Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cake Mania!

My office probably has the best fed employees in the country. Not only do they get the spoils from my Tuesdays with Dorie baking, I also bake cakes for my co-worker's birthdays. Usually, we average 2 or 3 birthdays a month but apparently Midwesterners are gettin' busy at the end of March and we had 4 celebrations the first week of January!

First up is carrot cake. Since Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours" has been such a great resource, I turned to the recipe for Bill's Big Carrot Cake on pages 254-255. When I pulled the cakes out of oven I was a little worried because they didn't rise very much. I was even more alarmed when I tried to remove them from the pans and they stuck like crazy! Two of the layers came out in pieces and I contemplated starting over and making a sheet cake but since it was late Sunday afternoon, I decided to try and salvage what I had. I used the cream cheese frosting to stick everything together in a shape that resembled round and called it good. The cake was tasty but didn't live up to my perfectionist standards so I will be trying this one again and hoping for better results.

Next up was a "baker's choice." I love when I get to choose the flavors because it gives me the opportunity to try something new. I recently found some Meyer lemons at the grocery store and since everyone raves about them and I'm such a follower, I grabbed them. They probably set me back $10 bucks (I averted my eyes when the cashier rang them up) but I really really wanted to try them! I made Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. The cupcakes had a pretty mild lemon flavor (I was hoping for something tangier) but were moist and delicious.

On Thursday, I got an unexpected reprieve. The birthday boy requested an angel food cake but I don't have a tube pan. I had intended to forge ahead and try to make some cupcakes but when a coworker offered up the baking talents (and tube pan) of her significant other, I reluctantly agreed to take the night off! ;)

For the last cake of the week the birthday girl chose my most requested recipe - German Chocolate Cake. I think nearly everyone in the office would pick this cake but most change their minds when they see my brow start furrowing in consternation. Yeah yeah, I know it's not all about me, but really people, change is good! I just use the recipe on the back of the German's Sweet Chocolate box but I have made this cake so many times, I have tweaked it to perfection and it turns out wonderfully. One coworker remarked that this was the best version yet! This time around, I got smart and made the frosting FIRST so that it would have plenty of time to cool and I could go to bed sometime before 2am. Unfortunately, this cake doesn't photograph very well ...

But wait, there's more! In addition to the craziness at work, my mother's birthday also falls during this same week! She really loves the recipe on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa container, so I went that route for her and the results were an epic fail! Every single cupcake collapsed on me no matter what I did. I tossed them all in the garbage and started over. Mom is a huge fan of peanut butter cups so I decided to try a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake. A google search lead me to Food and Wine Magazine's Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling. Oh. My. Word. These cupcakes were so rich and decadent I could hardly restrain myself from eating them all. Each and every one of you MUST make these treats immediately! Serve them up with a talk glass of milk. Seriously, the calories are worth it.

So there you have it ... a weeks worth of crazy cake baking! Now it's time for ME to get busy. Not with baby making but with this week's TWD recipe. Can you guess what it is? Surprise! It's cake. That's right, cake. Berry Surprise Cake. I'm off to make another cake.


Anonymous said...

OMG...they all look so good--but my favorite is the meyer lemon cupcake. Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing!

MacDuff said...

I hate saying this, but I just got really close to making the O face with the last picture of your cupcake. Your blog and I are involved in a romantic relationship, I'm afraid.

Engineer Baker has another recipe for peanut butter and chocolate cookies, which I want to try. Man, time to hide the scale, I guess.

Lovely. Thanks for the good times!