ashallen's Bookshelf

  • This is a basic yellow cake recipe for use in frosted layer cakes. By itself, the cake is a bit dull, but it comes into balance once you frost it. Despite being made with cake flour, it has a nice firm texture that holds up well to slicing into thinner layers for cake building.

  • Good recipe for a standard genoise cake.
    about Genoise cake batter from Way To Cook added on July 31, 2019

  • This recipe provides clear and detailed instructions for making a standard genoise - allowed me to get it right the first time I tried making one!
    about La Génoise from Passion for Chocolate added on July 31, 2019

  • This is a very nice gluten-free cake - good flavors and a lightly sandy texture from the cornmeal/potato starch/ground almonds. Finely ground whole grain cornmeal worked well - a coarser one might be too gritty. Like the title says, it's well-suited to breakfast - whole grains + not super-sweet. I baked it in a heavy, black 9-cup bundt pan and it was done in 30 minutes vs. 40 minutes as the recipe specified. The batter filled the pan only half-way, so the cake's smaller than a typical bundt cake.

  • This cake smelled and tasted like Sara Lee pound cake! The texture was different, however - more foam-like and drier. However, I accidentally added all of the eggs at once instead of beating them in one-by-one - so no star rating for now since I didn't put it together properly. Worth trying again to see if the texture improves. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Science of Good Cooking/Cook's Ill. Cookbook.]

  • This is basically a cornmeal sponge cake. Like many sponge cakes, I find it to be kind of plain on its own but it does well in the company of sauces, whipped cream, and/or fruit. I used a very finely ground whole grain cornmeal so there was little grittiness in the cake. I didn't have maraschino liqueur on hand and substituted 1 tsp almond extract. The almond extract's flavor was good, but next time I'll use Amaretto since going from 2-4 tbsp liqueur to 1 tsp extract probably made for a drier cake (and it'd be nice if the cake was moister). The recipe calls for baking the cake in two rehrucken pans. I used two 9x5-inch loaf pans instead - not as pretty, but they worked fine.

  • This is a really delicious cake with a dense (in a good way), buttery texture and a well-balanced mix of spices. Keeps well over multiple days.
    about Spice ripple keeping cake from Baking by Flavor added on July 30, 2019

  • Good muffins! Texture was moist and a bit springy. I made these with golden raisins, which worked well, and old fashioned rolled oats. I found the oats to be a bit chewy - will try using thinner rolled oats or quick oats next time.
    about Great grains muffins from Baking: From My Home to Yours added on July 30, 2019

  • I picked this recipe because of the many excellent reviews it has on Epicurious. I thought the gingerbread flavor was fine but got somewhat lost under the frosting (though the frosting was good on its own). However, the cake flavor was probably affected by my substituting ale for the Guinness and it'd be worth trying again with Guinness. The cake texture was a bit on the delicate side - take care while handling/assembling.

  • This is a delicious gingerbread - moist and dense with a spicy, dark flavor. The bits of crystallized ginger scattered through the cake work very well. I used a dark unsulfured molasses (recipe calls for light molasses). Also, I didn't have a 9x9-inch square pan and baked it in a shiny 10-inch springform pan instead - the pan change is probably why it took longer to bake than specified in the recipe.
    about Crystallized ginger gingerbread from Baking by Flavor added on July 30, 2019

  • This is a nice basic vanilla layer cake - good flavor and a moist, resilient texture without gumminess. Whereas some cakes can handle cold ingredients during mixing, this one seems to be a bit more sensitive and does best when ingredients are at room temperature. It's worked successfully both as a full recipe in a 9x13-inch or 2 9-inch pans and as a half-recipe baked in an 8-inch round pan to yield a slightly thicker layer. Also works well with almond instead of vanilla extract.
    about Butter layer cake from Baking by Flavor added on July 29, 2019

  • This turned out comically bad for me. The cake layers were simultaneously heavy, dry, and gritty. Recipe says you should be able to trim off cake layer tops and bottoms and still have a 1" of cake left - my layers were too short to even consider trimming. Since Rose Levy Beranbaum is so meticulous about testing and writing her recipes, I'm assuming something was very off with my technique - and/or maybe my chestnut flour wasn't finely ground enough.
    about Chestnut genoise from Cake Bible added on July 29, 2019

