Sunday, March 1, 2009

Time to Bake a Cake

Today was my first adventure testing recipes for Leite's Culinaria. I discovered this site while reading a fellow blogger's posting a few months ago and was instantly captivated. You can receive an update via email from them as well as visit the site and blog (
For someone who has always enjoyed cooking and entertaining (a trait I inherited from my Mom who was the ultimate hostess to hundreds at least once a month and usually more often than that and from whom I received a pantry shelf or two of tremendous cookbooks) this was too good to be true. Being accepted as a tester is one of the most exciting things I have managed to undertake in the last few years. So, shopping list in hand, I headed out this morning to gather the required ingredients.
When confronted with a new recipe, I usually just hum along making do with what I have on hand and that I have already picked up and set aside on the last "making groceries" adventure. Somehow this seemed a little more important and I do believe I over-thought the entire thing. When the recipe called for a pound of honey, I immediate started agitating over 16 fluid ounces by volune or 16 ounces by actual weight. I spent at least half a day just reading labels! Suffice it to say some companies actually tell you the measure is by weight. Thankfully I did not have to go through the kitchen scale drill complete with sliding things onto the floor instead of into the containers for weighing.
After spending far too long struggling to get everything just perfect, I slid the pan into the oven and set the timer. And about 5 minutes later I smelled something really sweet and smokey. I looked in the oven to see a small bonfire shouting hello from the oven floor. I decided to just let it burn itself out and continue the baking process. After about 10 minutes more the batter stopped leaking out the bottom of the tube pan and all was good.
After answering all the questions posed for the testers, I forwarded my comments and decided to just look at my creation for a while. That lasted maybe 2 minutes before the big "tasting" began. First a piece that was a little bit warm from the oven -- not too bad. Then another that was truly cooled and ready to slice - a little bit better. And then, after having watched enough tv news to send me to the South Pole to survive the economies of the proposed budget, I cut another slice "just because". After all that cake and all that angst and all that "from scratch" stuff, I concluded that it is a good cake, but I am not sure it is worth all the work and chemistry involved, not to mention the fire drill. This month I will try a recipe that does not involve baking skills!

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