Sunday, November 29, 2009

HCB: Catalan Salt Pinch Cake

Last week's recipe for the Heavenly Cake Bakers was the Catalan Salt Pinch Cake. With my friend's birthday around the corner, who happens to LOVE almonds, I thought this would be the perfect cake for her.

One of the things that surprised me, was that this recipe didn't call for salt, especially given the cake's name :o) So I added a large pinch of salt. I also omitted the lemon zest and added vanilla and almond flavoring instead, as some of the HCB-ers mentioned that the almond flavor was too subtle so.

Given the “lack of volume”-issue reported by some, I decided to make the batter a different way to ensure as much volume as possible. Using the au-bain-marie method, I heated the whole eggs plus the majority of the sugar (reserving some for the almond-grinding part and some for the egg whites). The heating process ensured that the sugar was fully dissolved in the eggs. After the mixture was warm, I attached the whisk attachment to my KitchenAid mixer and let it run until the batter was pale and thick. After mixing in the beaten egg whites, finely ground almonds, and the cake flour together, I poured the batter into my pan and was pleased that it came almost to the top of the pan. After about 10 minutes of baking, I was pleased that the cake had risen a little bit. About 15 minutes later, I opened the oven door, just to find that the cake had sunk quite a bit, creating a pretty big crater :o( Oh well.

I cut off the edges, to make the cake even. We tasted the scraps. Hubby and I liked it. My friend, the birthday girl, and her kids loved the cake. The cake's texture was a bit coarser than I would have liked, but I guess that's normal given the ground almonds in the batter. I'll have to try this cake again and follow Rose's instructions to the T and see if that helps reduce the "crater"-issue :o)

Here are step-by-step pictures of my "adventure":

Start by toasting unblanched/sliced almonds

Grind finely in a food processor

Beat egg whites mid-stiff peaks

Add the ground almonds to the egg whites

Carefully mix the egg whites and almonds together

Beat whole eggs until pale, thick and tripled in volume

Ribbons of batter should fall off the beater and remain visible for 2-3 seconds

Fill the cake pan and a small brioche pan to taste test it later

Hi there, Mr Crater. Feeling down today? :o)

Topped with homemade strawberry mousse. Crater? Which crater? :o)

4 comments:

  1. Hanaa,

    You truly made my day with your lovely cake. We, I and my kids loved the cake, despite all the mihaps that if you didn't tell me about I wouldn't have noticed.:)
    Mr Crater happens to be a good prospective project for your boss's daughter's science themed cake: "Volcanic Crater Cake". Don't follow Rose's instructions to the T for one time.:)Go ahead and make it again.:)
    I really like and always expect a coarser texture of an almond cake.
    It was smart of you filling the crater with pink 'lava', I mean 'strawberry mousse':)
    In sum, the cake was simply elegant, and again thank you for the nice gesture. and above all thank you for your support.

    Love

    Wafae

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hanaa,

    You truly made my day with your lovely cake. We, I and my kids loved the cake, despite all the mihaps that if you didn't tell me about I wouldn't have noticed.:)
    Mr Crater happens to be a good prospective project for your boss's daughter's science themed cake: "Volcanic Crater Cake". Don't follow Rose's instructions to the T for one time.:)Go ahead and make it again.:)
    I really like and always expect a coarser texture of an almond cake.
    It was smart of you filling the crater with pink 'lava', I mean 'strawberry mousse':)
    In sum, the cake was simply elegant, and again thank you for the nice gesture. And above all, thank you for your support.

    Love

    Wafae

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Wafae: My pleasure. I'm you and the kids enjoyed the cake as much as you did. Regarding the big crater... if I tried to make one, on purpose, it would probably bake up perfectly leve :o)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Hanaa - I loved meeting M. Crater and am sure we will have a nice relationship, since I will no doubt be feeding him in the future with lots of goodies like your strawberry mousse! joan

    ReplyDelete

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