Aug 4, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

The wonderful lemon meringue cake is one of those projects that you would think would be more or less duplicated by all of the bakers. After all, it's just a layer cake filled with lemon curd and topped with meringue. But, surprisingly, differences in the size of the cake, as well as the design and browning of the meringue led to cakes that were as individual as the bakers themselves.
For one thing, several people balked at the idea of turning their oven on to 500 degrees on a sweltering August day, and instead used their mini-propane torch, which had hitherto probably been used only for creme brulees, if used at all.
Monica ("apparently all I needed to do for Tom to propose to me was to make this cake"), Jennifer ("the curd has been bullied into tasting good by the rest of the components"), Nancy B. ("didn't set the cardboard round on fire either"), and Mendy ("I bet [friend who turned down the cake because she only eats things sweetened with agave] is having second thoughts now about her whole off-the-sugar kick") all opted for the torch. Candi briefly considered the torch, but decided Rose must have had a reason for not recommending it, so she went with the hot oven. I wonder if there is a reason. Torchers, what do you think?
Nancy B., Jenn, and Jennifer all made half-recipes. This seems to be a growing trend. (A shrinking trend?)
Katya was one of the very few who took liberties with the recipe, using rhubarb curd instead of lemon curd, which would seemingly make it a rhubarb meringue cake. Katya's post is also noteworthy for comparing her technique of removing the cake's crusts ("pinching and rolling and peeling it") to peeling off sunburnt skin. Katya also said this was the best Italian meringue she's ever made--very impressive in my eyes, as it implies that she's made a whole cartload of them.
On the other hand, Vicki deserves a cartload of credit for making this cake because she hates meringue. Her childhood question: "Why did meringue have to shove whipping cream, the stuff of [her] dreams, off a perfectly good pie and runin it?" And yet, turning from the Sunday paper to the computer to see what the Early Posters made of this week's cakes, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and started her "meringue monstrosity at 3:30 a.m." Good news--Vicki's now a convert, and "Baked Alaska is suddenly calling [her] name."
Raymond just plain loved this cake, calling it "light, tart, and refreshing," and "just what the doctor ordered this week."

This week's FEATURED BAKER is Gartblue, who baked this cake for her own birthday! Happy belated birthday, Gartblue! Even though "Malaysians don't quite fancy sour cakes," Gartblue took this into the office, where "Azlan was sent deliriously ecstatic to LemonHeaven and Hazel licked her fingers shamelessly." Her own review of the cake: "It’s a magnificent cake. A show-stopper. A drama queen and not an ounce of fat in sight. It was so decadently rich in appearance but tasted as light as a feather." (Well, there is some fat in the lemon curd, but let's just forget about that and pretend we're eating non-fat cake this week).

Next week is a fruit dessert, but you would be stretching it a little if you called it healthy, what with its glorious-sounding caramel sauce. And you wouldn't have to serve it with whipped cream, but don't you think you should? Remember to make this cake the day before you want to eat it.
The following week, we're back to chocolate, and I hope that you're ready for the Chocolate Feather Bed cake after our 2-week chocolate hiatus. If I'm remembering correctly (which I wouldn't bet on), Katya made this cake for Passover, and praised it highly. If this is true, maybe you could pass along some tips? If I'm hallucinating, never mind.


Lois B said...

Congrats Gartblue and belated happy birthday.

Thanks for the summary, Marie. I had missed Monica's teaser!

I've already served next week's cake and it was a big hit despite my clumsy efforts.

Katya said...

I did make this cake for passover, and my family was so into it that I think it's going to be a frequent flyer, especially as we now have two gluten-free eaters.

I remember it being quite a process, but none of it difficult except for the gelatinized whipped cream, which I always seem to have trouble with. The whole thing was just very delicate, but very impressive when assembled.

I also didn't really take good pictures, so I might have to make it again.

Just finished the upside down torte--with 80% less caramel, as I ran dangerously low on sugar. I'll let you know what it tastes like tomorrow, it was good so far today.

faithy said...

Congrats Gartblue!! and Happy Birthday to you too!

I have yet to read the recipe for the next! i hope it better be good cos blueberries and plums are very expensive here!

Monica said...

Boy am I glad for your recaps.. because I was totally under the impression that the feather bed cake was this week and that the up-side down was next week.

I think it was all that lemon induce cloud that we been in the last couple of days - it has clouded my brain!

Congratulations to Gartblue! and happy belated birthday too. I'm sort of glad that I'm not the only crazy person that has baked their own birthday cake.

Vicki said...

Congratulations Gartblue. Your Lemon Meringue Cake post was so fun to read.

gartblue said...

*dances gleefully*

yay! I cut the list!

thanks heaps for featuring me this week, marie ..

*continues grinning sheepishly*

Jenn said...

Congrats Gartblue and Happy Birthday!

Marie - yes it's a "shrinking" trend :).

And I'm sooo looking forward to the feather bed. That was one of 1st ones I marked when I got the book!

evil cake lady said...

i don't know if torching was the better way to go, all the oven-toasted cakes had this nice golden color. however with a torch i could control which parts of the cake i wanted toasted.

i made the upside down cake last week and although really great the first day, it was better the second day--the moisture from all the fruit was reabsorbed into the cake, and not in a gross mushy way either. it smelled so good coming from the oven that it was hard to wait! just a warning to you :)

congrats gartblue!

Jenn said...

ECL, the grass is greener on the other side of the fence! I actually thought the torched cakes looks really nice - that I want to get a torch (or put one on Xmas list) just to try it out.

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Everyone's cakes looked so fabulous! Our Heavenly Bakers are, indeed. And the 'shrinking trend' so funny, Marie. I would tend to shrink if I weren't so fearful of that factor of Rose's. Love love the shape of those little fat 6 inch pans. Maybe this revelation will spur me on.

Mendy said...


Congrats Gartblue. Funny post and well done!