Daily Archives: February 2, 2007

Niman Ranch and Dissident Chef unite

mysterious dining

The Dissident Chef will partner up with Niman Ranch for a special meal in February.

The previous “partner event” that Dissident Chef presented was with Truffles–which I hear was just over the top (I couldn’t make the dinners, but I heard from a direct source that the meals were just orgasmic and the truffles NEVERENDING). I’m looking forward to the Niman Ranch dinners Feb 23-25. You might want to check it out, too.

Here’s a link to reserve a place at the dinner table! Price includes wine and apertif for a multi-course meal. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Invite only. You may say “Muffin Top” referred you.

If you haven’t heard of The Dissident Chef and Subculture Dining before, you may want to read my review below to gather info about this fantastic underground dining and roving meal experience.

My REVIEW OF DISSIDENT CHEF.

Update: Muffin Top’s REVIEW OF THE DISSIDENT CHEF’S NIMAN RANCH DINNER.

Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake

A yummy, steaming slice of Elvis Presley Pound Cake

I made a pound cake yesterday. Not just any pound cake, but an Elvis Presley Pound Cake as found in the pages of an old Gourmet magazine. Seeing as how Elvis was a HUGE pound cake fan, and this is a recipe from his cook, I just had to try it, being a pound cake (and Elvis) fan myself.

Though I must admit, my favorite pound cake of all is a Sara Lee poundcake (yes, it is DAMN good, even though it is frozen and premade). I was curious to see how this pound cake stacked up against the legendary Sara Lee poundcake.

The cake was fairly simple to make, and in terms of technique, the recipe instructs the baker to spend a good amount of time mixing the batter. I’d recommend a mixer to make this recipe, or a very strong and resilient arm! In fact, I ended up mixing the batter a bit longer, because of my absent mindedness. I don’t think it was to any fault–because the cake ended up remarkably fluffy…so I think overmixing is a much forgiving error to make than undermixing this batter.

elvis presley pound cake

I halved the recipe and made only one loaf to good results. Actually, fantastic results–something very similar to a Sara Lee poundcake, buttery and dense and wonderful, but with great height. You’re supposed to let the poundcake cool before slicing it up–but guess what? I dug into a slice right away, watching the steam rise off of it, but not for too long, because soon enough the slice was in my mouth.

My new favorite pound cake. So what should the name of this pound cake be? Elvis Presley (and Christine)’s Favorite Pound Cake…?

The only thing I’d do different (even though I’m famous for adapting recipes, I think this one is perfect as is) is play some Elvis songs while eating this up.

Recipe follows after the jump…

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A return: Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake + frosting

A couple of weeks ago I made a chocolate cake. There is something about chocolate that really calls to the soul–in my case, a great urge for chocolate arose from deep inside my psyche, and that chocolate had to be in a cake format.

This was the first cake I made off of my bed rest–made in a weird state of mind, a mixture of frenzy and awe. I meant to bake a recipe in Saveur’s 100 issue–instead, I impatiently latched onto a recipe on the back of the Droste cocoa box. It was an entirely disorganized process, one that I did not document–and one in which I did not save any documentation.  I was distracted, unfamiliar with my kitchen, my mind wandering to and fro…but I was happy to be baking and surrounded by smells and sensations I’d missed.

I used up the rest of the cocoa in the Droste box, and then tossed the recipe in the garbage–leaving me with no recipe to post here. It was a recipe that did not use actual chocolate at all, only the cocoa.  Alas, I apologize!

buttermilk+boiling water+cocoa => chocolate cake

I melted the cocoa in boiling water, and then added buttermilk–I remember standing, mesmerized, at the swirls of buttermilk in the hot cocoa mixture. I was cooking again–it was a strange and new experience to me, even though as you all know, I am a regular cook and baker. Still, at home finally, and mobile again, the concept of baking felt entirely new to me.

chocolate cake batter

The cake seemed very decadent, even before its completion, the chocolate batter dripping slowly off the mixer. I felt impatient, unwilling to wait for this batter to bake into a cake.

But I did wait to eat it until after baking:

chocolate cake

I took the rest of the cake to work–where my coworkers finished it all by the end of the day. They said it was fantastic, and the compliments were worth the cake. 🙂 And the return to my kitchen? Priceless.

Happy baking and cooking to you, too!