Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Baking Bible: White Christmas Peppermint Cake

I brought this cake to a holiday party and it was the perfect cake to share with friends. Not just because it was a wonderfully tall and festive cake, but also because it was delicious. The peppermint flavor and the crushed candy canes really made it right for the wintertime.

The cake is a typical Rose butter cake, employing the two-stage method which whips out a cake in minutes. I ran out of cake flour after 100 grams, so the last two thirds of the cake batter was bleached all-purpose flour. I was nervous this would mess up the cake as it has in the past. The cakes did dip in the center but miraculously the cakes were still light and tender in texture.

The recipe makes two 9 in cake layers which are cut in half to make four layers. Festive!

The filling and frosting is the white chocolate buttercream, which starts with making a white chocolate custard. It then needs to cool down enough for it to incorporate with the whipped butter. This took ALL MORNING, which I did not like. I am just way too impatient these days. However, the frosting is really yummy. I wanted to use my super fancy El Rey Icoa White Chocolate but I didn't order it soon enough for the party. So even with basic Whole Foods white chocolate this frosting was a hit.

In between each layer of cake there's a layer of white chocolate buttercream and crushed peppermint candy canes, with a liberal sprinkling of candy canes on top as well. The candy canes soften a bit in the frosting which makes them incorporate into the cake nicely. I was worried they'd be too crunchy or stick in the teeth like candy canes often do.

This definitely goes on the make again list. I bet the all-vanilla variation would make a wonderful and soft white cake.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Baking Bible: Renee' Fleming Golden Chiffon Cake

This is a light, moist and lemony chiffon cake and the lemon curd whipped cream is the bomb. I was so happy this was a simpler project, without 5,000 steps or the need of a piping bag. Hooray!

This is another one of Rose's chiffon cakes baked as a single round layer, instead of in a traditional tube pan. Baked this way, the chiffon cake gives a graceful dip which is the perfect bowl for a ton of whipped cream. I cheated and used store bought lemon curd. That is probably why I feel this is a quick and simple recipe.

Sadly I did not notice the recipe calls for UNbleached all purpose flour, and Rose even makes a note that says the unbleached flour is necessary to keep the cake from sinking too much. My cake wasn't very tall, it had sunk already before I pulled it from the oven, and it baked unevenly. Check it out:

Ah well. Honestly, what really matters is how it tastes, and if we like it. Everybody here loves it, including the toddler, and despite being a bit dense, the cake still has a light and airy mouthfeel. (Are we still using that word?)  

A winner all around. Easy and quick, yummy and simple.

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Baking Bible: Posh Pie

A chocolate-chocolate-chocolate cream pie, especially for those who love chocolate. I love how the lacquer glaze, imperfect as mine is, catches the orange of the pumpkin behind it.

I had the same problems with this Posh Pie as I did with the test bake. Let me count the ways:

1. This recipe has you make your own chocolate wafers for the cookie crust. The cookie dough is super sticky and difficult to work with. Here's my cookie "squares," just transferred to the cookie sheet and ready to bake. I took a photo, just because they look like such a mess.

2. Despite being a quite buttery mix of cookie crumbs and butter, the crust stuck unmercifully to my glass pie plate. We needed a deep dish plate and I panicked when I read that, as I couldn't find my deep dish pie plate for my failed Pumpkin Pecan Pie. So I dug around in the garage and found it! But alas, THE STICKING.

3. I over cooled the bavarian cream, so that when I and the cream were ready to move to the next step, the bavarian cream wasn't falling in ribbons, it was a big congealed puddle. I had to use a balloon whisk to incorporate the meringue and whipped cream in order to try and get the finished pie filling to be smooth. There were little lumps, but in the end I didn't notice any lumpiness.

4. Perhaps the over cooling led to the texture being a little less creamy and a bit like cream jello. That bummed me out as I really liked the flavor.

5. By the time the cookies were baked and crumbled and pressed into the pan and the cream made and the meringue and whipped cream folded in and the pie refrigerated overnight, I was DONE. Technically I had to make the lacquer glaze and then a chocolate whip cream but there was no way that was going to happen. Thankfully I had a little bit of lacquer glaze in the freezer, just barely enough to glaze the top of the pie. None left for the whipped cream, but I remember wanting a non-chocolate element when I made the test pie.

I like it but I don't love it. It's a yummy pie I just feel that it is a lot of work.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Baking Bible: Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I'm going to give myself an E for effort on this one. I didn't have the correct deep dish pie plate, in fact I couldn't even find my incorrect pie plate. So after long debate with my visitng mom I decided to use a cake pan. I suspected it wouldn't work and guess what? It didn't work.

The pie crust sunk down into the pecan layer, which gets baked first and is quite a thin layer. I pushed up the par-baked crust as best I could after the pecan layer was baked but I could only nudge it up an inch or so. So I poured in as much pumpkin layer as I could, but there was so much left over.

I didn't think much of the idea of putting a pumpkin pie layer on top of a pecan pie layer, but what I ended up with is really delicious. It would probably be even better with a thicker layer of pumpkin like it should have. I really like the cinnamon and ginger spices paired with the pecan pie. However this pie is crying out for bourbon! Next time. For now, a generous dollop of whipped cream will do.