Chowhound Cake Day - June 29, 2013
My friends and I are having our annual Cake Day on June 29, and I thought it would be fun to have a virtual Cake Day with Home Cooking crew...because Cake Day is one of the happiest days of the year!
I'm thinking there are two ways to participate:
1. Hold your own Cake Day with friends at your place on the 29th. Gather some like minded bakers and spend the day baking, decorating and eating cakes. For kitchens with a single oven, a comfortable number of people/cakes is probably 4. For kitchens with double ovens, it's double that, though it really helps to have a second mixer and baking station. It's helpful to pick cakes that don't have multi-stage prep, though we've had people bring cakes partially or fully done. Having friends bring extra cake pans and cooling racks is important.
2. Bake a cake yourself on the 29th to share in spirit with the Home Cooking board.
In either case, make sure to take pictures of the finished cake, as well as a slice of the cake so we can all see the inside, too! Post the photos and descriptions on this thread for all to see.
If you're doing option 1, make sure you have parchment and cake boxes for people to take pieces of all the different cakes home. We've found it works best to cut a slice of each cake and pass the slices around for everyone to sample, and then divvy up the remainder of the cakes for the take home boxes.
(Description of last year's day here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853324)
Don't know if this will fly, but let's have a go! I hope lots of you will join in. :o)
I'm estimating 4 people/cakes for a single oven kitchen. Of course that depends on how long you're willing for the day to be. Year 1, we did 7 cakes, year 2, we did 8 cakes (I think) in a double oven kitchen. Started at around 11, eating cakes by 5 or so. Next cake is being prepped while prior cake is baking. And then you need to factor in cooling and frosting time. So if there are cakes that don't need frosting, it's best to make those last.
Pictures from previous cake days below.
Hi everyone! It's one week to Cake Day! I hope you're all perusing cake recipes and deciding what to make.
Here's my warm up for next Saturday:
I found a salted caramel ganache recipe that looked way too good, so I was going to make my old standby chocolate cake with the ganache. There turned out to be several others in my group making a chocolate cake of some sort, so I decided to make something else for cake day and instead make it this past week for my visiting niece's birthday. I have to say that this was one of the most delicious frostings I've ever tasted. I can definitely recommend the combination of caramel, salt and chocolate!
This is the ganache recipe I used (but not the cake):
Based on a couple of reviews, I upped the chocolate to 12 oz. and the ganache was still too runny for my personal preference. I prefer a ganache that is pourable while warm-ish but which solidifies when totally cooled. However, the taste was sooooo delicious that I will play with it in the future. I'm thinking of either increasing the chocolate to a full 16 oz or reducing the amount of cream in the caramel. Because it was so runny, I chose to whip up some of the ganache for the filling. Now THAT worked like a charm. So if I'm ever looking for a whipped frosting, this is a winner.
Honestly, that ganache would be delicious on just about anything: cookies, ice cream, a spoon...
Here's a photo of the finished cake. It's a bit sloppy because A) I was in a massive hurry to finish this before I left for the airport to pick up my family, and B) the ganache was too runny to fill in the imperfections on the sides and spread into a nice smooth coating.
And no, I didn't make the cookie flowers. I happened to have them from a food event the previous night, so I decided to use them to decorate the cake. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? :o)
Happy Pre-Cake Day!
My cake day practice cake was a bust, so now I'm all consternated and addlepated about what to bake for cake day. I need a new recipe, but since I won't have time to try it out between now and Saturday, I need a new recipe that's a guaranteed success.
I'd prefer to avoid chocolate cake since there are quite a few of them already on the roster this year, and ideally, the cake would work well with cream cheese icing, since I already bought the cream cheese. I like fruit-flavored cakes like lemon cakes or cherry cakes or banana cakes moreso than plain white cakes or chocolate cakes. The cake that didn't work was pineapple based, so I also have a couple of cans of pineapple that I bought for cake day that could be redeployed, but they could also just be eaten off a spoon, so they don't need to be used in the recipe.
