Sunday, November 27, 2005

Money Makes The World Go Crazy

Some more digging around about the american revolution and post war reconstruction and the like has reaffirmed my belief that:

its all about economics and who has what and who is pissed off enough about what they wish they had and who has a lot to loose and therefore drives the government machine

Post revolution there were three main rebellions that consisted of poor farmers and sometimes disgruntled military men: Shay's Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion (I was right!), and...oh no...one other rebellion that I've already forgotten. Mr Squellati and Mr Dienger would be oh so disappointed in me. Shay's Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion were put down rather forcibly. Things like the Riot Act and the Sedition Act (a forerunner of the Patriot Act) were written. Land was seized and parceled mainly out to the already rich landed gentry and little bit to the middle class. No consideration was given to women, non landowners, native americans, slaves, freed slaves.

Anyway, enough about things that are not cake.

Once I get back home (currently at parent's house in former homeland of Los Altos ) I am looking forward to seeing my fuzzy kitties, getting back to my practice, driving to Olympia to see my man, and baking some seriously serious cakes. Seriously.

I'm thinking about a turtle cake...two layers of the chocolate cake made with the muscovado sugar and layering it with toasted pecans and homemade caramel. No frosting other than oozy caramel.

Also the truffle cake with the cheesecake layer. Gotta do that one.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let Them Eat Cake!

Watched Dr Zhivago for the first time last night (I know, I know, as a Russian major in undergrad I should have seen the damn film over ten years ago, but hey, how many of you can say you've read Crime and Punishment twice). And so it got me wondering....it seems as though after every "successful" revolution there invaribly comes time for the purge.

And that got me thinking about the American Revolution, and was there any sort of purge/terror/squashing of the loyalists? I certainly can't remember. I may have also been a history major, but my focus was on modern european history. And that was all more than ten years ago. So my rusty little brain can't remember these things anymore.

And if the newly instated us gov't didn't have to silence the opposition, then why?? What made this revolution different?

Since I can't remember anything like a purge...except maybe something to do with the whiskey rebellion....or was that pre-revolution....can't remember....oh soo rusty. Well, anyway.

All I can pull out of my little rusty brain is that, unlike most revolutions, this one was done by the landed gentry. The men with the education and the money, instead of the idealistic students or the angry poor. That's all I can come up with.

So, I thought I'd put this question out to all of you two people who read my blog...do you guys have any idea??

I will poke around on the internet for answers, but just thought I'd ask you first.

See, I have more on my mind than cake...but in a twisted way this has everything to do with cake. Off with your head.

________

Hmm. I'm so tired I just want to cry myself to sleep, but here's an interesting take on american history and The Plight Of The American People: http://www.hermes-press.com/completing.htm

Goodnight my friends and relations.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Make Me Something With Chocolate!"

I get that request a lot.

What if I coat a piece of shit in chocolate? Does that count?

Sorry, I'm a little sick today.

I can't stand death by chocolate anything. I don't get it. People order the death by chocolate and then they take two bites and complain about how rich it is and can't finish it! Dumbasses!! Then they just want more and more bites of my pleasantly chocolately, but not deathly, dessert, which they won't get! Fools. Go accept the responsibility for what you have ordered and eat that fuckin abomination of chocolate and deal with your insulin shock.

I have two requests for a chocolate something out there that I will take care of after Thanksgiving, and thankfully neither of them wants death by anything. Maybe one of them will get the chocolate truffle cake with the layer of cheesecake. That was some good chocolate shit.

August 20, 2005
Annmarie’s Goodbye Barbeque
Flourless Decadence
Chocolate Truffle Cake with a layer of Cheesecake
Served with lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream and raspberry puree

Annmarie was worried that the Truffle Cake on its own would be too much—so she was wondering what we could do about that. She suggested a layer of whipped cream but I told her that it wouldn’t work. (You can’t bake whipped cream…what would that do, anyway?) So she suggested cream cheese and I thought—YES!!! A layer of cheesecake would be EXCELLENT. So that is what we did.

