I loved these Individual Baked Alaskas. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’ve had baked Alaska once, about fifteen years ago, and I only have a vague memory of it. From the recipe it sounded a lot like making ice cream cupcakes, basically slicing chocolate cupcakes in half and then layering them in muffin tins with ice cream. Then you top the whole thing with meringue and either bake it (which sounded like an alarming thing to do to an ice cream dessert), or in my case, you break out your new pastry torch and toast the meringue the fun way.
The recipe takes a bit of planning, but the technique is excellent. Friday evening, I made the Red Wine and Chocolate cupcake recipe we made back in May. Saturday I started layering the ice cream with the cake and then let everything freeze. Sunday morning I made the meringue and everything was ready to torch for some friends I had over on Sunday night.
And I have to tell you, letting people light their food on fire makes for great dessert conversation.
If I made them again, I would change two things. I would make the bottom layer a slice of cake. Every time I took the cakes out of the freezer the bottom layer would melt a bit until I was left with barely any ice cream. Also, I would try adding granulated sugar to top of meringue to crisp them like creme brulee.
This blueberry cake is awesome! It’s like an an oversized, very moist blueberry muffin. It seems like a ridiculous amount of blueberries when you are adding them to the cake batter, but the result is wonderful. So many blueberries!I’ve never used a tube pan for this kind of cake, so I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out. The result was awesome, but getting it out of the pan was challenging. It says to let cool for twenty minutes, at which point the pan is still quite hot, and then to run a knife along the edges to loosen, and attempt to remove the sides and the bottom. I ended up doing a bit of cake acrobatics, where I lifted the tube out, then carefully ran a knife under the bottom, flipped the whole thing onto a plate, then flipped it again onto a wire rack to cool. It all came out beautifully though, after all that juggling of hot cake.
I would definitely make this again. Next time I plan on adding more lemon, and some nuts, but otherwise it’s a fabulous cake.
I wasn’t crazy about this cake. To be fair, I couldn’t find black cocoa powder (so bummed about that), but I’m not sure if that would have made much of a difference. I’m curious to see what the other bakers think of it, as it’s not something I’ve ever used. The bundt cake turned out alright. It was chocolatey and moist, but I found the texture was a bit uneven, and overall the cake just seemed kind of boring. The batter had a strong mocha flavor that unfortunately didn’t carry over to the the finished cake. The glaze was an ok powdered sugar glaze, but didn’t really add any flavor but extra sweetness.I thought the whole thing would have been tastier if you made a syrup with granulated sugar, melted butter and whiskey and poured that over the cake instead of using a frosting.
These Red Wine Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze were delicious. I don’t think you can detect the red wine in the finished cake, but it results in a super amped up chocolatey flavor. And I loved the simple glaze topping. It looked gorgeous, and nothing complements chocolate cake better than more chocolate.
More recipes should come with a built in beverage. After all the recipe only calls for 1.25 cups of wine, leaving plenty left over for some tipsy baking.
These muffins are so good! If you like peanut butter you should make these ASAP. The crumble topping was so good I was just eating it straight out the the mixing bowl. I’m thinking the topping would be great on banana bread, something I am definitely looking forward to trying. I used less jam than the recipe called for and I regretted it. It seems like a lot when you are putting the muffins together but it really could use the full amount, otherwise the peanut taste can be a little overwhelming. Also, the recipe seems like it makes a lot more topping than you could possibly need, but use the whole thing. For one it’s what makes these muffins so incredibly good, and two, the muffins don’t rise very high so you can really pack the crumble topping in there and they bake up just fine.
This week is Buttery Pound Cake with Salty Caramel Glaze, which is a total winner! I reminds me of the Hair of the Dog Rum cake, which is another one of my favorite Baked Occasions recipes. This caramel cake was easy to put together and the results were delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong when the recipe calls for pouring caramel overtop of a warm cake, especially when the result is basically marbled caramel throughout.
This Easter Coconut Sheet Cake was delicious! I was so pleased with how well it came out. The cake was moist, coconutty, and not too sweet. I couldn’t find coconut cream at Safeway, and Trader Joe’s was sold out of cream of coconut, so after a quick google search I decided to substitute heavy cream.
I was a little apprehensive about the frosting, as I’ve had trouble with Baked’s buttercream recipes in the past. But this one came together with no trouble. I took the butter out of the freezer when I started making the cake, and by the time I got to making the frosting I think it had warmed to the perfect, yet vague, “cool but not cold” temperature. I skipped the piping and coloring recommended in the book. While the result in Baked Occasions is adorable, I decided to simply go with some shredded coconut on top.
Despite how pleased I was with the results, I’m not sure if I would make this again. It is a lot of work! (Mainly because having 9 egg yolks left over meant I had to make ice cream and lemon bars too :).)