Feb 24, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

There was no clear winner in the Free Choice selection. Both Lois and
made the whipped cream cake. Monica found that it "transported" her to her days in Italy because it reminded her of eating gelato and watching beautiful men. Lois didn't mention being transported, but she took hers into work and served it with lemon curd, which sounds pretty transporting to me.
A different lemon cake from Nicola, who did the golden lemon almond cake, and made a brilliant rescue of the part of the cake that stuck to the pan. (Congrats on the new job!)
Both Elaine and Wafae made the classic carrot cake. Elaine thought it needed more cinnamon, and Wafae just used more cinnamon. She sprinkled the frosting with cinnamon,which, along with her fancy and fastidious decorating, made it look lovely. She decided, however, that she liked it better as cupcakes.
Jennifer did another cupcake version, but hers was of the the Rose Red Velvet Cake as cupcakes. Just as she did on the last occasion that she made a red velvet cake, she resisted all the entreaties of the people who urged her to use beet juice as a healthy alternative to red dye #40. I agree--beets belong in many things, but not in cakes.
Kristina was the third cupcake-baker: spice with peanut buttercream. Her buttercream is piped so sweetly. I'm very jealous of all these people with excellent piping skills.
Not cupcakes exactly, but Vicki made little gingerbread bundt cakes. I have to say that for someone who claims a lot of baking disasters, these bundt cakes looked very appetizing. (Vicki, the chocolate raspberry trifle is so good, and so is the red fruit shortcake!)
Toni, not satisfied with making just one cake, baked both the Manhattan Coconut Cake and another coconut cake to compare. She liked both cakes, but especially raved about the buttercream icing on Rose's cake. Mendy also went for broke and baked two different cakes: not only the Banana Refrigerator Cake, but also the Barcelona Brownie Bars. A glutton for punishment or a glutton for cake? You decide.
Lanier made the yellow cupcakes with chocolate egg white buttercream. Her icing on top of the cupcakes actually looks professional, while mine just looked blobby. She also has a piece of chocolate perched on top of the icing.
Lest you think that everyone chose one of the simpler cakes, Nancy B. tried her hand at the White Gold Passion Genoise. This has been one of my very favorite cakes, and Nancy liked it too, although she did note its "elaborate" nature, in a way that was perhaps not completely complimentary.
Raymond made the Hungarian Jancsi Torta. Raymond (whose cakes always look so inviting) loved this "simple and delicious" cake.

How did you like the Free Choice option? What best expresses your opinion:
a) I'd rather not do it again,
b) I don't mind doing it occasionally, but not regularly,
c) I'd like to repeat it regularly, say on a monthly basis, or
d) Other.

If there's a clear consensus, that's what we'll do. I personally thought it was fun to see everyone's choices. My only problem was that I couldn't figure out how to choose a Featured Baker when people were baking such different things, so I didn't.

Next week we're doing another quick and easy butter cake--the lemon poppyseed cake. It requires no exotic ingredients, and, although you can make it in a NordicWare heart pan (which I borrowed from Woody), you can also use any old bundt-type pan. This is a cake that's best left to mellow after you make it, so you can make it the night before and take it to work, which is what I plan to do.

To make up for next week's simple cake, be prepared for the Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze the following week. If you just take it step by step, you shouldn't have any problems with it, but it does take a long time to get through all the steps. If you want to simplify it a bit, you can substitute store-bought apricot jam for the lekvar and omit the syrup.

As I've been tiresome about repeating, I'm going to Hawaii on Saturday, so I won't be answering any emails. I've made the next two cakes, and they're scheduled to be posted, so you will be hearing from me. I won't do the "Last Cake, Next Cake" posting next week (no Featured Baker next week either), but you all can still check in with each other.


faithy said...

Enjoy your holidays in Hawaii & have a great time!! :)

Lois B said...

My answer to the free choice question is b) I don't mind doing it occasionally, but not regularly.

I liked having a free week to do something I hadn't baked, but I missed seeing all the different versions of the same cake.

Thanks for the warning with the apricot cake. I'll be in Florida that weekend, but maybe I'll bake early - better start now!


Virginia Taylors said...

I agree with Lois, my choice is B) occasionally would be fun but not regularly.
I did love seeing all the different cakes but missed the united vision.

Raymond said...


I really enjoyed the free choice as it gave me a chance to make one of the cakes I missed. I also loved seeing what everyone else gravitated to. My choice is B, I definitely want to do it again as a diversion but love being on a planned schedule for the project. Have a great time in Hawaii.


Hanaâ said...


You forgot to mention my Choc Streusel Coffee Cake (was it that bad?) :o) You can find my entry HERE.

