Double-Chocolate Whammy Groom's Cake
I baked two cakes last week, which is much more baking than I've done since Mendy started baking about 18 mos. ago. Actually two cakes plus brownies, since the Groom's cake is a cake within a cake type concept. Originally it was supposed to be for Mendy's birthday, but that didn't happen. Then it was going to be for the baby's first birthday...but that didn't happen. Then Mendy's brother got engaged (yay!) and I thought about sending it cross country with Mendy for the engagement party (I envisioned the xray scanner detecting the secret brownie nuggets being smuggled in the guise of a cake.) Anyway, that didn't happen. Finally, the Jewish new year was approaching, and I finally baked that cake the day before the holiday. 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 douse of bourbon.
There are so many beautiful cakes in Rose's book, but honestly they are not really my style. As a busy mother I just cannot be bothered with all those fussy details. I like a cake that you can make in a couple of hours in no more than two bowls, that does not need a specialty pan to make it appealing. This cake almost fit that bill. Plus its called the Groom's cake, so I couldn't resist baking it for my baker husband.
This was the brownie just out of the oven. I love how it rose above the pan like that. I made two so we could have one pan right away, and freeze the second one to use in the cake. Unfortunately it looked better than it tasted. It was just too mushy-gooey and lacked substance. It did taste really good once incorporated into the cake, though.
Finally the baker-man had a chance to put his feet up while wifey did the baking! Honey, I hope you enjoyed your Groom's cake. Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Rosh Hashanah, etc. etc. I think I will leave the baking to you until next year!
Yummy Fabulous Potato Kugel
In a previous blog Mendy showcased my potato kugel, which got rave reviews from all of you! (Maybe I could get used to this blogging business!) Since I married Mendy I have taken to Sephardic cooking almost exclusively, but potato kugel is one of those soul foods for me. My mother makes an amazing potato kugel with little flecks of grated carrot inside, a smooth puddingy inside, and a delicious brown crust. I had been trying to get my kugel right for a long time, but it wasn't consistent. Lately its been getting better. I've learned to play it by ear a little. For my latest attempts I've been basing the recipe on two different recipes from the world famous "purple cookbook." (See below.)
My recipe goes something like this:
1 medium onion
12 potatoes (a little less than a 5 lb. bag), peeled and cut into small pieces. soak the potatoes in cold water until ready to use.
1 carrot, peeled (optional)
1/2 cup flour (optional)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup canola oil
a generous sprinkling of kosher salt (1-2 teaspoons?)
several grindings of black pepper (I usually do 36, buy that's just my OCD thing)
Preheat oven to 350
Prepare all your ingredients first because speed is of the essence! (mise en place for all you HCB'ers)
Pour 2-3 Tbsp oil into a 9x13 pan and heat it while you're preparing the kugel.
Chop the onion in a food processor almost until pureed, but not quite. (*NOTE: If you choose to continue with the chopper blade, do NOT over-process the potatoes or you will get a yucky gluey texture.)
Put the grated onion into a large mixing bowl.
Process potatoes on the shredding disc, feeding them in through the tube.
Add potatoes to the onions. Add all the other ingredients & mix by hand. As soon as the mixture is ready take the pan out of the oven and pour it all in. Bake until the top turns golden brown.
I use the chopper blade for the onion so there are no large chunks of onion, then switch to the grater disc for the (optional carrots) and potatoes. I realized that the consistency is better when you first cut the potatoes into small enough pieces that they fit into the tube, so there aren't any really long strands.
Heating the pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil also helps to get a nice crust on the bottom.
You have to work fast,so it doesn't turn color!
Freshly ground pepper.
It should give a little sizzle when you pour it in.
Bake for at least an hour on 350 until the top is nice and golden. Nothing better than hot kugel fresh from the oven!