Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Cake

Since I used the Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt cake pan last week for The Whipped Cream cake, this week I decided to employ a small Lemon Loaf pan from Nordic Ware that I have never before used. Since it has lemons and lemon leaves in relief on the top, I thought it would be pretty for this lemon poppyseed cake.

I knew there would be excess batter, so I readied the Lekue muffin pan for whatever was left over from the loaf pan.

Now, however, it became obvious that I had put too much batter in the loaf pan and too little in the muffin pan. The muffins were barely to the cavity top, and the loaf caught up very quickly. After baking, their bottoms were syruped after being pierced with a wooden skewer. I leveled off the cake with some chagrin.
Ultimately the cake released dutifully, and inverted, revealing a pretty browned color, with its lemons intact from the mold. After piercing and syruping the top, the cake was cooled. I then wrapped it well, and put it into the fridge over night. The muffins were devoured immediately-before refrigeration.

Mis en place for this cake was not at all complicated. Fortunately, in this area, the only thing I almost forgot this time was to wash the lemons with soap and water, and dry, to prevent bitterness from the zest, per Hector's reminder. I realized just in time. I enjoyed the way the Beater Blade worked with the batter. And next time I will be more careful in filling the pans. I just may have to get better at weighing in!

The flavor of the muffins was lovely, and lemony. The crumb moist and fluffy -they never made it to the fridge. The cake married well in the refrigerator and when brought to room temperature the next day, it was fabulous with its slight lemon glaze on the outer crust. I found myself on midnight refrigerator raids. My family enjoyed this cake very much, and I am sure it will be a hit whenever I make it again. As most of our other 'bakers' remarked, it is a favorite.

*I was ready to post the picture of the pretty loaf with its lemon encrusted top, but it had disappeared. I called my friend, who laconically remarked this situation is the bane of a photographer's existence. Hence - no picture.

Hanaa: Here is the lemon loaf mould by Nordic Ware.
It holds about 4 cups.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Whipped Cream Cake

This cake is so elegant in its simplicity that its existence is obviously only possible with Rose's magic touch, one more time. The occasion is her use of the butterfat found in cream instead of butter added; and then her increase in salt, and decreased sugar and baking powder. I was fascinated by this, although I am certainly no chemist. Just astonishing to me that it would occur to her even consider such a thing that she calls, "just a nip and a tuck."

So, I just followed directions, one more time.

Mis en place:
I acquired a very pretty fluted Nordic Ware bundt pan. I wish they would make little tabs on the side with holes for hanging. I am out of storage space - besides, they would make a great statement, hanging as a collection. And then there are my other acquired baking collections, i.e. liqueurs, sugars, flours, chocolates, etc. I am quite attached to these expanding collections. The problem is the space.

The picture is of my husband holding the mould inside a plastic trash bag to spray it with Baker's Joy. I have forgotten who shared this trick, but whomever it was, many thanks, for obvious reasons.

Everything moved along as it should have - even the eggs were spot-on 150 grams.

I attempted to pierce the bubbles that might exist by going into the batter with a small spatula.

In the oven, the cake batter began to have volcanic- appearing, rising bubbles; I just gulped and hoped for the best.

Fears assuaged - the cake emerged beautiful - golden brown as it pulled away from the sides, I had very little to do to loosen it.

The color was luscious, and just asking for a dusting of powdered sugar ---

For a little decor, I used Tiptree Lemon Curd as well as American Spoon Food raspberry for raspberry coulis.

Thanks to Rose for these tips for in a pinch.

It's interesting how guests are just delighted by simplicity. I have read other comments from our bakers who felt the same about this cake. For us, also, it was a very special Saturday evening dessert to present!

*I did also serve dollops of whipped cream,
to the delight of the baby boy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

'Curious' is already watching -- that is not good.

Since today is Saturday, the end of the week, I thought we would use our new
Nordic Ware Mini Pineapple pan to create the little cakes that appear so enticing in "Rose's Heavenly Cakes."

I went shopping and instead of a whole Hawaiian Gold pinapple, they also had them peeled with the core still inside, separated. I got two of them, just in case, but froze the second one. They are fresh and delicious. Everything else we already had. I used canned Oregon bing cherries.

First, as always, I did mis en place. I needed to set up three so it was best to get them all lined up. Even taking these precautions, for example, at the last minute l almost missed setting up the sheet pan and spraying the aluminum foil onto which I would need to release the cakelets from the mould, in a hurry.

