I've been making tons of cakes lately. I only wish I had a camera so I could post pictures.
Yesterday, I made a carrot cake from Smitten Kitchen for Alex's birthday. I ended up not having anywhere near enough carrots, so I only made a half recipe, and I used agave nectar in the place of maple syrup. I'm told it was delicious- my hungry polo players devoured it before I had a chance to really taste it.
For my brother's graduation, I made him Willow Bird Baking's Caramel Fudge Brownie cheesecake. It was decadent and totally delicious. The one mistake I made- a nine inch pie pan is not the same as a nine inch cake pan, the sloping walls made that top brownie layer significantly smaller than the rest of the cake. Luckily this problem was easy to fix with all the extra ganache.
Really, everything on Willow Bird Baking's master cheesecake post is excellent. I made the Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake for Ayla's birthday, and attempted the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss Cheesecake for Donnie's birthday. Both cakes were very much enjoyed, but the mousse layer on Donnie's cake did not work out well. Agar agar flakes are much more temperamental than gelatin, and must be used at exactly the right time in the setting process to act in the same way, since they're actual a much more powerful binding agent. I'm hoping I can find an actual vegetarian gelatin to use instead of the flakes next time. I also modified to Coffee Cookie Dough cheesecake for Eli's birthday a few weeks ago- I used half the ganache and didn't add the cookie dough layer for a simpler, less heavy cake, as he requested.
I'm enjoying this cake-making kick- being able to simply pour the entire bowl into a pan is quite satisfying compared to dividing it into individual cupcake tins, or spooning out individual cookies.
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