three generations of heart and cake
For every family birthday as far back as photographic proof goes, a heart shaped cake was front and center for the celebration. My mother was a superb baker of many things but cake was not one of them. She never did master the art of a fluffy crumb.
The batter was beaten until it was standing on its own. Baked at the right temperature and time, it still came out raw in some spots and little chewy in others. Continue reading
Once upon a time I hated pineapple upside-down cake. It tasted and looked like Jiffy Mix met a can of sweetened pineapple, went out on a really bad date and fell into a deep dish, head first.
I’d forget after a while and make it again like it was something new and different. And I still didn’t like it. Even when I moved past Jiffy Mix to decent yellow cakes, fresh pineapple and caramelized sugar, it still lacked something. Mostly it reminded me of school lunch fare. Beige.
Still, I was hopeful that I might try just one more time (hope springs eternal or my brain is wired like Dilbert). And I’m glad not only that I did, but had the foresight to write it all out as I was making it up. Continue reading
Oh chiffon. How I love you. Some of you may have read my baking-wreck post, Fallen Angel, where I mentioned my beautiful disaster baking an angel cake. And where I learned the oh-so-not-so subtle difference between angel and chiffon cakes. Apparently I arrived tardy to home-ec class on angel v. chiffon day.
For almost, um, let’s say many years, I’ve wondered about those cakes my mother used to make that hung upside down to cool. They certainly weren’t as memorable as some of her other recipes and that’s undoubtedly because the chiffon cakes were for company consumption and not for greedy (hungry) children. The kids saw little of company cake.
But recently, a neighbor from the old childhood homestead mentioned my mother’s chiffon cake to me after we were reacquainted on Facebook. She was a young mom back then and apparently my mother would make her marble chiffon cakes to help bring about the birth of her babies when her due-date came and went. I’d almost forgotten those chiffon cakes until then. Sadly, she didn’t have the recipe. Continue reading
Jake’s Fudgy Pudding Cake
On our daughter’s first day of Suzuki music class she talked nonstop about getting her new violin. She skipped into class, dragging us by the hand. The teacher proudly presented the child with her first violin; a brand new 6-inch cigar box wrapped in wood-grain contact paper with a ruler sticking out of the end for the neck. The bow? A skinny little stick.
The child’s face was pinching into the look that happens right before she melts into tears. Oblivious, the teacher sealed the meltdown by giving her a cardboard circle with two feet drawn in marker – a diagram for her stand on to get into the correct form for playing the violin.
We traitors weren’t even worthy of her pitiful look anymore. Stifling a hiccup/sigh, she turned away and merely stared at the ground. Little tears fell on the floor. Continue reading
GF angel cake wreck; tunnel meets too much chocolate glaze
Like calculus, there are some things that defy staying cemented in my brain. Like the difference between chiffon and angel cake. I thought they were both of the sponge-ish variety and kind of the same – only different. If you want to read up on chiffon, Google a guy named Harry Baker. Seriously, that’s his name. He was the dude who developed the chiffon way back in the dark ages and guarded his top-dog secret ingredient until he met that siren called Betty Crocker. By the 1940s, chiffon was a cake that everyone was writing about.
The big obvious difference is that angel cake has no fat in it, just a boat-load of sugar. The chiffon has oil and yolks. Think hybrid – a sponge-ish cake that looks a lot like an angel cake, but has the flavor of a yellow cake.
Chiffon and angel were the dressy cakes in our house. Mom made those for parties, gifts, and Hadassah meetings or holidays. My mother taught me all kinds of baking, but never how to do the chiffon or an angel cake. Somehow I got the idea that they were complicated enough that I didn’t dare to try to make them. Continue reading
Posted in Baking Wrecks, Currently in the Gluten Free Canteen
Tagged baking, cake, cake wrecks, chiffon cake, chocolate, food, gluten free angel cake, gluten free cake, harry baker, ina garten
For every goody that makes it to the blog – recipe stage with a pretty little photo, there is a train wreck of casualties lined up behind it. No recipe ever gets to the blog without repetition and plenty of upgrades along the way. I thought you might enjoy some of the wrecks – kind of like a look into why I drink an awful lot some days (yes, kidding, sort of).
No one ever gets to gluten free pastry perfection without a boat-load of trial and errors. Some of those errors are worthy of eating and others more likely to be bulldozed into the trash. I’ve wasted my share of doughs, pounds of butter, eggs, and flours. Baking gluten free is not without its moments of humor. The flours, even if you know a lot of information about their properties, will still work in mysterious ways and sometimes just a little twist of how the ingredients are mixed makes all the difference in success or um, hideous baking wrecks.
I bring you the upside down cake. I thought it would über spiffy to use up some very ripe pears by inventing a gluten free ginger-pear upside down thingy in a bundt pan. How hard could that be? Continue reading