Thursday, September 30, 2010

Devil's Food Chocolate Ice Cream

Moving into our new apartment has been all about culling: what do we absolutely need? What will fit? What needs to go back to the in-laws until we have more room? It's a tricky thing, and I've had to be cold-hearted about a lot of my stuff. That's why I was asked three times, by three separate family members, "You're keeping the ice cream maker??" Yes, and for excellent reasons, as they were soon to find out.
I can't tell you how long I've waited to make this ice cream. It's been on my list of things to make since at least May, but I needed for the stars to be aligned--in other words, for my ice cream maker to be in the same place as me. I also had to finish my summer fruit dessert obsession. But sadly, this is the last ice cream recipe in the book. I've now finished out two categories.

OK, here are our key ingredients. Note that the brand of honey "Lune de Miel" means honeymoon. You may or may not be able to see that it comes in this cool squeezable plastic pouch. Also note that I'm using old (Ghiradelli) chocolate that probably spent weeks melting in a shipping container and new (Nestlé) chocolate. Guess which one worked better.

You can see the two chocolates here: nice, smooth, dark chocolate, mixed in with grainy, separated chocolate. But it's OK--the old chocolate finally smoothed out when melted. Kind of like the nasty old chocolate chips Alicia used for the glaze on the Boston Cream Pie.

Here is my finished custard getting ready to hit the ice cream maker. Note that there's not much. I divided the recipe, which is written to make 3 quarts (!), by 6 to make a pint. I don't think it really did...

Note my tiny freezer, completely dominated by the Donvier. I had to take out a shelf to fit it.

The custard hits the cylinder. Don't you wish you had some?
I have to say that the amount I made was just enough to cause family disharmony. Everyone wanted more, but there wasn't more, and all the bowls and beaters were licked very clean. This is delicious, rich, chocolatey ice cream.
A day later the girls and I were strolling around Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where there was a sort of street festival going on--musicians, donkey carts, flea market. We stopped for an ice cream cone at a shop that was selling the famous Berthillon ice cream from Paris. We agreed that the chocolate ice cream was just not as good as the one we'd had the night before.
Here's the recipe, in the original quantity plus the amounts (in weight) I used. Make just enough to cause a bit of family disharmony.

Devil's Food Chocolate Ice Cream

21 oz. (3.5 oz.) semisweet chocolate
2 c. (2.7 oz.) milk
3/4 c. (1.4 oz.) honey
14 (2) egg yolks
1-1/3 c. (1.5 oz.) sugar
Pinch salt
4 c. (5.3 oz.) cream

Melt the chocolate with the milk and honey over medium-low heat in a smallish saucepan. In the meantime, put the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and use an electric mixer or whisk to beat them to a fluffy, light consistency. Gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisk that well, and then return it all to the saucepan. Put it back over medium-low heat and stir and scrape until the mixture reaches 140 degrees on a thermometer (I guess this would be the spoon-coating stage if you don't have a thermometer). Strain the mixture into a large bowl or glass measuring cup, and then gradually whisk in the cream (and a little vanilla if you feel like it). Chill the cream in the refrigerator (or in the freezer or in an ice bath if you're feeling impatient) until it's very cold. Then freeze it in an ice cream maker. Maida says to let it sit in the freezer for 8 hours before serving, but it was delicious straight from the ice cream maker. Enjoy the creamy goodness and don't let anyone steal your rightful portion.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Key West Rum Cake

For our second official weekend in France, we were invited to a large garden party--in Pontlevoy. Our friends Lidie and Pascal were having an end-of-summer bash and wondered if we might come join them. Well, of course, we thought--way to escape the mountain of boxes surrounding us! See some friends, enjoy the countryside. Perfect.
Well, perhaps not so perfect. First of all, the girls went on strike, like the little Frenchies they are. Julia found a sleepover location, and Claire opted to stay with her grandparents. So it was down to me, Sami, and the VW bug. Well, OK--relaxing weekend for two. Very nice.
We were asked to bring a bottle of booze and something sweet or salty for the potluck party. I chose sweet, of course. Knowing that I'd have to make something on Friday that would still be good on Saturday night, I chose the rum-soaked Key West cake.

