Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Recommended Posts

we're all used to the Wednesday/Sunday food sections of newspapers far and wide, national and local. I see corrections in the local or regional columns when called for, but there's never a way to critique the ones published on a national scale because the content is behind a paywall. I get the WSJ, but don't want to pay additional (I should get access to it all on line for free-the newspaper is not cheap) for their online edition. Very frustrating to try a recipe and have major problems with it and not be able to point out some serious issues. Specifically, the WSJ published a recipe from Dee Retalli, a pastry chef in London who's recipe is in the cookbook 'Rustic' by Jorge Fernandez and Rich Wells. 

I have made this cake 3 times.

First time was a total runover disaster, which I should have foreseen. This cakes calls for a 10" springform or if you don't have that, a 10" cast iron skillet. I went for the latter because that is what I had. Almond mixtures tend to really smoke when they run over, just so you know.

Tried again later with a deeper than normal 9 " springform. Happened again. Think it has to do with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder and quick activation in a 350º oven.

Invested in a 10" springform for '3rd times a charm' try. I was successful, but not because I followed the directions, rather I became a little obsessed with making this work. Checked my oven, followed with the recipe and eyed it warily. It came up to the brim...and stayed. 45 minutes later it was supposed to be done but while it was beautiful, it was a bowl of jello in the center. It was also browning at an alarming rate- the almond flour again? So I placed a sheet of tinfoil over it (beautiful top crust) and turned the oven down to 325º and carefully watched and tested for almost another hour. That's a big time difference. 

I found the recipe on cooked.com - credited to the above authors and cookbook albeit in Euro style measures and temps. All seems the same, so what are the odds that the recipe was misprinted twice from 2 different media?

All I can think of is somewhere down the line (in the cookbook itself?) the cook time and temp were off. The time on both reads 45 min. The recipe took at least 1hr and 45 minutes. methinks someone left out the hour...

The temp. thing is a little more obvious. Celcius to farenheight 350ºF does not equal 180ºC, more like 176ºC. Over almost 2 hours, I think that could make the difference between cooked and burnt? Sooo, I turned it down when I saw how fast it was browning to 325.

The cake stays in form while you pour the honey over it, then orange water, then 2(!!!) cups of sliced toasted almonds. I put 1 cup and there is no way another cup would have stayed on that cake. I cup settled up to almost an inch on a 10" cake...

Has anyone else tried this recipe or have the cookbook? It's a wonderful cake if you correct the time and temp., But I'd be really curious to see if anyone followed it exactly as written with success?

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the original yield is off.  If a pound of butter, 8 eggs, 4 cups of flour, etc  makes a 10" cake, it must be 4" tall!  I've been working on a wedding cake, and similar amounts of my vanilla cake have made two  9" x  2" round layers or one shorter 14" round.  Maybe in the restaurant it was baked as a half sheet and a little thinner, with more surface area for the almonds on top.

 

I agree that 2 TB of baking powder seems excessive, I stick with roughly 1 tsp per cup of flour.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I do have access to the WSJ and there are 12 comments on the recipe, all reporting the same or similar issue.  Editing to say that after I re-read the comments, there were a few unrelated to that issue, so most but not all of them had problems.

 

Quote

Vesuvius made a smaller mess in Naples than this made in my oven.

 

Quote

I used a 10 inch Lodge iron skillet, and after about fifteen minutes in the oven, I started smelling something burning.  The batter had risen over the top of the skillet and splattered onto the floor of the oven.  I took it out, transferred the batter into a larger pan, and everything came out fine.  

 

 


Edited by blue_dolphin to clarify that not all the WSJ article comments had the same issue (log)
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the digital edition of the NYT.  I made a comment once on a recipe to the effect that no one seemed to address the fact that the recipe didn't work as evidenced by the number of negative comments.  I got an email some days later saying they would not print my comment.  Neither did they address the fault with the recipe.

  • Like 1
  • Confused 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So good to know that it wasn't just me, thanks for that-

I would definitely share my experience with WSJ, if allowed access- if just for other's education. I take it that no-one has corrected it on line either? even with all the comments? Sounds like lazy editing. 

On the bright side, now we know how to make it without the mess!

 

Did they mention the excessive amount of almonds?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, highchef said:

Did they mention the excessive amount of almonds?

 

No mention of excessive almonds.   I'll put a link here to the WSJ version of the recipe.   After clicking through the advert to subscribe, it let me view the recipe and comments without logging in. 

This Honey Cake Tastes Trickier Than It Is

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you! It shut me out when I tried the recipe the first time and was looking on line...that was last year? but the taste made me want to do it right, so I carried on.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Lisa Shock
      The basic formula for these cakes was developed by the wife of a mayonnaise salesman in an effort to help him out. I did a bit of research, and have found many variations. Early variants generally involve using less cocoa, which I cannot recommend. Later variants involve using cold water instead of boiling, adding salt, and additional leaveners. I personally do not feel that any additional salt is needed, as mayonnaise and that famous, tangy brand of salad dressing (sometimes the label just says 'Dressing') both contain a fair amount of salt. If you are using homemade mayonnaise or a low sodium product, an eighth teaspoon of salt may boost the flavor a bit. And, of course, somewhere along the way fans who prefer a certain salad dressing over mayonnaise started using it to make this cake. Nowadays, the Hellman's website has a different formula -one with added eggs and baking powder. I have not tried this newer formulation.
       
