Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

March 8, 2016 at 8:46 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 13 Comments
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odile's fresh orange cake

Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake is the second bright and easy citrus cake we’ve made recently…the Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake was a hit in my house back in January.  This cake is a super-cinch to make and the batter is flavored with orange zest and juice.  I made half a recipe in a 6-inch pan.  After it’s baked, it’s doused in a simple syrup of OJ and sugar.  You can use as much of the syrup as you want….go for broke if you like a wetter texture.

You can take that one step further and poach cross-cut orange slices in the syrup.  Then you can decorate the top of the cake with a mosaic of beautiful orange pinwheels.  I would have done that, but knew I’d be putting half the cake into the freezer, so I just tossed some segments in the syrup and decorated each slice with a few of them instead.  The slices I froze were later spooned over with some candied kumquat slices–so tasty!!

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Chocolate Ruffle Cake

February 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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chocolate ruffle cake

I know that I’m a week off with this one, but it took some extra time for me to get motivated to make Alice Medrich’s Chocolate Ruffle Cake from Baking with Julia.  Maybe I’ll get to that Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta from Baking Chez Moi for a rewind week.  I had my hands full with this one, what with making a genoise, a cake filling and all kinds of chocolate deco work.  It is impressive, though, with its beautiful ruffly top and sharp chocolate band.  This cake could easily be spread out as a weekend project, although once I did get off my duff, I just charged through it.

I was only making this cake for the two of us so I downsized the recipe by half to fit into a 6-inch pan.  Since the cake was smaller, I figured I could get away with slicing it into just two layers instead of three.  I like when one bit of simplification leads to another, and with only two layers to sandwich, I skipped the chocolate cream filling layer in favor of just plain cream.  Oh, and instead of using whipped creme fraiche as my filling and topping, I used whipped cream stabilized with a nice blob of mascarpone (so tasty!).  I only did this because wanted it to hold up for a few days…even a 6-inch cake takes us a while to eat up.  Also rather than fresh (winter) raspberries in the filling, I used some booze-preserved cherries that I jarred over the summer, and the cherry booze liquid became my soaking syrup for the cake.  Sounds like I made a lot of changes, but really, they were pretty minor tweaks.  Dorie says in to recipe intro that we can think of this cake as a variable format rather than a precise formula, so I felt free to do so.  Anyway, it’s delicious– I basically turned it into a Black Forest cake.

The chocolate work can seem intimidating, and I can hardly describe the process myself, so if the book’s instructions aren’t clear, these videos of the TV episode are really helpful.  No tempering is involved, so it’s really not that bad, even if it does take a few practice swipes get get nice ruffles.  Mine weren’t perfect– and I’m the “chocolatier” (it is embarrassing for me to say that!) at the restaurant I work for– but they were good enough to make a lovely, swirly-twirly arrangement on top of the cake.

chocolate ruffle cake

If you’re up for a weekend challenge, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan for the recipe.  There are also a couple of videos of Alice and Julia making the cake together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s TWD Blogroll!  

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes

February 9, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 16 Comments
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soft-centered chocolate teacup cakes

These Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes are rich, delicious and easy to make.  Kind of a dangerous combination!  They are a take on molten chocolate cake…an almost flourless and uber-chocolatey cake with more gooey, melting chocolate bits hiding in the middle.

They’re hardly more difficult to make than brownies, although you have to whip eggs and sugar until ribbony, so using a stand mixer is a good idea.  The batter is divided among teacups or ramekins, which are half-filled, sprinkled with chopped chocolate and then topped off.  I have quite a collection of teacups for some reason (reason actually being that they are cute!).  I can see these making an adorable dinner party dessert served in mismatched cups.  I didn’t get a photo of the insides for you, but you can see here that they’re schlumping a bit in the middle…that’s how you can tell they have soft centers.  That dip also makes a perfect landing spot for a bit of whipped cream or ice cream.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Buttermilk Bread

February 2, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 13 Comments
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buttermilk bread

Lora Brody’s Buttermilk Bread is one I’ve been wanting to make for a while now.  Sounds simple and homey and a nice thing to bake on a cold day.

