For Christmas, my good friends Cathy & David gave me a copy of Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson. I immediately thought, “New project!” After listing all the recipes in the book, I noticed that, serendipitously, there are 52 cakes in the book, which reinforced my plan. I have made a cake a week since (albeit only 3 weeks), but haven’t gotten around to blogging about it, which was the original plan. So I will kick off the project with a 3-in-1 post. Unfortunately, my thoughts are not fresh on the first two cakes, but I’ll do the best I can.
Cake #1: Angel Cake with Orange and Chocolate Freckles
This was my first angel food cake, and I was a little wary, because I don’t have a great history with meringue. I have historically had a hard time telling when my peaks were stiff enough (or whipping just a little too much so they fall). Not so with this cake. This recipe called for 12 egg whites, and they whipped up to meringue perfection. Such a beautiful tower of fluffy meringue. I wish I had taken a picture, but, alas, I didn’t. Angel food cake’s not my most favorite of cakes, but this was pretty good. What I learned from this recipe: grating chocolate by hand is a pain – next time I’ll use the food processor.
Cake #2: Italian Cream Cake
The cake itself may have been traditional Italian cream cake (I’d never made one before this, so I wouldn’t know), but instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting, this had a chocolate ganache. Also, instead of frosting the whole cake, you only frost between layers and on top. This was a pretty darn good cake. It would have been even better had I not tried to cook all 3 layers in the same oven at the same time. I knew better and next time this comes up, I’ll use both ovens. The ganache was amazing and did a good job of masking the crunchy edges.
Cake #3: Berry Long Cake with Ginger Crust
This cake was delicious. The cake itself is not too sweet. It only uses 1/2 cup sugar. It’s also a mix of flour and corn meal, so it has an interesting texture. My discerning daughter said, before knowing it had corn meal, that it tasted sort of like corn bread. I couldn’t really tell, other than that it had a toothier texture. I used about 6 ounces of blackberries and 8 ounces strawberries, and that was a nice combination. You could really use any berry, I think. The only difficulty I ran into was with the topping (a streusel with brown sugar, flour, diced crytallized ginger, and butter): like a streusel, it is supposed to form a crumb-like consistency, but either the butter or the flour measurement was off, and it formed more of a dough. The end result was fine, though. The little bits of crystallized ginger were really a nice touch and not too overpowering. I will most definitely make this cake again.