Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Into the New Year

As we head into the new year--it is certainly a time for reflection and contemplation. Here Zen Ginger is deep in meditation! Gentle Ginger indeed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

OH! That cake!

The cake was a hit! Not much left although it joined three tasty pies—cherry, pecan, and pumpkin. Think about it, there were only five of us. We did major damage.

Enough, two, folks have asked for the Tres Leche Flan Chocolate Cake recipe that here goes.

First, the easy way. Go buy the wonderful book I found it in. The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, by Robb Walsh. The recipes are all as yummy as the cake and the pictures and stories are enchanting. My daughter, who is an occasional cook and then not Tex-Mex, has about worn out her copy just reading it and dreaming! Great give for Tex-Mex lovers, Texans (former, present, and wannabe). The recipe for the cake is on page 151.

Robb calls for a 7 quart Bundt pan.

I’ve never even seen Bundt pan that big. I either cook two (doesn’t hurt either the cake or the flan to wait bit) or several individual Bundts—my little ones hold about a cup.

First get ready. See if your story had goat’s milk Cajeta, of course, my Fiesta market is loaded. If you can’t find the cajeta or if you want to have some fun, make your own dulce de leche. Robb has the recipe, but I’ve done it for years. It’s fun and sort of an adventure waiting to see if the can explodes. It doesn’t.

Take the label from one can of sweetened condensed milk. Sink it into a pot of boiling water. Make sure it’s completely covered. You may need to add more boiling water later to keep it this way. Reduce the heat and keep it barely boiling for 3 hours. Remove with tongs and let it cool before opening. Maybe you should do two because it’s so good you’ll be tempted to gobble up the first one.

Cajeta Flan Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a large baking pan in the oven and water to come up about 2 inches on a Bundt pan. Make a chocolate cake from a good mix following the package directions.

Make the flan by combining one 14 or so ounce sweetened condensed milk, 1 14 or so can evaporated milk, a scant cup of whole milk, 8 ounces of cream cheese (not low fat—go all the way) 1 teaspoon real vanilla and 8 large eggs. Combine well with a mixer or food processor. Don’t think about calories.

Grease and flour a Bundt (about 2+ quarts) pan (you could use an angel food pan, but I haven’t tried it—let me know). Pour about half a cup of cajeta or dulce de leche into the pan cover as much of the surface as possible. Pour in half the cake mix, and then pour the flan mixtures slowly around the top of the cake. Cover the pan with foil and put into the pan of water in the oven. Start testing with a toothpick after 45 minutes. Mine took about 55 minutes. My individual cakes were done in about 20 minutes. If you go for one BIG one, give it more like 2 hours, but test often.

When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for about an hour (individuals less long). Put a plate on top of the pan and turn over.


The flan has moved from the top of the pan to the top of the cake—without picking up even a cake crumb. Wonderful.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Oh! M’gosh it’s good.

For Christmas I’m going to make it with a spice cake instead of chocolate, but with extra ginger. Or maybe, I’m brave—Gingerbread! I’ll let you know.

The pie recipes are easier: Go to Three Brothers Bakery on Braeswood (or your favorite) and get in line. You can't make 'em like this at home. Especially the cherry. The crust, oh! the crust!