The recipe in the book calls for making the bread dough in a bread machine, which I don’t have, so I made it in my stand mixer instead.  I  swapped a 50/50 water/liquid buttermilk combo for the water/powdered buttermilk in the recipe.  While I used the full 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, I think I could have gotten away with just 2 teaspoons. I basically followed the mixing instructions we used when we did the White Loaves years ago, since they seemed pretty standard for this type of bread.  I then switched back to Brody’s instructions for rising and baking.

This made a nice sandwich loaf, and maybe next time I’ll try it in the cloverleaf roll variation.  The bread has maple syrup in the dough, so there’s a hint of sweetness there, and I think the crust is really good (I’m the weirdo who likes the end pieces).  I’m looking forward to pulling slices from the freezer for grilled cheese!

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Babas

January 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Posted in BWJ, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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babas

I’ve never made rum babas before.  I’ve eaten my fair share, though, mostly at Italian bakeries. David Blom’s Babas recipe brought these pastries into my own kitchen.

Babas are little sweet yeast bread pastries, kind of like brioche and often with currants, that are soaked in rum syrup until they are practically oozing it, and then filled with something creamy.  In my opinion, what’s not to like?  The group made Blom’s Savarin recipe, which is similar but in made in a large cake form, a couple of years ago.  For some reason, I skipped it so I am glad to have done this one.

I don’t have baba molds but I still wanted them to have the nice tall shape of the ones in the shops so I used my popover tin.  I got half as many babas as the recipe said so I guess that means my tin is bigger than the molds I should have used.  Whatevs– R and I split them in half.  Once they were cool I gave them a good dunking in simple syrup, adding rum directly to the syrup.   And then I brushed more rum all over the outside!  Didn’t make the pastry cream filling the recipe called for…too lazy.  Instead I whipped some cream and mascarpone together with which to stuff my babas and added a homemade candied cherry on top.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake

January 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments
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fluted carrot-tangerine cake

If I think of carrot cake, of course what comes to mind is a layer cake with swirls of cream cheese frosting.  Plenty of cream cheese frosting…you know, something like Dorie’s amazeballs Bill’s Big Carrot Cake.  Seems that’s not the only carrot cake game in town, though.  This Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake is another, more subtle take on the most delicious way to get your beta-carotene.  Instead of being spicy and earthy and tall, this one is bright and zippy and slim.  Ginger, carrot and tangerine (or tangelo in my case) make it the color of sunshine.  Okay, so there isn’t any cream cheese frosting, but a quick powdered sugar and juice glaze gives it a nice sweet crust on top.  The flavor of the glazed cake reminds me of Fruity Pebbles, but I mean that in a good way!!

This cake does not need to be fluted…I made it in my quiche pan (the removable bottom was no problem), but it can certainly be baked in a regular cake pan.  The cute ruffles do give it a bit of pizazz, though, since it’s only a single layer.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Cornmeal-Currant Biscotti

January 5, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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cornmeal-currant biscotti

Seems it’s been over a year since we’ve made a cookie from BWJ, but now here comes Nick Malgieri’s Cornmeal-Currant Biscotti.  These are his take on a classic Venetian cookie called zaletti.  They’re rustic, not too sweet, a little lemony and are a nice nibble with coffee, tea or dessert wine.  Making the dough was easy to do by hand, but I had to watch the video of the TV episode before I formed and cut them into their traditional diamond shapes.  I tried to form them about the same thickness as Malgieri did, but maybe I should have gone a little thinner…I expected them to be crisp and sandy like shortbread, but instead they had a texture reminiscent of a scone, with a bit of grit from the cornmeal. That’s not a bad thing by any means (and three days on, they still seem to keep well), but it left me a bit curious about these cookies.  After doing a little more research on zaletti, I saw that the dough is often rolled out thinner before being cut into the diamonds, or else it is simply done in slice-and-bake form.  I normally think of something called biscotti as twice-baked, but zaletti just hit the oven once (the recipe does give a twice-baked alternative for those wishing to bake them that way).  Forming them thinner would have made them more crisp with their single bake, I’m sure.  They have great flavor, though, and we’re still very much enjoying them.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s a video of Nick and Julia making the cookies together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Raspberry Swirls

