Last week I hosted ten ladies at my house for the first iteration of our cookbook club. An article from Serious Eats about cookbook clubs was all the rage on social media last fall which inspired me to create this group. We are taking all the good things from a traditional fiction book club, namely wine, food, and conversation with like-minded ladyfriends, and pairing them with another of our personal hobbies – cooking.
For our first meeting, I picked the book. Yes, I forced my friends to try out my pick before we could come together in a democracy. Last November I was in a bread baking phase (stay tuned for next week’s post – how to bake the perfect loaf of bread), so I selected Crumb: A Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh.
I found this book at Boswell Book Company where I pawed through every single baking book they had. Upon first blush, I liked this one for the variety of baking-related recipes and the beautiful, but approachable images. Turns out it came from one of the contestants on one of my favorite tv shows – The Great British Bake Off.
After bringing the book home and testing out a few recipes, I was a little embarrassed. Turns out a good number of these recipes are really finicky and require a lot of time and dirty dishes, two things that moms and busy professional women don’t want to waste. My fellow clubmates were good sports and brought a bunch of delicious versions of the book’s recipes to our get-together, but I think there were more dishes with store-bought crust than homemade. (And honestly, the salmon cream cheese pastries made with Pillsbury crescent rolls tasted better than any of the rolls I’ve made out of the book so far!)
Overall, I’m still glad I purchased this book for my own collection if only for the lemon meringue roulade recipe. It is delicious and serves a large crowd. Additionally, I will turn to this book when looking for an extra challenge in the pastry department or when I need a dessert that isn’t overly sweet. (Yes, the British version of a sweet tooth is much more reserved than it’s American counterpart!) Also, I like that it has troubleshooting suggestions for every possible thing that could go wrong while baking.
I had too much fun during our club meeting to take pictures of everyone else’s dishes. As you can see, I did get a few of the chocolate lime cake, my contribution to the evening. This cake is a real surprise; make it for dinner parties, not kid’s birthdays. The lime zest gives it a pretty little punch and the dark chocolate makes it rich without being cloying.
- 4.25 oz dark chocolate
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- Zest of 3 limes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup superfine sugar
- 6 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8" springform pan or grease a regular 8" cake tin and line with parchment paper.
- Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat once chocolate has melted. Stir until butter and chocolate are both melted and incorporated. Add lime zest and salt. Set aside to cool as you move on to the next step.
- Using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks with 3 1/2 tbsp of sugar until thick and creamy. Pour into another bowl.
- Clean and thoroughly dry bowl and whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites until completely foamy. Continue to whisk, adding the remaining (7 tbsp) of sugar one tablespoon at a time. Whisk well after each addition and continue until slowly lifting the whisk out of the mixture leaves a soft peak.
- Fold the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate with a plastic spatula, then fold one third of this chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Once basically combined but still marbled, fold in the next third of the chocolate mixture. Then the final third.
- Sift in half of the flour and gently fold in until nearly combined. Sift in remaining flour and gently mix again. Try to keep as much air in the batter as possible.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out mostly clean, with just a couple crumbs. If using a springform pan, release side piece and let cool. If using a regular cake pan, cool in the pan and pull out using the parchment paper.