Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alhambra Cake

I know that Alhambra is a city near Pasadena, CA, now, I also know that Alhambra is also one of the classic cakes. This cake can be summed up in 3 words - Chocolate Lover's Delight. It is also a cousin of Sacher Torte. I personally like the Alhambra better. The components for this cake include - hazelnut sponge cake, 8'' (in this case), coffe rum syrup, chocolate glaze, pistachios, chopped and toasted, and marzipan shaped roses. This cake is very rich, so a small slice can fill you up. Based on the reviews I got on this cake, it's definitely worth the time and the effort.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Carrot Cake

People either love or hate this cake. For people that hate this cake, they mainly do so because they cannot imagine eating a vegetable for dessert. Me, on the other hand, grew up eating carrots as a dessert item, so I was excited to discover and of course, eat the carrot cake. I was greatly excited to make this cake for some reason, I have never been happier making a dessert. Anyhow, the cake turned out great. I liked it and the people that tried it liked it.

Carrot Cake
Recipe Source - California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA)

Bread Flour 9 oz
Baking Powder 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda 3/4 tsp
Cinnamon, Ground 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Nutmeg, grated fresh to taste
Ground Ginger to taste
Salt, Kosher 1/2 tsp

Sugar, granulated 14 oz
Oil, vegetable 6 oz
eggs, whole 4 each

carrots, peeled and grated 1 lb
walnut pieces (toasted) 2.5 oz

Prepare a 10'' cake pan. Spray the bottom, line with parchment and spray lightly on top.
Using a paddle attachment in an electric mixer bowl whip together sugar + oil + eggs. Next dry ingredients - sift flour + baking powder + baking soda + cinnamon + nutmeg + ginger + salt on a parchment paper. After the eggs mixture is emulsified add flour to the mixture all at once and mix till only 'til everything is blended. Take the mixture off the stand and add carrots and walnut pieces. Once everything is well mixed, add the batter to the cake pan. and bake at 325 F in the oven until the center comes out clean when skewer tested. It takes approximately 1.5 hrs to bake it.

For Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe Source - CSCA

Butter, unsalted, softened 16 oz
Sugar, powdered 16 0z
Cream Cheese, softened 1lb 8 oz
Vanilla extract 1 tbsp

In an electric stand mixture cream together butter and sugar. Add cream cheese and mix well. Add the vanilla extract. Be careful to not cream too much. The icing should be smooth and still be pliable as oppose to melty and runny.

Gingerbread Cookies

I know these aren't nearly close to being a decent gingerbread cookies in terms of the decoration, but let me tell you, these cookies are very close to being the perfect gingerbread cookies when it comes to their taste. They also happen to be my favorite holiday cookie. I guess I have a soft spot for all things spicy. These cookies have a lot of character to them despite their cardboardy and somewhat homely appearence. These cookies were pretty easy to put together and I actually have a recipe that I can include, so here you go:

Recipe Source -California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA)

8 oz butter
7 oz sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
18 oz flour
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnmaon
3/4 tsp b soda
1/2 tsp salt

Creamed method..cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add molasses, scrape down sides. Sift all dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture. Dough will be somewhat stiff. Turn out a plastic wrap, flatten and chill over night. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut and bake at 350 for about 10 mins. Do not overbake.

Dobos Torte

Dobos Torte is a hungarian cake, pronounced "Dobosh Torta" is named after the cakes resemblence of a drum machine. The cake was a great fun to make; however, assembling the caramel wedges on the top of the cake takes some tact. The 4 main components of this cake include: the Dobos sponge, chocolate french buttercream, caramel and brandy simple syrup in which each layer of sponge is soaked.

This cake is not easy to whip up and takes some planning and involves great deal of work to assemble, so I'm not sure if I will make this cake again. It is served best at room tempreture.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Definitely Delicious Candy

It's become my nightly ritual to checkout various food blogs and scope out recipes to try. Well..last night as I stumbled up this recipe as I was reading this article inBon Appetit magazine. I have to be honest, this wasn't one of those recipes where I laid my eyes on the picture and felt the definite urge to make the recipe. As I continued reading the article, my interest grew..out of curiosity, and I swear it always starts this way, I checked out the recipe for this and I saw that aside from the pecans, I had all the ingredients. Then I proceeded to look at the method to make this recipe and I saw that aside from toasting the pecans, there was no baking-in-the-oven involved. I thought it was doable. The heading description for this recipe describes this candy as "a cross between praline and fudge"...that definitely added to the allure of this. But what sold me on this was reading this post on the columnist Molly Wizenberg's Orangette blog.

A few years back, my co-worker had given me a tin packed with fudge for holidays and to this day, it has been a memorable gift. This recipe definitely brought back that memory and the idea of reciprocating her this year with a similar gift but different homemade candy sounded further exciting. Then I thought of a few other people with whom I can share this with during holidays. So at that point it was a done deal. I had to make this recipe.

I didn't know I would be making this recipe this quickly. But I did...and I am absolutely pleased with the results. This candy brings back the memories with the flavors such as - butter pecan and pecan praline.

Just one note on the recipe - I found that it's best to buy whole Pecans and toast it yourself. I toasted it for 10-12 mins at 350F. Cooled them and just broke the whole pecans into semi medium pieces. You have the link to the recipe and hope you try it as well. It's easy to make and it's taste is definitely sweet and addicting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Black Forest Cake

This blog is going to turn into a lovely cakes galore in the next few weeks as we bake some classic cakes. The black forest cake officially inaugurated this module. Based on what I have observed, a lot of people, including myself are not much into cherries in the cake. Even I didn't want to have anything to do with this cake when I saw another student a few months back, bring in this cake. However, now that I have made this cake myself and seen what goes into it, I have a much better appreciation for the cake. The 3 main components of this cakes are, the devil's food cake, the kirsch flavored chantilly cream and cherries. I need to get better at slicing the cake. Based on the above'd think there are only 2 slices, however, the cake is actually cut into 3 slices and luckily, I was able to better capture that in the picture below:

This picture is of the cake as it came out of the freezer and I took those slices to work and everyone enjoyed it very much. I, despite, being the 'cherry hater in the cakes' think it's a pretty impressive cake and worth the effort. I'll definitely be making sure that I'll give a slice of it to everyone that is a sweet lover like me.