Mar 30, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

Le Succes will, I believe, always be known to the Heavenly Cake Bakers as either "that cake that made me buy a giant jar of instant tea" or "that cake that forced me to come up with a substitute for disgusting instant tea." Lois, a self-proclaimed "pantry snob," refused to buy the tea and substituted tea steeped in lemon zest and cream. Vicki used English breakfast tea infused with lemon extract. Mendy also went the teabag route because he couldn't find kosher for passover instant tea.
Jennifer used the instant tea, but nobody can accuse her of having plebeian tastes, since she's the one who knew that this cake is called a dacquoise. Katya admitted to using "plain old Tetley's," and Raymond loved the subtle taste that the instant tea imparted.
Jenn went in a totally different direction, and used Starbuck's instant coffee. Lisa improvised with cream and chocolate chips. Some people just march to a different drummer.
As usual, I think Rose knew what she was doing with the instant tea. Although you might not ever use the tea for drinking, it was perfect for the ganache because it added a little sweetness, a little lemon flavor, and a little tea.

is this week's FEATURED BAKER--even though she didn't especially like the cake. But her rendition is beautiful, and I liked how cranky she got when things weren't turning out the way she wanted. (A girl after my own heart!) And I liked it even more when I read how much she hated piping. (REALLY a girl after my own heart!). So, Monica, you are awarded the coveted title of Featured Baker, with all the rights, privileges, and appurtenances thereto accompanying. Not just because you spent two days turning out a beautiful cake, but also because you just wouldn't give up! You will soon be rewarded for your perseverance. At least, that is what your fortune cookie said.

I was concentrating so much on finding cakes suitable for Passover that I forgot that this weekend is also Easter. I plan to make the pecan torte with coffee cream for my Easter dinner, and I don't see any reason why a Passover dessert can't double as an Easter dessert. As an added bonus, the pecan torte is Quick and Easy. If you want something else, though, you could skip ahead one week and banana cake with white chocolate frosting. (If you're having a crowd, you would probably want to double this to make a layer cake). The banana cake is also Quick and Easy.
Enjoy these cakes while you can, because coming up in May is one of the five or so cakes that filled me with dread when I read the recipe: the Saint-Honore trifle. It's not the five separate components to the trifle itself that are bothering me--it's the spun sugar. Here are a few excerpts from the instructions: "Cover the floor ... with newspaper." "Add the beeswax...." "When any smoking stops...." "Stand on a stool...." This is in the same category as the pinecone cake, the category being "Cakes that Make You Wonder if You're Totally Insane for Attempting Them."


Lois B said...

Congrats, Monica. Beautiful photos of a beautiful cake.

I've always wanted to try something with spun sugar, Marie, but I had no idea it would involve newspaper, beeswax and smoking, oh my!

Katya said...

looking forward to trifle. nothing I like more than pudding.

I haven't made the pecan coffee torte yet but I just made my family at Passover gathering very happy with the Chocolate Feather Bed. For those who don't mind dairy after dinner I highly recommend.

evil cake lady said...

omg, how i am going to find enough people to eat the trifle? i will be hading out bowls of it to people on the street!

congrats to monica for being this week's miss heavenly cakes!

i am impressed by all those smart people who infused real tea for the ganache. for the future, i have LOTS of lemon tea powder i would be happy to share with you!

Monica said...

Ohh Gosh.. who knew that all that stomping and cursing will bring the coveted FEATURE BAKER???

ahhhh ***blushing****

*cough, cough* "I want to thank everybody and anybody who ever had anything at all to do with the making of "pipping" and this cake... ***music playing***"

Thanks Marie and all of the HCB, you have no idea how much I enjoy baking along with you guys. (psst, Tom thanks you too, he now can count on having cake every week in the kitchen for him to eat)

And oh, after this bring on the triffle!

Jenn said...

Congrats Monica for the honor!
Marie - that spun sugar scares me. Where can I get beeswax? And how am I gonna do this with the cat always lurking in the kitchen (have a feeling he will be locked up *wink*).

faithy said...

Congrats Monica! Love your photos! :)

I won't be baking the next cake (pecan torte)..i'll be going away and hopefully be back in time for the Banana Refrigerate cake.

Monica said...

Guys.. guess what I found?

Anyone needs a bit of Direction with the spun sugar in the upcoming Trifle?

Rose has a video that shows you how to do this:


Marie said...

Woody says the beeswax is not necessary for the spun sugar, but you should have a whisk that you've cut at the top. You can kind of see a picture of it on p. 233. Also, we'll all want to watch the video of Rose making this spun sugar before we attempt it. Well, I guess I can't speak for everyone, but I'll want to watch it again.

Monica said...

Marie.. that is what I see.. Rose mentions that the Beeswax is only to keep it more pliable... but I'm planning on making this forming it and topping the trifle - no rooms for errors!

In fact there are tons of videos out there showing the techniques.. and most have the cut-off whisk...I just have to give one of mine up and get Tom to pull the heavy tools out of the shed!

Anonymous said...

If you can find an angel food cake cutter, you can also bend the tines, and use that for spun sugar.

Mendy said...


Congrats Monica. Your pictures are always outstanding!

Anonymous said...

I pray you all have dry weather for the spun sugar!

faithy said...

I saw the video link Monica provided..Like have to violently shake/flicker the! I'm not sure if i can pull this off since ANTS is a big issue (to me..i have insect!) ..flickering sugar like that - the ants will appear in less than 5 mins if i miss cleaning a spot after. Plus my kitchen is not air-conditioned, i wonder if i can still spun sugar in our humid climate.

anitsirK said...

I read your last paragraph about the trifle to my husband, and he suggested that I should do my spun sugar in the old summer kitchen on the back of our house that we're planning on tearing down this summer. Sounds like a plan to me!

Vicki said...

Congratulations Monica! I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your photos.

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

i've been sick with a cold for 12+ days but still have to chime in here with a few comments!

monica your cake was indeed perfectly beautiful.

anyone who went to the you tube posting may see the comment from someone criticizing my "flick" technique. just try flicking sugar after hours (union rules said we needed to stop before we started filming and i threatened them with the cut whisk saying we HAD to show this--it was the grand finale!) while also talking and trying not to fling i mean flick sugar on the camera lens!

an amusing aside about the powdered tea. yes i confess to being a food snob who would never dream of using things like tang and instant tea however i am married to elliott who manages to bring me down to earth on occasion and those were two occasions where i found the products perfect for the application. a chef once told me that she brought tang into the restaurant kitchen to do my orange buttercream from the cake bible and her chef was in shock. she said "rose levy beranbaum" said to use it! that quieted him but little did they know it was elliott's guidance!!!