Monday, April 18, 2011

Adventures in Passover Baking Edition, aka - I screw up, I throw a tantrum, I fix it, I reclaim my title as baking wunderkind!

Yes, it all turned out JUST fine.
My cousins invited me to join them tonight for Seder.  Since I have been on a baking roll lately, I offered to make the dessert, specifically the paerve Lemon Layer Cake from last week's Washington Post food section.  Paerve was key, as my cousins keep kosher and are serving meat for dinner.

The recipe started off easy enough.  I make pastry cream all the time, so the lemon "cream" (eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest) was a no brainer.  And whipped cream icing, which is normally the source of my culinary temper tantrums, was blissful with the kitchen aid mixer.

Now, it was on to the cake.  I make cakes ALL THE TIME.  I have never effed one up.  Seriously.  Perfect track record.

I do believe we see where this is going.

The recipe called for separating the eggs.  No problem.  Then it called for combining the yolks, sugar, lemon, etc. and then beating in the matzo cake meal and potato starch.  No problem - into the mixer.  Ah, but I have to beat the egg whites in a separate bowl.  And I only have one bowl for the Kitchen-aid . . . Hmm.  I don't feel like dragging out the hand mixer.  Surely I can get these nice and frothy by hand.  So, I sat there whipping the egg whites with a whisk and feeling very proud of myself.  Look how strong my arms are - I barely feel this!  It must be all the chatarungas I do in yoga!  I don't need modern machinery!  I can whip egg whites!

Do we see where this is going yet?

If not, behold what I had 45 minutes later:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, behold the Guiness Book of World records winner for the largest passover cookie.

Now, as a yogini, you think I would handle all of this with grace and strength.  I would acknowledge it as a teaching experience.

Not so much.

To recap - I tried to convince the fiance that I needed to start over that night.  He said that it was 10:30 and we were out of sugar and my relatives would be fine with the cookie.   Cue minor temper tantrum. 

So, I decided to instead bump up my work departure time an hour to attempt a cake remake so as not to show up at a Seder for 27 people with no dessert, or worse, a soggy cardboard cookie.  This morning, I bought eggs at CVS so they'd be at room temp by the time I got home, and, once I got back to my neighborhood, I ran to the local market for more lemons and sugar.  This time, I used the hand mixer for the batter and beat the egg whites into a veritable nimbus cloud in the mixer.

See the difference?

Not well beaten egg white cake

Well beaten egg white cake.

Cookie on the left, cake on the right.

After some time in the freezer, I was able to get the cake into two layers.  I didn't dare attempt three.

Still fairly scrawny looking, but fluffier in person.

So, after adding the lemon "cream" filling and mixing the leftover "cream" with the whipped topping and then frosting and decorating, let's look at the final result again:

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