Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Custardy Apple Squares

October 11, 2016 at 12:25 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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custardy apple squares

This Custardy Apple Square recipe is one I’ve actually made a few times now…maybe three or four.  It was the first recipe I tried out when I got Baking Chez Moi and it’s so simple and tasty that it went right on the “make again” list.  Apple slices tossed in a quick batter that’s whisked by hand get layered in a baking dish.  It goes into the oven kind of a hodgepodge but comes out a stack of beautifully soft apples with a bit of vanilla (and rum, in my case) custard holding them together.  A mandolin makes quick work out of neat, thin apple slices (and of course adds a thrilling element of danger to baking prep–watch your fingers!).  This also reminds me quite a bit of something called Bolzano Apple Cake that I posted about many years ago.  It’s great with whipped cream, but just fine on it’s own.

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

P.S.: Thanks so much for all the kind comments on my last Baking With Julia post! xoxo

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Glorious Wedding Cake

October 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Posted in BWJ, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 25 Comments
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glorious wedding cake

So folks, we’ve come to the end of TWD Baking with JuliaThe last recipe…I can hardly believe it. I admit that I have skipped a handful of them, but still, 107 completed recipes from one cookbook isn’t too shabby. The biggest and the toughest has been saved for last– a Glorious Wedding Cake! This is three tall, stacked tiers of dense almond cake sandwiched with jam and a crisp layer of almond dacquoise, topped off with rum-laced buttercream and decorated with marzipan fruit. I mean, Martha Stewart even gets not one, but two episodes devoted to this thing. Unfortunately though, no one asked me to make them a wedding cake in the past few weeks, so I had to go small instead of big on this one. Instead of a three tier show-stopper, I made a single tier cutie. Maybe it’s not so glorious, and I guess it’s basically the top tier that married couples put into the freezer for their first anniversary (R and I eloped…no cake for us, so I’m unclear on these traditions).

You may notice that there isn’t an interior shot of this cake. That’s because I definitely did something wrong with the almond cake layers. What, I am still not sure, but I was too stingy to waste all the almond paste and eggs that went into making it, so I just ploughed ahead with what I had. I’ll tell you though that there was a lot of patchwork involved and I am too embarrassed to show you what was going on in there. It was still delicious, so whatevs. No one paid me to make it for them after all.

Since my cake was tiny, the rest came together with out too much trouble.  The dacquoise (almond meringue) layer was wonderful to crunch through and the egg yolk-based buttercream was super luxe.  Rather than the marzipan cherries and raspberries Martha made, I did some strawberries and also some flowers and ivy leaves using the wacky hodgepodge of gum paste flower tools I have in my red pastry toolbox.

glorious wedding cake

A deliciously satisfying ending to BWJ…for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by the wonderful Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll as we say farewell to this book!

P.S.: In case you are wondering about my favorite recipes from the book, the Cheese and Tomato Galette has been made several times at home, and the White Chocolate Patty Cake needs to be!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Cornmeal and Berry Cakes

July 26, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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cornmeal and berry cakes

If you can handle turning on the oven in the middle of summer, it’s nice to bake with berries. These little golden Cornmeal and Berry Cakes, made with olive oil, are a lovely addition to my standard repertoire. And they’re easy to make, too. The recipe calls for raspberries, but blueberries would be great and blackberries may be even better. I actually used red currants, since I had a pint that I didn’t really have any other plans for. They give a tart little pop to the cakes, so I definitely wanted to add a little powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze to their tops. These can be made as mini loaves or cupcakes…I used a friand tin bought when we lived in Sydney because I like the oval shape.

These don’t make me think of cornbread or corn muffins…they are really cakes. I think actually they’ll make good breakfast treats with coffee, and that’s how we’ll have the ones I’ve wrapped for the freezer.

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 BCM: Betty’s Chocoholic (ice cream!) Cake

May 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, ice creams & frozen, layer cakes, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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betty's chocoholic cake

Hi.  My name is Stephanie and I’m a chocoholic.  I need to be kept away from that lady Betty…she’s such an enabler with her Chocoholic Cake!  I don’t stand a chance against three layers of brownie cake sandwiched and frosted with ganache.  That’s why I had to alter her original cake and make it an ice cream cake.  Actually, that makes no sense whatsoever–  don’t stand a chance against ice cream cake either.

We are only two, so I made a scaled back version of the cake…a third of the recipe got me two six-inch layers.  It is Dorie who mentions in her recipe intro that the brownie layers would be a good base for an ice cream cake.  I followed her fine suggestion and filled my two layers with some coffee ice cream and popped the whole thing in the freezer for a few hours.  I made the ganache recipe, but rather than cool it and use it as frosting, I used it warm as a sauce.  And then I put peanut butter cereal on top.  I’ve lost my chocolate-addicted mind, clearly, but it’s really delicious.  The frozen cake should temper a bit before saucing and serving though, because it’s pretty hard to get a fork through it otherwise.  Also, when it’s tempered, you get the really good fudgy texture and chocolatey taste of the cake layers.

betty's chocoholic cake

Next time, I may try this the way Betty had intended.  Or else I’ll make a mint chip or raspberry ice cream cake out of it!  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 BCM: Matcha Financiers and Tiger Cakes

March 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm | Posted in BCM, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 3 Comments
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matcha financiers and tiger cakes

Green cakes!  Icky or intriguing?  They may be the color of Frankenstein, but don’t worry.  It’s nothing weird…Japanese matcha tea powder gives these financiers a greenish tinge.  I’m used to the slightly grassy taste of matcha tea and I’ve made cake and frostings with it before.  I think it’s a nice flavor addition to a traditional almond financier.  Thinking back to those Tiger Cakes I liked so much a few months ago, I followed Dorie’s Bonne Idee suggestion and turned about half of my batter into matcha tigers with a generous sprinkling of some Dutch dark chocolate vermicelli.  These are really good just warm, I think, and I like the way the edge bits get a little crispy.

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 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 BWJ, cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 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: 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!

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