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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cake #23: Coffee Spice Cake (Variation)

 In the book, this cake calls for shortening and a mix of spices including ginger, cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg. Sprinkled with sugar on top when done and cooled. But then there is a variation that involves a chocolate frosting topping, so yeah- I chose the variation instead!
The variation eliminates the ginger, and replaces the shortening with butter.
Like the last cake, I doubled the recipe, but the kitchen aid was actually able to hold it all this time (barely). Then I cooked both cakes in the SAME bundt pan, one at a time (one on Saturday and one on Sunday). This way they had about the right amount of batter (and didn't drip all over the oven) and they cooked more evenly. What a difference!
 The cake wasn't too hard to make. The coffee was the hardest part, and in hind sight, if I would have just left some coffee from the morning and let it cool, it would have been easy. But without coffee, I made a strong batch in the french press with very hot water, then put it outside in the cold to cool. Even though it was pretty cold out, After about a half hour, there was still steam coming off the coffee. So I poured it into a glass measuring cup and put it in the freezer. It still took FOREVER to cool enough to use! Actually, I don't know if it took forever because I cheated and took it out when it was cool enough that it didn't burn my finger when I touched it. Because I added an ice cube to it. Which probably made it weaker. Whatever. I was impatient.
 I found a jar of molasses that had a "best buy" date of May 2010 on it. That's pretty close to 7 years ago. My partner argued that it wasn't a "expiration date", it just won't be as good now as it was 7 years ago, when it was at its "best". Anyway, I couldn't get the damn thing open so I used the brand new jar of molasses I just bought.
 The recipe called for "ground cloves" which I couldn't find, but I did find a spice bag with some large looking cloves in it. So I stuck several of those in the coffee grinder and ground them up to make "ground cloves"! Brilliant! Until I smelled the coffee grinder. Whew! It took a lot of washing to get that smell out, and now our coffee grinder is cleaner than it has been since we bought it.

The 1st cake turned out fine, but the remaining batter was refrigerated overnight so it ended up taking maybe 20-30 minutes longer to bake.
This cake has a unique flavor and would be worth making again, but I think I would change the frosting. It was really messy. It was a combination of melted chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and a little coffee. If using this again, wait until it's cooled for a couple of hours before pouring on (it will be thicker), and even then don't make as much as the recipe calls for, it just runs off and pools up and makes a mess of the table after it runs off the edge of the plate/platter.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cake #22: Paula Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake

I volunteered to bring a cake to the Parent-Teacher conferences as an excuse to make another cake out of All Cakes Considered. But why would I go to all the trouble to make a cake for the teachers when I can't even try it myself? (At the time I envisioned presenting a beautiful cake to deliver to the teachers' lounge)... so I made 2 cakes. Might as well just double the batch, to make it easier, right?
I now have a note on the top of the recipe page that says: DO NOT DOUBLE THIS RECIPE.

1st, the kitchen aid couldn't handle all the cake batter, so I had to take some out to finish mixing it. Not a big deal, except apparently kitchen aids don't mix quite as well on the bottom when they're filled to the brim. Who knew?!

2nd, I had a bundt pan and a tube pan and thought I'd just use both of those for the cakes. Turns out the bundt pan has a lot more space in it than the tube pan, so both pans ended up being waaaay too full.

3rd, I decided to save time & energy by baking both cakes at the same time! Never a good idea.

The cake says to turn on the oven and add a baking sheet w/ almonds on it to toast for 3 minutes, then toss and toast another 3 minutes (while it's preheating). I did this, and left the almonds in an extra 3 minutes, and they could've gone longer. If they're in there while the oven is preheating, maybe 10-12 minutes. If you put them in after it's already preheated, maybe more like 6-10 minutes.

So, what happened was, the cake is supposed to bake for 80 minutes. 40 minutes in, the smoke started pouring out of the oven. I peeked at it and discovered that both cakes had risen over the top of the pans and were now dripping off the edge. Luckily, it was an unseasonably warm day in February, so we were able to open all the doors and windows to air out the house.

 I threw some tin foil in the bottom of the oven to catch the rest. I moved the cakes so that they were both on the same rack, to try to get them to cook more evenly and also so that one would stop dripping into the other. I took the tube cake out after 80 minutes but the bundt pan cake took an extra 20 minutes.
(After removing the tin foil)

Despite being full of butter and poured into well-greased pans, they both fell apart when I took them out.

We tried carefully cutting the edges of the bundt cake so that it would come out cleaner. Didn't happen.


My husband liked the crispy edges the best, which probably developed from the smoky oven and/or overcooking. Both cakes did turn out and taste fine, but the presentation wasn't exactly award-winning, so I cut the teachers' cake up before taking it to the conferences. Clean-up duty was a bitch.