Sep 15, 2010

Last Cake(s), Next Cake

Free choice weeks are nice for me--I don't have to bake something unless I feel like it, and I get all those trips down memory lane--"oh, I remember how much I liked that cake," or "Now I remember how that cake fell apart in my hands."  This week there was lots of participation, as well as just a mite of anxiety about progress on the road to completion of the project.
We are just about a year into this project, by the way--and congratulations to those of us who are still going at it, week after week.  Raymond suggested that it would be fun to think about what cakes have been our favorites, and to have a poll.  So start thinking about what 10 cakes you'd include in your list of favorites so far.  The first week of October, we'll have an official poll.

What's amazing about the list of this week's cakes was the variety--there was just one overlap (and there would have been none if Jennifer hadn't decided to make two cakes!)

Vicki:  Barcelona Brownie Bars  ("full of chocolate, roasted pecans and more chocolate in the form of ganache. It's a simple recipe and judging how quickly they disappeared, will go on the Please Make Again list.")

Lynnette:  Lemon (Lime) Meringue Cake ("Overall I think this is a tasty cake.  I like the smooth filling, the flowery flavor of lime, and the light meringue topping,")

Lois:  Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Dreamy Creamy (chocolate) Frosting  ("The cake is tender and buttery with a crisp crust - and did I say quick and easy?")

Hanaa:  Spice Cake with Whipped Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting ("I'll definitely increase the amount of spices next time. As for the cake's texture: melt-in-your-mouth tender! Yum.")  By the way, Hanaa took this cake to a fund-raising bakesale to aid the flood victims in Pakistan.

Julie:  Torta de las Tres Leches  ("We really loved this cake. I liked how easy it was and we loved the flavor of it. We will definitely make this again.")
ButterYum:  Designer Baby Grands  Not strictly a catch-up cake, this was ButterYum's attempt to get the recipe just to her liking, which she managed by making the cupcakes smaller ("I guess the saying is true, because the third time really was the charm for me to finally get these cupcakes to turn out like the ones pictured in Rose's Heavenly Cakes")

Shandy.:  The Bostini.  Not a catch-up either, but an enthusiastic make-ahead.  ("Vanilla pastry cream, orange chiffon cupcake batter, and a delicious chocolate butter glaze; what is not to love?")

Katya:  Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake ("Angel food cake is one of those fun food substances that is all texture, like marshmallows, cotton candy, or pop rocks, all but the latter of which it strongly resembles. Looks like cotton, squishes into candy, tastes sweeter than should be allowed, and uses up a large egg white overrun from Rosh Hashanah challahs.")

Jen:  Lemon Poppyseed Sour Cream Cake  ("/Super delicious.  My favourite parts are the crunch the lemon glaze produces and the poppy seeds gently exploding in the mouth.")

Mendy:  Double Chocolate Whammy Groom's Cake.   A third cake that's not a catch-up because it's not on the official list, but it joins potato kugel in a guest appearance from "Mrs. Mendy." ("When at long last we sat down to have the cake on Rosh Hashanah we realized that we weren't supposed to eat walnuts because the word "egoz" which means walnut has the same numerical value as "sin!"  I suppose sin is an appropriate concept for a cake that is made up of brownies, chocolate cake, and a heavy dose of bourbon."

Kristina:  Golden Lemon Almond Cake  ("We brought it to our friends' cottage. It was a big hit.  Between 5 of us, we ate more than half the cake Friday night, and the rest disappeared the next morning.  Jay's convinced there has to be a some way to improve it, though.  He wants me to keep making it until I find a way.")

Nancy B:  German Chocolate Cake  ("Put this cake in the winner column.")

Raymond:  Marble Velvet Cake  ("This cake was delicious.  Not too sweet and perfect with coffee or tea and a good book.")

Jennifer:  Sicilian Pistachio Cake ("Although this cake was low on my list of cakes to bake, and without the HCB (or Joelf) I probably would have never made the cake at all, I am really glad I did.") AND Marble Velvet Cake ("Rose really goes to town with this sour creram bundt, as the batter uses only egg yolks (six to seven of them!), a cup of sour cream, and a little over two sticks of butter.  That, my friends, is a lot of fat.  It makes this cake dense, rich, and truly velvety.  She wasn't just usinjg pretty words when she named this a Velvet Cake.")

And so these cakes have been crossed off the "To be baked" list for the bakers, and the last crumbs probably eaten up by now.  Good work, gang!

