Sunday, January 30, 2011

HCB - Cradle Cake

Ever since I saw the Cradle Cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes, I've been intrigued by it. Mainly because of the composition: a crispy dacquoise shell almost fully embracing a soft and tender yellow cake. The time has finally come for the Heavenly Cake Bakers to bake it. I read through the ingredients and nothing seemed out of the ordinary or very complicated. But then two of my baking friends, Lola and Monica, who I know are excellent bakers, ran intro trouble. A series of emails ensued. After exchanging some tips, Monica gave it another go and cake #2 was born (when I made my cake I hadn't seen the success of cake #2). At this point, I felt a lot less confident and approached the Cradle Cake with much hesitation. So much hesitation, that I cut the recipe in half; the fact that I had just enough chopped nuts and chopped chocolate for half a recipe in my pantry had NOTHING to do with it :o).

Ah, the infamous Cradle Cake

I made a couple changes to the recipe. As I had suggested to Monica, I reversed the order of the cake components and made the cake batter first, followed by the dacquoise. I used almonds instead of pecans. Instead of chopping unsweetened chocolate, I used what I had in my pantry from making truffles last month which was chopped European milk chocolate. Oh, and one more change. Fearing that the yellow cake would be "plain", I added a little bit of orange zest to the batter. I figured it would work well with the chocolate and the almonds in the dacquoise.

The cake batter surrounded by the dacquoise

After 33 minutes in the oven, it was done
There's my oval Cradle Cake
A slice of melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Can you see the orange specks?

Final thoughts/tips:
  • I liked the cake a lot. The dacquoise was crunch and chewy at the same time (like a macaroon), and the cake is so soft and tender, it just melts in your mouth. I was telling my husband you don't even have to chew it. The flavor from the orange zest was subtle and added a nice layer of flavor without getting in the way of everything else that was going on.
  • My husband liked it too. His only "complaint" was that the cake was a little too crumbly. To address that, I'm thinking next time I might use AP flour instead of cake flour to give the cake more structure. He still gave it a 9 out of 10.
  • I made half a recipe and baked it in an oval pan that's about 9"x6"x1.5". It took 33 minutes to bake in my 300 F convection oven.
  • As I have mentioned above, I reversed the order by making the cake batter first, followed by the dacquoise so it doesn't sink or do other "bad" things. Almonds instead of pecans. Chopped milk chocolate instead of chopped unsweetened chocolate. I added the zest of 1/4 orange to the cake batter. Since I didn't have any buttermilk, I used milk and added a splash of lemon juice.
  • I skipped the chocolate drizzle on top, even though it would have added a nice touch. I just ran out of time.


  1. Your oval cake looks great. Alas, my cake sunk.

  2. I've never heard of this cake before, but it sure sounds yummy. That shell looks perfect!

  3. oh..the oval cake looks so cute! ok..your blog backdrop is tempting me to buy those..i d on't know what it is called but i see LeCrueset selling it and i want one too! LOL!

  4. Your cake looks good and I love the concept. Sounds like you persevered and did a great job!

  5. I was way to chicken to try doing it "oval" shape.

    I like your addition to the cake, and the second time around I used "plain" flour instead of cake flour... maybe another reason it worked? Who knows!

    I guess Lois had the same issues I had... on the first go, I'm curious to know who else had issues on this one.

  6. So glad for your tips. I've been dragging my feet about making this one. It seemed simple but I just couldn't make myself get started. I feel better with your tips. Like Faithy, I love your background of Tagines. Do you have any tips and recipes? I have one that has never been used sitting in my cupboard.

  7. i love your little oval cradle cake! your crust/meringue looks so lovely.

  8. Beautiful - I like the flavor changes you made too!


  9. Wow! What a challenging cake-it must have been a very fun project. You're very inspiring to me (i think I've said that a dozen times but you ARE!)


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