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  1. Foods, and also smells! When sense memory kicks in hard, it's like time travel. Last week, someone passed me on the street wearing patchouli oil, and one whiff instantly evoked my teenage self who, in the East Village in 1970, was agonizingly and unrequitedly in love with someone who wore it. (Patchouli was a popular once. Don't judge me!) My "Proustian" foods are the foods of my New Orleans childhood: gumbo, red beans and rice, and bread pudding with whiskey sauce. (Someone should start a thread about Proustian foods.) I had to look up chokeberries, which we apparently have in the USA. Don't think I've ever tasted one. Happy Birthday to the lucky birthday person!
  2. Dear CatPoet, Thank you for taking the time to post so many of your wonderful recipes. Emboldened by this thread, I'm 100% confident that I will be able to crank out a few excellent cakes. That's terrible! I'd be inconsolable if I had to give up marmalade. Wouldn't have thought to use it as a cake filling, but it's a fantastic idea. When I try it, I will think of you. Thank you again for all your support! Brooks
  3. Thanks for your kind post, Stuart. I'm not a particularly optimistic soul by nature, so credit for the upbeat tone of this thread goes to all the generous folks who chimed in with recipes and words of encouragement. (Am delighted to have Saint Honore in my corner as well!)
  4. You've all been so kind to me. HA, cakewalk! Between trifle and whisky balls, baking a cake suddenly seems like a no-lose proposition. I plan to follow your excellent advice, Tri2Cook. And I wouldn't deviate from a proven recipe first time out. I know enough to know that pastry is exacting in a way that, say, yeast breads (which, believe it or not, I baked successfully for years) aren't. JeanneCake, you're an angel. Thank you for downsizing that recipe. Your tips about carrot prep, draining the pineapple, and plumping the raisins are invaluable. (The chefs' original recipe didn't mention those steps. Maybe they assumed I'd know these things.) CatPoet, the sponge cake looks great, and — for a cake — not too unhealthy. (I appreciate that.) Knowing that it comes from a cookbook for three-year-olds puts a fire in my belly. I'm a proud man, and refuse to be out-baked by Swedish toddlers. Again, sincere thanks to all of you for your kindhearted support. B.
  5. There, now. That's just the sort the thing I need to be aware of! Thanks, Maedl. Now we're talkin'. As a son of the South, I'll probably go with bourbon. (Although a single malt Scotch sounds awfully good!) Nothing so noble, Linda. With the brevity of life hitting home, I'm taking stock of projects I swore I'd get around to "one day" (which — as we know — never comes to chronic lollygaggers). Among those projects is baking a cake. Digging through decades of recipes saved but never made, I unearthed recipes for two cakes I enjoyed once upon a time. With no ambition other than to revisit old pleasures, I thought, if not now, when? Have added Maida Heatter to my Amazon Wish List, Linda, and thanks. And I've definitely decided not to make a cake the size of Stonehenge. (If I had a lick of sense, I'd tackle trifle instead of cake, since the only way to screw up trifle is to drop it on the floor.)
  6. CatPoet, thanks so much for the fantastic-looking Rum and whisky Ball recipes! Am guessing that "whisky," in Sweden, refers to Scotch whisky, not bourbon whisky. Correct? Can't wait to give these a shot! Appreciate the moral support, Tri2Cook. The fact that I'm NOT a confident cook may be the best argument for doing a little reading before tackling a three-layer cake the size of a child's swimming pool. (Actually, I've decided to nix the swimming pool favor of something smaller. It'll be easier to manage in every way.) In response to Maedl's question, I could NOT fit three 12" layers in my Easy-Bake Oven. I'd have to bake 'em in three shifts, which sounds kinda crazy, right? Also, since the majority of recipes are for smaller cakes, it makes no sense to buy 12" cake pans. Thanks for the link to the pumpkin cake, Maedl. Looks excellent. I'll check out hummingbird cake, too, since I'm a pineapple fan. (In fact, it was the pineapple in that big carrot cake that really sold me on it.) Again, great thanks again to all of you for your help and patience. B.
