Feb 3, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

The pineapple upside-down cake is another dessert that was almost universally liked, even though, as usual, we had many different versions. I hope that all of you looked at Mendy's blog, not just to look at the cakes he baked in his little springform pans, but also to get some insight into the holiday Tu-Bishvat, and why the new year of the trees is celebrated in Judaism. It would have been more authentic if we'd baked a pomegranate and almond cake (and Rose, I hope you'll get to work on that because it sounds delicious, but I think the pineapple-cherry combo will do.) Some people used canned pineapple and some fresh; some used frozen cherries,andd some used maraschino; some added orange.
Nancy B. and Nicola used Texas muffin pans, which seemed to work very well. Jennifer, Lisa, Vicki, Monica, and Raymond used individual ramekins, which also worked quite well. Lanier and Lois both made cupcakes, again proving that there is no cake that can't be cupcaked. And Faithy decided to ignore the "individual" part of the cakes, making hers in an 8-inch pan, as did Elaine, who made hers in a loaf pan. (Apologies if I got anybody wrong--I made some quick notes when I read through everyone's blog, and found a lot of my notes to be indecipherable).
Some kind of special Sugar Award goes to Vicki, who found that she had somehow accumulated seven different kinds of sugar in the course of her baking escapades. It sounds almost professional, doesn't it?
I'm bestowing the title of FEATURED BAKER on Hanaâ this week, because not only did she make several heart-shaped upside-down cakes, which turned out to be quite lovely, but she also did what no one else thought of--and maybe no one else has ever thought of--she used the pineapple and cherry to make a pineapple-upside-down smiley face. Another clever thing that Hanaâ did was to add the grated rind of one orange into the batter. I didn't taste it literally, but when my mental taste buds tried it, they really liked it. Finally, she weighed the batter into each individual ramekin, so the batter was evenly distributed. A scale-loving girl after my own heart!

We're finally ready for the True Orange genoise, the cake we've all been anticipating in our searches for the elusive Seville orange. Although I'd been warned that these little oranges were touchy little things and went bad overnight, I ignored the warning and found that they literally do go bad overnight. I rescued enough to make Seville orange juice, and then made the orange curd last weekend. If you're on the fence about making this cake, I recommend that you try it--or at least that you try the orange curd. Every time I opened the refrigerator this week, I heard the siren song of this orange curd, calling to me. So far I've resisted. If you like the sound of something that's rich, tangy, sour, and sweet all at the same time, you'll like the orange curd. I can't vouch for the rest of the dessert, which I haven't made yet, but I'm crazy about the orange curd.
After that, we come to the Valentine's Day chocolate cake with a ganache glaze, fresh raspberry topping, and whipped cream. If you want to make it a Valentine's Day cake, you'll want a 9-inch heart-shaped pan. You can also make it in a round cake pan, and I'm thinking that no one would refuse to be your valentine because you baked them a round chocolate cake.
Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that people have strong feelings about. I've known some people (mostly women) who got very depressed on a V-Day where they weren't seeing anyone and where the world seemed populated only by loving couples. I've also known some people (mostly men) who get angry on Valentine's Day because they believe it's a stupid, trumped-up holiday designed to extort money from them and force them to mouth romantic platitudes.
Did you know that Valentine's Day is the biggest day of the year for restaurant owners? The common wisdom is not to go out for dinner on Valentine's Day because you'll get a second-rate dinner even at a first-rate restaurant. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that Jim and I are going out for our Valentine's Day dinner the week after the actual holiday. Who cares? We'll have chocolate cake to keep us warm.

Our most recent baker is Elaine, from Brisbane, who says that baking makes her happy. She baked the upside down cakes on Friday, so I had to hold off adding her to the list for a few days so she wouldn't be ahead of everyone else. (I know there's a time difference between here and Australia, but I'm pretty sure it's not 72 hours). I like the way Elaine's blog is set up--it's very organized, with ratings of scale of difficulty and yumminess, and a final paragraph called "How did it taste?"
This brings us to 28 Heavenly Bakers. I've decided to limit the number to 30. Hanaa has a friend who is interested, so that would be 29. If we get more applicants after 30, I'll put them on a waiting list. I'd like to encourage everyone to join, but I know we all like to check out each other's cakes, and I think it would just get unwieldy to have more than about 30.
If we ever get to the point where there's a waiting list, I'll probably be more religious about enforcing the rule about baking two cakes a month, but don't worry about it yet.


Monica said...

Marie.. I need to agree on you with the orange curd, like you I did that last weekend too... my refrigerator not only signs but does the happy, happy, joy, joy dance as well... its THAT GOOD people.

I had to give a strong talk to Tom about using it as his morning bagel topper (but I think he is on to something, toasted bagel, cream cheese and that sweet/tartness/ goodness on top).

faithy said...

Congrats Hanaâ!

