Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Cake: The Results!

So, Christmas has come and gone. Whatever happened to that cake I promised to make? How did all of my hopes and dreams of becoming a master sponge-cake chef resolve? The drama? The intrigue? The whipped cream and strawberries?!

Find out about all this and more after the jump! Well, maybe not all that stuff about drama and intrigue...

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The disastrous first attempt:

This was made with the recipe that I had linked to in my last post. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe the recipe was wrong - whatever the case, it was a disaster.

Although it is entirely possible that I myself made a mistake (sponge cakes are very tricky, more on that later), I feel that the recipe is as much to blame as I was. The batter was every bit as runny as water — something must have been omitted. Besides not rising at all, it tasted very strongly of egg.

The somewhat better second attempt:

After changing recipes, I ended up with something a little better.

This actually rose a little bit, but not nearly as much as it should, based on what I have seen. The cake should have risen enough for me to easily cut it in half horizontally — this was certainly not the case.

This one, at least, tasted better than the last one. I determined to take matters in my own hands and alter the recipe for the next attempt.

The third attempt:

Unfortunately, despite the fact that I added baking powder this time (more on this later), the cake did not rise any more than the last one. What's more, the texture wasn't as good, either.

At this point, I decided to look up a video on YouTube (I'll add it to the end of the article) and read all that I could about sponge cakes to see what I was doing wrong.

Most cakes use baking soda, self-raising flour, or some other agent to cause the cake to rise. Sponge cakes, however, rely wholly on the eggs and trapped air for this. Because of this, the mixing process is very touchy, and requires special care.

I learned a thing or two from the video, and produced the best batter so far. I was ready.

Final attempt:

Well, I thought I was ready. The cake turned out beautiful, but flat. Beautifully flat.

The pain! The agony! A dozen martyred eggs cry out from the cakes, "Avenge us!", and yet no one will answer. I have failed.

Although I didn't succeed in making this cake for Christmas, I am quite determined to figure it out eventually. I'm not going to wait until next December to try again!

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