Archive for September, 2007

Hazardous Lebkuchen, exploding blueberry syrup redux, pear becomes apple in new upside-down cake recipe

Today I made Exploding Microwave Blueberry Syrup again, as well as the dough for Lebkuchen (which has to sit in the fridge at least overnight. Unlike the recipe included with the Wikipedia entry, the Lebkuchen recipe I used (Betty Crocker 1964 cookbook version) didn’t warn that you should beat the egg(s) before adding them (I didn’t and got egg-drop-soup-mixed-with-Lebkuchen-base-which-will-probably-be deficient-in-cohesiveness). Other things it should have had a warning about:

(1)honey+molasses put into a covered saucepan on top of a normal flame will come to a full rolling boil almost instantly

(2)if you add brown sugar to that like they say to, you run the risk of dropping the plastic measuring cup into the mess

(3)Upon trying to retrieve said measuring cup before it melts, you will get 3rd degree burns on your fingers

(4)You risk even more 3rd degree burns having to put the superheated mixture through a strainer to prevent the instantly-hardboiled egg shreds plus the pit(s) from the lemon that provided the fresh lemon juice from getting into the final cookie batter.

(5)They should have printed “does your kitchen have a metal sieve/strainer in the event of #4?” before they gave any other ingredients/instructions.


A similar lack of proper warnings plus poor planning affected the pear upside-down cake I made last week, which became an apple-pear upside-down cake at the last minute because of circumstances I shall explain below:

Having procured two (2) red anjou pears for the purpose which were slightly under-ripe, I kept mentally “putting off” assembly to this recipe, each day telling myself, “there’s another dessert”, “it can wait another day”, “I’m too tired”, “it’s too hot to bake”, until one day (1)one of the pears had to be thrown away, having gone completely soft, and (2) some days later, I found the other pear in the back of the veggie drawer, and it seemed to have an acceptable overall hardness not withstanding a few gashes and rotten spots. So tired as I was that night, I decided to swing into action, and assemble the rest of the ingredients, leaving actually cutting up the pear for last (what I usually do with fruit to prevent it from turning brown due to being “left out” while cut & peeled. BIG MISTAKE! The brown spots were even larger and deeper under the peel than on the outside of it, leaving only a few “good” pieces of pear. And the rest of the cake batter+topping was already made, so it was too late to call the whole thing off. Luckily, there were apples in the kitchen, and it was suggested that a sliced apple would be an acceptable substitute for a sliced pear. I took that and ran with it, and the cake came out largely as intended, except for one minor detail: in all the excitement, I had opened the bag of pecans, had to deal with the pear-related crisis, left the bag of pecans, assembled the cake and put it in the oven, forgetting to add the pecans to the topping entirely, and only after the cake was baked, finding the open bag of pecans and remembering what they were for.

This was the recipe:

Maple-Pecan Pear Upside Down Cake

Add comment September 22nd, 2007

Princess Diana’s Birthday Cake gone wrong

Because both my sister and I have birthdays coming up at the end of September, last week I decided to “test fly” a birthday cake recipe I had been saving for the day when I could amass the necessary ingredients. I had acquired the copy of The Enquirer containing the recipe for the late Princess Diana’s Birthday Cake when I was in middle school. Due to the extravagent quantities of whipped cream, eggs, sugar, and fresh berries involved, as well as the necessity of obtaining kirsch (and finding out what, exactly kirsch was), my actually making this recipe would have to wait until adulthood. What I didn’t figure on was that a week after making it, I’d be eating leftover cake for breakfast piece by piece, after having thought it would have been eagerly scarfed down by the entire family. The cake itself turned out to be tougher and denser than I had anticipated, and that is what resulted in the familial balking.
I thought the recipe itself might have been defective, seeing as how it said that you should beat the six eggs without separating them or adding leavening, so, believeing that I was the victim of a misprint, I went online and found another version of the recipe with the same method of making the cake, and one of the comments posted in the comments forum of this particular page had the same complaints about the cake.
Princess Dianas Birthday Cake
Shared by ÐØÑÑÅ
The recipe below is a wonderful one, which I have made many times. It tastes a lot like a birthday cake my mother used to get at a wonderful Italian bakery in Boston.
This recipe was taken out of the Feb. 1988 issue of Woman’s Day magazine.

“Diana had a special fondness for this cake because it was served at her childhood birthday parties.”

The baked layers can be wrapped and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. Unwrap and bring to room temperature before assembling. Completed cake can be refrigerated up to 4 hours before serving.

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


3 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 pint baskets (about 12 ounces each) strawberries, rinsed (reserve some for garnish), hulled and sliced

To make cake:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.Grease bottom and sides of two 8 or 9 inch round layer-cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper: grease paper. Add granulated sugar to each pan, tilt to coat bottom and sides; shake out excess. Beat eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until pale, about 1 minute. Gradually add the 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating about 2 minutes until mixture is thick, has tripled in volume and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon when beaters are lifted. Working quickly stir in water and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture just until completely blended. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until tops are lightly browned and pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run thin-bladed knife between sides of pans and cakes to loosen. Invert pans on rack; peel off waves paper and cool completely.

To make filling:

Beat cream and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in sugar until cream is of spreading consistency.