For those of you who doesn't have Seville orange, don't be disheartened cos the normal orange curd will taste great & yummy too! Now orange curd is my new fave! Regular orange curd is just sweet no sour..but i like it nonetheless...I know cos i've already made the cake and ate it..;)

& Welcome Elaine! :)

gartblue said...

marie .. OMG! it's thursday already? I completely forgot to post my pineapple upside down and wondered why you left me out! *kicks self*

anyhow .. am so glad to learn that we'll be making the valentine's cake after the orange genoise .. yay!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Hi! I've been following this blog for some time and this book has been on my wishlist as well.

Today, I finally bought a copy and I'm so excited to start baking from it. If you still have one more spot, I'd love to join you all in this endeavor. :)


evil cake lady said...

well, I'd like to amend that my ramekin fiasco did not turn out so well, but congrats to Hanaa and welcome Elaine! I just bought my seville oranges today, and I bought 2x the amount needed because I suspect I will love this curd enough to want some around to eating. The store only had about 1 crate left and I almost greedily bought the whole crate! Can't wait to see all of our posts!

Elaine said...

Thanks guys :) I posted the pineapple cake post super early because I suck at reading and didn't realise you're not meant to post till Monday! lol My apologies :)

Can't wait till next weeks cake! It is in the middle of summer here in Brissy, so finding seville orange is impossible... I'll see how I go with just normal orange!

Lois B said...

Congrats Hanaâ!!! I loved your little heart shaped cakes.

I've been on the fence about the next cake, but you've all convinced me. I'm going to make it for my dad's birthday with regular oranges.

Welcome Elaine!

Vicki said...

Nigella Lawson says: A substitute for Seville orange juice may be made by combining 2 parts orange juice to 1 part lime juice. I'll try it today and report back how it works. I already made the cake with Sevilles so it will be an interesting comparison.

NancyB said...

I made my orange curd a week ago (and have been resisting eating it plain), but the rest of my sour oranges went bad before I made the syrup. They really did seem to mold overnight! Luckily, the big international farmers' market still had a supply last night, so I'll be making my syrup promptly, before the new supply goes blue...

Hanaâ said...

What a pleasant surprise to find that I’m this week’s featured baker upon reading your post this morning. Yay! Thank you so much, Marie! And yes, I LOVE my scale :o)
Sometimes it’s OK to “play with your food”, even though we’ve all been brought up *not to*. As you can tell from the orange zest addition, that I LOVE orange so I’m very much looking forward to making next week’s cake. I also happen to love the combination of orange and chocolate, so I can’t wait. I just hope the orange curd is not too “eggy”. So far, I haven’t been a big fan of lemon curd for that same reason.

Wafae said...

Congrats Hanaa for the title of this week's featured baker.
Since I've known Hanaa roughly four years ago, I loved/respected her sense of paying close attention to details. Baking wise, I remember once when we had a project of making the Morrocan cookies "mucha buena" the recipe yielded about 50+ cookies, we weighed every single cookie (something I wasn't honestly used to)
Later, Hanaa got me a scale for my birthday. She is truly a scale loving girl, and I'm getting into that scale path myself. thank you Hanaa for always bribing/twisting my arm.
You deserve the featured baker of the week position. Keep it up...

Monica said...

Hannaa.. trust me, its not "eggy" at all.. its silky and tart and sweet and its TO.DIE.FOR... not being a fan of cooked fruit, I have to said, this one sold me.

I'm looking for more sour oranges to make more of it and keeping it in the refrigerator so we can use it to top our morning bagels.

Jenn said...

Faithy - I will join you in making regular orange curd since I can't find Seville. I'm looking forward to the orange genoise. I love orange & chocolate combo.
Marie - it's interesting what you said about second rate dinner. I went out to Il Fornaio for New Year's Eve a couple of years ago and it was the worst dinner I had there. Ordered Rack of Lamb, it was still pretty raw! That sort of kill my desire to go back. We're actually going to dinner for Valentine's day a week early :). But on Valentine's day we're gonna have the chocolate cake!

Vicki said...

Seville substitution verdict-

I think 2 parts orange juice to 1 part lime juice is fairly close to the seville orange juice. It has an undercurrent of tartness like the seville with just a smidge of extra flavor. As I've made the three versions, my verdict is-they all make delicious orange curd!

And Marie, my grown daughter finds even more hilarious than the seven kinds of sugar is my growing stash of liquor...."I never though Rose would turn my mother into a lush!"

Virginia Taylors said...

Congrats Hanaa!! I was not going to make this next cake...I am on a cake disaster roll. But with comments like "to die for" and "happy happy joy joy" I think I must.
Thanks Vicki for giving me the Nigella Lawson combo for Seville oranges.

anitsirK said...

Huge thanks to Vicki for sending me a box of Sevilles! :) Only one of them was starting to turn and I had just a touch of extra juice without that one.

Since the oranges arrived on Friday, I made this cake this past weekend instead of working on the pineapple cake, and it was really quite good. Full thoughts will be on my blog later. ;)

Nicola said...

Congrats Hanaa and welcome Elaine. I used to live in Brisbane and I still have all my in-laws and alot of friends there.

