Maybe it's obvious, but I like to experiment without much of an audience. These evenings when Jason is not here and the kids are nestled all snug in their beds and the wind and wet are battering the windows, I feel an overwhelming urge to bake something.
Tomorrow is Sylvie's half- birthday. We, in our own weird way, celebrate our half- birthdays in a very low key fashion. Sylvie asked for a cake, and the weather has inspired me to comply. My usual cake is lemon pound cake- definitely a family favorite. However, what Sylvie and I both have in mind is a frosted confection. My dilemma is that I am mostly dissatisfied with cakes outside of the aforementioned pound cake.
If all cakes were vaguely dry under stiff, jaw- clenchingly sweet frosting, I would be blithely unaware of the regular failures of cakes. Sadly, this is not the case. Once in a blue moon, I am awed my moist cakes, of varying densities, flavorfully coiffed with just the right frosting. The bakers of these treats keep their secrets closely, so it is time for the aforementioned experiement.
I've decided that throughout the cooler months (read: now through April) I will bake 2 to 3 cakes a month, keeping careful notes of successes and failures. I figure I will enjoy the trials, and everyone else will happily be testers. My hope is to find recipes for chocolate and yellow cakes that are quite moist, made with ingredients I keep in the kitchen (no corn syrup, no cake flour) that can then become birthday standards. I will put in a secret plea to the kitchen gods that I find a recipe for cream cheese frosting that even Phaedra will eat once in awhile.
Tonight's recipe is from a Martha Stewart cookbook I checked out from the library. It already has one obvious problem; it claims to be for two 8" cake pans, but it has escaped the confines of the pans. I marked Bittman off the list before the current project as experience has shown his cake recipes to be dry as toast. We should have results by this time tomorrow. Wish me luck!