For the truffle cake, I used 200g extra bittersweet Lindt chocolate and 254g 70% bittersweet. Good combination. Good texture, too. I didn’t do the anal egg measuring. I didn’t think it was that important for a truffle cake.

I made the cheesecake exactly like The Book calls for, and I was worried that the lemon juice wouldn’t marry well with the chocolate, but it was okay. It would have been better without. Maybe with Grand Marnier or even just more vanilla. I really didn’t need to make the entire cheesecake recipe but I decided that hey, why not? Then we can have little cheesecakes. Glutton.

I made the cheesecake batter first, since it didn’t need any eggs to help it rise. It sat nicely nearby as I made the chocolate cake. I was very pleased with my multitasking…things got done very quickly…after running to the store for more sugar…and more sour cream… (well Annmarie went to the store for sour cream).

I spooned the cheesecake batter in and I didn’t want more than one inch but I did more than that, which really was okay. Then I spooned the chocolate truffle over that and spread it over in a nice layer and then baked it according to the truffle directions…which is a lot less than the cheesecake directions so I was worried that the cheesecake would be really soft and runny. It is soft, but not runny.

With the cheesecake layer the whipped cream was superfluous but the raspberry sauce/puree was still really important.

The chocolate cake was really nice and fluffy and wonderfully flavored. Yum!

Friday, November 11, 2005

I Know Sometimes I Suck

I am trying to find all my film that I need to develop because I have over a year of cake pictures that need to be seen!

So I know I suck for not being able to find any of my undeveloped film, but love me for who I am, not who you think I am.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Baking is Part of a Good Health Regimen

We've done three open house/art openings for our clinic and I've tried several different ways to present the cakes...the first time I made a ton of cakelettes that were baked up in this cake pan that make six little flower-shaped cakes. The challenge with those was making cakes that were interesting enough not to need frosting. But then we cut each cakelette into quarters to strech out the servings which ruined the pretty little flower designs. So the next time (see The Week of Too Many Cakes) I made a bunch of 8x8 squares and we cut them up before serving them. That worked out better, but it was labor intensive. This last time I made cupcakes and I think I have found the winner.

I didn't make the red velvet cupcakes for the art opening after all...but I did make them a week or two later for our Feng Shui Consult. That's already been posted--look for Why Would I Use Beets When I Could Use Chemicals in the October archives.

By the way, I love you for reading my blog. Whoever you are.

October 1, 2005
MHC’s 3rd Art Opening and One Year Anniversary
MHC Cupcakes
Choc fudge cakes with egg white choc bc
[Red velvet cakes with cream cheese frosting]
Vanilla-orange cakes with orange blossom frosting
Gingerbread with chestnut mousse cream

(9/26) oh shit I only have 5 days to bake a thousand and one cupcakes. Hey—that would be fun—to have a thousand and one cupcake party. File that away.

I am thinking that I will make a little chart that will decipher which cupcakes are what flavors. The frostings can be the tell-all. Like the white frosted cupcakes can be the cream cheese frosted red velvet cupcakes. And the blue frosted cupcakes can be the yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Etc.

(9/27) okay. I have a game plan. I will go shopping at trader joe’s for all the eggs and butter. And maybe the cream cheese. And the milk. And the whipping cream and buttermilk. Then, to zupan’s to get the flour, sugar, chestnuts, molasses, muscovado sugar, etc. I will not cry. I will not stay up way too late. This will be a fun experience. Somewhere I need to get the foil cupcake cups. And another cupcake baking pan would be a good idea.

The gingerbread cake is supposed to be baked in a 8 by 8 square pan so I don’t think I’m going to get many cupcakes out of one batch…I may be okay with that but I may not be. Perhaps I will bake that batch up first so that if by the time I come around to the end and I feel I need more, I can go back and make more. Does that make sense? I’m not sure it does.

(9/28) The world is a crazy place. I can’t get over it sometimes.

