Tuesdays with Dorie: Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake and Tarte Tatin

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In honor of Tuesdays with Dorie’s second anniversary, we got to choose between one of two recipes. Over-achievers could make and blog about both. Since I love love love taking pictures of food, I jumped at the chance to practice twice as much.

I made this wonderful chocolate cake in 2 6-inch pans. (Available at craft stores and restaurant supplies.) It was easier to handle and less expensive to make when I cut the recipe in half.

Fortunately, there was also less to throw away after I realized I had botched the frosting.

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Not sure what I did wrong, but the frosting was grainy and gritty. Actually, I didn’t throw the extra frosting away.  It was delicious on my homemade graham crackers where the texture was less noticeable.

On the other hand, the cake itself was lovely, fudgy and studley (as in a man’s kind of dessert).  Maybe next time I’ll try Barefoot Contessa’s peanut butter frosting which Mary Ann suggested or my personal favorite, sweetened whipped cream with chopped strawberries.


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Although Dorie claims this dessert is “storied,” it was new to me.  Seems a couple of French sisters forgot to lay the crust for their apple pie down first so they laid it on top of the filling.  After baking, they flipped the whole thing before serving.

I used store bought puff pastry for the crust. It rose up and browned perfectly.  The flip went well.

However, caramelizing the butter and sugar after the apples were added but before baking took longer than expected. Turning up the heat on my old cast iron skillet scorched a few of the apples but  didn’t ruin the dessert. You could say it gave it a homemade look. That’s good. Right?

One last note: I added cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg to the apple mixture.  To me, apples without spice are like water without ice.  Not so nice and kinda boring.

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To get either of these recipes, visit Laurie at slush.com.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina January 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Wow, you made both!! Way to go! They both look stunning. Acutally, I bet peanut butter frosting would be diving on that cake–great idea.


Chaya January 10, 2010 at 8:32 am

Oh, you made both. How great! They both look very good.


Margaret January 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Cinnamon and nutmeg!! I bet that made this great tarte even better.

both the cake and the tarte are beautiful. Bummer that the frosting didn’t work. hate that when it happens.


Amber Marie January 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Lovely! Great idea to use 6 inch pans. The cake still has great height!


Margot January 7, 2010 at 12:30 am

Way to celebrate TWD’s anniversary in style! Both desserts look amazing. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews on the cake, but will definitely try it one day (perhaps with a different icing).


Amy January 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

My caramelization process with the apples took longer than expected, too, but it sure tasted delicious and was definitely worth the extra standing around and wondering when it would finally turn the right color. Way to go, making both desserts this week!


Michelle January 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Great going on making both desserts! Your cake is looking sweet and that tarte looks deliciouse!


Valerina January 6, 2010 at 10:19 am

Looking at your cake makes me wish I had made it! It looks perfect, and I like frostings that have a ‘texture’. The tatin is lovely, your caramel is just the right colour.


natalia January 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

Ciao Romaine ! I love bot your creations ! I still have to try the cake but won’t dare with the frosting !! Thanks for visiting !


Sabrina January 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

WOW! Your cake looks amazing and your tarte looks fantastic!
Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂


Mimi January 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

You have some competion for the ambitious baker award, not from me ( I only made the Tarte Tatin) but Katrina and a few other made both also.
Your picture are great.


Leslie January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Wow, these both look gorgeous! I think the extra caramelization on the apples = good flavor. Mine were a bit blacker than yours and we loved it.


Jules January 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Both look amazing! I heard from a few people that the malt added to the graininess of the frosting. Ah well.


miss kate January 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm

and I love that top photo. It looks very vintage cookbook-ish!


miss kate January 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Hey! What’s wrong with ice-less water?!

–miss kate, who prefers her water unencumbered


Jill January 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm

You are an over-achiever! Both of these look great. I have some 6″ pans and I love them for making half a cake recipe – you get a cute little layer cake!


chocolatechic January 5, 2010 at 10:35 am

They both look wonderful.

I almost added some vanilla to my apples, but since I had never made the tarte before, let alone heard of it, I thought it best to make it as the recipe suggested.


Katrina January 5, 2010 at 9:32 am

Well, your cake certainly looks great! I’ve heard many a problem with that frosting, so I didn’t make it. And yep, the cake was okay, but way too crumbly.
I really liked the tart. Yours looks great. I wonder, if we started to carmelize just the butter and sugar a bit before adding the apples. I’m going to have to try that next time, because I thought the apples were cooked into complete mush (but still tasty).


Susan January 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

Wow! Both recipes! And, they both look just perfect. I thought about 6″ cake pans after doing the cake this week. Thought that might have helped with the dryness. Next time I will go with the fruit!


Debbie January 5, 2010 at 7:07 am

Both look delicious but right now, after Christmas and all the chocolate I could devour, I love the looks of the Tarte Tatin. I can just imagine the taste from looking at your pictures! Yummy!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best January 5, 2010 at 6:10 am

I can’t believe you baked both desserts! You are an ambitious baker! The cake looks stunning, and I bet the apples were nicely caramelized in the tarte-tatin.


mike January 5, 2010 at 2:45 am

That’s one mighty-fine looking cake Romaine! It looks like a 9-inch model at least! I agree – the cake was dense, more on the dry side, but good. The frosting was just plain strange… and I’m trying puff pastry next time! This looks much lighter than tart dough. Yours looks delectable!


food.baby January 5, 2010 at 2:18 am

Wow Romaine, well done for making both! I seem to remember the frosting being gritty when I made the cake a while back. Love the idea of adding spices to the tarte. I’ll definitely try that next time.


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