Feb 13, 2011

Quail Egg Indulgence Cake

Before I start talking about cake, let me apologize for not getting the mid-week blog done this week. By the time I got home from New Orleans, it was the end of the week, and too late. Of course, I read everyone's blogs when I got home. I was so surprised to learn that chocolate-pecan-caramel is not at the top of everyone's flavor combinations! When I was a little girl, there were two kinds of candy that made me happy: chocolate-covered cherries and pecan turtles. I think they were made by either Russell Stover or Fanny Farmer. At the time, those were considered (by me, anyway) high-class chocolates. Now, of course, I'm much more finicky.

So finicky that I must have quail eggs in my cakes! I thought I might end up just using chicken eggs since the first Asian grocery store I went to only had canned quail eggs, but I hit the jackpot on my second try. I had no idea they were going to be so goldarn adorable!

And produced locally on a quail farm, so I didn't have to worry about my quail egg cake decimating the wild quail population.

Yes, they are hard to crack open. It's not so much that the shell is hard; it's just that the inner membrane is tough and stubborn. If you whack the egg too hard, the yolk will break from the knife's force. If you tap it too gently, you may break the yolk with your fingernails when you're trying to pry open the shell. I think it took me seven eggs to get the requisite 28 grams. But I still have a kazillion eggs left. (A dozen or so anyway). I'm going to hard boil some tomorrow and use them as a garnish for a salad. Then maybe I'll have 3 or 4 for breakfast.

The yolks are actually bigger than I expected. I think that the yolk:white ratio may be a little different than with chicken eggs, with more yolk than white. But I'm just guessing about that.

Once the eggs are broken, the batter is easy to mix up. (It's not on the Quick &Easy list, although it would be if you didn't have to 1) drive all over town looking for quail eggs, and 2) spend a lot of time trying to break them.
The batter is thick and rich-looking, not surprising because of the butter/cream/egg yolk factor.

The crust promised a lot of crunch.  It delivered on the promise, too.

I actually had more trouble finding a small heart-shaped cake pan than in finding quail eggs. Since I was in New Orleans, Jim volunteered to buy me the pan, so he set off on a cake-pan quest. He tried Williams-Sonoma, Kitchen Window, and several other likely places before giving up. When I got home, I made a quick, equally unsuccessful, trip to Cooks of Crocus Hill, but apparently no one bakes heart-shaped cakes any more (there are lots of heart-shaped cookie cutters available). So I bought a six-inch round pan, which I guess I should have anyway. And then I ended up stencilling a powdered-sugar heart shape on the round pan.

Since the cake only served two, I didn't have a tasting panel. Jim and I ate the whole thing. We decided we might as well eat it today, one day ahead of Valentine's Day, so that we'd taste it at its freshest.

My only complaint about the cake is that half of it was too much--not that I didn't eat every crumb of my half. We both liked it a lot, and agreed on the appropriate adjectives: rich, moist, tender, good.

It's just a plain cake--sort of in the way a simple Chanel suit is a plain outfit.


Lois B said...

I happen to have two small heart pans; I'm looking forward to trying this.

chris in RI said...

Those eggs look so cute! They remind me of Cadbury mini eggs (yum). And how interesting that they are difficult to work with. I say interesting because I wasn't the one trying to separate them.

Glad to know you and Jim enjoyed your pre-Valentine's Day treat.

Chris in RI

evil cake lady said...

I like the comparison to a simple Chanel suit--perfect anaolgy!

I am also impressed with your very fancy pantsy stenciled heart on your cake! Nicely done :)

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

doughadear said...

Quail eggs are the cutest little things!

I wrote about not being able to find a heart shaped pan in last year's Valentine's Day post so reading yours this year made me laugh. I still don't have one but I know they are out there somewhere.

Your cake looks charming!

Monica said...

You guys should I have told me, my local Michaels had like 10 heart shape pans! Maybe the Floridian people are more romantic? LOL

I thought of buying one for this, but I could not bring myself to come up with a justifiable excuse for it – Tom is on to me about my pan stash. Plus being sick sort of help me make the decision.

I have a great quail egg recipe with salmon, perfect for a fancy brunch appetizer.

Marie said...

I'm looking forward to seeing what the cake is supposed to look like when its baked in its little heart pan.

