Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rose's Heavenly Cakes

I ran across a baking book called Rose's Heavenly Cakes. It has completely revolutionized my baking. In fact, it is one of the few cookbooks I have actually forked out the money to buy (at full price none the less) instead of serially renewing a copy from the library. The recipes include weights as well as volume, so all you have to do is set a big bowl on a scale and keep adding stuff until the weights are correct. SO much easier then leveling cups and making a mess with the flour! I LOVE IT! And the few recipes I've made have been delicious. Apparently this is no new trick, Rose has been around forever and is a goddess in the baking world, but considering I'm new to cooking/baking, it's all news to me.

There is a blog called Heavenly Cake Baker which is a bake-along with recipes from the book. I'm going to try my hand at blogging on a schedule. Unfortunately, I can never take good food pictures, but I'll do the best I can! This week featured the Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake. Luckily, I had all the ingredients in the pantry, except sour cream. So I picked up some sour cream from Target of all places and didn't even have to make a run for the grocery store. I did cheat and use regular brown sugar, not the muscavdo. I was visiting my family for our Christmas-in-January party, so it was a great opportunity to share a not-so-sweet sweet.

Unfortunately I am a huge procrastinator and this project is no different. As I mentioned, I was leaving for the two hour trip to my parents' house Friday after work. I was due at work at noon and I put off making the cake until Friday morning! So two hours before work, I started to make the cake. I started by preparing the pan and pulling out some cupcake liners....I'm not sure why this recipe makes a cake and two cupcakes. I'm not sure if this is something I misread because my cake seemed somewhat smaller than the picture in the book, nowhere near filling the pan. But I did read and reread the instructions and went with it. Next, I mixed the chocolate/sugar/cinnamon filling, breaking up the chunks with a fork as suggested. I did take out a stick of butter and two eggs when I first woke up Friday morning. But, of course, the butter was still cool and firm when I was ready to start baking. SO, I stuck the butter in the microwave for a few seconds. And it immediately melted! (You can see that I'm on my way to having a great morning!) This was my last stick of butter, so I considered scrapping the whole project. But I figured I'd try to whip the butter before giving up. It actually ended up fluffing up, slightly runny, looking better when I added the sugar. (I'm not privy to a fancy stand mixer and have to make do with a hand-held.) Next eggs and vanilla and it started to look normal, nicely fluffy pale yellow.

I measured the dry ingredients on the scale (love it!) and added them along with the sour cream in three batches into the wet. I made a bit of a mess with this because I underestimated my bowl size. I made my cupcakes and started to build the cake, adding half the batter, sprinkling the streusel and plopping a few spoons of the batter on top. Unfortunately, when smoothing out the batter, the chocolate mixed in a bit, so it wasn't as pretty as it could have been. Then there was the infamous hold-your-breath-and-flip moment, that ended with a perfectly intact cake on the cooling rack.

The cake itself was very moist and very good, not too sweet, which is what I expected. Everyone liked it, we ate it Friday night as a snack and then again Saturday morning with coffee (the best!). The bites with more chocolate where incredible. I will definitely try this cake again, but I will try adding more of the streusel mixture (double?). I think if the cake can handle it, this will kick it up to incredible for my tastes. All in all, with some of the troubles I ran into, this cake turned out great...and I (barely) got to work on time!


  1. As one with procrastinating tendencies, may I say, welcome! Posting on Monday's has helped. It's such a highlight to kickstart the weeek seeing everyone's baked treat and reading about it.

    Glad your cake turned out well for Christmas in January.

  2. Thanks, Vicki! I forgot to take a finished picture! I'm an amateur!

  3. I have wanted to start baking my way through my new Christmas present, Heavenly Cakes but found myself very intimited by all the other cooks. You have given me hope and excitement!! I look forward to seeing your cakes and hearing about your bees! I have always been interested in beekeeping (from a distance, of course.)

  4. Virginia-You can take lots of hope from me. My baked goods usually taste really good, but presentation is NOT my strong suit!

    I think I'm going to postpone the beekeeping for now and focus on some of my other interests. After doing research, it seems like more involvement than I expected. But one day...bees are so cute!

  5. Welcome to the baking group!

    As for your cake, the recipe filled a 6-cup bundt pan plus 2 cupcakes. Looks like you used a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan. You can check the volume of your pan by filling it to the rim with water. If it fills with 10 cups of water, you have a 10-cup bundt pan.

    You'll learn all about these little things as you continue baking. Btw, if you like Rose's Heavenly Cakes, you'll love her other books. My copy of The Cake Bible is falling apart from use. If I had a fire, it would be one of the items I'd try to grab on my way out the door!

    Take care!

  6. Baking a beautiful cake and got to work on time, way to go, girl! This was my fist HCB cake too; I look forward to sharing our baking adventures!

  7. ButterYum - After reading others' blogs this is exactly what I figured happened with the pan. It turned out just fine, although I think if the pan were smaller, the streusel would have denser and therefore, perfect. I was actually going to test for the volume sometime this weekend.

    Now that I've realized the importance of pan size, I can't find a 9x3 in cake pan! Well, I've only looked at Wal-Mart. I'm going to check the kitchen stores tomorrow. Wish me luck!

  8. Lisa, Wal-Mart usually carries a nice supply of Wilton cake and candy supplies, or Michael's if you have one.

  9. Thanks Lois. I had no luck today at Wal-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond, two local gourmet shops and World Market. I didn't think about Michaels. I'll try them tomorrow. Do you think I could use a springform pan? I have one of those already. That was my back-up plan.