My choice would be c). I really the choice to pick our own recipe. So far it looks like everyone is gravitating towards b) which is a subset of c), so I'd be happy with b) too.

Have a great time in Hawaii. You could send us some pictures so make us REALLY jealous (like we're NOT already). Have fun!!!

Virginia Taylors said...

Hanna, Not only did I love your post this week. It inspired me to make a batch of Choc streusel coffee cake muffins-I am enjoying one now!!!

Marie said...

I also missed Rozanne's cake. All I can say is that I did this last night and I was tired. I think I was so taken with your "ABC" that I must have neglected to scroll down to the chocolate streusel cake, which--of course--looks beautiful. Apologies.

NancyB said...

Hey, that "elaborate" for the White Gold Passion Génoise was just factual! Not intended as any sort of slight, especially considering how great the results were.

On the Free Choice vote, I guess I'd fall into group b) I don't mind doing it occasionally, but not regularly. I too really miss the comparison between all the write-ups, but it's fine with me to let people have a chance to do a catch-up cake, or a repeat.

Marie said...

Nancy B.,
I'll have to agree that you weren't slighting or insulting at all--but everyone's projects seemed to go so well, and I always have to include a little kvetching, so I took some poetic license with your post.

Hanaâ said...

No problem, Marie. Can’t blame you for being halfway on Hawaii already. Well, mentally anyway :o) Looking forward to hearing all about it (if you choose to share). Enjoy!

Jenn said...

Marie - I also choose B. It is interesting to see what everyone choose but I prefer the scheduled theme. It's more fun to see everyone's interpretation. Have a fabulous time in Hawaii!

Nicola said...

Technically I am a B too. I did like the free choice and it gives me a chance to catch up with your baking Marie. (Though I had assumed you were going to sit this week out, so I haven't really caught up at all!).

But I struggled to make a decision! So much easier when someone else is setting the target.

I would love that option D has us all converge in one place, and Rose, Woody, Hector and yourself demo the most problematic cakes. Afterall, the videos' are very very helpful, imagine how great it would be in person.

anitsirK said...

I'm with Hanaâ, on liking c, but happy enough with the emerging concensus of b. Like Nicola, I, too expected you to sit this one out, so some of the opportunity to 'catch up' is lost, but that's ok. :)

Vicki said...

"Hello Hawaii, can I come over? I'm a hauli on the mainland looking for a new amour...." Oh, sorry, the mere mention of going to Hawaii triggers Garfield in Paradise's catchy tune. I vote for B, it was fun and would be fun to do again sometime but the PRESSURE to choose was massive. I also second Nicola's option D and vote we all crash your vacation in Hawaii!

evil cake lady said...

I third Nicola's and Vicki's option D and will be looking for you on Maui!

Just kidding, I'm not crashing your Maui vacation. But maybe, in the next 52 weeks, we should organize a HCB meetup somewhere? It could be like our own personal convention.

Have fun in Hawaii, Marie!!
Ya'll--I can't wait to see all of your posts in the next day or so!!

Oh, my official vote is also B. I love getting a chance to catch up every now and then. Maybe every 6 weeks or so?

lanier said...

I was debating over B or C, so I like the every 6 weeks idea.
Have a great vacation!

Rozanne said...

Have a great vacation Marie!

I vote for option B. Like some of the others, I too missed seeing the different variations of the same cake.

Hanaâ said...

Good point on the seasonal fruit, Jenn. We just have to be “smart” about the recipes we pick. Not all recipes in the P&PB use (seasonal) fruit. Another thought I had is, we could do a month of TCB, a month of BB, a month of P&PB, and a month of Rose’s Cookies. We’d cover a wide variety and get a chance to learn all sorts of different techniques. I’ve tried to match these options with the months/holidays of the year that made most sense to me, and am thinking the following:

Jan: TCB
Feb: BB
Mar: P&PB
Apr: Cookies
May: TCB
Jun: BB
Jul: P&PB
Aug: Cookies
Sep: TCB
Oct: BB
Nov: P&PB
Dec: Cookies

Please feel free to come up with your own suggestions, agree or completely disagree with me :o)

Hanaâ said...

Forgot to mention that this would give Rose *plenty* of time to write a new book, possibly ten years or more, but I hope she doesn't wait that long :o)

Jenn said...

Hanaa, I love your quick reply! I agree with your suggestion. I think it's going to be fun to do different books and techniques. Covering all 4 books will definitely improve our baking skills immensely. I desperately need to improve my bread baking skills (but not neccesarily want to do bread every week) so this is perfect. I wonder what will the others think? C'mon gang, feel free to agree or disagree with us. Or to tell us we're crazy to think of another bake a long when we still have another year with this one :).

