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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red Fruit Shortcake


At last, a genoise that rose to the requisite height and was completely flour ball free.   It's got to be the Wondra flour.  I have better luck with it so might as well face the fact any genoise I try to make will have to be made with Wondra. I wasn't looking forward to making this Red Fruit Shortcake and nearly cried when I realized I overlooked the fact that I had yet to make it.  It does give me courage to face the Gold Passion Genoise left on my bake list. 

I sliced it in half, brushed on the Chambourd syrup, loaded it with berries and then put the top back on.  More syrup brushing just because it was so pretty, a bit of squiggly whipping cream and a final bit of berries.  Very light and scrumptious dessert.


Monday, June 20, 2011



Finally!  The infamous Bostini.  I have been reminded many times over that I have not made the Bostinis.   Today was the day and it took all day.  It really shouldn't have.  These aren't difficult.  I made the custard first so it would be cooled and ready once the cupcakes were baked. There was leftover chocolate lacquer glaze in the freezer from La Bomba so I pulled that out to thaw.  My silicone cupcake holders must be a smaller size because they certainly did not fill the top of the larger glasses but fit perfectly in the smaller size.
I thought the granddaughters would find it cute having their own tea party size Bostinis but I was wrong.  Rose's custard has become legend in this house and the idea of getting shortchanged was more than they could fathom.  Let's just say the Bostini Happy Dance was most entertaining.  The adults have given it double thumbs up as well.  The chocolate lacquer goes great with the cake and custard.  And littlest Baby Granddaughter, the one who went crazy over the orange cake months ago?  She's been through two mini cupcakes and would go for a third.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ginger Cheesecake


Rose's Ginger Cheesecake is a refreshing variation on the usual plain flavored cheesecake.  The most "difficult" thing about it was grating the ginger and squeezing the juice.  It didn't seem possible that a piece of
ginger could produce enough juice but it did.  It's potent stuff.  The only time I've grated ginger is for homemade chai, but all of it is thrown in the brewing tea.  Next time I think I'll use this trick.

I love gingersnap crust so increased the recipe by half  to up the ratio of crust to cheesecake.  And then added a few blueberries.  When I make this again, I'll try another fruit and make a sauce, maybe mango.  It's been a big hit, especially since hot weather has arrived full force.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rose's Pinkalicous Red Velvet Cake


Rose's Red Velvet Cake should be on the Quick and Easy List, but since I opted for making it with beets instead of red food coloring, it changed the game a bit and I was not looking forward to baking it.  Still, this was an easy cake to put together considering the lack of cooperation from the beets.  After baking, Rose says to pour out the beet juice as a substitute for the red food coloring.  Two tablespoons are required and my four beets produced approximately an eighth of a teaspoon.  Well, that just wouldn't do!  I've learned nothing if I haven't learned anything about pureeing and smashing fruit/vegetables through a fine meshed sieve which is exactly what I did.


I had no idea if the calculations for beet puree vs beet juice would ruin the cake crumb, making for a dense texture.  Luckily and surprisingly, it didn't.  What it did do was make the batter a gorgeous glorious color of magenta   You can imagine the excitement this brought in a house full of little girls!  They ate them plain and with frosting.  Rose's Dreamy Creamy Frosting is amazing.  Lindt white chocolate has coconut in it and it gave the cupcakes a little something extra.  The recipe made for one dozen cupcakes and a small tea party size cake.  Now that I don't fear beets, this will definitely go on The Make Again List.  It's a big hit among the under ten and over ten crowd.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chocolate Financiers


This is the last of Rose's financiers that I had yet to bake.  The caramelized cocoa nibs deterred me.  I kept stalling because having to drive downtown to find them was not appealing.  Somewhere along the line I lost the thrill of the hunt for unusual ingredients.  I feel like one of those marathon runners who's legs have gone all wobbly as they're trying to cross the finish line.  I've calculated and re calculated to see how many cakes are left to bake and I think five.  I forgot about the Bostini's  Of course they would not be five on the quick and easy list.  I've already exhausted The Q&E List!

These little financiers should have been quick and easy but my scatter brain turned them into quite a fiasco.  I didn't add the ingredients in the correct order.  Instead of cocoa nibs I pulled out the jar of dried Italian espresso we used for another one or two of Rose's cakes and threw a bit in.  And then discovered I didn't add the flour at all.  So that was quickly added right as the dough was being poured into the pans.

