5 weeks ago
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The really awesome Wendy of pinkstripes chose this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes. Both "rum-drenched" and "vanilla cakes" sounded great to me in a vacuum, but after years of trying, really trying, to like boozy desserts, I've finally accepted that I'm just destined to be a dessert teetotaler. If I like a cake with rum in it, you can be sure that would like the cake without rum in it even better. Therefore, I decided to skip the rum and instead go with the lemon variation suggested by Dorie.
I was so happy to see that this was a loaf cake, and a simple one at that. My other baking project over the weekend was to try to make a chocolate swiss roll cake that looked like a lightsaber - a test run for my son's birthday in a couple of weeks. I'd never made a roll cake before, or used rolled fondant for that matter. Suffice it to say that after my practice round I am not brimming with confidence about my ability to pull off the edible lightsaber under pressure. I've got the bakery on speed dial, just in case. But a loaf cake? That I could do.
This cake is hand mixed -- no mixer required. That endeared the cake to me immediately, especially because my beloved Kitchen Aid started to make some ugly squeaking noises during the lightsaber batter mixing. I don't even want to think about My Precious conking out on me, and since this cake was mixed by hand, for five minutes I didn't have to. This is a straight up mixing process -- combine the dry ingredients, whisk eggs into sugar (since I was doing the lemon version, I first rubbed lemon zest into the sugar), add vanilla (Dorie says that the rum/vanilla version depends on the "very best vanilla you could find" - presumably vanilla beans from Tahiti or Madagascar, but since I was just doing the modified lemon version, I went with the very best vanilla I could find in my pantry - Kirkland Signature Pure Vanilla Extract from Costco), then whisk in heavy cream. Finally, add in the dry ingredients and fold in melted and cooled butter. Pour into a loaf pan and bake.
After the cake is out of the oven, poke a bunch of holes in it with a skewer or something similar, and then brush the cake with a simple syrup of sugar, water, and, (for the lemon version I did) lemon juice. I've never drenched a cake before - it was tons of fun!
The results? Wow, we really love this cake. The crumb is exactly as Dorie describes - tight, compact and sturdy, but still soft and moist. The lemon flavor here was fabulous - I LOVED how the lemon syrup infused the cake with extra tartness. This cake is delicious enough to stand on its own, but it would also be great with berries and cream, lemon curd, etc. It's been a while since I made the French Yogurt Cake, another lemon cake that we adored around here, so I can't really say which is better. But it would be hard to beat this one for the total "simplicity and pure deliciousness" package.
Run, don't walk, to Wendy's blog to read more about this cake (and tons of other fabulous creations) and for a daily dose of fun and adventure. Great pick, Pink!
Posted by Cathy at 1:43 AM