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What are you baking these days? Part XI [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=%22w... -- The Chowhound Team )

Hi all, since we've gone over 200 on part X, here's a new thread. I don't really think the old ones need to be locked, since if you have contributed to them they come up on your feed if someone posts something new, and comments on any former content are always welcome. The old Cookbook of the Month threads remain active and interesting - these might just as well too.
So anyway, what holiday or other delights are you baking these days? Getting into the hot and heavy baking season - let's have some fun. Family recipes to share? (I have some to post). Fruitcake, anybody? (I adore fruitcake). Things using seasonal produce??? Looking forward to it all.

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  1. I'll be making Claudia Fleming's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake for a post-Thanksgiving gathering. I was thinking of pairing it with vanilla & ginger roasted pears and their juices. Having not tasted the cake before I'm unsure if that's a love connection. Does anyone who has tried it have any suggestions?

    7 Replies
    1. re: maxie

      I've made that, and it is one delicious cake!

      1. re: roxlet

        Believe kattyeyes is a devotée too.

      2. re: maxie

        Your pears will be a great paring with the cake, maxie. I have served this cake with homemade pear-vanilla sorbet, and the flavors were very complementary. I suggest you make the cake a day in advance; it's good the day it's made, but better with a bit of age - the spices really come together. It stays moist for days.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Thanks, Caitlin! Now I'm thinking tiny scoops of David Lebovitz's pear caramel ice cream may be the way to go. Good news about the aging -- it will play well into my planning.

          1. re: maxie

            Oh my, pear caramel ice cream would be fabulous with the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake!

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I've made the cake a few times and its yummy. Light and fluffy. I was just thinking it would be great with caramel ice cream. Pear caramel sounds even better! bon app!

              1. re: judyfoodie

                That's funny, I don't think of Fleming's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake as light and fluffy at all; more like moist and a little dense, in a good way - the way I expect gingerbread to be.

      3. I still have leftover pumpkin puree, already sweetened and spiced, only about 1/2 cup, not enough for a pie or the gingerbread I just made, and I am trying to figure out what to do with it in the next day or so or else I'll have to freeze it.

        I was thinking about adding it to pancake batter or perhaps even making pumpkin souffles. Still not sure. I have a vague idea percolating about adding it to some pancake mix and eggs and making something I'd call a Pumpkin Puff in mini muffin pans. I'm also curious about a baked french toast stuffed with the puree. Hmm. Does anyone have great ideas for that little bit of leftover puree? The Yankee in me hates throwing stuff out.

        Also, I have to figure out which cookies I'll be baking this year. I have a few old standbys (thumbprint cookies, snowball cookies, gingersnap-type cookies and butter cookie), but I always enjoy trying out a few new recipes each year.

        For some reason I have three (count 'em, THREE) bags of cranberries in the freezer. I am planning on making a cranberry sauce or relish for Thanksgiving, but I am also leaning toward cranberry bread.

        Finally, I am hankering for a nice loaf of pumpernickel. I have a great recipe for it and might have to bake a loaf this weekend.

        1. I have a whole lotta birthday baking to do in the next couple of days. Today I am starting with a cheesecake, my standard from a 1945 Gourmet recipe. It is extremely elemental -- cream cheese, sour cream, beaten egg whites, vanilla, and it disappears. My son has requested a Red Velvet cake for his actual birthday, which is Sunday, and I am still dithering over recipes. The one in Rose's Heavenly Cakes bakes in either a heart shaped pan or in one 9" pan, so it seems quite small. Sunday I will have 20 people, so the cheesecake is the 2nd cake for Sunday, the Red Velvet being the requested one. But tomorrow night will be a surprise party with 7 of his closest friends, so I have to make a stealth cake for that party. Again, I'm still not sure what I will make, but I am thinking maybe a yellow cake this time since all we ever seem to have is chocolate. While my cheesecake is in the oven, I will peruse my cake books and try to come up with something that's not too interesting for some fairly un-adventurous boys..

          10 Replies
          1. re: roxlet

            Love cheesecake with beaten egg whites, the Japanese one is the apotheosis of the type.
            I've never made a red velvet but wouldn't the Rose's HC one be susceptible to doubling the recipe?
            A good friend (gt a gd jb...), also an unadventurous eater, insists on a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for her bday - but these are boys, wouldn't they like a devil's food or something along those lines?

            1. re: buttertart

              At least one of the boys doesn't like chocolate. I know, how is that even possible? So I'm trying to come up with a different solution...

            2. re: roxlet

              roxlet, you might want to look up the thread "Mom-Mom's Red Velvet Cake and Buttercream Frosting" here on the HC board. People seem to really like that poster's recipe.

