Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don't matter if it's black or white...

If it's Tuesday, it must be Trivia Night...somewhere! My team was all set to assemble as we normally do at a local wine bar for their weekly trivia competition only to find out that it had been cancelled without notice. Boo hiss. So we shifted gears and headed over to another local pub that also has trivia on Tuesdays, just an hour later. And I'm so glad we did, as we had a blast! This bar had a lot more people in attendance, and there were a lot more young folk, too, which gave the place a fun, high-energy feel. And they did the game a little differently. Instead of having an M.C., the questions (and later, the answers) were projected on screens. Not only did this help in a noisy bar, but it allowed them to do things like a music video round/name the artist and song. (Does anyone remember "Don't Shed a Tear" by Paul Carrack? Talk about a blast from my MTV past!) Plus, this place has food--albeit BAD food--but we could get dinner and sit at a proper table, facing each other, which was nice.

Alas, I'm sad to report that we did not win the game (our evil, arch-rivals the "Bill Evans Trio" won again as they often do--their leader has a Ken Jennings-like omniscience), but we did win two of the seven rounds. That was another fun twist to the game at this pub--after each round, they give a prize to the high scorers for that round. Fun! Don't think for a moment that my team didn't win on the round about food (fruits and vegetables)! Although it was tricky. One of the questions asked about the other name for limestone lettuce. Can you see the dilemma? Bibb or Boston? Both are correct! (In the end, they accepted both answers.) And then there was a question about which fruit had a variety called Calimyrna and is pollenated by said that Indiana Jones almost ate a bad one. J'accuse! Bad question! Calimyrnas are figs, but Indy almost ate a bad date (poisoned ones that killed the wicked monkey). Nevertheless, we were triumphant in the food round, and more importantly, we all had a good time, so I think we'll definitely have to go there again.

As usual, I also brought along a home-baked dessert for us. As it was still Passover (and because I think my friends feel that I have no abilities to make a dessert that isn't overwhelming rich and potentially life-threatening!), I decided to make a beautiful black and white angel food cake that I spied on the Culinary in the Desert/Country blog. It has a chocolate layer on the bottom, and vanilla on the top, and is drizzled with both vanilla and cocoa glazes. Though Joe clearly outdid me in the decoration department, the cake was still eye-catching and very tasty! And the texture, especially of the white layer, was just ethereal. I think this will become my go-to recipe for angel food in the future. Personally, I could have done without the chocolate layer, except for its visual appeal. But I think my trivia teammates disagreed on that point--they really liked the chocolate. Then again, I'm a vanilla girl. Try it for yourself, and see what you think!

Black and White Angel Food Cake
(Source: Culinary in the Desert/Country, as adapted from Cooking Light)

For the cake:
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder

For the glaze (I halved this--it makes way too much glaze, IMHO):
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1-3 tablespoon milk, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. In a large mixing bowl, add cream of tartar, salt and egg whites. Beat until foamy. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Mix in juice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Using 1/4 cupfuls at a time, sift flour mixture over the stiff egg whites - gently folding the flour in after each addition.

Scoop one half of the batter into an ungreased 10" tube pan (as you can see, I didn't divide my batter evenly and ended up with more vanilla than chocolate...then again, I prefer that ratio!). Use a knife to cut through the batter to break any air bubbles. Sift 3 tablespoons cocoa powder into the remaining batter and gently fold in. Evenly spoon this batter over the top of the vanilla batter. Use a knife to cut through just the chocolate batter to break any air bubbles.

Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched - about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan - let cool completely. To remove the cake, use a very thin and flexible spatula to loosen the cake from the sides the the center tube. Invert cake to a plate.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat together confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth - add enough of the remaining milk to make the glaze thin enough to drizzle, you do want it fairly thick though. Divide batter in half - and add 1 teaspoon cocoa to one part (I should have doubled the cocoa, as my glaze was too pale..maybe YOURS is!) - stir well to combine. Drizzle lines of each glaze over the cake (I should have used squeeze bottles for this for a more artful effect) - refrigerate 5 minutes to set the glaze before cutting. I think the season's first strawberries (even though ours are coming from Florida right now) would be perfect to serve with this, and would make for a striking contrast in color.


Randi said...

Are you really a vanilla girl? LOL. ( sorry, I couldnt resist)

JoyBugaloo said...

Randi, you're naughty! ;-) But I'm afraid it's true. Though I put on a good ruse of being more exotic and adventurous, I am in most ways, pretty vanilla. (But I do like to think of myself as a high-quality, creamy, sweet, and flavorful Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla! Tee hee.)


bakerina said...

Oh, you trivia goddess, you. Do I remember "Don't Shed a Tear" by Paul Carrack? I do, I do, and I remember "I Need You" ("like a sharp needs to shoot" -- you just know that Nick Lowe was responsible for that line), and I remember "Always Better with You" ("always one thing leads to another/one man's cloud is another man's cover"). Okay, stop me before I put an eye out or something. ;)O

shelly01 said...

I love you blog and being from Chazy now in PA, I love hearing about home.

I saw this cake in the Cooking Light magazine and was waiting for my brother to try it first.

Have you ever had or baked a maple desert that was fluffy and had a strong maple flavor? I had something like this in Quebec and have never had anything similar but yearn for it.

JoyBugaloo said...

Hi, Shelly! Welcome to a long-lost neighbor from Chazy! Definitely make the angel food cake--it's a winner. As for the fluffy maple dessert, I do not know it. However, I will consult my Quebec cookbook, and I will ask the French teacher at my school (whose wife is Quebecoise and a fine cook to boot!) and let you know. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!