Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Evil Bakers Incorporated

I have joked that Evil Pie Man and myself should get together and open up a bakery called Evil Bakers Incorporated. We are only evil in that we get you to eat way more cake pie and ice cream than you reasonably should in one sitting. Secretly you love us.

August 7, 2004
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Party
Blackberry-Orange Cake
Two layers 10 in yellow cake with blackberries and orange zest
Filled and frosted with orange neoclassic buttercream
(this was supposed to be the bottom layer of a three tier cake; the other layers were baked by Allie and Evil Pie Man)

So, I did it again. I totally messed up; the directions for yellow cake almost always throw me off; I poured all of the milk into the egg yolks, when I was supposed to add only a quarter of the milk. I’m supposed to add ¾ of the milk when I mix in the butter, and then add the egg yolks, vanilla, and the last ¼ of milk in three parts later on. Oops. This may make a difference in the final cake. I seem to remember that it did last time I made this mistake. And we’re talking ten egg yolks, and 2.5 cups of milk. If I just keep going, there is a chance that the cakes will suck and I will have to do it all over again, and get another carton of milk and another dozen eggs….and another box of butter…and maybe even more flour….if I risk it. If I don’t risk it and go get more eggs and milk, then what do I do with all those eggs and milk and vanilla (and orange zest, but I’ll get to that in a minute)??? I guess I could also buy a loaf of French bread and make a lot of French toast. Hmm. A possibility.

So to make this a blackberry-orange cake I’ve decided to fold in 2-3 pints of fresh blackberries (that I mildly squashed on the way home) into the batter right before scraping into the pans. And I added 4 teaspoons of orange zest to the yolk mixture...and I’ll add orange zest and squeezed orange juice to the frosting mix, like you would add liquor. We’ll see what happens. Last time I made orange frosting, it was for my birthday last year and I used frozen orange juice concentrate. That turned out pretty good too. But I don’t want the orange flavor in the frosting to overpower the cake. I am finding that the frosting tends to overpower the cake--and what you taste is frosting with the cake in the background; like my complaint about rice with something big and flavorful over it; the rice just serves to hold it together and add a texture and dimension, but it remains far in the background (when in my opinion the rice is just as important).

So it sounds like I am heading off to the store to get a dozen more eggs, another carton of milk, two more oranges, and a loaf of French bread. It could be worse, I guess. I could have two layers of very fallen cake. That would drive me batty.

Mmm, good French toast. That was a good idea.

The batter was so heavy with all those blackberries (I used all three pints, minus the moldy ones) that I had leftover batter (I didn’t want to overfill the pans—no more than half full). I am going to bake up nine cupcakes in a few minutes!

I think b/c of the orange zest (which made the batter taste awesome—you can still taste the vanilla, and the orange…can’t wait to try a cupcake!!!!) the batter was too acidic; it looked curdled. I guess I should have used or added some baking soda—that neutralizes acidity. The problem would be figuring out how much to add. I wonder if the cake will be off in texture or taste w/o baking soda….

I think all that French toast and turkey breakfast sausage made me sleepy.

The cakes seem especially tender and on the verge of falling apart; I have to be careful when layering this cake…is it b/c of all the berries? Decreases stability (less batter to hold it together)? It smells awesome. I am excited. Hopefully those cupcakes will rock.

The cupcakes DO rock—the orange flavor is light and remains in the background…like the first hit is the blackberry, then the vanilla, then the orange…EXCELLENT. The crumb is still tender and fine. I am pleased.

Now I am supposed to paint the basement, but I would rather eat another cupcake and take a nap. Damn.

Cake was good. Got good reviews too. Not too sweet. Frosting wasn’t overpowering. Blackberries stayed in the foreground. Moist. Orange stayed as a hint in the background. I bet tomorrow the frosting will be even more orangier. Wonder if that will be better. Blackberries did sink to the bottom of the cake. Maybe next time I’ll place the bottom layer upside down so that it will look like cake-berries-filling-berries-cake. I wonder if tossing them in flour was helpful to keep them from being too spoogy? It certainly didn’t accomplish what I had hoped for; to keep the all the berries from sinking to the bottom of the cakes.

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