Nov 10, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

The Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake was another big hit. Just when I think I've already baked Rose's very best cakes, along comes another winner--last week the Bostini, and this week the pear cake. I'm either going to have to rethink my top five cakes at the end of the project, or I'm going to have to expand the list to the top ten.
Thanks to Kristina for clarifying what I finally figured out how this cake should be described. As it's not made with Swedish pears, and it doesn't have cream in it, it should be a "Swedish … pear … and … almond cream … cake, not Swedish pear … and almond … cream cake.” Got that?

Not so many variations this time--people mostly stuck to the recipe as written. Katya, whose mantra is "bake with what you have," used Bosc pears rather than Bartlett (because she had nice Farmers' Market Bosc).
Jennifer and Mendy used marzipan instead of almond paste: Jennifer because she mistakenly bought the marzipan and Mendy because he read Jennifer's comment on LCNC last week, which told him that marzipan would work. I like how we watch out for each other. By the way, Jennifer's blog is especially fun to read this week--not only does she show the cake, but she's also got some fascinating stories about her past life as a 20-year-old student in Simferopol, Russia.
Lynnette had already baked this as a pear cake for a "Free Choice" week, and decided to try it with apples this time. It worked with apples too, but she thought she'd add a little cinnamon if she made it again with apples.
Rachelino, who made hers for a party for a long-time, new-mother friend of hers, "dressed it up" a bit with a citrus glaze.
Sarah used all the requisite ingredients, but baked her cake while "camping out"--that is, without access to her KitchenAid, scale, and thermometer. Practically like a pioneer.

Joan used the intricately designed chrysanthemum pan.
Nancy B. chose the Bavaria bundt pan (excellent choice, Nancy!)
Vicki baked her cake in the classic bundt pan.

No matter what pan was used, the verdict was pretty much the same: a fabulous cake.
Lola said that the cake was "tender, delicious and light. My honey loves a little not too sweet treat in the morning with his second cup of coffee - this will be perfect!"
Raymond found this cake so much to his liking that he imagined Rose, recipe in hand, looking directly at him, and saying, She looks across the counter at me and she says, “Raymond, I know that you’re a tired, cranky, old curmudgeon, but just to prove that I do listen, this one is for you.”
Vicki called it an "amazing cake, so simple and yet utterly sophisticated."
For Maria it was comfort food par excellence, and she paired it with chicken soup as a welcome-home dinner for her parents, the weary travelers.

As soon as I saw that Andrea (who's been out of baking commission lately because of foot surgery) was so taken with the cake that she just had to bake it--by scooting around the kitchen on an office chair on wheels, I knew she had to be the FEATURED BAKER. What dedication! She had to send her husband to the grocery store to pick up almond paste (first going on-line and showing him a picture), and she had to do the cake in stages, resting after making the almond cream, but make it she did. And love it she did--she described it as having an "outside [that] was hard and slightly crunchy, and the inside was very soft."
I heard from Bungalow Barbara a few days ago. Barbara had to drop out of the group a while back, but she still follows our progress and now and then bakes along with us, as she did this week. Nice to hear from you!

Next week, it's time for another Free Choice. As we head into the final stretch (I have only 20 cakes left to bake!), the Free Choice week is a time for you to catch up, either by baking cakes that I baked in the three or four months before this group was formed, or by baking one of the cakes that you missed. It's always fun to see what choices people make.

After Free Choice, it's back to regularly-scheduled cakes. Next up there is a sponge cake: the Chocolate Genoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache (p. 184). If you like the classic chocolate/peanut butter combination, this one's for you. No special ingredients or equipment required.


Katya said...

Heh. I need a more inspiringly phrased mantra. I thought I'd be getting points for actually having the almond paste on hand, but my Bosc undid me. To tell the truth, I also used yogurt instead of sour cream. Things are already falling out of the refrigerator on a regular basis, and there are piles of wheat starch and szechuan peppercorns in my spice cabinet. When I can use what's there, I try to. Cooking the fridge was designed for folks like me, who always want something new.

Jenn said...

Congrats Andrea! That is quite a dedication indeed, baking while you're still not mobile!

Marie, I have 43 cakes left to bake, or should I say, I still have 43 cakes left? And the number will stay at 43 for a while, as the free choice is already counted and the rest of the month I'm not sure I can participate. Yes, I'm going to be a slacker this month, unfortunately.

Marie said...

In fairness, that's my mantra for you, not your mantra for you.

I doubt that you're being a slacker. My guess is that it's just the opposite.

Katya said...

If I'm taking my ingredients where they come, it seems that I ought to be doing the same for my mantras, Marie!

Jenn said...

Katya, I think it's awesome that you try to utilize what you have. It takes creativity and courage!

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Congratulations Andrea! I applaud your fortitude. As we all know a great deal of energy and time go into our cakes. Please do not do too much too soon! Wishing you best healing.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Oh darn, I didn't get my post published before your review, but I should have it done this evening.

Andrea said...

Marie, thank you!

These past couple weeks I've been watching a lot of cooking and baking shows, reading everyone's blogs, and browsing through my cookbook collection and magazines since most of my time at home I've been stuck on the couch. So, I was really wanting to bake something. This cake looked really good and seemed so simple that I thought I could handle it.

Joan, I'm trying not to do too much too soon, but it's hard. I'm the type of person who wants to constantly be doing something. But, my foot lets me know when I've done too much at one time. :)

Vicki said...

Congratulations Andrea! That was quite an accomplishment.

Can't believe you only have twenty cakes left, Marie!

evil cake lady said...

Congrats Andrea!

Marie, thanks for saying nice things about my blog. I wish I had more photos digitized to share with you all. Oh, the stories I could tell.

