Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TWD - The Inauguration Edition

Happy Inauguration Day! Can you feel the excitement in the air? What a privilege to be a witness to history, and I didn't want to miss a moment of it. But, since I didn't get an invitation to any of the Inaugural Balls, I'm now finally free to share my weekly Tuesdays with Dorie post.

This week's recipe was Berry Surprise Cake, chosen by Mary of Meet Me in the Kitchen. It was such a great choice, and it's been fun to see how all the creative food bloggers chose to interpret Dorie's recipe! To see the full recipe, head on over to Mary's site.

I had never made genoise before, and so in addition to reading Dorie's recipe v-e-r-y closely, I also read Shirley Corriher's discussion in BakeWise. I love Shirley's book - it is very informative and I love learning more about the science of cooking. After reading Shirley, I knew that I had to be super careful with the temperature of my eggs, and so I used my instant-read thermometer while I was whisking them in their water bath, to get them to exactly 90 degrees. I also learned that keeping the mixer speed at medium is critical for forming small bubbles that will help with rise and texture.
I was very fortunate in that I didn't seem to have the sinking problem that some people encountered with their cakes. (Dumb luck, really... plenty of other bakers were careful with their temp and mixer speed, and their cakes fell. I'm almost afraid to try this again - I don't know if I can get this lucky twice in a row!) Mine deflated just a little in the middle, but otherwise stayed pretty stable.
I debated about how to actually make the cake - the idea of hollowing out the middle and filling it with berries never really appealed to me, I'm afraid. I decided instead to make the cake as it might have looked in Dorie's cardboard tube. I'm danger with a biscuit cutter, I tell you.

But then what about the berries? There are not a lot of fresh local berries in my neck of the woods in January (hey, have I mentioned that it's gray and cold and bleak? Yes? Well, never mind, then.), but I did have some blueberries and some cranberries in the freezer; and that's when it struck me. Both truly American fruits, one red and one blue, with a white filling, they would be perfect for Inauguration Day! I decided to make the fruits into a curd. Supper In Stereo had posted a fabulous looking Nigella Lawson recipe for Cranberry Curd, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The cranberry curd is to. die. for. Amazing. Tangy. Sweet. Buttery. Jewel-colored. I tried the same recipe with an equal weight of blueberries, reducing the liquid by half, and the flavor is incredible, but it doesn't have the same thick, jam-like texture. It probably needed a little cornstarch to give it the oomph that would have helped it look better in the picture and not ooze all over the place. *sigh*

I really liked the cake; it isn't named a sponge cake for nothing. It's texture alone was a little dry, but it was the perfect foil for the fruit and filling, and it all worked together really well - the filling was creamy without being too sweet, the fruit curds were sweet and bright, and the cake was sturdy and textural against the softness of the other components. Another winner!

Check out all the other TWD bloggers this week for some really great posts. And thanks again, Mary!


  1. Great photo of your gorgeous cake! Your variation looks and sounds spectacular!

  2. I love your cake! Excellent work!

  3. Nicely done. I love the cranberry curd idea, I did a Meyer lemon curd in my cake. Now I have something else to try with all the cranberries I stocked up on in November!

  4. Love the special presentation for inauguration day! And cranberry curd? I'm sold. :)

  5. Pamela and Beryl - thanks, and thanks! It tasted pretty yummy, and didn't last long.

    Sara - there is nothing on this earth that is as wonderful as lemon curd. Bar none. They should fill swimming pools with the stuff.

    Gretchen and Jennifer - that cranberry curd is seriously good stuff. In a crepe with freshly whipped cream? Swoon.