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Old 10-15-2007, 11:08 AM   #1
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Not a Good Day for Baking

I've had this cookbook for a while. It's a Near Eastern cookbook with Armenian, Lebanese and Persian recipes. Many of the dishes are similar so the author will present one version and then indicate the changes necessary to make another country's version.

There is a recipe in the book for Walnut Cake. It caught my eye right away when I bought the book and I have been thinking I really should make it.

Sunday was the day. I was alone for most of the day and waiting for the Patriots game to start (sorry, texasgirl) so I decided to make the cake.

I was sure I had all the ingredients so I sprang into action. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of ground walnuts so I ran down to the freezer to get the walnuts. No walnuts. That's OK. I have pecans! Presto, it's a pecan cake!

I dumped a bunch of the pecans into the FP and ground them. Exactly 1 1/2 cups! Man, I'm good.

The recipe calls for a teaspoon and a half of ground nutmeg. (Why don't recipes ever call for a half a tablespoon?). So I grabbed my nutmeg grater and grated into a bowl. Poured the ground nutmeg into a measuring spoon - exactly 1 1/2 teaspoons! I am on a roll!

Cream the six egg yolks and sugar, add the spices and a cup of flour and mix. The batter seems really thick. That's OK, I'll be folding beaten egg whites in to lighten it up.

Yeah, but the batter is REALLY thick. Check the recipe. Six yolks, right. 1 1/2 tsp. each of cardamom and nutmeg, right. 1/2 cup of flour. AARRRGGGHHH! I put in too much flour! What now!?

I don't have enough eggs or nuts to double the batch. I guess I'll thin it out with a little water and proceed. So I dumped in some water then whipped up the egg whites and folded them in using my very best TV Chef training to fold properly. Now that looks a lot better.

I baked it and cooled it and topped it with powdered sugar just like the picture in the book.

We had it for dessert lat night and it was just OK. Kind of really dense and heavy (no one is surprised, right?), but pretty tasty.

I guess I owe the recipe another go around with the proper ingredients and amounts.

BTW, I later found a package of walnuts in the freezer above the fridge.

I should have made the cake another day and made Sunday an all football day.
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:12 AM   #2
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LOL Andy - I'm just impressed that you baked a cake - I know better! LOL
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Old 10-15-2007, 11:32 AM   #3
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Baking is not a forte, kitchenelf. I should know better. I usually leave the desserts to Suzanne. She always does something tasty.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
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You tried which is what matters. My husband would NEVER bake. Sounds like your walnut cake turned out to be a pound cake. Kudos for giving it a go.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:18 PM   #5
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Andy, I've had days like that too. I'd have had a stomping hissy fit likely, so good for you that you just fixed the problem without the theatrics! And the cake sounds pretty yummy no matter what. I LOVE pecans and don't get to eat them because of daughter #2's allergy. Dang!
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:21 PM   #6
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Alix. Let me asssure you there were "theatrics". I just chose to leave them out of the post. You would have had to delete it.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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Good on you, Andy! Baking is something I do TO relax! and the only way to get better at it is to practice. Fortunately, the results are almost always edible, even when they aren't exactly what we intended them to be.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:24 PM   #8
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June, I had built up that cake to be fantastic in my mind. I've been 'planning' to make the recipe for over a year. Then I finally get around to it and ran into these problems. That was what was most disappointing. If it doesn't taste any better when made correctly, I won't be happy.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:30 PM   #9
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I can appreciate that feeling, Andy. I've had it more than a few times over the years.

If you want to try baking something that is pretty much "can't miss," try this recipe. The only people who don't go bananas over it are pretty much coconut haters.

Coconut Pound Cake

makes 1 10-inch tube (or bundt) cake or 2 9x5-inch loaf cakes

1 pound unsalted butter
2 cups pure cane sugar
2 cups flour (divided in half)
6 extra large eggs
7 ounces shredded, unsweetened coconut (get it at the health-food store)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. (I use a bundt pan.)
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add one cup flour and beat some more.
4. Meanwhile, add the vanilla to the eggs (in a separate bowl). Then add eggs one at a time to batter, beating well after each addition.
5. Now mix coconut with the remaining one cup flour and add to batter, using a wooden spoon to incorporate. Pour into desired pan(s).
6. Bake about 45 minutes to one hour. Be sure to test with a cake tester or long toothpick to be sure it comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. [If it doesn't come out clean, leave it in a few minutes longer!]

The glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure extract (almond or vanilla--be inspired)

1. Combine sugar and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add extract. Glaze is now ready.
2. When cake comes out of the oven, poke holes through cake with skewers and pour on glaze while cake is warm ­ while the cake is still in the pan. Don't remove the cake from the pan until it is completely cool.

Note: This cake is best 24 hours after baking. But it generally can't make it until then, so bake two and eat one warm and hold the other until the magic 24 hours are up! (quote from Carmen Cook)
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