Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Baking with Julia-GingerBread Baby Cakes

I've Got a Theory....

Okay, I'm pretty excited to try these baby cakes.  I love gingerbread!  And how cute are these little cakes!!! 

So perfect for December too.  I'm very glad this recipe was picked.
But I don't have little cake pans. <pout>  What if I used a Bundt pan?  Hmm... 

Not to brag (but I totally am), I have all the ingredients on hand to make these cakes!  <score!!!>  Okay, I'm bragging a lot.  (and giggling) 
Hey, fellow bakers can share in this glee....we all know the awesomeness that is 'having all ingredients on hand'.  It's like sunshine on a cold day. (sure it's still cold but hey, look at that sun!)

I love getting all my ingredients together to have them at the ready.  Some bakers say this helps them not to miss adding an ingredient.  And I'd like to say that is true, but I did just almost miss adding the baking powder....even though it is clearly on the tray of ingredients.  It takes skill to miss an ingredient....right in front of me.  (truth)

Dry Ingredients....Baking Powder AWOL
Whisk, whisk baby

As per the recipe, it does look like the eggs are separating.  But it said not to worry, so I'm not.

It all came together in the end and into the bundt pan. 

Now to the oven.  It says to bake for 50-60 minutes.  I think it is going to take a bit longer than that.  I can smell it baking and it smells good.  Though I am a little worried, as it is a darker pan and things tend to get overbaked on the outside with a dark pan.

My cake got very dark around the edges (you can see it in the photo above).  It doesn't look like this in the cookbook.   Though even the inside of the cake looks dark.

Okay, I think it is the cocoa powder that I used.  It is a very dark cocoa powder. (Valrhona makes the good stuff)  And to be fair, everything I make with it does gets really dark.
The cake could not have baked for any longer without getting burnt on the outside.  But the inside seems chewy.  Perhaps I should have turned the heat down and baked for longer.  Hmmm.

But honestly, I think it is the cocoa powder. 
And here is my evidence. 
My good Valrhona cocoa powder is on the left.   Look at how dark and beautiful it is compared to the cocoa powder I used to use.  Yes, used to....before I changed my ways. 

So, I've got a theory........

I'm thinking if I had used my lesser good (yes, lesser good...I'm sticking with that) cocoa powder the cake would not have turned out so dark.  That may have just been more of a statement than a theory. 

But I like saying, 'I've got a theory'....cause when I say 'I've got a theory', I think of a Buffy episode....specifically the episode "Once more, with Feeling"....the one where they sing throughout the whole thing.  And one of the songs is called "I've got a Theory". 
Aaaaand I sort of feel that I'm rambling on now.  So I'll just stop right here. 
"Bunnies!!Bunnies!  It must be bunnies!" (only funny if you did indeed watch said Buffy episode)  Honestly, I'll stop now.

Perhaps I'm trying to avoid the cake issue.  Or more precisely my issue with the cake. 
The taste of the cake was okay.  I was so looking forward to this cake.  I voted for this cake.  I believed in this cake.  But it just didn't meet my expectations taste wise.  Maybe it was too much fresh ginger. 

I think I would try the cake again.  But next time in a lighter cake pan and with a lighter cocoa powder.  And perhaps with a different baker.....just sayin'. 


  1. Bunnies!! Ha, ha, ha! I REALLY miss that show.

    I liked this gingerbread. I made cupcakes instead of baby cakes. Sorry you didn't like it.

  2. I stand by your theory that using lesser-good ingredients would have changed the outcome here. I had no fancy ingredients, so that couldn't have been my problem. ha! The Lebovitz recipe is called "Fresh Ginger Cake." It involves a lot of fresh ginger, so if that was something you didn't like about Julia's cake, you may not be a fan of Lebovitz's.

  3. I didn't like the baby cakes either, I wanted too so bad ..but it was way to stout for my taste. That is some dark cocoa:)

  4. At first I was very interested by the recipe too, and I voted for it , but I'm agree the taste is very stong, too much spices in my mouth!!!! If I try again, the next time I'll use syrup or honey instead molasses,less ginger and no pepper!!! Otherwise it was a good recipe idea for this season, we just need to adapt it our tastes!!!

  5. Quite a lovely idea baking the cake in a pretty Bundt Pan - sad that it did nort quite live up to the expectations but it does look wonderful and it has a nice dark, rich color!

  6. So sorry you didn't like this one. I didn't have mini pans either, but utilized a Bundt pan of mine that produces four 2-1/2 cup cakes. I loved this one, but I can never pass up a spicy gingerbread!

  7. I think you might have something with your theory. I used the fancy pants cocoa powder too, maybe that upped the intensity of the flavor too much? Thanks for the tip on the Lebovitz recipe!

  8. Too bad this wasn't a fav. Maybe the syrup will help. AFter I made mine I realized I could have used my small ramekins. DOH!! thanks for stopping by.

  9. I also love it when I have all the ingredients on hand. :) I use Valhrona sparingly because it is so expensive, so I just used good 'ole Hersheys cocoa for this and that is probably why mine had a milder flavor and lighter color in addition to my reducing the molasses. I do like the dark color of yours.

  10. I completely related to your glee at having all of the ingredients. Score!!! I used Dutch process cocoa but used the baby cakes. But I have a kitchen equipment habit. Great post! Fun to read.

  11. I didn't really like this one either, way too intense! Great post! and as a fellow baker I can really relate to "Yay I have all the ingredients!"

  12. I'll trust your theory, as I did not make this week's assignment.

  13. So sorry you didn't like the cake. I kind of like the dark colour - it looks burnished and handsome.

  14. I am impressed with your avoidance strategy! And I totally get why you'd rather discuss Buffy than the cake :) Buffy kicked butt and this cake... didn't.
    I like your deep brown colour!

  15. I also used a very dark (and very delicious) cocoa power and ended up with a dark (and delicious) cake!

  16. Really great post! *Gotta find me some o that Valhrona cocoa!

  17. I like the dark rich color of your cake!Do find you also get a richer taste from darker cocoa? Do you use the same amount or less in recipes that call for cocoa?

    1. Yes, a much richer taste. I can't get over how different it is from the cheaper brands. I do use the same amount that a recipe calls for. It really is worth it for cakes you want to show off.

  18. I used Valrhona cocoa too. it's the best! I think the espresso contributed to the color as well. Mine has the same ; )

  19. Your cake looks fabulous and I LOVE gingerbread. I love Valrhona, but it is a different color than any other cocoa! And I love that feeling of having everything you need in the pantry!