Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cake # 60 Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake was the first thing I ever made. I was given a cheesecake cookbook from my aunt when I was about 13 and there began my love of baking. That in combination with my love for fall and pumpkin treats I was super excited to tackle a new recipe for pumpkin cheesecake.

New ingredients I haven't used before included Swedish ginger snap cookies and Turbinado sugar. The cookies were for the crust which was claimed to be "spectacular." A very different texture than anything I'd made before.

I didn't take any pictures of the cheesecake in the making...it was pretty typical I would say the maid difference was the sugar and Rose asks to bake the cakes in a water bath. I sat the cheesecake in another larger cake pan that was full of water, while baking.

In an effort to make all the recipes in the book I also am attempting each variation. This recipe calls for a glaze after the cake is finished the variation was a Bourbon Butterscotch Caramel.

To make the Caramel Glaze you boil corn syrup and sugar and then add cream. It was fun.

Next I made the Bourbon glaze...which as you can see didn't turn out in my favor. Yuck.

I iced both cheesecakes with the original glaze and in my opinion the caramel was the best part. I even made it again a week later to dip apples in and it was a huge hit.
I should have used a smaller icing tip for the glaze it kind of spread all over the place. I didn't think it looked very pretty. Oh well.

Overall most people like pumpkin and cheesecake so I couldn't really go wrong. However, I think the water bath made the cheesecake less of a cheesecake texture and more of a whipped texture. Next time I might try making two cakes with only one in the water bath and one without just to see the difference.

Were the taste buds happy?
You bet! The pumpkin taste wasn't very strong which even made typical pumpkin antagonists enjoy this treat, and pumpkin fans alike.

Happy fall to everyone, and until next time, enjoy the cake.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cake # 12 Woody's Lemon Luxury Layer Cake

Layered lemon cake...well, for those fans of lemon I suppose this sounds fabulous. Which is what most of my tasters thought. I'm not really a lemon fan either so my opinion doesn't really count much. But here's what went down.

I've only made a few other things that have been as detailed as this lemon cake...pretty much just wedding cakes. However, I did find it really fun.

First I zested the lemons for the lemon curd. Let me tell you, this is a tedious job.

The curd has to cool awhile before you can do anything else.
So then I started in on the buttercream, which had 2 parts and lots of white chocolate.
Melting and stirring and coming to room temperature, it all just took a while.

Here's my fancy ingredients, 2 kinds of white chocolate, one for the cake one for the buttercream.

 Everything was going well, I had finished all parts of the buttercream and the lemon curd, cake was made and baking. I pulled it out of the oven, let it cool awhile and then went to invert it to finish cooling. However, I inverted it onto my hand ....the light and airy cake totally fell apart.

Since this cake is covered in icing, I figured I could cover up my mistakes pretty easily. However, the buttercream was the hard part on this cake, so I made it again.
So far I've made 2 cakes, and I've made them both twice. Hopefully next time I get get a hole in one.

Were the taste buds happy?
Well fans of lemon definitely were.  The lemon flavor was even compared to a very fancy bakery here in town. That made me real happy. I personally thought the cake itself was a little dry. But with all the layers (sorry it didn't cross my mind to capture that part, but next time I will) and all the buttercream the flavor overruled. I didn't have any complaints.

Thanks again for checking in, and until next time, enjoy the cake.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cake # 67 Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream

So what is a torte anyway?
A torte is originally from Austria, and by definition is a rich cake usually covered with cream and fruit or nuts. Because of it's richness many times does not include flour in the recipe. As this torte did not, and was filled heavily with nuts. Pecans to be exact.

I did learn from this cake that I need to read the whole recipe before I commit to it. One of the ingredients in this torte is coffee extract OR an instant espresso powder by Medaglia D'Oro. I went ahead and purchased the espresso powder only to find when reading the recipe that Rose claims a specific vendor Nielsen-Massey "makes a pure coffee extract that is the essence of coffee flavor." The night before I'm supposed to make my cake and this essence of coffee flavor is out of reach. Oh well, I used the alternative and I will read ahead in the future.

Special ingredients...Medaglia D'Oro espresso powder, and superfine sugar. (I think I've used this sugar before, but it's been a while, I went to 3 grocery stores to find it.)

I thought I failed this one. My first cake and I thought for sure I failed. It didn't really rise like I thought it should and some of the sides were still stuck to my pan. I knew it was a flop.

So I made it again, then I had several tasters try both tortes at the same time. The first one won the contest, but both were well liked. I'm trying to learn my lesson here that usually when I think I've failed, I probably haven't. I'm my own worst critic.

Were the taste buds happy?
I would have to say on this one they were. Although I'm not pecan's biggest fan those that were thought this cake was heavenly. 2 tasters mentioned it tasted like a protein bar, only better of course. There were comments about how moist it was, it's richness, and it's flavor. Overall a huge hit. Thanks Rose!

Thanks for tuning in, if you are and until next time, enjoy the cake!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cakes from times past

As promised here are some cakes I've made...some of them older than others, some of them better than others. This is not an extensive list and in no particular order...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jess meets Rose

So one of my favorite movies is Julie and Julia. Partially because I just love food, and baking, but partially because I love how it depicts how fun and exciting, how creative and entertaining, how draining and stressful making good food can be. Food is an art, if you do it well it is a gift you can give to lots of people that they carry with them long after the food is gone.

People give me cook books all the time...however, I'm not really a cookbook kind of girl. In this day of the Internet I like to look at many recipes of the same type. Then do a sort of compiling to make and adapt my own recipes from those that received the best ratings and reviews by brave souls that tried the recipe before me. I like to learn from others mistakes and hopefully make fewer of my own.

However, a couple of years ago I was making a birthday cake for my lovely friend Kait and I used a recipe out of a cookbook called Rose's Heavenly Cakes, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. It was amazing! Then recently I pulled the cookbook out again trying to find a cake I could adapt into cupcakes to make with my little friend Cass. I started realizing that all the cakes seemed exquisite, and although I didn't want to try to make any of the cakes in the book with a 4 year old, I decided I did want to make ALL the cakes in this book.

Here is where my project begins. I'm pulling a Julie Powell...I'm going to cook all the recipes in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. I'm not giving myself a deadline, and I'm making these cakes for the fun of it. I'm doing this project for me. I love to bake, especially fancy pastries. Somehow though, that joy sometimes gets stolen when I'm rushing to make something for a birthday or an event and probably spending too much money in the process. So this time I'm doing this on my own time, when I have time and when I have the money. I'm investing the money for the right ingredients and materials.

So we'll see how it goes. I think this is going to be the start of something good. I'll start out by showing you cakes I've made before and I may interupt with other fun baking projects that find their way in the middle of this one. All in all my goal is to make some taste buds happy.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope you have fun, learn a few things on the way and I hope to learn some things from you too. Please give me feedback whenever you have it and let's make some cake!