Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Free Choice Cake


Apple-Cinnamon-Crumb Coffee Cake

My wife kept asking me to make this coffee cake.  I decided to make one for our downstairs neighbor as well. I could not help but feel moved for them. Our neighbors just had a baby girl after a whole gaggle of only boys (yes, they do sound like a heard of elephants at times.) This just after her mother passed away. She named the baby after her mother. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to make two! :)

Mis en place:

The "Ez Man" was with me for moral support.

O.K. So here is the scene. It's Friday afternoon. 3 hours till the onset of the Sabbath (candle-lighting at sunset.) I have two coffee cakes and one batch of challahs to make. Once candle time hits, the toaster I can no longer use electricity, cook or bake (and was not about to leave my toaster on for the next 24 hours.) It was a made dash to make it, take pictures and take care of the kids as well (as well as some other odds and ends.) You know, standard Friday stuff. ;)

I do not have a 2 1/2 inch so I tried to hike it up a bit.

Crumb topping dry ingredients.

Apples and lemon juice.

Crumb topping with the butter and such.

Egg mixture.

Lovely textured batter. Funny how it reminds me of the north poler ice cap on the red planet.

Here it is, however it was not without incident. After putting on the cinnamon in the middle of the batter I forgot to put the apples! I howled and jumped in frustration as I tried to take the batter off the top of the cinnamon while ignoring the wife's sarcastic comments. I finally got some semblance of order with the surrounding baking paper being the only real casualty. Even though I doubled the recipe both cakes did not really go up too high. The one below is the highest of the two.

I am not really sure of the point of preparing these guys and it all sort of glommed together as I poured on to the cake.

Mmm. Smells good. One more cake to go!

The second cake I remembered to put the apples first (and take a picture!)

Verdict. Mmm. It was sooo good and not that hard to make. Finished both cakes just under the (proverbial) nose. The neighbor downstairs was touched.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Bernachon Palets d'Or Gateau


A bit late but here it is.  It is simply wonderful. Rich, creamy, chocolaty; Heaven!

Mis en Place.

Wet ingredients. I added an extra 1/6 cup of water to make sure the cake would not come out dry. I also ground my own superfine sugar since I did not have any on hand. I may have done it a bit to much as it seemed a bit powdery. No harm done though, it seems, with the texture of the cake.

Dry ingredients.

After 36 minutes. The slight rise deflated to a pretty flat cake, thanks to the cake strip.

I used sour cream for the ganache. I melted the chocolate in a pot on top of the toaster while the cake was baking.

I sliced the cake in half to make a layer cake. I opted out of the lacquer glaze since I'm late and wanted to post this sooner than later. Not disappointed at all, lovely, lovely cake Rose. 

Brioche 2010


Hooray! My baking hobby has been going on for a full year now!

For those of you who might wonder how I got into baking in the first place, it all has to do with a very pregnant Mrs. deserting the kitchen for the home stretch and leaving me to my own devices. I think she's glad I kept it up. ;)

The first thing I baked was "Rich Man's Brioche" from the Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Here they are again baked for this year's holiday.


Holiday flowers.

I guess word of my baking has gotten around town. Someone asked me to bake a cake for their sons' party. I baked an orange genoise for them from RHC. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Baby Lemon Cheesecakes


These were wonderful. I do think that the strong (but delicious!) lemon curd overpowered the lovely and subtle lemon flavor of the cheesecake.

I made a double batch of these for the upcoming Shavuot Holiday (May 19-20.) The Holiday commemorates the giving of the Law, when the 10 commandments were given at Mount Sinai as well as the oral and written tradition were handed down. Realizing that the new laws for slaughtering and preparing meat were complex, everyone just ate dairy instead until they got the hang of it (that's one of the reasons, anyway.) Cheesecake has become a ubiquitous jewish symbol, representing the holiday and the best in Jewish food.

Day 1: The Cake (got a bit burnt on top. No problem, just scrap it off. ;) Yes, you can make a sheet biscuit cake in the toaster! (in two batches)

Day two:

Mis en place:

I used the top from one of my spice bottles (cloves if your curious) to cut out the shapes.

Cream cheese and such.

