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…

 

 

 

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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.