Wednesday, May 30, 2007

ECL's Turn

I turned 34 on Sunday.

courtesy of the london grill

I decided to invite some of my friends to an extravagant Sunday brunch at The Benson Hotel. The restaurant in the basement of the hotel (The London Grill) does the big brunch--you know, with the omlette station, the roast beef carving station, the crab legs and seafood ice mountain, the cheese, oh the cheese, the veal, lamb, waffles, potatoes, eggs benedict, you get it.

Oh yeah, and there is this seriously serious dessert island.

I debated on whether or not I would bake a cake for myself, for many reasons. Let me elucidate:

1. I always regret baking my own cake. I spend my entire birthday frantically baking up the damn cake and not having much fun.
2. I am always stressed about the cake sucking ass.
3. I vowed never to bake my own birthday cake again.
4. And this time, there was this seriously serious dessert island. Would we need cake?

And the decision really came down to this:
Would I really be okay if I didn't have leftover birthday cake for breakfast next week?

The answer was simple. I needed birthday cake for breakfast.

May 27, 2007
Name of Cake: MINE
Occasion: The Most Important Day Of The Year
Constituents: Gluten-Freekin Tiramisu!!!

This tiramisu was different than my old roomie's for several reasons:

1. I used imported mascarpone.
2. I had to buy my own marsala wine.
3. I used different flours for the Biscuit de Savoie.

Allow me to break it down further:

Last time, I used the end of the Gluten-Free ECL Mishap Mix and a lot of white rice flour. I omitted the cornstarch form the original recipe since I had an unknown amount of cornstarch in the mishap mix.

This time, I used an equivalent weight of Proper GF Mix and added an equal amount of additional white rice flour instead of cornstarch.

I didn't bother to note if I did add in Xanthan Gum last time, and if so, how much. I almost forgot to add it this time, but at the very end, right before pouring the batter into the pan, I hastily added 3 tsp of Xanthan Gum.

Everything else about the cake was the same as last time.

Oh yeah, and this time, I made the zabaglione with the proper amount of ingredients.

proper zabaglione

Joelf was an excellent sous chef. Thanks to him, we got this cake baked up and the filling prepared by 2 am. Or was it 3 am. Can't remember now.

The next morning, the day of my birth, I stumbled bleary eyed out of bed several hours earlier than I would have liked (brunch reservations were at 10 am) and while I waited for hot water I soaked the bottom layer of cake in the coffee and spread about half of the creamy creaminess over. Then I noticed that I used about 3/4 of the coffee for the bottom layer. What was I supposed to use for the top layer? Oops.


I took a shower, and as I was getting out Joelf came upstairs. I told him my issue. He said he could make more coffee syrup no problem.

I said yay and did my hair.

Then I finished the cake, and liberally covered the top in cocoa powder. That was awesome.

birthday tiramisu

This cake could have used an overnight in the refrigerator, but oh well. We brought it down to The Benson and placed it on the side table, in the fancy pantsy private room I had reserved. We were 30 minutes late, and the first to arrive. Nice.

Brunch was decadent, as is everything in life worth doing. We had four good hours of eating ahead of us, so we paced ourselves accordingly. There was a lot of champagne, crab legs, boobies and cake talk (don't ask), and good times.


Some of us dabbled in the dessert island (creme brulee not so good, chocolate mousse tasty) and then the servatron (one part nice to two parts grumpy) came in with a pretty little slice of german chocolate cake with a candle! Everybody sang to me, which was sweet. Then we pulled the candle off the cake and shoved it in the tiramisu and took pictures!

ECL And Her Cake

I thought the cake was gritty--THAT IS BAD.

But the creamy creaminess was really good. And my friends liked my tiramisu better than the dessert island.

Good friends indeed.



  1. Belated birthday wishes! (I hate having to bake my own cake too. That is the problem when you are just too good at the cake baking.)
    Hope you had a lovely day and your cake was even better the next morning.

  2. Thanks Melinda!

    I had a piece of cake this morning, and it was pretty tasty. I'm annoyed at the cake texture (still grainy) but overall I am pleased.

    One more piece left for tomorrow morning....

  3. Happy, happy day...a bit late!


  4. Bethany, thanks for stopping by and for your birthday well-wishes!

  5. happy belated bday-it sounds like you had a grand old time! i hope the smorgasboard was amazing.