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Feb 29, 2012 07:56 PM

What are you baking these days? March, 2012 [old]

Hi there, everybody! Here we go into the month when Spring begins, hip hip hooray! I have a new chocolate thing in the fridge ready for tomorrow night's dinner (will post recipe if it's as good as I hope). How about you? What are YOU baking these days?

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  1. Because the weather has been unusually cool where we live (Dubai) I've been baking far more than usual. We're finishing up a Gordon Ramsay coffee crumb cake that was very nice, not too sweet and with a firm crumb that mixed well with the side of vanilla ice cream.

    This weekend I am making a batch of the David Lebovitz fruitcake bars that we seemingly can't eat enough of in this household, and I'm torn between trying out the Smitten Kitchen brown butter cake or the Smitten Kitchen St. Louis gooey butter cake that will be served at a dinner party on Saturday.

    It falls in the category of baking so I might as well add it: the other night I made Ottolenghi's cauliflower cake. It's more like a heavy souffle than a cake but it was delicious and an ingenous way to serve baked vegetables. I'm having the leftovers for lunch today while pondering ideas for improving it by substituting different kinds of cheese, adding other vegs to the mix or serving it with a light and slightly spicy tomato sauce.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Roland Parker

      Hmm... what is considered cool in Dubai?
      My brother is a big fan of Gordon Ramsey, but I've never made any of his recipes.. his sweets are good too?

      1. re: rstuart

        Low 70s during the day, dropping into the 60s at night. It did warm up to about 80 over the weekend before dropping to 70 today. This time last year we were solidly in the 80s.

        It does sound ridiculous to claim that it's cool weather but our bodies are acclimitized, and the coolness is made worse by that practically everyone has marble/tile floors which makes the houses feel even cooler inside.

        I only have one Gordon Ramsey cookbook that was passed to me by a friend who left Dubai. I'd place him in the same league as Nigella Lawson and Ina Garten with solid, well tested and simple recipes that are very rewarding. His sweets are the same as other British cooks, not too sweet.

        1. re: Roland Parker

          I guess it's all what you're used to!

      2. re: Roland Parker

        Would there be a link to the GR cake? Coffee cake as in coffee-flavored?

        1. re: buttertart

          Coffee and Almond crunch cake. It's both coffee flavored and a coffee cake. It's a pleasant, not overly sweet cake and very good with a scoop of ice cream on the side because the crumbs intermingle with the melted ice cream. The flavors also nicely developed over several days although the cake did dry out a bit (not that I minded).

          I found a recipe at the following link:

          But it's in metric, I'm afraid.

          1. re: Roland Parker

            I speak metric (have a scale). Thanks, this looks VERY good.

            1. re: Roland Parker

              Here it is, converted. Looks great! I think ground almonds are a little extravagant for my budget, but I would really like to make this. Fantastic idea a coffee cake with coffee flavoring, and that photo is drool-inducing.


          2. re: Roland Parker


            I made the Smitten Kitchen brown butter cake. It was....good in an adult way by which I mean a nice nutty flavour, the burnt butter flavour and dark chocolate ganache icing. The boys didn't care for the cake which didn't surprise me.

            While I enjoyed the cake I don't think it turned out the way it was supposed to. I imagine the egg whites deflated too much when I added the melted butter batter, so the end result wasn't necessarily as light and fluffy as it could have been and turned out more like a dense, extra moist mittel-Europa style torte. I will try the cake again another time.

            This weekend: Smitten Kitchen chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake! Thank goodness that everyone in this household has been very physically active in the last few months to justify all the cakes I've been baking.

            1. re: Roland Parker

              I'm pretty sure I beat the whites with some (maybe half?) of the sugar for extra stability, but it's been probably 2 years since I've made it. Should do that one again :)

              1. re: Roland Parker

                Roland.. I made the SK coffee cake on Sunday, and it was very popular at work.. a friend asked for the recipe to make it for a family member's birthday.. I will definitely be making it again!

                1. re: rstuart

                  I think I overbaked it slightly. I may have inadvertently added too much baking power/soda as the cake rose tremendously during baking before settling back down to a reasonable level.

                  The recipe called for dividing the eggs and beating the whites until stiff and then folding the whites into the batter, but the batter was so thick that beating/folding the whites separately seemed to make no difference. The batter was as thick as a biscuit batter. Should this be normal?

                  Still, it's the chocolate chips that makes this the cake more than however the batter is supposed to be. It is *not* a light dessert and felt heavier than a traditional cake, but a warm slice is delicious.

                  * Now I wonder if the reason for a heavy batter is to stand up to the weight of the chocolate chips? A thinner, more traditional cake batter may be too weak?

                  1. re: Roland Parker

                    Roland; the batter was really thick, although I did find that it lightened up a *bit* when I folded in the egg whites. I think that she warns you that it is a very thick batter.. I definitely had to spread it out with an offset spatula to get it to cover the bottom of the pan.
                    I cut the cake into small pieces.. but still found it utterly addictive!!

            2. Focaccia stuffed with sauteed onions and green bell peppers, and chopped pitted black olives. The yeast is 6 years past it's expiration date and still active because of storage method.

              4 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Mine is 5 years out of date (SAF instant, was 500 gm pkg) and ditto, always kept frozen.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    No, a glass jar with well fitting lid.

                  2. re: ChiliDude

                    The focaccia did not turn out as expected. Two separate layers of dough were rolled out. The ingredients used to stuff the focaccia were too oily due to the sauteing so the 2 layers did not adhere as I wished. More experimentation is necessary. Maybe the dough should be rolled out, filled and then flopped over like a calzone?

                  3. One of my employees just went through a bad breakup and is very emotionally fragile, definitely in need of some TLC. So I took stock of the pantry last night, and baked a small pan of coffee brown butter blondies for her. They're more cakey than chewy because I had to add a second egg to make the batter come together (not sure what was up as the recipe used standard proportions, but there was no way I could have incorporated the dry ingredients with just one egg). The flavor, however, is terrific. Magical brown butter does it again.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Vanilla bean sables, from the new Fine Cooking (and by Dorie, who I love).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                        These are really good. I don't think they'll make it til the weekend. :b

                      2. This poppy seed lemon cake from Smitten Kitchen: . I snuck a sliver before dinner and it's really really good. Rich and buttery and pound cake-ish, but not too sweet. I'm going to slice up some strawberries to top it with for dessert.