Seasonal Citrus Desserts and Blog Bonding

Posted March 18th, 2011 in In the Kitchen, Posts

On Wednesday my friend Ellen and I headed over to San Francisco to attend the DIY Dessert Social gathering at 18 Reasons, a non-profit engaging the community through food and art


This month’s theme was citrus. I was really looking forward to participating in this event.  Kaitlin’s friend, Amy Chalabian who is a professional baker/caterer had served a Citrus Scented Angel Food Cake at recent event that Kaitlin thought would be really good with a raspberry ribbon. So I set about making a trial run on Tuesday. It turned out beautiful and successful. I thought it was a bit heavy on the raspberry so I decided to make a few tweaks-a bit more zest, lemon in the glaze instead of orange to provide more acid balance.  Nothing dramatic or, I thought, results altering. But then came Wednesday.  Of course I got a late start; anyone who knows me will not be surprised. Of course I was multi-tasking.  I am always amazed at food bloggers that emphasize precision in baking. I didn’t learn to bake precisely, I learned from my grandma who baked by heart.  So I have some arrogance about my ability to conduct business over the telephone while baking. Unfortunately I lost track of the number of egg whites I was cracking in the bowl.  The contractors were still working in the kitchen; there was noise and confusion so I was a bit distracted to say the least.  I noticed that there was a bit too much volume in the pan but I dismissed the thought and set the cake to bake.  Long story long, the cake did not rise like it was supposed to as it had no pan space to hold it while it made it progress.   When I pulled it out, it was kind of flat. I had a limited amount of time to cool it so I rushed it and felt extremely nervous that it would stick to the pan. It didn’t, came out fine due to the tip I learned from Amy  via Kaitlin, (spray the pan thoroughly and dust with sugar) but really flat looking. Ellen and I stared at it for a while trying to decide what to do. 

Opt 1: Glaze it and bring it and let the guests we had never met sample it and quietly judge me inadequate?

Opt 2: Cut into it and evaluate the texture and then bring a cake minus one piece?

Opt 3: Cut into it, evaluate and then feed it to the garbage disposal

In the end we opted for option 3, cake was a bit gooey and dense, nothing like the light angel cake I had produced on Tuesday so we elected to go to the event empty handed. We ate some great desserts that night: A blood orange tart that was beautiful and delicious, a lemon pudding cake that felt like a cloud and tasted like spring.  Irv the host made a beautiful lemon ginger and blood orange creamsicle tart that was like a piece of art. There was a lot going on in that tart and you will have to visit  to find out all the ingredients. 

What we learned was this: This is a truly welcoming community of people who love to bake. There was no judgment and my flat cake would have been welcome, discussed and enjoyed without any negativity. I also learned that I might need to focus a bit more when I bake.

 I will definitely go back to this event again. It’s also a great excuse to go to the city for dinner!

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