To assemble:

Slice each layer in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Place 1 layer on serving plate, spread with 1 cup whipped cream, top with one-third the sliced berries. Repeat with 2 more layers. Place remaining layer on top; spread remaining cream over sides and top. Garnish with reserved berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tummy Index: 5
(1=Lowfat, 5=Wear loose fitting clothes)?
Number of Portions:12
Preparation Time? 1 hours
While this recipe has no kirsch, in other details, including the cake ingredients, it is the same. Perhaps they also thought most American audiences wouldn’t like raspberries/would consider ‘em too expensive. Here’s the version I made, from The Enquirer, Aug. 18, 1987:
1 hour prep time
6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (for the cake, which will be eggs plus sugar plus flour plus vanilla)
1 and 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted (who even has a flour sifter anymore?)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. warm water
3 and 3/4 cups heavy cream (the carton I got from the supermarket holds only 3, and it’s a good thing I didn’t have that extra 3/4 of a cup, because the cake layers failed to rise as anticipated) 1 tbsp. sugar (for the whipped cream mixture) 3/4 cups kirsch (what they didn’t tell you was that you had to go to liquor stores all over town asking for kirsch and getting blank stares…finally I told myself that “kirschwasser” is the same damn thing and bought a small bottle at a reasonable? price).
2 & 1/4 cups raspberries (yes, my family are fans enough of raspberries to consider teh expense justified)
1 or 2 pints whole strawberries
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk eggs and 3/4 cup sugar together in medium bowl until light & fluffy. With a metal spoon, fold in sifted flour and quickly mix in water and vanilla. (When I tried, I got great clumps of flour and only made it worse by mixing; I ended up having to run for the electric beaters!) Pour mixture into cake pans. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cake is springy to the touch. Turn upside down onto wire rack to cool. (In order to get them out afterwards, I ended up having to cut the cakes out of the pans with a knife).
When cakes are cool, whip cream in medium bowl with 1 tbsp. sugar and 2 tbsps. of the kirsch. Split each cake in half (they didn;t get high enough to do so), forming four layers, and sprinkle layers with remaining kirsch (had I used that much kirsch, it would have been more “soak” than “sprinkle”.) Spread 2/3 of the cream mixture over 3 layers, then cover the layers with raspberries. Stack the three layers and top with the 4th layer. Spread remaining cream on cake. Surround with strawberries and serve.

Add comment September 16th, 2007

The ice cream tiramisu recipe

from RecipeZaar Cream Tiramisu

Recipe #230505

Adapted from Woman’s Day Magazine, June 2007.

Add comment September 11th, 2007

ice cream tiramisu adventure

Double posting with Ice Cream New York

For a Labor day treat, I made the Ice Cream Tiramisu recipe from Woman’s Day Magazine, June 2007,(for some reason this blog system won’t let me display the image of the magazine cover from the Woman’s Day site)

I had laid in a supply of Haagen-Dazs Dulce De Leche ice cream (the first pint having been eaten by other members of my family, a second pint had to be acquired);a pint of coffee flavored ice cream (the recipe for coffee ice cream in The Ultimate Ice Cream Book looked too complicated for em to attempt by myself)which I bought from Egger’s my favorite purveyor of homemade ice cream…extra creamy and undoubtebly the richest thing in there,but unquestionably “earned” in exercise as Egger’s is nearly a mile from home, and that’s a mile of walking because no buses go directly there from here; a bar of dark chocolate for the chocolate curls (hard to resist the temptation to eat a candy bar that’s lying around the kitchen) which I made with the potato peeler contra the instructions saying to make them with the grater, nevertheless they did not come out as thick or as well-curled as those in the magazine picture. Instead of whipped topping (yuck, I hate Cool Whip, I don’t know how I ate it when I was a kid when I look back on those days) I made the impromteau substitution of spray-can whipped cream, which brought the cat running. Bunky knows the sound of the aerosol whipped cream can, and one of her favorite treats is a “squirt” if whipped cream from the nozzle. Pretty smart for a cat. One “last minute” problem that cropped up (and they always do) was the fact that the recipe called for “soft” lady fingers, while the lady fingers I had long ago snapped up at a discount store and “socked away” for a gourmet cooking day, were distinctly hard, and had been so from date of manufacture.I thought this problem was not really a problem because I would be soaking ‘em in cold coffee mixed with coffee liquer (in this case, Kahlua) anyway, but that kind of backfired. I initially had the Kahlua/cold coffee in a measuring cup, and later poured it into a custard cup, the better to dip the ladyfingers into. One problem, the custard cup was not big enough to hold a lady finger horizontally, but dipping the ladyfingers vertically resulted in the ends of the lady finger being wetted with the coffee/Kahlua solution while this great hard spot dominated the middle, and increasing efforts to get the middle into the coffee/Kahlua solution only resulted in increasing the mess in the kitchen, until Jane came along and handed me a square microwave cake pan. Horizontal and shallow, it did the trick perfectly. Why they don’t suggest a thing like this in the magazines or have it in the preparation instructions when they micromanage darn near everything else is beyond me.

Add comment September 11th, 2007


Sponsored Links



September 2007
« Aug   Oct »

Posts by Month

Posts by Category