Monday, March 27, 2006

from bad to worse

Below, we have a picture of my chocolate hazelnut cake that I made yesterday. The picture doesn't look so great because my camera died. Mr. Cupcake took the picture with his new cell phone. Although, for a camera phone, it's not terrible.

I'm pretty pissed off right now and here's why. I've been a loyal Canon consumer for many years now. My Canon S410 was my third Canon camera. I have always been happy with the quality of their products. However, after tonight, I'm going to vow to never buy a Canon product again. My camera has the dreaded "E18" error in which the retractable lens will not go back into the camera and it is totally non functional. This is a known problem and yet from what I've read tonight, Canon will not address it. Instead I will have to pay to have it fixed, but with what it costs, I can just buy another camera.

The point of my story is don't buy a Canon! I definitely won't as it appears I'm in the market for a new digital camera. Maybe with a new digital camera my food pictures will be appear more luscious! Maybe it was Canon keeping me down this whole time and that's why my food pictures sucked! Yes, I know this probably isn't the case, but I just feel like blaming them for all my problems. Therefore, I'm going to blame Canon for Five being so damn fat.

Okay, now I'm off my soap box and can talk about more important things such as my chocolate hazelnut cake. It was an interesting process because I had to toast and shell the hazelnuts. I toasted whole hazelnuts with the shells on for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Afterwards, I took them in a dish cloth, twisted the top, and rubbed the hazelnuts together. The shells didn't come off as easily as I anticipated. In fact a lot of them were pretty stubborn. I gave up for awhile, and the hazelnuts cooled off. I found the shells came off easier cooled even though my directions said do it straight from the oven.

This was one of the last pictures taken with my POS Canon before it died. I hope the debris will come out of the dish cloth. I'm way behind on laundry so maybe I'll find out tomorrow.

The cake was somewhat difficult to make. I had to grind up the hazelnuts and add it into this very thick chocolate and egg yolk mixture. I then whipped up some egg whites to a stiff peak, and I had to fold it in without deflating the whites. This was tricky because the chocolate mixture was so dense and heavy. I wasn't sure how the whites really fared because it took a lot of work to fold them in. I tried to be gentle, but felt the chocolate batter was fighting against me.

Anyway, after baking, the cake had to sit for three hours, but I went to see "American Fusion" last night. It was the last film playing in SF Asian American International Film Festival. Mr. Cupcake stayed home, but didn't eat any since I started the cake so late. We sampled it tonight. I really liked the inside of the cake. It was dense and very chocolatey. I could also really taste the hazelnuts. Hazelnuts always remind me of Italy and gelato. I love nocciola gelato, so whenever I smell hazelnuts it always brings back happy memories.

The cake did have issues because the outer rim was somewhat dry. The crust on top was a little hard which Mr. Cupcake didn't particularly care for. I guess I left it in the oven a little too long. My problem with over baking has to do with the fact I don't have toothpicks, so I generally try to guess. Bad idea. Sometimes I use a chopstick, so there will be a big hole in the cake. I always forget to buy toothpicks and if I'm going to continue baking, I really need to buy some. I did attempt to buy a box at Safeway not too long ago, but it's impossible to find anything in that store. I loathe Safeway and I try to avoid it whenever I can. The problem with this strategy is that I still don't have toothpicks and my baking suffers. I will have to buy toothpicks this week for sure.

This cake was more like a torte than a cake. I get the impression that Mr. Cupcake isn't a big fan of tortes. I made a chocolate torte on Valentine's Day, and he wasn't thrilled about that one either. In the future, I'm going to try baking other stuff instead. For starters, I think I will make some coconut cupcakes this week. I love coconut, and I've never made coconut cupcakes. My Baking Illustrated looks like it has a good recipe. Though, I've been reading a lot of recipes from the Magnolia Bakery in NYC (I think). With all the raves, I'm going to have to try that too. Another day.

Five has eaten his last tortilla chip. He snored all last night, and it kept waking me up. I'd push him in the hopes that he'd stop, but no such luck. This usually happens when he puts on weight. Sometimes his snoring is so loud, it's like I'm sleeping next to a person. Ah well.

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