Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm still here!

With my baby last Christmas! I hope we can take a new picture this year. :)

Hey Bloggers. Don't worry I'm still alive and breathing. I can't believe it has almost been a WEEK since I've posted anything. Work is very busy. I had 1 day off last week and I had to do some Christmas shopping since I didn't even start. The last few days I've been doing some baking like peppermint bark, fudge, biscotti, and brittle. Christmas Eve I plan on baking several cookies! As for tonight, I share with you a WONDERFUL dessert I made for last Christmas. A cake. Not just any cake but a cannoli cake. Never in my life did I know this would actually exist. You see my boyfriend loves cannolis and I wanted to incorporate it into a dessert. Used my online BFF, Google and I couldn't believe a cannoli cake actually existed. Very popular back east because of all the Italian families and the variety of bakeries out there. They also make a cake called a Cassata, but it is somewhat different from the cake I planned to make. The Cassata is a VERY traditional Italian cake around the holidays and I've yet to try. This was the first time I'd be spending Christmas with my boyfriend and his family, and my parents as well! It was a very exciting evening but I was more nervous about the pressure I put on myself to make this cake. Let's see, I've never tried a cannoli cake before so I didn't know what the expect on taste, texture, flavor etc. My cake baking skills are still not the best but I'm still in the learning stages. So I researched many recipes, compared recipes and at the end I asked our good family friend Doina to help me! She is a great baker and makes some of the best cakes. She looked over the recipes, told me what methods will work best and we went from there. I had to practice making this cake first because I wasn't going to make it perfect my first try. Doina helped me out and my first cake was not bad at all! (Please excuse the bad photography!)

This was the first trial. I decorated it with cannoli shells from an Italian bakery and chocolate chips.

Here is a slice, I already knew the adjustment I needed to make for the next cake! More layers and filling! Oh and better decoration!
Can you believe it took me 5 hours to make this cake? When I made the second time, it still took me 5 hours! That is hard labor let me tell you. So some things about the first cake was the "sponge" cake wasn't very light. I used cake flour and Doina couldn't understand the reason why, but I said that what the recipe asked for! She said, just shifting flour will make the cake lighter. The cake was drenched in rum syrup and really made the flavors in the cake come together. Also, not enough filling. Look how thick those layers are and the little amount of filling. The filling was made with ricotta, semi-sweet chocolate, orange zest, and sugar! It was very good but Mike being the taste-tester said not to make it with orange zest the next time because he doesn't like it. Let me tell you, the orange zest was needed but I didn't want to disappoint so I left it out. Christmas Day was coming close and I had to work on the cake. I made it the day before and iced it the following day so it be ready for the night. The final result was an AMAZING cake. It is worth the 5 hours in the kitchen. I remember the night I made it, my ricotta cheese went bad because I had defrosted it from the freezer and it was complete liquid. NEVER freeze ricotta! ;) So I ran to Trader Joe's and bought ricotta. I'm so glad they were still open. That was probably the scariest part that night because I had to get that filling done or there was no cake. Oh the pressure! Mike's parents were SO impressed with this cake. It was a winner that night. As for everyone else, our parents got along beautifully and it couldn't of been a better night. It was absolutely perfect!

4 layers and more filling, definitely made for a more proportioned cake. It couldn't of come out any better.

My HUGE slice! I gobbled it up and some. ;)

I used this recipe Cassata alia Siciliana from La Mia Cucina. I did make several changes like using King Arthur flour, no orange zest, and no nuts. I listened to Doina and did a more traditional sponge cake by separating the yolks and whites. The whites I made into a meringue which then I folded into the yolk batter. If you have any questions or comments, please email me! I wish I could talk more about this cake because it deserves it, but I'm short on time. I have to be at work in less then an hour! To end this post, what am I making THIS year? Well since I'm so short on time I decided against any cake. I don't have any time this year to make a practice cake before making the actual one. Which is sad and I hope next year will be different. I opted to do a dessert tray instead with an array of goodies! Tomorrow is my Friday and I can't wait to share with you the yummy goodies I have made.

Have a great day,


Katrina said...

Just caught up on your blog (I'm so late on so many!) The gingerbread looks great and although Christmas is over, I just might make this, can't get enough ginger things this year! Your cannoli cake looks awesome! And I can't wait to hear about your goodies platter and your boyfriend coming home!
Hope it was a great holiday for you!

Fallon said...

I love gingerbread too! You should make one of those recipes, it is so fast and easy. Plus it makes the house smell great!

I am working on a Xmas update but I've been so busy!!! I'll get it up sometime this week, hopefully before the new year. ;)