Friday, April 16, 2004

Here's a short list of things that went wrong baking the reine de saba cake:

-I assumed I had almond extract. I had Jeff pick some up, but had the cake batter sitting around for a while, waiting.

-I couldn't figure out if by strong coffee, Julia meant just ground coffee (I've used instant coffee in things, after all) or brewed liquid coffee. I guessed liquid.

-I decided to whip the egg whites first, since I only have a stand mixer and one mixing bowl, and I knew I couldn't whip the egg whites in a bowl with any trace of fat in them. So I whipped them, poured them into another bowl, and prayed they wouldn't collapse while I did everything else (it was only after I made this decision that I realized they'd be sitting around for a bit, too.) They didn't.

And that was it. The rest was a joy- Trader Joe's makes almond meal stuff that saved me the step of pulverizing my own almonds (much as I wanted to, I didn't want to then wash the food processor). I really, really love baking with my stand mixer. Love it. And melting chocolate? I want a double boiler, and someday will have one, but melting chocolate may be my superpower. I don't know what all the fuss is.

So I made these two cakes, which were chocolate, with a soft chocolate icing (also? Julia tells you to make WAY more soft chocolate icing than you need. Which you can then eat straight. If you are so inclined) and then a layer of chocolate leaves on top. And then dusted with cocoa powder. I wish I'd taken a picture- but if you have a copy of The Way To Cook you can see what it looked like. I was pretty impressed with myself. And it tasted amazing, too- the teacher I made it for is one of my heroes, and has incredibly high standards for everything, which was the only thing that had me nervous- she took extra home. That was all I needed to see.

The pork clay pot for dinner was good, too- I loved the sauce.