Always pack a towel… Sweet Vanilla Mascarpone Cream with Raspberry Cake (pg. 206)

People keep asking me “how are your travel arrangements going?”

I have a difficult time with this one because a) my life hasn’t actually come to a stand-still and so there are other things I would like to talk about and b) I’m trying to not think about it.

Mainly because, while I actually, deeply desire change regularly, I am very reactive, which means I do change when change happens, but I normally don’t bother to do it myself unless I’ve thought about it for…like a year. Gotta be sure, right?

Mentally, I’m pretty okay with this. I wish I could pack some peeps in my suitcase and drag them with me, but aside from that I’m fine. However, deep down inside my cobwebbed heart I guess I’m terrified because the stress is doing a number on me physically. Which. Is. Annoying.

I’m solving this by pretending I’m fine (see previous paragraph) and drowning myself in the English, which is sort of making me feel like a teenager again, except with fewer superfluous safety pins and chains on my clothes.

I make pies and Madness tells me to stay calm during rush hour.

I cycle at the gym and Neil Gaiman teaches me the Tube system.

And thanks to Netflix and my film collection, I’m all caught up with the rock suicides, the silly walks, extermination of the human race, awkward sexual harassment at the office, vacationing by mistake, how Vivienne Westwood became so popular, skin heads can be racist or they could just be nice guys who like big boots and short hair, and skiing is a great way to escape a deranged religious man who wants to cut off your hand.

With that, I assume while I’m in London I’ll likely see Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker in a pub arguing over who is more miserable and that the Benny Hill song mysteriously plays whenever the coppers chase criminals.

One more thing before I moan about how much I dislike this cake:

One time I went to New Orleans by myself. THAT was terrifying. But it turned out to be rather awesome. No one tried to stab me. Southerners are wonderfully kind people.  At the airport I was picked up by the cabbie who worked regularly for the B&Bers I was staying with. His name was Bernie and he was terribly charming and highly enthusiastic about the city. The owners of the B&B were out of town, but their friend Richard was watching the place. I spent some time drinking tea and talking with Richard, partly because everyone warned against my being a lone female at night in a the city with the third highest homicide rate in the country, and partly because he was a neat guy. A sharp contrast against Bernie, Richard spoke so slowly, softly, in his smooth southern drawl. Every word was so deliberate.
While Bernie drove me back to the airport at the end of my stay, he received a phone call.
“Hey, Richard! What’s up? Oh really? You were just thinkin’ about me so you thought you’d give me a call? That’s nice. Do you need anything from the store? Yeah, I can get some Sprite for ya. That all? Yeah, okay. I’ll see ya later, Richard.” He hangs up.

“He called you because he was thinking about you and he wanted to let you know?” I asked.

“Yeah, he does that all the time.” Bernie laughed. Too bloody cute.

Of course, I thought about how I never do that, but that I should probably start, since I’m terrible at vocalizing how much I care for and appreciate the people in my life. Always been more of a gesture kind of person. And subtle ones at that. So subtle I often doubt people pick up on them.

On that note, here is a short open letter to the Lady in London:


You know I like to keep my emotions level (unless, of course, a useless fucking server is involved) because, quite frankly, getting excited for things has never managed to get me anywhere. So while I reply in a monotoned voice that this is going to be fun and I’m fairly excited and blah blah blah, I actually mean it. You know I don’t like using bangs, probably because they remind me of people who like unicorns (god knows why), but I’m seriously looking forward to working with you. You are awesome. I’ve always been totally intimidated by your confidence and talents (in a good way, I hope it rubs off on me). When I said you’ll always be smarter than me, I didn’t mean that as a jab — I’m lucky to know you, I’m lucky to have found someone who shares my passion (I can’t talk to anyone about pastry the way I can talk to you), and the only reason I have the opportunity to do this is because you are in my life. You rock. I can’t wait. I’m sorry times a billion it has taken me this long to get there.

Oh yeah, I have to write about the cake now.


Raspberries and I have a complicated relationship, which is mostly one-sided. My beef with these handsome little guys is the way they are used; I feel like if the goal is to sell something or make it more popular, or appeal a dish to the masses, just make it with raspberry and everyone will be over-the-moon. And the thing about it is IT WORKS. So that doesn’t make me hate the raspberry, but rather I feel bad for it. We aren’t using it for what it is. Instead we cook the shit out of them, giving them a metallic flavour.  I like to think that food is an intellectual preparation. That someone sat down and seriously considered the flavour profile, made tests, tasted the components separately as well as together, tested some more, and voila!* Deliciousness. Alas, often this is not the case. Le sigh.

I honestly don’t see how raspberry makes this cake anything special. On the plus side, I know a bunch of hungry café boys who were more than happy to take care of this for me.

Here is the cake recipe, because I think its crazy versatile, but I think there are many fruits out there that would benefit this cake. The raspberries are done no justice here.

Raspberry Cake (pg. 207)

224g Butter, soft

200g Eggs (4)

500g Raspberry purée

100g Chambord

480g Sugar

450g Flour

20g Baking Powder


First off, this cake happens to show the only publication error in the Modern Café. It guides you on a Choose Your Own Adventure type journey to find the directions on mixing technique, and then you end up not actually knowing how to make the cake. I’ve made this many times, using various fruits and liquors, and had no problems save for the technique being a shot in the dark. All I can say is this: the batter may break, just live with it. It’s go so much moisture in it, the cake comes out beautiful every time.

Buy raspberries. I used 620g of frozen berries, thawed, to obtain 450g purée. Run them through a food processor, then a drum sieve or strainer. Or buy purée if you are so lucky to know a place that carries it.

Cream the butter and sugar until light. Make sure the eggs and purée are the same temperature (room temp) as the butter. Add eggs in three additions. Combine the Chambord and purée, then stir into the butter and eggs. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour (I prefer pastry, but I’ve also made it with AP and GF without problems) and baking powder. Fold into the wet. Don’t over mix. Spread on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake 10 minutes (or until it springs back) at 350 in a non-convection oven (325 if convection).

The Vanilla Mascarpone Cream… I’ll give you a brief run-down, I’ve said too much already. Basically, Migoya directs one to warm the cheese, gelatin, sugar, and vanilla over a bain marie until the gelatin melts, then build the cake. Welp, this is a liquid situation that doesn’t layer at all. I whipped it to room temp, but it persisted in dripping. I’d had my reservations about this working. I folded in some whipped cream, but came to the same road block as the previous cake; the fat was too high, the texture ended up a bit grainy (though this could have also been the cheese). It was not especially offensive closer to room temp, but I was still annoyed. Boring flavour, irritating directions that didn’t make sense. Oh well. It looks cute.

The chocolate is matte and slightly rippled because I packed my acetate and had to use parchment. Boohoo.

*Yes, I used a dreaded bang. But really. Who can say voila without one?

Ohohoh. I used up the rest of the batter to make madeleines. Turns out glaze made of purée + icing sugar + booze = pretty and tasty.


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