I got a little nervous after recommending this cake so highly, in case it turned out that everyone else hated it. But I didn't have to worry--almost all the bakers who tried these little beauties were as crazy about them as I was.
One of Nancy's tasters (who can be pretty picky) declared it "amazing!"
Mendy, who recommends listening to Glenn Gould playing Bach while making the cakes, describes them as "pretty fab." (Which could also describe Glenn Gould playing Bach).
Jenn's reaction? "Oh man oh man. This is so good. The sponge cake is so moist and boozy it's so good. The cream filling is so yummy and fit so well with it." AND you must look at the lovely butterflies than Jenn (somehow) piped as cake decorations. AND--for the second week in a row--Jenn made a second catch-up cake: this time the She Loves Me Cake. AND she decorated those with piping that said, "Happy Birthday, Jenn" because, as you might guess, it's her birthday.
A few people had minor quibbles:
Kristina, who ended up doing a double post with this week's cake as well as last week's cheesecake, thought that the texture was "almost gummy" but that it "sure tasted good." Kristina's blog also has a nice thank-you to Rose, written in response to Rose's blog post about the mistakes she made when she started baking.
Katya thought they were a "bit too sweet" for her taste but "intense." She used a Kahlua-based syrup and a strawberry-rhubarb glaze, but, other than that, she stayed with the recipe.
Cake pan envy was mentioned more than once:
Monica, for example, posted an "ENVY ALERT" before mentioning the Mary Ann pan. But her brand new KitchenAid might cause other readers to feel their own equipment envy.
Joan decided she just HAD to have the pans, and went out looking for them. She found a super-deluxe version, with a basketweave pattern, which turned out looking great (despite Joan's concerns that she'd "manhandled" the genoise batter). The raspberry adornments look great too.
Jennifer too invested in the Mary Ann pans: her "investment" consisted of the eight dollars she paid at a big sale at Sur La Table this summer. She said she was willing to fork over eight dollars for a "single-use pan." After eating these cakes, though, she decided it wasn't likely to be used only once after all.
Raymond definitely felt no pan envy. In fact, he almost passed on this dessert because it was "another of the dreaded mini cakes which everyone knows I loathe intensely." However, he persevered, making two of them in 6-inch springform pans, hollowing out the center, and he fell in love: "This is total bliss. And, I have to say, make this in the six inch pan and you have the perfect Valentines dessert for two."
Hanaa found a big Msry Ann pan at a garage sale--one of those things you pick up because you never know, it might come in handy someday. After sitting on a shelf for a few years, it did come in handy. Hanaa, who can never resist the orange/chocolate combination, slipped a layer of orange pastry cream under the chocolate cream, for a double-creamy version. Much appreciated by her tasting panel, who called the cake "light", "European-style", and a "good flavor combo, the chocolate and the orange."
I also want to mention Nicola. Although she didn't bake this week's cake, she posted last week with a summary of some of the cakes she'd baked but hadn't had time to post about. She also announced that she was pregnant--with twins. Her delicate condition gives her a permanent excuse to be late, or not to have time to post. But, as several people pointed out, she might as well bake now, while she's not a complete stranger to sleep. Congratulations, Nicola!
Lois is this week's FEATURED BAKER. How can she not be? She didn't just double, but tripled the recipe! She took them to her office for a birthday treat--I'm sure the birthday person never envisioned something like these cakes when she made a vague request for "something chocolate." Even with the triple recipe, Lois blithely described the cakes as being "quick and easy." How far we've all come!
Next week is a true Quick & Easy recipe--the White Velvet Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache. This is one of the few recipes that doesn't have a photo, so you're on your own for decorating ideas. In the spirit of quick and easy, however, the less decorating, the better. You will have no problems with this cake, with the possible exception of cutting it in half. Some people (me, for example) look at this instruction with trepidation; now that I've got my cake slicer, however, things are easier. You also need a big hunk of milk chocolate, something we haven't used much for our baking recipes. Rose has specific suggestions for kinds of milk chocolate to use.
After that, it's yet another Free Choice week. Yes, I know we just had one. But, as I keep reminding you, we're counting down to the last cake. If you didn't make these Bull's-Eye Cakes, I can't think of a better candidate for your Catch-Up week.
Hope you all had a lovely New Year's holiday, and that your resolutions remain unbroken.