Anyone have a tried and true recipe for an awesome, interesting cake they can throw out here? Something cool and interesting with a bit of a wow factor, would be great, because as you may have seen in TorontoJo's thread about last year's cake day, standards are high!
Well Cake Day has come and gone, and for me and my crazy cake-baking friends, it was an amazing day. This year, we had 13 bakers, and ended up with 19 cakes! Several of us chose to bake a cake in advance, in addition to the cake we made the day of.
Here are a couple of shots of the final table. I'll be back later to post details.
Fabulous Cake Day, Jo :) Thanks for organizing and hosting!
My Cherry Bundt (left side of the table) was based on Good Housekeeping's Blueberry Crumb Ring http://books.google.ca/books?id=KgVtR... . I substituted fresh pitted cherries for the blueberries. I didn't have a tube pan with a removable bottom handy, so I put the crumbs and some cherries in the Bundt pan before adding the batter, rather than adding the cherries and crumbs last, on top of the batter, as set out in the recipe. The crumb topping would have had a slightly more crumbly texture, and the cake probably would have been better looking, if it was made in a tube pan with a removable bottom.
My cakes for the day were a strawberry custard cake (same as I made last year, but with no frosting and a different decorating style) and David Lebovitz' fresh ginger cake that I added a thin layer of caramel cream cheese frosting to. The ginger cake was delicious, even though I accidentally added only 1 tsp of baking soda instead of 2. I'll definitely make it again, and skip the frosting when I do, as the cake is delicious on its own.
Other cakes from yesterday, pictured below:
- Black Pearl cake, based on the Vosges chocolate bar flavors: chocolate cake with ginger and wasabi, black sesame ganache, cooked flour frosting (instead of whipped cream)
- Chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow cream filling and a malted chocolate buttercream. I could have eaten the entire care...
- Stunning Mont Blanc cake.
- Root beer chocolate bundt cake -- I loved the intense root beer flavor of the cake. We all agreed that the chocolate frosting was superfluous on this.
- Red wine velvet cake -- amazingly moist with great depth of flavor from the red wine. The frosting was an incredibly buttery German buttercream.
- Pistachio petit fours cake -- beautiful layers of ganache and marzipan.
- Lemon curd layer cake -- lusciously lemony and creamy.
- Mondrian cake -- art as cake, or cake as art. Amazingly complex to make -- fun, but a lot of work!
- Earl Grey tea cakes with a lemon lavender glaze
- Butter pecan cake
- Raspberry buttermilk cake
- Gateau Breton
- Bakewell cake
- Two tres leches cakes, one with a pistachio cardamom top
- Cherry bundt cake
- Rum cake topped with Luxardo cherries
All of the cakes were beautiful and delicious. I'm so lucky to have such talented bakers for friends! We had so much fun baking cakes all day. Watching the Mondrian and Mont Blanc cakes come together was amazing.
I hope other people baked, too. If you did, please share what you made!
These are beautiful! Wish I had friends who could bake and would do a cake day with me. I am curious now, looking at the size of the cake slices, do you eat big slices of every cake? Do you not eat all day in anticipation of all the cake you will consume. Are you sick of cake by the time you've tasted everything?
Somewhat surprisingly, we spend most of Cake Day eating things other than cake. I think we went through something like 17lbs of pork in two different preparations, plus there was japchae and this amazing mushroom pate and some other bits and bobs to eat throughout the day.
We actually consume only small amounts of cake on Cake Day -- we set aside one slice of each cake for tasting and everyone has a bite of each, but usually not much more than that. When you have 19 cakes to taste, you don't need more than a bite of each.
Here's a picture of one of the take-home boxes of 19 different cake slices. Someone weighed it and it came to 6 lbs of cake!
My strategy is to freeze all of the individual slices, then wrap each separately and stick them all into big freezer bags. I then get to selectively take out and enjoy a slice of cake whenever I feel like over the next few weeks. It's kind of awesome.
