Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baking and Blogging

We held a Driscoll's Bakes blogging event in NYC on Thursday Oct. 1st. Nothing is better than getting a crowd going than to bake together! Driscoll's provided the opportunity along with baskets and baskets of the most gorgeous Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries and Blueberries, some of them even organic. The event was to introduce my new book, Unforgettable Desserts (Wiley, 2009), which has just hit the shelves. We baked the Brown Sugar Buttermilk Snack Cake with Blackberries and Caramel Walnut Drizzle from the Breakfast and Snack Cakes Chapter.

Kim Kulchycki, Driscoll's Marketing Manager and one of their growers, Marc Cervantes, were on hand to explain how these exquisite berries are developed, grown, harvested, transported and brought to the consumer in such pristine shape.

I approached this as a private baking class, talking the guests through the steps.
We had all the ingredients measured out so we could all jump in right away. Here are some pics of us, paired off into twos, getting the cakes mixed and into the oven.
Baking with a friend is always more fun.
The recipe is a very easy brown sugar cake that starts with creaming the butter and sugar. The juicy blackberries are scattered on top right before baking; they will sink in

Check out @SporkorFoon on Twitter:) LOL she thinks her cake was the best. What was so satisfying was to see bakers and non-bakers getting together and ALL baking these fabulous snack cakes from scratch.

Here I am testing with a wooden toothpick, which is my preferred tool for this job. I find the moist crumbs that we want to see clinging will be apparent on a toothpick more so than on a metal cake tester. Can you see how this cake is a tad overbaked and peaked and cracked? Check out the next pic.
Look at the cake on the middle left. It is evenly colored, flatter and less peaked. It was baked in my preferred pan, a Wilton Decorator Preferred pan. They are heavy duty and conduct heat evenly...this allowed me the perfect opportunity to talk to the group about the importance of equipment. The batter and oven were the same; only difference was the pan.

Here below I am whisking the caramel glaze Just until it is fluid. Everyone is looking over the pot to assess the texture of the glaze. If you whisk too long it becomes grainy, so stop just when it comes together.
Here are some of our intrepid bloggers making their own glaze.

Here we begin to spoon the glaze over the cooled cake.

The following shot is an example of our great professional photographer's work! Check out more of Peter Doyle's work HERE. Look at that caramel flow!

After a drizzle of caramel comes the berries, walnuts, then more caramel, berries and walnuts. By building it up in layers, we get a very 3D appearance. Note that some berries were baked in the cake and some are fresh on top of the cake. This technique of layering flavors is one I use frequently throughout the book.
Look at how yummy this looks
Even with us sharing a mixer and Marc and I pausing and speaking in between, we baked Four of these cakes start to finish, in less than an hour! Who says they don't have time to bake?

Below we got a kick out of comparing our cakes to the professionally styled picture in the book. Most of my bloggers thought theirs was even better! Hey, I write my books so you can be successful in the kitchen!
Side by side comparison
I hope to do more events like this....stay tuned for info.

Thank you to our bakers and bloggers!
Christo -
Jordan -
Robert -
Evie -


Groomer Angie said...

Oh my lord Dede, you are killing me! Here I am fixing up a new kitchen & you show up with this! How the heck do you & Freeman stay so skinny??

doggybloggy said...

I had a really great time - thanks again!

Teanna DiMicco said...

Thanks for a fantastic event, Dede! The cake was great, and I made the bliss bites the other day and WOW! I finally got the chance to blog about the event! I was re-living tasting that cake all over again!