I think the two words that best sum up this week's Tuesday with Dorie assignment are "learning experience." Am I right? Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen chose the Berry Surprise Cake, and if the P&Q section is any indication, many of us were simultaneously challenged, perplexed, disappointed, and thrilled by the selection. I've never made a genoise (sponge) cake before, so I felt like I had to take the plunge, so to speak. My baking skills are such that I can wing my way through most cookie/brownie/muffin recipes, but when it comes to the classics, I am sorely lacking in skills. There's a reason I don't do Daring Bakers - I'm really not that daring.
I knew if I was going to attempt a classic foundation recipe, I would need some inspiration. On went my Julia Child apron. I don't have an 8" springform, and after reading through some of the other bakers' comments, I knew that using a larger pan would ensure a flat cake. What else to use? I decided on my muffin tin. Miniature genoises with cream filling and berries...upscale Zingers! What, you don't know about Zingers? Well, in my household growing up, they were as close to homemade as you were going to get in the baking department. And my favorite was the ersatz "raspberry" version. My Berry Surprise Cakes would be cupcake-shaped, not oblong, but you get the idea.
As I sprayed my muffin tin with Pam for Baking, I could almost hear murmurs of disapproval from above. Sorry, Julia. I love Pam for Baking. I just do. I heated my egg/sugar mixture to 110 degrees on the stove, then let the stand mixer do its thing. It took about 7 minutes to get the desired ribboning.
Here's where things got dicey for me. I sifted the dry ingredients, then re-sifted them into the aerated egg/sugar mixture. Not wanting to upset the diva eggs, I very gingerly folded the flour in. Too gingerly, it turned out. My finished miniature genoises were studded with...little chunks of flour. Delicious! I baked the cakes for 20 minutes, which was about 5 minutes too long, I think. Strangely enough, out of the 12 miniature cakes, I had two which were perfectly puffed and did not fall. The others were a bit sunken, but still tasty, if a little chewy on the perimeter. I blame my use of the muffin tin for that. The sponge texture was about 75% there, just a bit flat. This recipe uses such simple ingredients, I can see myself trying it again when I have a spare hour, just for practice.
I decided not to do the filling, but munch on the little cakes as snacks. I am actually excited about trying this recipe again until I get it right, and I think that when summer berries are in season, I will have an amazing dessert on my hands. Thank you, Mary Ann - this was a skill-building week for me and for the other bakers too, I'm sure.
Next week: Heather of Sherry Trifle chose Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread (page 212)
Last week: Rebecca at Ezra Pound Cake chose Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins