Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Sour Cream Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


Did someone say cHLoclate?

Nope! Sorry kid. This week its lemon and poppy seeds.

Poppy seeds are traditional in the purim Hamentashen Cookies. Take a look at  Shoshana's beautiful hamentashen: (even though she did not use poppy seeds.)

The word Hamantashen seems like it might be a play on the hebrew word מן "mon, (in english manna see- Numbers 11:7)" described by the classical Bible commentators as looking like poppy-seeds, and the "mon" part of the name of Haman (pronounced Hawmon in hebrew) the Wicked (whose decree to annihilate the Jews was nullified.)

For those who don't know, Purim is sort of like a Jewish version of Halloween. Kids get dressed up in costumes. However, the similarity ends there. The Purim imagery is one of of ancient Persian empire from about 2,500 years ago or so. Joy (drinking) and frivolity and giving gifts of food (not asking for them) as well as gifts of charity to the poor are the order of the day. One is obligated to drink until you no longer can tell the difference between "Wicked is Haman" and "Blessed is Mordechai." I  have posted on a schedule since, while your reading this I am probably passed out drunk somewhere (in the obligatory manner) muttering to myself about the righteousness of Hamen the wicked...

Mis en place:

Make the egg mixture...

What a wonderful texture.

All ready to toast. Even though it says you need a 10 cup pan it all fit in this loaf pan. The loaf pan is the hardest one to toast since you need to move it up or down in the middle, depending on what is about to burn as well as cover it with tinfoil that does not really want to stay on...

The batter sort of oozed out the sides. It still tasted great. In fact, I liked this one better than the one in the cake bible I found it lighter and more delicate. The lemon and butter flavors are not overpowering. I do have to admit though that I left out 1/4 stick of the butter as I felt that 1 3/4 sticks was just a bit too much for me...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joe Pastry - Knishes


Boy are these good.

I'm going to make a whole batch of these to give out on Purim (along with a Dr. Browns soda.) :)

Thank you Joe Pastry!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Free Choice Cake(s)


I decided to make two cakes one from before the start of the Heavenly Cake Bakers, the "Banana Refrigerator Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting", and one that I missed in the beginning, "Barcelona Brownie Bars. " I also missed the Hungarian Jansci Torta but I figured I would save that for Passover.

Cake one - The Banana Cake:

Mis en place:

The white chocolate frosting is just not the right to make in the blender. A 
blender needs a least a little a little liquid to get things moving. I added an extra tsp of almond extract out of frustration. It got things moving but the taste, while still edible, was not ideal. Next time I am just going to use the hand mixer!

Sifting. Grrr.

The cake itself was absolutely delicious!

Cake two - Barcelona Brownie Bars:

Mis en place:
Notice that someone tried to sneak some chocolate...

Toasty pecans...

I ran out of baker's Pam and I'll have to prepare my pans the old fashioned way until after Passover.

My "double boiler" :)

Er.. "sift" the flour in...

(That's my Bronx Cheer in case you didn't know...)

All ready to go in to the toaster.

Got out my, uh, "piping" tube...


(It's just us here right...)

The "plugs" sank a little. In the background you can see my lemon poppy seed cake. (More on that next week.) 

Aside from the fact that I do not think I have ever had dairy brownies before, these are hands down the best brownies that I have ever had!

:P (Now I'm just likin' my lips.)

Joe Pastry - Sourdough Pancakes


Just looking for new ways to use up my starter before Passover hits. After the baking soda bubbles wore off the texture of the pancakes suffered. They were all delicious though! (I am still trying to decide whether or not to tell my kids they were sourdough, since they liked them so much. Will it turn them on to sourdough or just turn them off of my pancakes?)

The "Ez Man" is still too little for pancakes... (just ignore the pink bouncy, he has older sisters ;)

RD - Chocolate Nutmeg Cookies


My wife keeps threatening to throw away the Reader's digest cookie book since none of them have come out very good (these included.) I say, come on, there are 1,001 cookies in here, they can't all be bad! It sort of like saying that the pie you baked for the picnic could not have been too bad since the ants came and walked off with it... At least I'll learn about many different types of cookies (if not how to make them taste good.) Any one have a good recommendation for an outstanding cookie recipe book (other than Rose's...)?