So proud of my weighing skills, I followed Rose's one ounce recommendation to the dot.  They burned.

Evidently my little pans are bigger than a true financier mold which I have yet to find in this town. Financier success seems to be all about the ratio of dough to pan.

They also were incredibly light in color.   It seems I forgot to add the chocolate as well.  Into the chilling baggy of dough went the cocoa powder and was squished around to incorporate it.  There was just enough dough to fill three pans with two ounces each.  Much better.

These little gems are not too sweet and the espresso powder gave them both a lovely flavor, burned and all. The family nibbled them up quite quickly. They are definitely on the Make Again List.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Favorite Buttermilk Cake


This Buttermilk Cake from Flo Braker is excellent.  Simple and easy, it takes just a few minutes to make a basic cake that is packed with flavor.  It is a perfect summer cake, covered in berries or any fruit of the upcoming months.  This will definitely go in my make again file.  Thanks to Hanaa and ABC bake along.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zach's La Bomba


Zach's La Bomba is a chocolate extravaganza.  At first glance the flourless chocolate cake base layer didn't look very appealing.  Since I don't generally have much luck depending on eggs solely for leavening, I was more than mildly surprised to discover the delicate cake was packed with flavor.  My daughter pointed out it would be perfectly acceptable to stop right there but I forged on.  I had my doubts about the custard but finally it snapped to attention, reached the required degree on the instant read and left the tell tale clue of falling in a little puddle. I really love when Rose says to watch for that sign in curds and custards.  Mixing together the berries, chocolate, custard and cream was the easy part.  Waiting eight hours to unmold it was the difficult part.  I was not looking forward to mixing up the chocolate lacquer.  I always think it is going to be more difficult than it is, maybe because it packs such a wow! factor when applied.  The only sticking point was La Bomba refusing to come out of the warmed glass bowl.  It took twenty minutes and many dips in hot water for it to finally release.  To complement the blackberry undertone, I made a blackberry sauce to spoon over it.
I don't know what I was expecting but this La Bomba deceptive.  It's a light textured dessert very rich in flavor. The kids as well as adults like it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Trifle


The day Rose's Heavenly Cakes arrived, this Chocolate Raspberry Trifle is the very first page I saw.  It stunned me.   I have dreaded making this recipe because of  my nemesis, namely genoise.  Surprisingly enough, today there were no hidden flour balls and it rose to the required height.  The rest was, as they say, a piece of cake.  The remaining components took quite a bit of time and loads of stirring, but they were not difficult steps.  The custard alone would make this recipe worthwhile.  Eldest granddaughter not only did a happy cake dance over the trimmed bits of cake, but declared she'd like to jump into a swimming pool of custard.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Marble Velvet Cake


Marble cake has always been a favorite of mine.  Rose's Marble Velvet Cake does not disappoint.  Very easy to make, it has a lovely crumb and flavor.  The recipe calls for a chocolate ganache topping but everyone wanted  it left plain.  Fair enough!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Black Party Chocolate Cake


Black Party Chocolate Cake is going straight onto the Make Again List.  It is a simple , chocolate-y cake with a bit of texture from ground toasted walnuts.  The chocolate Kalua syrup is brushed on while warm which adds another dimension of flavor.  This little Bundt won rave reviews.  Eldest granddaughter did the Happy Cake Dance around the kitchen.  What more can I say?  Which of course brings us this rational for breakfast


Needless to say it's being wrapped up and sent downtown to the office.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

White Velvet Cupcakes


Making cupcakes vexes me.  No matter what I do they always come out browned on the bottom.  Making them equal in size is tricky as well.  White Velvet Cupcakes was an easy recipe to make.  I finally figured out to place the batter in the paper cups then lift them one at a time out of the pan and weigh them.  Very easy to adjust the weight.  So is there a trick that I don't know about to keep them from browning on the bottom?

