Monday, August 30, 2010

Heavenly Bakers - Two Seperate Desserts plus Dinner

What a fitting Name!
Recipe: Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache
My "for real" first week with the Heavenly Cake Baker. I adore Rose Levy Beranbaum and her cakes amaze me in what looks like simple perfection. I love baking and I feel the push to always want to be better. I strive for those feelings of elation over finishing my project and/or admiring a new decorating skill, taking the first slice and realizing how moist the layers are or how silky, creamy the frosting lays, taking the first bite (or as in my case, running to get hubby to take the first bite) and realizing this is what I spent precious time assembling: Heaven!
An important point to add is I always take the second bite. Part of the cooking/baking addiction is watching expressions. Larry's facial expression when he first tastes any dish is usually spot on with what he says afterwards. He is my sounding board for input; although there have been moments when his honesty has almost gotten him hurt =). Almost. Especially when I am tired and all I want to hear is thank you for feeding me.
Love, love, love this cake. I was dreading making the recipe because I knew extra time would have to taken for the caramel ganache and boy was I right. My first batch of sugar syrup ended up burnt. The syrup is suppose to be taken off the stove just under temperature because the syrup continues cooking until the heavy cream is added. Thank goodness for air vents above the stove. Burnt sugar smells terrible!
My second batch of syrup had me gun-shy. I took the syrup off a little too early, about 10 degrees under and was worried the ganache would not thicken up. In fact, Rose stated the caramel may harden before pouring into the processor to melt the chocolate. Mine was liquid. I was thinking "this is not a good sign".
After 3 hours, I had thick soup. Refrigeration was in order. I refrigerated the ganache in 30 minute intervals until I had the right consistency. The flavor and texture of the caramel ganache was silky smooth with a chocolate caramel flavor holding depth without being overpowering. Another words, all I could say while tasting was uhmmmmmm. So Good! Then the first bite of cake. Crazy moist with a flavor that seemed to match the frosting. A wonderful crumb without being overpowering in flavor. Sophisticated and simple. Delicious!
Moving on but a week back.
Last week's recipe: Marionberry Shortcakes with Whipped Creme Fraiche
The little cakes were adorable using Rose's Shortcake recipe and my miniature bundt pan molds. The marionberry syrup is created by sugaring down the marionberries while in a strainer over a bowl. The collected juice is combined with a little sugar and a splash of raspberry liqueur. The color variation from painting the miniature bundt cakes with the syrup is beautiful. A pile of marionberries (mine were previously frozen; marionberries are past season here) were carefully placed on top along with a Large dollop of whipped creme fraiche.
I was worried the berries were going to lack fresh flavor but we were pleasantly surprised. The syrup, marionberries, shortcake and creme fraiche pull the dessert together into a pretty little package with a nice flavor and texture combination. We enjoyed the dessert but not extremely excited. Fresh berries would make this Heaven.
I accidentally dropped a few dots of marionberry juice on my kitchen rug and the color is here to stay. Marionberry makes a great dye. The dessert was a wonderful place to start in Heavenly Cake Baker. I tried getting this posted on time but 4 days later I actually was able to bake and assemble so my solution is to combine the two desserts in one post.
If you are looking to widen your horizons in the cake baking world, Heavenly Cake Baker is the place for you. If you are looking for teaching aides and a larger layer of understanding for putting together ultimate flavors, texture, crumb density, silky smoothness and consistency; this is definitely the place for you. If you are worried about a lot of dirty dishes over the idea of baking perfection, you may just want to peruse our Beranbaum desserts as we bake our way through heavenly cakes.

Will this post ever end? Almost. I thought I would also share an easy dinner recipe using a rotisserie chicken. The recipe is called Creole Chicken Soup and my family enjoys this for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. I enjoy the recipe because about 30 minutes is needed from start-to-finish.

Creole Chicken Soup
2 T. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. red bell pepper (or yellow or orange)
1 c. frozen whole kernel corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups of chipped cooked chicken (using a grocery rotisserie chicken)
1 1/2 t. Creole seasoning
1 (32-ounce) carton Swanson low-sodium chicken broth
Sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro for garnishing

In a heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, corn, and garlic, and saute until tender. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Sprinkle with seasoning, and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Top with sour cream and cilantro.


Gloria said...

Your cakes look AH-MAZE-ING! So moist! I would love a bite of each one right about now. Chocolate Caramel Ganache...Wow! Such beautiful cakes. :)

Vicki said...

Your chocolate cake and marionberry shortcakes turned out beautifully! That cooked sugar syrup always makes me a bit nervous but boy, does Rose ever turn out some amazing frostings with it!

Jenn said...

Beautiful cakes! I love how you decorate the chocolate cake with the cherry!
Sorry to hear you didn't like the marionberry shortcakes - you can always send them my way LOL.

PS: You cracked me up with your comments on my blog :))

LDH said...

Oh, Shandy... you have some might good looking stuff here! Wowzer!

Hanaâ said...

You swirled your cake too!! How cool is that? It looks wonderful. I’m glad your first HCB recipe was a big hit. Sorry to hear about your burnt sugar the first time. At least that part is easy to redo. Your berry shortcake looks delicious too. Love that dark pink/purple hue in the sponge cake. The soup looks wonderful. I love creole dishes. I giggled when I read about your husband’s feedback, which can be TOO honest sometimes (happens over here too!).

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