I’ve known about this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (Ispahan Cake Loaf, p 440) for a while now and just as well, because sourcing the rose extract and rose syrup was a little challenging for those of us in Canada. I ended up sourcing the rose syrup at O Gourmet and Olive Nation carries both the syrup and the rose extract. But that seems like ages ago. I put off making this until yesterday – I KNOW – so unlike me, but it’s March Break and I’ve been busy and also in New York for a few days and, well, I figured, this was a simple loaf cake, it would be no problem to whip up once I got home. Right? I mean, I make macarons multiple times a month, I can surely make a loaf cake….
Ispahan is the brainchild of Pierre Hermé – the name of a rose varietal but also the name of his exquisite pastry creations flavoured with rose, lychee and raspberry. It’s quite an intense combination (his signature pastry is a rose-flavoured macaron shell sandwiching rose, lychee and raspberry pastry cream) but this cake only contains rose syrup and extract with raspberries studding the cake, no lychees. It sounds pretty simple, huh?
Well perhaps I was a little too cocky because my first attempt at this was a complete and utter fail. An #epicfail if you like. I carefully lined up the raspberries (maybe I had too many?) and popped it in the oven for an hour.
I plunged a skewer in the centre of the cake and it came out clean in two places. I set it to cool, and took it out of the tin. Then I noticed it was kind of squidgy in some places on top. I cut into it and lo and behold it was raw and runny in the centre. I guess the skewer cleaned itself on the more cooked parts towards the surface as it came out of the cake… I don’t know. I mean, yeah, there was a lot of fruit in there but still. I popped it back into the oven for over 30 more minutes (at a higher temperature) and the edges started to brown quite a lot so I pulled it out. Nope - it had a quite hard outer layer, a layer of quite stodgy cake and an uncooked centre. Behold:
Well, as you can imagine I wasn’t too happy with that so I checked how many raspberries I had left and realised I didn’t have enough for a full cake (plus, you know, this makes a HUGE cake and we really don’t need a huge cake around here right now!). I quartered the ingredients (hello calculator and scale!) and used a smaller loaf pan to make a much smaller loaf both in length and in height. This time around the batter was much more fluid, more silky – the first round was quite a thick batter that had to be spread into the pan – the only thing I can think is that I might have mis-measured the first time but that would be unlike me. Not impossible, just unlikely. In any case, the result wasn’t quite what I had hoped for…
… but not entirely unpleasant. I mean, at least it’s cooked, right?
I had to wrap this up yesterday because to be honest I was sick of the sight of it but I am quite looking forward to some with my morning coffee. Like a muffin, only more fancy! And the rose flavour? It’s definitely there! It’s a cake that tastes like Turkish delight!
To see how this cake really should look, you should check out Candy’s blog!
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