Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taste test

Our wedding cake was probably one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. Mmmm.... so good. We didn't save the top layer - our baker told us it didn't keep well and she had a program where she would make a mini version of our cake for our anniversary. We were so excited and then... she closed down shop and moved out of state. *Tear*

So I'm on a hunt to find a recipe that tastes like her spice cake. Only thing is - they're all so different! It's hard to find one that replicates hers well.

Last night I test drove two different recipes, both with some odd ingredients. Any guesses what?
The one on the left actually has Campbell's tomato soup in it. The one on the right has whipped egg whites and sour cream.

First, the tomato-y soup one. I'll be honest, you couldn't taste the tomato soup. At all. But I was thinking about it so I kept imagining that I could taste it. Ack, mind games, this one. The recipe's from Domestic Goddess Adventures and hers looks much prettier than mine. It cooked quickly on the outside but stayed pretty wiggly inside. And the center caved in. Taste wise, it was certainly very moist and dense, but the crumb didn't hold together well (which was surprising, given how moist it was). The taste was just so-so. I thought it was a little boring and oddly, tasted like some kind of gingerbread cake. There wasn't a ton of ginger, nor was their any molasses, but nevertheless - this was the taste. I suspect it's from the large amount of allspice. On the pro side, this cake was very easy to prepare (could be done with one bowl) and quick. Good for last minute or a lazy weeknight.

Cake number two (Recipe from Epicurious) was definitely the fav for both Hans and I. It's pretty close to our wedding cake and with some tweaks, I might be able to get it there. While the other one caved in in the middle, this one actually rose in the middle and cooked evenly throughout. It ended up with an outside that was just barely crunchy and an inside that was soft and light. When I ate one of the cupcakes today, it felt springy! You whip the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry, and I think that's what gives this cake it's lift. The flavor was tasty, but no overpowering. Didn't have the molassas-y gingery hint the other one did. Other reviewers of this recipe have recommended adding an extra egg and subbing applesauce for the sour cream to increase moist-ness. I think I'll try that next time. The downside of this recipe was that it took considerably longer, more dishes, and more paying attention. I think I use three bowls, two sets of beaters, and three prep bowls (for separating and beating the eggs).

If you know of any other Spice Cake recipes, let me know! I'm still searching for that perfect one.

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