what are you Baking? February 2024

I only tried a tiny corner before I frosted it and it was moist and deeply chocolatey. It was quite heavy, so hoping the kid who won it doesn’t find it too dense. I’ll hear all about it tomorrow!


I sent you a message.

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The ratios are a bit different I think, but it’s the whipping that really lightens this up. I have tried a sour cream ganache before but prefer the Midwest Made one. I’m no expert though, as I don’t love either of the ingredients!

I have the book and will check it out, thank you. I’ve made RLB’s many times and no complaints from grandchildren! I imagine they would enjoy the one in MM.

Mini Burnt Cheesecake for two. This is made in a 4” cake pan and is just enough for two for Valentine’s Day or any other day! I last made this in December of 2021 in a large format. This smaller version is great as it cooks in 13 minutes.
For this version, I followed Catherine Zang mini burnt cheesecake with one substitution, 1/4 c sour cream for the heavy cream. I’ll be more inclined to make the mini version.


I got Bake Smart, Samantha Seneviratne, as an ebook loan from my library; the Coconut Cake looks good, easy, because it’s baked in a ½ sheet pan and then cut, similar to my favorite carrot cake from ATK.

If you made the Ina Garten cake, beyond something similar to the Perfectly Chocolate Cake, you made Hershey’s Black Magic Cake. IG’s calls for XL eggs and kosher salt because that is her way, but otherwise it is an exact dupe of the classic Black Magic Cake, which I have made many times, and it does indeed fill a 12-cup bundt pan. I also like to enrich the chocolate flavor a bit by adding a couple of ounces of dark chocolate (I melt it into the hot coffee).


You are correct! I somehow missed the Black Magic version in my research. So did Ina, apparently, as she credits someone’s grandmother with the recipe. I used only 1 t. espresso powder, but have now made a note to bump that up to 2 t. Thanks!

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Love the sour cream substitution.

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Elvis Presley’s favorite pound cake… again!

It starts in a cold oven!


Cakes seem to give me more room for error when my house is cold.


Pineapple, lime zest, coconut, a dash of rum .


Recently I finally made chocolate puff pastry, which I’d had wanted to try out for years. As it seems our cooler temps are already behind us here, I got to working on my millefeuille today. I made milk chocolate namelaka and espresso ganache montée and it’s delicious. Unfortunately I ended up not putting the millefeuille on its side for a vertical look as I originally planned and with it being made the traditional way, I should have scored the top layer for tidy cutting, but since I wasn’t planning on it, I forgot, and my beautiful millefeuille proceeded to squish out its delicious namelaka filling. :pensive:

Well at least it tastes incredible. And now that I’ve made chocolate puff pastry I can never make it again, because I find classic puff pastry far more delicious (no cocoa bitterness and the powdered sugar you sprinkle on top makes for delicious caramelization) and far easier to bake due to the color.

Namelaka likes to completely melt as it warms up when you pipe it, so it’s much easier to work with it if you just pour it into a mold. While pastry cream is not the most structurally sound filling, it’s much less susceptible to the high temps since it’s thickened with starch, while namelaka being gelatin and chocolate-based wants to melt pretty readily, so it’s a more fiddly filling in this climate than traditional pastry cream.

I made a small amount of regular puff pastry as well while I was running the AC to make the chocolate puff and I’m looking forward to making another dessert I’ve wanted to make for a long time.


The last time I made classic puff pastry (not quick puff), I used it to make Pithiviers, something I had made many times before). This time it rose spectacularly and browned beautifully, but was raw inside. That was an eternity ago; never had the inclination to make it again, and lack the energy and strength to make it now.

Wish I had taken a picture!

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Looks delicious, if a bit squished! I am still on the fence about namelaka, to be honest. Mine ended up setting nicely with a lovely flavor and texture after reheating and such, but I’m just not sure I love the combo of gelatin and chocolate. It was definitely not the right choice to go with the Hershey’s chocolate cake, either. I’m enjoying the leftovers eaten straight off a spoon from the fridge, but I don’t know that I’d make it again.


I love namelaka, and the gelatin isn’t perceptible at all except to give it a nice slip. It sets nicely and like ganache can be whipped for a lighter filling, but it’s smoother and feels a bit less fatty.
I just don’t live in the normal conditions that these things are typically used. The heat here makes working with a lot of things incredibly difficult. Plus if I had remembered to cut the top layer before placing it as one really should do when making this pastry no matter the filling, the squishing would have been avoided.
My biggest issue with namelaka is that it’s pretty expensive compared to some other options since it requires a lot of chocolate.
A ganache montée has a lot more cream in relation to chocolate while also having nice body and being similarly customizable.

I turned it on its side here. The issue was I initially thought of doing four layers of puff and in my head I still thought I had four layers rather than three, so I thought I was short on namelaka for the vertical and went with the classic presentation.


My cookbook club cooked from the original Barefoot Contessa. I made a raspberry tart and it was absolutely delicious.


It is beautiful


Utterly stunning. I’d be soooo proud of myself if I made that …


I can’t find the recipe online … is it from a cookbook of hers?

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