Well, you know what awaits us next--the Apple Caramel Cake with 7 full pages of instructions!  But we can do it!  Right?  Can't we? 
The week after that, we go from the (possibly) sublime to the (possibly) ridiculous:  the only cake that I haven't wanted to make (not counting the cakes I dread making) in the whole book--the tomato soup chocolate cake.  I'm reminding myself to keep an open mind.


Hanaâ said...

Marie, thanks so much for the write-up (and the bake sale shout-out!). Even if you don’t *have* to spend time baking during Free Choice weeks, you sure more than make up for it writing up n the post. That is a great summary though. Hopefully I’ll have time to check out everybody’s cakes this week (work’s crazy busy right now). I have no idea what to expect with the Charlotte. Never made/eaten/seen one. I’m thinking, if we just focus on the individual components, it won’t be that hard/difficult/overwhelming (that’s what I tell myself anyway). As for the tomato/chocolate cake… I already bought a can of Campbell’s condensed tomato soup (which should be enough since I’m planning on making half a recipe).

Monica said...

Great write up, I can always count on them, since I tend to always miss someone who posted and I did not see it.

Yep 7 pages this weekend.. I still have a cold, today I felt a bit better, but I will not let the cold get me down, Apple Charlotte here I come or Bust.

I will poach my apples tomorrow to get ahead of the game.

evil cake lady said...

great write up--these free cake weeks might be a break from baking for you but it seems like more work writing the roundup! thanks for doing it because like monica i always miss people and now i can go back and read their posts.

i already made the choc-tomato cake it is was surprisingly really good! count me as shocked and amazed, but there you have it. no lingering tomato flavor, just all chocolate goodness.

as for this week...i will be away this weekend but i am trying to get it done before i go! i might post late next week if i can't bake it in time. BUT I WILL BAKE IT.

no cake anxiety here.

Jenn said...

Marie, great write up. Hm.. is there a reason I didn't make it in this write up? Too many Jen to count perhaps? Since we have Jennifer, Jenn, and Jen :).

Jenn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn said...

Oh by the way, Matthew Boyer has made the Tomato Soup cake and he said he can barely taste the tomatoes. Here's the link to his breathtakingly-picturesque cake:

Marie said...

Oh, I'm sorry--and your tiramisu looked great!

Jenn made a wonderful-looking tiramisu, so when you're checking out the blogs, take a look!

Sounds like I should have more faith in Rose re the mystery chocolate cake!

Katya said...

I think the quote round-ups are fun, although it is not quite the same when you don't have the weekly sympathy of everyone's bake. I'm looking forward to the apple charlotte. But then, I'm a detail geek. And an apple freak.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your RHC blogs each week. I have been hooked since I bought Rose's book back in April this year. Marie, you have a way with words and you always seem to make me smile.

I have made a few cakes from the book and they all have worked out fairly well considering I am from Australia and using different flour and ingredients at times. I think the idea of a top ten is a fantastic one as it will give a guide to which cakes are the best to either make or (best of all) taste. I look forward to reading your list.

Happy baking to all.


Shandy said...

Thank you for posting enthusiastic for my bake ahead slip =). Love your write-up for everyone.

Hope you are feeling better. I have read and re-read the recipes, ordered my half-sheet cake pan (1 1/4-inches too short but will adapt), underlined all key points and found out this recipe "is" approachable. The apple layout on top scares me because the top is the crown for the whole dessert and I want it! Happy Baking! =)

Monica said...

Shandy... I'm with you, I must have read and re-read the 7 pages over and over again, to make sure I'm not missing anything (watch I probably will) Today I'm poaching the apples, wanted to do it yesterday and when I went to my liquor cabinet.. guess what? No Calvados... grrrr

So after work, pick up booze and head home to poach some fruit.

Dude, my life is awesome - poaching fruit on a friday night!

Mendy said...


Check out the 2nd pear tart video Rose just
posted on her blog. It looks like the poaching method is very similar to what we are supposed to do to the apples. I wonder if she had us HCBers in mind. ;)

Hanaâ said...

Sorry I have to bail on you guys! I will not be making the Charlotte (just learned I have to work tomorrow). I was going to make that my blog's anniversary cake (it's my 2nd blogaversary today). Oh well.

A quick tip: for a slight pink hue on the apples, Rose suggests using the peel of a red apple. If you only happen to have plums around, you can use that for the same effect (I found that out when I was making homemade jam a while back).

Good luck to you!