Thursday, May 26, 2016

Aloha Bakers - Lemon Icebox Cake

This week's bake was light and frothy, except for one bit, which was hard and knotty. First, let it be said, that this is my kind of cake. Billed as an icebox cake, a term I usually associate with wafer cookies and whipped cream, but which really applies to any cake that is as much cream as cake and needs some refrigerator time to truly come into its destiny.
This little beauty started out with a light lemony sponge/angel food, baked in a tube pan. Mine came out slightly wet and salty, but very workable. Next, a lemon curd is mixed into whipped cream is mixed into a gelatinized meringue. All went well until the gelatinization process, which was also around where I shorted out my scale with some spillage. Since it was clear that everything did not weigh 57555@#@$@ grams, I had to go on back into volume measures, which always makes me grumpy. Then, the gelatin just seemed...too stiff. I added a bit more water, and heated it up some more, but in the end what I ended up with were many knotty rubbery lumps and a bit too much water in the whole, which leaked out over the next few days as it rested in the refrigerator. If you look carefully at the photo of the completed cake, you can see a gelatin lump (slightly browner) discoloring the lower right hand quadrant.

I certainly wouldn't have sold it at a bakery, but I would certainly make it again and not screw it up so much. It was much admired at my workplace, lumps and all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Alpha Bakers -- Ganache Tartlets

These little puppies were the triumph they were more or less fated to be, being more or less truffles in mini pie shells. I used half leftover ganache from the ChocolaTea Cake and half almond milk ganache (a sleeper hit) from the alternative recipe.

Alpha Bakers -- Blueberry Buckle

This was the picture, a classic American farmhouse dessert. Worked out fine except for the part where I didn't leave enough breathing room when dropping the dough on the filling and it never quite...baked. Very pretty, but too sweet and a little too much raw batter underneath.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Alpha Bakers -- ChocolaTea Cake

Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting. Perfect for drop off in the office of your choice. I still make an effort to gift baked goods to my former officemates from time to time, and they are appreciative.

Confirmed. Delicious. Also got an email saying it was one of the best another colleague had had. Simple and delicious wins every time. I didn't have the powdered tea, but I achieved a similar effect with a touch of citric acid in the ganache.  

Alpha Bakers -- Crumpets

My aunt Nicki has an adorable quirk. She uses the word 'crumpet' to refer to the catchall category of breakfast pastry, but until a few years ago, had never eaten an actual crumpet. When we discovered this, we bought a few at Stop & Shop and ate them, but it wasn't until I had a crumpet at the famous Crumpet Shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market (a place much beloved by my friend Rachel, who has excellent taste in breakfast pastry and tea), that I started to think of crumpets as something I might like to make. In retrospect, they live on the spectrum between pancakes and English muffins, so what's not to like? I'll make and eat anything that can be spread with butter and jam. My crumpets came out well, although next time I'd make the batter a little wetter to encourage more hole creation. But there will probably be a next time, despite the alluring bewilderment of breakfast pastry that's out there. I'm kind of intrigued by these.

Rugelach Recycled - Alpha Bakers

I'll be honest, I didn't make rugelach this time around. Too busy running around in Ireland. But since I've been lackluster at posting anything and I do very much like Rose's rugelach recipe, here are some recycled photos from the Beta Baking phase--cream cheese dough is the best.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Alpha Bakers -- Flo-Ro Elegance Cake

Happy Spring, Cocksuckers! Oh sorry, that was me thinking about Deadwood again. When the seasons turn, it's time to head back to the hills and try to start up that town again. That show is the best. Barely a day goes by that I don't think of the wisdom of the writing, especially this conversation:
Reverend H.W. Smith: When I read the Scriptures, I do not feel Christ's love as I used to.

Calamity Jane: Aw, is that so? That is too bad! Join the fuckin' club of most of us!

All that aside, happy Easter too, to those of you who like a good resurrection! All the little flowers were coming up at my parents' house and they were headed to a Ukrainian Easter eggstravaganza, so while they fussed about creating a little nest for Jello eggs (and Homer Simpson), I made a layer cake.

Mom, on the other hand, made blintzes with sour cherry filling. She has more sour cherries in her freezer than anyone.

This week's cake was the Flo-Ro Elegance cake, a chocolate layer cake (made with cocoa and unsweetened chocolate) with white chocolate caramel buttercream.

The recipe didn't seem difficult but I have trouble concentrating in kitchens that aren't mine, I did some fancy mise-en-place.
The caramel buttercream had a lot of steps but went very smoothly, although I did end up with many bits of chewy caramel in the finished buttercream. That was probably avoidable, but I thought it was a positive, so I left it. I filled it a little lightly--I'm always worried about running out of buttercream, and did a few layers of raspberry jam as well.

I didn't see the finished cake, as I was already on a bus back to NYC, but my Dad took this picture for me.
In addition to cake, the menu at the party included: "Cheese blintzes, cole slaw, salad, kielbasa, jello eggs, goyish babka, cherry blintzes (awesome), fruit salad, herring." This list is verbatim from my mother. The hosts of the party, a lovely couple that I have known for much of my life, each sent me an email, entitled 'your culinary delight.' Happy spring.