  7. Thanks, CatPoet. No rush, but I would be interested in your Swedish recipes.
  8. Whiskey balls! Haven't thought about 'em in years. My grandmother made them every Christmas, and half a century ago(!) I made a batch to send to the troops in Vietnam -- my boozy contribution to the eighth grade Christmas project. Great idea, CatPoet. The standard recipe calls for cookie crumbs. If substituting cake crumbs, would I want to dry them in a slow oven?
  9. To all who offered gentle counsel here, thanks for saving me from myself. Enthusiasm, in my case, often trumps common sense. Launching the cake project with a carrot cake the size of a manhole cover was a dumb idea. When the cake failed (as it surely would have), I'd have said: "If at first you don't succeed, to hell with it," and donated the cake pans to Goodwill. I've added The Cake Bible to my Amazon Wish List. Thanks for the recommendation. (In lieu of my giant carrot cake, I'll try Ms. Beranbaum's version instead. Thanks Sylvia.) Having come to my senses, Maedl, I agree with you that the carrot cake recipe isn't detailed enough for a beginner. I like your muffin idea, and thanks. If you try those recipes, manjudhanda, good luck!
  10. Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. Greatly, greatly appreciated. JeanneCake, as requested, I've posted the recipes here and here. I've copied the recipes verbatim, and am sorry that neither recipe is as detailed as one would hope. Although, lack of detail is what brings me here today. Halving the carrot cake recipe sounds like the way to go. Years ago, I considered that option myself, but chickened out when I came across a recipe for commercial macaroons that had been scaled down for the home baker. The cookbook authors mentioned having to tweak, re-tweak, and triple-tweak the commercial recipe so that the home macaroons resembled the bakery macaroons. It wasn't as simple, in other words, as dividing the commercial recipe by 36. (Cutting my carrot cake recipe in half would probably be simpler.) Appreciate the 10-inch tube-pan recommendation! Pastrygirl, thanks for the excellent "doneness" tips. I don't have a convection oven. What I have — which doesn't bode well, but let's not wallow in defeat just yet — is a lilliputian 1944 New York City apartment stove. If it were two inches smaller on any side, you could fit it into Barbie's Dream House™. (Is there a Rosie the Riveter Barbie?) Also, the calibration is WAY off, so I'm at the mercy of oven thermometers. Wish me luck! Tri2cook: "HA!" to "Brooks was here." I may have to change my avatar! Cakewalk, making a basic cake is exactly what I should do. Not only that, but I should buy myself a good cake cookbook, with the hows and whys clearly and thoroughly spelled out. Again, thank you all for taking the time to help me. B.
  11. This recipe, scribbled down for me thirty-five years ago by a professional husband/wife chef team, makes a HEAP BIG restaurant-size cake. Three 12" layers. Did the Walkers serve it as a single-layer cake, or a triple-layer cake? I've forgotten. I only remember that it was insanely great. As in, "Shoot me, because the rest of my life will be an anticlimax after eating this cake." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - CARROT CAKE Tom and Pina Walker Grease and flour three (3) 12-inch pans Preheat oven to 350 BLEND: 5 cups oil 4 cups whole eggs 15 cups shredded carrots ADD & BLEND: 5 teaspoons vanilla extract 5 cups crushed pineapple 4 cups raisins COMBINE: 10 cups all-purpose flour 10 cups sugar 10 teaspoons baking soda 10 teaspoons cinnamon 7 teaspoons salt Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Pour into three (3) greased and floured 12-inch pans. Bake for (???) The recipe doesn't say, so you're on your own. Wahhhh! Cool before icing. ICING: 40 ounces cream cheese 20 ounces butter 5 teaspoons vanilla 5 teaspoons lemon juice 24 ounces confectioner's sugar (The ink faded. Does 24 ounces sound right? If not, sweeten to taste.)
  12. This tasty apple cake, courtesy of the late Great Aunt Fanny's restaurant on West 46th Street in NYC, was a gift to the restaurant from actress Jane Powell. When enough customers requested the recipe, the restaurant printed it out on cards, and presented it with the check. I've yet to make it at home. The recipe, as given, strikes me as fuzzy on details, but then, I'm not (understatement!) an experienced baker. eGulleteers who know from cakes will know how to combine ingredients for best results. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Jane Powell's Apple Nut Cake Preheat oven to 350 Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup walnut pieces 16-20 ounces sliced apples (or canned apple pie filling) 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon salt Mix ingredients by hand, or at very low speed in electric mixer. Pour into greased tube pan (see note), and bake for 1 hour. Cool cake before frosting. Frosting 4 ounces cream cheese 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar 2 tablespoons milk Cinnamon (if desired) to taste NOTE: Size of tube pan not specified in the recipe, although a helpful friend on eGullet thought that a 10" tube pan would do fine. Don't know if the restaurant used fresh apples or canned apple pie filling. Given the whopping two cups of sugar called for, I'd probably go for fresh apples, but that's me.
