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What are you baking these days? Part IX [old]

(Note: There's a newer "What are you baking these days?" thread started. If you have a question or comment about something below, please go ahead and post it. But if you want to add a new thing you're baking to the list, please find the newest thread from this list: http://www.chow.com/search?query=&amp... -- The Chowhound Team )

Hi all bakinig friends, here we are at part nine of this shared enterprise. It's coldish in NJ today - wish I were home, with the oven going.
Wanted to draw your attention to the below thread, if you haven't already seen it - there's a discussion of a baking Cookbook of the Month you may want to weigh in on with possible book ideas or other thoughts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735114
Yesterday I made a very good apple cake recipe from Ronald Johnson's great book, "The American Table". It had been recommended by bushwickgirl so I knew it had to be good, and it is.
I used 2 Macs, a Macoun, and an Empire in it - the apples remained largely intact.
Two things: I'm not crazy about cinnamon in quantity - this calls for 2 tsp - so I subbed 1/4 tsp mace, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. It heightened the apple flavor and made the batter eminently spatula-lick-offable. (I put the spices into the creaming butter and sugar because my mom taught me that fat carries flavor.
)And the Wilton Cake Release recommended by roxlet really works - the 2 small tube pans I used are fairly intricate but only 1 little cube of apple stuck on the smaller cake. Best ever performance of any greasing method I've tried. (My mom said that it's best to grease a pan with butter because it will make the baked good taste of butter even if you've used shortening or margarine in it. Worked for her!)

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      1. re: roxlet

        Thanks! That release stuff is amazing. Can't wait to try it on my 30+ yr old mini Bundt that always freaking sticks.

        1. re: buttertart

          Yes, I was really impressed with it when I made my apple cake that always sticks somewhere in my "non-stick" bundt pan. I will never go back to butter and flour, whether or not it adds a little additional flavor to the baked goods...

          1. re: roxlet

            Me either. I'll buy this stuff forever. (My mom baked a lot with margarine - we were not rolling in dough, so to speak - and she swore by that trick.)

            1. re: buttertart

              Do be aware that release spray (PAM and such) used on a nonstick pan or item will release toxicities when heated. I'm not sure about this but the high rating seems like a winner. I may have to get this for Angelfood cakes.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                pls explain "toxicities"? From pan? from spray itself? how does something like that get onto the market if that's what happens if you use it??

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  My understanding is that you need to not grease a pan at all for an angel food cake, so the batter can grip and "climb" the sides of the pan, for maximum rise.

                  Aerosol oil sprays can cause an unpleasant buildup on some nonstick finishes because of the propellants in them, but there's nothing toxic about them. They're intended for use in cooking, ergo with heat.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    You're right about the angel food cake. I've made it before comes out fine just was trying to reduce a bit more where it lleaves residue.. which is more a problem on Monkey Bread..

                    As far as the nonstick spray comment, I'll have to double check though I was pretty sure I read about it somewhere.. maybe it was about it possibly damaging coating.. I don't know but I'll find out.

          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

            Thanks! try the cake, it's excellent. Perfect for this time of year.

            1. re: buttertart

              I made it today! I made two small bundts and one six-inch heart shape cake (first thing I picked up for the extra, lol.) It smells fabulous ... but I'm saving it for guests tomorrow. For spices I used 1 tsp cinn., 1/2 heaping tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice, and a dash of ground cloves, plus 1-2 tsp chopped crystallized ginger.

              And I have to say, generally I'm not a fan of release-type products, but I'd forgotten how useful they are with bundts. I buttered and floured these pans ... and now have some floury residue on top--which will be easily covered up with a shower of conf. sugar, but still.

               
              1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                I love heart-shaped cakes, I have my mom's pans and use them for special things.

                1. re: buttertart

                  This cake makes a great breakfast btw ... ahem. :b

          2. re: buttertart

            Hi I made this cake yesterday and served it with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. But I didn't like it! My oven is quite hot/fast so maybe I shd have pulled it earlier, but whatever, it was a little dry despite all that apple, and the apple wasn't tart enough for me (I used granny smiths). the flavour was nice (i did cinnamon, ginger and a little mixed spice) but the texture was all wrong for me. I like my cakes to be tender crumbed and moist and light and fluffy. This was just a bit too dense for me. Not sure if I will try to make it again as I have a few other recipes I like.

          3. Yesterday my son announced that he was required to bring a snack to his advisory period tomorrow, so I am taking this opportunity to bake 'Nick's Supernatural Brownies' as recommended by buttertart, who is, as we know, a huge Nick Malgieri fan. It's my experience that kids will inhale anything that looks like a brownie, so, while this may be a case of casting pearls before swine (sorry kids), it still gives me a chance to try the recipe without having large amounts of those delicious-looking brownies hanging around my house (and my hips). My husband was appalled that my son had to bring a snack to his HS advisory period. He wanted to know if he had to bring juice boxes too. lol!

            3 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              Great! Don't cut them until they've rested per the recipe, they are nowhere near as good w/o.
              (Maybe next they'll ask for something for show and tell.)

              1. re: buttertart

                yes, and in addition to this tip, best to put them in the fridge and then cut them. Gives nice clean edges. They will taste fine when they come to room temp. Enjoy.

              2. re: roxlet

                Why not have your son actually make them? or help.. great way to get them (him) in the kitchen.

              3. Here's another thread with big appeal for bakers, on 50 essential desserts:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7361...

                1. Please post the Ronald Johnson's apple cake recipe for us, buttertart or bushwickgirl.
                  ... what is roxlet's magic non-stick release stuff?

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: Cynsa

                      I was going to link that here just now, thank you for doing it for me!

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        here's a direct link to the apple cake recipe within that thread so you don't have to expand all the replies:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7372...

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I made this last week, and though it was good, it didn't knock anyone's socks off, sad to say. I even let it sit in the fridge for a few days as suggested in the recipe. Maybe it's that everyone is so used to the apple cake I've been making for the last 10 years, but I did like the addition of the pecans, and I might strew some over the apples next time I bake my apple cake.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I remember posting an apple cake we really like ("Apple Dapple Cake", dumb name, from Sylvia Carter / Newsday) and being roundly trashed for it. Seems different cakes for different folks, I guess.

                    2. Mom never used a recipe for the sugar cookie type dough she pressed into a pie pan for her ubiquitous Apfelkuchen. Sometimes it was blueberries or prune plums. So I don't use one either. I generally add almond meal and both almond and vanilla extracts. Today I threw in some steel-cut oats too. My guess is 2 parts white whole wheat flour to 1 part each almond meal and oats. Probably any form of uncooked oatmeal would work but I like the crunch of the steel-cut. The almonds are too finely ground to contribute nutty texture. I am a champion of the idea of using favorite cookie doughs as tart shells. Any crisp cookie with fairly uniform texture should work.

                      I used brown sugar and Splenda for the crust, white sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on the fruit, which was a layer of pounded dried apricots beneath quartered prune plums. Instead of one large tart, I pressed the dough into a gray nonstick "muffin top" pan and a silicone muffin pan, so I have 12 pieces. I need to get a second muffin top pan so I can do a whole batch at one time. These look nice because I laid the quartered plums on their sides in pinwheel fashion, each tartlet using two plums. I stack these in a Rubbermaid container with parchment rounds between them, making for easier refrigeration than one large round pan.