Mar 17, 2011

Last Cake, Next Cake

Before I get to the Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache, let me share a few pictures of our vacation.

Sigh. OK, that's enough! It's good to be home, it's good to be home, it's good to be home....

And it really was good to read about all of your cakes. It made me sorry I'd been in such a hurry to get rid of my two chocolate cakes.

This cake packed a powerful chocolate punch, so if you're just not that in to chocolate, you were probably not into the cake.

Examples of being into the cake--Raymond: "The addition of the cognac cherries and golden syrup transform this simple cake from the ordinary to the sublime."

Jenn: Be still my heart! This is the ultimate chocolate cake! The chocolate cake is fudgy and moist - like a really good brownie. And the ganache. Let me tell you! This ganache is a killer.

Example of not being into the cake--Maria: "Mine was dense (not good dense), dry and bitter (not luscious). The frosting was also disappointing.... I found [it] to be a little thin and the cocoa added too much bitter dryness. For those of you that know me, you know what a terrible sport I am and so.... I will take myself to the opposite end of the "Featured Baker" spot and sulk." (This doesn't sound like the writing of a "terrible sport," does it?)

The main variations that people made to this cake, not surprisingly, involved the cognac cherries.

Monica said goodbye to the cherries entirely--as just a needless distraction from the cognac.

Lola substituted a "nice French Black Cherry fruit jam," since she had no dried cherries on hand.

Vicki spread strawberry jam on the cake she set aside for the kids; the other one, which she dubbed her "DUI cake," got the cognac cherries, but cut up and poured over the cake instead of being placed whole in the center.

Lois used cherry brandy instead of cognac--seems like a good idea. As long as she was using the brandy for the cake, might as well pour a couple of glasses to drink. Cheers!

Nancy did the cherries and cognac, but didn't add the extra corn syrup. And, as did some others, Nancy had some trouble with the ganache not setting: "It had been 7 hours sitting at room temperature but was still gloopy, to use a technical term."

There were also some variations in the chocolate. Alice--sort of accidentally--ended up with a wonderful whipped ganache after she got tired of waiting for her ganache to set and wondered what would happen if she beat the heck out of it.

Poor Katya all unsuspectingly bought "cocoa" at Trader Joe's, only to discover that she hadn't picked up cocoa powder, but had instead grabbed hot chocolate mix. But the cake was very forgiving--"it was still the right kind of gooey all-American cake.... It's a very solid base cake for all kinds of shenanigans."

Welcome back to Nicola, who is also our FEATURED BAKER. When I don't hear from people for a while, I start to worry about them. But Nicola is back--with "the cake that finally made it past the deeply guarded barriers of procrastination." She also noticed the excessive tenderness that sent Rose back to the drawing board for another mixing method: "The cake itself ... is quite crumbly. There is no way you can sneak a piece of this cake. A friend dropped over to collect Chris for an early morning motorbike ride on Sunday and helped himself to a slice of cake. I knew this even before I lifted the lid on the cake plate because there were chocolate crumbs all over the floor." I hadn't really thought of it, but not being able to sneak a piece of cake may indeed be a drawback.

Next week is Free Choice Week. You all know the drill on this. Pick one of the cakes that the group has made but you haven't. There are so many good cakes out there. What will it be?

And after that, our final cake from the sponge cake chapter: Orange-Glow Chiffon Layer Cake, in which Rose and Woodyh discover that "using unbleached all-purpose flour and an ungreased, unlined springform pan changed everything." You will need a flat flower (or flour) nail. Fortunately for me, I plan to bake this cake with Hanaa, who not only knows what the nail is; she has one. If the idea of the chiffon layer cake isn't enough to tempt you, think about serving it with True Orange Whipped Cream.


HanaĆ¢ said...

Welcome back, Marie, and Nicola! The vacation pictures are jaw dropping. How gorgeous! No wonder you weren't home sick :o)
I'm very much looking forward to baking the orange chiffon cake together, and I'll be sure to bring my cake decorating toolbox (that's where my flower nail lives) in case you feel like decorating the cake :o)

Monica said...

Marie! Your PR pictures made me wish there was not 98 days left for my Mexico vacation.. Did you like San Juan? did you guys stay in the capital? or explored other cities? San Juan is beautiful and I hear a great gastronomic explosion is happening there.. I'm sure you had your filled of Latin food.

Can you tell Mexico is in my mind? Ok, Margaritas are in my mind, but I have to get to Mexico first!

This cake was a hit at home, a hit at my mothers house, at Tom's mothers House, and last but not least all 30 of Tom's co-workers who apparently are now following my blog to see the next cake that will be sent their way.

Glad to have you back!

evil cake lady said...

Marie, your vacation photos are stunning! That's one vacation slide show I would volunteer to sit through.

Nicola, congratulations and welcome back!

Lois B said...

Congrats, Nicola; what a come back!

Lovely photos, Marie. They could be straight out of a travel brochure.

I'm going back to your Dec 2009 post of English Gingerbread for next week.

Vicki said...

Love the vacation pictures! Did you eat any interesting food? Congrat's to Nicola! I'm quite sure the antioxidants in this chocolate cake were prenatal healthy for the twins.

chris in RI said...

Ahhhh. Thank you for the vacation pictures. Hope you had a great time.
Chris is RI

Jenn said...

Beautiful photos of PR Marie. Sounded like you had a good time! It's hard to come back after vacation! But you have a baking weekend with Hanaa to look forward to *grin*.

I'm very much looking forward to next week's cake. Sponge cake, orange, and whipped cream - it's like a dream come true!