Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I did the necessary greasing of a 9 x 13 pan , but the cake still stuck a tiny bit so I recommend going the grease and parchment paper route, just to ensure it doesn’t stick.
There are quite a few photos missing from this baking escapade, as some of our friends came over and distracted my photographer[Emma: I am a social butterfly, what can I say?].
Basically though, you:
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Separate the eggs.
Beat ¾ cup sugar and the egg yolks on high until they turn a light, pale, yellow. Then add the vanilla and milk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and combine gently
Beat the egg whites with the rest of the sugar on high (in a clean, dry bowl) until they reach hard peaks, but make sure not to over beat them and let them get dry
Then fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. I winged this a bit. I think you are supposed to do that thing where you add a bit of the mix to the egg whites and combine that before you add all the egg white into the rest of the mix. I also, maybe got a bit distracted by *someone* talking to me and stirred more than I should have. But it was fine anyway.
Pour it into the greased (and parchmented) pan, making sure the batter is evenly spread.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Then turn the cake out onto a rimmed dish (or in my case a jelly roll pan) and allow it to cool. This also takes place after Em had left and I was taking photos. I’m not sure why there is that dented in bit. And I’m not here to assign blame.
Once it is cool, use a fork to poke holes in the cake. I poked a lot of holes, but I suppose you can do as many as you like.
Then combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk.
And stir to mix them all together. It makes about three cups of milk but you only need to use two to get the cake properly saturated.
Then pour the milk over your cake slowly, making sure to get the edges (I poked a bunch of holes around the edges to make sure it would hold the milk).
Let the cake absorb the milk for at least half an hour before you ice it. Icing it? Frost it? I just made a simple whipped cream to icing it. One cup of heavy cream and 1.5 teaspoons of sugar, beat together on high in an electric mixer. Sorry there are no photos of this step either. But I trust you can imagine it as well as I can illustrate it.
Then icing the cake. I don’t think PW covered the edges of her cake. But I covered mine because I like it that way.
My mom asked for a rustic, swirly, look on the top. I didn’t really comply because I like smooth cakes [Emma: does this remind anyone else of Martha Stewart? Just a little? I once saw her snatch a craft away from someone for not glittering it properly]. It ended up somewhere in the middle.
And then you cut a piece and eat it! I suppose you could top it with something, PW uses maraschino cherries, but I think they are gross so I left the cake plain. And it was just as good.
Thank you for your time and patience, and extensive use of your imagination[Emma: And thank you Tracie for being my very first (and most likely only) guest blogger!].
Friday, March 19, 2010
Guest Blogger! Say what?! I honestly have no idea why I just typed that, it isn’t a phrase that frequents my everyday vocabulary. But hey, I’ve adopted a “type it and it stays” approach to this entry. Which is a way to say, basically, I’m sorry in advance. I am typing this blind, ps, not in the sense that my eyes are shut, but in the sense that I am writing it without any idea as to what, if any, introduction Em has written about me. Go ahead and assume none of it is true [Emma: you should not tell lies to these lovely people, I only tell the truth] (unless she is raving about me, because then it is true. Fact)
Anyways, I came home the weekend of the 12th for a mini-spring break. Because, it turns out, being in graduate school and having a non-paying internship that you are still required to go to really cuts into your loafing-about-at-home-and-not-
If my internal ramblings haven’t lost you yet, dear reader, let’s get to the baking and the pictures of the baking. On Friday after being poked with a sharp needle to determine that I’m not dying, I started baking in early afternoon. Of course, I called my hetero life-mate Emma-Pants to the scene to help. And by “help” I really mean take pictures and catch me up on gossip. Emma and I have a track record of baking things together that end up going disastrously wrong. [Emma: there once was a strawberry rhubarb pie which resembled something that had already been eaten, if you catch my drift I hear it was tasty but couldn't make myself try it] Which is a source of amusement for us because we are both capable cooks, but we can’t seem to make anything together. (Side note: Word’s grammar check suggested I use “record of accomplishment” instead of track record. This amuses me to no end) BUT! These two delightful creations turning out perfectly mark a turning point (I hope).
The first recipe I made was Smitten Kitchen’s St Louis Gooey Butter Cake, instructions to be found here. SK adopted it from an article in the New York Times who adopted it from a person at the Park Slope Farmer’s Market. It’s pretty much deliciousness in a buttery vanilla-y square[Emma: it's true, I ate one and it was soooo tasty]. They look sorta like lemon bars and have an internal consistency slightly reminiscent of those molten lava cake things. But it’s got more structure because of the yeast dough base. And that base is topped with a yummy oh-so-healthy combination of butter, vanilla, sugar, and corn syrup.
I used a ceramic dish that was slightly smaller than the 9 x 13 dish I was supposed to use, so my cake was a bit taller, and in retrospect, I should have let it bake a little longer because I think it should have been slightly firmer. Also in retrospect, I should have greased the sides of the dish more --my topping stuck in a few places.
This is me, by-the-by. In my adorable T apron. I apologize for the look on my face, I was talking while this was being taken.
The cast of characters for both the dough and the topping. I need you to imagine an extra egg and some butter here.
I added yeast to milk and warm water and whisked it until it combined and foamed a little. There probably would have been more foam if I had used fresher yeast. At first, I tried to mix this up with the baby spoon seen on the right. That was pretty much an epic fail and so I switched to a more reliable method: a fork.
Then I combined butter, sugar, and salt in my mixer and creamed them together. Notice my awesome paddle with scraper already attached[Emma: it is quite loud though]. My mom got it for Christmas. It’s pretty much awesome (like her).
In went the egg and then I began alternately adding the flour and milk/water/yeast mixture. Then we kept mindlessly beating it for a few minutes until I double-checked the recipe and SK said to switch to a dough hook. We did and the dough did indeed form a ball that pulled away from the sides slightly.
Then we put the dough in the dish and smushed it about until it reached the edges. Next we covered it in plastic wrap and let it sit for the recommended 2.5-3 hours so it could double in size. In the mean time, we made the other recipe[Emma: stay tuned for the other recipe, I should post it in the not too distant future]. Side note: my dough was not rising, which I found most distressing. Turns out, the kitchen was too cold for it to rise properly, so I stuck it in a warm oven and it rose nicely. Important lesson: when a recipe says to sit something in a warm place for it rise, don’t assume your kitchen with all the lights on and a bunch of people in it is necessarily warm enough [Emma: it's still much warmer than my house, which despite our new magical energy star windows still kind of feels like the inside of a fridge].
While I was preheating the oven, I made the topping. I mixed corn syrup, water, and vanilla together in a bowl. Why yes, that is a stackable bowl from Ikea in a festive red shade. Also, notice my adorable tiny whisk. I love this whisk a lot. And I love being able to legitimately use it without being inconvenienced by its tiny size. It was perfect for this job.
Then I creamed more butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. There was also an addition of an egg, that once again you don’t get to witness. It’s a violent act. I added the corn syrup/vanilla/water mix and the flour. By this time, Emma and her camera had tragically abandoned me to go home [Emma: I am super fabulous and crazy busy, duh], so I started taking the photos myself using my dad’s camera. (Thanks Daddy!)
This is the cake after it rose but before I figured out how to turn the flash on manually. Honestly, I didn’t figure it out and had to turn off the lights in the kitchen to get a balanced shot.
Anyway, you dollop the topping on (and it bothered me that my dollops weren’t symmetrical, they kept sinking towards the center) And then you spread the topping out evenly over the cake using an offset spatula. Maybe you should grease this a little too, because when it touched the cake dough, it would stick a bit and the grease would make it glide smoother.