Behold the ingredients, on my still-messy kitchen island. The pear doesn't belong in the recipe. I don't know how it snuck in to the picture. But you'll notice the high proportion of American to French ingredients. Somehow lots of my baking stuff and spices made it over on the container! Yay!

Mmm...chocolate. Melted in our microwave from home.

So Sami and I and the rum-soaked cake (look--fluffy butter and sugar!) got in the VW and started to drive towards Pontlevoy. We had the top down--the weather was beautiful. We were singing along to the iPod just outside of the hilariously named Ecoman when the car started making ominous noises. Oh dear.

(Chocolate is calming in stressful situations.) So Sami got out, and in his heroic Mr. McGuyver way, put on his yellow safety vest and crawled under the car. Fortunately, we were on a country road with a nice turnout for picnics and car trouble. After about half an hour, he had diagnosed the problem. The only problem was that he needed a specific part (vintage VW part) to repair the car. It was 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon in Middle of Nowhere, France.

(American pecans and French butter: a match made in heaven). No problem: we know a guy in Pontlevoy who is an even bigger VW freak than Sami. Seriously, he has a large garage/shed crammed to the ceiling with VWs and accoutrements. There's a VW in his garage that you can't even see. So we sent our friend Bob out to talk to this guy (armed with an iPhone picture of the part--technology is great), and he did have the part. But we were still 40K away from Pontlevoy! What to do?

(Ready for the oven. Note that I no longer have to McGuyver a tube pan.) No problem: Sami just shut down one cylinder of the engine, and we rolled along, very slowly, to Pontlevoy. We even made it to the party more or less on time.

Oh, yeah, and there was cake at the party. If you look closely, you might see an insane amount of rum syrup soaking in. It was so tempting to stop pouring rum syrup onto the cake and instead pour it over ice. Rum, limes, sugar? Sounds like a cocktail to me!

This cake survived a long, warm drive in a VW with no problems. It was moist and buttery and rummy. Party guests especially appreciated the latter, but the cake disappeared in its entirety very quickly. We had a lovely time seeing old friends and meeting new people, and I even had enough wine to have what seemed to me a coherent debate about American culture with a French guy. (Oh, and Sami got up the next morning and fixed the Bug, thanks to our VW friend in Pontlevoy.)

Here's the recipe. Make it when you're not sure how soon you might be able to eat cake.

Key West Rum Cake

2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1-1/2 c. (10 oz.) sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. (8 oz.) sifted flour
1/4 t. baking soda
7 oz. (2 cups) chopped toasted pecans

Heat the oven to 325. Butter and coat a tube pan with bread crumbs or ground nuts.
Melt the chocolates in the microwave at 30-second intervals; it should take about 1 minute (Tip: those unsweetened squares take longer to melt, so put the square in first, give that 30 seconds, and then add the thinner, more delicate semisweet.) With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, baking powder, and salt until fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond, and then gradually add the sugar. Beat that for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then gradually add the flour, beating on low speed just until incorporated.
Add the baking soda to the melted chocolate, and then add about a cup of the cake batter to it. Put spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of the cake pan--spread it as best you can, but don't worry too much about it. Now add all those pecans (and yes, it is a lot!) to the remaining cake batter; spread that in the cake pan. Smooth the top and bake for an hour (remember to check the cake after 45 minutes, just in case). While the cake is baking, make the syrup:

1/2 c. (4 oz.) water
2/3 c. (4.6 oz.) sugar (I used "raw" sugar)
2/3 c. (5.3 oz.) light rum
1 T. lime juice (about 1 lime)

Stir the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Let boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature (I forgot to make this ahead and didn't let it cool. It was fine). Stir in the rum and lime juice. When the cake comes out of the oven, carefully pour or brush the syrup over. It's a lot of syrup and it won't soak in all at once. Give it time. Once all the syrup has soaked in, turn the cake upside-down onto a plate and unmold it. Let the cake cool. Once it's cool, you'll want to wrap it tightly. It'll keep for a few days, I imagine. Slice thickly and enjoy with good friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stewed Peaches

Welcome to my new kitchen in Le Pecq, France! As you can see from the tools mixed in with the utensils, it's very much a work in progress.