Monica said...

sniff, sniff.. I did not get mentioned .. maybe it was because I did not use a pretty cake pan??? LOL

Congratulations Andrea...

And this weekend I'm off to NC to freeze my butt off.. cough, cough.. no, actually to meet the new member of Tom's family - his 1 month old niece... So not free choice for me . .. and next week I will be cruising the caribbean... so the Chocolate Genoise, may or may not be made... I will keep you all in suspense!

faithy said...

Congrats Andrea!

I'm also flying off to Australia will not be baking till i'm back. But i really want to bake this pear cake! Hopefully i'll have internet access to check out all your free choice bakes! :)

Marie said...

Oops--well, that's what happens when you file new posts every day. I caught your cod post and your chocolate post, and totally missed the pear cake.
Have fun in NC!

And in Australia!

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations Andrea! Your cake looked great. Well-deserved. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Monica, have fun in NC. Is that the niece you made a cake for not too long ago?

Faithy, have a great time Down Under :o)

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

thank you everyone for giving your blessings to this cake! it was ben fink's (the photographer) partner's fav from the photo shoot! as you all write about the cakes i am reliving them with great pleasure.

faithy--i adore australia--have a wonderful trip. great food, great wine, great people, and SPRING!!!

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

by the way, i'd like to share this little story with you about this cake and what happened during photography: the stylist made the cake and it was unrecognizable! i couldn't figure out why all the pears had remained on top of the batter when i had such a hard time keeping them from sinking to the bottom! also why was the cake brown instead of golden. finally i realized that it was the almond paste that had been over-mixed and thinned so i put that note of warning in the recipe! sometimes it's hard to figure out what important element might need special description. this was one! (aren't you glad!!!)

Monica said...

@ Marie... I figure that was the reason.. not to worry, next week.. it will be sloooowwwwwww

@ Hanaa.. yep we are off to meet little Sienna, pictures are coming with parents permission to share them.

@ Faithy.. can we trade trips? Australia, its on my list of travel before I die. I'm a diver and a nature buff, so you can imagine how jealous I am right now.

@ Rose... I loved the cake and if you been reading you know how I'm anti Fruit+Cake nut. But, this one.. just surprise me.

Mendy said...


Congrats Andrea, feel better!

lola said...

Just a question about if there is a list of completed recipes? Maybe I have missed it. Thanks.

Bungalow Barbara said...

Lola, Anita has a list:

Marie said...

Here's the list that I keep for myself:
1. May 31, 2009: Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream Frosting

2. May 30: Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate-Egg White Buttercream

3. June 1: She Loves Me Cake

4. June 8: Torta des las Tres Leches

5. June 9: Black Chocolate Party Cake

6. June 15: Financiers au Chocolat

7. June 22: Ginger Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust

8. June 29: Chocolate Raspberry Trifle

9. July 6: Golden Lemon Almond Cake

10. July 13: Banana Refrigerator Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

11. July 20: Tiramisu

12. July 27: Apple Cinnamon Crumb Cake

13. August 3: Heavenly Seduction Coconut Cake

14. August 10: Plum Round Ingots

15. August 17: Rose Red Velvet Cake

16. August 24: Red Berry Shortcake

17. August 31: Deep Chocolate Rosebuds

18. September 7: No-Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake

19. September 14: Marble Velvet Cake

20. September 21: German Chocolate Cake

21. September 28: White Gold Passion Genoise

22. October 5: Hungarian Jancsi Torta

23. October 12: Barcelona Brownie Bars

24. October 19: Apple Upside-Down Cake

25. October 26: Almond Shamah Chiffon

26. November 2: Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream

27. November 9: Baby Chocolate Oblivions

28. November 16: Woody’s Lemon Luxury Layer Cake

29. November 23: Catalan Salt Pinch Cake

30. November 30: Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

31. December 7: Fruitcake Wreath

32. December 14: Classic Carrot Cake

33. December 21: English Gingerbread Cake

34. December 28: Holiday Pinecone Cake

35. January 4, 2010: Whipped Cream Cake

36. January 11, 2010: Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

37. January 18: Torta de las Tres Leches

38: January 25: Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

39. February 1: Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

40. February 8: True Orange Genoise

41. February 15: Double Chocolate Valentine

February 22: Free Choice

42. March 1: Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake
43. March 8: Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze

44. March 15: Sicilian Pistachio Cake

45. March 22: Peanut Butter Ingots

46. March 29: Le Succes

47. April 5: Sybil’s Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

April 12: [Banana Refrigerator Cake by Saira]

48. April 19: Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie

49. April 26: Coffee Chiffonlets with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream

50. May 3: Saint-Honore Trifle

51. May 10: Gateau Breton

52. May 17: Baby Lemon Cheesecakes

53. May 24: Bernachon Palets d’Or Gateau

May 31: Free Choice (Jim Bakes Birthday Cake for Marie)

54. June 7: Chocolate Butter Cupcakes with Golden Neoclassic Buttercream

55. June 14: Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake

56. June 21: Coconut Cheesecake

57. June 28: Genoise Rose

58. July 5: Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

59. July 12: Mini Vanilla Pound Cakes

60. July 19: Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

61. July 26: Designer Chocolate Baby Grands

62. August 2: Lemon Meringue Cake

63. August 9: Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down Torte

64. August 16: Chocolate Feather Bed

65. August 23: Marionberry Shortcakes

66. August 30: Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache

67. September 5: Gold Ingots

68. September 12: Free Choice (Peach Upside-Down Cake)

69. September 19: Apple Caramel Charlotte

70. September 26: Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

71. October 3: Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes

72. October 10: Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes

73. October 17: Many-Splendored Quick Bread

74. October 24: Angel Food Cake—any way you like

75. October 31: Bostini

76. November 8: Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake

77. November 15: Free Choice