Monday, January 26, 2015

Chocolate Cuddle Cake

Mmm! Chocolate cuddle cake, chiffon at that – how could anything be more divine?  There may not seem to be, and yet it might be found atop an elegant chocolate chiffon cake ~  A fantastic caramel whipped cream just may take it over the top ~~~~~

Above is a picture of such a cake in her crowning glory – I think she is stunning, even with some errors along the way of creation, furnishing a few necessary adjustments for the future.

To bake this cake, I had been intrigued by the small 3 x 6” spring-form pans, even though I know this kind of deviation from Rose’s recipe is not a good idea for me. Yet, knowing myself as a poor risk-taker in baking, I promptly acquired two of these pans from Mr. Daddy-O.

In this recipe Rose says to use strips. I don’t have four of her strips, only 2.  I pass by extra ones in Michael's. 'Oh, I don’t really need them for such a small pan; after all I did see someone not use them for smaller amount of batter'.  [I hate it that Rose always means what she says].
The pans are three inches tall. The cores Amazon sent were 2.5 inches. This will never do. I go to the hardware store. The gentleman there, when he understood my dilemma, was kind enough to put a little disc on the end of 3+ inch nails for me, reminiscent of Woody’s nail. 

 First I made the ganache, because it is fun. I let it sit out for a day.

    Chop chocolate with a very old gavel of my father's and his father's. I don't think it has ever been used for chocolate, but I can imagine they would have enjoyed it.
    Rose once said that an easy way to melt c chocolate is to leave it in the oven with just pilot light on all night, for gas stove maybe prop open. I have electric and it worked perfectly. She amended that suggestion by saying to put a note on the door that something is in the oven lest someone come by and decide to use it. The reason for my query was that I thought it would be fun to do it now. I thought, however, that perhaps doing so may have some negative reaction with the properties of the chocolate and the blending of the hot cream. I was right and I don't need to know the chemistry. Just not to do it. [Oh, and I got to be right. A real treat in life. Especially as an Alpha, which I have barely been until now, lol].
   So here are a few pics of chocolate and hot milk. Rose's caramel pot also pours hot cream nicely from the little spouts on it into the Cuisinart feed tube.

   Next I put Crisco all over the inner sides of the little pans, then lined them with 4 inch tall parchment strips, fastening inside ends together with more shortening, so the strips are about 2 inches inches above the inner sides.
   We have a mis en place for the batter


            And meringue

          Pans for batter 

Let’s see, what else of concern for baking this cake - The oven was fine, baking stone fine, the waiting racks on glasses were fine, the parchment was fine placed only on the sides. The batter is fine, the meringue was fine.  And so as you can see, mis en place seems en place. Ganache is completed yesterday. I wait.
Now at the impending time for cakes being done, I am happy to see that one is making craters in the appropriate manner inside of its parchment. The other is mostly hidden. I stick the crater with a wooden skewer and it is still wet. I wait a minute and it is dry. I pull both pans and place them on the counter. Invert them after a minute onto their racks and removed nails. One has risen more than the other. What would lead me to believe that just because there were two of these little creatures they would not rise identically? Maybe because I didn’t weigh them and checked that the amount in each pan differed. Perhaps should have shifted them. Perhaps I should have followed directions and used the strips. The cakes sat and cooled. Then I re-inverted and wrapped them for overnight.
In the meantime, the caramel cream that I whipped that night was so sublime that it was all over me while I was whipping it since I was licking the whisk at all moments. I had made the caramel in Rose's caramel pot that rendered the task perfectly. It was gorgeous dark caramel
   [If you notice a black buckle there in the midst of this stirring operation - this is my newest fancy short cast for my fractured right wrist two days before Xmas. Yesterday doctor says he hopes to remove in a month. He would not have been a happy camper if he had been aware of what I was doing at this moment - unless he was given a slice of this cake~~oh yes, I learned they are now using a skin glue instead of stitches for gashes over ones eye, just sayin'].

But, now a new day is born. As we already know, the cakes are one shorter than the other. This morning I picked it up, its bottom crumbles and the disk from its nail falls out on the table. I had forgotten it was in there. Uh oh -

I put one layer of cake on the plate with parchment strips under it. Then retrieved the ganache from the fridge and warmed it to frosting temperature over Rose’s double boiler, I might add. Perfect. I got the pastry bag ready for the caramel cream, slowly stirred the cold cream and placed it in the pastry bag.

   This caramel cream that I placed on the middle layer seemed to act odd. I placed the top layer. While re-refrigerating the whipped cream, I frosted the outside of the cake with the ganache. I have only enough for the two little cakes. I retrieve the whipping cream in its bag, and enchanted, watched four large perfectly beautiful stars emerge onto the cake’s top, and then watched in horror as they began to lose shape as I grabbed and raced to the fridge. Hoping to salvage what I could of this delicious cream, I wondered about Whip-It or something like that. But finally, crestfallen, having just left it to get very cold, I piped it on the top of the little cake and refrigerated it as a last resort – And then photographed it for posterity. You can see its lava-like consistency on the cake's top.

   But even in its lack of perfection, it was delicious, although the cake was heavy, and of course the flavor fantastic. I obviously did a multitude of things to cause this cake’s demise, hardware nail-and-disc trouble might have contributed. But the flavor is delicious with harmony of the caramel cream divine, as we know. A nice ending, My husband and neighbor waxed enthusiastic, and it is a very important cake for me to re bake into its true splendor.

 For Monica

Friday, January 2, 2015

English Dried Fruit Cake

Just the ingredients alone were enough to inspire me, therefore it was no effort to mix this cake together with all of its delicious dried fruits, except that I had to replenish quite often because I so rapidly devoured them.

I used Rose’s mixed dried fruit recommendations: toasted pecan pieces, baking apples and then added golden raisins, dried mango, dried apples, prunes, Turkish apricots, dried pears, and cranberries. Following Rose’s directions was not difficult. I chose to use two 9 x 2 pans.

Realizing that previous eras' fruitcakes had a tendency to be dry, I watched carefully and took this newly innovated one out a bit early. This worked well. The cake was cooled, syruped with rum, and wrapped for five days. I took one layer and added a little more rum and kept it another day at which time I put it on a plate to serve it. I froze the other layer after adding more rum.

I cut the first layer into pie-shaped wedges and served it with crème fraiche with a sprinkle of orange zest. The cake was tender, flavorful with the complementary rum, held its shape, and was pleasant to view. Everyone had expected one of the dreaded dry, candied fruitcakes of their youth, and their eyes lit up with joy at the first bite of this one as they pronounced it "marvelous".

FYI: Before I baked this cake, I wrote to Woody on Rose’s blog to ask his input about baking it in my NordicWare wreath pan, which I thought would be festive for Christmas.

My question:
Hi Rose and Woody,  
Do you think it would be appropriate to bake the English Fruit Cake in my Nordic Ware wreath pan. 
Thanks, Joan
Woody’s response:
Hi Joan,  
The Wreath Pan holds 10 cups and a 13 x 9 pan holds 15 cups. You will need to make a two-thirds batter, except the leavening.  
You will have to experiment with slightly less than two-thirds due to the center tube with the wreath pan.We always recommend baking it to the original recipe to establish your control. 
If this is for the Bake Along, you need to make it in the 13 x 9 for it.  
Rose & Woody

So, now to test it I intend to bake it first in the 13 x 9 and then in the wreath pan. I think we will have a fun interpretation