Sunday, September 26, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Mystery Cake with Mystery Ganache


I made this cake for my wife's birthday Farbrengen. Everyone had to try and guess the 'mystery' ingredient.

 As far as I can tell Campells tomato soup is not currently under Kosher supervision. I used Rokeach Tomato soup.

The tomato soup, cocoa and egg mixture.

I used margarine with a bit of oil for extra moisture (thanks to Hanaâ for the suggestion) as substitute as all the ladies coming to the farbrengen were expected to have just have finished their Sabbath Meat meals.

The finished batter.

After baking I froze these cakes for three days and composed it the night of. 

The happy birthday girl with her cake. People guess things from liqueur to pepper to ketchup. Everyone liked it! The flavor of the soup definitely shined through both the cake and the ganache. Frankly, while the cake tasted great, I was a little grossed out and would have enjoyed it more had I not known there was any secret ingredient. It was still Yummy. Happy Birthday, Mrs Mendy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heavenly Cake - Apple Caramel Charlotte


Hope you all enjoyed meeting the Mrs last week. It feels like a while now since I've baked so I was able to get back into this with a bit of energy. Sure looks pretty, but I have not got to try it yet! I stuck it in the fridge and am eagerly waiting for the requisite 8 hours. Rose mentions in her video where she poaches some pears that it gets better as it it sits in the fridge. I wonder if the same holds true for this cake?

Mis en Place:

The camera battery died with the pictures of the apple poaching process. Please enjoy my grainy cell phone shots. :)

There was no way I was going to miss out on the full affect of the bavarian cream, even if the only dairy was a bit of heavy cream! So... got some cake pans for the biscuit that will fit in my toaster.

Mixing the batter.

I learned that if I prop up the Sunbeam just so against the edge of the dish drainer it stays put! ;)

Divide the batter evenly and take turns...

OK, so I got a little distracted on the last one there. No harm done, I was able to cut around it.

I had a good five inches in between.

Cut em up! I was able to get the measurements that Rose called for with a bit to spare. This  turned out really helpful later.

Spread on the preserves.

A little under, not to bad. I probably could have beaten the yolks a tad longer, maybe warmed them up. I wonder why Rose says that if you use Wondra it would be thinner but more tender. I always get a higher cake with Wondra?

I used the bottom of this pan to cut out the bottom circle.

Why in the world were we supposed to cut these out? No instructions reference them later in the recipe and three layers is not enough to fill the rest of the cake. Only the 1/4 inch scraps are mentioned as being of use.

On to the custard!

Egg yolks. Small pot one.

Kosher gelatin with the poachy juice.

O.K. mrs. fancy pants, I do not have 3 small pans to put on the stove at the same time! I have just two. I brought the poachy juice to a boil then transfered it to the pyrex on top of the heated toaster. 

For the caramel. Small pot two. ;)


You get a pretty color when you add the poachy juice to the caramel.

Mix in to the egg yolks.

Strain and Wallah!

I measured the first piece, then used it as a guide for the rest.

Starting out. Looks good. I used a regular 9x2 inch pan since I do not have any dairy bottomless, spring-form or flan ring etc. I really aught to get one. At any rate, I crisscrossed two plastic wraps underneath and I am hoping we can pull it out by their handles. I think I saw someone do that for a cheese cake once.

Aaak! I had the exact measurments, yet this is all it got up to. Perhaps if my cake had been just a wee bit taller. At any rate, baking in the 4 toaster pans saved me as there was plenty of extra cake to measure some more layers out. Was there something we were supposed to do with those extra three layers right about now? Well, I used em, and made more layers as well.

A gory cake-y mess!


Italian meringue.

Whipped cream.

Whisk em into the custard.

Pour it into the mold.

Cut the apples. I used the peel from a red delicious apple for the color while the poached apples where granny smith.

Layer them gently.

I really had a lot of fun with this. It was not quite as taxing as the Honore trifle was and it seems just about as fancy. The individual components tasted fabulous so I'm hoping the whole thing will as well. I may just save it for Sukkot holiday that is coming up this week (If we can control ourselves that long...)

O.K., so what do we do with all the arrowroot left over? ;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mrs. Mendy's Post - Free Choice Cake and Potato Kugel

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)
6-7 eggs
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!

I also baked a really good Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah from Marcy Goldman's cookbook:


Honey, please remember to put the dishtowel back in this spot:

I can't stand when its missing!

Love you!

-Mrs. Mendy