Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ode to Bilbo Baggins... OF THE SHIRE

So one of the things I love about pastry is that it makes such a great gift. One of my parents' friends commented at the wedding... "How does Kathy bake so much but stay so thin??" Well the thing is... I don't really eat much of what I make. I taste it to make sure it tastes good and the way I want, but I don't really eat any more of it than that (at the restaurant, however, is another story. Butter-laden pastries are usually my breakfast. Or apples since I have to peel so many gah!). The rest of it is given away - my roommates, coworkers, other misc friends etc. There's just something about making something that can make people happy....

My friends don't bake that much, so it's always fun when they do. Cynthia's bf Elvin just had his birthday, and she wanted to make a cake and asked me for suggestions. I gave her quite a few, and she settled on this hazelnut cake recipe (and a banana cake recipe from this blog she found through another friend).

For the birthday party, we went to dinner at Patio Filipino in San Bruno (review to come), but Mike and I had to leave early to go see Rogue Wave at Bimbo's (which, by the way, was pretty cool because Zach did an improvised acoustic rendition of a requested song down on the floor in the middle of the audience. Pretty awesome). Since we had to leave early, Cynthia made us mini cakes we could take with us! Totally wasn't expecting that, and it was extremely thoughtful. =) She also included this silly letter from back in the day she never sent to me while she was studying abroad in Ghana. I'm assuming she didn't have much studying to do... haha that dork.

The cakes turned out really well! I was afraid the hazelnut one might be dry, but the roasting liquid she used for the pears (instead of peaches) was poured over it, so I think it kept the cake nicely moist. The banana one tasted basically like a banana muffin with chocolate chips, but the smooth ganache sheath over the cake was an elegant touch that elevated its simplicity. Bravo!

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