Vicki said...

I think it would be great! Force me to pull up my boot straps and face baking phobias straight on. I would probably actually get my hands in some bread dough and either emerge victorious or as filling in a Rolly Polly like Tom Kitten. Would the recipes be postable for those that don't have
all the books in their, such is my case, fictional reading library?

Hanaâ said...

I too would have to purchase the Cookies book but it would be right at home next to the 3 B’s. And I’m with you on improving my bread baking skills. This could be a perfect project while we wait for Rose’s new book(s). When a new book is out, we’ll pause, do the bake-along, and then resume after we’re done. Especially, since one year would only cover approximately 13 recipes from each book. We could do this for years :o)

Vicki, since these books are not new, they should be readily available in your library. If we post all the recipes of the month ahead of time, you could copy those 4 recipes from the library copy and have them ready. Copyright laws still restrict us from posting recipes, which is why I always get the author's permission or don't post the recipe at all but provide a link to the book (to help people find it in the library or book store). But maybe Rose could chime in on this one. Again, I'm not a lawyer :o)

NancyB said...

Rotating through multiple cookbooks works for me. While there's an extra inner push for me when I'm working on being able to say "I baked my way through RHC" that would be lacking with the lifetime project :) of BB, P&PB, and Cookies, I think the advantage of having a variety of baked goods outweighs that.

On posting recipes, my understanding is that you can't copyright the actual ingredients, but the way the instructions are written out (the U.S. Copyright Office says "substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions") is copyrightable. In any case, part of the reason we do this is to help promote Rose's cookbooks, so I'd think we would not want to post recipes. We certainly could link to any of the recipes that are already out there in reviews.

Monica said...

Wow, I'm late in the game here....

First off, Marie... how is that sunshine treating you eh? Please drink some Piña Colada in my name.

And I need to second Nicola's and Vicki's comment... I did not mind the free choice, at first then when it came time to choose it was so hard, that I almost pass it up. Plus like everyone else, I like to see the different takes on the same cake every week. I have learned so much in the short while that I been with you guys. But the feedback has been very helpful.

I also love the idea of baking from all of the books, it gives us a variation and expands our baking skills... I been thinking of joining another baker group that is baking from a Bread book, just so I can have something besides cake every week (not that Tom, my family, my co-workers and neighbors would complaint)

So I guess we will have to wait for Marie to come on back and tallie up the votes and see where we can go from here...or we can crash on her in Hawaii... anyone? anyone?

Marie said...

I love the idea of all of us meeting in one place too--maybe when we've actually finished the book? It would be hard to think of a centrally located spot, given the diversity of our group. It might be in the middle of the Pacific.

Vicki & ECL,
Come on along!

I already did The Bread Bible, and it was a wonderful experience. There is something about doing every recipe in a cookbook--after a while, you feel like you get to know the author's taste buds. I'm terrible at pastry--I actually bought the Pie and Pastry Bible with the idea that I might go through it, but haven't done it yet.

I love it that people are thinking ahead to more cookbooks. I think that says more than anything else possibly could that this is an endeavor that's been (mostly) fun.
The cookie book was my first Rose cookbook, and my introduction into her techniques and style. It's got some of my favorite cookie recipes in it.

Mendy said...


Have fun in Hawaii. :)

Seeing that Marie has done a good about 18 cakes before this group started it would be nice to have that many free choices scheduled in so that we could all try to bake thru the whole thing. Or, perhaps only 9 free choices if everyone feels like baking two at a time. ;)

A glutton for cake perhaps? But come on, you've got to be a least a bit of one to join a bake along like this (even if you genteel ladies (Raymond excluded) might demure from admitting such a thing...)

So, I guess that's choice 'c'

I'd be happy with 'b' though.

My bizarre little pipe dream would be for us all to meet at my favorite Kosher french steakhouse in Manhattan:


Wafae said...

Hi everyone, I really miss talking to you all. I'll be very busy those next few weeks. so my apologies if I didn't leave any comments. I love all the free choices you made. Good job everyone..
I vote for choice 'c'
Looking forward to seeing your new posts
And Marie! have a very nice trip!!

Nicola said...

Ha! Mendy. You will never hear me claiming to being a demure lady! A cake glutton for sure, I certainly can't stop at just one slice.

New York and that steakhouse would be fabulous. Although I will have to invest in an elastic waisted outfit. Steak, bearnaise and fries - though I guess that isn't very kosher?

Vicki said...

Abort Abort Abort!

Stay in Minnesota; No tsunami wave warning. But post pictures of you surfing the highest waves to hit Hawaii since 1969.