Mar 3, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

At first I thought all the Heavenly Cake Bakers held some kind of grudge against Sticky Toffee Pudding. By the end of Monday, there were only about four posts, but, as of now, 11 prople have written posts and there is the promise of a 12th one by Vicki, who has been suffering from what her doctor dubbed the "18-day flu."

Bakers were divided: some had never heard of Sticky Toffee Pudding and were unaware that the British refer to dessert in general as "pudding," as in, "What's for pudding?"

Katya, one of our seasoned travelers (where are those pictures of Lisbon, anyway?) thought that Rose's version of this "extra-Brit" dessert was extra-good, though, as usual, she souped up her own, adding lemon and orange peel, sultanas and currants to her dates (which she claimed were past their prime).

Kristina, who grew up in New Brunswick, was familiar with pudding desserts, but didn't like them, especially Christmas puddings, and especially fruitcakes. But she liked this one, as did her co-workers. Kristina thinks the leftover sauce would be great on ice cream, and it's hard to disagree.

Lynnette had never baked a pudding, but it's been "on her radar to try" for quite a while. She also recalled a favorite ice cream that was called sticky toffee pudding. Her conclusion: "What is not to like?"

On the other hand, the "sticky toffee pudding" moniker meant nothing to Jenn, who thought it just sounded like a spice cake, which she doesn't particularly like. But, making five cupcakes with one-third of the recipe, she actually ended up liking it quite a bit. (I'm waiting for Jenn to make 3/7 of a recipe sometime, just to challenge herself).

And Lois, who lived in England for 18 months, had never run across sticky toffee pudding while she was there. It took another trip to the UK before she discovered the pudding's delights, and wanted to try this recipe so much that she made it in her daughter's tiny kitchen in Boca Raton.

As usual, our Bakers were quite creative in the pans and presentations. Maria, for example, used a square cupcake pan (that she just "HAD to have") and poured the rest of the batter into a festive pudding tin.

Hanaa made three cakes with the batter for this one cake: she used and 8 x 8-inch square pan, and two six-inch round ones. Hanaa used ginger ale instead of stout, and eliminated the creme fraiche and nuts, but the cake still played to an enthusiastic audience at her house.

Nancy B. cut the recipe in half, but still ended up with enough for nine: nine cakelets made in her one-half cup ramekins. Nancy liked the way the "tang of the crème fraîche complements the sweet toffee sauce and cake very nicely."

Jennifer was enthusiastic herself. She concluded that "all four components come together in a synergistic rush of pure, delicious, cakey joy." I was with her until she said, "I almost wish we were having dark gray stormy days to go along with this cake as it would be so fitting." Sorry--I just can't go along with a wish for rotten weather.

Shandy, our FEATURED BAKER this week, has tasted Sticky Toffee Pudding, but had never made it before. I think it won't be the last time, though, because she sounds pretty enthusiastic: "As the fork tines slid into the cake, I knew making this recipe was worth every second." She was smitten with the date and stout mixture, and was crazy about the "moist, flavorful, lightly spicy cake." Her cake square, with toffee sauce, creme fraiche, and pecans, is every bit as pretty as the picture in the cookbook. Well done, Shandy!

It's been a long time since I've welcomed a new baker, but I'd like to introduce you to Alice, who makes her blogging debut with her individual puddings.

I felt I had to turn down the people who asked to start baking along because we were so close to the end of the project it didn't make sense to add people who'd only have a chance to bake a few cakes. But Jenn has offered to keep the blog going for those of you who want to complete RHC but are not going to be able to finish when I do. We haven't worked out the details yet, but don't worry--if you still have 25 cakes left to bake, you're not going to have to bake them all in the next three months. More information on this later.

As I said last week, I don't know how I managed the schedule so that we're doing two chocolate cakes in a row, but that's just the way it is. Your friends who love chocolate are going to love you.

Next week's chocolate cake is the Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise. Remember how everyone was raving about the taste of the last chocolate genoise we made? If you missed it then, now is a good time to see what you missed. And if you made it then, you won't want to miss it. As usual with genoise cakes, Rose recommends that you make the cake a day ahead of time for best flavor.
Those of you who have sworn in irritation at those annoying bits of white flour that don't quite get mixed into the genoise batter will want to check out Matthew's new mixing method. Woody tested and photographed the results. He's now a committed fan of Michael's Method.

Another refinement from the original version: before you make the Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache, scheduled for March 14, you'll want to check Real Baking with Rose to get her update on the mixing method for this cake. She found that the cake was a "bit too tender," so she went back to her standard mixing method. Rose recommends the updated method, both for ease of preparation and for the best texture. Also note that the recipe calls for making the ganache at least six hours before using and the cherries at least eight hours ahead (or overnight).


Jenn said...

Marie, great write up! Shandy, congrats on being the featured baker! And welcome to Alice!

I'm sad HCB is ending, but excited about the continuation. I hope to be able to do half as good as a job as you...

Monica said...

I second Jenn sentiment on congratulatory shout out to Shandy... go you girl!

I have fallen so behind... but I knew that there were going to be cakes that I was not going to make going in, so I have no clue why I'm so sad about it.

Anyone knows when Rose is coming up with her next book??? anyone? anyone?

evil cake lady said...

congrats shandy!

jenn, i'm so stoked you're going to continue the project because i thought i was going to have to finish them all up on my own. hooray!

i will be a week late posting the rasp-genoise, even though it contains my most favorite raspberry ganache. delayed gratification, but well worth the wait!

marie, thanks for the links to the helful tips for the next two cakes! great write up as usual, and i regret to say that after wishing for crappy weather, we got it. next time i'll wish for summer!

Katya said...

good grief, i don't even know how far behind i am...i have to do a count once i'm less exhausted. meanwhile, my friend has agreed that the raspberry cake can be her bday cake, so score two in one.

sofie said...

Nice blog post

Jenn said...

ECL, I'm excited too! We should thank Hanaa - this is all her idea!

Vicki said...

Congrat's Shandy! Your cake looked perfect. I'm with you on this one. I loved it!

Shandy said...

Thank you everyone and HUGE thank you for making me the feature baker this last week. The cake is one of the best I have ever tased!

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations Shandy. Well-deserved. Glad the cake was such a big hit. We loved it too!

A big "Yay" for the continuation of this baking project with our new fearless leader, Jenn (aka Knitty Baker). I have no doubt you'll do great, Jenn!!

Katya said...

is anyone else unable to stop singing 'Raspberry Beret' while making raspberry ganache?