Baking my way through Baked

I had wanted to buy Baked New Frontiers in Baking for a long long time. I finally purchased it and started drooling over all of the pictures. The chapters are full of pies, cookies, candies, drinks, and breakfast items. I wanted to bake, well, everything in the book. So, I decided to do just that. It will take awhile to get through the entire book but trying everything in a cookbook has been a goal of mine.

So, my faithful readers, I recommend that you buy this book even if you just look at the pictures and read the recipes. I will try each recipe and will post my results.

When the world gives you plums, make plum cake

We had a lot of plums from our CSA.  That’s great.  Except, I don’t especially like eating raw plums.  The taste of the skin gets to me a bit.  But, the good thing is that plums are perfect for baking.  I did some research and tried to find an easy and delicious sounding recipe for plum cake.  I found a recipe on Cooks.com and decided to give it a try.  You can find the recipe here.

Some things that I learned while making this cake:

1.  Plums are difficult to pit.  Those pits are determined to stay attached to the plum.  I devised a method in which I would cut a circle around the entire plum, following the crease in the plum. For the larger plums, I would then twist the plum to separate the halves.  For the smaller plums, I would just cut off each end pieces and then cut around the pit.  Is this how you are supposed to cut a plum?  I have no idea.  But, it worked for me.

2.  Buddy really likes plums.  I don’t get it.  I had to keep pushing her off of the table because she kept walking to my pile of plums and licking them.  I think that there were a couple plums that I ended up washing four times because Buddy kept licking them.  That cat was as determined to eat a plum as those pits were determined to stay in the plums.

Buddy is waiting patiently for me to bring the plums back out

The finished cake?  Well, I think that I need to find a different recipe for plum cake because as you can see, it doesn’t look like a cake.  It looks more like a tart.  And I like tarts.  But, I was really looking for a dessert with a cake consistency.  Ryan wondered if maybe there were too many plums but I measured them out exactly to follow the recipe.  Although it did not look the way that I had imagined, it did smell delicious.

Plum cake? Plum tart? Plums on top of a big cookie?

Everything that I had read in the various recipes said that you really needed to use a lot of powdered sugar.  Since there was so little sugar in the cake recipe, I definitely showered it with powdered sugar.  It was clear that these plums were juicy because they instantly soaked up the majority of the powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar and then more powdered sugar

The taste?  Ryan described it as a fruit crumble where the crumble is on the bottom instead of the top.  That actually sums it up nicely.  The crust definitely isn’t cake-like.  It also isn’t like a pie crust.  It starts breaking apart as soon as you cut into it.  The flavors are nice, though.  I used two different types of plums and that worked very well.  Some of the plums stays a bit more solid and some became a bit more mushy so there was a nice variety of textures.

Next time that I have an abundance of plums, I’ll try a new recipe.  A Google search brings back several different plum cake recipes.  But for plums piled on top of a giant cookie, this was pretty good.

And the winner is….

Back in April, I gave myself the task of finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I gathered recipes from different sources and start baking.  So, after baking all of those cookies over the last several months, I have come to a very important conclusion.  Although all of the cookies were really tasty and most were pretty easy to bake, I have decided on two recipes that will probably be by go-to recipes for chocolate chip cookies.

For cookies in a hurry, I will most likely turn to the Martha Stewart recipe that I blogged about here.  It’s a great tasting and simple recipe.  They are easy to put together and a are ready in very little time.

If I know in advance that I will be baking cookies, I will most likely turn to the Serious Eats recipe that used the sea salt that I blogged about here.  This recipe is a bit more complicated and definitely requires some time to finish but each time that I have baked these cookies, they have been a huge (!!!!) hit.

So, there you have it.  My top two choices of the recipes that I tried.  Am I done?  No.  I think that my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe is probably a lifelong journey.  But, do I have a good start?  Definitely.