Anyway…I bought chestnut puree, so I don’t have to cook the chestnuts in milk and puree them. So there goes tonight’s plan. So I thought I could prep for the vanilla-orange cupcakes by getting the zest into the yolk mixture and letting it sit together overnight. Makes it more orangey. Last time I used 4 tbsp for a 10 in cake, so I thought I’d just use 3 tbsp this time. Then I can measure up the rest of the dry ingredients like I did last time, making it easier to bake up tomorrow. I would bake tonight, but I forgot to buy foil cupcake liners and now I don’t want to go to the store.

Also, couldn’t find orange blossom water and tang at the freakin Zupan’s, so I decided to do what I did last time and use some orange juice and a little zest. Maybe a little food coloring to make it more orange? Hmm.

(9/29) OF COURSE, the day I set aside to bake like a mad fool in my kitchen is the day that the maintenance people decide to tear up my kitchen to replace the fuses. FUUUUCK!! So I hauled most of my baking crap down to MHC to bake the night away. I forgot my measuring cup and my strainer so I went to Fred’s and bought them, and luckily I got one of them free! They were having a buy one get one on kitchen gadgets and tools. Yay for me. And just now I realize I forgot the corn syrup. Can’t make frosting. DAMMIT! So, should I make another round of cupcakes or go home and finish up there? Sigh.

The orange cupcakes taste great and are ready to be frosted. I decided to frost them with plain ol vanilla buttercream. The choc ones are baking away. I found out that foil cupcake cups rock because you don’t need a cupcake pan to bake them in! I just put a bunch on a cookie sheet and off they went. SO nice.

Wow, those 2 batches of cupcakes yielded 30 cupcakes per…I don’t think I need to do four batches. Crazy. I think I’ll do the gingerbread one, mainly because it’s a smaller recipe and I’ve already opened up the chestnut puree so I can’t return it. The stuff for the red velvet cake, I bought on the company card, so I have to either make it for the team or return all the stuff.

Did I mention I have solved the egg yolk conspiracy?? Extra large eggs—the yolks are comparable to what she thinks a large egg should have. However, waaaay too much egg white. The egg white collection in my freezer continues to grow, despite my efforts.

(10/1) I made the gingerbread cupcakes this morning and they are tasty! The batter was really runny so I was worried that they wouldn’t rise very well but they did. The cupcakes on the cookie sheet actually overflowed. They were on the bottom rack in the oven—maybe that was why? I filled each cup about 2/3 to ¾ full and the ones in the cupcake tin on the top shelf didn’t overflow, they just rose to a point like a normal cupcake! The batter made almost 2 dozen cupcakes, so I decided not to make the red velvet cupcakes. I already have 80 cupcakes…and I am running out of time. Oh well!

(10/2) well, things went well. I don’t know why I decided to frost the freaking gingerbread cupcakes right before leaving to go to the clinic—there was no time to refrigerate them so the frosting would get hard—much of it stuck to the saran wrap. And they were harder to transport b/c I had to worry about all that frosting. Also, whipped cream frosting doesn’t look good after a couple of hours. Maybe it would have looked better if I had used the powdered sugar…or gelatinized it…or maybe that’s just the problem with chestnut puree, it makes whipped cream look funky after a few hours at room temp. I think my favorite were the gingerbread-chestnut. And frosting with the back of a spoon looked better than piping it on, since I don’t really know how to pipe. One of these days.

Hey!! After all those setbacks and craziness, I didn’t cry!! Yay!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Post Post Party Report

Okay. I ate the last piece of white/white cake today and I have a better opinion of it. I guess it (or I) needed to mellow out a bit.

The cake was actually tasty! It wasn't dry, it was lovely and had a nice vanilla scent and taste. The frosting wasn't too greasy/buttery. I don't know what my problem was last night.

Sorry, cake.

Tips And Tricks For Cakes That Rock (or, Finding Your Inner Baking Powder)

This is for Jason. (see how much you mean to this acupunk broad?)

1. If you are going to make a cake that everybody goes ga-ga for, you HAVE to throw out the idealistic fairy tale that you can make a healthy cake that people will love. Nobody loves whole wheat pastry flour like they love bleached cake flour. Honey is nice, but finely granulated white sugar makes for a better texture. Just deal with it. Its not like you eat cake everyday. Do you?

