Rhum Baba? Hell yes!

I am not certain what drew me to this cake but I am sure glad it caught my attention.  The Rhum Baba is delicious, scoring a 4.5 on the husband cake approval scale.  Although it is distinctively not a cake that can be eaten for breakfast, unless, perhaps, you are on vacation or have demons that extend beyond excessive cake eating.

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Baba au Rhum

The recipe calls for chocolate chips to be baked in the middle, however, I noted in the user comments that one reader successfully opted to use rum soaked raisins and was reminded that I had a jar of pineapple infused rum on hand.  So out went the chocolate chips and in went 1/3 cups diced rum soaked pineapples and raisins.  I was a bit worried that the fruit mixture would be too wet for the cake but that worry didn’t  prove out.  If anything I would say that the Baba came out a tad on the dry side. If I could go back in time, I would have taken it out of the oven sooner.  The good news is that a dry baba is very easy to overcome by soaking it in extra spiced rum sauce and crème fraîche whipped topping.

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You may note that this recipe calls for serving the Baba lit on fire.  I didn’t do it!  Definitely an opportunity missed.  If this cake ends up a cake off finalist,  I will most certainly need to execute at this level and practice would have given me a leg up. But mostly I regret not trying something new and rather exciting on a rainy, locked in Saturday night.

If you do want to try to light up your Baba, I suggest you follow the recipe. Simply trying  to light the Rum syrup on fire with a lighter in an attempt to impress your friends, a technique attempted by my husband, does not work.  Here may be a good place to mention that this cake should be served with the following warning label: Over indulgence may lead to impaired judgement.

Husband Cake Approval Rating Week 3

Did you like It?   Yes! Maybe best yet.  

Would you eat it again?   Hell yes!

Would you eat for breakfast?   Too boozy

Would you enter it in Cake off 3?  Yes

On a scale from one to five, five being cake cock certainty, what would do you rank this cake?.  4.5 for adults but kids won’t like

For more on kids and the Cake Off see my post from a few weeks back.

Also, I should note that the Baba did not elicit any response from our dog walker.

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Cake for breakfast?

This past weekend, I made the second cake in my year long post Cake Off comeuppance.   After my husband, citing what I will now call the “chocolate rule”, declined to eat the pear chocolate cardamom cake from week one for breakfast, I became bound and determined to make a cake that would be considered breakfast worthy in his eyes and stomach.  To fit this bill, I chose a carrot ginger cake with salted butterscotch frosting.

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What can I say other than delicious!

For most of my life, I have had to avoid carrot cakes because I am allergic to certain nuts, in particular the walnut.  This cake is nut free but for the topping which calls for roasted hazelnuts, a nut which I don’t know whether or not I am allergic to or not, but where I subbed in almonds, a nut I can eat. This cakes does include coconut, which I don’t consider to be a nut at all and have always been perplexed when people inquire whether or not I can eat this type of nut.

For the record, I can eat almonds and cashews.  I cannot eat walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, or peanuts.  For those of you in the know, this is a seemingly random  assortment of cans and cannots.  For one, peanuts are not nuts; they are legumes.  I can eat all other legumes.  Someone once suggested that maybe I am allergic to nuts but not seeds which would explain why I can eat almonds but not walnuts.  But where does that leave the pine nut?  And good luck turning to the dictionary for any clarification.

nut (nŭt)
n.
1.
a. An indehiscent fruit having a single seed enclosed in a hard shell, such as an acorn or hazelnut.
b. The usually edible seed of such a fruit.
c. Any of various other usually edible seeds enclosed in a hard covering such as a seed coat or the stone of a drupe, as in a pine nut, peanut, almond, or walnut.

But enough about nuts.  Let’s get back to the question at hand: cake for breakfast?

In an effort to keep track of my cakes over the next year and continue to up my cake game, I realized last week that I need to establish some metrics. As promised in my last post, I have developed and launched the following husband cake approval survey:

Did you like it?
Would you eat it again?
Would you eat for breakfast?
Would you enter it in Cake off 3?

On a scale from one to five, five being cake cock certainty, what would do you rank this cake?

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Here are the results for the carrot ginger cake with salted butterscotch frosting.

Did you like it?  Yes
Would you eat it again? Yes
Would you eat for breakfast?
Maybe, icing isn’t breakfast.
Would you enter it in Cake off 3? Why decide now? There’s 11 months to go!

Total cake score: 4

For the record, this cake was eaten for breakfast multiple times over the week by both myself and my husband.

This cake also warranted a text response from our dog walker, aka the fairy dog father, who is an unknowing participant in my evaluation system.  Each Monday, I leave him a big hunk of cake.  Those cakes that elicit a response will be noted and reported on here.  This week’s response:  “Thank you for the delicious carrot ginger goodness”.

