Kit Bakes Everything: Devil’s Food Cake and Rustic Bread

Protip: look in all the cabinets before you decide you don’t have springform pans.

Which is to say, I made a layer cake! Only I didn’t find the springform pans, so it turned out very oddly because I baked them in differently-shaped regular pans and turned them out on top of each other. I’m not really sure what differentiates Devil’s Food cake from other types of chocolate cake, unless it’s the texture– this was unusually dense and moist. It was actually pretty tasty.

I learned how glazes work! And now I’m going to tell you all. The heart of a glaze seems to be that it mixes up liquid, goes onto the cake liquid, and then solidifies into what’s basically a hard sugar shell. So one of the things you need to do when you put it on is that if you want your glaze to be thicker across the cake is you need to wait for it to dry and put it on a second time, because if you try to dump all the glaze on at once it pools around the side of the pan– though they’re not like icing; there’s not necessarily a reason to put on a particularly thick layer. This doesn’t count as another recipe since it’s still a variant of the same Lemon Glaze recipe I was varying in my last post, but it’s something I’ve figured out.

One of my new roommates also cooks things. We will call him Chef for blog purposes. I think he may actually be a more technically accomplished baker than I am, which is interesting when you take into account that I consider myself a pretty good baker and he considers himself more of a cook than a baker. But he somehow gets a smooth top on his cake, and then carefully mixes up the icing and carefully frosts it and trims his cakes. Actually, the differences in our cooking styles may be summed up by some variant of the “Technician Versus Performer” thing on TVTropes– though not as intensely as the page will describe, since he does do creative cooking and I occasionally work on my technique. (Really, this entire blog series can be construed as an attempt to work on my technique.) But he’s been making souffles for days trying to get them exactly right before he does any bold experimenting with the recipe, while I tend to start at bold experimenting with the recipe and let any technique I learn grow out of that.

Anyway, there were two cakes in the household for a while, my enthusiastically glazed chocolate cakes and his much prettier beet cakes.

Rustic Bread was my foray into the yeast-bearing part of the book. I’ve now done this a couple of times, because my household is a very bread-loving place and my roommates are most enthusiastic consumers of it. I’m still not sure how “shape it into a boule” is actually supposed to work– it’s already in a boule shape when you put it to rise! Is there something else I should be doing to get it into a boule? It’s been baking up just fine…

I’ve also only made one attempt at the oven-safe skillet to make the oven full of steam thing, mostly because the oven here is terrible and if you put the cast iron thing in it never really gets up to temp. It’s not having that much effect on the crust, though filling the oven with steam is supposed to do… something… to the crust. I think it’s supposed to make it browner or crisper. I have also learned not to put things on the bottom shelf of the oven because they get brown very fast there. (Our oven is terrible!)

And yes, my roommates are getting Blog Nicknames. Mostly because as often as people apparently cook for each other in this apartment, the new roommates are likely to become regular cast members here.

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