1a. If you are having trouble with rule #1, then here is your mantra: "I am eating cake. Cake is not healthy. I am going to embrace all the health risks involved and LOVE IT."

1b. If you are still having trouble, go back to your dense, dry, coarse, date sugar, raisin studded, sad-excuse-for-a-treat hippie cakes and leave me alone.

Back to the tips and tricks:

2. Go buy some cake flour. It makes for a way better cake. If you want that fine, light texture, you want cake flour. All purpose flour is for bread and pastries. Harumph.

3. Go buy fine-grained sugar, like bakers sugar or bar sugar or whatever that stuff is called. It dissolves better and creates a more open crumb.

4. You really need kick ass vanilla extract. Don't buy fake crap unless you want to insult your loved ones. Nielson-Massey is my current favorite (see yesterday's post).

5. Margarine is for killing yourself. Use REAL butter, and learn to love butterfat for all its glory. Your body doesn't even know what to do with margarine, so it stores the stuff in your arteries! Get it away!! Stop insulting your loved ones!

6. Good baking pans make a huge difference. Accept the fact that you are going to be using aluminum pans and move on. Refer back to rule #1 if you keep thinking about all the health risks you are taking.

7. You are going to need some sort of electric mixing device. Unless you really want to buff up those forearms.

8. You need a timer. Don't think you don't. You do.

9. Weighing your ingredients will give you much better results than measuring, and it is much faster. You can throw a cake together and get it in the oven in 30 minutes instead of an hour. I started hitting perfect cake status once I began to weigh everything, inlcuding the yolks and whites. I'm not saying, but I'm saying.

10. If you are going to need chocolate, use the best chocolate that you can find. The Best. Using a hershey's bar will only suck balls. Don't do it. Don't insult your loved ones like that.

11. And of course, pour a whole lot of love into that cake and everything will be fine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Post Party Report

Well, I have the last little piece left in my hands, so I guess people really liked it.

Hmm. I thought the cake was a little dry and the frosting was a little too much; too greasy/buttery, too sweet, too something. Meh.

Cake dissatisfaction. I hate that.

The Frosting.

Well, the frosting is tasty, but I don't think it is what she was talking about when she said "white frosting." But that's okay.

You have to use a whole box of butter to make this frosting. That's good times.

So we shall see how this cake goes over with the peeps and homies. They always say nice things about my cakes, but the real test is if they go for seconds or take some home.

I will report back post party.

Anxiety.

The cakes were in the oven a little too long....but I'm sure that's okay. Also, they didn't rise very high...I'm sure that's okay too.

anxiety.

anxiety.

it will be fine.

i'm sure it will be fine.

right???????

time to make frosting.

How Lucky For You!

Nov 1 2005
River's Birthday
The Boring (Yet Tasty) Cake
2 layers white cake
frosted with vanilla buttercream

This is a real-time cake post, people. How lucky for you!

I have my teacher's white cake in the oven baking away as we speak. I know, her birthday was yesterday but we are celebrating tonight during class. So there.

I have mild cake anxiety about this one (okay, fine, I ALWAYS have mild cake anxiety). The texture of the batter seemed a little off, a little grainy. And as I was scraping down the bowl I noticed the sides seemed a little greasy, as if the butter didn't really incorporate very well. I'm not sure why this would be. The egg whites were a little old (were frozen a year ago) and the baking powder is getting old...but would that be the reason why the texture would be off and the butter seem to not be incorporated?

However, the batter tasted great. I am using Nielson-Massey's Tahitian Vanilla Extract and this stuff ROCKS. I am in love with this vanilla extract. I would like to take a bath in it.

For the frosting I was planning on making the fancy buttercream with the creme anglaise and italian meringue, but it called for a vanilla bean and I couldn't afford it because I needed to buy another battery for the scale. Priorities. I wanted the scale to work more than I wanted to make the fancy frosting, and money is tight. I'll just make the classic buttercream and dump in some of this lovely vanilla extract. That will just have to do.

More later.