Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by skyflyer3

  1. You know, a light chocolate ganache is my tried and true standby, and it's actually quite easy to do. I use the recipe from the Cake Bible, which is like a 60/40 proportion of heavy cream to chocolate. You chop the chocolate fine, put it in a heatproof bowl, heat the cream to boiling, pour it over the chocolate, let it sit for five minutes before stirring with a whisk, then let it cool . Once it gets to slightly colder than room temperature, you can beat it by hand until you get soft peaks, and then dollop some on top of cupcakes with a n icing spatula. I did this on Saturday, without a mixer, and it came out great.

  2. I had a pork loin sandwich yesterday at Roy's BBQ (recently reviewed by Mamster in the Seattle Times) and it was fantastic! Think medium-thin slices of smoked pork loin, layered with carmelized onions, lettuce and a creamy mayo sauce. This place definitely makes my top five. They have a smoked oyster po'boy that I hear is very tasty, and smoked fish tacos, too.

  3. I made the latest version on Sunday for my spouse's bday.  I wasnt that impressed.  It was a tad dry( I might have overbaked a bit) and while it was very chocolaty, I found it no better than my go to chocolate cake( Black Magic by Hershey's).  I frosted with a sour cream ganache and used some cherry butter in between the layers.

    I made this cake last night (this time mixing the butter with the other wet ingredients), and found it a little dry as well. I think I may have overbaked it, though - I kept doing the toothpick test, and getting crumbs on the tester. It was springing back fine, though. How do y'all gauge done-ness for this one?

    Ok, I tried this recipe one more time, with full-fat buttermilk, 3/4 cup oil and 4 oz butter, split over three pans for 45 minutes, and the cake came out very nice. Moist, good flavor, very soft texture - almost too soft. Someone told me there wasn't enough protein holding this puppy together. I used cake flour vs. AP - should I switch to AP and give it another try?

    I also tried the Hershey's Black Magic Cake, and the texture was good, the flavor was ok. Actually, it was a lot like a cake mix cake. My current fave continues to be Cooks Illustrated Velvet Chocolate Cake. It doesn't rise as much as the Double Chocolate Cake does, but I love the flavor and texture combination.

  4. I use the tables in the back of the Cake Bible. When I have checked her numbers against my own, I have found them to be very accurate. Using the example of cocoa, for instance, RLB gives three weights: sifted, spooned, dip-and-sweep. Obviously the weight is different depending on how you fill the cup.

    I often use Cake Bible, or King Arthur Flour weight approximations as well. One thing that gets me is this - RLB has three weights for flour - sifted, dip and sweep, and lightly spooned. How do I know, when a recipe doesn't specify, which one I should take weights for? Should I assume sifted always?

  5. I made the latest version on Sunday for my spouse's bday.  I wasnt that impressed.  It was a tad dry( I might have overbaked a bit) and while it was very chocolaty, I found it no better than my go to chocolate cake( Black Magic by Hershey's).  I frosted with a sour cream ganache and used some cherry butter in between the layers.

    I made this cake last night (this time mixing the butter with the other wet ingredients), and found it a little dry as well. I think I may have overbaked it, though - I kept doing the toothpick test, and getting crumbs on the tester. It was springing back fine, though. How do y'all gauge done-ness for this one?

  6. The dreamist chewy chocolate cookie I've ever eaten was actually at Sen5es bakery in Vancouver. I think I waxed philosophical on them last year, in fact. They used to be called Valrhona chocolate cookies, but now they're called Cacoa Barry chocolate cookies. They are soft, dense, chewy, dark and luscious. They have chocolate chips in them, too. I've tried a million recipes trying to get to where they've gotten, and have been failing - I did Julia's version, Fran's, and a few others. Maybe I should try those sliders....

  7. I don't think folks from NYC are going to want to to the burbs of Wallingford or Northgate, so I'd stick with Saito's is the place.  You can tell them Ichiro eats thers.

    (BTW There needs to be sushi bar with an excellent view of the sound.)

    I concur; downtown Saito's is best. If they don't mind the drive, I think they'd like Nishino a lot, although if you're going for a view, Sanmi is great and I think better than Nishino and Saito.

  8. I've seen some recipes that call for bread flour for CC cookies (like Alton Brown's "Chewy CC" recipe). I imagine the higher amount of gluten may add to the chewiness?  Shortbread, on the other hand, should be tender, which is why I reduce the gluten by cutting the AP flour with cornstarch.

