29 March 2006

Call Me Betty ... Betty Crocker, That Is.

I'm teaching myself to bake. This week I made a angel food cake care of The Best Light Recipe (America's Test Kitchen, 2006) and a sponge using the "Egg-Yolk Sponge Cake" from Allrecipes.com. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have attempted two scratch recipes on the same day, but the angel food cake yields a dirth of yolk, sponge cakes are usually good for eating up yolks, and I wasn't sure how long I could keep the yolks. The eggs had been brought to room temperature for the angel food cake, so I didn't think I could re-refrigerate the yolks without worrying about food safety issues.

Anyway, the angel food cake came out really nice. I used my new Baker's Secret ring pan with the removable bottom. Bought it last week at the kitchen outlet place and was all pleased with myself until I realized I should have gone with the footed model. With no legs to stand on, the recipe recommended impaling the pan on a long-necked bottle, but that seemed like a sure way to end up with glass and vodka all over the kitchen floor. Instead, I formed a triangle with three Muir Glen soup cans and then perched the cake on them. It worked out pretty well.

The whole recipe worked out pretty well, actually. Aside from The Husband's cheesecake bottom problem, the Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen recipes have always worked out well. The developmental history of each recipe make for good reads, the illustrations are a godsend, and the instructions for the recipes themselves are almost always clear and correct. Anyway, the cake seems all that an angel food cake should be -- tall, light, and a uniform golden brown. It tastes, sayeth The Husband, like pancakes. I know not what he means, but it must be a good thing considering the quantity of cake he has eaten.

Now, the sponge cake was not quite what I had envisioned. Blame it on Anglophilia if you will, but when I think sponge I think Victoria Sponge and that's what I was expecting this cake to come out like. Tremendously moist, yet lighter than air. What I ended up with was certainly good, but was more like a moist yellow cake than anything. This is, quite probably, my fault. I may have over-folded, because I wasn't sure what "folding" was, causing the cake to be less airy than it ought to have been. But that is okay, too. This whole caking baking thing is all about practice and improving my skillz.

In other news, Kingdom Hearts II released today and, oh my, am I ever excited. For the first time ever, I went to a shop and purchased a game the same day it was released. Usually, it's months before I give in to temptation and buy one. Not this time. No. Must have now. (We also bought Tetris DS so The Husband would have something to do while I hogged the television). I have to decide if I'm going to start playing straightaway when I come home tomorrow or whether I should make myself wait a few days to heighten my pleasure when I finally do tear off the cellophane wrapper and pop open the box.

Maybe I'll wait until I bake my next cake. Then I can play while it's baking, but not end up anchored to the couch for hours, and later I will be able to eat sweet, sweet cake and game at the same time.