Yellow Cake with Orange Curd and (Accidental) Chocolate Frosting, or, “In for a penny, in for a pound”

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Sorry. That is all that was left by the time I remembered I hadn’t taken a picture of it. That is how good this cake is! Y’know the movie “Gone in 60 Seconds”? That was this cake. Actually, it was just one of those days.

We had our team Christmas party today, and in typical fashion, I was wringing my hands over what to make. I was taking into consideration so many factors like, “I want to make something that is portable, and a bit of a showstopper, but something that will not be heavy on the palate after our big meal”. First it was something from the Bouchon Bakery book (not going to work out a 17million hour recipe on a work night thank you very much), then it was this cake, then it was Linzer and Black and White cookies, then I was like, “screw it, I’m making this cake” because we are getting in-season citrus now, and it’s such a classic flavor profile during the holidays. And I had an extra Crack Pie in the freezer so I brought that. Because? In for a penny, in for a pound.

I started on this cake Monday night. I actually used Martha Stewart’s Yellow Butter Cake recipe, but I was a little worried about the comments some had posted saying that theirs turned out too dry. I figured they were probably lazy with their dry ingredients, plus over baked, and/or over mixed their ingredients. Turns out I was right… Sift your flour, spoon it into you measuring cup, level your measuring cup, don’t over mix, and for God’s sake, start testing your cake at 20 minutes because every oven is different. You’ll be just fine. It was light, fluffy, and moist.

I purchased two different color oranges, which I thought would be nice for the curd since you aren’t straining it, and the darker zest stands out.

And then the ganache. Originally, this was supposed to be a ganache, and not a frosting. I meticulously watched it and cooled it. I fridged it over night, and by the time I woke up, the ganache had set… But not entirely. My mistake, I think, was in using a more steep bowl, rather than a more shallow bowl. Anyway, it was still too loose to use on the cake, but I didn’t have a kitchen meltdown. I actually thought back to how my mom made frosting back in the day… Powdered sugar.

1/3 of a cup by 1/3 of a cup I added powdered sugar to the loose ganache, and hand mixed it. About halfway through I’m like, “why the eff am I mixing this by hand? I have a stand mixer”. But by then I’m already up to my elbows in chocolate, so… I finished it by hand. At about 2 2/3 cups i thought i was pretty close, but I thought… Meh. In for a penny, in for a pound, and I added one last 1/3 of a cup to round it off (the extra bit did make a big difference). I actually loved the way it came out. Probably better than if I had used it as a ganache.

I frosted my cake (and by the way you will still need to chill the cake until about 30 minutes before serving just to keep everything from melting with the amount of chocolate and dairy in this), and then I’m all like “this cake is too plain”, so I broke out the piping tips for decoration, and even dried out a round of orange in the oven at 250 for 30-ish minutes for garnish. I was committed. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Despite all of the road bumps I hit, no one was the wiser but you, dear reader. Like I said, it went fast. It was so delicious.

Recipe.

Like I said, cake recipe taken from Martha Stewart, here.

Orange Curd:

3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh orange juice, strained
2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes

In a non aluminum saucepan over medium heat, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the butter melts and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. Like I said,  I used one orange that had a deeper color to create visible flecks of zest in the curd.

Chocolate Frosting

24 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
4 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cups powdered sugar

On low heat, melt chocolate chips into the heavy cream, stirring frequently, 30+ minutes. Chill your ganache in the fridge for 7 hours. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, gradually add in the powdered sugar until it has reached the desired consistency. For me this was at 3 cups. If you are not using your frosting right away, make sure to fridge it until you do.

Wipocalypse – December 2014

This month’s post is a retrospective of our stitching progress over the last year. Also, I promised a progress pic for my initial work on Tradewinds.

First, Happy Dances:

Celtic Banner, designed by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

Grumpy Kitty, designed by Brooks Books

Mystery piece (check back on December 26th to see it)

Next, existing WIPs:

Of course I had my WIP list, which I posted on New Year’s day, which you can find here. Nothing has changed on that list, except for the Celtic Banner completion, as previously mentioned.

I did, however, start two new pieces:

Teresa Wentzler’s “Tradewinds” (more below), and

Giovanni’s Alphabet by Tempting Tangles.

Back to Tradewinds, here is my current progress:

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Needless to say, I did a ton of work on this over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I’m really enjoying this! I think it will be my focus piece for the foreseeable future.

Back to the Grind (Momofuku Milk Bar – Crack Pie)

Well. Here we are. Monday morning, after a four-day weekend.

I would be lying if I said I did much productive.

Well, that is not entirely true.

I did make Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie:

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There is a version of the recipe on Epicurious, but it omits the corn powder, and shifts to cups/tbs rather than weight measurement (vis a vis grams) that the cookbook version calls for. In reading the reviews on there, it seems that a lot of bakers struggled with that version of the recipe, and I, using the book, did not, following it faithfully. I am sure you can find the cookbook version of the recipe on line somewhere, and again, I will not post it for copyright reasons. I will say, however, that my bake time was closer to that of the Bon Appetit/Epicurious recipe. I highly recommend purchasing the cookbook… There are so many great recipes in there, and it is definitely worth the money to pick it up!

