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Archive for July, 2011

Cake, cake, and more cake.  Lately, my kitchen’s been banging out the cakes, especially since I haven’t attended any concerts lately, therefore haven’t needed to make cookies.  It’s actually been quite nice.  Cake is a completely different format and I’m able to get a bit more creative with it.

I made a cake for Father’s Day but wanted to do something different.  I always seem to make the same old chocolate or white cake with chocolate or vanilla frosting.  BORING!  But my family likes the standard, traditional cakes that we always make.  So I decided to make my dad a german chocolate cake.  I knew he liked devil’s food cake, but a cake that red kind of grosses me out.  So I made a cake with 4 layers and topped with ganache.  It was decadent, that’s for sure.  My mom loved it while my dad only ate one piece.  It was not diet-friendly.

The baking challenge this month over at the Daring Kitchen was a fraisier.  It’s a delicious, light, and summery french cake.  Overall, not too difficult either.  You just bake a sponge cake, split it, moisten it with a simple syrup, and layer with pastry cream (one of my favorite things) lightened with whipped cream and strawberries.  Like most of the challenges at the Daring Kitchen, it takes time.  The cake has to cool.  The syrup has to cool slightly.  The pastry cream has to cool before incorporating the whipped cream.  And the completed dessert has to chill to sort of set up.

I decided to make my main fraisier with a strawberry and blueberry border.  It was perfect for my annual 4th of July cake (though a french fraisier may not be the most patriotic dessert for an american holiday).  Lately, I’ve really been into square cakes.  I only have one 9×9 inch square pan though, so I baked the sponge in that and then MacGyver‘d a square mold out of cardboard that I could build my dessert in and lift out of.  I froze the cake overnight after assembling so it was easy to remove from the mold.  It was fantastic and the recipe is definitely being added to my collection.  It went with me to work because I figured it was bad enough having to work on a holiday, and would be nice to treat my coworkers who also got stuck working the day.  They were all impressed with it and actually thought I bought it.   Psha!  Me?  BUY A CAKE?

The last cake this month was for my mom’s birthday.  My sister and nephew flew in from France a few days before, so we were having the whole family over to see them and celebrate the birthday.  Since my nephew had been requesting strawberries 3 times a day (he’s 2), I decided to please everyone and make a chocolate cake (for my chocoholic mother) with ganache and strawberries and cream filling (like a cake I had in LA’s Sweet Lady Jane bakery) and a white cake on top (for those who don’t like chocolate-overload) with strawberries and cream filling.  Again, my favoritism to square cakes had me whipping out my 9×9 inch pan and assembling the cake in the same pan, flipping it out when thoroughly chilled.  Ingredients to finished product took about 11-12 hours.  And though it wasn’t perfect (didn’t make enough frosting to crumb coat and cover again), it turned out better than I expected.  Everyone loved it, which means my family must be warming up to the idea of new things.  Surprisingly though, the chocoholics preferred the white cake.  I had more than half a cake for my coworkers the next day.  I should start charging them!

And now, I’m going to take a couple weeks off from cakes.  Well, I’m going to try at least.  My sister requested a remake of the german chocolate cake since she wasn’t here for the Father’s Day one.  Mmm… cake.

                                

Jana ofCherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.
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