Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heavenly Cake Bakers: Chocolate Feather Bed

I think this is my first recipe repeat from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. The first time I tackled the chocolate featherbed, a flourless alteration of eggy cake and whipped ganache, was for the second night of Passover. I was flipping through the book just looking for a Passover cake, of which Rose provides several options, and came across this one. I noticed that it was not only Passover-friendly but actually gluten-free, which has become a recent necessity for some of my family members. It seemed, at the time, with about five hours to go before leaving for New Jersey, somewhat complicated, but I made a half recipe and managed to get it out there, where it was devoured despite the presence of about 15 other desserts (and around 20 guests).
Versatile and delicate, yet easy to travel with, the chocolate featherbed immediately became my cake-of-choice for seders, Passover birthdays, and gluten-free events. But, such is the rotation that when I first made it again, last Thursday, there was no event at all, other than my sister visiting, so she had to cut it up and take it to her friends.

On the natural assumption that no time crunch means more time to mess up, I immediately messed up my second attempt by misreading the directions. Rose directs the baker to bake two batches of batter, on two half-sheet pans. Possessing only one half-sheet pan and no occasion, I planned to halve the recipe, but somehow misunderstood and thought that two batches of batter would be used for each half. I made the correct amount of batter, (the recipe printed, which Rose instructs doubling) but in halves, and spread the first half onto the whole half-sheet pan. It came out OK, but a bit thin and dry. I made the second half on a smaller pan, and the cake the size of 1/4 the half-sheet pan. Got it?
On my first attempt, I had made the chocolate-gelatinized whipped cream option. This time, I went with the whipped ganache, which I thought was good, but also dried the cake a bit. Next time I am going to follow the example of several Heavenly Bakers and omit chocolate in the filling, using gelatin-stabilized plain whipped cream. I love whipped cream, and I think the color contrast would please me. Unless you cut it just right, and shave chocolate artistically, this cake's simple appearance belies its somewhat complicated making. With some nonpareils sprinkled on, it resembled a cafeteria sheet cake.

I usually don't include recipes for Heavenly Cakes, as this bake-along is also a promotion for the book, but if anyone wants this one, email me, it's easier than it looks.

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