20 July 2010

Becca is amazing

Just, you know, stating the obvious, because the world needs a reminder every so often.

Anyway. Both Becca and I baked a lot for our respective labs last week. The mouse cake was the pièce de résistance, so to speak, but chronologically it was actually the last thing in the queue of treats produced at Hatherly College during the week.

So in the next couple of posts I will simply be playing catch-up. For one thing, it's still a bit too hot to be baking, and anyway, I should be cleaning and packing and generally preparing for the impending move. Plus now that I'm unemployed, I need to be more conservative about spending all my meager savings on baking ingredients. Besides, to whom could I feed it all now?

Last Sunday Becca made a Grand Marnier Orange Cake and a plateful of truffles while we watched the World Cup final. I was too distracted by the game -- which, by the by, was one of the most frustrating soccer matches I have ever watched (Arguing with me? Yellow card! How dare you laugh! Yellow card! Celebrating the first and only goal of the game in double-overtime that will get your country its first-ever World Cup title? Yellow card!!) -- to remember to take a picture of the truffles, but the cake was quite pretty.

I couldn't sample the cake since Becca was bringing it in to work the next day, but I did taste the one that Becca's mother had sent for her birthday, and it was delicious. Becca's coworkers were convinced they could get drunk off the cake, there was that much Grand Marnier in the glaze.

At some point I may ask Becca for the recipe, but then I'd have to purchase a lifetime supply of Grand Marnier just for making this cake. I don't drink, so what else could I do with a whole bottle of orange liqueur besides bake with it? (Does one even drink orange liqueur? I wouldn't know.)

ETA: Becca sent me the recipe for the Grand Marnier cake! See below!

Oreo Truffles
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese
~1 1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted

Smash up the Oreos. On previous occasions we accomplished this by placing the cookies in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag and then going at it with Anna's rock hammer (anger management, anyone?), but this time Becca implemented the nut grater, which I reckon is a much more civilized, less messy, idea. I do love me some rock hammers though. :)

In a large bowl, combine the cookie bits and the cream cheese, mixing thoroughly by hand. Form the cookie mixture into truffle-sized balls, 1 in. (that's 2.54 cm for the non-Americans) in diameter.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Coat each truffle in melted chocolate and place on prepared cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for a few hours to let the chocolate harden.

Golden Grand Marnier Cake
From The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. Grand Marnier
1 1/2 tsp. flour
3 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour
1/2 c. and 1 Tbsp. unblanched sliced almonds, toasted and finely ground
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. orange zest
1 c. unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-cup fluted tube pan.

Toss chocolate chips and Grand Marnier until moistened, then toss with flour until coated.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 c. sour cream, and vanilla.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and orange zest. Add butter and remaining 3/4 c. sour cream. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened, then beat on high speed for 1.5 min.

Add egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 sec. after each addition. Scrape sides. Add chocolate chips.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until done, 55-65 min.

Place pan on a rack, let cool in pan for 10 min., then invert onto lightly greased wire rack.

Grand Marnier Syrup
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1/3 c. Grand Marnier

Combine and heat until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.

Brush cake with remaining syrup and cool completely before glazing with chocolate or
dusting with powdered sugar.

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