This week's headline: Rose's Heavenly Cakes has just been named one of Amazon's Top 10 Cookbooks of 2009. For those of us who are working our way through the book (and who have used Rose's other cookbooks), this isn't a big surprise, but it's certainly deserved. Congratulations, Rose!
Some of the other books on the list look good too. Does anyone have any experience with any of the others?
The pumpkin cake brought out a burst of creativity in the Heavenly Bakers. Not only were there some great decorations, but there were also some clever substitutes for the pumpkin mold. Kristina used a Fairytale Cottage bundt pan, but ended up lopping off the trees because they stuck in the pan. Several people used bundt pans, and others made cupcakes. Mendy made a layer cake and Hanaa used a 9 x 13-inch pan. (This is the first week Hanaa has had a workable kitchen, so she was finally able to bake along). Faithy has got to get the award for the cake that's most unlike the illustration in the book. She covered her pumpkin cake in white fondant and made it her 20th Anniversary cake! (Check out the wedding couple on and around the cake). Also worth checking out is Kate Coldrick's blog. Kate is the woman who has gained fame by figuring out how to turn British flour into an approximation of American cake flour. She and fellow blogger Melinda have dubbed themselves the "Fallen Angels" because, although they follow the adventures and misadventures of the Heavenly Bakers, they have decided to cheer us on from the sidelines.
This week's Featured Baker is Nancy B. She managed to buy the pumpkin cake pan at a bargain price on eBay, an excellent idea if you plan ahead. Nancy said the pan was out of stock at her regular cooking supply store because a cake using the mold was recently featured in Southern Living and there was a run on it at the store. Good thing it wasn't feature on Oprah, or none of us would have it.
Nancy decided to make Rose's golden neoclassic buttercream instead of the burnt orange meringue buttercream, but she had a few difficulties with that. (There is a theme in this week's icing attempts. Only a lucky few got it just right the first time). She also thought it was tricky to frost the pumpkin and was not completely satisfied with her marzipan ornaments. I personally think her completed pumpkin looks terrific! But we're more critical of our own work, aren't we?
We get a total break from any kind of icing, buttercream or otherwise, for the next cake: Baby Chocolate Oblivions. I think a lot of us have made this cake before. I first heard of it from Evil Cake Lady, who referred to it as a gluten-free cake. Which it is, I guess, but calling it gluten-free makes it sound so healthy and virtuous, whereas the cake itself is so ... not. The recipe has only four ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs, and sugar.
Rose highly recommends using silicone cupcake pans for their ease in unmolding the little cakes. I made these cakes last weekend and had a little batter left over, so I made one in a custard pan that I sprayed with Baker's Secret. It unmolded very easily with a sharp knife, so I would recommend that as an alternative to the silicone cupcake pans. In fact, it actually unmolded a little easier than the cakes in the silicone pan, which tended to leave behind a small bit of cake. This was actually good, because you couldn't tell it when the cakes where rightside up, and it also allowed me to sample little bits of the cake.