Please tell me I’m not the only one who likes to bake their own birthday cake. I don’t get many chances to make a big cake, so when the opportunity arises, I consider it a birthday gift to myself. This year it was extra fun because I went over to my sister’s house and she helped me make the cake.
This month, Tuesdays with Dorie presented me with the perfect cake for our family birthday party. Rose Fraisier is a grand cake with exotic ingredients. The secret ingredients are rose extract and rose syrup.
Rose Fraisier is not the easiest cake to make. I don’t believe the average home baker could end up with the picture-perfect result shown in the book without special equipment. My sister had a cake ring, which helped with lining up the strawberries and piping in the filling, but we still had imperfect results and a near disaster.
After assembling the cake, we debated whether to remove the cake ring or leave it on while the cake chilled. We were concerned the cake ring would be too difficult to remove if we chilled the cake first. So, we took off the ring. The filling and strawberries immediately began oozing out the sides of the cake! While I held in the filling with my hands and an offset spatula, my sister got the brilliant idea to wrap the cake in waxed paper to hold everything in. The cake chilled with it’s waxed paper collar, and when it was time to serve we removed it. Crisis averted!
I partly blame myself for the oozing filling. I had some problems with the gelatin (my own fault!) and not very much made it into the pastry cream mixture. But I mostly blame the challenging recipe.
All that effort and angst was worth it! The cake was super delicious and it was a big hit at the party. The rose flavoring added just a hint of unexpected flavor, and I absolutely loved the pastry cream filling. Would I make it again? Probably not, but I would consider a simplified version because the flavors were so good.
My dad and niece photobombed my cake:
If you are interested in trying your hand at making Rose Fraisier, Dorie Greenspan has posted the recipe on her blog: Rose Fraisier Recipe. You can also find it in her book, Baking Chez Moi.
This past weekend won’t go down as one of the best in the From Scratch household. My daughter’s last day of school was on Thursday. Thursday afternoon her nose started getting stuffy and she was sick all weekend. Not a fun way to start summer vacation! She is finally starting to feel better, but is still not completely back to herself. On top of that, my husband was out of town for a funeral.
Before I even knew my daughter would be sick, I had planned a little treat for us while Dad was out of town: Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup.
First let’s talk about the Spiced Hibiscus Syrup. It’s a simple syrup made interesting with the addition of vanilla bean, black peppercorns, cardamom, and dried hibiscus. I used hibiscus tea bags, as suggested in the recipe header. It has a unique, delicious flavor!
The rice pudding is a basic, yet very good, vanilla rice pudding. It is made with vanilla bean and Arborio rice. While it was delicious garnished with the strawberries and hibiscus syrup, it is also great on it’s own.
Making this treat was a nice way to brighten an otherwise less-than-stellar weekend.
This post participates in Tuesday with Dorie. You can find the recipe for Rice Pudding, Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup on page 380 of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.
This week’s French Friday’s with Dorie recipe was a super-easy appetizer called Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine.
Here is the non-recipe: Spread soft goat cheese on slices of baguette. Top with strawberry halves, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and (optionally) drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Voila!
I used a balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s. I should have practiced my drizzling skills first, because as you can see in the picture below, my drizzling was more like big drops and not very pretty.
The best thing about this week’s recipe is that I actually had an appropriate event to enjoy these! We had my mother-in-law over for a very-belated Mother’s Day dinner and this was our appetizer. I served the tartines with a light, slightly bubbly, white wine and it was delicious.
What a perfect late-spring/early-summer appetizer! Very easy and delicious.