After setting up, the mould was sprayed and brushed in the crevices; ready. I had to fiddle a bit to trim the pineapple slices to fit, but then they were fine. They drained on towels. This was set aside. This is where I made a big error, a senior moment, one might say. I put the pineapple and cherries in and set it aside. This meant I had forgotten that the caramel was meant to be placed into the bottom of the mould cavities - first.

The carmelizing began. I really never enjoy this, even with my old copper sugar pan. Constantly turning it, tilting it, and inserting/reinserting the Thermapen is a hot task, and I am impatient, but watchful lest it jumps up too quickly.

The Thermapen, I must say, was a good investment because my preceding thermometers really were inferior to me. At any rate, I took the caramel off about 290F, nice and dark amber; early as Rose suggests because of the Turbinado sugar. I didn't use the Pyrex measuring cup. I had intended to, even had oiled it, but since the copper pot has a little spout on it's side, I just decided it would give me temperature/pouring leverage such that I would be just as quick getting it from stove >to mould as I would getting it from stove > cup > mould. It worked; I didn't have a problem with the caramel thickening and needing softening before/while pouring although I didn't get it exactly evenly distributed. And there it went, right on top of the pineapple and cherries. And I still oblivious to any mishap or the reasons/consequences.

The batter was not difficult. I chose to use cake flour in the dry ingredients,

and the recipe's yogurt and egg for the moistening.


I used an ice-cream scoop to place batter in the mould's cavities.

The little cakes baked quickly and were ready and browning on top about 20-25 minutes. After removing, I slipped the tiny spatula around inside the cups. It really would have been better piped in, and I didn't spread it with the tip of tiny spatula. That would have helped get better top leaves.

Also, next time, I will ask my husband, or Spirit, to help me flip that sheet pan with the mould under it! I managed to turn it over and then stood there with that object held out in the air, breaking my arms. I was terrified that the little cakes were going to remain in the heavy mould. Finally I just sat it on the counter.

I peeked under the mould:

There they were, all lined up like perfectly beautiful little soldiers. I was surprised to see that, for the most part, the little cake crust had formed into pineapple leaves at the top. I think they are, indeed, worthy of Daguin and Lutece, lol. Of course, that will be in the tasting.

Wistful Echo is just anticipating a treat.

It is very late and I am having problems with the blog - so I naturally sneaked out and ate one [just one] cake. It was SO good, even without accoutrements! We said goodnight.

And then it struck me - while thinking over what I had written here, and I suddenly said to myself:

"What?" -- "I didn't" -- "Oh yes, I did" - and I laughed and laughed. Yet, they had turned out so well - Well, next time, I promise to place the caramel in the cavities FIRST, as the recipe suggests. So much for my mis en place. I guess that needs a double check en place!

Today, I made apricot 'glisten' and served the cakelets to rave reviews! Next time we will make a double recipe, for sure. The boys had some tiny cake pieces. They, too, were happy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The True Orange Genoise

Greetings everyone!
Being absent from this Heavenly community since Christmas has been difficult for me because it has become a part of my life that is truly enjoyable and special. Many of my friends have become immediately excited and intrigued with stories about what cakes we bake, who is Rose, and her new book "Rose's Heavenly Cakes," and then all sorts of interesting conversations evolve; new friends are made with new learning experiences that even lead them to read our blogs with great interest.

Most importantly, for me, our blog is filled with delicious learning experiences, laughter, never-ending supportive comments, wonderful stories, all centred around expertise of baking gorgeous, and even not-so-gorgeous, lol, cakes! For me this is a new adventure because, although I was fortunate to became good cook early and spent many serious years of study at that endeavor, my daughter was always the baker. So I am starting from scratch and am awed by the complexity of what I have undertaken. Now my daughter has begun to consult with the Rose's Baking Blog, and making friends there; who knows, she may join us here as a Heavenly Baker soon. That would make me happy, and herself I know.

All of these comments are to briefly say how much I have missed being here, and to explain in a few words: Among others, three life-changing events have taken place since my last posting in December, including my kitchen floor being ripped out because of the discovery of three layers of mold - and you can guess what evolved from that. After being besieged by the deadly flu that is making its way around, I fell and severely bruised my ribs. Lastly, two weeks ago I retired from my job as a psychotherapist, working with referrals from CPS and abused children.
Now I will be working only one half-day a week.
Finally, there is light at the end of the


Along with myself, my Heavenly Baking Crew is also
excited to be back:
You may observe above that
Summer, my granddaughter, and our researcher,
is fascinated while poring over my daughter's new
volume of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes," as she
contemplates our future cake-baking schedules.

