Jul 14, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

This week's pound cake is another easy cake with uniformly positive reviews.  Easy and delicious--what a great combination.
, (cognac-soaked vanilla bean pods) who is "generally not a fan of these mini individual cakelette things," thought that "these little beauties are terrific." Although he is also generally not a fan of specialty pans, he had picked a couple of mini-loaf pans downstairs at Dehillerin on a trip to Paris (11 years ago). He said this is the first time he's used them, and otherwise the only thing he's ever done with them is "move them out of the way to get out the useful pans in my cupboard."
If the Heavenly Cake Bakers ever have a reunion, I propose that we meet downstairs at Dehillerin, and that we all pick up a few nonessential but irresistible items.
Mendy (Amaretto) thought the cake was "yummy, "but the main focus of his blog was his "shtotty new scale," as well as his new Scrape-A-Bowl and apron--all gifts from his wife. "Shtotty" was a new word for me. According to Urban Dictionary it's Yiddish slang for "cool," from the Yiddish word "shtat," or city. Thanks for the new word!
Jennifer (rum) took a leaf from Mendy's book (before he got all shtotty), and made one of her cakes in a toaster oven. Jennifer should be lauded especially for her way with birthday cakes--she made the pound cakes for her friend Joelf's birthday, but since he was in the Dominican Republic for the occasion, she ate it for him.
Faithy (cognac-triple sec combo) used vanilla bean paste instead of scraping the beans, and she thought it worked just fine. I've never tried it, but it does sound like a great time-saver. She also used vanilla sugar to give it an extra vanilla dose.
Joan (cherry heering) made a total of five cakes; she wrapped four for friends and saved one for herself. The one she saved she served with cherry coulis and fresh cherries. She described the cake as "light," with a "subtle flavor, angelic crumb. Perfect."
Lynnette (vanilla schnapps) loved the cake too. She said, "This cake rates high on my list. It was a breeze to prepare, the fine crumb and moist cake was delicious."
Lola (vanilla bean pods steeped in cognac) made just two of the "lovely little cakes," and loved that it was an "easy recipe."
Vicki (peach brandy) had just one complaint about the cakes: "Next time I should quadruple the recipe. Before I knew it, everyone sliced seconds!" She described the cake as an "edible gem" in a "class all its own." She got the paper pans too, and somehow ended up reading the directions, as they fluttered to the floor. Her instructions told her to put the pans on a cake sheet, so she got no decorative drips on her oven floor.
Sugar Chef is back after a hiatus. Her photo of tiny molded pound cakes on a glass platter, surrounded by blueberries studded with bright green mint leaves, is a beautiful sight.
Nancy B., bless her heart, had to try this cake twice before it turned out to be the "nicely flavored pound cake, buttery, and with a good texture," that she got on her second attempt. The first try gave her "only slightly domed or browned, and with a dry surface. Bricks." Did she throw the bricks across the kitchen? Did she pout? No, she did neither. She persevered, having first deduced that she'd somehow mis-measured her sugar. How did you figure that out, Nancy?
Gartblue (no booze, but leftover hot fudge) turned her pound cake batter into a 21-cupcake salute! She served them in "really cute red checkered cupcake liners," but it sounds like they disappeared before she could get a picture. (Good wishes to Mr. Gart, by the way, who took what sounds like a nasty tumble on his bicycle).
These cakes were Kristina's swan song to baking for a while. She has a pretty good excuse, since she's losing her oven, refrigerator, sink, etc. I know this sounds familiar to some of you (including me). She turned this swan song into a lovely birthday cake for her grandmother's birthday, using the mousseline from the Miette's Tomboy recipe, which we'll get to eventually. Kristina apologizes for her "freehand piping skills," which look pretty impressive to me.
Lois made a double recipe, which gave her five cakes, all of which are already accounted for. She "can't imagine anything tasting better."
Monica (leftover zabaglione ice cream and leftover hot fudge) noted that not only is the cake easy, but it also will go down "for the cake that has used less kitchen equipment so far – 2 bowls." Hungry and appreciative Tom told her he liked it, but not quite as well as Monica's standard recipe for pound cake. What do you think: is he being honest or is he just hoping she'll bake him another cake?
Hanaa (just plain water) loved the cake's "delicate vanilla aroma and buttery flavor" and wondered what is "plain" about vanilla--it's not plain at all!
The FEATURED BAKER this week is Katya (leftover chocolate buttercream).  I think this award should go to Katya because she went the longest distance to bake hers.  No, she didn't get to use her shtotty (love that word!) professional bakery equipment.  Instead, she escaped from Brooklyn and baked hers in Truro, "one of the more exclusive towns on the Cape," the site of the Cape Cod Highland Lighthouse, and home of the Tony Costa Cape Cod murders. Not only did she go the longest distance, but her lovely cakes were made with eggs from her "aunt and uncle's beloved hens, which they had schlepped from New Hampshire."  Katya, please share this coveted prize with your aunt and uncle (I picture your aunt taking the eggs to the Cape in her apron), and thank your mother for advising you to go outside and take that great outdoors picture of Poundcake in Paradise.

