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almond cornmeal cake fail

November 24, 2009
tags: , ,

Where to begin.  This was a fail on so many levels: cooking fail, picture fail, idea fail.  The list goes on.

The idea for this started after having what was one of the most memorable desserts in my adult life at Mado in Chicago.  For anyone in the Chicagoland area, run (don’t walk) to this restaurant.  It’s got everything you want, local food, great service, BYOB.   Top notch all around.

The appetizer and main courses were both wonderful, but the show stopper was the dessert.  An almond cornmeal cake served with goat cheese marscapone, peach preserves and candied almonds.

Alright, a lot going on up there, but goat cheese marscapone?  Easy enough.  Peach preserves, okay.  Candied almonds?  Well, for the sake of simplicity I decided to skip that step.

I started my search for cake recipes and ended up with a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from Food and Wine. My weakness when it comes to baking is that the cooking part of me takes over and I start the skimp and substitute without any real idea of what the results would be.  In cooking, where you taste as you go along, that’s fine.  In baking where it’s more science than creativity, we run into problems.

For instance, did you know that polenta is not an adequate substitute for fine cornmeal?  Of course you did, because you’re not a blockhead like me.  And perhaps if I had the foresight to put my polenta in the food processor to make it finer, I wouldn’t have had this problem, but I didn’t and I ended up with the above.  The bad photo actually does it justice.  The second it came out of the oven, the only thing I could think of was “what font should I use to write FAIL across this”.  But we all have fails and it’s part of the learning process.  I can’t say that I’m incredibly gracious in my failed attempts.  Generally, these results are met with expletives and regrets of wasting all those eggs.

The silver lining?  I had 4 eggs whites that became beautiful chocolate dipped macaroons the next day.   I’ll try this recipe again one day, but for now, I’m allowing this recipe to gather a bit more dust before another attempt.

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