Echo, the purist, our sous chef and confidant, reliably
echoes back
our recipes.

Spirit, always serene in the midst of the fray de la
cuisine, remains in the true spirit of things,
keeping order and balance.

And then there is 7-month-old baby 'Mercurious
Sublimatus' - aptly named. Curi, you will see as time
goes by, is the imp of our kitchen, and of our world -
indeed the true Sorcerer's Apprentice. We aren't
sure what part he plays on the team, except to create
hilarity, and to keep Spirit busy picking up spoons.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I finally become able to post this week's experience with my old nemesis, the little genoise! I always think of her as a flirty little jeune fille who tricks me at the slightest opportunity. I don't like to acknowledge that I help her along; yet once again today I did just that.
For this recipe, I had acquired, squeezed, and frozen the Seville orange juice while they were in season. We had Valrhona Noir chocolate and cream; Wondra flour, superfine sugar, eggs and unsalted butter, so I was set. I made simple syrup with Triple Sec first; dried orange slices that became a little odd looking after while; melted and strained the butter.
I made the curd and it was, is, delicious. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough left for toast!
Hector says he warms the eggs and sugar on the Induction Stove. Sounds great.
So -- began the dance of the genoise.

I decided to use the Induction Stove to heat the eggs and sugar for the foam. Happily, I turned the machine on and it beeped at me, a good indication I thought. I begin to constantly insert the thermopen, and then my finger, as the eggs are whisked, and cold. I raised the temp to medium; by now eggs whisked to death, and cold. I can't find the booklet. OMG - this machine doesn't work unless a magnet sticks to the bottom of a metal pan. I discover the magnetic timer doesn't stick to the mixer bowl. Aha! I recall I bought an item that transfers the heat through without magnet-bottomed pan. I put it on the machine. Zap -instantly too hot, almost curdled them, but not quite. Temp okay 90 or less, I thought. Onto the KA, high for 5 mins. l then I reduced to medium for a few more minutes. Because I had made such a mess with the eggs initially, I threw in an extra egg yolk. I don't normally change any detail of Rose's, but I already feared I had made a huge mess, so . . .
Actually, after the yolk went in the volume rose again, white and silky. But: I did not scrape down the sides of the foam bowl. I placed a cup of foam and mixed it with the butter and vanilla. I sifted half the Wondra over the foam and folded in with the large balloon. I am seeing flour on sides of bowl. I am remembering Rose's bold-lettered caution about this. Folded the remaining flour, with balloon, forgetting to use large spatula. Lastly, in with the warm butter and foam mixture. Stuck fingers in through bottom, not believing I would know a ball of flour if my fingers came upon one. Although, I very well know how to recognize them when they are pearls showing on the bottom of my chocolate genoise!
The oven is at 350F and the cake baked for 25 mins, golden brown, toothpick clean. Took it out inverted, left parchment on [have learned not to take it off on genoise] and reinverted.
After cooling I syruped with a silicone brush that has four layers of bristles that sort of carry and drop the liquid as opposed to brushing. It is very nice. I wrapped the cake well and let it sit overnight. Maybe I should have put curd in at that time, but it was so foamy and wet that I felt it would fall apart if handled further at all. In the morning I put in the curd and wrapped again to cool well.
I made the ganache and frosted.

I don't think the cake survived its cold eggs being manhandled before heating. It didn't rise well, not to the top of the pan. But under the circumstances it could have been a lot worse! It wanted to, and did, list to one side. Come to think of it, it ended up being like knock-you-out 120-proof, syruped cornbread - but that's not all that bad with Seville orange curd, and dark chocolate.

I have received kudos for this cake, and I will definitely chance another encounter with this insouciant jeune fille genoise because I enjoy it's qualities. As genoise is known to do, after time in the fridge, the syruped layers married and mellowed the tangy Seville orange curd flavor with the sharp Triple Sec, creating delicious tasting cake, even if it didn't reach genoise proportions -
this time.

We now have a large choice of cakes ahead in playing catch-up to the Heavenly Bakers, so you will be hearing from us soon. We are very glad to be back.