Much updates to the blog must occur (for example, getting rid of the March Madness bloggers - bye friends and replacing them with our new group, Sunday Slow Bakers (we're really not slow, we're just all affiliated with SlowTrav in some way and like to bake). I throw the links up shortly but basically, there's a group of us, who each week will bake the same recipe from a specific source, and post our results on Sunday. For the first round, our source will be Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen - each person selecting a recipe from there. Next go around, a different source - can't wait to see how long we can keep this going for.
Krista initiated the Sunday Slow Bakers and had the honor of choosing the first recipe, Italian Crumbly Cake. I baked it yesterday and here are some results and observations.
First thing to note, this recipe uses one large egg and four egg yolks in the batter, but then the topping uses one egg white - like an idiot, I forgot to read through the entire recipe first. If I had, I would have just saved one of the egg whites from those four egg yolks to use later, but I didn't.
Here's what the batter looked like after I finished mixing it. It was a bit thicker than I would have expected but licking the bowl, worked for me.
After you pour the batter into the prepared pan (by the way, I just coated the pan with Pam with flour for baking), the recipe calls for mixing the sliced almonds with half a beaten egg white. The egg white should be beaten until it's "foamy and light." Always wondering what that means, I thought I'd post a picture of what my egg whites looked like before I mixed them with the almonds.
I also thought I'd post a picture of what my cake looked like before I put it into the oven, once I coated it evenly with the almond mixture.
There's plenty of almonds for coating this one.
Now, I baked it in my microwave/convection at 325 because I didn't want to turn on the big oven (it was warm outside and that oven can heat my kitchen in no time), so I was a bit worried about even cooking and adjusting cooking time (because whenever you open the convection, the heating element stops, so I would imagine it loses heat quicker than a conventional oven). Anyway, I ended up baking it for 35 minutes - maybe two or three minutes too long though it didn't taste like it. The reason I wasn't sure, was that I guess I expected a golden brown top but with the almonds completely coating, it's hard to tell (and it wasn't really golden brown underneath the almonds).
The other thing you should note, is that using the egg white, sugar, almond coating creates this really amazing crust. The issue with that though, is that when you insert the cake tester, it literally breaks that coating, and you will probably see a small hole when you go to serve the cake.
Last note, take a look at this picture from the side:
See how it rose more on the left side than the right ... I'm not sure if that's because I didn't even it out well enough in the pan (I have spacial issues, so highly possible), or if it has something to do with the mixing, or baking in the little oven but it happened, so I thought I'd note it.
Okay - I've dissected the process enough. You're probably wonder how did it taste? Well, I had a minor hard time convincing the girls to try it (the sight of the almonds turned them off), but once they did, well, they were back for seconds and thirds. Chris proclaimed this his new favorite, he thinks. He wants a side-by-side with the polenta cookies to judge for sure. And I thoroughly enjoyed it too. Though, for my serving, rather than the suggested 10, I used 16 (eight to a side) in order to bring the Weight Watcher points down to an almost manageable 8.
That's after the first round by the girls - there's less than 1/2 a cake left now.