Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baking: From My Kitchen to Yours - Part 2

The second installment of Baking: From My Kitchen to Yours happened this week. The fabulous Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody made the trek down to bake with me. Since I was the host kitchen, I got to decide what we were baking. I had a short list of 4 or 5 things, but with all the socializing, side tangents of photography, and children demanding attention, we only accomplished one baking project.

I was drawn to this recipe when I saw it on the website for Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. But when I think of Pea, I think of pumpkin, so naturally I thought of substituting Pea's pumpkin brioche in the recipe. Pumpkin, apple, and pear, all together in a rustic, tasty cake. Yumm.

Since I had a large bowl full of brioche, I decided to double the recipe, making two cakes so there would be enough for everyone. That might have been a mistake, since I was getting so distracted. I ended up with an interesting texture to the streusel topping and an oddly large amount with lots of leftovers. (I'll post later about what I did with that.)

When the recipe calls for an 8 x 3-inch cake pan, apparently it really means it. I realized after I'd put both cakes together that my pans are more like 8 x 2-inch. In the oven the brioche rose, pushing chunks of streusel off to burn on the bottom of the oven because I'd forgotten to put in baking sheets. There's nothing like big clouds of smoke issuing from your oven to really make you feel like a pro baker.

Peabody's kitchen is gorgeous and was spotless when I visited her. My kitchen is more of the "Oh, no, company's coming. Get the snow shovel and clean off the counter!" variety. My cookbooks multiply on the cookbook breeding ground (some people might call it an island) and I have recipes printed off the computer drifting around the kitchen like the first snowflakes of winter.

Peabody's kitchen is also very peaceful. Just Pea and her culinary concoctions. As soon as she got to my house the kitchen was stuffed with people. My oldest daughter, my husband, and my two younger children all wanted to meet her and hang around her. Well, who wouldn't? But it didn't make for smooth, effortless baking.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it's my excuse for what my oven produced. First, billows of smoke, then a cake that fell in the middle. But it tasted good and we had fun!

Fall Brioche Coffee Cake
- adapted from Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes a Day (go there to see how it's supposed to look)

The Streusel Topping:

1 cup oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The Cake:

1 pound (grapefruit-size portion) Pumpkin Brioche dough (make it the day before baking - this will yield enough for 2 cakes plus leftovers)
2 small apples (1 tart and 1 sweet, thinly sliced)
1 large pear, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
zest of half an orange
1 1/2 cups streusel topping (above)

1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8-inch x 3-inch round cake pan with grease, a round piece of parchment and a dusting of flour or sugar.

2-To make the streusel: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until well combined.

3- Divide the pound of dough in two equal pieces, form them into balls and roll them out to be just slightly wider than the cake pan. Place one of the disks of dough in the prepared pan. It should come up the sides just a bit.

4- Combine the apples, pear, brown sugar and zest in a bowl. Spread half of the apple mixture on the first layer of dough.

3- Sprinkle with about 3/4 cup streusel. Repeat with other layer of dough, rest of apples and another 3/4 cup streusel. Let the cake rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

4- With a baking sheet beneath the cake to catch drips, bake for about 45 minutes , until tester comes out of the center clean. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake.

5-Invert the pan onto a plate. Lift the pan off the cake. Peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake and then invert onto a cake plate.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

HAHA!!! That photo of you and Peabody is PRICELESS!! Love you guys :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

What fun to cook in the kitchen together!!!!Excellent job ladies.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot of fun was had - and the cake looks great :)

Shoshana said...

Not only does it sound like a great time was had by all, the cake looks delicious! I love your description of the cookbook breading ground. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one with that type if kitchen.

Unknown said...

Super cute picture!!! Sounds like lots of fun.

Katrina said...

So is it called Fall Cake because it fell? jk It looks de-lish!!!
Love the photo of you feeding Peabody! I need to find me a blogging buddy nearby like that! ;)

grace said...

that's some impressive coffee cake, and i love that the name applies in two ways. what else do i love? that shot of you and peabody--too funny!

Peabody said...

My kitchen is not that's all smoke and mirrors I tell you. ;)
Your kitchen was may have had more cooks in the kitchen but you didn't have small fuzz below your feet trying to trip and kill you when you took stuff to the oven.

I finally got to eat both the muffins (YUM!) and the cake. The streusel wasn't so streusel like, it formed more of a crust. But it was one darn tasty crust! I kept wishing we had just baked off a layer of that stuff as well as the coffee cake.

Anonymous said...

Oh it looks and sounds so good! And the fact that it didn't go perfectly is reassuring to someone like me.

Maria said...

How fun you got to bake together. I love you both.

Abby said...

The photo of you guys is a hoot!

kickpleat said...

The cake looks beautiful and I think that fallen cakes taste better anyway! The photo? Too awesome.

Unknown said...

I love your 'collaborations'. Must be amazing fun! And the last picture of the two of you is hilarious!