But still, it's a pleasant, sunny place to work, and Sami has installed a big transformer so that I can use my American appliances (though I'm still nervous about getting out the Kitchenaid).

We've been spending a lot of time shopping and moving and packing and unpacking--moving a large American-style household into a small French-style apartment takes a good deal of time and patience. And money. But we're getting there. I hope to be able to host a dinner party here soon.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying getting to know our new environs. One of my favorite parts of the 'hood is the market, which takes place three times a week, just a 15-minute walk from here. I roll my "Granny cart" up the hill and into town, and when I come back, it's filled with beautiful produce like these peaches (well, now it's more like apples and pears and prune plums).

And then I can get the Maida Heatter book out again and cook them up on my not-so-fabulous but fully functional stove in my favorite cast-iron pot--the pot I bought myself as soon as I found out we were staying in France.

Mmmm...the last peaches of the season cooked in vanilla syrup. Simple and delicious.

We ate these plain, but there's so much delicious syrup that they might be even better spooned over pound cake or ice cream--or both.
This was a great way to start back with Maida in our new kitchen. We've been here almost a month, and I've made lots more desserts, but I needed to get the photos uploaded before I could post them. I hope to post a lot more in the coming days. But in the meantime, here's the recipe--which you can also do with prune plums (I did that this week--delicious!) or pears.

Stewed Peaches

1-1/2 c. water
1 c. (7 oz.) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split (I used half a bean and there was plenty of vanilla flavor)
6 peaches, peeled (either with a knife or by blanching a minute or two)

In a large pot or even a deep skillet, mix the water and sugar. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the sugar water with a small, sharp knife and throw the bean in there as well. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the peaches and cook for about 15 minutes, turning them once. They should become tender but not mushy. Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon. Turn up the heat on the syrup and let it boil down until the bubbles get large and the mixture becomes, well, syrupy. Pour that syrup over the peaches and cool. Maida suggests serving these chilled. Enjoy them with yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dinner or just plain for a not-so-guilty pleasure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Peach Pandowdy

We've been in France for a week now, and life is still somewhat chaotic. I type this at the dining table that we just found room for two days ago, Sami is in the kitchen building me an island (love that!!), and the girls are a bit shell-shocked at being back to school and inundated with the standard amount of homework. And we can't find stuff. Julia has lost her phone. Sami lost his keys today. I'm sure we've all lost our patience at one point or another. All this to say that I can't find my card reader, so I can't post pictures of the peach pandowdy, the last recipe of the Livermore series. (New card reader purchased! Enjoy the show!)

A pandowdy is kind of like an upside-down buckle: it's fruit on the bottom and a kind of cake-like layer on top. This is a very simple recipe, and it's pretty good, but I believe I prefer a cobbler or a crisp--the dough was just a bit doughy, and it was kind of bland. Maida says this is a "very old American recipe," which to me often means not very interesting. I made this for a small dinner party, and while it was praised, we had plenty left over--which no-one then ate. That to me is the sign of a good but not great dessert.

Still, I'm going to give you the recipe and let you decide for yourself. I believe an American cook should make a pandowdy at least once to say she/he has done it.

Peach Pandowdy

3 lbs. peaches, peeled and sliced (you could probably use frozen here--thaw them at least partially)
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. raisins (I think these are totally optional, though they add to the Early America vibe)

Heat the oven to 400 and butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Throw in the peaches, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and raisins, toss them together, smooth it out, and let the mixture sit while you make the topping.