Aren't they the cutest things ever? I've been looking up quail egg recipes--don't think I want to pickle them, but I still have a lot left and their use-by date isn't until March 11.

Thanks for the "fancy pants" compliment. I love the look of sugar stenciling, and it's something even I can do.

What is the deal on these heart-shaped pans? I thought I'd walk into any store and find a big display of them for Valentine's Day! What is this world coming to when people don't make heart-shaped cakes for V-Day?!

Even though I should know better by now, I always think of Michaels as a craft store, and not a store where you can buy baking supplies. I've always steered clear of it because I'm such a not craftsy person, but I'm going to have to give it a try.

HanaĆ¢ said...

Marie, welcome back! I’m glad you were able to make it back home (sans DL, or did you find it?) :o) I love the last shot of cake’s inside view. It has a lovely color and it looks moist. And yes, Michaels has tons of baking supplies and heart shaped pans in all sorts of sizes. Btw, I’m looking forward to next week’s Free Choice.

jini said...

happy valentines day marie! i have a heart shaped spring-form pan if you ever want to borrow.
your quail eggs are truly adorable and i willingly admit i've never considered using them. their adorableness could help change my mind. we need to discuss the results of the no trip. :)

Jenn said...

Marie, Michaels has a bigger baking section than they used too. And they often have coupons on their website for 40% or 50$ off for one item. It's a pretty good deal if need some baking pans.

Jenn said...

Oops, forgot to comment on your cake :). Marie, you are getting more and more creative. Love the presentation of the cake with the heart stencil and strawberries.

inthekitchen said...

Hi Marie,

Your baking club looks like so much fun, I'd love to join! I'm 'inthekitchen' and my blog is http://bakedtoorder.blogspot.com/.

I've just ordered the cookbook and hope to be able to participate with this weekend's free choice.

Thanks so much!

Marie said...

Thanks--it was nice to get away for a few days and spend some time with my daughter. I never found my DL, but Jim sent me my passport, so I did get home. I was so afraid I'd lose my passport too!

I just ate some hard-boiled quail eggs. They taste a lot like chicken eggs, but the yolks are creamier and less granular. They're hell to peel, though.

It sounds like a field trip to Michaels is in order!

I was thinking I'd close the membership because we have only 9 cakes left to bake, but if you want to come aboard, that'll be fine. Just let me know when you post your first cake, and I'll add you to thelist.

faithy said...

sorry..i've been soo busy! chinese new year and i had relatives to entertain.. no time to bake anything! Only 9 cakes left to bake? nevermind..i have a lot to catch up too..:)

Quail eggs are easy to get here in Asia..we use to eat a lot until we were told quail eggs has the highest cholesterol! lol!

Was hoping i could have time to bake this as well..but didn't even get a chance near my oven!

Love your stenciled heart and your cake looks moist and soft!

Jenn said...

9 cakes left? WOW Marie. Congrats! Are you excited? Have you thought about what you're going to do after RHC?

Rose Levy Beranbaum said...

marie--what a brilliant cake decorating idea to turn the cake into a heart shape in appearance. and i adore the comparison to the channel suit. one could also think of it as the little black dress of cakes perhaps?
jb prince has a quail egg decapitator which works so easily should you become attached to the idea of using quail eggs. in the pastry bible i have a great recipe for a spinach quiche with little pools of quail egg yolks hidden in each slice.the contrast of the forest green against the golden yellow is also beautiful.

Marie said...

I really want to go to a Chinese New Year's celebration some day! Don't tell me about the cholesterol--quail eggs are my new favorite food.

I have such mixed feelings. I'm excited to be finishing such an ambitious (some have used the word "crazy") project. But there's definitely some sadness--there will be a void in my life when I'm not baking with you and the other wonderful bakers every week. But I don't want to get weepy.

As I said, they're my new favorite food--although I'll have to wait to see if I ever buy another package before I invest in the decapitator. (That name sounds so vicious!)

Sarah the Bear said...

Marie, I'm glad to see you made this in the 6-inch round pan because I have one of those and, therefore, wasn't planning to purchase a heart-shaped pan. I was a little concerned because the recipe says the cake won't bake as tall, but yours looks like it's the perfect size to me.
I cook a lot of Asian food, so I always see quail eggs at the stores, but this will be my first time experimenting with them--yet another reason why this cookbook is so unique and remarkable :)