October 31, 2004
CPBB 2004: 2nd installment
Friday, October 29
After my first-of-the-season batch of caramel pound cake, I had been meaning to try another one. I was in the mood for some fruits, a with good match for caramel... such as apple, pear, banana. But all of them had been used in elsewhere in this caramel pound cake baking and blogging event, alas. As I wanted to avoid a repetition for this event, I tried to use something that had not appeared - like orange. Although I knew caramel and orange would make a good pair, I wasn't quite sure if the fruit would go good in this particular cake... I decided to give it a try anyways.
Other than orange, my ideas extended to include various nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, and coffee or tea, etc. I was being so indecisive I ended up making three different flavors/toppings: hazelnuts, orange & pistachio, and fleur de sel.
I used the same recipe (in Japanese) as the last time, replacing about one third of flour with ground hazelnuts. I would normally use ground almonds to make richer, moister cake, but this time around I had a large bag of ground hazelnuts given by my friend, I used them.
As I was using ground hazelnuts in the cake batter, I thought I could add non-ground (aka whole) hazelnuts as well. I divided one third of the batter into three paper muffin cups, topped them with coarsely chopped hazelnuts, and sprinkled with cassonade, or French brown sugar.
Then I halved the rest of batter and added some orange zest to a one half. I could have made it simple, but topped orange-caramel cups with chopped raw unsalted pistachio nuts, which are commonly paired with orange.
The last one-third stayed rather simple, with just added fleur de sel or French exquisite sea salt. I like caramel with fleur de sel, which had inspired me to try this in the cake.
Off they went into the oven (ignore that the batter isn't divided quite equally among three) -
- and came out lovely as ever.
Hazelnuts, the main ingredient for praline, was a natural with caramel cake. I had expected that cassonade would burn a bit and add a further caramel-y layer, but it stayed unmelted on top of the cakes. Even so, the cake tasted really good.
Orange and pistachio was a bit of disappointment, although I had sort of guessed it right. It tasted fine, but I wouldn't try this again or encourage people to try either. It is okay though, as I had wanted to try something fruity and it was fulfilled.
Ones with fleur de sel turned out to be the winner of the time. Very simple but rich with a hint of salt (never salty), the cake tasted good on the day they were baked, but developed its flavor wonderfully well over a few days.
This may look pretty plain with nothing so exciting about it, but I imagine a handsome loaf of fleur de sel caramel cake nestled in the fridge would serve a nice treat with a cup of tea, something I would really appreciate on a rainy day or cold day.
posted by chika at: 10/31/2004 10:56:00 PM