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Getting started with the CB
Posted: 14 June 2008 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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After tackling bread dough for the past year, I’m finally ready to jump feet first into the batter and start learning cake!  smile  I’ve always had a very difficult time with it.

I’ve got the TCB and have been pouring (or is it drooling?) over the recipes.  But I don’t know where to start.

Can any of you CB pros recommend an easy, as-fool-proof-as-possible, recipe to start with?  I’d like to set myself up for success and I have a bad habit of choosing the most technically-complicated recipe right out of the gate.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Sarah

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Posted: 14 June 2008 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Sarah.
I would suggest the Perfect Pound Cake. It is the first one I baked when I got the book and I was hooked. After years of creaming butter to make butter cakes the mixing method seemed like “this cannot work” but the results were so good that I just wanted to try one after another. The lemon poppy seed variation is to die for! But no matter what recipe you choose, if you follow the instructions you are going to be surprised by the results. Pay attention to ingredients temperature (important for the method to work) and enjoy the ride…and the cake!

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Posted: 14 June 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Sarah, all the recipes in the Cake Bible are fool proof since Rose has given such detailed instructions. Yes, some are a little bit more challenging than others but not impossible. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all. As Marina said try the Perfect Pound Cake to start off with. Just a few tips:
Have all your ingredients at room temp.
Weigh your ingredients as opposed to measuring them
Make sure your oven temp. is accurate
Use cake strips if you have them or make your own. It’s worth it
Read Rose’s “Pointers for Success” and you’ll definitely succeed.

Good luck! Let us know which cake you decide on and how it turned out.

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Posted: 14 June 2008 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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for a lighter pound cake, try the buttermilk country cake.  it comes with a flavor kick from the buttermilk.

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Posted: 15 June 2008 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for replies, everyone.

My plan is to start with the Pound Cake and I’ll let you know how I fare.  I also have a birthday cake to bake and decorate at the end of the week so TCB and I are going to be spending a lot of time together.

I spent a very happy day yesterday in my baking supply shop “gearing up” for cake baking.
For all the ease and convenience of shopping on the web, there is nothing more satisfying than being surrounded by, and getting your hands on, good equipment!

Thanks again!

Sarah

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Posted: 15 June 2008 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I was going to suggest the Pineapple upside down cake. It has always been one of my favorites. What I can’t figure out though is that every time I take it to a gathering no one will eat it! Is it just me? Am I the only one? Is it a NorthWest thing? What is wrong with pineapple upside down?

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Posted: 16 June 2008 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Gene,  Funny you should say that as I had exactly the same problem.  I used to bake desserts for the local Inn and they asked me to stop making it as it was never ordered off the menu.  However, the staff loved them.  I used fresh pineapple and to me that cake is one of the best ever!  So I think the problem is the perception and possibly memories of not-so-good PUSD cakes - but certainly not the one from TCB.

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Posted: 16 June 2008 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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For a layer cake, the butter cakes are easier than sponge, I agree start with the pound cake and then move on to something like carrot cake.  For a frosting, try the cream cheese buttercream or one of the ganache recipes, they are the easiest.  Or go for something that doesn’t need frosting, one of my favorites is the sour cream coffee cake, including the optional green apples.

And here’s a thought, if you are skilled with bread recipies, try the Strawberry Savarin, which is lovely this time of year with all the fresh berries around.  It is brioche bread soaked in syrup and covered in berries, really fabulous.  The only accompaniment you need is simple whipped cream.  I’ve made two in the last ten days, they were both very much admired.  If you don’t like the Kirsch, you can substitute rum or Grand Marnier to go with the strawberries.  I also fold the zest of two small oranges into the brioche dough, it is sublime with either the rum or the Grand Marnier. 

Regarding the pineapple upside down cake, I also love that recipe, but I find that people will devour it only if you make it with apples and call it a caramel-apple upside down cake!  I have a memory of trying one as a teenager that was made with canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, and way too much sugar, it still makes me cringe to think about it!

happy baking,
Julie

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Posted: 17 June 2008 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Gene, I think Julie nailed it:  Lots of people have memories of canned pineapple in a thick, cloying syrup and a cake studded with cherries.  I know June Cleaver pops into my mind. smile  I’ll bet if you called it “Gateau d’ananas” you’d see more enthusiasm.

I’ve also found a lot of people just don’t like pineapple, and that’s a shame.  Fresh pineapple is delicious!

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Posted: 20 June 2008 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I wanted to update and let all those who replied know…I had success!!

I made the pound cake earlier in the week and it was, indeed, perfect.  I really had only a day to admire it as it was eaten so quickly. smile

Yesterday, I made the All-Occasion Yellow Downey Butter Cake with the Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream.  The cake was so easy to put together and my first-time-ever use of magic strips during baking meant I had my first-ever level cake.  The one thing I did notice is that the cakes had pulled away from the sides before I removed it from the oven, not after, and I don’t know why that is.  The cakes needed more time in the oven than the recipe stated in order for the tester to come out clean so maybe it stayed in too long?