1-1/4 c. (5 oz.) sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
3 T. (1.3 oz.) sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) milk
2 oz. (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 t. vanilla
a few drops (pour it into a 1/4 t. measure and drip it out of that) almond extract

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl or perhaps a 4-cup glass measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pour this mixture slowly and carefully over the fruit to make as even a layer as possible. It may not completely cover the fruit, and that's OK. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the peach juices are bubbly and the top has browned a bit (mine didn't brown much). Serve warm with ice cream and reflect on simpler times.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

(Blue)berry Crumble

As I write this, Alicia is probably on her way to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Guess she won't be baking for a while! I haven't baked from Maida for at least a week either--moving to France will do that to you. Also, I promised myself I wouldn't make any new recipes until I had caught up on all the stuff I baked in Livermore. This is one of those recipes.
As part of my quest to do as much seasonal fruit baking as possible while in California, I chose to make the Blueberry Crumble to bring to a big family gathering. I also brought my Mom's famous green Jell-o salad, a rice salad, and a lot of cheese and bread. No-one starved, that's for sure!
This recipe calls for blueberries alone, but it turns out that blueberries weren't exactly in season in California. We could, however, get beautiful organic blackberries and raspberries for a song. So I bought some Washington State blueberries and complemented them with the blackberries and raspberries.

I think that was a good choice: blueberries can be kind of sweet and boring by themselves. The more acid blackberries add some needed zing. I also used tapioca instead of flour because I like that gooey mouth feel. I'm putting both in the recipe so that you can choose.

The crumble was delicious by itself or with ice cream. It went head to head with some beautiful but extremely artificial "apple" cupcakes that Alicia and the girls crafted. This sparked a debate between the sugar-happy crowd and the "not-too-sweet" crowd. Everyone was happy, I think. And I need to make that Jell-o salad again.

Here's the recipe for the crumble. Enjoy it before summer is over!

Blueberry Crumble

6 cups (24 oz.) blueberries (or a mix of berries)
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) brown sugar (go easy if you're using just blueberries)
3 T. flour or 2 T. tapioca
3/4 t. cinnamon
2 t. lemon juice

Heat the oven to 375. Butter a 2 quart baking dish and dump in the berries. Sprinkle the sugar, flour/tapioca, and cinnamon over and toss to mix. Drizzle the lemon juice over and give it another toss. Let that stand while you get the topping ready.

1/2 c. (2 oz) sifted flour
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 c. (1.7 oz.) sugar
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) brown sugar
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, cold
1/2 c. (1.3 oz.) old-fashioned oats
1 c. (3.5 oz.) chopped toasted pecans (This seemed like a lot to me--you might want to dial it down a bit)

In a medium bowl (or a food processor), whisk/pulse together the flour, nutmeg, and sugars. With a pastry cutter (or a food processor), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats. Sprinkle the nuts over the berries, then sprinkle the topping over the nuts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the berries are bubbling. If the topping isn't golden enough for you, you could put it under the broiler. Serve this with ice cream. Maida also suggests White Custard Cream (ha!) or sour cream or unwhipped cream, so I guess you should use whatever dairy topping (Greek yogurt?) floats your boat.
Enjoy and feel virtuous about the lack of hydrogenated fat and red dye #2.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bread Pudding with Peaches

Back in February, I wrote about Maida's Apricot Bread Pudding, which I called the "Disappearing Bread Pudding". Well, score another winner for Most Rapidly Disappearing Dessert, right up there with the Boston Cream Pie. And by strange coincidence, Alicia and her family (or part of them, at least) were present for both events. Hmm...
The Apricot Bread Pudding, with all its dried fruit, was a really nice winter dish; this would be a perfect late-summer send-off for the last peaches and/or nectarines of the season. I didn't serve it as dessert, though--it was brunch. After all, it's just like peaches and French toast, right?
This is what was left in the pan about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven. You might say to yourself, "Hey, there are raisins in there! How did Maria ever get Alicia to eat raisins??" Well, they weren't raisins--at least not entirely. This was Trader Joe's Golden Berry Blend. It turns out that Alicia will eat any dried fruit that isn't a raisin.

And here's the pan after about 20 minutes. We had to roust Natalie from the shower to defend her last piece, and then Julia somehow convinced her to share that piece. Cousinly love.