Making the Golden Neoclassic Buttercream was probably the easiest time I've had making a buttercream.  I halved the recipe which was a snap doing it by weight.  Eighty three cakes later and I've finally got the hang of using a scale.  I opted for flavoring it with lemon oil and it gave it a faint lemony taste.  This is a lovely little recipe to have on hand when cupcakes are called for.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Free Choice #3 Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream


When my brother was in Cub Scouts, for whatever reason he made Peanut Butter Cupcakes.  I was all of five years old and can still remember it plain as day for two reasons; it was the only time my brother baked anything.  Secondly, peanut butter in cupcakes seemed completely odd to me.  I don't remember eating them.

I like spice cake.  I pretty much like spice anything so I have no idea why it's taken me so long to make this cake.  It's a shame because this is really a nice spice cake, very lightly flavored.  The Peanut Buttercream has such a soft texture with the butter and cream cheese.  I used natural peanut butter and Jif would have been the better choice.  Jif seems to impart more peanut flavor.  It lacked something so I sprinkled a bit of brown sugar over the top which enhanced the flavor.  If memory serves me correctly, Jif has molasses in it.  These would be great made into cupcakes for kids.

Free Choice #2 Blueberry Round Ingots Fianciers aux Mirabelles


Out of all the financiers we have made so far, these are my favorites.  In the book Rose uses plums but offers blueberries as an alternative.  Since plums aren't in season yet, I opted for blueberries.  The buerre noisette really stands out in this recipe.  I'm not sure if resting the dough for a minimum of six enhances the flavor but they were incredibly easy to make.  They mixed up perfectly in my little mini Cuisinart.  I will definitely try them again come plum season.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Free choice #1 Heavenly Seduction Coconut Junior Mint Cake


I honestly thought I'd already made this cake when going over the list of remaining cakes Marie has made.
Since  I had leftover coconut milk from the Manhattan Coconut Cake, it seemed like a good choice.
It's a very simple cake to make, especially if I would remember to put on my glasses for more than reading the recipe.  Instead of reaching for coconut extract, I grabbed peppermint in an identical bottle.  Needless to say, this cake tastes like Junior Mints, even with the coconut extract.  Who doesn't love Junior Mints?


Since there are real coconut texture phobics in the family, I opted for shaved chocolate on the whipped cream which contained sweetened coconut milk in the whipped cream. They haven't noticed the pulverized coconut in the cake itself and they very much like it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prince William's Grooms Cake


Did anyone else forfeit a night's sleep to watch Prince William and Catherine Middleton's wedding?  Yes?No?
I was intrigued about his choice of Grooms cake the minute I read about it:

In March of 2011, it was announced that Prince William of Wales had chosen a groom's cake for his wedding reception, made from 17,000 McVitie's Rich Tea biscuits and 17kg of chocolate.

My Blood Hound instincts kicked into gear and I tracked down the recipe then the McVitie's, which proved more difficult than the recipe.  I had forgotten about a little British tea shop that carries a small selection of British food.  "Yes, luv, I just received a shipment of McVitie's."   There's nothing in the world like a cheery British accent to brighten a day.

To say this is a snap to make is no exaggeration.  The only change I made was tempering the egg with the melted chocolate then pouring the egg into the chocolate.  I also did not have a six inch spring form pan but remembered one of the HCB'ers lined a cakepan with parchment for cheesecake.  Whichever one of you that was, it's a great tip.  The recipe said to drizzle white chocolate over the top but as you can see, I melted an entire Lindt white chocolate Easter Bunny and drenched the cake.


Verdict?  Everyone loved this thing.  I mean loved it big time.  It's dense and rich, no doubt about it.  I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate.  My feeling is whatever chocolate is one's favorite, that is what should be used.  I am wondering if Rose has a recipe for a Rich Tea Biscuit lying about.  I can only imagine what it would be like with homemade cookies, err biscuits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Free Choice Cake #2 -Golden Lemon Almond Cake


In an effort to close the gap and attempt to catch up with Marie, I made  a second cake for Free Choice week.  Every HCB'er that has made this cake raved about it.  The only thing that kept me from choosing it long ago was finding lemon oil.  Come to find out the neighborhood cake supply store had all sorts of oils and extracts behind the counter.

