"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Citrus Chiffon Cake and Swedish Rye Bread

Tell me if your day goes anything like this:

Yesterday I had to be at work at noon, and I had a chiropractor's appt. at 11:15. I also had to shop, and I wanted to bake a cake. I also wanted to work out, and was in fact in my work out clothes.

So, this is how you figure it. I have to leave Gloucester at 10:58 to be on time to appt. I need at least 45 minutes in the store, so I need to arrive there at or around 10:15. It takes about 15 minutes to drive there so I need to leave the house no later than 10. The cake takes 50 mins to an hour to bake, so it has to go in the oven no later than 9.

The time? 8am. Perfect. Anybody can put cake batter together in an hour, right? And if I hustle I can get a little time in on the elliptical.

I'm telling you people, I was shaving it pretty close. Citrus Chiffon Cake has some fussy preparation. Buttering and flouring a Bundt pan is tedious (all those little ridges!) Sifting the cake flour is time consuming (and messy) Grating four teaspoons each of orange and lemon zest: likewise. Producing 3/4 cup of fresh orange juice...you get the picture.

When I put it in the oven, I said screw the elliptical and jumped right in the shower. What a fragrance that cake produced! Really heavenly. I took the components for the Citrus Syrup to work and made it there, and we had it for dessert last night at home.

My thoughts on the cake--delicious...but the syrup somehow took away from the lovely spongy texture. (although, it should be noted, not enough that I stopped eating my slice of cake.) I think it would be best highlighted by whipped cream and fresh berries or citrus fruit. Any book groupies reading this--that's what I'm bringing for dessert tonight.

Now, speaking of heavenly fragrances, can anything beat the smell of baking bread? I wax and wane enthusiastic about bread baking, and right now I'm just in love with it. This recipe for Swedish Rye Bread is a winner, and if you can believe it I think that butter actually detracts from the flavor.

Yes! Amazing coming from me, who sees bread mostly as a vehicle for getting butter (or olive oil)into my mouth.

The bread is a little sweet from the molasses, and has complex flavor and fragrance, thanks to the orange zest (there it is again, twice in one day!) anise seeds and caraway seeds.

So, if not a vehicle for butter, what is this bread good for? I think it would be superlative toast (as a vehicle for jam) and for a sandwich...oh, a nice chicken or turkey sandwich made with real (not deli) meat...maybe a little cranberry sauce...hmmm, is it lunchtime yet?

1 comment:

Eve said...

I really liked the cake, though I wasn't overly fond of the stuff on top. I think the cake (alone) and a cup of tea would be ideal. Absolutely ideal. Yum.