More difficult to deal with are the recipes which almost work; then I have to decide whether it's worth spending time on getting it right. This is especially true with a recipe I've only tried because it's a way of using up a 'leftover' ingredient. Would I really want to make this cake again? Is it good enough to buy that ingredient specifically for the cake? Is it outstanding compared to similar recipes which I have used more successfully?
This whipped cream cake, from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, by Rose Levy Berenbaum, is a case in point. I only tried it because I had a carton of double cream at it's use-by date, and nothing else to do with it. I'm far too much of a penny-pincher to throw this sort of thing away. The cake was almost there, but there was a layer of denser mixture at the bottom of the cake, as if it hadn't cooked evenly, or had started to separate during cooking. It also sank quite dramatically as it cooled.
So then the questions start; was it because I was only making 2/3 of the mixture? Or because I baked it in a regular pan, rather than a tube pan? Or because I used orange blossom water and orange zest as flavouring, instead of vanilla, which seemed to react with the eggs? Or was it just because the cream was old?
I feel it's worth pursuing this recipe a bit further, as the cake had a really good texture - a fine, close crumb which was moist, but still light, and which suited the delicate flavouring used. Next time though, I will have to follow the recipe exactly before I start making alterations.
I almost managed to disguise the sunken top of this cake with a small amount of chocolate glaze, made by melting 90g plain chocolate with 45g butter and a heaped teaspoon of golden syrup. This went well with the orange flavour of the cake.