Monday, June 25, 2007

Dinning Baking with the Bloggers - June 25th. 2007

Forgive me, friends - I'm totally out of the loop with the whole writing posts thing, after these couple of weeks of intense studying. So I'll ease myself in slowly with a little bit of cake - shall we?;-)

Horchata Cupcakes from Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit
Yeah, right. This doesn't really look like a cupcake, does it? No. This was (one of the) wedding cake(s) I made for one of my best friends wedding, this past April. She wanted comfy, homemade cakes, and boy, did she get 'em.

I've also made the horchata cupcakes as cupcakes, and they are fantastic, regardless of their shape. The beauty of them is that they keep fantastically well - I had one of the cupcakes a coupe days after I made them and they stay remarkably fresh and moist. Loved that.

I had no idea what horchata was, when I first saw the recipe, but seeing almonds are my favorite nuts of them all, I figured I had to try it. Making the horchata can get pretty tedious, but the recipe Cheryl provides makes enough for two batches, and it freezes well. And you should freeze it as fast as possible - I found out the hard way that it turns sour pretty fast, otherwise. The rest of the recipe is, as always with her recipes, pretty straightforward - it uses egg whites only and that probably adds to the lightness of the (cup)cake.

Yes, I probably won't stop anytime soon praising Cheryl's work - she really does make remarkable cupcakes!

Gâteau au Yaourt from Foodbeam

One day near Easter I found myself in a house with NO BUTTER at all - the HORROR!! And as I was having guests over the next day, I really was in a bit of a pickle - I couldn't possibly make lunch and not serve dessert! Luckily, to my rescue: Fanny of Foodbeam fame. She had just posted a variation of the kind of cake every little girl and boy in France apparently know how to make: Gâteau au yaourt. Hers was a take on it with grapefruit, but as there was none of that in the house either, I had to do a version of my own. In the back of one of my kitchen drawers was half a log of marzipan. Ta-dah! Marzipan-yoghurt cake!

The cake is ridicously easy to make and you can vary it in any which way you'd like to. A couple weeks later I used the exact same recipe, making a banana cake with a lavish topping of chocolate frosting - mmm-mmm-MMM! The recipe has been permanently inked into my personal recipe filer, and I hope I never loose it! A standby recipe that can cover all your needs - you need this, I'm telling you.

Marzipan Cake with Strawberries & Cream from Nami-Nami

Last, but definitely not least - and this is kind of a cheat - Pille of Nami-Nami's Marzipan Strawberry Cake. I had the good fortune to hook up with Pille when she was in Denmark a couple months ago, and her's is a blog I make sure to check on every day. Why is it a cheat, you ask? Well, usually on DwB with three, I feature bloggers I've already DwB'ed - and I haven't with Nami-Nami. But you see, this recipe is too good for me to hold onto until I try more of Pille's recipes - and it is, ahem, called DINNING with the bloggers, not baking, in all fairness - and I think I need to try to stick to that!

And you need to make this TODAY, rather than tomorrow, and with the best strawberries you can find, 'cause the cake deserves it. I saw the recipe Friday, went strawberry picking Saturday and made it Sunday. No use wasting time, is there?

It is, obviously, a cake with marzipan in it, but unlike the marzipan-endorsed version of the yoghurt cake above, which is more dense, this is somehow light and sligtly meringue-like - and paired with the tart-sweet strawberries and soft, billowy whipped cream, it's a perfect treat on a summer's day. I made it for Martins birthday yesterday and it disapperead faster than you can say "Hurrah!" It's the kind of cake people start out with "just a small slice, please" and then come back for more afterwards. Awesome. Martin even liked it, and you know how he's all "if there's no chocolate, it ain't cake" - if that isn't a bit of a recommendation, I don't know what is! Oh, and please, please, whip the cream by hand - I did mine in the Kitchen Aid, which I never usually do, and it just wasn't as soft and sweet as when you do it by hand. I love my KA, but with whipped cream, there's nothing like a little upper arm workout for making the perfect kind, in my opinion.

