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Entries in cakes (63)

Thursday
Nov262009

Just a Speck: The Birnen Speck Cake

Pear and Bacon Cake
This photo is credited to Einwanger, Klaus-Maria on Kuechengoetter.com.

As a dessert detective agency, it is the official duty of CakeSpy to report on the birnen speck cake.

What's a birnen speck cake? Well, birnen means pear; speck roughly translates as bacon; and cake...well, you know that one.
Birnen Speck Cake
Yup: Pear Bacon Cake. I was tipped off about this cake by Criminal Crafts, and finally hunted down a recipe and tutorial online on the site kuechengoetter.de. Basically this cake is made by laying bacon in a loaf pan, nestling pared pears on top, and then smothering it all in cake batter before baking it. The result? A confection which yields a strangely pretty slice, with pear shards surrounded by buttery cake, all surrounded by pink-red-and-white bacon. Ready to give it a try? While an effort to directly translate may not be easy, the recipe can be found here.

Wednesday
Sep162009

Royal Sweet: Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle

Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle
When Kristina of Svedala Bakery sent a message saying she'd recently made a batch of Princess cake and invited me to try some, the response was swift and without hesitation: Y.E.S.

And so a sojourn was made to Svedala's small location in the Pike Place Market (in the same corridor as Daily Dozen Donut Co.) and she gave us two pieces to-go.

The first thing you'll notice about Svedala's Princess Cake is that it's pink, as opposed to the more frequently seen green (remember how it became a CakeSpy obsession a while back?). Why so? Well, it's actually a green reason: since they color and flavor all of their baked goods naturally, they've found that the color they can get from beet juice is much more appetizing than natural green dyes, which tend more toward a drab green.

But you're not going to want to linger on the color for long. At this point, you're going to want to get this cake in your mouth.
Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle
Svedala's princess cake is--how else to put it--transcendent. It's a beautiful balance, with lighter layers of sponge cake and a rich whipped cream which is somehow light at the same time that it coats your mouth with a creamy flavor, anchored by more substantial vanilla bean pastry cream and fresh jam layers, and it's all held together by a rich, almondy marzipan. Once slices are cut, the marzipan layer all but melts into the cake, which makes for a perfect marriage of flavors, especially along the edge of the cake. While I had initially expressed a concern that the marzipan layer might be too thin for safe transport, I have been assured that the cake does transport better as a whole cake, and that the baker has been considering some different options to help the cake maintain form better.

If you are in Seattle, this one is a must-try. Since the Princess Cake is not available every day, please do call ahead for availability.

 


If you are not in Seattle, don't despair: you can find more Princess cake lore here, and a recipe for an American variation on the Princess cake here.

 

Thursday
Nov012007

Things That Make You Go Hum: The Hummingbird Cake of Baker Boys and More

Hummingbird cake. Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is like carrot cake, but instead of carrots, it has banana and tiny bits of pineapple and nuts. Originally from the Deep South, the origin of the name is a bit of a mystery; some say that it's because it's so good it makes you "hum with happiness".

However, we prefer another explanation, that its sweetness causes people to hover around it, like hummingbirds around sweet nectar. Indeed, this is exactly what happened when we first encountered the Hummingbird cake at Baker Boys of Ocean Grove, NJ, a bakery opened earlier this year by the charming Russell Lewis (who cites Billy's Bakery and the Buttercup Bakeshop as inspirations). With dense, moist, subtly spiced banana cake layers and thick, buttery frosting, it was one of those cake slices that is pretty much impossible to stop eating until it's gone--and that will leave you aching for more. We've heard that crack has this effect too, but we digress.

And while the store employee told us that Red Velvet was the most popular flavor, we at Cakespy believe that another cake is going to cause a stir--er, make that a hum, once word gets around.

The Baker Boys is located at 69 Main Ave., Ocean Grove, NJ. 

Cakespy Note: Not in NJ? We feel your pain, so we tried out a Hummingbird cake recipe ourselves, from Whole Foods (we've generally been happy with their recipes). We opted to make it into cupcakes instead; here's the recipe, with a picture of our results.

Hummingbird Cake (from the Whole Foods Website)
  • 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached organic white flour
  • 1 3/4 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large organic eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with its own juice, (do not drain)
  • 2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups organic bananas, chopped (about 4 medium)

  • Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, (use organic if available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3–4 tablespoons organic low fat milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly spray or oil a 9x13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine flour with sugar, salt, soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs with the applesauce, oil, vanilla, and pineapple until well combined. Add this egg mixture to the dry ingredients, incorporating all ingredients well. Add the pecans and bananas, mixing well, until all ingredients are combined. Spoon the batter into prepared baking dish. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until done when tested in the center with a toothpick. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar with the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and the milk, stirring with a wire whisk. The glaze should spread easily. Pour the glaze over the cake and using a rubber spatula, spread evenly across the entire top of the cake. As the glaze sets it hardens a bit.

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