"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".

Friday, November 23, 2007

Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake and Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping

Want to impress a crowd? Bring them Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake.

This has to be the most spectacular cake I've ever made, and people just flipped over it. For chocolate lovers, it's heaven on earth. Even my son, who says he disdains coconut, adored this cake, and I'll tell you why--the coconut is toasted, which really changes both the flavor and the texture. Or maybe he was just overwhelmed by all the chocolate and it could have been covering gravel for all he cared.

It's a bit complicated to make and requires a lot of attendance, what with the toasting of coconut and pecans, the three cake layers, the baked sweetened condensed milk...but if you've got a half a day to spare it's an extremely rewarding baking project.

One tip I picked up from the Epicurious site on the reader review page--instead of baking the milk in the oven in a water bath, boil an unopened can in a pot on the stove for two hours and you'll get the same effect (which is dulce de leche). I would suggest going that route since the other way is a bit of a pain.

My other Thanksgiving dessert contribution was Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping. I made this cheesecake Wednesday morning, and readers, I'm embarrassed to say that I submitted to diet fear-thinking and substitued light dairy products for this whole dessert. Usually when I'm trying a Gourmet Cookbook recipe for the first time I make it as written so I can honestly evaluate it. Now note that I didn't say I used fat-free. You might as well just bring some carrot and celery sticks than do that.

Anyway, this cheesecake was the particular favorite of a few guests who aren't chocolate fiends, and O'Malley claims he liked this better than the German Chocolate Cake too (even though he swore loudly and vociferously that he hated pumpkin on Tuesday).

My sole difficulty with the cheesecake was plating it--we have no cake-sized platters in our house and when I tried to get it on a dinner plate I made a crater-shaped cheesecake. I ended up transfering it back to the base of the spring-form pan so it could be nice and flat.

Here is a photo of the two desserts before their voyage to the party. I have to confess I've become addicted to the food-styled photos I've been posting from Epicurious and other places on the web so this one seems very plain-spun! We'll work on our celebrity food shots soon.

1 comment:

I Love Pumpkins said...

Hi Melissa! Thanks for the detailed reviews. Your tips about the German Chocolate cake appear very helpful - I'm thinking of making it for a Christmas Eve dinner party and based on your coaching I just might try it! My mom made the Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving and that's another option - that one is also a big hit.