Monday, July 5, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Cake

After a few clear days, it's overheating again here in Brooklyn. Somehow, much to the dismay of my friends and boyfriend, that never stops me from turning on the oven. In fact, I made this week's Heavenly Cake Bakers cake twice, once at the bakery and once at home. Neither cake was a complete success, but both were learning experiences. 

I am a pretty accomplished baker at this point, but that doesn't mean that I don't make constant mistakes. It just means I'm more humiliated by them. Case in point: I walked into the bakery on Saturday morning to find all four of the loaves of bread I'd made the day before sitting in the kitchen on a tray, sliced in half to reveal their doughy centers. Some days just aren't my day, and I'm grateful that on those days I don't work in an ER or the Pentagon. I'm usually grateful about that on the good days too. 
 Good days are those days like Saturday, when a chance splash of water spilled onto a baking tray, evaporated under some metal bowls, resulted in a beautifully gelatinized crust on my sourdough loaves. My first attempt at the chocolate ice cream cake wasn't quite as beautiful, but it was pretty nice. The cake is just a partial recipe of Rose's German Chocolate Cake, filled with the ice cream of the baker's choice. 

I made one mistake in the making of the cake, because I didn't read the directions properly. Rose directs the baker to mix cocoa and boiling water in the mixing bowl that will then be used to mix the cake. I mixed them in a small separate bowl, and then was flummoxed when the next ingredients (oil and egg yolks) failed to achieve the buttercream-like consistancy Rose describes. Luckily, I figured it out after some re-reading, and didn't make the same mistake the second time. 

On a side note re: reading instructions carefully; Rose always instructs the baker to mix cocoa and boiling water, then let it cool. This instruction always seemed finicky to me, and as I was able to get a smooth mix with cocoa and warm water, I always just did that. In the notes for the German Chocolate Cake, though, Rose elaborates her reasons. Apparently, boiling water brings out a different texture and depth of flavor in cocoa. So much for my clever shortcuts.
At the bakery, I filled the 10-inch round cake with some white chocolate ginger ice cream that I had made a few weeks ago while testing flavors for ice cream sandwiches (any ideas?). I left it in the freezer there, and will take pictures if it proves picturesque. For my cake at home, I used a small glass roasting pan, one that I often use for small lasagnes or roasted chickens. It struck me that a round cake pan was exactly wrong for ice cream sandwiches, especially if I wanted them all to be evenly sized. The ice cream was a quick mix--some jarred sour cherries blended with almond extract, cream, and tapioca starch, and in retrospect I should have made a custard, as it came out a little grainy and hard, though tasty. I do like the color, though. 
The whole weekend's baking was an exercise in humility though, as even the things that worked out left their mark. Here's what happens when you inexplicably touch a hot pan full of German Chocolate Cake to your breastbone. Even when you ice it for quite a while. Just in time for beach vacations.


Leslie said...

"I am a pretty accomplished baker at this point, but that doesn't mean that I don't make constant mistakes. It just means I'm more humiliated by them." So well said! I feel the same way (and I don't even work in a bakery). Your cake looks delicious and the ice cream sounds amazing! I hope your burn heals quickly!

evil cake lady said...

I love the look of your cake with the sour cherry cream in the middle, and your plate and radiator are lovely too! Hope next week proves to be a better baking week.

Vicki said...

Ouch! That's a vicious burn. I had Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia in my hand at the store, thinking it would be a great combination with this cake. Next time!

Here's my secret weapon for burns, bites, bruises, etc. A pharmacist told me about it. Vitamin E capsules in this brand but only the d-alpha, not the dl-alpha (closely read the label). Prick the capsule, smear some on until the burn is gone. We never have scars.

jkcurtis said...

Your cake turned out very nice. Love the radiator as the backdrop in the picture. I hope your burn feels better soon. It looks very painful.

faithy said...

Your cake turned out great! Looks yummy! BTW, you have pretty looking chest! ;)

Alpha Baker Joan said...

This looks so beautiful, especially with its special backdrop. I remember putting my carrots and peas behind a radiator like that, and getting in trouble when the cat got them.
Anyway, it seems your efforts here succeeded in a great cake result!