Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Treebeard's Butter Cake - Revisited

This is too good not to share. even with being on haitus.

Janie Baur, one of the authors of the Treebeards' Cookbook (one of the all-around best books in my collection), came across my entry for their Buttercake and had this to add in the Comments. Rather than let it get buried, here is her wisdom. Thanks, Janie!:

"Hal, I was poking around the Internet this morning and came across this. When I wrote the Treebeards cookbook nine printings ago, we converted this recipe from a gigantic recipe that was used in the restaurant, hence the 3 ounces of cream cheese...and no, I don't believe they even make it any more. At least I haven't been able to find it for a few years. I put the leftover in my Food Saver bags and it stays good almost indefinitely.

Try experimenting with flavor variations like these:

Toffee — Fold a cup of almond toffee bits or chocolate-covered toffee bits into the filling before adding it on top of the crust

Chocolate — Use a chocolate cake mix in the base and add 3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder and fold in an optional 1 cup chopped nuts in the topping

Lemon — Use a lemon cake mix in the base and for the base, add a teaspoon of lemon extract plus 3 to 4 tablespoons of finely shopped lemon zest

The flavor combinations are endless once you start moving away from the traditional buttercake. I also make my buttercake the day before I'm going to serve it. It's always better the second day. I don't know why -- it just always is. At Treebeards, the day-old buttercake is always marked with a piece of tape on the bottom of each piece of individually wrapped piece and those are always the first pieces of cake to go first -- and there's a very specific reason for that -- they're clearly the best!

Have you ever used Penzeys double-strength vanilla? In my book, vanilla doesn't get any better than that."

Vanilla-wise, I am still working through a huge bottle of "La Vencedora." According to Cook's Illustrated, vanilla is incredibly shelf-stable, but I'll definitely give Penzey's a try for the next bottle.

A meta thing about Blogger: I know of no way to get the email addresses of commenters. Which means I can't respond directly to them and I would love to be able to thank Janie. If anyone can point me to the setting, it would be most appreciated!