    For shortbread, I use a combination of all purpose and rice flour. 75% AP to 25%rice. I've used volume as well as weight measurement with no appreciable difference. I've tried it with white rice flour and brown rice flour (usually Bob's Red Mill) and both are good. I love the texture from the rice flour. I first learned about this combo in a Craig Claiborne column, NY Times, sometime in the 1970s. I still have the clipping someplace in one of my piles of papers... :hmmm:

    Yeah, I use bread flour for my chocolate chip cookies as well, per Alton's suggestion. I also use rice flour for my shortbread (I buy it from Trader Joe's or from the Asian supermarket very readily). Got the rice flour suggestion from Marian Burros' Comfort Food Cookbook.

  9. Hi Sarah - I've subbed pastry flour and golden baker's sugar in many cake recipes with very subtle changes to the results prior to this recipe, and I honestly don't think the use of golden baker's sugar would affect the texture of this cake much. I usually use superfine bleached sugar for all my baking, but am switching to the golden version (superfine as well) per Rose Levy Berenbaum's recommendations to enhance flavor. I've also subbed pastry flour for AP successfully when I want a lighter texture to my cakes, which is why I did it in this recipe. What I'm surprised about is that I had what seems to be similar results to Gleep, who I assume followed your instructions and ingredients as instructed. It's possible that the texture that everyone is raving about is what I've achieved - it may just be different than what I expected. I'm looking for the flavor of pound cake with white cake texture, and that's what I thought this recipe would be - and maybe that's what Gleep's recipe will be for me.

    Day two of the cupcakes - smoother in flavor and texture, very buttery, dense, but still a little reminiscent of cornbread. It isn't as dense as pound cake - has a more open crumb. Not too sweet.

  10. For light whipped chocolate ganache, use 8 oz bittersweet chocolate and 2 cups of heavy cream to make a standard ganache.  Chill the ganache, either in the fridge or in an ice water bath, stirring every so often.  Don't let the mixture get too cold to incorporate air.  Add 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until soft peaks form -- it will continue to thicken after a few moments at room temp.

    Just did this ganache last night with Cacao Barry Orange Milk Chocolate and a little Guittard semisweet. Lovely! But I'm confused about the third sentence - "don't let the mixture get too cold to incorporate air"? Does this mean we shouldn't stir it while it is cooling?

  11. Sarah's cake was easy to put together but it didn't seem to have the flavor and texture that I'm looking for. Several tasters noted on their sheets that the flavor reminded them of corn bread. One taster also thought the texture was reminiscent of corn bread.

    I did Sarah's cake last night as cupcakes, and they turned out similar to corn bread as well. They were dense, there was a tender but solid crumb, but somehow they didn't taste much like cake. I'm wondering if I did something wrong. The only differences I can see in my recipe is that I used golden baker's sugar, and a subbed one cup of pastry flour for the AP. When I was scooping them into the papers, the scoops were solid but fluffy. As cupcakes, they were done in 25 minutes. They firmed up a bit overnight. I frosted them with an orange/milk chocolate (Cacoa Barry, excellent!) ganache, which paired with the cake wonderfully, but I wasn't achieving the texture that I wanted. I'll be trying Gleep's recipe next (although it does look mightily rich!) - is the cupcake format maybe not working for this recipe?

  12. I made these back when the article came out and was actually disappointed.

    I think I will go back and give it another try they were really easy.

    Yeah, I made these when the recipe just came out and was also not impressed (especially with the cream cheese frosting, although I used reconstituted powdered buttermilk instead of fresh). Torakris, let me know how your re-done ones come out.

  13. I have a toffee bar recipe that's just brown sugar, butter, flour, bp, soda, choco chips and pecans. You bake the first 5 ingredients as a shortbread base, then melt the chocolate over it and sprinkle with pecans. The cookie base may be what you're looking for - it has like 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar, or something like that. I'll see if I can dig it up.

    If you do end up using it, make sure you use salted butter, or even add a little more salt to it to balance the sweetness. These were very rich.

  14. I've also been looking for an apprentice type position in a restaurant or bakery, but the qualifications always ask for either previous experience or schooling.

    Find a good bakery/restaurant in your area and BEG to help in the kitchen. This is advice I was given before going to chef school and I should've heeded it.

