Wednesday, October 13, 2010

RHC: The cakes so far

Marie asked that we send in our votes on the best cakes so far in the Heavenly Cakes bake-along, and allowed us to vote for up to 5. I decided to skim through all my blog posts to do this--it's been a year since we got started, and that's a lot of cakes to remember. Then I took the list next door to my brother's house and solicited opinions over there. Everyone made some level of attempt to look at the list and figure out which were standouts for them--though I perhaps should have hidden my votes to avoid prejudicing the jury. I used their votes to help weed my favorites down to 5 to send to Marie, and they did influence me to up the rating for the Plum Round Ingots.

There were a few arbitrary calls on cakes, or places where I might not have been totally consistent--usually where some aspect of the cake was a negative but I liked something else very well. In other words, this is a subjective rating based on inconsistent criteria. <g> I used a 5-point rating myself, and the folks next door just marked their "really good" cakes with a plus. Mine were double-plus for the standout cakes, plus for the good ones (you could also call this "will make again if the right occasion comes along"), a neutral for ones that just didn't stand out at all or had various negatives that pulled them down from a plus, single negative, and a double negative. One more note on the consistency issue: I'm resisting the urge to second-guess myself, which is another sign of how hard this is to do. (Don't one of the cheesecakes rate a double-plus, maybe the coconut one? Or the coffeecake, that one was really good...)

It was interesting that a few cakes that I remember negatively don't have that opinion reflected in my write-ups. I guess memory always morphs over time, and it also might be that I did a writeup after the initial tasting but my opinion shifted on a second taste. I don't think there were any cakes that went the other way: that is, where I was remembering them as wonderful but the blog entry was meh.

I'm a couple of weeks ahead on the baking list due to upcoming work and vacation travel, so there's a few in here that haven't been blogged.

Double plus:

Golden Lemon Almond CakeWhite Gold Passion GénoiseIMG_2464_1IMG_2721Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down TortePlum Round IngotsChocolate Layer Cake with Caramel GanacheMany-Splendored Quick Bread

Golden Lemon Almond Cake (family favorite)
White Gold Passion Génoise (family favorite--probably #1)
Apple Upside-Down Cake
Pumpkin Cake (but not the buttercream)
Plum and Blueberry Upside Down Torte (family favorite)
Plum Round Ingots (family favorite)
Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Caramel Ganache (for the ganache...the cake was OK <g>) (family favorite)
Many-Splendored Quick Bread

Single plus:

Financiers au Chocolat
Ginger Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust
Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake
German Chocolate Cake
Barcelona Brownie Bars
Almond Shamah Chiffon
Woody's Lemon Luxury Cake
Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake
Fruitcake Wreath
Classic Carrot Cake
Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes
Lemon Poppyseed Sour Cream Cake
Peanut Butter Ingots
Sybil's Pecan Torte with Coffee Cream
Banana Refrigerator Cake
Two Fat Cats Whoopie Pie
Gateau Breton
Baby Lemon Cheesecakes
Coconut Cheesecake w/ Coconut Cookie Crust
Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
Lemon Meringue Cake
Chocolate Feather Bed
Gold Ingots
The Bostini


Deep Chocolate Rosebuds
Marble Velvet Cake
Hungarian Jancsi Torta
Baby Chocolate Oblivions
Whipped Cream Cake (I need to try this one again, as I had problems with it. I should like this cake...)
Chocolate Streusel Coffeecake
Torta des las Tres Leches
Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake
True Orange Génoise
Double Chocolate Valentine
Sicilian Pistachio Cake
Coffee Chiffonlets with Dulce de Leche Whipped Cream
Saint-Honore Trifle
Bernachon Palet d'Or Gateau
Chocolate Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate-Egg White Frosting (Golden Neoclassic for Marie)
Mini Vanilla Bean Pound Cakes
Chocolate Banana Stud Cake
Designer Chocolate Baby Grands
Marionberry Shortcake
Apple Caramel Charlotte
Chocolate Tomato Cake w/ Mystery Ganache (the opposite of the chocolate cake with caramel ganache--I really disliked the ganache, and thought this was the best RHC chocolate cake I've made so far)
Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes/Classic Brioche
Molten Chocolate Soufflé and Lava Cakes
Angel Food Cake
Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate-Egg White Buttercream


Rose Red Velvet Cake
Catalán Salt Pinch Cake
English Gingerbread Cake
Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze
Le Succès
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake
Génoise Rose
Spice Cake with Peanut Buttercream Frosting

Double minus:

Holiday Pinecone Cake (One where memory is much more negative than my blog writeup. The blog says we liked the cake roll once we'd all thrown away the chocolate fondant. I don't now recall anything positive about it. You should factor in that I'm primarily interested in great tastes, and while a fancy presentation will attract me just like many other people (see the pumpkin cake, up in double-plus land) if the taste isn't up to the effort of the presentation I'm down on it.)


  1. Such a great write up! plus it helped me double check on the cakes that I have missed! There are a lot of them in there.. Yikes! I need to catch up.

  2. great write up! it is hard to rate these cakes, i agree. i thought about consulting with my two tasters (cookie and cabbage) but in the end did it from memory. it would have been interesting to have consulted--it seems we all have different criteria for what makes a great cake!

  3. Great post! This will help me pick which cakes to make for the Free Choice weeks.

  4. Hahahhahhhahahaha! Great rating system! Can you believe how many cakes we've made? I never ever would have believed it until going through my list. I've forgotten about so many of them as I usually spend the week recovering from the last week for the upcoming next cake. My ankles haven't swollen like this since I had kids thirty years ago.