Sunday, October 11, 2015

TwD: Tiger Cakes

Yay, I'm posting on schedule for the first time in months. Woohoo!

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Baking, Chez Moi is for Tiger Cakes, mini-muffin-sized almond flour-based cakes that are supposedly reminiscent of a tiger's stripes because of the chocolate that is mixed into the batter. I don't know about that. I'm not seeing it. Regardless, these cakes are wonderful.

My son started kindergarten this year. It only took him one month to develop self-esteem issues. Wonderful. For the past week, every morning before school, and every night before bed, he sulks about how he's "not as great" as the other kids, he's not as funny, and he has no friends. (Note: I emailed his teacher to find out if he was being shy all day long, or if he was fine once he was in class, because I know he is more social when I'm not around. She said he has lots of friends and socializes so much that he doesn't always pay attention. Sounds right.)

I grew up feeling like I was not very good at anything besides reading and baking. Baking always made me feel good about myself because, nine times out of ten, even if a baked good doesn't turn out perfectly, it's still pretty good. You put the work in, you create something delicious. People inevitably compliment the product. Instant esteem boost. Recognizing that baking functioned for me in this way, I asked Charlie if he wanted to help me bake the Tiger Cakes on Friday morning, before we took a trip to the zoo.

I supervised, but Charlie basically made these himself (I already had egg whites in the freezer, so he didn't have to separate them.) We had a lovely time.

I told him that I was planning to bake every recipe in the book, and asked him if he wanted to help. He said, "Well, yes, but isn't that going to take a long time?" I said, "Yes, but that'll only make it more satisfying when we finish." He said, "But if we bake all those recipes, how will we have time to go to the zoo?" HA! Once I assured him that we were not making them all in one day, he was fully on board.
Neatness is overrated.
I made sure we thoroughly buttered the pans, because I'd read that the cakes were prone to stick. I guess we didn't butter it enough. We ripped the bottoms off of 90% of them trying to get them out of the pan. Lesson for life: So what? They still taste good.
Charlie got the first taste. I asked how they were. He said, "Deeeelicious. Maybe I am a great boy." That esteem boost may not last forever, but it was exactly what I'd hoped for. We're going to be baking a lot in the coming weeks.

We packed up a few to bring to the zoo, so we could eat tiger cakes in front of the tigers.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

TwD: Apple Kuchen

Our move is complete, my house is mostly sorted, and I'm going to try to get back in the Tuesdays with Dorie groove. I've got quite a few makeups to do.

Hurricane Joaquin was a bust around these parts, not that I'm complaining. While planning to be rained in for the weekend, I couldn't think of a cozier idea than to give myself a baking project. Some people go pumpkin crazy in Autumn. I'm all about apples. So, Apple Kuchen, from Baking Chez Moi.

The dough that lines the springform pan made me insane. I guess it hardened too much in the fridge. It fell to pieces as I tried to form it. Ugh! Deep breaths. I patched it all up. There may have been a few curses.
Things did not go more smoothly once the tart was filled. Halfway through the normal baking time, the raisins had already turned into hard, burned balls. I had to bake the kuchen for an extra forty minutes, and it was still wet on the inside. The knife never came out clean. Finally I took it out of the oven. I added the butter and sugar to the top, and put it under the broiler. The apples were supposed to "char seductively." Mine burned, non-seductively.
I pulled the entire top layer of apples (and all the raisins) off of the kuchen, let it sit until after dinner, and then dug in.
Conclusion: Delicious. It was like apple pudding. Yum! I have no need for the crust. The custard, on its own, is all I need.