December 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, petit fours, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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raspberry swirls

Happy New Year, friends!  I want to start 2016 fresh, so it’s time for me to take care of a few pesky things that I’ve left in limbo over the last couple of months.  One is Flo Braker’s Raspberry Swirls recipe, which I actually made along with the group in the fall and then never posted.  This uses a sheet of genoise that’s been cut and coated with raspberry jam and then rolled up jelly-roll style, the jam forming a little red curlicue in the middle. Like Braker’s Miniature Florentine Squares or Glazed Mini-Rounds her Raspberry Swirls are meant to be cut into one or two bite petits fours, but after I rolled them, I decided to leave them more the size of HoHos (or Yodels or Swiss Rolls, depending on your childhood treat preference).  Indeed, these were good…once I glazed them in chocolate and dipped them in coconut and pistachios, they actually reminded me of a rolled up Lamington, an idea I would like to explore further (possibly for Australia Day??).

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from the Raspberry Swirls week a few months ago!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Chocolate-Chestnut Tart with Chestnut-Vanilla Syrup

December 22, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Posted in BCM, groups, pies & tarts, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 14 Comments
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chocolate-chestnut tart

I’ve unfortunately (or maybe not, since I was on vacation) missed the last two TWD postings but I’m hoping to come back strong with this Chocolate-Chestnut Tart.  Don’t let my terrible photo (boo to winter afternoon lighting!) fool you, this tart is darn delicious.  If I were in charge of cooking Christmas dinner, I’d be making it a second time this week.

We’ve used Dorie’s Sweet Tart Dough many times by now, and here it’s filled with candied chestnuts and a rich, truffle-like baked chocolate filling.  The chestnuts are candied during a long, slow poach in vanilla simple syrup.  I was able to easily find vacuum packed chestnuts in a neighborhood gourmet store (I think I’ve even seen them at Trader Joe’s recently).  I candied my entire package, which was more than the recipe called for.  In addition to the sliced chestnuts hiding under the chocolate filling, I decorated the top of the tart with some of the extras, brushed with gold dust for a little holiday bling.  Served with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of the awesome reduced chestnut poaching syrup, this was a fine way to end a meal.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.  And happy holidays!!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Camembert in Brioche

December 1, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie, yeast breads | 8 Comments
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camembert in brioche

The idea of chesse en croute kind of makes me giggle….seems like something from another dinner party era to me.  I do love a good retro treat though, so I was pretty excited to make Lora Brody’s Camembert (or Brie) in Brioche for Thanksgivng pre-dinner snacks.

The recipe in the book calls for making the brioche dough in a bread machine and caramelizing the onions in a slow cooker, but despite my ever-growing collection of gadgets and small appliances, I don’t have either of those in my kitchen arsenal.  I made the dough in my stand mixer instead (subbing warmed lowfat milk for the milk powder and water), with no problem, and followed the instructions to chill it immediately (without letting it rise first) before shaping.  I caramelized the onions in the oven with some thyme…even though I used small Cipollini onions, they did take a couple of hours, and next time I’ll probably just caramelize regular sliced onions on the stovetop.

I didn’t think we could take down the 9-inch wheel of brie the recipe uses, but I wanted a whole wheel rather than just a wedge, so I found a little 4-inch round of camembert and used that.  I only needed to make 1/3 of the brioche dough and use a few Cipollinis to cover it.  My 6-inch cake pans seemed too big to bake the cheese in, so I did it free-form, rolling the dough out into one round parcel that wrapped up the cheese, and making a little decorative twist out of some trim scrap.  Everything held shape very nicely in the oven, I’m happy to report.  Letting it rest for half an hour or so out of the oven keeps the cheese from being too runny and just spilling out of the crust.

Maybe this isn’t so much something from a bygone era as it is a classic.  Gooey, salty baked cheese, sweet onions and buttery brioche…it’s really so very good.  And quite stunning, too…a perfect holiday appetizer for a crowd.  I even reheated a leftover hunk on Friday, wrapped in foil in a low oven, and it was still just the thing with a glass of wine.

camembert in brioche

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  I do think this is the final recipe in the “Savory Pastries” section of the book….wow!  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

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