Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cake-Tasting Guinea Pigs

Being a baker, my friends and family pretty much expect me to bring cake to any gathering they invite me to. And by now, they've also caught onto the fact that they've become my cake-tasting guinea pigs as I usually start every cake cutting with "Ok, this is a new recipe so tell me if you like it or not." The majority of the time, the cakes are made with one recipe through and through (like the ones below), but other times (when I want to compare different recipes for the same type of cake), I'll show up with a Frankenstein cake that uses a different recipe for each layer. Needless to say, the guinea pigs,....er, I mean my friends and family are all very supportive. They even humor me as I ask them specific questions about the taste, texture, color of the cake.......and then do the same with the filling and frosting, lol.

With all the dinner parties and get-togethers over the holidays, I was practically in taste-testing heaven. And after extensive tasting and tweaking of recipes, below are some of the clear winners:

Devil's Food Cake: I had a pretty kick-a$$ devil's food cake recipe already but I wanted to find one that had a denser texture so I tried one that my sister-in-law recommended. The original recipe was already fantastic but after a tiny tweak in ingredient proportions, it was fantastic-er. Moist, sinfully decadent, with loads of chocolate flavor, this devil's food cake will literally make you sell your soul to the man downstairs. Here, it is iced with a raspberry ganache and raspberry chocolate mousse filling......soooooooooo good.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake: Wedding cakes are traditionally made with a white cake but I've never been a big fan. In my opinion, they're often too sweet, and when they're not too sweet, they're just blah (lacking in taste). I tend to steer towards bold flavors; however, I do understand the desire to serve a flavor-neutral cake at weddings, a cake that will appeal to all taste buds. I do believe that I have found that cake. This vanilla buttermilk cake is moist (a must in my book for all cakes), not too sweet, and has a lovely buttery melt-in-your mouth feel. It's almost like heaven, seriously. And it marries up (pun intended) so well with ALL flavors of fillings and frostings.

Red Velvet Cake: So we've had a bit of heaven and we've also been to the dark side (sorry, my husband's a huge Star Wars fan so I couldn't resist :-). What's in between, you ask? Why, red velvet, of course. Red velvet has long been the misunderstood stepchild of the cake world as most people incorrectly believe that red velvet is simply a really lightly flavored chocolate cake with a buttload of red dye - so, so wrong. When made correctly (because I've found that a lot places don't make it quite right), red velvet has a warm cocoa-malty-like flavor that just feels right, almost like coming home from a long day to a nice bowl of porridge. The flavor is not too strong and not too light; it's just right. (Why do I feel like putting on a little red cape all of a sudden?) And of all the cakes I taste-tested this holiday season, this red velvet cake with cream cheese buttercream (lighter than cream cheese frosting) garnered the most fabulous reviews, partially because most have never tried an honest-to-god red velvet cake and was so pleasantly surprised and partially because it's just one crazilicious cake!
**please pardon the coloring of the buttercream, I was in the Christmas spirit and mixed in a few drops of green just for kicks and giggles.

I'd now like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends for all their undying cake-tasting support. Without you........well, without you, I'd have to eat a whole lotta cake......and that is sooooo not good for high school reunions.



7 comments:

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

Love the coloured buttercream....do you share your cake recipes?

A Modern Proposal Event Planning said...

Can I sign up to be a cake tester?? :)

Fabulous photos and I'm sure your cakes are devine!

glassslippergourmet said...

lovely post Lien... and, yum!! ;)

Lien said...

Thanks for kind words, gals!

Cakebaker, I generally don't mind sharing recipes for most things but cake recipes are kinda sacred. Sorry, I feel like such a tease now, lol. :-)

cakebaker_cakemaker said...

That's okay..no harm in asking...:O))

Anonymous said...
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Suparna said...

very yummy...