Friday, January 18, 2008

Tangerine Pound Cake

Well, this was a disaster. A tasty one, but a disaster nonetheless.

As we had nothing sweet in the house, I decided to try making a pound cake, vaugely inpired that the DeLaurentis woman's show. Since I had some tangerines that needed to be used and no lemons, I took the Lemon Pound Cake recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook and swapped out the citrus.

One thing right off the bat - it takes a LOT longer to zest a tangerine than a lemon. I think because it's harder for the grater to get a grip on the smoother rind of the Clementine or something.

Everything was pretty straightforward, but thank God I turned it out of the pan and onto a plate instead of a rack. Because as soon as it hit the ceramic, it exploded. Like a chocolate lava cake, but yellow and more lava. 2" or so on each end were done, but everything in the middle was a thin wall of cake holding in (until hitting the place) hot batter.

Those end pieces tasted awfully good, though. It's a winner of a recipe.

So what happened? Well, obviously it didn't cook enough. The duration was fine (I did about the full 55 minutes), but I would guess that the oven temperature was too low. According to the manual, I can recalibrate it up to 35F in either direction. So time to buy a cheap oven thermometer and adjust this puppy. This also explains the issue with the lemon poppyseed cake from a while back.

But also, I have to re-think how I'm testing for doneness. I did test this with a toothpick and it came out clean. I've been going for no batter on the toothpick, but reading some other recipes, I think that what I really want is actual crumbs on the toothpick. The oil & fat content is high enough that I think there is an intermediate stage where the batter slips of the toothpick, but hasn't formed crumbs yet.

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