Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing (Page 723)

  • Date: Sunday, March 9, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Matt, Ana, Craig, Ricky, Peter, Alex, and Grace
  • Recipe Rating: C+

I don't have so many cakes left, but I wanted to make one for our little get-together a few weeks ago. Matty doesn't have too much cake-making equipment in his apartment, so I was forced to make this one by equipment limitations. This cake was disappointing. The cake itself was tasty -- it was nice and spicy with a tender crumb. It was just very slightly too dry for my taste, but I am very sensitive to dry cake. The frosting though... The point of frosting is to take something fairly delicious and amp up the deliciousness factor. I love frosting! I have hardly met a frosting that I don't like. And it is almost unheard of that I would have preferred the cake without it's delicious, sugary, frosting topping. In this case though, the frosting was a big detractor. Looking at the picture alone you can tell that I had a bit of a frosting disaster. This frosting is very fudge-like in nature, and similar to a brown sugar fudge, it involved boiling sugar with some other stuff until a very particular temperature. This I did with no problems. Then the instructions said to beat it with an electric mixer until it was spreadable, about five minutes. So I started beating. I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for, so I used the 5 minutes as a guide. Big mistake! After 3 minutes it was so cool that it was starting rapidly to turn into a solid. So I began furiously spreading. The first half of the cake got covered before my frosting turned to a rock, but no such luck with the second half. So I tried reheating the frosting, which often works with this kind of thing. No luck with that either. So I patted the solid frosting all over my cake, hence the scary appearance above. After all that, the frosting didn't even taste so good. It was rather grainy (which is typical for a penuche frosting like this one, but still not something that I like), and it just didn't at all have the texture of a frosting. It was completely solid, so it didn't contribute any sense of moistness to the bite as frosting often does. In summary: this cake was not a winner.

Here is the recipe.

Sorry for the long silence. My trips to California are always jam-packed and this one has been no exception. I made it here without incident late Friday night. Saturday I hung out with Emilee, Brian, and Matty. It was so fun to have the four of us all together. On Sunday we celebrated Easter by going to Easter service and then going to a big Easter dinner at some friends of Emilee and Brian's. The weather was beautiful and we ate a huge dinner on picnic tables outside. It was really fun. I made a big Easter cake from The Book. It wasn't great (more on that when I get to it), but a huge cake covered in coconut definitely put me in the Easter spirit.

The conference that Matty and I are attending out here started Monday. The talks have been really excellent so far, and it is always great to see all the friends that come along with such a conference. V is here, and Vero (she's lecturing all week), and Ricky, etc... So we have been having a fun time!


paul said...


I'm dieting this week and last, but I accidentally
clicked on the bookmark to your blog. Arrghhh!!!
Couldn't you just have posted a bunch of red meat recipes that don't do anything for a vegetarian?


Magdalen said...

It seems like the frosting needed to be cut with whipped cream, or something. Like Paul, I'm dieting this week (not hard to do, though: I have that monster flu-like cold that's going around and one side effect is loss of appetite), so I'm not going to test my theory. I'll just put it out there.

You are going to tell us all about the fancy restaurant(s) you've been to, right? Right?!?

Teena said...

Paul: Why are you dieting?!? You don't need to diet!

Magdalen: Yeah, whipped cream wouldn't have worked in this instance because the frosting was too solid to whip anything into it. I think a whole different frosting recipe would be the way to go -- maybe some cream cheese frosting!