Here's the recipe. It makes a great breakfast dish if you give yourself enough time for the 1 hour 15 minute baking time. I didn't, and we were all pretty darned hungry by the time we got to it. Perhaps that is part of the reason we fell upon it like a pack of wolves. Nah--it was really good.

Bread Pudding with Peaches

9-10 slices (about 8 oz.) white bread or challah, stale (leave it out on the counter for a couple of hours at least)
Softened butter
1/3 c. (1.6 oz.) golden raisins or other dried fruit that floats your boat
2 lbs. firm-ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. (5 oz.) apricot jam (I forgot this and we put it on the finished product. Don't forget it.)
4 large eggs
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk
1 c. cream
3 T. rum (if you're channeling Maida, get out the Meyer's)
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) cream
1/3 c. (2.3 oz.) sugar

I recommend starting this the night before you want to eat it, or at least 5 hours in advance. Get out a 2-quart baking dish and butter it. Now take the bread and butter one side of each slice. Stack up the bread and cut into about 3 fingers per slice. Make a layer of bread and butter on the bottom of the baking dish, covering it completely. Sprinkle the bread with the raisins. Now layer on the peaches--I didn't make my slices thin enough and they didn't entirely cover the bread. Slice yours nice and thin. Heat up the jam in the microwave for about 30 seconds and pour it over the peaches. You don't have to strain it. Cover all that with another complete layer of bread. If you don't have enough bread, butter and cut another slice. Now get out a 4-cup measure and pour in the milk and cream. Whisk in the eggs, sugar, salt, rum, and vanilla and almond extracts. You could do this in a blender if you wanted to. Pour that slowly over the bread and peaches--give it time to soak in. Now cover the pan with waxed paper and press down. If possible, put a couple boxes of brown sugar or something on top of the waxed paper before you put the whole thing in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
When you're ready to bake, heat the oven to 325 and get out a baking dish that will hold your bread pudding dish plus some water. Get the bread pudding out of the fridge and remove the waxed paper. Then drizzle the 1/3 cup of cream over it (it probably won't sink in because the bread is saturated) and sprinkle on the 1/3 c. sugar. Put the bread pudding pan in the larger pan, put that all in the oven, and then very carefully pour some hot water into the larger pan. Bake for a very long 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean. If the pudding still isn't as golden brown as you'd like, you could put it under the broiler. I didn't see the point.
Serve hot and prepare to fight over the last piece.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kentucky Cake

A couple of milestones in this post: 1) I believe we've had the blog going for a year now! Happy birthday to us. 2) I have officially closed out a section of the book: this is the last of the layer cakes! And hooray for that, in my humble opinion. Though I love cake, layer cakes can be a PITA. They make a ton, so you need a special occasion to make them. And you have to frost them. Frosting cakes is my bane. I almost always have someone else do it for me. Let's just say that I'm not a food stylist.
However, I got lucky on this cake, even though it's a big project: it was Dad's birthday, and we were having lots of dinner guests. Also, it turns out that Sharmyn is an expert cake froster. Finally, and most importantly, even though I had huge doubts about this recipe, it was really delicious!
The cake has two entirely different layers, which means mixing and baking one layer, washing the mixer, and starting again. One layer, which you'll see most of, is the dark layer: it's kind of a spice cake with chopped raisins, just to bring joy to Alicia's heart.

Mmm...spicy, raisin-y goodness.

When the cake comes out of the oven, you can choose to brush it with bourbon. Dad had this ancient bottle of Ten High that dates back probably to the 80s (my grandmother was a bourbon drinker, but no one else in the family touches it), so it had lots of flavor but probably little alcohol. I recommend the bourbon option.

There's also a "white layer;" this is lemon cake. I had trouble with this one, probably because my butter wasn't up to temperature. Dad asked if it was a tortilla. Not a good sign.
The batter was so stiff that the egg whites lost all their lift. If I were to make this again, I would do the Cake Bible reverse creaming method: make sure the butter is totally room temperature, then mix together all the dry ingredients, including the sugar; mix in the butter and half of the wet ingredients and beat for a couple of minutes; then add the remaining wet ingredients in 2-3 additions and beat for a long time until very fluffy. It makes a very tender cake and probably would have worked like a charm here.

