Mar 25, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

The people have spoken about peanut butter ingots, and, although it's not completely unanimous, it's fair to say that the peanut butter ingots were more universally popular than say, health care reform. There were actually not too many "ingots"; that is, most of these financiers were not baked in the traditional financier pan. We did have a wealth of cupcakes, however. Gartblue made hers as cupcakes, as did Lois (mini-muffin pans, covered with chocolate glaze); Katya (addition of a bit of buckwheat flour); Mendy; and lanier.
Jennifer had some adorable flower-shaped cakelet pans, so she used those, and, like Lois, drizzled hers with chocolate. (Well, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is pretty natural, isn't it? Just ask Reese's). Kristina used a silicone brownie pan and some silicone cupcake liners; she also has some good hints on making and storing beurre noisette.
Raymond, who plans to make these once a week (!), actually bought the financier pans, although his were a little larger than the ones I bought.
Svetlana piped hers. She didn't like the way they turned out, but I thought they looked cute--like Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. And, of course, I'm very impressed that she piped anything voluntarily.
Two different people, Faithy and Nancy B., made two different kinds of financiers: Faithy went for green tea as well as standard peanut butter, and Nancy B. tried the praline paste variation along with her peanut butter version. Very impressive!
And now, our FEATURED BAKERVicki. Just so you know how arbitrary and capricious I am in choosing the Featured Baker, I will tell you why Vicki's post attracted me so--reasons that actually have almost nothing to do with the actual baked product. First, I was charmed by the picture of one of her horses. Second, I loved the mental picture of Woody and Hector pounding on her door with a Cease and Desist order. Third, her comparison (complete with link) of her merger of two recipes with Rachel's merger of a trifle recipe with a shepherd's pie recipe was a funny reminder of one of the best episodes of Friends. And fourth, her sweet granddaughter told her, "Grandma, you could sell these to Starbucks." Oh, and her ingots looked good too, despite the fact that they were an unintentional combination of plum and peanut butter ingots. But I also have an actual justification for choosing her as Featured Baker--the imagination she showed in decorating her hybrid ingots: peanut butter drizzle, mini chocolate chips, cornflakes, muscovaco sugar, and melted chocolate.

Next up: TWO Passover cakes. I'm unreasonably excited about baking Passover cakes. Even though I don't celebrate Passover, I love traditions, especially traditions that are thousands of years old, and that are modernized without losing their essence. Not that Le Succes or Sybil's Pecan Torte are traditional Passover cakes (at least I'm pretty sure they're not), but they are flourless.
As I mentioned, however, I am not looking forward to all the falderal associated with piping batter in three 8-inch circles. Why couldn't I just use three 8-inch cake pans? I'm sure there's a reason, but I'd love to know what it is. A friend of mine was recently quizzing me about one of Rose's recipes. "Why are her directions so complicated? Why can't she just have plain, regular instructions?" Finally, I just said, "Because Rose knows all!" I suppose that's why I can't just use the cake pans. And I won't, I'll use the danged pastry bag. But I won't be happy about it.
Other than the pastry bag, there's not much to worry about with this cake, now that we know that powdered tea is just Lipton's Instant Tea with lemon. If, like me, you bought blanched almonds instead of unblanched almonds for your peanut butter ingots, the succes provides you with a way to use them: two whole cups of blanched almonds.
And for the pecan torte, which comes next, you need only a 9-inch springform pan, lots of pecans, coffee extract or instant espresso powder. I finally used up all my instant Medaglia d'Oro espresso powder that I've had since we were in a different century. This time I bought some espresso powder from King Arthur, and will see how it compares. Gentiles may use cream of tartar in the cake, but you shouldn't use it, according to Rose, if you're making the cake for Passover. But my Google sources say that it's perfectly fine to use cream of tartar of passover. I'll admit to being confused about the status of cream in a Passover menu. Is it okay to include it if there's no meat in the meal?

Another new baker this week--Zerin Bobby, all the way from the United Arab Emirates. Zerin says she's not that good at baking or at blogging, but she wants to get better at both. And, because Rose's Heavenly Cakes was prohibitively expensive in the UAE, she actually got someone to bring her a copy from the U.S.--much cheaper. Zerin made the double chocolate Valentine's cake as her debut cake, but she will be following our cake calendar from now on. I confess when I saw her name on an email, I thought of Bobby Darin, and I thought we'd have another man in the group, but it's not Bobby Darin, or even Bobby Zerin. Welcome, Zerin.


Katya said...

Marie, yes, cream would be fine in a vegetarian Passover meal. Cream of tartar is, however, not cream, instead a winemaking by-product. However, the only reason I could think of to bar if from Passover is if it has something to do with fermentation or grain...but my google sources agree with yours.

Lois B said...

Congratulations, Vicki! Your post and your cakes were wonderful.

I totally agree with you Marie about relishing ancient traditions. I look forward to the baking and hope we'll learn more about Passover . . . Mendy?

Vicki said...

Merci Madame Marie. You are too kind. Sadly Starbucks has not yet called with an offer to be their Ingot baker!

Mendy said...


It's really great that we are doing these Passover Cakes. I already decked out my Passover Space-ship, err, I mean, tin-foiled, poured boiling water on and blow-torched my kitchen (I'll try to post some pics...)

Ack! Help! I will not be using my toaster on Passover (I did not feel like cleaning it well enough or blow-torching it...) so I will have to make the cakes non-dairy.

I need help figuring out a non-dairy substitute for Crème fraiche. I can't use any grains or legume-based products (such as corn, soy etc.) I was thinking to add some sour salt and perhaps some walnut oil for the moisture. Any ideas?

Mendy said...


Congrats Vicki! You inspire!

Anonymous said...

I believe some people consider cream of tartar not kosher for passover because it is the product of a fermentation process--wine making.

faithy said...

Congrats Vicki! You definitely deserve to be featured! :) Always love reading your posts!

Monica said...

Congrat Vicki... like everyone, we love your post. Well deserved.

Jenn said...

Congrats Vicki! It's a well-deserved featured baker honor. Shall I help send a comment to Starbucks? Maybe they don't even know what ingot is!

Marie - great post as always. It is funny that there are more cupcakes than ingots this time.

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations Vicki!! Well-deserved. I really liked your pictures of your plum-PB ingots :o)

evil cake lady said...

Vicki, I loved the photos of the horses too, so I am glad that they got a mention. And congrats on being the featured baker!

Marie, you know I have remedial piping skills at best, but I have piped the dacquoise disks before, so know that it really isn't too hard. Plus, they get all covered up in ganache, so if they are in pieces or lopsided no one will even notice. Remembering that always helps me out!

Marie said...

I looked up non-dairy creme fraiche and had no luck. Is there a non-dairy sour cream you can use? I see that Passover baking is more complicated than I thought--can't wait to see what you come up with.

Goody said...

The cream of tartar prohibition is year round, not just Passover.My understanding is that it isn't the winemaking and fermentation, but that there is a presumption that non-kosher wine could be grown in vineyards that have been subjected to pagan rituals.

Personally, I think our Sunday school teachers made stuff up to freak us out, but it kept us away from non-kosher wine. I have no idea if this is folklore, or actual dietary law, but I wasn't going to question Mrs. Chandelsson. She used to drag kids out of class by their ears.

Mendy said...


Goody, kosher cream of tartar comes from (don't hold your breath...) kosher wine!

The Jewish sages decreed against using any non-Jewish produced wine, regardless of the wine-makers affiliation (סתם יינם). Hence, the kosher wine industry. :)

Kosher wines have come a long way since sweet thick Manischewitz.

This Passover I'll be having a fine kosher merlot.