      Some versions of this recipe specify sifted cake flour. This will result in a very light cake with virtually no structural integrity, due to the paucity of eggs in this recipe compared to a regular cake. Cupcakes made this way give beautifully light results. However, every time I try to make a traditional 8" double layer cake with cake flour, I experience collapse. I recommend AP flour or at least a mix of cake and pastry flour.
       
      I have never made this with a gluten-free flour replacer. This recipe does not have very much structural integrity and as such does not make a good candidate for a gluten-free cake.
       
      I have made this cake many times, the type of sandwich spread you choose will affect the outcome. Made with mayonnaise, the cake has a good chocolate flavor and moistness. Made with that famous, tangy, off-white salad dressing that gets used as a sandwich spread, the cake has a subtle bit of extra brightness to the flavor. If one chooses to use a vegan mayonnaise, the result is tasty but lacking a little in structure; I would bake this in a square pan and frost and serve from the pan.
       
      The cocoa you use will also affect the flavor.  For a classic, homey flavor use a supermarket brand of cocoa. To add a little sophistication, use better, artisan type cocoa and use chocolate extract instead of the vanilla extract.
       
      Supposedly, the traditional frosting for this cake should have a caramel flavor. Look for one where you actually caramelize some sugar first. Modern recipes for the icing seem like weak imitations to me; using brown sugar as the main flavor instead of true caramel.
       
      Chocolate Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing Cake
      makes enough for two 8" round pans, or a 9" square (about 7 cups of batter)
       
      2 ounces/56g unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa
      1 cup/236g boiling water
      1 teaspoon/4g regular strength vanilla extract
      3/4 cup/162g mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or salad dressing (the tangy, off-white, sandwich spread type dressing)
      10.5ounces/300g all-purpose flour
      7 ounces/200g sugar
      0.35ounce/10g baking soda
       
      Preheat your oven to 350°.
      Grease or spray two 8" round pans or an equivalent volume square or rectangle.
      Place the cocoa in a medium (4-5 cup) bowl. Add the hot water and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Allow to cool down a little,  then add the vanilla extract and the mayonnaise or salad dressing spread. Beat well to eliminate lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer or larger regular bowl if making by hand, sift in the flour and add the sugar and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients to distribute evenly. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter has an even color. Pour immediately into the pans. If making two 8" rounds, weigh them to ensure they contain equal amounts.
      Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the center of the top springs back when touched lightly. (The toothpick test does NOT work well on this moist cake!) Allow the cake to cool a little and shrink from the sides of the pan before removing. Removal is easier while still a little warm.
      Good with or without frosting.
      Good beginner cake for kids to make.
       
       
       
    • By Darienne
      The subject heading says it all.  Today is my birthday and as usual I am making my cake.  Sunday is Ed's birthday and so at this point, we are sharing this cake.  And, of course, I have made cakes for our children, our parents, and all sorts of friends.  
       
      A dear friend dropped over this afternoon with a plate of brownies as a gift and on her birthday, I always make her a new version of a peanut butter and chocolate pie.  
       
      Imagine a wonderful cake bought from a terrific bakery...I don't think we have any terrific bakeries in the small city near us.  We lived in it for 25 years and now 23 years outside it, and I sure don't remember any good bakeries.  Or imagine having someone else make you a birthday cake.  Fair to boggles the mind.  
       
      Who makes your birthday cake?
    • By pastrygirl
      If so, what was it like?  Sounds similar to kouign-aman ... https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-44486529
       
       
    • By Longblades
      How much minute tapioca do you use to thicken pie fillings? I read through every one of the rhubarb pie posts and no, the recommended amount is NOT on the box I just purchased.
      I will be making rhubarb pie but also apple, sour cherry, raspberry and blueberry later in the season. I will freeze most of the pies, unbaked, but would appreciate knowing what amounts you use for immediate baking as well. Also, I will be using tinfoil pie plates that say they are 10" but I think are really more like 9 inchers. They certainly do not hold anywhere near as much as my 10" pyrex pie plate.
      I tried tapicoa years and years ago and decided I preferred flour but my sister now has a gluten allergy so I'm going to try tapioca again. That way she can at least scrape out the filling and eat it. Can I just substitute equal amounts of minute tapioca for the flour?
      My method with the flour has been to mix it with the sugar and sprinkle some on the bottom crust, then a layer of fresh fruit. then a sprinkle of flour/sugar, with usually only two of three layers of fruit and finishing with a sprinkle of the flour/sugar. Can I do that with the tapioca?
      Oh, and strawberries in the rhubarb pie? No way, DH would kill me. Rhubarb is his favourite and he says strawberries contaminate a rhubarb pie.
    • By pastrygirl
      Cake construction question - I have a wedding cake order next month for about 175 people.  I think it's going to be 14" round, 12" round, double-height 9" round, and a separated 6" layer with her great-grandma's cake topper.
       
      My question is about the double-height layer.  Should I layer cake and filling as usual  but just make it super tall, or will whomever has to cut the thing appreciate it if there's a goo-free zone of cake-cardboard-cake in the middle so they can separate it into 2 x 9" cakes or more easily cut it?  I mean, I could make two regular layers with 5 layers of cake and 4 layers of filling, not frost the top of one and just stack the other on top, or I could make one giant cake with 10 layers of cake, 9 filling, and no cardboard in the middle.  I almost never have to cut cakes so I don't know if it matters but I thought I'd ask.  The filling will either be salty caramel or raspberry, and the icing will be meringue buttercream, not as sturdy to handle as a crusting icing or fondant.
       
      Or any other tips on giant wedding cakes?  Thanks!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×