Feb 19, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

What happened to the week? It's Friday already, and my mid-week cake roundup has had to wait until end-week to be posted. Work is just cutting too much into my baking time. I would judge the double-chocolate heart cake to be quite successful, although I must say that there were an unusual number of minor glitches (my cake was not the only one that suffered from a broken heart).
Mendy noticed that his "cake came out a little lopsided without the proper height." And this was after his first attempt came out too dry. But, despite being lopsided, the second cake was "moist, fudge-y (, warm) and yummy!" And his cake, even though he thought it was "funny looking," was demolished by hungry and admiring guests, while a more level-headed bakery cake was left standing.
Monica didn't have difficulties with lopsidedness, but the double-flipping required by the recipe drove her to distraction: "I needed to move it to the serving plate, so I tried to do a flip and flip and realized that it was not going to work. So, I tried to slide it, and nope, nada. Next up lifting the cake with two spatulas and transferring it to the serving plate, and it seem to work, except that I did not count on it still being wet at the bottom, so when I tried to remove the spatulas, the cake started to split ... YIKES! Abort! Abort! And yelled for HELP!" Just as I did, she found out that the fact that the cake split didn't mean that all was lost.
Gartblue had an entirely different issue. She had no problems at all until she started smelling something burning. When she looked in her oven, she saw a cake having a growth spurt and suffering at least second-degree burns. Puzzled, she checked the temperature gauge and saw that it had somehow been turned to 250. (That's Celsius--in Fahrenheit, it's over 480). likely. Unless, I accidentally turned it to max when I leaned over to get the clingwrap for the ganache. Well. Damage was done. When she took the cake out, she said it looked like Mount Kinabalu. That's the highest mountain in Malaysia, and who says you can't learn geography from a cake blog. When she tried to brush on the ganache, she didn't get just one crack, but a whole seismic event, and the cake completely disintegrated.
On the bright side, Raymond not only loved the cake, but also loved the raspberries that he splurged on. He said the produce manager gave him a sample before selling them because he knew that Raymond "would make a fuss if I got them home and they were tasteless." Raymond, is there some way you could become an ombudsman for all purchasers of produce? You could go from store to store promising to kick up a fuss if there's any substandard produce. Granted, it's not the kind of field that superheroes generally get into, but you'd sure be a hero to me.
On the other hand, Jennifer praised the "familiar comforts of baking a butter cake" after our forays into more complicated and unfamiliar terrain.
And Vicki, who made cupcakes, had great fun with her Frosting Fun Gun, filling them with ganache, or raspberry mousse, or whipped cream.
Nancy B. also used texas muffin pans, as well as Mary Ann pans. She was pleased with the results, but there wasn't enough ganache to cover all the surfaces of her mini-cakes. Nancy, there are a couple of recipes that we'll get to eventually that call for those very same small Mary Ann pans. Do not give them away.
Finally, I just have to call your attention to the breathtaking basketweave decorating on Hanaa's cake. Look at it and weep.

Our FEATURED BAKER this week is Toni, for many reasons. First, the adorable picture of her daughter inspecting the cocoa powder--taken just nanoseconds before she breathed on the cocoa and sent it skittering all over the counter. Second, her brave search for raspberries. Third, her demonstration of how to make your own cake strips. Fourth, her mini-muffin after-school-snack version of the cake. Fifth, her pictures of snowpeople commenting on her cakes.
But the real reason is that I want to know whether Toni wants to be called Virginia. I swear that when I first got an email from her asking about being in the group, she signed it "Toni." But I also swear that she now identifies herself as Virginia. Is there a split personality thing going on here? Or did I just screw up?

Stay tuned for answers to this, and other life's questions. And I hope that you're all giving serious thought to what cake you're going to bake this weekend when you're not chained to my schedule. It's total freedom for you this week!
Also, note that there's been a change in the schedule. Saira had asked to do the banana cake as guest host on March 15. As you may recall, Saira's father died suddenly in January, and she has been with her family. She's almost ready to start baking again, but has a lot to get caught up on, so she asked to move her stint as guest host to April. Monica noticed the pistachio cake, and asked if we could put that on the list of cakes to bake soon, so I decided to move that one up to take the place of the banana cake.
Note that Rose has a preferred supplier for high-quality pistachios. A lot of you probably have access to good, fresh pistachios, but you'll want to get the best ones you can find since they're such an important element of this cake.


