Emergency cake-making for people who've invited you for dinner is REALLY, REALLY challenging when you don't have a kitchen aid or electric beaters or anything to either cream butter and sugar really well, or to beat egg whites. it also makes the buttercreams and other frostings pretty impossible. Luckily I borrowed David Lebovitz's Room for Dessert from my new boss, and figured I could at least make Orbit Cake.
Orbit Cake: 2 sticks butter, 12 oz. bittersweet, i cup sugar, 6 eggs
Mix together eggs and sugar, melt chocolate with butter, add chocolate to eggs, bake in a water bath. What could be easier, and still taste like dense, rich, high class chocolate that you'll devour so fast you won't know for hours you've got chocoalte on your mouth?
Granted, it would have been a lot better if I'd used Scharffen Berger chocolate. But, Albertson's doesn't carry a lot. This was 2/3 62%, plus 1/3 Guittard semisweet. Well, next time, if it's only for me, I'll splurge ;)
Also made some vanilla pastry cream for a kiwi-strawberry fresh fruit tart. I bought a gallon of organic milk, since it was only a dollar more than then non-organic, and only found out when I got home it was fat free! Skim milk has no presence in a baking kitchen. I freaked out about how the texture of the pastry cream would be and if it would taste fatty enough or if it would be too watery and ditched Delphin's recipe for something I found online crafted specifically for skim milk. It ended up tasting okay.
skim milk pastry cream, for eemrgency use only:
2 c. milk
4 T starch (I used AP flour here)
6 T sugar
Cook milk, vanilla and half sugar to boil. Ribbon remaining sugar and starch with yolks. Temper yolks into milk mixture and bring to boil, whisking vigorously. Strain--that is if your house has a strainer--and chill. May need more vanilla or butter if you like fattier things. But it is acceptable.
Today at work today I made Chocolate Cherry cakes (also a David Lebovitz recipe, on my boss's request), and Banana Date bread (bastardized Hi Rise recipe) and pastry cream for blood-orange kiwi fresh fruit tarts. It was a pretty good first day in the I-get-to-do-whatever-I-want school of baking.