Jan 13, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

The chocolate streusel coffee cake was another big success story. A lot of people commented on how flavorful the streusel was, and what a big flavor hit was provided by the tiny amount of cinnamon mixed in with cocoa and brown sugar, preferably made with Muscovado sugar, brought to you directly from Mauritius.
Even Lois, who is not that crazy about cinnamon, loved how it "rounded out and added to the chocolate flavor without overwhelming it."
Most people didn't have a six-cup bundt pan in their baking arsenal, so there was a lot of improvisation. Faithy used miniature bundt pans, which produced very cute miniature cakes. (Speaking of cute, did you see the picture of Faithy wearing a "Mr. Happy" t-shirt on her blog? You'd think someone who bakes as much as she does would be robust and matronly looking? But no--she looks like she's about 12 and weighs about 90 pounds.) And did you see that Faithy awarded all of us the Happy 101 award? Thanks!
I would say that most people went the cupcake route--12 cupcakes was the alternative to a six-cup bundt pan plus two cupcakes. Kristina, for example, made a dozen cupcakes (and says she had a little overflow--probably could have made a few more), and put streusel not just in the middle of the cupcakes, but also on top. She also got to try out her new Beater Blade!
Vicki, whose blog is now called "Heavenly Cake Walk," was one of othe few who had the regulation six-cup NordicWare bundt pan, and she was lucky enough to walk into a store and find the very pan she was looking for--on sale. With luck like that, I hope she plays the lottery.

And the FEATURED BAKER this week is Jennifer, Portland's own Evil Cake Lady. Jennifer was almost not in the running for Featured Baker, because she almost didn't make the cake. Then, around midnight or some such hour, she started reading the early returns on this cake, and decided it was too good to pass up. The notion of just deciding in the middle of the night (ok, this might be a slight exaggeration) to bake a cake evidences such a devil-may-care attitude that it takes my breath away. "How could I say no," she wrote, "when so many had said yes." Like Kristina, Jennifer also has a new Beater Blade. Really, I think the Heavenly Cake Bakers should be entitled to a Friends and Family discount on these Beater Blades.
While I'm praising Jennifer's somewhat casual attitude toward advance planning, I have to mention Shoshana, who also made a last-minute decision to bake this cake. She had already prepared one dessert, but she began to "have serious doubts" about her planned contribution to shabbat dinner as a "backup dessert." I like that concept! (I also like quoting people; it makes me feel like a Zagat writer).

We have two new Heavenly Cake Bakers: Lisa just posted about the chocolate streusel cake: her first cake as an HCB. Lisa says she's brand-new to baking, and never even knew that Rose was some kind of "goddess in the baking world," but she's been loving the cakes so much that she was willing to pay full price for the book! You can't get a better endorsement than that.
Monica, whose blog is called "Sweetbites," is too busy having fun in New York to write about a cake, but she should settle back into the baking routine when she returns.
Welcome to both of you!

I'm still searching for Seville oranges in all my usual haunts, but haven't found any yet. I'm also wavering in my resolve to order a crateful from California, and am now considering substitutions. But I still haven't given up--we still have a few week before this cake, scheduled for February 8.
As Rose says, you have a treat in store for you with the Torta de las Tres Leches, which I encourage you to try--I know it's the best version I ever had. Hanaa will be guest host for this wonderful cake.
Remember all those egg yolks you used in Woody's Luxury Lemon Layer Cake? I hope that you put them in your freezer. The January 25 cake will be an angelfood cake, which will require you to defrost those egg whites and clean out your freezer. If you don't have saved egg whites, you'll want to start saving them now.


Abigail said...

Just wanted to say that I've been stopping by for a couple weeks now. I love your weekly wrap ups.

I received RHC from my in-laws, and I love all the little tips everyone posts!

Don't think I'm ready to bake cakes on a regular basis, but I did want to say 'hi'.

Anonymous said...

I know this is the wrong place to post this but I was unable to post on positively cupcakes blog.
The Nordicware heritage pan is available on amazon.com and they usually ship to Canada. Alternately, she could try the shopping channel in Canada which also has Nordicware pans.


Jenn said...

Marie - another great write up! I love what you said about being a Zagat writer :)). You are our fabulous Zagat writer indeed.
what are you gonna do this weekend? I'm assuming you won't be making Tres Leches again. Won't you be lost without a cake to bake? :).

evil cake lady said...

Aw, thanks Marie! I feel like I've just been crowned Miss America. At least for a week. Actually, not to disappoint you, I decided around 8 pm (PST) to bake, started baking around 10:30 pm, and ate the little bundt while posting after midnight. Good thing I am a night owl.
Us Heavenly Bakers really should get a friends and family discount on the beater blade AND the thermapen! Really!
Thanks again Marie!

Bungalow Barbara said...

I'm thinking that tangelos might make a good substitution for the Seville oranges -- they are tart and have lots of flavor. You can use the rind, too. I've made marmalade from Minneola tangelos and it was fabulous!

Sorry I haven't been baking with you all lately -- I'll be back soon!

Jenn said...

I don't have an angel food pan. Does anybody know if I can use a different pan?

Marie said...

Thanks for stopping by--and please feel free to send photos of cakes you've baked, or ask any questions you'd like to ask, even if you you're not ready to be a full-fledged Heavenly Baker.

Yes, I fear feeling bereft without my weekly cake, especially on a three-day weekend.

On epicurious.com, they recommend one-half orange juice and one-half lime juice as a substitute for Seville oranges, so it sounds like they're very, very tart.