Lois B said...

I love these recaps, Marie. How did I miss Hanaa's basketweave?!!

Monica said...

Lois you miss Hannaa's masterpice??? I can tell you one thing, we all want her piping skills stat!

Marie, as always great recap. And like you said it answer some questions that had come up... because I had my calendar set up with the Banana cake and then puff it disappear and I was like WHATTTT???? What happen? Maybe I imagine it … and then I saw the pistachio cake and Tom and I did the happy dance all over the place – I been wanting to do this cake since I bought the book, I think I bought the book when I saw the cake!

And I do have a question… I been looking for the best pistachios and the Sicilian ones are pricey as in $50 bucks for only a pound, so gulp! I been trying to find ways around that (I been trying to justify the expense and I just cannot come up with it, plus Tom will KILL ME). But, I did find pistachio flour. So, I’m wondering if that would work… anyone? Anyone?

Hanaâ said...

Thanks for the great recap, Marie. They’re always fun to read. I almost thought you skipped it because of the undetermined nature of our “Next Cake” :o) And of course, a big thanks for the shout-out!! :o)
To my fellow HCB-ers, it’s been a crazy week. I have the intention to visit all of your blogs no later than the end of tomorrow. I’ve been visiting about 2-3 each day and haven’t gotten around to everyone yet, but I will.
As for next week’s cake, it’s so hard to choose. I might end up making half a recipe of the Golden Almond Lemon Cake and half a recipe of the Choc Streusel Cake. I skipped the latter, however everybody raved about it.

Last but not least, congratulations to Toni/Virginia/Love2CookSweets HCB-er :o)

Virginia Taylors said...

Wow, am I ever excited!! Thanks. Now to reveal the mystery....Toni is my name but when we moved to Virginia from out west we became the "Virginia Taylors". I love when people use my computer name-I think it is great. Virginia, Toni, I'll answer to both.

evil cake lady said...

Wow, it's so cool to be quoted; it makes me think I write good ;) Thanks for the ego boost Marie!

I wanted to bake pretty much every cake I've passed on, but had to commit to just one. It was hard.

Nicola said...

I have decided that I don't really like Free Choice week... it is so much easier not having to choose. Makes me appreciate you even more Marie!

Fab round up of this week's posts. Congrats Toni on the FB award. I love seeing the photos of you and your girls baking. Very cute.

Wishing you an easier week next week Marie (workwise at least).


Jenn said...

You know you're a baking addict when you've been checking Marie's blog for recap a couple of times a day since Wednesday, :).
Marie - great recap!!! Sorry to hear work's hindering your recap (shouldn't it be the other way around ^_^).
I will have to pass on the free choice week. I have a test cake to make from TCB - I will post with result. I will make sure to add sugar this time, unlike the Chocolate Valentine :).

gartblue said...

like evilcakelady, I'm thrilled to be quoted. though in an entirely different light than the rest. hahahha ...

and you know what .. i'm still not done picking my "free choice" cake .. it's so much better if you TELL me what to bake .. making me choose puts me to think and I'm fickle. yikes!

anyhow .. have a family do tomorrow and I may whip up the white velvet cupcakes and the neoclassic buttercream. but i really wanna bake the coffee struesal cake again .. twas that GOOD!

We'll see .. hope no more burnt cakes ..

Mendy said...


Congrats Toni! You deserve it! :)

Marie said...

I'm not sure, but I don't think that pistachio flour would be an adequate substitute, but I agree that $50 a pound is not in most people's budgets. I'd say just get some good California pistachios.

You do write good!

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm hoping for a better week too. And then off to Hawaii!

Thanks for clearing up that mystery!

doughadear said...
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