FOR NEXT WEEK, If you don't already have your bananas ripening away for your banana stud cake, better get to the grocery store and buy the ripest bananas you can find. I've learned--by baking banana bread that doesn't taste anything like bananas--that for good baking, bananas have to be almost disgustingly ripe. Mine are moving from mostly yellow with a few black speckles to mostly black, and should be at the disgusting stage by Saturday or Sunday.
The following week we have sophisticated chocolate cupcakes. Once again, the revolutionary lacquer glaze makes its appearance. You will need foil cupcake liners with paper inner liners, because you'll take the inner liners out of the foil outer liners to apply the glaze, and then, when the glaze is set, you'll put them back inside the foil liners. I'm hoping that this is less complicated than it seems.


evil cake lady said...

Congratulations Katya! I also loved the photos of your pound cakes outside by the flowers and your dad.

Great write up as always Marie!

Lois B said...

Congrats, Katya! Beautiful cakes!!

Thanks for the heads-up on the bananas, Marie.

Jenn said...

I started ripening my banana way too early, about 4 weeks ago. Now the banana is in the freezer - and it is completely black. It should be okay using frozen banana is it?

Congrats Katya. And great write up Marie!

Monica said...

Congrats to Katya! Marie, its funny but I too picture her moving eggs inside an apron!

Marie, you were right, Tom was trying to wiggle another pound cake out of me. Unfortunately, work has been front and center this week and I have not had time to do anything but come home, eat and go.to.bed to start all over again the next day - I cannot wait for the week to be sooo OVER!

I have no bananas, but we have a fresh market that is run by the local mexican pickers and their fruit is usually picked at the right time (no hard, un-ripped fruit here!)... so tomorrow I will mossy over there and hopefully will find the bananas just right for this cake... looking forward to totally duplicating it, which means lots and lots of patient with the decorating.

faithy said...

congrats Katya!!

thankfully i finished baking it last weekend (cos i'm not feeling so great today..) ..noticed there's no oven temp..maybe i didn't read properly enough..

Mendy said...


Congrats Katya! Being in that beautiful place must improve your baking. Great looking cakes!

Jenn said...

Marie - I just realized (noticed) that you put what the participant's flavored their cake with in the brackets () next to their name. I LOVE IT! Sounds so fancy - Mendy (Amaretto), Vicki (peach brandy). Now I wish that I had baked it just so you can write: Jenn (Grand Marnier), ^_*.

Faithy, I noticed there's no oven temp in the banana recipe as well. Maybe it's 350 - seems like that's most of what Rose's recipes calls for.

NancyB said...

Congrats to Katya!

Jenn, frozen bananas bake beautifully--I freeze them regularly and bake up banana bread or something later.

Marie, once I realized I had done something wrong, the visual memory of the amount of sugar in my little blender seemed suspicious. Sure enough, on the repeat that blender container was a lot fuller!

Vicki said...

Congrat's Katya! I loved reading about your baking excursion in Truro.

evil cake lady said...

you're right, faithy, there's no oven temp. i baked mine at 350F and it came out great.

Katya said...

Thanks Marie!

The funny part is that my aunt is so not an apron type, although she is a first grade teacher. The hens live in their suburban garage, and it's actually my uncle who's more obsessed with them. He told me that the largest egg I used came from 'Blackie,' and then denied that any of the hens had names.

Everybody ate and enjoyed the cakes. My only complaint was that the recipe was too small for twelve.

Hanaâ said...

Congrats, Katya. I'm glad you followed your mom's advice and took a picture of the cakes outside. Beautiful!!!

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Congratulations, Katya. What a great job you did!
I just took my bananas out of the freezer, acceptably black frozen and totally slimey upon thawing. Hope that it what the recipe likes.