              1. re: roxlet

                @roxlet or @buttertart

                Mind posting a cheesecake recipe with beaten eggs whites? I've not tried this variety and am intrigued.

                Thanks in advance!

                1. re: bdegregory

                  Here it is:

                  Elemental Cheesecake

                  FOR THE CRUST
                  • 18 pieces zwieback, crushed fine (about 1 cup) or (graham crackers)
                  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, and softened
                  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (omit for graham crackers
                  FOR THE FILLING
                  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
                  • 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
                  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
                  • A 1-inch length of vanilla bean, minced
                  • 3 large eggs, separated
                  • 1 cup sour cream
                  MAKE THE CRUST:
                  • In a bowl stir together the zwieback, the butter, and the sugar until the mixture is combined well and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
                  MAKE THE FILLING:
                  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the sugar and the cream cheese until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the flour, a pinch of salt, the vanilla bean, and the egg yolks, beaten lightly, and combine the mixture well. Stir in the sour cream. In a bowl beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks and fold them into the cream cheese mixture gently but thoroughly.
                  • Pour the filling into the prepared pan and run a rubber spatula through the filling in a circle about 1 inch in from the rim to help the cake rise evenly. Bake the cake in the middle of a preheated 350° F. oven for 1 hour, turn off the oven, and let the cake stand in the oven for 30 minutes. (The cake will be puffed but will sink as it cools.) Let the cake cool completely, or until it is set, in the pan on a rack. (For a slightly firmer consistency, let the cake cool completely and chill it, covered, overnight.)

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Thank you roxlet! I can't wait to try this. I even have a spare vanilla bean waiting to be used.

                    1. re: bdegregory

                      Enjoy! It's a really great cheesecake!

              2. This question is for Buttertart:
                I am planning to make Medrich's Chestnut Pound Cake again, but this time want to give it a bit more character. Using the optional walnuts certainly will help, but I was also thinking chocolate. As you know, I dislike cakes made with cocoa, so sifting cocoa with the flour is out. I was thinking of melting chocolate with the buttermilk, cooling it, and then using it as in the recipe. Alternately, I could always just finely chop the chocolate and mix it in when I mix the nuts. Or, I could grate the chocolate and mix it in. What would you do, O Wise One?

                13 Replies
                1. re: souschef

                  My child (teasing), I would not put chocolate in this as you know, but if I were to, I would either grate or chop it (or use mini-chips MAYBE). I wouldn't mess with the liquid. How about déchets of marrons glacés i/o walnuts? You could use the Turkish ones in syrup. Must make this again.
                  The chestnut meringues are bery good too.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    a recipe for chestnut meringues, please?

                    1. re: Cynsa

                      It's from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert as is the poundcake. I'll look it up and post this weekend.

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        Chestnut-Walnut meringues, straight from the book: http://books.google.com/books?id=egZW...

                        And Chestnut Pound Cake: http://books.google.com/books?id=egZW...

                        P.S. If the second link doesn't open on the correct page, just click to page 71.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          I bow to your infinite wisdom, O Wise One; I will leave out the chocolate. I have not yet started on the marrons, so don't yet have déchets.

                          In the absence of déchets de marrons I have figs in rum, so may try that.

                          Incidentally, there is one post in this thread with a very long link that screws up the entire thread when it is displayed on my iPhone. Any idea how this can be avoided?

                            1. re: souschef

                              Ah go on, you know you want to. How about Cognac and chocolate and déchets in it for a cake version of that bonne bouchée of which chef was it? (a bite of marron glacé, a bite of dark chocolate, and a sip of Cognac).

                              1. re: buttertart

                                Hey, that's a great idea. It was Roger Vergé (now retired) from Le Moulin de Mougins.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Hey Buttertart, on checking my fridge for the figs in rum I found out that they are really in syrup. What I have in rum is chestnuts, so you can guess what's going to be baked come the morning.

                                  I find that the Medrich recipe is a bit too much for one bundt pan, but not enough for two, so I may increase the quantities by 50% and make two.

                                  1. re: souschef

                                    I made it in those 2 little ones I sort of showed in the apple cake photo, filled them nicely. Why not, go for it.

                          1. There are some marvelous recipes that just hit the net on the Olive Magazine (BBC) site, but alot of them call for double cream. I remember double cream from my time in London, but I have no idea what to substitute here in the US. Any suggestions?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mnosyne

                              Hi mnosyne, double cream in England tends to have a butterfat content of 42 to 48% depending on the brand purchased. I live in Canada and am able to purchase Devon Cream (aka Clotted Cream) in some supermarkets and, British or Scottish shops. Depending on the brand, the fat content tends to be in the 45 - 48% range. This would be your best bet if you are able to find it. Good Luck!!