  • This is a great coffee cake that I've made many times - moist, flavorful, and delicious streusel layers. The recipe suggests multiple variations on the basic recipe - I've tried a few with cream cheese, apple slices, and different kinds of nuts and sugars. The fact that they've all turned out well is a testament to the robustness of the basic recipe. I skip the suggested glaze - the cake is great without it. Watch carefully and don't allow to overbake or it will be dry.
    about Ashkenazic sour cream coffee cake (Smeteneh küchen) from Epicurious added on July 28, 2019

  • Accidentally tried baking this cake in a 9-inch tube pan (vs. the 10-inch called for in the recipe). Yikes - the batter almost overflowed the pan and it required significant extra time in the oven to bake through (extra 30+ minutes), by which point the top was overbrowning and needed to be protected with foil. In the end, the flavor was fine - a bit mild. I need to try it again with the proper-size pan.
    about Buttermilk butter pound cake from Baking by Flavor added on July 28, 2019

  • This is a good, standard pizza dough that was my go-to when I was on a pizza-making kick for several years.
    about Pizza dough from Greens Cookbook added on July 28, 2019

  • This is a nice bread - slightly sweet, a little crunchy from the cornmeal, and a moderately dense texture - not overly gritty or heavy.
    about Portuguese corn bread (Broa) from Book of Bread added on July 28, 2019

  • This recipe makes a delicious loaf of bread with a great texture. The recipe is also very easy, especially for a brioche! [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine/Cooks Ill. Cookbook].
    about Quick brioche from Cook's Illustrated Magazine, Sep/Oct 1995 added on July 28, 2019

  • This rice was fine but more gently flavored than I expected it to be given the ingredient list. I'll be trying it again with very fresh herbs/spices. The rice's texture was quite good - the grains had a nice, slightly sticky/tacky quality. Instead of Sri Lankan sambha rice, I used Italian originario rice. I did stick a dishtowel under the lid while the rice rested to help draw off additional moisture.

  • We make these pancakes all the time in our house. They have a flavor and a light, moist texture that doesn't shout "whole wheat." Some people in my house prefer a lighter whole wheat flavor - using white whole wheat flour and/or substituting unbleached all purpose flour for up to half the whole wheat flour works very well for that. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine.]

  • I made the mistake of picking this recipe for my first attempt at making stuffed pasta - it exceeded my skill set! The shape isn't as straightforward to form as a ravioli. Also, I didn't roll the pasta thin enough to account for the many overlapping layers in the cappellaci and there were chewy bits after cooking (even after cooking for longer than recommended in the recipe). They also had a higher squash-to-pasta ratio than I'd hoped for. The butternut squash-sweet potato filling is very good, however. The leftover filling froze well and worked great in raviolis I made weeks after trying the cappellacci.

  • I've made this recipe many times - my family's favorite sandwich bread (especially turkey!) are buns made from this dough (15 buns baked in a 12x18x1-inch pan). I make it a bit richer by substituting 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter + 3 tbsp olive oil for the corn oil called for in the original recipe. The recipe is well written with nice tips for making the bread.
    about Challah from Sarabeth's Bakery added on July 27, 2019

  • This pesto is a great alternative to a more traditional sage-and-butter sauce. Its savoriness was excellent when combined with the sweetness of butternut squash ravioli. Using some toasted hazelnuts in addition to the walnuts called for the recipe worked very well. Great way to use up sage if you're trimming back an overgrown sage plant in the garden since it calls for 3/4 cup. Freezes well. [Cross-post for Annual Edition/Magazine.]

  • This recipe made a delicious, richly flavored challah.
    about Challah from Baking with Julia added on July 25, 2019

  • I've made this recipe many times. It makes a rich, tender white bread with a slightly tangy flavor and a fairly dense but soft crumb. After a day or so, the flavor brings back memories (in a good way) of Pepperidge Farm's white bread. Excellent for French toast and bread pudding.
    about Buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream bread from Book of Bread added on July 25, 2019

  • This is a great pita bread recipe that I've made many times - it's converted friends into pita bread-makers! So much better than store-bought and extras freeze well for later.
    about Pita bread from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone added on July 24, 2019