!

ButterYum said...

Congratulations to Maria!! I love your take on these financiers. I like your "have another, they're small" plate too.


Katya said...

I'm almost starting to feel lucky that I am not caught up and thus have a few more than 16.

Maja said...

What a surprise! Thanks for the great honor of being the featured baker! I am thrilled. I love baking with this group and even though I started late in the game, I am glad to be a part of this very dedicated group. Job well done everyone!!

Jenn said...

Marie, when you finish this book you would have finished 2 of Rose's books. Might as well keep going. If you're going to do PP&B, I'm in!

I don't know what to do with myself as well, even though I'll probably won't be done until year end 2011. Hopefully by that time Rose has the new book to test. Otherwise, I'm eyeing The Cake Bible or P&PB.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

i've just read through everyone's comments and LOVE it! each one looks so different and so appealing. boy am i glad i mentioned about the batter curdling and not to worry about it--and thanks for trusting me on this one!

happy holidays everyone!

Mendy said...


Congrats Maria. You rock!

Looking forward to some challenging cakes. Bring em' On!

Monica said...

I think Mendy is right.. no more easy cake.. lets really sweat it out and break out the complicated cake, those are the fun post!

And I totally got your hint!.. but really so far off? LOL

Jenn said...

Oh man, speaking of complicated cakes, I was looking at my list yesterday. And the chocolate pinecone cake look totally challenging. I re-read your post about it Marie. I think that one I will put off as far away as possible!

Marie said...

I have to keep you interested.

You don't want to make that pinecone cake in the summer!

Jenn said...

Marie, that's a good point. Crap!

Hanaâ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hanaâ said...

Congratulations to the Featured Baker!! I love the red and green. You'll have to set us straight though: is it Maria or Maja?

@Marie: I can't believe we're almost done baking together. Makes me sad... :o(

@Monica: I told Marie the same thing about the Cradle Cake two months ago when we baked together at her house, but I guess she has her mind set on "Tulip time", ha ha. We'll just have to be patient, I guess.