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.