Friday, December 18, 2009

Back in awhile

I really, really wanted to do the chocolate pinecone...but with the holidays approaching and my cookie bakefest almost done (I'm doing about a dozen cookie gift boxes comprised of over a half dozen different items), plus the 3 pies I'm taking to Christmas, I don't think I will be posting for the next couple of weeks...I don't want to experiement with freezing the fondant cake and with other goodies around, I'm not sure the gingerbread cake will be a hot item.  So...I'm taking a break from the bakealong and will be back in the next decade.  Enjoy your holidays, fellow bakers!  Best wishes to you all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

I suppose I am putting the icing before the cake.  I've already baked the Carrot Cake from RHC, but it was for a dairy free cake, so I've never actually made the Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting...hence the reason I've signed up to do my second version of the carrot cake.

As far as the frosting's simplicity in a nutshell.  Take the butter, cream cheese, and creme fraiche (I splurged) and process, then add the melted white chocolate (cooled).  Now simplicity is becoming a challenge for me these days.  Take for instance adding the white chocolate while no longer warm but fluid... it is very, very cold here...
Thermometer in Metric                    

Thermometer in Imperial

Note the interior temp is about 15C or about 58F (that's by the window, but it's not loads warmer in the kitchen).  By the time the chocolate would cool, the outside of the bowl was already getting hard, inspite of my stirring.  I opted to add it warm and perhaps paid the price.  I tried to process it and get the slightly curdled appearance to emulsify, but no luck.  Perhaps I needed to chill it. 

I added vanilla since there were no beans in my chocolate:

When I removed the frosting the next day, it was a hard lump, so it sat in the microwave with the OTR light on so it could be at a "warm" room temperature rather than wine cellar temperature.  I thought using the immersion blender would luck.  I even pulled out the gutless Toastmaster hand mixer, and even though the frosting was quite soft at this point, the piece of junk I was using was smoking and barely mixing faster than I could by hand (it was a wedding gift that I pulled out of the depths of the basement a few months ago).  I guess I'd have to resign myself to a less than dreamy creamy frosting until summer :(

Onto the cake.  Simple, really.  I wanted an extra 6" cake, so I scaled up the recipe accordingly.  My baking goes in waves sometimes I get on a roll, and other times I should stop and take a break.  Generally everything went well with the cake baking, although I think I should reduce the oven temperature by 25F as I find the Chicago Metallic Professional pans I use always seem to bake fast even though:  Rose says not to, my oven temp is good, and I use baking strips.  In this case the 9" cakes were done the same time as the 6" cake in the aluminum pan.  Mental note for the next cake. 

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I omitted the raisins since the cake's for my hubby's family and they don't like raisins.  Also, I used Saigon cinnamon and didn't use the full amount since it's got a bit more kick than Korintje. 

Bye, bye Mr. Carrot.

You may recall, or not, that I have a livid fear of unmolding cakes.  I reinforced this fear by smushing the carrots out of one of the 9" cakes.  It was salvageable, but here's the damage:

The other, perhaps pan related issue, I'm having is some major sloping sides on my cakes.  The CM-Pans are straight, yet I end up with the tops sloped inward.  This is a major pain when it comes to frosting the cake -- and I suspect part of the reason why I barely had enough frosting even though I used 500g of cream cheese and scaled up the recipe accordingly.  I had wanted to do a basket weave design on the cake, but resorted to my usual, boring motif.  I may try not spraying the sides of the pan -- that could be a horrible disaster though...we'll see.

I will not be serving this cake until next Monday.  But... the carrot cake, from previous experience, is mildly spicy and dusky.  I like it!  From the licking of the bowl tests I did, the frosting is not very sweet and has a great tang ... but not from lemon as usually is the case.  I think the creme fraiche makes a difference in this regard.  I love the cocoa butter nuances, although some may scoff at the idea.  I did improve the texture of mine, but I suspect in warmer climes, it would be dreamy creamy.  I will have to try again! 

I did nuke some of the frosting remnants and it did improve the texture -- unfortunately this was after most of it ended up on the cake.  I will be making both the frosting and cake again.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Football and how to use a full can of pumpkin

I am starting to feel the effects of the bake-along...mostly around my waistline.  It's time to start making smaller cakes and giving away as much cake as possible!  With the CFL (Canadian Football League) West final party on the schedule for last Sunday...I thought PERFECT!  A great opportunity to pawn off some of my cheesecake.  Problem is, several of the attendees have dairy allergies so cheesecake isn't going to be a hot item.  Read on, read on...