Smooth and creamy.

Eggs, sour cream etc.

'Miriam's Well.' (a.k.a  -bain-marie) Miriam's Well was a miraculous rock that traveled together with everyone through the desert, providing water. It was there in the merit of Miriam's righteousness. Very appropriate for a holiday when the law was given by three, Moses, Aaron and Miriam.

Looking good. Ready for the freezer.

Day 3: The lemon curd.

They look awful purtee, even without the swirls.

I hope I'll have time for the next heavenly cake with the Holiday and all. I'll do my best. It's on the cover after all. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Gateau Breton


I had trouble telling when this was done. It turned out more like a giant butter cookie/shortbread. I think it was supposed to be a bit softer.

I attempted to simulate golden bakers sugar by putting turbinado sugar in a food processor. I assume that it is basically super fine brown sugar or some such thing. At any rate, it worked nicely. Don't be alarmed if the food processor smokes. It's just the sugar, not your machine! Here you can so the turbinado sugar in the cup and the super-fine version in the bowl.

Toasted almonds and sugar etc.

Mix mix...


The plot thickens.

Score! This cake goes really well with morning coffee.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Fancy Shmancy Trifle


I made this last Sunday. This was really fun to make and a great challenge. The pastry/chibout cream really special and delicious. It took about 12 hours from start to finish for the whole thing.

A friend of mine said about it: "It looks like a giant, grumpy truffle man with a wild comb-over."

10:00am Mis en place...

beurre noisette

Eggs and sugar.

Dry ingredients

Give em the old spin in the can. Keep em' nice and warm.

Beurre noisette and fluffy eggs.

Folding, Haskell style...

First batch, full of bubbles, ready for the toaster.

Lookin' good baby...

Second batch, was in the fridge in the mean time. Not as happy as the first. Two batches would have served em' better.

Comparing the two brothers.

Learned this trick from a batch of Marzipan ice cream I once made. Boil the vanilla beans in the milk or cream (that you are boiling anyway) before you use them. It makes them easier to cut as well as imparting flavor.

Used some gnarly looking vanilla sugar. lets dredge this baby in vanilla.

Pinching vanilla beans is a unique sensory experience. I figured out that it is easiest to cut a vanilla bean lengthwise twice, not just once. It makes it much easier to scrape. 

The syrup. Used Cointreu instead of Grand Marnier to keep it Kosher. Grand Marnier is cognac, hence wine, based.

Lovely pastry cream, how do I love thee.

What was this again? I've lost track already...

This was amazing! The way this just thickened suddenly!

Little Chavi with her "soft" (Mommy's velvet skirt) staying up late waiting for the spun sugar to happen.

Ready to assemble.

Whip something or other. What was it again? It's all a big blur...

Fold to the left, fold to right (stand up, sit down, fight fight fight!)

Baste. I think I liked the texture (and flavor) the orange peels in the marmalade added.

Arrange the strawberries. I used 2 pounds and did not have enough even for those "reserved pretty ones." It seemed to make more sense anyway to leave the middle of the top bare for the spun sugar. This trifle bowl from crate and barrel looks remarkably similar to the one in the book.

Ready to pipe the whipped cream.

I could not find the pastry bags and tip that I bought so I had to cut a ziplock bag twice to try and simulate the star shape.

I let Shayna have a turn piping. She tells me she wants to own a bakery when she grows up. Kids! Where do they get these crazy ideas?!

Dissecting the whisk ($2.99, don't sweat it.)

It is easy to find beeswax candles in a Jewish neighborhood...

The artists brush.

Waiting for the smoke to clear. The sweet smell of melted beeswax wafts in the air...
The caramel seemed to gain color on only one side of the pan when it really was fully colored already. It fooled me and I got a darker amber than I wanted. 

Spinning my web. It's hard to see but my spatula is taped to the counter.

It sort of hung from the cup like a beard. I wonder if you could just hang it down from the cup to begin with and forgo the whole dowel thing...

Ta da! Not the greatest picture, but it really shows the texture of the spun sugar.

We all sat down at 10:30 pm to have some. 
Whew! I don't know if I'll make this again but is was a lot of fun (and Yummy!)