Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nut-Crusted Chocolate-Banana Swirl Cake

This cake was easy to make.  Everyone who had a slice liked it.  What surprised me is that it isn't a terribly sweet cake.  The banana flavor was even better the next day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rose's Fruitcake

This is the third year I've made Rose's Fruitcake.  It is the first thing requested when the holidays roll around.
I felt a teeny bit smug getting the candied rind, cherries and raisins into the rum for a good long soak back in November.  Christmas came and went and the fruit continued to happily slosh about in the rum.  This past weekend I finally got around to mixing it up.  Once again, Rose's fruitcake was a hit!  It never ceases to amaze me how people who profess to detest fruitcake like Rose's version.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eggnog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Glaze

Eggnog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Sauce is another outstanding Flo Braker cake.  It is perfect for the holidays and is sure to be requested next year.  I made this cake twice.  It's incredibly easy. The first time was a for my daughter's horse trainer who gave me a leopard print high heel cake slicer for Christmas.  If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't believe such a thing existed!  I completely forgot to take any pictures before boxing it up and thus a second cake was made.  The family was quite annoyed they hadn't so much as a crumb form the first one.  The aroma  filled the house with a wonderful Christmasy fragrance.

The first cake was brushed with the Crystal Rum Glaze.  It was fairly heady stuff so for the second, I opted to forego the sauce in favor of powdered sugar since children would be about.  The remaining eggnog beckoned to be turned into custard for ladling over each slice.  It was ridiculously simple and required just a smidgen of   cornstarch for it to thicken nicely.  Heating the eggnog toned down the flavor resulting in a  mellow eggnog custard. Adults and children both liked the flavor of this cake.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tropical Wedding Cake

I fully intended to make the Groom's Cake for our finale, but then Evil Cake Lady posted a Wedding Cake Roundup. It was inspiring and I took another look at Rose's chapter on wedding cakes.  The Tropical Wedding Cake beckoned.  Maybe it's the shock of freezing temperatures that settled in California.  Besides, my daughter is now engaged and it seems fitting to wait to make the Groom's Cake for the future groom.  Whatever the siren call, I unearthed frozen, blackened bananas from the depths of my freezer and stirred up this delectable cake.  It's quite a simple recipe really.  The hint of lemon from the zest lingers behind that of the banana.  Cashews were substituted for macadamia nuts only because the grocery store did not have any at the moment.  There was also a batch of leftover buttercream frosting from a recent cupcake marathon and I used that as well.  It's a lovely, light banana cake that I will make again with Rose's use of passion fruit and mousseline frosting.

When I announced this was the last dessert there was dismay and cries of woe.  The next question was "Isn't Rose doing another book of cakes that you can bake with again?  You've gotten to be such a good baker. You can't stop now!"   And really, that is high praise for Rose Levy Berenbaum.  Without one lesson in person, she took a very inept, amateur baker, and allowed me to make unbelievable cakes.   It was the best course in baking.  Weighing ingredients, cake strips, accurate oven temperature and an instant read thermometer have permanently changed my errant baking ways.

It's been more fun than I could ever imagine baking along with the Heavenly Cake Bakers.  I've looked forward to everyone's cakes. more than I have my own, and loved hearing about your lives.  We are such a varied group geographically and culturally yet Rose cut through the barriers with sugar, butter and flour.  I thank all of you for your encouragement and comments.

Top of my Christmas List is a new Rose's Heavenly Cakes book.

A fresh packet of cake strips.

And maybe an elf to wash a dish or two.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



My son turned thirty and for his birthday celebration I made Rose's Tiramisu.  It was easier than I thought.

Tiramisu is top on my list of desserts to try at Italian restaurants.  I have only attempted to make it once and it was a dismal failure.  It resembled more of a brick than a light dessert.  Rose's recipe surprised me with the addition of Marsala instead of rum but I liked the flavor very much.  I also like how it's added to the egg yolks while cooking so the alcohol cooks out.

I did not bake the Ladyfingers, although I still plan on giving them a try.  I was short on time and knew it was either the packaged version or it was not going to make the party.  As it was it didn't get the full six hours chill time but it was still very good.  It's even better setting over night.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Butterscotch Spiral Coffee Cake


I cheated.  This is Whole Foods pizza dough.  Whole Foods makes the best ready made pizza dough for under $2.00.  I didn't even hesitate when I spied it on the shelf.  It took me a nano second to rationalize that it could be turned into the dough for Flo Braker's Butterscotch Spiral Coffee Cake.  And it worked! I fully intend to use this dough for a great many more things other than pizza.

The cinnamon and cardamom kneaded into the dough easily.  I doubled the Butterscotch glaze and it bubbled out of the pan all over my oven so I wouldn't advise doing that again. Perhaps increasing it by half would be better. It's definitely a decadent cinnamon roll. Everyone loved it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

White Gold Passion Genoise


This is the last genoise in Rose's Heavenly Cakes on my To Do List. I'm two for two in requisite height and lack of flour balls.  It took the entire book but finally I no longer fear genoise.

The only source of frozen passion fruit puree in this town was at Whole Foods.  I neglected to notice it was in the form of a concentrate.  The curd and syrup came out way too strong because I did not realize I needed to follow Rose's special instructions for concentrate. The only way to tone it down was to turn the entire thing into a  fruit basket cake with bananas, peaches, nectarines,strawberries and mango sorbet, cutting the highly acidic flavor of the passion fruit.  With the hot hot hot weather we've been having I opted for a simple whipped cream topping instead of the heavier buttercream.  It turned out to be the best fruit basket cake any of us have ever had. In the future, I'll pare down the concentrate but still add bananas, mango and strawberries.  The combined flavors were just spectacular.