Challah with millet


I am going to have to get rid of all my different flours before Passover. Some of the millet spilled and I figured I would throw it into the weekly challah. I usually would let the millet soak for a whole day before using but it was thursday night already and the hour was getting late... I had to just give it a short soak.

I have been experimenting with autolyse. Lately I have been giving my challah at least an hour autolyse before retarding the dough in the fridge overnight. I use a rather wet challah dough, even though it is not the usual thing to do with challah (since you want a nice tight crumb.) This time I was so tired I could not even bring myself to knead the dough and just stuck it in the fridge in it's unmixed state. The next morning, before going to work I kneaded it and stuck it back in the fridge until I came home (3pm.)

With a combination of half soaked millet and un-mixed retardation I was truly prepared for a crunchy, tasteless challah.

What a surprise when I bit into it and it was nutty and sweet and not really crunchy, just a nice texture. A real treat. I wonder if it was the abnormal autolyse. This thursday maybe amaranth! :)

The Challah recipe I used:
5 cups flour
2 cups of more of water
1/2 cup millet
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
tsp salt
tsp yeast

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goldman's in Baltimore - My Chocolate Gold standard


Everyone's got to have their chocolate Gold standard. For Rose L. Beranbaum it may be her Double Chocolate cake. For me, it's Goldman's Kosher Bakery's Danish's in Baltimore MD.

I wish I knew how they got their chocolate to taste like that! 

Note the heavenly light...

We took a trip to Baltimore for my nephew's bris.

Boy did the snow hit here hard!

Some of Goldman's other goodies (none of it as good as the danishes:)

Hamentashen (Purim treats:)

Cookies and such. I recommend the ice box cookies.

Kichel and friends. Where is that creamed and pickled herring...?

The kids, of course, stood there in awe, for a moment, in front of the danishes, then opted for the strawberry shortcake. :)

And to think that some consider the best kosher bakeries in New York. Take it from me in Brooklyn, this place is tops!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Double Chocolate Cake (2 attempts)


Mis en place:

Chocolate and butter.

I should have realized something was wrong when the batter was as thick as a buttercream...

Keep the ganache warm while the cake bakes.

Carefully check the raspberries to make sure they are kosher (no bugs...)

Looks OK...

I used a tooth-pick. I think I made the holes too small as the ganache did not really seep in. I told my wife that I think I saw Rose use something bigger in one her videos. My wife jokingly said, "...are you kidding! I think Rose uses a coffee cup to make her ganache holes!"

I put some chambord in the ganache for extra raspberry flavor. Yum!

After glazing the raspberries I am ready for divine inspiration I take a bite...

The verdict is... ach! Dry!!


What happened?

I soon found out:

Apparently, this is a common problem. I wish Rose had given a warning of how unforgiving the chocolate cake batter could be...

There simply was not enough liquid to dry ratio in the batter. To be fair I did not sift the flour and chocolate. It seems the wet and dry proportions of the chocolate cake must be exact for the proper  texture.

I had to make it again.


My father was having a house warming party the next day. A 1/2 hour or so before I whipped up one of these cakes up and put in 3/4 cup of boiling water into the chocolate instead of the 1/2 cup. The batter was nice and runny. (I also had to make it parve (i.e. margarine) since it was a meat meal...)

The cake cake came out a little lopsided with out the proper height. But... it was moist, fudge-y (, warm) and yummy! The extra liquid must have weighed it down. Next time I will either weigh my ingredients properly (not likely until I can afford (and have room for) a nice scale, sorry Rose!) or attempt to use 2/3 cup boiling water instead of 3/4 and see the difference...

Rose's cake even though it was made funny looking by my efforts totally blew this bakery cake out of the water! Only one or two pieces were attempted from this cake (and not finished.)


Rose's Cake after it was attacked by the populous...

Just goes to show you that a really good unadorned (and lopsided) cake can out-do a fancy looking cake any day. :) Thank you Rose!

My father's new place, by the way, has three ovens! Meat, Dairy and Parve! Yowza! I'll think I may be coming over more often... ;)

I also made Chocolate chip cookies (using Joe Pastry's tutorial.) The Muscavodo sugar I added really made these great!

My little brother Georgie snuck an extra cookie from the tin on our way out...