Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Quick And Dirty Cake Post

There's been quite a bit of upheaval going on here at Casa De Panda (yes, Panda is my nickname, or Miss Panda if you're feelin' all curtsy-ish and formal).  The Supreme Overlord Of All He Surveys aka Manic The Cat got ill and died quite suddenly, and frankly I've been quite exhausted and unwell too.
All my food intolerance seem to have acted up and I am currently surviving on rice, natto, scrambled eggs and black tea.  I could kid myself and say I'm on a detox regime, but the truth is far more depressingly monastic.  Tea is wonderful, but what would be even more wonderful would be a creamy hot chocolate laced with Baileys and cream.

So this post is just mainly photos of cakes I baked last month.  While I've provided links for the recipe and icing for the tres leches cake, I absolutely promise I'll provide the recipe for the Alladin Sane-iced gâteau aux noisettes in my next post.  As for the black forest cake - it tasted delicious, but the recipe for it is quite temperamental and needs quite a bit of tweaking.
May I suggest we just enjoy it with our eyes?

Tres leches cake for Miss Izbit's 1st Birthday.

A child's first birthday party is more for the parents and their adult friends than the actual child, don't you think?  Cakes shaped like fairy princesses, Sesame Street characters or Darth Vader (yes, there is a mold) come later in life, once the capacity for speech has developed and the child can haughtily point and declare "I want...!"

With this in mind, I set out to make a cake which tasted nice and could be simply decorated.
The occasion called for a Crowd Pleaser.  After doing a test bake, a tres leches cake using The Pioneer Woman's recipe was declared The One.  It was the embodiment of the word "pleasant" - Doris Day disguised as baked goods.  As the cake would be sitting out for several hours, food safety was a concern, so I decided to use Joe Pastry's recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the icing.

The attending crowd was suitably pleased.  The Birthday Girl showed her appreciation by cramming a portion in her mouth, then in the face of another child.  Success!

As lovely as the tres leches is, it is not for everyone.  Heck, I confess, it was barely even for me.  It is stabbed thoroughly then drowned even more thoroughly in a mix of cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk.  So if you have issues with dairy or gluten (I have varying degrees of both) then it is Far Too Much To Handle.  Although delicious, it is a One Serving Is Enough sort of cake.

So enter this bad boy:

This gâteau aux noisettes (hazelnut cake) and I have been friends for a long, long time.  My former boss uses it as her go-to dish for potluck occasions.  New employees have been greeted by it's charms and it has graced plenty of morning teas.  Truly, the office was a better place because of this cake.  

There are only about 5 ingredients and the hazelnuts give it a beautiful flavour, it is truly a (gluten-free) delight. 

Finally, Miss Tessa's Black Forest Birthday Cake.  In terms of delight, there is no substitute for a luscious, layered cake.  Juicy cherries meet whipped cream in chocolate cake, drizzled with cherry brandy.  Holy foodporn, Batman!  No wonder you feel a bit naughty eating it.
As a child, Black Forest Cake was a very occasional treat, definitely in the realm of Grown-Up Food.  And now I'm (technically) a grown-up with an oven, I can bake and eat it whatever I want, whenever the whim takes me.

With adulthood comes taxes.  However, you also really can have your cake and eat it too.

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