So looking forward to making this cake. My seville OJ is defrosting and if it is as fab as everyone says (which I am sure it is) then I think I will be juicing alot of sevilles over the next week or so.

Looking forward to reading the posts.

evil cake lady said...

Vicki, you've made the orange curd three times? Thanks for experimenting and getting back to us!

Hanaâ said...

Thank you all! :o)

Vicki, thanks for the feedback. Three times? I must have missed one. I read about the seville curd, Nigella's "2 part OJ and 1 part LJ". What's the other one? Regular/navel orange?

Jenn said...

Marie - it is amazing that we have cupcakes every week! Well, I guess between 29 bakers, the possibility is quite high. I'd be curious to see if anyone would make the next cake as cupcakes. I will be making 1/2 a recipe (in 6 inch pan) b/c we're trying to cut back :(.

Bungalow Barbara said...

I could not find Seville oranges, so I made my curd with Minneola tangelos. I took about 1 cup of juice, added the juice of half a lemon for a little extra tartness, and boiled it down in the microwave until it was reduced to 1/2 cup. Then I used 100 grams (about 6 tablespoons to make the curd) -- using only 1/2 cup sugar in the curd.

It worked great!

Another tip for those who can't find Seville oranges -- you can make an excellent regular orange curd using frozen orange juice concentrate and fresh navel orange zest. Use 1/4 cup of the concentrate (do NOT add water) and the lesser amount of sugar. I did this a while ago and it was great!

If you have some of the Boyajian orange oil, add a drop or two to taste. Or perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon good-quality orange extract (I have Penzey's).

Can you tell I like citrus curds?

Marie said...

Well, I'm glad it wasn't my fault!

Why don't you let me know after you've baked your first cake and I'll add you to the list then?

I think that the true orange chiffon would be a challenge to do as cupcakes (but not impossible). I'll also be interested to see if someone does it.

Mendy said...


Congrats Hanaâ, I always enjoy your posts!

Welcome Elaine!

Thanks, Marie, for mentioning my Tu Be'shvat explanation. Perhaps one day Rose will be inspired to write a cookbook devoted to Jewish Baking like her friend Marcy Goldman.



Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Thanks Marie! I'll be making the True Orange Genoise and I'll post it next week! :)

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Jenn said...

Marie - can we do the Golden Almond Yellow Cake in March? I believe this one is in RHC. After seeing Rose's latest blog entry I feel like we should not wait any longer :). Oh and Raymond, you should go check it out as you're mentioned in there!

Hanaâ said...

With the addition of Jill, are we at 30 members?

I'd love to my the Golden Almond Lemon Cake. My friend made it recently but had some issues with the cake falling after it was removed from the oven. We tasted the "cooked" cake parts and it's DELICIOUS. So I was considering it for the Free Choice in February. But if we're going to make it in March, I'd wait and choose something else instead.

Marie said...

Jenn and Hanaa,
I made the golden almond lemon cake in June (I think). I had some problems with it, which I cleverly disguised with roses--so it would be an excellent choice for the free choice. I may do the free choice every few months if people like the idea.
I told both Jill and Wafae that I'd add them when they posted their first cake HC blog, so that will put us at 31. They both asked to join about the same time, and I didn't want to say no to either one.

Jenn said...

Marie - sounds good for free choice. I would have to make some "tough" decisions regarding which one to make - there are 9 cakes that I missed! It's a fun decision to make though, :).

Lisa said...

Does anyone have an opinion of wondra flour vs flour/cornstarch sub mentioned??

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Jenn - I did the true orange chiffon cupcakes for the Bostini and even had batter left over for the most gorgeous airy beautiful madeleines. Some of each are still in the freezer. I made them for trial run Bostini muffins for a party, and had planned to post the Bostini after the party, which has yet to take place because my kitchen had to be ripped up suddenly just after Christmas. Anyway, I will be back here hopefully next week, and I can post this process for you. It was sooo easy and delish! I made them in the Lekue muffin pans. Joan

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

wow do they all look fantastic! marie that milk chocolate mistake wasn't--i love the contrast and your cake looks gorgeous. that photo of the lower vs. the higher layer reminds me of the one i posted when i didn't beat the full 5 minutes. the difference is shocking!

i think i like the fresh undried orange slices better than the dried used in the book photo.

in commercial kitchens i've seen them heating the orange curd on medium high heat until almost boiling and straining out the curdled part. it is much faster but it grieves me to see the waste of ingredients (though maybe preferable to the waste of time in those situations).

so many good ideas and variations and gorgeous photos. i haven't even had morning coffee yet--mesmerized by all your comments and postings. and don't worry--i'll revisit tomorrow just in case there are more!

by the way, i love the golden milk solids residue from clarified butter and freeze them to use in bread or spread them on toast. yum!

Marie said...

As a child of Depression-era parents, it pains me to think of throwing away a lot of citrus curd just to make it more easily.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

i was that same child!