I sliced the cake in half and made an extra layer of strawberries and cream in the middle. And was out of pistachios, so we had to do without, although I think the crunchy texture contrast would be nice. Either way - strawberries? cream? marzipan? It could not NOT be good!Thanks Pille!:)

Now I need to go check what other recipes I have to pilfer from my BlogLines backlog from the last couple weeks...


Homesick Texan said...

I love horchata, but I've only had it in drink form, never baked form, but anything with almonds is good with me. As for Pille's marzipan cake with strawberries and cream--I must hurry now (no time to waste indeed) as the season is almost over. Thanks for sharing!

Pille said...

I'm quite amused how a good old Danish marzipan cake recipe found a way onto one Danish table with the help of an Estonian blogger:)
But you have no idea how thrilled I am that you tried 'my' recipe and liked it (and, most importantly, that chocoholic Martin liked it!)
PS Horchata is a total novelty to me, so I'm off to read more about it..

Pille said...

PS Forgot to say that I'm obviously incredibly pleased to have finally made it to your virtual table:)

Jennie said...

I hope you do yourself the favor of making the beverage for yourself when the weather gets sweltering again. It is incredibly thirst quenching! An exotic cinnamony pendant to lemonade if you will.
I must try to make those cupcakes before something else starts occupying my time!

Tea said...

I'm just happy to see you posting--I had begun to worry that you were studying yourself into oblivion! Glad to see you managed to get away from the books and into the kitchen:-)

Anali said...

These all look great! Especially the wedding cake. I never heard of Horchata before. Thanks for the tip!

Arti said...

Hi! I'm from India. A family member is moving to Randers, Denmark. Would you have any idea how easy or difficult it is to get Indian groceries in, say Randers or Copenhagen?

By the way, fantastic site -- I think you've just tempted me to pick up the gloves in the kitchen.



Cathy said...

Zarah all three cakes are gorgeous and sound wonderful! You were so brave to make your friend's wedding cake(s)!! I volunteered to make one for my nephew last fall and then chickened out. I was worried about making a cake that large, but I hadn't considered making more than one cake - that's a great idea!

Eva said...

Hey, your cakes look wonderful! Nice to see you're back on track!

Julie said...

Oh how delicious they all look! I'm running to the market tomorrow to see if there are still strawberries -- if so, that marzipan cake is crying out to be made, that's what I think. So glad to see you posting. Wish I could see you in real time, not just the virtual version...

Zarah Maria said...

Lisa - I hope you managed to secure some strawberries before the season ended - if not, I'm thinking blueberries might not be a bad bet either? Or any berry for that matter?

Pille - Thank YOU! It's an amazing cake, and sometimes I guess it's just hard to see the forrest because of all the trees... Everyone that's seen the picture ever since, not even having tasted it, has asked for the recipe - so it's having quite a revival!

Jennie - hurry, hurry! And will try to make horchata - just have to get over the wringing of the smudge in the end - I swear, because I made adouble batch last, I was standing there, pressing and sieveing for at least two hours!! Sheesh!

Tea - nope, no oblivion for me. Now I'm all about the kitchen (or, um, not so much, as you can tell form my most recent post...heh!)

Anali - you're welcome!

Arti - thanks for your comment. I would say that you'd be home free with just about everything Indian in Copenhagen. There might be some particular Indian vegetables that would be hard to get, but as for other groceries, I think you'd be fine. Randers - I'm afraid I wouldn't have a clue as to what you can get there. But you could always order stuff on-line. That said, making Indian food was one of my New Year Dares, so I'm a bit stumped as to what one might need for making Indian food, other than a whole lotta spices... I hope he/she will figure something out - he/she is welcome to contact me by mail if they need more help!

Cathy, thanks! It actually wasn't all that bad - but I only did it because she stressed the fact that she wanted MY cakes, ie. homey and comfy cakes, and not something artsy and several-tiered. Otherwise, I would definitely have chickened out also!

Eva, thanks! Back, indeed:)

Julie - you gotta make it, it's awesome! And hey, I could drop by for a slice - NY's not that far! (I wish...)