I was nervous about the Buttercream but following Rose’s directions to the letter produced a beautiful result.  At one point it did curdle, but I just took a deep breath, followed her advice, and it came back togther quickly.

I did learn yesterday that this Buttercream is not something you want to make on a 100-degree day in a house with no air conditioning.  I had to work very quickly, as I was afraid the whole thing would turn into a puddle, but it held up amazingly well despite the heat.  I only wish I had fared so well. smile

Another thing I learned:  I weighed all the ingredients (as I was taught to do when making bread) and I found that the 1lb. box of butter I was using was acutally more than 1lb.  I had a moment of indecison but stuck to the scale’s measurement and I’m glad I did.  Had I followed the box I would have put a great deal more butter into the Buttercream than was called for.

Many thanks to all for your generous advice and thanks especially to Rose for helping me to make a cake!

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Posted: 20 June 2008 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Congratulations Sarah! I’m glad you were succesful. It only gets easier from here. Wait till you try some of the other recipes which are to die for.  smile

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Posted: 20 June 2008 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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SarahM - 20 June 2008 03:02 PM

I wanted to update and let all those who replied know…I had success!!

Yesterday, I made the All-Occasion Yellow Downey Butter Cake with the Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream.  The cake was so easy to put together and my first-time-ever use of magic strips during baking meant I had my first-ever level cake.  The one thing I did notice is that the cakes had pulled away from the sides before I removed it from the oven, not after, and I don’t know why that is.  The cakes needed more time in the oven than the recipe stated in order for the tester to come out clean so maybe it stayed in too long?


Another thing I learned:  I weighed all the ingredients (as I was taught to do when making bread) and I found that the 1lb. box of butter I was using was acutally more than 1lb.  I had a moment of indecison but stuck to the scale’s measurement and I’m glad I did.  Had I followed the box I would have put a great deal more butter into the Buttercream than was called for.

Congratulations Sarah!!!  You might be interested in putting a flower nail, upside down, in the center of your cake pan (I just plunk it in after I fill the pan with batter)... that will help the center to bake a little faster for you.  I’m so glad you liked the baking strips… they are wonderful!

Oh, I too have found that a stick of butter rarely weighs 4 oz… one more reason to weigh everything!

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Posted: 13 July 2008 11:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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SarahM - 20 June 2008 03:02 PM

I wanted to update and let all those who replied know…I had success!!

I made the pound cake earlier in the week and it was, indeed, perfect.  I really had only a day to admire it as it was eaten so quickly. smile

Yesterday, I made the All-Occasion Yellow Downey Butter Cake with the Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream.  The cake was so easy to put together and my first-time-ever use of magic strips during baking meant I had my first-ever level cake.  The one thing I did notice is that the cakes had pulled away from the sides before I removed it from the oven, not after, and I don’t know why that is.  The cakes needed more time in the oven than the recipe stated in order for the tester to come out clean so maybe it stayed in too long?

I was nervous about the Buttercream but following Rose’s directions to the letter produced a beautiful result.  At one point it did curdle, but I just took a deep breath, followed her advice, and it came back togther quickly.

I did learn yesterday that this Buttercream is not something you want to make on a 100-degree day in a house with no air conditioning.  I had to work very quickly, as I was afraid the whole thing would turn into a puddle, but it held up amazingly well despite the heat.  I only wish I had fared so well. smile

Another thing I learned:  I weighed all the ingredients (as I was taught to do when making bread) and I found that the 1lb. box of butter I was using was acutally more than 1lb.  I had a moment of indecison but stuck to the scale’s measurement and I’m glad I did.  Had I followed the box I would have put a great deal more butter into the Buttercream than was called for.

Many thanks to all for your generous advice and thanks especially to Rose for helping me to make a cake!

Now, you *must* try the white chocolate whisper. It is divine.

If your meringue buttercream curdles, just continue to beat it at a higher speed. It will always reconstitute and become silky. Some cookbooks even go as far as to suggest that curdling is an expected step in the making of buttercream.

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Posted: 14 July 2008 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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since we’re talking about TCB I have to be honest and say that I have never made a real cake (custards aside) from TCB that came out. they are usually very very dry and crumbly and i just don’t know how to make them edible.  it is frustrating because i can make a frosting that will make you weep (from TCB) but my scratch cakes stink

jen

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Posted: 14 July 2008 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had trouble Jen.  Can you tell me the last TCB cake recipe you tried and didn’t like?

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Posted: 14 July 2008 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Julius, it did go through the curdle stage and I did as both you and Rose suggested and beat it at a higher speed.  Turned out perfectly.  smile

In response to the post above, I will say that the All-Occasion cake I made turned out drier and far more crumbly than I would have liked.  I gather that’s a not-unheard of problem with this particular cake?  I did some poking around and found one forum member prefers using all-purpose bleached flour, instead of cake flour, in Rose’s recipes.  I tried this on my next cake and I had much better results.

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