|Ispahan Loaf Cake|
Dorie's description of the cake lured me in...
"-all the surprises are in the finished cake; the color is pink, the flavor is haunting,
and the crumb is soft, tight, and pleasantly springy...
And then there are the fresh raspberries - they dot the interior of the cake
and permeate it with both their distinctive flavor and their perfume. It's a remarkable cake."
|Playing with my food again|
The cake must be made with rose syrup, not rose water, another reason I chose to participate this week. I enjoy trying new ingredients and was easily able to locate the syrup at North Park Produce, an ethnic market with Middle Eastern products. They don't carry Monin, Pierre's recommended brand ($16.54 on Amazon for a 750 ml bottle), but they have another brand for $4.25. The syrup has a beautiful rose color and very intense rose perfume but I now wonder, after using it in my cake, if the quality had anything to do with my opinion of the cake.
|First rose of spring and gorgeous red raspberries|
The batter is made with almond flour, a small amount of all-purpose flour, confectioner's sugar, eggs, butter, rose syrup, milk, and rose extract. The egg whites are beaten and folded into the batter to lighten it. A third of the batter goes into the loaf pan, followed by three rows of raspberries, another layer batter, three more rows of raspberries, and the remaining batter.
|Rows of red raspberries|
To me, the cake was nothing special and it didn't meet my expectations, or Dorie's alluring description. When I took it out of the oven, it was tall, golden brown, springy to the touch, and had pulled away from the sides of the pan - exactly as described. After it cooled, it sliced nicely, but it wanted to fall apart. It tasted slightly under baked - it was too moist, almost wet. Of course, the raspberries were mushy after being cooked. I didn't taste the "haunting" flavor, and my batter or cake wasn't pink. In short, I would have been happier with a plain ol' slice of pound cake topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.
|Pretty, but not pink|
Baking of the cake did coincide with the first day of spring and the first rose to bloom in my new garden. After using the rose for the photograph with the raspberries above, and admiring it in a vase on the dining room table for another day, I rounded up Trapper for a photo shoot. Unfortunately, the rose was harmed beyond recognition by the inevitable drool and game of keep-away. This won't be the final rose in my garden this season, but it may be the final rose cake in my kitchen for a while. I'll be searching for other recipes calling for rose syrup now that I have an entire bottle. So far, I like the idea of Turkish Delight and/or adding a drop or two in my Champagne (see Le Sirop de Rose de Pierre Hermé, Clotilde Dusoulier, Chocolate & Zucchini).
|Trapper supplies all the sweetness I need|
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!