5 weeks ago
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures , my twitter buddy and baker extraordinaire, chose this week's TWD recipe, Cinnamon Squares. When I first saw that Tracey chose cinnamon squares, I was really excited, because I assumed it was a non-chocolate dessert that I could serve to my non-chocolate eating husband. I love it when my hubs loves the desserts that I make, and I've found that a critical first step to getting him to love my desserts is for him to actually eat them.
So when I read the recipe more closely and realized that the cinnamon squares did indeed contain chocolate, I was a little disappointed, because I just don't have the creativity needed to turn chocolate desserts into non-chocolate desserts. I'm not a baker so much as a recipe follower. To the extent anyone in my life has ever complimented my cooking or baking skills, I know that they really should be complimenting my reading skills, or possibly my recipe selection skills.
Fortunately, I don't need to be a creative baker, because I can just shamelessly mooch off the creativity of my baking friends. Nancy had made this cake several days earlier, and told us that she did half the cake with a streusel filling. Streusel - perfect! So obvious once Nancy mentioned it, but I never would have thought of it on my own. So I decided to split the cake into two 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pans rather than one 8" x 8" pan, and make one pan with chocolate, in strict accordance with the recipe, and the other pan using the streusel from the Blueberry Crumb Cake that TWD made a couple of months ago. I skipped the chocolate ganache topping on both versions.
The cake is really easy to make. I didn't even have to break out my beloved KitchenAid! And while I do love my KitchenAid, I love it even more when I can leave it in its home in a lower cabinet. I know that I'm supposed to bend at the knees, not at the back, blah blah blah, but I ALWAYS lift that sucker by bending at the back, and it's just a matter of time before I add "back strain" to my list of kitchen injuries. But it won't happen when making cinnamon squares, dammit, because all you need to mix up this baby is a whisk and rubber spatula!
David's uber-cool Aunt Missy was visiting us for the first time ever when I served this cake. We love Aunt Missy & Uncle Jack, and don't get to see them nearly often enough. At the end of their youngest child's wedding reception last summer, I told Uncle Jack that I wish they had more children to marry off, because David and I had more fun at their kids' weddings than we've had in like eight years. To which Uncle Jack replied: "you two really need to get out more." True dat.
So I really wanted Aunt Missy to like this. She took a cinnamon square at the table, but before biting in said "wait, have you gotten a picture of this yet?" See, I told you she was the coolest! This spared me from having to have that awkward "hey, um, just hold on for one second while I take that cinnamon square out into the shade and snap a few pictures" conversation (which just never gets easier for me, no matter how long I do this). Not only did she just instinctively GET that we food bloggers must do strange things before anyone can eat the food, but she really loved the cinnamon squares, as did David's parents, who are among my most loyal tasters, and who must be getting really tired of me pushing baked goods at them all the time.
I've got to say that I vastly preferred the streusel version to the chocolate version. I think this is just where differences in taste buds come into play. We've made several recipes with TWD that combine chocolate and spice flavors, and I always feel, as David's mother stated perfectly, that these two flavors just don't improve each other (see also chocolate gingerbread). This is strictly a matter of personal taste, as many people love this combination. But I loved the streusel version of this cake so much that I'd rank it among my top 10 TWD recipes ever. The cake was soft and just melted in your mouth, and the flavor was perfect. And the streusel itself was as great as I remembered it being in the blueberry crumb cake.
Thanks for this great pick, Tracey!