Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two, but far from terrible

Just a week or so ago, I wrote about my 2nd blogiversary.  The early days of my blog weren't that exciting, as I was trying to figure out what the heck to write about.  But at the beginning of February (2008), I read a post on Peabody's blog about this cool new group that she'd joined called Tuesdays with Dorie.  A couple days later I got myself a copy of Baking From My Home to Yours and signed up for the group.  I was pretty well convinced that I was crazy to join a weekly baking group. =)  But I can't begin to say how glad I am that I did.  I've made lots of wonderful desserts and lots of wonderful friends.  It's hard to believe that this group has been going for two years now!  Last year, we celebrated with a pick from Dorie herself.  This year, Laurie came up with the idea to vote on a recipe to make.  We actually ended up with two options, Tarte Tatin and Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake.

The variety of recipes we've made over the past two years has also led me to increase my collection of baking equipment.  One thing I still don't have, though, is a cast iron skillet.  (I really need to do something about that one of these days.)  Unfortunately, that's one of the best pans for making Tarte Tatin, and I don't own anything that would work well.  I will make the tarte at some point, but not this week.  That left me with chocolate cake.  I actually made it for Gillian's birthday in October (though with a different frosting), so I knew it would be good.  For the cake, I did get to use pans that I acquired for a previous TWD recipe--my 6" cake pans.  Their inaugural use was for Bill's (not so) Big Carrot Cake.  I knew we didn't need a great big cake to eat, since we're still recovering from all the holiday sweets.  And luckily, we had extra mouths to help eat the cake as well, since Jamie's parents were here.  I halved the ingredients and made the cake as directed, including the optional melted chocolate, and just adjusted the baking time slightly for the smaller pans.  This time I used a sour cream-based chocolate frosting that is a dream to work with.  I went for simple decorating this time, but it does pipe extremely well, too.

The verdict?  It's no surprise that everyone enjoyed this cake, since we've had it before. =)  And it was nice that we had extra family here to share it with.  Both my girls love the chocolate-chocolate combo, so they were very happy to see this for dessert.  My favorite part was actually the frosting I used--it has a great flavor and texture.

You can find the recipes for both the cake and the tarte by heading over to Laurie's blog.  Here's the recipe for the frosting I used:

Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting
(adapted from Fine Cooking)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli 100% chocolate pieces)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 1/3 ounces (2/3 cup) sour cream (not reduced fat)
12 ounces (about 3 cups) powdered sugar
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on 50% power, then stir the mixture until the chocolate melts completely.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.  Whisk in the chocolate mixture and continue mixing until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

Be sure to check out the creations of all the other great TWD bakers.  And here's to another two years (or longer) of yummy baking!


  1. I'm going to come visit so you can teach me to swirl frosting, ok? Oh, and also, because I suspect it's at least a little warmer there than it is here :) Great job on the cake - it really looks wonderful! I have a cast iron skillet but not one small enough for a half recipe so I went with the cake too. The tarte is on my short list of things to make asap though!

  2. I love your 'simple' decorating! I agree with Tracey, you need to teach me how to do that. Your cake looks perfect!

    So glad you are still hanging in with me on this very caloric adventure. Its so good to have you. Much love! xo

  3. Hmmm - now I know I did something wrong because my cake wasn't very good. But that frosting looks awesome - I'm going to save that recipe for sure.

  4. I love the way your cake looks and that frosting sounds perfect for it - and for other cakes too! TWD has expanded my baking repertory and my kitchen equipment, but I still never seem to have the correct pan for any given recipe.

  5. Di - your cake IS lovely. I love a cake that is completely covered in frosting (which isn't the style everywhere....)

    I love my little cast iron skillet. Usually don't use for desserts - usually for making roux for gumbo.

    And love your blog, too.

  6. You certainly can swirl nicely. It all looks like a party to me...such fun, so lovely, and very special! Think how many friendships have been made in this group!

  7. Chocolate sour cream frosting sounds like a good choice, and so pretty too! Definitely get a cast iron skillet - nothing else browns and sears nearly as well!

  8. Go for the $1 vintage cast iron skillet from a garage sale (my mom has an odd talent for finding these...) I got mine about 10 years ago and you're right--there are some things that are just better done in one!

  9. It looks wonderful! You really do need to treat yourself to some cast iron skillets.. they are great.

  10. Yummy! This looks so good I wish I'd made it, too! I love how you did the frosting. Once you track down a cast iron skillet, you should make the tarte Tatin. It's fabulous.

  11. Thank you s omuch Di, for being there for me while I was gone... I can always count on you!

    A very happy new year to you and your family... and a happy belated bloganniversary! Long live your kitchen notebook! lol

    Great cake by the way! LOL LOL

  12. Wow, Di...your cake looks marvelous. I'm licking my lips over here!

  13. Hi Di, WOW! That cakes looks so darn good. Happy Blogoversary too!!!

    I admire the fact that you jumped right in to join a group. I am so baking challeneged I would never have enough nerve or creativity to serve up such a beauty. (I'm working on it though)

    I always use my cast iron pan to bake Pineapple Upside Down Cake (from a mix of course:) I found mine at a local auction. Don't be put off if it is not absolutely perfect if you see one at a garage sale or such. There are plenty of websites that show you how to bring them back to life.

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  14. Your cake looks perfect! The frosting sounds yummy too!

  15. Your cake looks like a winner, to me.

    I got cast iron pans, a few months ago. I made a major mistake. I bought a 8 inch and a 12 inch. I didn't plan well because most of my recipes need a ten inch pan. I cut recipes for baking down to half and make it in the smaller pan and I use the large one for meats and vegetables. I really need the middle one and I am thinking of getting it. Amazon had them for decent prices but I don't know what they are now.

    I think it will be one of the best investments you make to have a cast iron skillet, on hand.