For my sister’s birthday, when I asked what cake she wanted, she mentioned a cake I had made a year ago for my grandmother’s birthday. It was a simple cake thrown together that the adults liked, but didn’t win the hearts of the kids. I’m guessing it’s because of the lack of sweet frosting. Instead, in its place was fluffy whipped cream.
This recipe comes from The Cake Bible. The cake is dead simple to make. More efficient bakers could probably mix up everything and have the batter in the pan before the oven is done preheating. For the simplest presentation, a dusting of icing sugar is all that’s needed. I decided to cut the cake in half and fill it with whipped cream and raspberries. It’s a great Spring/Summer cake that you can definitely play around with.
Recipe here. For the filling, just beat whipping cream with some sugar and then put it on one layer of cake, add berries, and then place the other cake layer on top.
Celebrating my friend’s birthday early as I will be in Paris, we did brunch on my balcony with the nice summer weather (finally!).
These waffles are Marion Cunningham’s from The Cake Bible. They’re crisp and very very light. It’s a yeasted waffle so you make them the night before and let it rise. Works well for me because that means I do less work and more sleeping in.
If you want light and crisp waffles, definitely go with this one. For a slightly crisp and fluffy waffle, the buttermilk waffles in the book is the recipe you should use.
I think everyone I know loves cheesecake. ADORES it. Which is why whenever I say cheesecake isn’t really my thing, people are so shocked. I’ll still eat it, but I’m not gaga over it like everyone else. Maybe it’s the texture or maybe it’s the fact that I can’t have that much lactose without feeling utterly sick for the rest of the day.
We spent Mother’s Day at Movie Man’s brother’s house. Movie Man’s mom loves cheesecake. So much that at one point she was making cheesecake once a week for over a month — that’s a lot of Philly cream cheese to go through. There was even a time where I opened up their fridge to find 10 packs of cream cheese. So of course I would make her a cheese cake for Mother’s Day. I’ve actually never made a homemade cheesecake before. I say homemade because there was a brief moment in my life where I would churn out at least a dozen cheesecakes everyday. I think I finally forgot the recipe that I thought would be forever etched into my brain.
I used a recipe from The Cake Bible. After some Googling (er, research?) I found mixed reviews of it. Some felt it was too fluffy and moist, others made it clear that this is the only recipe they use. I decided to try the white chocolate variation because it’s supposed to be more firm. This recipe also uses a water bath (where the pan is surrounded by water) to help prevent cracking. I did get a teeny tiny crack:
I think that was from manhandling it too much though. The Cake Bible doesn’t give a graham crumb recipe, it just says that you can pat on the crumbs afterwards. I like the graham crust so I tried one from Anna Olson. When I baked it, it didn’t look “done” so I baked it some more…and then some more again. I didn’t like the addition of flour the recipe called for, but when it came time to cut the cake, it was rock hard. I can’t blame the recipe for my overzealous baking, but next time I’ll probably just stick to the recipe on the graham cracker box.
At the last minute I decided the cake needed a topping so we went to the grocery store to get some blueberries. The total cost of blueberries would have been $10 so Movie Man suggested blackberries instead. I boiled some water, sugar, and a bit of cornstarch to make a glaze and then threw in the berries to coat it.
How was the taste of the cheesecake? In my opinion, it’s just cheesecake. The book says it’s made converts out of people who hate cheesecake — I wasn’t converted. But from people who love cheesecake? Everyone took seconds and they were quite happy with it.
This is a very late post. My sister’s birthday was almost a month ago. She had heard all my complicated cake stories and she just wanted a simple cake. I actually delivered and gave her what she wanted.
The Chocolate Domingo cake from The Cake Bible is easy. There are no complicated steps such as clarifying butter, making a conserve in advance, etc. Rose Levy Beranbaum even suggests a simple dusting of icing sugar (although I think a chocolate glaze would be fantastic).
The cake is chocolatey without being intense and kind of fudgy.
This was the baby shower cake. It’s a White Velvet Butter cake from The Cake Bible and I had never made this cake. I’ve made this cake 4 times in 4 days. This cake made me not want to think about baking cakes. My mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day is coming up and a Costco cake almost seems welcome at this point.
I was originally going to make the Golden Butter Cream cake and did a trial run for that a long time ago. Closer to the shower date, I switched my mind and decided to go with something lighter, in terms of denseness and colour (the colours were pink and white for her shower). I settled on the White Velvet Butter cake. I wasn’t going to do a test run, but paranoia got to me and I did a test run on Thursday along with the mousseline buttercream. If you google “mousseline buttercream” you’ll find a lot of posts frantic about how their buttercream didn’t turn out. The butter has to be at a proper temperature, the syrup that you cook has to be at the right temperature, and on top of that, the buttercream is supposed to curdle. Once it curdles you cross your fingers, toes, eyes and hope that it does come together like it says it will. If it doesn’t, you may end up with a messy puddle of buttercream.
I got the buttercream right on the first try and my batch did curdle which freaked me out. I kicked up my mixer a couple of notches to beat the curdled mess into submission while I frantically searched if this was normal. When I found out that it happens to everyone before it emulsifies, I ran back to my mixer and it was nice, smooth, and creamy. In excitement I called over Movie Man to take a look at it. “Neat” he said. Obviously he was containing his excitement, I’m sure he was as giddy as I was.
This batch of buttercream was different than the test batch I made which was a silk-meringue buttercream. The silk-meringue involves a creme anglaise which results in a heavier, richer buttercream. Mousseline uses only egg whites so it takes on a much more whiter hue which makes it perfect for getting a pink colour than the silk-meringue. Also, the silk-meringue uses egg yolks that don’t get cooked and I didn’t want to take my chances on getting anyone silk, or accidentally giving the baby flippers. I did prefer the silk-meringue buttercream over the mousseline. The mousseline holds up really well and is quite stiff so it’s excellent for piping or for warmer weather.
The cake also turned out fine. Better than fine, excellent. It was an instant winner in my books. I only made one layer as it was a test cake. Looking at the cake, I didn’t think it would serve for 15 people so I made a half batch of cupcakes to go along with it. I used a recipe specifically for cupcakes as I didn’t want any surprises.
Friday I was ready and did the full batch of the recipe. I gathered the ingredients and when I went to mix it, the mixer was struggling. Odd because it didn’t do that before. Maybe it’s because I did a full batch and my near top of the line KitchenAid mixer couldn’t handle it. I try using the hand mixer, but the batter is so heavy that I doubt it’s really mixing it evenly. I switch back to the standmixer. Hopeless. Out of frustration I almost throw out the whole thing. Instead, I decide to make separate layers. I gather the ingredients and when I go to mix it, the mixer struggles again. Obviously something isn’t right. So I read the directions again and realize I forgot to put in the milk. Once the milk is in, everything whips up. I abandon that batter to finish off the full batch. It bakes and when it comes out of the oven it looks and feels a bit…off. I wrap it up anyway and I put the other batter in the fridge to finish it another time.
Saturday morning, day of the baby shower I wake up early so I can frost the cupcakes and cake and to give me plenty of time to deliver the cake before the shower starts. As I’m trimming the cake it’s..heavy…and doughy. I look at Movie Man and he gives me that look. The look where I should probably make the cake…again. I agree and gather the ingredients…again. At this point it was smooth sailing. I pretty much had the recipe memorized.
I also made a half batch of cupcakes just in case there wasn’t enough cake.
I never did get to try these, so I don’t know how they turned out.
The frosting had a ridiculous amount of steps, but the basic recipe is here. If you really want to make your own jam (hers uses much less sugar as it’s being used for buttercreams), add a bit of it pureed and strained.