Monday, September 7, 2009

Cakes Part 2

The desserts went well and were pretty much eaten up. Lots of people commented on the Glazed Lemon Cake. It's one of my favorites to make. It's a recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook that I've been making for years and years. Since it's my mother-in-law's favorite, I figured it was appropriate for her birthday party.

This cake is moist and rich, sweet and tart, and pretty easy to make. It tastes like lemonade. Perfect when it's still warm outside.

Next, the somewhat less successful desserts. We'll start with the brownies, since they weren't a bona fide culinary disaster. I had wanted to make brownies with caramel and walnut topping. Unfortunately, I didn't check Master Cook thoroughly when I put the recipe in, and it wound up omitting a rather important part of the recipe on the shopping list. The brownie part made it on the list all right, but the caramel topping portion didn't. So I got home from the long grocery haul with no cream. Kind of crucial for caramel. I wasn't about to go drag myself back out into the fray for cream, so I did a basic brownie with pecans instead. It served the purpose just fine.

And now, on to the true disaster. The Plum Cake. There have been times, when cooking, that I haven't been paying attention, and have omitted a fairly important ingredient (like sugar), but I usually catch it while still in the batter phase, so that I can correct the problem before the product goes in the oven. Unfortunately, that was not the case with the plum cake. I couldn't figure out why it wasn't rising. Was my baking powder old? Was my oven temperature off? Was it the pan? (Yes, folks, this is called "grasping at straws".) Finally, while the lump of lead in the oven was finishing off, I started making the brownies and got to the "add the eggs one at a time" part of the recipe and my brain started wheeling backward to the plum cake put-together, searching for the part on THAT when I added the eggs. Aaaand came up empty. No eggs. No wonder the thing wasn't rising!

It was, needless to say, NOT a beautiful cake. It was more like a brownie - dense and chewy - decidedly not cake-like. Phillip pronounced it "really good anyway", though, and made me take it to the party. The bizarre thing was that I got a LOT of comments on that plum thing and requests for recipes, which I may not provide. (Let's face it. If they make the REAL recipe, they're going to say "Hey! How come mine is a completely different texture?")

So, for your consumption, here is the recipe for Ann Smith's Plum Cake. (Ann Smith was a friend of my grandmother's.) When made correctly, it is a moist, delicious bundt cake with warm spice flavors. When made incorrectly, it is a dense, chewy brownie-like thing with warm spice flavors. You can decide if you want to omit the eggs, but if you do, I'd recommend making it in a brownie pan instead of a bundt cake pan, just for appearances.

Ann Smith's Plum Cake

2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup wesson oil
3 each eggs
2 jars plum or apricot baby food (Good luck finding these. Sheez. See my other
post. I used some ridiculous flavor combination, and I don't think it gives nearly as good a flavor as the unadulterated fruit baby food.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Beat the sugar and oil together until well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time (or not, if you're going to mimic my incompetence) until incorporated. Add the bastardized-with-too-many-fruits baby food, then stir in the dry ingredients. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan at 350F for about an hour. Have more patience than I do about turning out cakes. Let it cool in the pan until the sides pull away slightly, then loosen it and dump it on a plate. Or, you can do like I do, NOT have patience, grasshopper, flip the thing over on a plate then pull the bundt pan off to discover that about half your cake is still stuck on the bottom and have to paste together an already unattractive cake (because of the whole not putting in the eggs thing).

1 comment:

Holly said...

Oh yummy! We make this baby food cake all the time! Sometimes if I am too lazy to buy baby food I use cranberry sauce. And I load it down with lemon frosting. You were so brave to take your cake anyway!! I always get angruy and heave my disasters into the trash. Probably missing out on some extra interesting surprises. :)