Next up:  All Hail the Rum Baba!

Whipped Cream or Ice Cream?

Week 1 of my post Cake Off defeat launched with a chocolate cardamom pear cake.

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All of my research leading up to the Cake Off means I have a large collection of must try cake recipes on hand.  And many of the recipes that I had ruled out for the competition because they appeared to lack a certain pizzazz or offered off the beaten path flavor profiles are back on the table for consideration.  Rather than strategizing on how to please a crowd, which includes several children, I now get to choose one cake a week that strikes my fancy.  I can go as mundane or fancy as I choose.  And for week one, I chose a simple presentation with a unique flavor scheme: pear, chocolate, almonds and cardamom.  To add to the fun, I also threw in some dark chocolate cocoa chunks.

The results were delicious.  I really enjoyed this cake.  It was light and tasty and not too sweet.  It did beg the question “whipped cream or ice cream?” I went with ice cream because it is what I had on hand but I sense whipped cream would have been a better option.  In the end, it didn’t really matter because this cake only improved in flavor over night and turned out to be a cake that I could eat for breakfast, the best kind of cake in my book.

A few side notes have emerged in writing this post.  First, a caution in including children as judges in the Cake Off.  First off,  it is easy to conclude that the children should manage the vote count because they did not make the entries and it is a fun way to include them in an adult party.  If you go this route, make sure that the child you choose can 1) actually count and 2) doesn’t have a clear preference bias.  The first annual pie off remains under contention to this day after votes were revealed the next day and the stated votes didn’t add up to support the winning pie, which just so happened to be the child’s step father’s entry.  Which brings me to the second caution about child judges, they are intensely loyal to their parents and their parents cakes.  I don’t have solid proof here but it comes as no surprise to me that the year two winner, the strawberry cake, was entered by a family of four.

My second side note has to do with eating cake for breakfast.  My husband declined the pear chocolate almond cake for breakfast because it had chocolate in it.  Yet he had no qualms ordering a citrus oat scone at the local coffee shop that same morning.  The oats made it a healthier option than the low butter, fruit laden cake in his stated opinion.  While it is true that he has a lot of structure and rules around food (no breakfast dinner and the such), I am left to wonder whether or not he actually liked this cake.  I foresee a husband cake approval rating for future posts.

Stayed tuned…

 

 

 

The Cake Off: Where it all began

imageTwo years ago, friends and I launched a Cake Off competition.  The Cake Off was a follow on event to the First Annual Pie Off which had occurred at Thanksgiving and was a delightful success, despite the fact I made a cheesecake and was ruled out of the competition.  It turns out that my friends are 1) extremely competitive, 2) sticklers for rules and 3) very threatened by cheesecake.  (Interestingly, cheesecake was also ruled out of the Cake Off which begs the question of where cheesecake belongs in this world.)

The inaugural Cake Off was held a few months later in March of 2015 and featured 5 cakes: an opera cake, two lemon blueberry cakes, a gingerbread budnt cake and a gingerbread salted whiskey caramel cake.  We do not officially reveal our cakes until the night of the event, so it was quite surprising to see such an overlap  in cake flavors and styles…and not a single chocolate entry.

imageOne of my great joys in life comes from having friends who are great cooks and enjoy food  and the ceremonies around food as much as I do.  Which is also to say that this bake off presented some serious competition.  Deciding among 5 wonderful cakes is not easy.  Especially when the cake to taster ratio is 5:7.

At stake, beyond bragging rights for years to come, was a mystery perpetual trophy that I had purchased at the local Goodwill store.  I had also secured the Pie Off trophy at the Goodwill, a beautiful amber glass sculpture of a horse rearing.  The Pie Stallion, as we have come to refer to the now coveted trophy, would be hard to top so the pressure was on me to find just the right symbol of victory for the Cake Off.

imageI am happy to report that I won the first annual Cake Off with the gingerbread salted whiskey caramel cake.  And was the very first ever recipient of the Cake Cock!

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Two weeks ago I had to turn over the Cake Cock title and rights to my friend Claudia,  a new entrant to the  competition who swept year two with her strawberry cake.  This was a devastating loss.  I had spent almost a month researching, testing and obsessing over cakes.  Ultimately I settled on one of the prettiest and tastiest cakes I have ever eaten, let alone baked, a bee sting cake.

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It turned out perfect.  And tasted delicious. And didn’t even come in among the top three.  And if that isn’t bad enough, it was later revealed that the winning strawberry cake was made from a box mix and jello packet.

I am not going to let this year’s defeat hold me back.  No, this loss will only make me stronger.  My plan is to bake one cake a week for now until the Third Annual Cake Off.

Practice may not make me perfect but it will make me 52 more cakes!

Stay tuned on my journey, one cake at a time.