I know this is supposed to be for your “best successes,” but is posting “best efforts” okay, too? My cakes are definitely the work of a novice, but I figured maybe it would give everyone a chuckle, and sometimes seeing other people’s so-so looking cakes (i.e., those would be mine!) makes you realize how beautiful your own are! I went on a baking binge last week and also got in my copy of Rose’s Pie and Pastry Bible! So, a pie and two cakes…
1) Open Faced Double Strawberry Pie - This was delicious and the prettiest of the bunch! I used my EH ceramic plate which is too big for this recipe, but the only ones I have, but no one minded a little extra crust. The pie was gone in one night, so I made another and invited the in-laws and my aunts over for the second one. First pie, it kind of ran all over the plate when I cut into it (not that we minded), so in my second attempt I cooled the strawberry filling more thoroughly and even stuck the whole pie in the fridge for a little bit before cutting. I’m still getting the hang of working with the pie crust in the Ziploc bag (wish there was a video of this being done somewhere), but I can clearly see the improved flakiness over the America’s Test Kitchen recipe/method I’d been using before. And I like using all butter—fewer ingredients! I used the regular pie crust recipe, but I noticed that Rose now recommends substituting heavy cream for the water in the cream cheese recipe. Would it make sense to substitue heavy cream for the water in the regular crust recipe as well?
2) Lemon Poppyseed Cake - I know this one is a rite of passage for all Heavenly Cake fans and old news, but it was so yummy and easy to make I thought I’d post it anyway! Guess I could have prettied it up with some powdered sugar, but it’s so good as is! I made one a few weeks ago and then made another to give to my friend for her birthday.
3) She Loves Me Cake - Okay, so I probably don’t need to tell you—this is the first time I’ve worked with royal icing, and I need A LOT of practice, heehee. I thought they were still somewhat recognizable as flowers, and since it was just family eating it I figured I could practice. It was much prettier before my decorating attempts, though! The lemon curd and blueberry filling was gorgeous, at least. I overcooked my lemon curd again (2nd time making it), thought I saw 196 degrees somewhere but it didn’t need to get that hot. Took forever since I was paranoid it would boil - next time I will heed Shirley C’s advice who recommends taking it off the heat when it is medium/heavy cream consistency since it definitely keeps thickening. I thinned it out with some milk and it worked fine. I made two versions of royal icing, a thicker one for outlining and a thinner one for flooding, not that you can tell the difference in mine! I think I need a smaller tip (I was using squeeze bottles) and also thicker icing for the piping. If anyone has any tips on using royal icing, much appreciated! This kind was from the meringue powder mix.
Finally, I somewhat overbaked this cake. Went out and invested in the cute dasiy pan, baked at 325 since it is a dark pan, but my oven was running about 25 degrees hotter and I didn’t bother to cool it down before I put the cake in. It was already pulling back from the sides of the pan at 40 minutes, but the middle wasn’t springing back so…I baked it another 3 minutes. A mistake, I think. So, the flavor was good but it was a little dry…the lemon curd and blueberries saved it!