I must diverge for a small moment to explain why my post is early.  I come from Saskatchewan, Canada.  Regardless of your thoughts on professional sports and football, EVERYONE who hails from this province of just over 1 million people is a Saskatchewan Roughrider fan.  The Roughriders are the only professional

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buns Heavenly Buns!

It would seem that I'm a cake baker at heart...but my first love (baking anyway) has always been bread.  First, it's more sustainable to eat bread than cake.  Second, is there anything better than the smell of a house with freshly baked bread just out of the oven? 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Woody's Luxury Lemon Layer Cake

I must admit that 90% of most of my baked goods contain chocolate (not white chocolate, either).  I'm sure I am missing out on some fantastic desserts, but I know what I like and most of the time it's chocolate.

Baby Oblivions and Tempting Fate

I had this most of this post ready to go for the "due date" but without pictures and a taste... read on...

I really need to learn to quit tempting fate.  Last night, following my crazy wedding cake weekend, and after almost falling to sleep with my son at 9 pm, I decided that the logical thing to do was bake some Baby Oblivions.  After all, I wanted to keep up with the Heavenly Cake Bake Through and I don't think anything chocolate was on the agenda for awhile.  Besides, I wanted to clean up my kitchen, and it seemed that if I did the baking today, well I'd have two messes to tackle. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Making of a Wedding Cake

Before you start reading this you should brew a cup of tea, find a comfy chair, relax, and be prepared for a lengthly post... Or scroll through and look at the pics and call it a day! 

The making of my third wedding cake began about a year ago when my sister-in-law asked me to do her wedding cake.  I began to think of all of the amazing possibilities and soon after began baking "test" cakes at every opportunity.  If there was a family gathering, I would come to it with a cake in tow for all to try...I won't bore you with the details so here is what was ultimately decided upon:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Post For 2 Weeks...

Thought I'd give fair warning that I won't be doing any bake along cakes for the next two weeks.  I'm building my sister-in-law's wedding cake and I will be busy.  The cake will be a 6-9-12" round stacked cake with the new German Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Syrup and layered with Raspberry Ganache. 

Almond Shamah Chiffon

If a recipe typically calls for the use of my two Kitchen Aid mixer bowls, a food processor, and more, I usually avoid it like the plague unless it is chocolate and Rose's Triple Chocolate Cake (those of you who have had it know what I mean.)  However, I decided to give the Almond Shamah Chiffon a go since most of the recipes inspired by David Shamah over the years have been worth the effort (take, for instance his Jumbles in Rose's Christmas Cookies). 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Barcelona Brownies

Brownies are my go-to baked good. They are simple, satisfying, and oh so yummy. The Barcelona Brownies are no exception. While slightly more complex to prepare than traditional brownies, they can still be made by hand and if all of your ingredients are at the correct temperature, they will come together in a snap.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Moment I've Been Waiting For...

My personalized and autographed copy of Rose's Heavenly Cakes arrived yesterday...oh the giddiness!

Well, here's what I could fit in...

Still smiling about it!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Am I Crazy?

I just signed up for the Bake-Along with Marie and am starting to wonder if it was a good idea. I've already made the Whipped Cream Cake and the German Chocolate Cake (only the cake -- not topping) from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, but I just don't know if I can fit it all in. I will admit that I was swooned by the autographed copy of the book. I decided when I got the book that I would just bake from it and use spite of the absolutely stunning photography. All of my favourite cookbooks are covered in ingredients, but that's how it is. The best cookbooks are the messiest.

My favourite photo is of the Whipped Cream Cake...I just love how the photo captures the sugar falling onto the cake. And this is the photo I ruined by baking the cake. I am not a neat baker, usually because I am in a rush and don't have my kitchen in an orderly state before I begin. Somehow I managed to get egg? on the page and now a chunk of the black background is missing.'s easy to understand how I was convinced to join the bake along...I could have my own baking copy AND my own copy to admire sans the ingredients stuck to the page!
For Heavenly Cakes Sake