Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweet Cherry and Hazelnut Galette

This, for me, was a hot mess. Literally. So much juice. So much leakage. The crust, while delicious, was not very elastic and had a tendency to just crack as I tried to wrap it up around the filling.

Which made for the worst leakage I've had with a galette. Or maybe it's just that cherries in galettes don't work. For me. And, honestly, I didn't particularly like the baked sweet cherries. I love cherries. Apparently in just about any form BUT THIS. Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try yourself.

TGIP Rating--Sweet Cherry and Hazelnut Galette--PARTIAL LOSER. The crust is really delicious, but I think I'd like to try it with some other filling. Possibly even use it as a tart dough that can be pressed into a pan and filled with, I don't know, caramel and nutella? Just spitballing over here.

Next up: My friend's sweet Mom is going to teach me how to make frosting roses. I've been wanting to learn FOR YEARS. I used to pore over The Pie Queen's Wilton cake decorating book coveting both the cakes and the skill to decorate cakes like that. I can't wait.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Midweek Kitchen Confessions 32: Playing Favorites

I have a lot of things in my kitchen. Remember this?

BUT I have a few favorites. Only a few. One of which has just recently become part of my kitchen after decades of being part of The Pie Queen's kitchen. This pink glass cake stand.

It's so simple and perfect. Understated, but elegant. If I remember correctly, it was the only "fancy" cake stand we had when I was growing up, so it was used for all special occasions, but especially for birthday cakes. In the early eighties, The Pie Queen sold quite a few other pieces of pink glass kitchenware she had (sadface), but this one stayed. And she passed it over to me on my birthday. I love it.

The little angel candle holders on top of the cake are another of my favorites. The Pie Queen has a set of them that were beloved all through my childhood. These precious little ones:

I have always wanted a set of my own. And after years of periodic searches I finally found a practically new set in its original box on etsy. I love them.

Last but not least, this guy (girl?).

When I was in college, there was a little shop on the corner of College Avenue and Russell Street called Sweet Dreams (amazingly, more than 20 years later, it's still there). Just a little candy and stuff shop. I used to love to wander in there and window shop. This guy was literally in the window for months and every day that I walked past I would wish he was in my kitchen. One day (must have had a good shift waiting tables the night before) I just decided to take the plunge and buy him. And he was a fixture in a long string of apartments and houses. He's been in my cupboard since we moved to our current home because there isn't always room on my counter. But I think it's time for him to be a regular counter-sitter again. I love him.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Birthday CakeS

Things I did on July 20:

  • Turned 44 (not ashamed to admit my age). 
  • Made my own birthday cakeS (it's okay) (no, really, I WANTED to) (in fact, I might do it every year from now on).
I made this one and this one. I frosted the Angel Food with this buttercream recipe (which I LOVE) and added to it a little more than a cup of chopped fresh cherries and about 1/2 tsp cherry extract.

The Campfire Delight I made because I thought the marshmallow filling sounded incredible. Which it is. I was also really surprised and pleased with the cake. It stayed moist, even though it spent a couple of days in my fridge waiting to be finished. And it didn't sink. It didn't puff up either, which I guess is something I aspire to because then I know I could lop off the top and have completely even layers. But let's face it--I will probably never have perfectly even layers. Just not in my wheel-house apparently.

I'm also just now noticing that Sweetpolita only used the marshmallow filling for three of the filling layers, instead of all 5 like I did. That would also explain the amount of chocolate frosting I had leftover. Will fix that NEXT TIME. I will also weigh my fillings so I know I'm using the same amount between each layer because (look above again) that's pretty uneven. Nevertheless, this was unbelievably delicious. Rich, but not too rich. Textured. The toasted marshmallows left some crunchy bits in the filling that I thought were really lovely. Complex. The malted chocolate frosting is SO GOOD. So good. mr. says it's the best cake I've ever made and he's not even much of a marshmallow fan. So, yes, there will be a NEXT TIME.

The Angel Food cake I made because it was always my cake of choice when I was a kid. With cherry frosting. The last time I made Angel Food it didn't turn out as nicely as I'd hoped. So, when a food blogger who lives in my area code posted a recipe I thought maybe she had found the secret to Angel Food At Altitude, and I figured her recipe would be worth trying. It was. See? 

Just right. Light and fluffy. Not spongy in that bouncy way that Angel Food cake sometimes is. And with the cherry frosting it tasted pretty much exactly like the cake from my childhood. As it turns out though, my tastes have changed. The false and oversweet cherry flavor from the extract was...not pleasant. Somehow not the kind of cherry flavor that I wanted to taste. It was still a delicious combination of cake and frosting, but probably not one I'll make again. The cherry buttercream, however, THAT I know I can improve on and use in other ways. I'm going to start by making my own cherry extract. 

This picture contains some of my favorite things in the world. More on that in another post.

TGIP Rating: Campfire Delight Cake--KEEPER. Next time I'll pay attention and do the fillings right.
Angel Food Cake--KEEPER. It's perfect.
Cherry Buttercream--TO BE IMPROVED. I know just how.

Next up: More cherries. This time in a more rustic but still summery application. Sweet Cherry and Hazelnut Galette.