Who wants cake? On deck this week for French Fridays with Dorie is a simple buttery cake called Visitandine, named after the order of French nuns who created this recipe.
I’ll admit, I had near tragedy with this one. I decided to halve the recipe and make two small cakes in 4-inch springform pans. All seemed to be going well. I browned the butter. I mixed the butter with the dry ingredients. It wasn’t as thick or hopeless as Dorie indicated it might be. I beat the egg whites until they were stiff. I folded the egg whites into the batter. I filled the cake pans. I put them in the oven. Then, I went down to the basement to move some laundry around.
I came upstairs to find a burning smell. I turned on the oven light and looked in the little window. The oven was filled with smoke. Uh-oh. I immediately turned off the oven and opened it up to retrieve my little cakes. I also opened a window and turned on the fans. The source of the smoke was a puddle of butter that had leaked from the pan onto the oven floor. I hadn’t thought to put the cake pans on a baking sheet.
I was so disappointed. The cakes seemed to have such possibilities! They were partially baked, but not all the way. I hated to throw them out, so I just stashed in the fridge overnight while I figured out what to do.
Overnight, I was weighing my options. Do I bake the saved cakes through and see what happens or do I start over? As I was reviewing the recipe in my head, I realized why the pans might have leaked. I halved the recipe EXCEPT for the butter. That probably explains why it mixed together more easily than expected. With that much butter, it might also explain why it exuberantly oozed out of the pan.
In the morning, I cleaned the bottom of the oven and decided to try just baking what I had. If it failed, I could start over. It worked!
The cake was light though rich-tasting (must be that extra butter). I’ll have to try it with the proper amount of butter, but this is just the sort of cake I enjoy. It reminded me of the financiers, and also an almond-browned butter cake I’ve been making when I have extra egg whites.
Howard wasn’t interested in this one, so I ate some cake plain (delicious) and also cake with rhubarb compote spooned over it (also delicious, but not very attractive). I still have one more cake to enjoy. I’ll be making Howard some chocolate pudding with the extra egg yolks, so he won’t feel left out.
If you missed it on Facebook or Instagram, here’s a photo of Mardi and I enjoying a fantastic meal at Coppa, a tiny enoteca (wine bar) in the South End neighborhood of Boston. We had a great time meeting though we missed the rest of you. Here’s to more Dorista meetups in the future.