The cake is filled and frosted with a fabulous 7-minute frosting. The recipe makes twice as much as you'll need. Didn't Sharmyn do a great job?

After a certain number of birthdays, you only need one candle.

You see the two layers: the white layer doesn't seem quite as puny now. Everyone seemed to really enjoy this, and indeed it's not your typical birthday cake.

Here's the recipe. Make it when you have a lot of time and a lot of guests.

Kentucky Cake

3 oz. (6 T.) butter, softened (you'll need 6 oz. butter all together, so go ahead and get 2 sticks out of the fridge)
1/4 t. salt
1/3 t. (do your best with a 1 t. measure) baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. mace (if you don't have mace, use a little more nutmeg)
1/4 t. allspice
1/4 t. dry mustard
1/3 c. (2.3 oz) brown sugar
2 large egg yolks (save the whites for the other layer)
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) buttermilk
1/3 c. (3.8 oz.) molasses
1 c. (4 oz) sifted flour
1/3 c. (1.7 oz) raisins, chopped fairly fine
1 T. bourbon (optional)
2 T. blackberry jam (optional)

Heat the oven to 375. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment circles, and grease and flour them again. Set them aside.
Cream the butter with the salt, baking powder, and spices until fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat 2-3 minutes until fluffy again. Add the egg yolks and once again give that a good beating. On low speed beat in the buttermilk and molasses just until incorporated, then give the bowl a good scraping before adding the flour and again mixing just until barely incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the raisins.
Pour this into one of the cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed. Cool for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Brush the cake with bourbon while it is still warm. If you want to do a layer of blackberry jam (not part of Maida's recipe, but really good), heat the jam for about 30 seconds in the microwave, then spread it over the cake.
Now wash your mixer bowl and get ready for the second layer.

3 oz. (6 T.) butter, room temperature
1/8 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. lemon extract (probably worth getting for this recipe)
2/3 c. (4.6 oz) sugar
Grated rind of 1 large lemon
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) milk
1 c. (4 oz.) sifted flour
2 egg whites
1 T. bourbon (optional)

I'm giving the directions more or less as they are in the book, but if you are familiar with the reverse creaming method, let me once again recommend that you try that.
Cream the butter with the salt and baking powder. Then add the vanilla and lemon extracts, sugar, and lemon rind and beat for 2-3 minutes until very fluffy. On low speed, gradually mix in 1/3 of the flour, then the milk, then the remaining flour. Now, in a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they hold a firm shape. Bit by bit, fold the egg whites into the butter mixture, trying to keep as much of the air as possible. Gently pour into the second prepared pan and bake that for 25 minutes (mine took only 20 minutes), again until the cake springs back when pressed gently.
Let the cake stand for a couple of minutes, then turn out to cool on a rack. Brush with the bourbon while the cake is still warm.
While the cake layers are cooling, take a deep breath and get ready to make 7-minute icing.

4 egg whites (about 1/2 c.; if you have leftover egg whites in your freezer, this is a good use for them. Just thaw them first.)
1-1/2 c. (10.5 oz) sugar
1/4 c. + 1 T. (2.5 oz.) cold water (I used about 2 T. lemon juice as part of this)
1 t. cream of tartar
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon extract

Get out a fairly large bowl that fits over an even larger pot. Basically, you're going to form a sort of double boiler. Also get out a handheld electric mixer. If you have a double boiler, it's probably too small for this application. Put enough water in the pot so that the bowl does not touch the water, and heat the water to a simmer over medium heat.
Put the egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl and put that over the water. Turn on the mixer and immediately start beating the egg whites at high speed for about 5 minutes; the mixture will form stiff peaks. Take the bowl off the water and add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Beat for a couple more minutes. You'll want to use this quickly.
Put the dark layer on your cake plate and put a fairly thick layer of frosting on that. Top with the white layer and frost the cake however you feel is appropriate. Enjoy the remaining frosting in your favorite way--we enjoyed it over graham crackers.
Serve with or without birthday candles to your appreciative guests.