This cake is extraordinary, not only in flavor and texture but in ease of making.  The hardest thing was zesting enough lemon rind so that ought to say something!  My soon to be four and half year old granddaughter pointed out there were holes in the bottom of the cake whilst being lifted to look at the cooling cake because the aroma was driving her mad.  I assured her they were supposed to be there and after turning it out of the pan, gave her a pair of chopsticks  to poke the topside.  I then handed her a pastry brush and let her "paint" the lemon sugar syrup over the cake.  Needless to say, there was no way this cake was going to get the suggested resting time for the delectable lemon flavor to meld with the almond.  We brewed a pot of tea and sliced the slightly warm cake.  It received resounding approval.


I then remembered the leftover raspberry sauce from yesterday's Fool.  Let me say, Rose's raspberry sauce spooned over this Lemon Almond Cake knocks it into a whole other level.  The raspberry compliments the flavors beautifully.

Monday, April 25, 2011

No Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake Fool


I always wondered about the Victorian dessert called a Fool.  It is believed to have originated from the French word "fouler" which means "to mash" or "to press" and dates back to the sixteenth century.  This classic British dessert has been in and out of fashion. It is described as lightly sweetened fruit which is then folded into sweetened whipped cream.  Today I unintentionally made a Fool out of Rose's No Bake Whipped Cream Cheesecake.


For a no bake cheesecake, this recipe requires a great deal of cooking. It's definitely not easier than a regular cheesecake recipe but there's no dreaded water bath.  Instead the whole thing is put in the refrigerator to set for four hours before unmolding.


I did not heed that instruction.....


And took it out after two hours.  Within seconds it began to slide off the base.  Like mad fools, my daughter grabbed a ladle as I found a bowl and we bailed away.

Definitely too fluffy to call it a Trifle.  I was out of graham crackers anyway.  So onward and upward with raspberry sauce.  Voila!  A lighter than a cloud Fool.  It was exquisite and garnered great reviews.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake


Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake is one spectacular cake.  The crumb is light and delicate.  The coconut custard Italian meringue buttercream is basically butter spun into a cloud.  Since both my husband and son detest the texture of coconut, I left it out and added more coconut extract.  For the rest of us coconut lovers, I toasted some and sprinkled over slices.  Instead of frosting the sides of my petal shaped cake, it was easier to slice the cakes in half and slather frosting between the four layers.  So far, everyone likes it very much.  I don't much trust myself around this thing.  It's so deceptively light.  Cut into slices and tucked into the freezer, it does quite well when thawed.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

ABC Zebra Cookies


ABC made Flo Braker's Zebra Cookies.  Her method called for stacking the dough and cutting into triangles.I've often wanted to make candy cane cookies for the holidays and figured this would be a good time to try twisting two doughs together to see what it's like.  My eldest granddaughter and I had a lot of fun rolling the dough into logs.  I loved Flo's suggestion of saving the tubes from plastic wrap to store the tubes in while they are chilling to retain a round shape.

After reading the other ABC bakers experience with these cookies, I decided to substitute almond extract and reduce the amount of cocoa powder.  The flavors played well off each other.  It is such an easy recipe to make that it will definitely be made again, next time with peppermint extract.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Miette's Birthday Baby


Oh Happy Day it was the littlest granddaughter's first birthday.  Rose's Miette's Tomboy made a perfect sized cake for little fingers.  The frosting was an improvised Tofutti cream cheese/marionberry as she can tolerate very little dairy products.  Her sister added the finishing touch of sprinkles.  The baby loved it which is what mattered.  In the background is her absolute favorite, the Orange chiffon cake, a great dairy free cake.  I also made the Whipped Cream cake and covered it in a whipped cream/powder sugar/orange juice frosting with obligatory sprinkles and a marionberry compote.  And here's the best review of Rose's cakes: the kids at the party loved them all.    Kids can't be fooled.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Karmel Cake


Down to the last of Rose's Heavenly Cakes and this Karmel cake is simplicity itself.  That must have been why I forgot to add the vanilla.  No matter, it was quite good and the next time, I'm sure it will be even better with vanilla.  I was surprised the flavor was as mild as it was.  If there was a way to ramp it up even more, I'd definitely go for it.  Leftover chocolate caramel ganache in the freezer seemed like a good idea but the cake is probably too mild for it.  The Haagen Daz Dulce de Leche on the other hand complimented it perfectly.  I remember reading in one of Rose's books that ice cream is essentially custard so  it can be melted and warmed for a sauce.  Perfect blend as it melted over a slice of cake.  Microwaved until a warm puddle, it was even better poured over a slice.