Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TWD's 2nd Anniversary! Chocolate Buttermilk Birthday Cake and (Apple) Tarte Tatin!

Happy second anniversary Tuesdays with Dorie! Two years ago, Laurie posted this on her blog. She had the idea to bake her way through Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, one of the best cookbook writers of all time. Although the group has been baking for two years, I only joined this September. Even so, my oven is now set to "Dorie mode" (three racks, evenly spaced), and I have what seems like endless plastic containers of her bittersweet ganache in my fridge (is it just me, or does it seem like that same recipe is used as a part of a thousand others???). Sometimes it's calming to knead biscuit dough - other times it's stressful to figure out when I'm going to have time to make a cake with four different components. But it's always so much fun to bake, eat, and blog about that week's recipe.
For this week, the members all voted on which recipe we should make. It was a close call between the Chocolate Buttermilk Birthday Cake and the Tarte Tatin. We were allowed to choose to make either/both this week. It being the second anniversary, I thought I should make both. First up: the cake.

The batter for this one was pretty simple. Instead of buttermilk, I used my usual substitute, milk with a splash of vinegar. It worked great. The icing was a bit trickier. First you have to melt several ingredients (lots of chocolate and the secret ingredient, malt powder) over a saucepan of simmering water. This is supposed to result in a smooth, glossy mixture. Yeah, not so much for me. It came out like one glob of what looked like burnt chocolate. I was worried this would make the icing a failure, but once it was beat in with the other ingredients it was fine. What I tasted of the icing was delicious. I didn't get a chance to taste the cake itself. I heard it was good, but a bit too sweet.
Earlier that day we went to the New York Cake Convention (which by the way was amazing!). This got me into a "decorating mood" :D . I have never been very good at piping, but I decided to try it. I was able to make the cute little.... uh... I don't know what to call them... on the side of the cake. I was so proud! I want to keep practicing my piping skills, and eventually work with fondant. Exciting!
Next up: Tarte Tatin. I decided to stick to the recipe and use apples. I had some issues with this one. First you cut up apple halves. You melt butter in an oven-proof skillet, sprinkle on some sugar, and put on the apples. You cook this until the sugar turns a "deep caramel color". This is supposed to take about fifteen minutes. I cooked it for about twenty-five, and it wasn't darkening enough, so I decided to just forget it and continue with the recipe. You put on a big round of puff pastry and stick the whole thing in the oven until it's cooked through. I think I could have cooked both the apples and the pastry more, because both were quite light in color, but the tarte was delicious. It made six slices - I ate one and then went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, there was none left. And my parents were the only ones at home with me. I guess they liked it!
Both of these are recipes that I will make again for special occasions. If you want either of the recipes, I highly recommend that you buy the book that started it all. You won't regret it! And hey, if you buy it, join Tuesdays with Dorie! Thank you so much to all of my fellow TWD members for baking along with me. I can't wait for all of 2010's recipes! Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

給你一個鼓勵 ..................................................

Flourchild said...

Perfect..I love them both!
Happy Anniversry TWD! It's been fun baking with you and I look fwd to more baking adventures!

Sophia said...

marco - ?????????
flourchild - thank you! it has been so much fun :)

Leslie said...

Wow, that is one beautiful cake! When you said you had a slice of the tarte Tatin and went to bed, I thought you were going to follow it with how you had more for breakfast. Uhh, guess not. Glad you got to sneak a piece before it was devoured!

TeaLady said...

Good for you to make both. Your piping skills look great. Love doing that myself.

And your tarte looks just right. I almost forgot to put the sugar in and couldn't figure out why my apples weren't caramelizing. DUH!! It did take a while tho.

Sophia said...

leslie - i wish i could have it for breakfast! :)
tealady - thanks!