Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Bakery Bunch

The Shavuot Cake Party has been and gone, much like the cakes I baked and prepared in it's honor. My sweet little goodies did me proud, with the exceptions of a couple of misbegotten experiments and careless mistakes, but you just can't be ashamed of trying, or for being human.
Each cake had a little story all it's own, on how it came to the platter. Each little slice of sweetness had it's own special qualities that distinguished them from the rest.

Take this lovely fluffy chocolate coffee number. It's former incarnation was made with wholegrain pastry flour (which I bought in error), and while it wasn't awful, it just did not do it's striking flavors of coffee and chocolate justice due to the grainy quality of the flour. And, also, the earthy wholegrain taste clashed with the mocha smoothness. So I scrapped it, and tried a different coffee espresso cake recipe I've attempted a few times before. I went with the original recipe's frosting which was made with mascarpone, melted bittersweet chocolate, strong espresso, and some powdered sugar. All whipped up to a gorgeous swirl-worthiness, made even more comely with the bittersweet chocolate shavings on top.

Oh that Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie was a popular one. I dressed it up with little interval puffs of whipped cream and an oversized chocolate chip in the center of each cloud. I never really got to know this one, as I was to stuck on one or two others, and didn't get around to trying it. But how can you go wrong with peanut butter and bananas? Just ask Elvis at your next seance.

This was one for the Traditionalists. If the Torah is Shavuot's official trademark, then cheesecake is almost certainly it's unofficial one Thanks to a great suggestion from Hub, I decided to add a pie aspect in the form of a fresh blueberry topping.

If there was a favorite, this tarty tart would have probably been it. The recipe came from the good old Joy of Cooking. Which proves to me that there are classics, that will never be irrelevant.

This dense chocolate cake was a favorite with my kids. Which makes me feel hopeful that I have had a positive influence on their tastebuds. It was very dark and very dense and not overly sweet, very smooth, and very deeply chocolate. So very...

I hate to say it but this was my most difficult one. A chiffon cake is very slight and light. It's the delicate flower of cakes. It had to be coddled into existence, starting with a tube pan completely devoid of even a smudge of grease. Egg whites beaten into fluffy shape which are to be folded in four parts into the orange scented cake batter . Buttercream frosting just seemed too heavy and offensive on such a such a sweet nothing of a cake, so instead I made a citrus glaze out of freshly squeezed and zested oranges and lemons and powdered sugar. This baked flour was not worth the effort.

While this one wasn't much of a looker, with it's craggy pecan streusel surface, it was my favorite. It tasted like a big delicious nutmeg scented donut and was made for a big cup of morning coffee. At the party I took a couple of minutes away from my hostessing and secreted away to a little corner with a hunk of this cake, some heavenly joe, and a couple of girlfriends for a few minutes of kitchen bitchin'.

This one was the looker of the bunch, but it didn't measure up to it's glistening appearance. It was my fault, I used self-rising flour which is best used in muffins and quickbreads. The seven minute boiled frosting was marshmallow-like in flavor and consistency and the coconut flakes also added a good texture. Unfortunately, the white cake inside was not soft, it didn't yield to the fork as it should have.

My other favorite. How can you not love a big and beautiful Carrot Cake? Made with hand-grated carrots, heaping spoonfuls of cinnamon, vanilla bean scrapings. And the frosting! That unforgettable cream cheese frosting- I gave it a tarter edge by adding half a cup of thick Greek yogurt to the cream cheese and more vanilla bean scrapings. I found my carrot cake recipe.

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