Sunday, January 9, 2011

Honey, honey

    The first week back from a long vacation is always tough. You hear the alarm ringing and stare in disbelief at the numbers on the clock. Didn't I just lay down? You drag yourself around the house, in a zombie like state, following some brainwashed steps, to get yourself out of the house on time.
    When you get to work you remember everything you said you were going to do over break but didn't. I always say, "I'll correct these while watching TV one night." I never do, so I didn't bring them home this time. It's good to see everyone again but you can't help thinking, "I'd like to see my pillow more right now." The students think that I spent the entire week locked in my classroom, somehow living off the box of rice cakes in my desk drawer and the water for my plant. Why are they always so surprised that I don't live here?!?! And the only time they are interested in my vacation is when they are trying to distract me from the lesson. I'm in the middle of explaining the Pythagorean Theorem, going over what seems like the same problem for the 14th time, when a student asks what I got for Christmas. And while I'm flattered that they are "interested," I am also surprised that they think I can be so easily turned off track. Bring it on you tricky teenagers, just wait until we get to proofs!
My husband gave me two Disney recipe books for Christmas, and I wanted to try this recipe from the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort.

Honey Crunch Cake
Oven 375

Sponge Cake:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine milk and butter in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In an electric mixer with a whip attachment, mix eggs.

Whip in milk and butter mixture, then gradually add flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared 9-inch pans, dividing evenly. Bake 15 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Honey Crunch
3 tablespoons water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, sifted

Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat. Insert a candy thermometer. When temperature reaches 310 degrees F, whisk in baking soda and turn off the heat. Let mixture rise, stirring to combine. Pour onto a silpat mat and let completely cool. When cool, break honey crunch into several large pieces and store in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the bag to break candy into small pieces.

Honey Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons honey

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in honey. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Honey Whipped Cream
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
5 tablespoons

In an electric mixer with a whip attachment, combine heavy cream and confectioners' sugar. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes or until cream begins to thicken. Add honey and increase speed, whipping until medium soft peaks form.

To Serve:

Drizzle bottom layer of cake with simple syrup. Generously spread whipped cream on the bottom layer, the sprinkle with broken pieces of honey crunch. Spread a little more whipped cream over the honey crunch. Place the top layer on and drizzle with remaining simple syrup. Frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining whipped cream. Break and arrange remaining honey crunch on each piece. Best when served immediately.

**You will also need a very helpful dishwasher!

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