Monday, April 9, 2007

Well it begins

This morning we set out to bake the first recipe in _the cake bible_.

It's a pound cake. Used to be an equal amount of butter, flour, sugar and eggs (by weight). She has tweaked it a bit. We did the variations of double vanilla and lemon poppy sead.

Puttering around in someone else's kitchen -- Janet's kitchen is better suited for cooking at this point. My kitchen is also a workroom for the reno going on in the 1/2 bath. I don't think Ms. Beranbaum calls for sawdust in her recipes -- we began the project.

At first, it was definately daunting. A bit too anal retentive and a bit too worrisome for my own good. Had to remind myself that it's just a couple friends getting together and cooking. That made it a bit easier.

So, we sat out the ingredients -- reminder, it helps to look at the entire recipe, this one clearly states "room temperature" for all ingredients. Let's just say we had a few moments of chatting and a quick 10 second moment in the microwave when we got to the butter portion.

Also, cake flour isn't the same as bread flour. (I honestly don't know the real difference, all i know is the bag of flour I bought said cake on it when I purchased it, but when i got it to Janet's it distinctly said bread.)

We did the first recipe, Pound Cake using cake flour. The second batch the Poppy Seed Variation was a mix of 1/2 cake and 1/2 All Purpose (AP). The third batch was the Double Vanilla variation and was all AP.

After the alloted time, sorta, Janet announces, " They must be done. Can't be sposedta get any darker." Thank goodness I speak Janet!

After letting it cool for what was probably not the correct amount of time, we dug in. I forgot to mention that pictures were taken of the outcomes. Luckily Janet's father was there. When I get the photos, i'll attach them -- hopefully :)

To us, the texture of the pound cake was a bit like a sponge, but in a good way. This we cooked in a loaf pan. It was so buttery that it left a butter ring on the butcher's block counter! (all I could think of was _The Simpsons_ when Homer wants to get fat and Dr. Nick Riviera says, " And remember, if you're not sure about something, just rub it against a piece of paper. If the paper turns clear, it's your window to weight gain!)

Lots of butter and a firm texture (I still don't know what a crumb really means), dense, but in a soothing homemade sort of way, not dense as in not understanding calculus.

The Poppy Seed variation requires 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds and a bunch of lemon zest. Yes, 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds! While we used a mix of flours, it was my personal favorite as far as texture. It was a bit dense, and a bit crumbly (i'm not sure that is the culinary definition). We did this in a 6 cup bundt cake pan. Janet's not too keen on Lemon Poppy Seed. Usually it's my favorite, but....

#3 was the Double Vanilla. Baked them as muffins with 100% AP flour and sorta fell apart as we cut it. This was a wonderment to all three of us. It smelled rich, buttery and made us all exceptionally happy.

Honestly, this is the way we'd do it if we were going to make pound cake. I think we'd probably go back to cake flour or at least a mix of the two.

Originally we decided that we'd cook together so that we could split the goodies. Really, Janet & Kevin and Michael & I don't need to have full cakes floating around. But as you can tell we ended up with three pound cakes -- thus defeating one of our original purposes. But what a way to defeat!

If you live near us, you may get a drive by caking.

According to an email from Janet, "Kevin enjoyed the pound cake, snarf snarf gone. He's looking forward to the cakes he actually likes- says he's not such a fan of pound cake."

M's opinion about the pound cake (non variant) was that it wasn't buttery enough and he thought the texture a bit off (remember it was all cake flour) Hopefully he'll like the double vanilla we're having as dessert tonight.

I thought it was sorta odd..

kev who doesn't like, likes
michael who does like, doesn't.

But that is the outcome from this installment.

Bake Through!



Lysna said...

I think it's great that you guys are doing this. Remember Danny likes cake, as do I though I am trying to watch the circumfrence of my belly. Keep on baking

groggirl said...

can you gain weight from reading a blog about cake? WHAT am i going to do when there are PICTURES?

Tamara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamara said...

wow! what an endevor! I understand the flour delimma whole hartedly, try dealing with US flour requirements with Europen flour types ( there is pastery flour, bread flour, whole bread flour, super fine pastery- but absolutely NO all purpose!).

looking forward to more installments- keep on baking ;-)

tina said...

I think this sounds like a lot of fun. I love bake goods but can't cook them to save my life. I wish you could send a tast with each entry. Have fun baking.

lisae68 said...

I'll have to take a peek at this book at work tomorrow- just to see what the future holds!


BellaJack said...

Different kinds of flour? Who knew?

Good advice about reading through the recipe. I can't count the number of times I've had to pop butter in the microwave because I forgot to set it out ahead of time :-P