Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heavenly Cake - Pine Cone Cake


In an effort to put some Jewish twist and meaning into this baking exercise I searched the bible for pine references. About the only thing that came up was this verse:

...נטע ארן, וגשם יגדל. והיה לאדם, לבער, ויקח מהם ויחם, אף-ישיק ואפה לחם...

ישעיהו פרק מד

"...plants a pine and the rain makes it grow. Then man uses it for fire wood, takes from it and becomes warm, even lights a fire and bakes bread..."

Isaiah 44:14-15

I thought this a nice verse as a baker to reflect on. How nice that the only divine mention of pine also mentions baking! Heavenly, perhaps?... :)

I could not find glycerine so I had to skip the fondant. I also could not find a serving platter big enough to hold it, so for now, on the cutting board it remains. 

Le Cake: My wifes reaction when she walked in the room was, "my G-d, what is that gnarly pine-cone thing?!" Needless to say she loved it, asides from the fondant (which I did not make anyways.)

Mis en place: 

I used Richwhip so as to keep this cake parve as it was too big to attempt in the toaster and I did not feel like cutting down to size. 

Speaking of which, I just visited my grandparents in California (for Chanukah) after a long hiatus and found my grandfather had a double level toaster with a temperature thermometer inside. Above the toaster are posted the actual temperatures the toaster reaches on the top and bottom shelf for the different temperature settings. No, my grandfather is not an off the cuff Jewish baker, just a hardware engineer who worked for IBM for many years. Funny how these things work...

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

The ganache cooling in a bowl. As this was parve I was able to use our food processor. What a snap! However, the nuts took 14 minutes, not 7. 

folding in the flour to the chocolate and egg mixture. I hate sifting!!

Ready to go in the oven:

This was the first time I made a roulade and I could not for the life of me figure out if it was done or not. I kept feeling the middle but it just felt like firm delicate egg whites. I finally felt confident enough to take it out after about 25  minutes. The bottom was only slightly overdone which means it probably really took about 20 minutes and not 7 - 10 as stated in the recipe.

Roll it up in a towel.

Spread the ganache.

My rocket ship.

After frosting:

This was a delicious cake but it was also a bit rich. The almonds in the ganache were a nice contrast. I did not have cognac so I used brandy instead and it worked nicely. Yum!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavenly Cake - English Gingerbread Cake


Mis en place:

The Ez Man (Ezra) was with me for moral support.

Ok, so I am showing a little of my naivety. The recipe called for ground ginger and when I asked my wife where the coffee grinder is (we grind all our spices in there...) she just laughed and sent me to the shelf...

Mamalade, brown sugar, corn syrup and butter...

Pinch of salt...

Mix liquid with dry ingredients.

Make lemon syrup.

I did not wrap with it. I just stuck it under here and let it have a nice shvitz...

A little unusual with the lemon syrup, but still a nice contrast. Delish! I think I would like to make it without the lemon syrup next as this cake would be good on its own. I also thought the butter was a bit to intense when contrasted with the ginger. Maybe I'll make this parve next time. Wondra might also help in the mixing. This was a really easy cake to make!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Heavenly Cake - Carrot Cake


A Truly Fabulous Carrot Cake!

My little princess Shayna decided to help herself to some (of her grandma's) brownies...

Mis en place:

Carrots and dry ingredients.

Mix mix...

The requisite toaster pic. My wife pointed out to me that Cuisinart has a  pizza-stone/toaster oven/rotisserie. Baking in the toaster has become just too easy. I will now rotisserie all my cakes!

I had to do this cake in two shifts as the batter would simply not all fit in one pan.

Melt the white chocolate...

Decapitated Cakes.

I really had a lot of trouble mixing the frosting. It really should be done in a food processor. I had to keep on taking the blender off and manually shoving the stuff down so that it would all get processed. It took a while. It just was too thick to really blend.


When I imagine the taste of a cake in my mind, this is what I imagine. It's awesome Rose!

חנוכה שמח! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Last weeks Challah


5 cups bread flour
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp inst. yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups water

It turned out a little dry. I am not sure why. When I realized I tried to add more water but it just made the dough soggy and I had to add more flour. I tried to add more water to no avail several times. It still had a very good taste tough.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sephardic Lachmageen


These traditional sephardic middle-eastern treats (mazza) are made with chop-meat, tamarind, onion and pignoli nuts (although my grandmother used to make them with pomegranate syrup when she could not get tamarind-which makes them a bit sweeter.) My wife asked me to make the dough. I added some bread flour and a little bit of whole-wheat. The bread flour made it a little hard to roll out so they were not as thin as they could have been but I think it may have added to the tast/texture.

Sourdough Bagels


This used all my starter. I'll have to make another one. Oh well, it was a little weak anyways...