Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baking Adventure #14

What a co-inky-dink!... this is baking adventure #14 and today is the 14th day of February! I promise that was not planned at all!

This week's baking adventure held true to the definition of "adventure". I had to cross the Atlantic Ocean for this one... A friend of mine was raised in Germany and has been craving a particular cake for quite some time now. He requested it back in the fall but it never actually happened for one reason or another. However, this week the craving finally became unbearable and he not only put in a "real" request but he also dropped by the CA$H for me to make it... making him my 3rd paying customer!!! YAHOO!!! Movin' on up!

Anyways, let's get down to it! This week's baking adventure is...

BIENENSTICH CAKE (Bee Sting Cake) <---- Please don't ask me how to pronounce it.

Luckily, since my friend requested this cake in the fall, I had already done a good bit of legwork trying to find the right recipe that held true to the German tradition while also being translated into English baking terms properly... this was a feat in itself! [Gotta love the metric system we Americans use. Nothing like being difficult.]

I searched long and hard across the internet and even consulted a former Project Manager from a previous job of mine, who was also from Germany. His recipe was half German and half English. I about went cross-eyed trying to figure it out... Finally, a few days ago I settled on this recipe for BIENENSTICH (Bee Sting Cake). It made the most sense and even the few steps left out I could figure out on my own.

Once I went to one of my favorite stores on earth, the grocery, it was time to PREP and then being baking.

This recipe involves three parts. The first of which is making the actual cake. This, my friends, was the easy part! You know, your usual separation of the dry and wet ingredients and then combine to make the batter.

The batter was a LOT thicker than I'm used to for typical cakes and only filled up about 2/3 of one round cake pan, so it made me quite nervous to bake. The recipe called for 3 tbsp of baking powder which meant that it was going to rise significantly... and rise it did! (Reference photo a little further down for this action!)

Before baking, the recipe called for making part two of the Bienenstich. Part two involved almonds (I used sliced instead of slivered. Makes for a prettier presentation.), sugar, cream, and butter. Once all of those ingredients were melted together, you're "supposed" to spread it on the top. However, I don't have a spring-form pan and had to improvise by placing the almond sugary goodness on the bottom of the pan and then the batter on top.

[If you look closely, you can kind of see the almond sugary goodness along the sides.]

[The cake literally looks like it was stung by a bee and then swelled up.]

While the cake baked and then cooled, it was time to venture into part three of the Bienenstich. This was by far the most cumbersome and difficult thing I've made so far in all of my baking adventures.

First, I had to separate the egg whites and egg yolks (not so difficult). I like to use the shell to help divide them. In order to do this, you crack the egg in half and open it over a bowl while holding the yolk in its shell. Then, you pour the yolk into the other shell you're holding back and forth until all of the egg white is in one bowl. Once done, put the left egg yolk in another bowl. [See below]

The next part of the recipe called for scalding milk (I used a microwave to do this! It took about 3 stints of 45 seconds each in the microwave to get it "scalding" hot. Not sure what scalding means? If you touch it with your finger and feel like your skin is going to burn off if you hold it in any longer than a split second, then that's scalding hot. REAL technical, I know. hehe)

After pouring the scalding hot milk into the egg yolk, sugar, and corn starch mixture while stirring constantly (READ: and getting milk everywhere b/c the mug holding the milk decided to have it pour down the side. NOT COOL), it was time for the double-boiler! What's a double-boiler you ask? Funny thing is I've never seen nor used a real one BUT! I do know how to make a makeshift one using a glass bowl and a pot of boiling water. [See below]

This next part was a PITA. (Want to know what that means? Feel free to comment and ask. It's an Ashley-ism is all I'm saying.) You have to stir constantly the egg yolk mixture while it sits over the double-boiler being careful not to let it boil until it thickens and becomes almost like a thick pudding. This definitely took about 15-20 minutes of stirring and then letting it sit on its own for a minute and then stirring profusely again.

EVENTUALLY, (if your hand doesn't fall off) you will get a texture and pudding like consistency as seen below.

After the thick almond cream is done. Remove from double-boiler (the recipe does not say to do this). Then, whisk the egg whites (sitting off to the side from the step above) until stiff peaks form. This will take about 5 minutes or so of beating on HIGH and a pinch of salt.

Next it was time to FOLD in the egg whites with the almond cream... I don't have a spatula so I used a plastic spoon. Make sure you don't over mix or else your stiff peaks will fall, and the final whipped almond cream won't be as stiff as it needs to (I did this and had cream EVERYWHERE when layering the cake).

After the cake cools and the almond whipped cream has time to set in the fridge, it's GO time! Cut the cake in half and then layer the cream in between and place the almond encrusted top back on... and you have a nice yummy BIENENSTICH Cake (Bee Sting Cake).

Delivery of this cake was a bit nerve-racking (insert: A LOT nerve-racking) as not only was it to be eaten by one TRUE German, but it turned out there were two additional ones awaiting the Bienenstich's arrival. They had me sit while they tasted it and the only negative feedback was that it needed "more cream"... aka "Ashley let the whipped cream set longer in the fridge or it all will come oozing out when layering on the cake".

That's it for this adventure! My hands are officially red and sore from all the egg whisking and stirring but it was more than worth it. That daggon' Bee had nothing on the Pint-Size Baker!

Hope ya'll have a very happy Valentine's Day whether you're spending it with a significant other or close friends and family! XOXO

Oh!!! Before I forget...

P.S. I made some of my "Sweet Ashley's (more addicting than crack) Choco Chip Cookies" for a Valentine's Day gift to my family. Too bad we can't eat with our eyes huh???

1 comment:

  1. it's true. the cookies are more addicting than crack. i'm impressed by the international attempt - I have ventured down that path myself and it can be insane trying to translate, equivocate and create! (I'm trade-marking that phrase so don't even think about stealing it, I'm so proud of myself...).