First of all, I would like to thank Britt of Blue Cafe for having me as a guest blogger. Please see Britt's blog and my review of three recipes I tried from my current favourite cookbook, Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours.
The Arts Club in Vancouver recently put up a production of Stephen Sondheim's Company. It's a musical that I always enjoy primarily because it is filled with sardonic wit. When I first saw the show years ago, I was unabashedly single. I reveled in how it scrutinized the lives of married folk. You know - the tedium and the attempts at flight from tedium which often lead to humourous situations (at least in musicals). Then, invariably, I am let down by the schmaltzy penultimate number Being Alive.
Well, that was then. I am no longer single and now I have Patrick - that someone "who holds me too close, knows me too well." And have one more excuse to make a cake: our anniversary.
This is Rose Levy Beranbaum's Golden Almond Cake baked in two six-inch springform pans (instead of the lone nine-inch cake pan called for). One of the many great aspects of Ms Beranbaum's Cake Bible is it tells you what exactly to expect. Having been warned that this cake bakes with a domed top - which is appropriate for a single-layer treat but not for my purpose - I used insulating cake strips to force flat layers.
Each cake was torted in half to make a total of four layers. One layer was used for "quality control" because changing pan sizes introduces an element of uncertainty to the final outcome of cakes.
The remaining layers were filled with lemon curd and stacked. I always favour a lackadaisical approach to icing so I chose Martha's seven-minute frosting, which is just about as fuss-free as a homemade icing could be.
The tang of lemon curd, restrained decadence of almonds and levity of meringue all combine here, and show off a gorgeous tan to boot. It was a great ending to the dinner that Patrick slaved over for hours to prepare. I enjoyed mulling over the fact that it took me a fraction of his kitchen time to put all this together.
And that dinner? It was... perfect. For so many reasons.
- Many bloggers are enamoured with RLV's Golden Almond Cake. Baking Beast followed the recipe as written and is exultant. Sandra from Le Pétrin substituted cream for sour cream and has nothing but praises - in French. Aunty Yochana took a photo which shows the fine crumb structure.
- I divided the batter into two six-inch springform pans, and wrapped the sides of the pan with cake strips. They baked in 30 minutes and the tops were flat, each is about 1¾ inches tall.
- I'm quite taken by how simple and effective taking a spatula around an iced cake could be. The inspiration is from Miette Pâtisserie in San Francisco and Baked NYC. Matt and Christine from the latter bakery demonstrate in this video how to swirl frosting (fast forward to the last 15 seconds of the video, then wait for the third segment to load) .