One of my favorite de-stressing activities is to bake. I think it is because no matter what culture you come from dessert offer a piece of comfort. When someone takes a bite of something sweet, they often smile, which is why I turn to baking when stressed. I don’t mean baking without a recipe kind of baking, but the experimental kind by trying new recipes and new techniques. I recently heard a lot of rave reviews for a cook book called The Baking Bible by Rose Beranbaum. At first glance, the book is very European inspired even using European measurements for the ingredients. So, I decided to put it to the test by selecting 3 random recipes with varying levels of difficulties from the book.
The first recipe I tried from The Baking Bible was a Non-dairy Ginger Whiskey Cake recipe. It was a raging success and has quickly become a house favorite. The spice blend cuts the sweet notes that can overwhelm some sensitive palates. I personally love the flavor of cinnamon and ginger, which makes me think of winter. The cake is moist and perfect for sharing with friends and family. I would rate this a 1 on the 1 to 5 difficulty level with 5 being very difficult.I loved this recipe because it had a kosher diet in mind and as someone who didn’t grow up Jewish had no idea what type of dessert to make for those following the Kosher diet. This flavorful cake proves that despite diet restrictions we can still have small indulgences in life.
The second recipe I tried was a Lemon Icebox Cake that is perfect for summer. This is a very traditional European recipe that is popular still in some parts of the region today. The lemon is tart and the entire cake is full of fluff. It was best described as a lemon cloud. This cake is very different from cakes you find in most bakeries because it uses a curd mixed in with a meringue to build the middle of the cake while using angel food cake for structure. The cake is a level 5 on difficulty scale. I used about every tool in my kitchen to produce. I will not be reproducing this cake anytime soon because of this, but I will recommend trying this cake once since it is very different from a traditional American cake (chocolate, vanilla, birthday cake, etc.). My suggestion if you personally don’t want to try baking this cake is to find a speciality bakery that produces it.
The third recipe I tried was a Frozen Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate Lace. Pecan Pie is a very traditional recipe found around the fall season. Some people complain that Pecan Pie is way too sweet if they are not use to the sugary notes of a lot of American desserts. However, I may have to agree with them when it came to this Pecan Pie. If you noticed, I didn’t include a photo because it went that wrong. The chocolate lace way over powered the filling and the filling didn’t have enough crunch to add another texture for a nut based pie. However, I will be keeping the pie crust recipe as it was soft and flaky. It was able to hold all the fillings and toppings without crumbling while cutting into slices. On the level of difficulty, I would rate this a 3 and would try this recipe again with a few adjustments.
Despite the pie falling short of expectation, the recipes turned out right without any editing of the recipes. The book laid out each step clearly and even gave helpful hints to help ensure successful baking. I think it doesn’t matter where in the world you are or where you come from, sweets bring comfort. We want to share them with friends and family. We build bridges for new friendships with baked goods as well.
Do you have a sweet tooth? When do you crave sweets?