Also, this pie? It is soo delicious! A lot of reviewers on BA found it cloyingly sweet, but I did not. I thought it had a great depth of flavor, and were I not already packed full of food from Thanksgiving, would have gone in for another slice. Again this may be related to my having measured my ingredients by weight, rather than converting to cups and such, which can create a variance in quantity of any particular ingredient. Luckily, the second pie (the book recipe creates two pies) went uneaten, so we were able to save that in the freezer for another yummy day!

Speaking of corn powder, if you are looking for freeze dried corn, check to see if you have a food storage store near you. I live in a state that has a heavy emphasis on food storage and disaster preparation, and was able to find freeze dried corn there for about $5. Of course you can always source it on line, if no such store is available to you. Sometimes living here has its advantages. 😎

I also completed the compass motif from Teresa Wentzler’s “TradeWinds”, as well as a start on the alphabet, which took me the better part of the weekend. I will write about that more on Wednesday, with the last Wipocalypse post of the year.

WIP Wednesday, and a Little Family History

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As I was coming to a close on my most recent WIP, I saw a snippet of someone’s “Tradewinds” (Teresa Wentzler) WIP. I had forgotten about this piece, but knew immediately that I had to stitch it, and I needed to do so asap. So, I sourced a copy off of eBay for a song, and actually had everything I needed to kit it from my stash (I only had to supplement about 12 skeins of floss).

So here we are. And I am just enjoying it so much!

You know, though, I have always been one to enjoy a good nautical theme. And not just because it’s preppy or popular. When I think of nautical things, it just seems to be a part of my soul. I can’t explain it better than that. It just seems to be a part of who I am! Now that I live completely inland, I feel as if a part of myself is being starved. Is that weird to say? I have always wondered if there is a part of each of our DNA that draws us to food and experiences that reflect our heritage, as if our body needs it to flourish. Hmm…

It makes sense though. Part of my maternal family created the first commercial shipbuilding yard in post Revolutionary Connecticut! They built brigantines and schooners – some for river trading, and some for cross oceanic travel and trade. The industry and trade that sprang up in the area surrounding the shipbuilding community actually rivaled that of the New York and Boston harbors.

On a more interesting note, Privateering (and rum running!) sprang up as a prosperous career path out of this Connecticut industry as well. I read an article in an older DAR magazine that spoke about how, as a result of his father’s shipbuilding company, my ancestor operated as a privateer during the Revolution… At the tender age of 14! He would work in concert with other young men, not much older than he, commandeering British naval ships for use by the Colonialists in the war. Efforts like this are what helped our budding young nation to win the war, since we really had no navy of our own, certainly not to match the British. Anyway, my young ancestor was captured and imprisoned on the HMS Jersey in Walabout Bay (now where the Brooklyn Naval Yard is), where he stayed for quite some time. He was later booted off the side of the boat, covered in louse, and forced to walk home to his family in Connecticut. He is lucky to have survived, as the conditions aboard the Jersey were not conducive. I could give you many examples where my ancestors (thankfully) toughed it out!

Anyway, as in post more WIP pictures, I will try to find more stories of my family’s maritime history.

On My Mind

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1. Generally speaking, brisket has not been my favorite cut of beef. I think it mostly has to do with not finding a preparation that I enjoy… Until now. I found this recipe from Epicurious, and based just on name alone you should run out and make it: Braised Brisket with Bourbon and Peach glaze. So delicious. Truly. Get on this one to warm your belly and senses during this cold weather!

2. I always love getting the new Lilly Pulitzer catalog. This one had some pics from some of the upcoming new releases. I know we are only beginning the onslaught of the cold and snow, but these are a few of my favorites from the catalog. They will be going on my spring wish list, and if I have the opportunity, I will stow them away in my closet for when the warmer weather gets here. It helps to remind that the snow won’t last forever!

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Janice Shift in True Navy

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Cambridge Palazzo in Pomegranite Jungle Tumble

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Janice Shift in Spectrum Blue Catwalk

WIP Wednesday – A Celtic Banner Happy Dance!

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I know, I know. The picture totally sucks, but I am trying to crop out all of my bathroom door! Also, just for context, I am 5’0″, and this length of fabric is almost as long as I am tall! This is why I included all sorts of close up pictures below. 

But! It. Is. Done. That is my second big WIP Happy Dance this year (the other will be revealed at the end of the year), and when looking back at where I started the year with this piece, I really accomplished a lot with it… More than half the piece.

In any event, I thought I was done with this on Sunday, but then discovered I was missing some stitching from the knotwork border, and had to finish that up tonight – just in time for this post!

Here are the close up pictures (apologies for it being so picture heavy):

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