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We are currently in the midst of renovating the kitchen in our 101 year old home. Previous owners had wood panelling over the original plaster walls, and someone had decided to paint over the wood panelling in a light pink shade which clashed with the new oak cabinets and the grey floor. Not cool. However, for some strange reason, only part of the room is done in wood panelling; the rest is drywalled. Anyway, it wouldn’t have been such a problem (we could have just painted over everything that was there already), but one of the panels was bulging (we found out that some plaster had broken off, fallen, and pushed out the panelling). We took off the panelling over all the areas with panelling, removed the plaster from the outside wall, put in insulation, and drywalled. We’re just in the mudding process.

This made it difficult to make souffles yesterday. The oven is pushed out from the wall, which obscures access to the baking supply and ingredients drawers. Also, there was dusty sheets over all of the counters and dust over the stove. It took a little longer, but I was still able to make everything I needed.

I made the cranberry-chocolate soufflé cake from Bon Appetit Desserts (a wonderful book; I highly recommend it). I only had four hours to make a dessert for 16 people, but the poached cranberries needed to sit in their syrup overnight, and the recipe only served 10. To compensate, I cooked the berries longer than the recipe suggested so they would cook a bit and absorb some of the sugar and, near then end, added another cup or so of frozen cranberries and cooked them until they popped. I let it sit while I made the rest of the cake. Although I would let them poach according to the recipe next time, the two cooking times of the cranberries resulted in some that were very sweet and some that were nicely firm and tart, which was nice.

In order to make enough dessert for everyone, I divided the cake batter into cupcake tins. This made about 35 cakes and was easier for people to take home. In terms of the actual cake, room temperature eggs do whip a lot faster than cold eggs (a tip from the book). Also, unless I had chocolate that was soon to expire (like this time), or it was a special occasion, I would consider using cocoa powder instead of the baking chocolate.

With the whipped cream, the chocolate didn’t mix into the whipped cream as much as it should have, so it was a little speckled. Also, I wasn’t paying attention and accidentally over-whipped the cream, so it was in firm, rather than soft, peaks. The cream on the pictures below was the last of the bag, so it was a little more liquid than it should have been due to the heat from my hands. Thus, they don’t look as good as the earlier ones. Sorry about the terrible photos.

Cranberry-Chocolate Soufflé Cakes 1

Cranberry-Chocolate Soufflé Cakes 2