    And there is so much great information to read here, wonderful talented bakers and pastry chefs to consult for advice, and many wonderful books on baking to study.

    Good luck. Pastry is a wonderful thing.


    This is what I did when I wanted to try out the pastry world. I sent my resume (with work experience only in non-profit fundraising) to two places I wanted to work, with my cover letter stating I was willing to volunteer to learn the craft. I got called a month later by one of the places, a nationally known and awarded chocolatier, to come and do production assistance for $8 an hour to start because they had to hire me so that I would sign the non-disclosure agreement. Turns out someone in their kitchen was pregnant and not coming back at the last minute, and they needed a replacement ASAP. I worked there for a year before I realized that the pay rate wasn't enough to survive here in Seattle. But it was great while it lasted, although I can't eat 90% of the chocolate out there anymore because my standards are now higher ;).

    One thing I will say - there are days when there are no stresses and you walk into a room full of chocolate and all is right with the world. And there are days where it's downright boring - production for any pastry firm is repetitive work, with sometimes not a lot of room for creativity. And there's the lack of money - I had to hold another job at the same time to keep that pastry job, and that became too hard on my family. And then there's the caramel burns, and slipping on the freezer floors, and washing your hands until their raw, and the hours on your feet, and getting up too darned early in the morning. But I loved the work, and I plan to go back to it when I can afford to open my own shop. I would recommend testing it out to see if you love it, because you won't know until you try, and maybe sending your resume out to small bakeries where you can do front of the shop work and get tips (especially if you barista) but also get training to do pastry work on the side. Good luck!

  15. ^I'm just guessing here, but if the butter coats the flour, and the interior "ball" is just pure flour, you'd get the odd little white, hard lump in your cake.  :sad:

    Yes, I concur. The cake baked with little white lumps throughout. While you may resist developing gluten by adding the butter to the flour as suggested, you may also face other unpleasant results. I'm sticking with the butter added at the cocoa/chocolate/coffee stage - pray that I'll get better results next time. .

    On the other hand, I'm very happy to report that the caramel ganache was both easier to make and tastier than I imagined. I ended up not using the 3 sticks of butter at the end, and poured it on as a caramel glaze on the chocolate bundt cake. Some ended up on my hand, and some bananas, and some popcorn, which all ended up in my mouth. Man, is that stuff good. Thank you once again, Sandra - I'm adding this recipe to my regular frosting rotation.

  16. I gave my modfied recipe to one of my coworkers who teaches a pastry class at a local community college. She had her students make the recipe and reported that everyone loved the cake. She also said there was quite a bit of difference in the texture of the baked cake when a student whipped the eggs to a good foam before adding the dry ingredients. When the eggs weren't whipped the mix had to be whisked longer and more vigorously after adding the dry ingredients to remove the lumps - this tended to make the cake heavier with a denser crumb. Both versions were good, just different.

    I just came across another interesting cake-mixing method variable. Pam Anderson (of CI fame) on her all-purpose chocolate cake in her book CookSmart (she also uses sour cream, btw):

    "When I stirred the melted butter into the cocoa-water mixture, then beat the wet into the dry ingredients, the cake was coarsely textured and slightly tough. But when I beat the melted butter into the flour mixture first, before adding the cocoa-water mixture, the difference was dramatic. The cake's texture was perfect ... By coating the flour mixture with butterfat, I had prevented gluten development."

    This might prevent the heavier, denser crumb problem some of those students encountered.

    So I tried mixing the melted butter with the flour, and boy did I get some weird lumps. Are there supposed to be lumps? Do they go away as the cake bakes (which I truly hope, as the lumpy cake sits in the oven)?.

  17. Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed that brown sugar is up to $4 a lb at the supermarket. And dark brown sugar isn't even dark brown anymore, unless it's Billington's - do a color comparison between C&H's dark brown and golden brown, and there's honestly a very subtle difference between the two. Wish I could buy Billington's in bulk....

  18. I don't know if this is the same honey cake that people are talking about in this thread, but I recently tried some Russian honey cake this week.  It was in several thin layers, with a sour cream frosting.  Very tasty.  Anyone had something like it?

    Was this it?

    The honeycake this thread refers to is more of a loaf cake, or even a bundt honeycake, with no filling.

    That is it! Thank you for pulling that up, and sorry for the confusion on my part. Although, now I'm curious to try this honey loaf cake!

  • Create New...