Good question--Rose says it they can be baked in a layer cake pan, but it's "much better" to use a pan with a center tube. It would seem that a bundt pan would be better than a round layer cake pan because it would heat in a similar way, but it's hard to imagine an angel food cake in a bundt pan. Sometimes you see loaf-shaped angel food cakes in bakeries, so it might work to bake a couple of smaller cakes in loaf pans.
Readers, have any of you tried alternative pans?

Mendy said...


Congrats Jennifer!

I could not wait to make the orange genoise and substituted a mixture of juice oranges, blood oranges and Meyer lemons with nice results for the syrup and curd!

Unknown said...

Hi Everyone... Thanks Marie for the welcome, I'm looking forward to joining the group and start a baking storm around these parts.

Like you mention, NYC was calling so I could not join everyone this past weekend baking the cake of the week, but after reading everyone's post about, I'm going bookmark it for later time.

I'm looking forward to the Tres Leche cake.. This is actually a signature cake for me. I been baking a different version for over 20 years (was taught by the mother of one of my best friends in Junior High, they were from Nicaragua and this cake is BIG over there) but after reading Rose's recipe, and realizing it its done a bit different, I'm ready for the challenge.

And like everyone else, I'm in "TOTAL" hunt mode for those Seville oranges as well. If I fail, I'm taking Mendy's suggestion.

faithy said...

Congrats Jennifer!

BTW, can someone tell me how to correctly pronounce the next cake..it's like a tongue twister to me..sounds weird everytime i try to say it.. LOL!

And i'm not 90 pounds!..i'm a bit heavier than 90 pounds..LOL!

Thank Mendy for the tip on the oranges..i think i have to use your idea...!

Matthew said...

The Seville oranges are extremely sour. One sip of the juice will make your whole mouth pucker up--like really sour orange candies. I've never tasted any other citrus that sour, so I think the substitutes wouldn't be exactly right, but there are other ways to make orange curd that will be good too, just not the same :)

I did stop in whole foods, and they don't have them yet, but can you believe I spotted a container of red currants? I never expected to see those in January. I checked some photos from last year, and I didn't get my Seville oranges from whole foods until about February 12th.

Nicola said...

Congrats Jennifer on holding the title this week!

Just to annoy you all, I have my Seville oranges. They smell just like bitter marmalade and look very organic (all different shapes and sizes and motley)! Not at all like the uniformly perfect Cal. navels we see here usually!

BTW, I had to google Zagat writer to work out what that was...always learning something new with this group.

Jenn, I also don't have nor want an angel food pan. I did see somewhere on the net about making them in cupcakes lined with baking paper - a la Faithy's catalan pinch cake for photos.

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations, Jennifer. I guess Marie was right after all when you said you were baking after midnight. 10:30pm PST is > midnight CST :o)

Faithy, it’s hard to spell phonetically but it’s something like this: Treh-s-Leh-chess Cake :o)

I will be baking the Tres Leches Cake this weekend. I’ve made one in another book several times and love it. Can’t wait to taste Rose’s version. I did some reading and learned that a sponge cake absorbs the milk mixture better than a cake made with butter, without making the cake soggy. Rose’s recipe uses a sponge cake too, so this will be interesting (my other cake recipe does use butter but the milk mixture is LESS than Rose’s and now I understand why).

Looking forward to seeing all your Tres Leches cake creations :o) Did I mention I'm really excited to be guest-host this week?? :o)

Anonymous said...

Trace LAY-chays

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Thanks for the info on the Seville Oranges Matthew - I can't imagine anything that sour tasting good, no matter what you do to it.

anitsirK said...

Having been in French immersion all the way into high school, when I see Tres Leches, my brain mangles it and it translates in my head to "very milky", which I suppose isn't too far off the truth. Must remember to restock hubby's lactaid when I pick up the dairy products tomorrow. ;)

evil cake lady said...

Thanks everybody! I was at my favorite grocery store this evening and saw....Seville Oranges!!! They were from California, but I don't think that matters too much, right? So, should I buy all of them and start mailing them out to you all? Let me know! I could throw in a bag of Muscovado on the house :)

faithy said...

Thanks Hanaâ!

Anonymous said...

If you end up getting Seville oranges and want a marmalade recipe too, let me know-I have a killer one. No hopes of seeing them around here I'm afraid.

A quick word of warning about Sevilles though-they cause similar reactions with medication that grapefruit does, so be careful if that's something you need to watch. Of course, you can't really sit down and eat a Seville orange or drink a glass of juice, so you would be ingesting much smaller amounts.


Anonymous said...

This is a link to kosher sweetened condensed milk for Mendy (I can't post on your blog):


Marie said...

That's so nice of you! Vicki found some too, and kindly offered to send some to the Minnesota contingent.

I've always been leery of making jam or marmalade. Isn't that one of the things that can kill you if you don't do it right?
With all these warnings about how sour these oranges are, I'm starting to wonder how anyone ever figured out that they were edible, at least in some forms.

Anonymous said...

You're pretty safe with jams and jellies due to the sugar and fruit acid content. When you get into pressure canning low acid vegetables it becomes a bit more difficult (but not really). The only real risk with jams and jellies is if they develop mould. Growing up, we'd just scrape that off, and eat the jam but now the thinking is it contains a toxin that is a potential carcinogen. So if it grows fuzz, toss the jam. When you go to use it, you'll be able to tell if the seal is still good which is another safety indicator.

If you're really frightened, just make a small batch of "fridge jam" and keep it chilled. It will keep well for about a month.

I (being sorta neurotic) always do a fifteen minute water bath on my canned jams and jellies. I know some people don't, and they're still here, but fifteen minutes of my time is worth not worrying about it.

It figures this is the one year I didn't make marmalade or I'd send you a jar.In the absence of Sevilles, I like to use blood oranges.