December 12, 2008
It’s one of those philosophical questions that all bakers and cooks must face at some point: when is a cake worth saving? You’ve baked an amazing dessert for a function, the house smells amazing, you turn over the bunt pan and … half the cake remains stuck in the pan. The good news is the kids can now have a piece of that delicious chocolate cake they’ve been smelling for the past couple of hours. The bad news is your cake is ruined.
Or is it? Well, there’s the obvious solution of a glaze on top. Tried it. Still looks like the second hole on the golf course with all the missing divots.
I needed something to cover the glaze and the flattened top. Sugared fruit is a wonderful and seasonally appropriate way to decorate a cake and cover a multitude of flaws. All you need is fruit (hard skinned fruit works best), egg whites (I use meringue powder) and super-fine sugar (pulse regular sugar in a food processor if you don’t want to make an extra trip to the market).
Simply brush the fruit with the egg whites, cover with sugar, and let dry. Simple as that!
Doesn’t it look like I always meant to put those gorgeous sugared fruit atop my chocolate cake? It’ll be our secret.
(I use this recipe for my go-to chocolate cake. Try it – I know you’ll thank me.)
May 18, 2008
The mother of all stains is a Sharpie mark (good luck with that one), but second only to that are kim chi stains. Spaghetti sauce? Hah! Mere child’s play. Anyone who has had the pleasure of eating kim chi knows the true second burn: finding that tiny vermilion drip on your pants or shirt as you throw it into the laundry. And then finding that same stain undiminished after it comes out of the wash. After three or four washes, you pretty much resign yourself to the fact that that unflaggingly red stain is now a permanent part of your wardrobe.
Despair no longer! Here’s the simple trick to getting out kim chi and any tomato-based stains. Simply place the stained clothes in direct sunlight for several hours. I usually wash the clothes and then place it outside still damp, but inside by a very sunny window will do the trick. The problem I’ve found with placing it outside is the other things that fall on it (leaves, pollen, etc.), forcing me to wash it yet again. The stain will disappear like magic. I promise.
The downside to my kids’ love of Korean food: kim chi stains on their clothes.
Here’s my daughter’s shirt after a couple of washes – the stain did not budge even after direct scrubbing with my first line of defense (Shout gel, Fels Naptha soap, Oxiclean soak).
Her shirt after a couple of hours in the sun. The hard part was waiting for a sunny day.