Thursday, March 31, 2016

Midweek Roundup: "Your Culinary Delight"

Photo by Katya
Second Dinner

Katya did not actually get to taste the beautiful cake that she decorated at her parents' house with her parents' spring flowers, but her blog is a good read anyway, filled with quotes from Deadwood, a photo of a bird's nest made for a bird-size Homer Simpson, and the observation that caramel buttercream with "bits of chewy caramel" in the finished product is probably a good thing.  I concur.  The people at whose dinner this cake ended up are the ones who called it a culinary delight, and I concur there too.

Faithy was also deprived of a chance to sample her own culinary masterpiece.  (Don't worry--it's not a trend.  I think everyone else ate a slice or two.)  Which is too bad, because she could only guess at how her substitution of caramel whipped cream for the caramel buttercream worked with the cake.  It looked beautiful, topped with the chocolate glaze that many of us considered optional.  Even though the cake was snatched out from under her and whisked away while she was left with porridge for dinner (I'm making it up about the porridge), she did get to eat the cake scraps and a few nibbles of caramel whipped cream.  They were "very yummy" and "very good," respectively.

When Vicki made this cake, she couldn't get Bradley Cooper out of her head.  Well, he is pretty cute, but she was really just thinking of him as the chef in Burnt, who decorates a cake by blowing gold dust over chocolate lacquer.

So naturally she wanted to try it too.  "It's not as easy as it looks," but "so fun!"  Aside from blowing gold dust, how was the cake itself?  "Definitely a cake for a special occasion," but "very sweet, light, and airy.  And wickedly delicious."  

Let us admit here that, as Jen said, this cake is "neither quick nor easy."  In fact, it's an all-day project, what with the various steps and the various cooling periods.  In fact, as Jen was making the cake, she "proclaimed, 'I will never make this again!'"  But after she tasted it, she began to relent.  Not entirely, but she's now at the point where she says she might make it again "after [she] forget[s] how long 5 hours can be.  It was really very delicious."  Wouldn't it be nice to have a personal chef to whom you could say, "I think it would be nice to have the FloRo Elegance cake for dessert tonight," and the chef would say, "I think so too, madam."

Rosa would make a great candidate for a personal chef (although I don't think she's interested in the job).  The more complicated the recipe, the better she likes it.  She baked her cake in 8-inch pans so they were tall enough to split, and she added coffee liqueur to the buttercream for another layer of flavor.  Then, after she made the buttercream and the lacquer, she also piped whipped cream decorations on the top and bottom of the cake.  As her blog says, "simply delicious!"

Kristina subtitled her post "Or something Kristina more or less made up," so naturally my interest was piqued.  It turned out that she hadn't exactly made it up, but had sort of merged two recipes.  She made the chocolate cake according to the recipe, but instead of making the caramel buttercream, she used the mixture from Step 1 of the Dutch Pecan Sandies recipe we made a few weeks ago.  When she made the cookies, she tasted the batter at that point and just wanted to eat it.  It tasted like buttercream, looked like buttercream, so why not use it as buttercream?  Inventive, yes?  She turned out to be not completely happy with the result, although she still thought the flavors were incredible, but "only good in small doses."  But the cake--well the cake is as good as Mom's--"high praise indeed."  Kristina's post also includes a photo of an old handwritten recipe for Burnt Leather Cake,  Sounds unappetizing, but it's also known as burnt sugar cake and was very popular at the turn of the (20th) century.  Oh, here's a link to an article by Marion Cunningham about updating the Burnt Leather Cake.  

Rachel thought the recipe looked "daunting," but felt better after she saw that the lacquer glaze was optional.  "I decided I could handle a multi-part cake and multi-step frosting if I could stop when I was done with them."  Rachel is smart about using the resting times--go out for lunch with your daughter is one nice thing to do.  So is getting a pedicure, but I don't know whether Rachel did that.  I do know that she improvised a double boiler with a gadget called the Staybowlizer.  Really!  And it worked.  Rachel's "soft caramel" turned out to be hard caramel.  But, again, Rachel was not daunted--just flavor it with lemon curd instead of caramel, and all will be well.  "Bonus:  homemade caramels."

Next week:  a recipe I've not been looking forward to, since it's a combination of my least favorite dessert (meringues) and my least favorite technique (piping).  Put them together and you have Meringue Birch Twigs.  I'll admit that they look stunning (if done right).  I hope some of you brilliant decorators do these so we can see how they're meant to be done.

And in the what-was-I-thinking category, in two weeks we have another chocolate layer cake.  All I can say is that I've moved recipes around a lot and, when I do, there's always some oddity that I didn't notice.  But by then, you'll have eaten up all your FloRo Elegance cake, and your family and friends will be wanting more chocolate cake.  Fortunately, you'll be able to oblige them.


  1. Katya's cake was perfect for the spring holidays. I really am not looking forward to these twig things either because, well, piping....

  2. Congratulations Katya's, lovely bright color...

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  4. You can never have too many chocolate layer cakes, Marie. I'm already missing the FloRo. Lovely decoration Katya, the colour combination is perfect.

  5. beautiful postings and Katya i love your decoration! everyone: keep in mind to avoid making the twigs if humid. when we did the style shoot Erin was wrapping the twigs around her wrist Cleopatra asp style they were that soft and flexbile!