I ended up doing a butter pecan cake, inspired somewhat by this recipe: http://laurassweetspot.com/2012/05/09/toasted-butter-pecan-cake/
I started with Rose Levy Berenbaum's White Velvet cake as a base. (PDF of the recipe here, on Rose's site: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/rec... )
To it, I added some toasted chopped pecans (2 cups pecans, 1/4 cup butter, toast over medium heat in a skillet, try not to burn the first batch, especially if you've accepted your gracious host's offer of some of her pecan supply or if there are 11 other people in attendance who will have to smell your burnt pecans).
I also made a batch of buttered pecans that in advance that I food processed into a grainy sort of butter -- 3/4 lb of pecans baked in the oven with 3 tablespoons of butter and then pulsed with another 3 tablespoons of butter once cool. I added this to about a quarter of my batch of cream cheese icing and used it both to fill the layers and to crumb coat the cake, before frosting with the rest of the cream cheese icing. I actually think I should have just made a little more of this and not bothered with the outer cream cheese layer -- it was more interesting looking and more stable than the cream cheese icing proved to be anyway.
Realistically, I could have made one large batch of pecans either on the stovetop or in the oven instead of two separate batches by two separate methods, and then just food processed part of the batch. That would have worked out just fine, as well and been fewer dishes.
Yay for cake day! Here are the two I contributed.
____Rum Cake (Bouchon Bakery)____
Perhaps I'll snag a slice if I hit up a Bouchon Bakery soon, just to compare, but I wouldn't make this again. I didn't think the taste was really so good or the texture so fine. Maybe I just didn't make this right. It was, however, super boozy. Despite having checked, what I really wanted to make was a baba au rhum, which isn't the same thing. So... I'll be making a baba at some point in the future to compensate.
- The icing topping? Whoa, terrible. Heat that water up a bit or something, as it was very gritty. Also use the nicer rum for this one.
- If you unmould it badly, like I did, skip the icing topping and just slice off the top and put some fruit on it. Works wonders. I added some Luxardo maraschino (more booze!) and fresh cherries on top.
- I liked the crust that the dusting of sugar in the pan created. But use spray first. Lots and lots of spray.
Because the rum cake was a make-ahead, I didn't want to be sitting out the entire day eating only savouries and watching the fun in the kitchen. You can imagine my pitiful expression, nose pressed up against the (non-existent) glass window, yes?
Anyway, someone had seen the new book out from Caitlin Freeman on the MOMA desserts and had jokingly said I should make it. Well, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED then. This was going to be more of a technical exercise, as the core cake was a simple pound cake.
- For the recipe, I subbed in a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a freehand amount of zest from half a lemon. That's it.
- Use a ruler, but I think better would be to have a pre-sized stick in full and half widths. There was a lot of measuring involved.
- Forgot to cut off the ends of the cake for display. A brick of ganached-covered butter cake isn't nearly as photogenic.
- If your cream is too hot and you scorch the chocolate for the ganache, pull out your hand mixer and beat it (in fact, upon reviewing the video, Freeman beats her ganache - and, apparently, adds water).
- If the oils should separate from the chocolate, add in some liquid glucose or some white corn syrup. And beat it.
- all you really need is a pretty thin layer of chocolate for the interior pieces. I see why now Freeman used the non-coated edges on the outside - helps for consistency when you pour the final ganache, but I didn't think it was a huge deal.
Overall, taste-wise, my cakes were so very meh. The Mondrian was a real looker though! I've had good reactions from those who've seen it.
My write-up and photos of all the cakes:
So much fun. Thanks to TorontoJo for being a wonderful host!
TorontoJo's post here, and her photos and stories from last year, put me in a cake-making mood on the weekend. Mine was a solo cake day, but the cake - an orange lavender almond cake with ricotta topping, from a Diana Henry recipe - turned out wonderfully. Moist and really delicious!
But man, you guys really outdid yourself with the beautiful and creative cakes. Well done!