Friday, October 16, 2009

Angel Food Host of Ghosts

Bahahahahahahaaaahaah! This cake makes me laugh. This picture of this cake anyway. Doesn't it look like that little ghosty is swoopingly on his way down the mountain of goo?! Let's get this much out of the way: not everything I bake turns out exactly the way I expect it to. But a mountain of Seven Minute Frosting can hide a multitude of sins. And even when that doesn't turn out according to expectations, a few well-placed dollops of black frosting can make just about anything look strangely cute. In a Studio Ghibli kind of way. Next year maybe one of the girls will request a Ponyo cake so I can be more straightforward in my strange-but-cute intentions.

I have many thoughts/concerns about this project. Let's start with the cake itself. Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake, which I've made before, without incident. It's not easy to make. I think you have to have something like 4 hands at one point in the process, but I managed.

The batter had plenty of loft to it. It baked up nicely, rising above the rim of the pan. Then, while it was cooling (upside down as instructed), it fell out of the pan. Without the clinging-to-the-sides-of-the-pan situation to keep all those air bubbles inflated, the cake quickly deflated, losing about 1-1/2 inches of height, and becoming pretty dense.

It still tasted delicious, I just don't understand what happened. I have never had an angel food cake be anything other than difficult to get out of the pan. Let me repeat: IT FELL OUT. Anyone have any insight on what might have happened? The silver lining on this dense cloud--it made it very easy to cut and serve. Angel food cake can be pretty difficult to saw through when it's as fluffy as it should be.

Now, the frosting. I think maybe I'm just not a fan of Seven Minute Frosting. It was perfect for this particular project, but overly sweet for me. And a little gritty. I don't know how that's possible, since the frosting is cooked. I would think all that sugar would have dissolved to a certain degree. If I ever have reason to make this kind of frosting again, I think I'll either buy super fine sugar, or do Alton's trick of running regular granulated sugar through the food processor for a couple of minutes to make it super fine.

The idea for the cake I got here. And they got it here. It should have looked like this:

But it ended up looking like this:

Still cute, I think, but a little saggy. Part of the problem may have been that I don't have a real double-boiler. My makeshift one tends to allow steam to escape from the bottom, and that allows some liquid to end up in whatever is in the top. Liquid and Seven Minute Frosting are not friends.

There was no amount of beating I could have done that would have made this frosting stiff enough to make ghosts as tall as the ones in the picture.

TGIP Rating--Angel Food Host of Ghosts--MEH. The cake itself I will definitely make again and try to figure out what went wrong. The frosting I will avoid at all costs. But I'm happy with how the decoration turned out.

One more picture for cuteness:

"Dude. Stop ignoring me when I'm trying to talk to you. Oh wait. I don't have a mouth."

Next up: Baker, Baker. The time is ripe for baked apples, I think. And P.S.: Am I not due for a prize for all the free publicity I give Alton Brown?


Summer said...

Or at least a bit of the profit.

QuiteContrary said...

Love the last photo. I imagine a slightly different conversation... "I didn't mean it when I said you looking lumpy. I meant you were glossy"