  13. Hiya, folks. Ere I shuffle off this mortal coil (not too soon, I hope), I'd like to try my hand at a couple of cake recipes that have languished in my recipe box for decades. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have never baked a cake in my life. Both recipes take for granted that the baker knows his or her way around a baking pan, which, as stated above, I do not. So I wonder if you whiz kids could help an old man fill in some missing details? I'd be most grateful for your help. Recipe #1 is a mammoth recipe for carrot cake, scribbled down on notebook paper by a couple of restaurant chefs. The layers bake in 3 (three!) 12-inch cake pans in a 350-degree oven, but the recipe doesn't say for how long. When would you begin testing a 12-inch cake layer for doneness? Should a cake tester inserted in a carrot cake come out clean? Or should it emerge with a "few moist crumbs attached"? Recipe #2 comes from Great Aunt Fanny's, a long-defunct restaurant in NYC's Theater District. Their recipe for "Jane Powell's Apple Nut Cake" was donated by Ms. Powell herself, and handed out to customers on printed cards. The cake, which bakes for one hour at 350, calls for a tube pan, although the size of the pan is not specified. Amazon sells 9 and 10-inch tube pans. Since I will buy only one tube pan in my life, would a 10-inch be the safest bet? I realize you can only "guesstimate" these things, but your guesstimates are guaranteed to be 99.9% better than mine. Kind thanks for your help! Brooks
  14. Just the person I was hoping would stop by today! As always, thanks for your expert help, Laura. Can't speak for the other outposts of Harry's Bar. The original in Venice used to be fun, and the food was good enough that I still remember this risotto 30 years later. Recent reviews of Harry's have been meh. A shame. Nothing beats having Venice outside the window, but am hoping this recipe conjures a bit of the old Lagoon magic. Thanks again!
  15. Many decades ago, I had a Risotto Primavera at Harry's Bar in Venice that was so good I've never forgotten it. Googling turned up the following: ========================================= Risotto Primavera Harry's Bar Serves 6 THE VEGETABLES 1 clove of garlic 4 oz (115 g) mushroom heads thinly sliced 3 small artichokes cleaned and sliced 2 small zucchini cut into small cubes 6 asparagus cut into ¾ inch strips ¼ red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces 1 small spring onion (only the white part -- about 1 inch, diced) 1 TB diced onion 1 TB olive oil Salt and pepper THE RISOTTO 10 oz. (250 g) Arborio Superfino rice 2 quarts chicken broth 1½ cups white wine (an Old World Chardonnay) 1 small onion (sliced and diced) 4 TB (45 g) butter 3 oz. (80 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper PREPARE THE VEGETABLES Mince the garlic. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Remove the garlic and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until they have lost their liquid. Add the artichokes. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the diced onion and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, the asparagus, the bell pepper and the spring onion. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Set aside the vegetable mix. MAKE THE RISOTTO Melt 3 TB butter in a heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion to the pot and sweat the onions until transparent. Add the rice. Stir the rice into the butter and onions coating the rice for about 1 minute. Pour the wine into the rice and stir quickly for 1 minute. Add 1 ladle of broth. When the broth begins to boil check the timer. It will now take 22 minutes to cook the rice. As the broth evaporates add another ladle of broth. Stir constantly the rice. Continue until the 15 minutes has passed. Add the vegetable mixture and cook everything for an additional 7 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining 1 TB of butter and the Parmesan cheese. Let rice sit for 1 minute. Serve hot in individual plates. ========================================= I understand that pressure cooking reduces the recommended 22-minute cooking time to 6 or 7 minutes. I also realize that risotto in a pressure cooker requires less liquid, but my math skills are horrendous. If any resident pressure cooker experts could tweak the broth / wine quantities shown above, I'd be most grateful. Thanks very much!
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