01 February 2008

One egg short...

...of a true Nigella Victoria Sponge*...

Who would have thought a sudden craving for a weeknight omelet supper, followed by Saturday brunch (featuring my special gingerbread waffles and a healthy dose of scrambled eggs) would have caused a near crisis for my cuppycake-baking plans on Sunday? Did I mention that I also completed the Lemon Meringue Pie Daring Baker Challenge as well?

Yeah, that's a greater-than-normal eggy business in my scullery.

Normally I'm on top of my pantry's essentials, but I admit I slipped last week: it was probably the heady rush of a week's hols to thank for my poor planning. I'd love to blame Beelzebub for this, but I can't.

I had grandiose plans to celebrate My Most Marvellous Manager's birthday. Okay. Not grandiose, but I wanted to bake some cocoa and vanilla cuppycakes to mark his special day. Whipped up the cocoa cupcakes with ease (to be blogged about later) before starting on the vanilla ones. I decided to use Nigella's Victoria Sponge (p14, How To Be A Domestic Goddess) batter for the cakelettes--super easy, yummy and one of my "go to" cakes when in a baking mood.

Unfortunately, I didn't count the number of eggs I had on hand...and wound up one short. This wouldn't have been so bad if I'd set up a proper mise en place--I could have run out for a carton before I started mixing things--but I didn't. So I creamed the butter and sugar, added the vanilla extract and then began adding the eggs one at a time, interspersed between good spoonfulls of flour...and then I realised I was short one egg.


This is where I am compelled to say "If you don't have a copy of David Joachim's The Food Substitution Bible, get one and keep it on top of the microwave for easy access. You won't regret it."


It's the cookery reference equivalent of that friend you call at 11pm for advice about trapping the chipmunk who's running around in terror in your living room because it came through the cat door while you were out and now it's being stalked by said cats and is obviously scared poopless as it's leaving **prezzies** everywhere, but you can't catch it because it's just so darned quick, and quite honestly you aren't sure if it really is a chimpmunk or just a mutant rat, so you don't want to get too close to the vermin, but at the same time you want it out of the house, but it's too late to call animal control, so you have to take things into your own hands, but you don't have a live trap big enough for the thing and the friend then comes over and grabs your wastepaper basket and that bit of light card backing from the new sheetset you just bought and traps the critter (the chipmunk, not one of the cats) and releases it into the backyard, but only after the cat door is locked, and before pouring you both very healthy G&Ts and popping in the latest Gerard Butler DVD.

Yes, the book is *that* friend...

Thank goodness for Mr. Joachim...and his egg substitution for eggs needed in baking:

3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp flour
1.5 tsp shortening (for which I substituted butter)
0.5 tsp baking powder

I was worried how this would affect the crumb. No need--the cakes turned out beautifully and you really can't tell that I had to do the emergency substute. Now, I probably wouldn't substitute all four eggs needed with a quadruple of the above mixture, but one egg was just fine.


* Although I'm sure there are certain ones out there who claim that I'm usually one egg short of a full dozen.


glamah16 said...

I have never heard of this book Thanks for the tip.

Kate Croft said...

see, my version of this is running to the corner deli with a quarter and trying to persuade the guy behind the counter to sell me *one* raw egg, which he eventually gives me in a little paper bag. ;)

Impressive substituting! I am useless with substitutes - at that point I would have just given the cake up for dead. Bravo!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I, too, would have given up! I'm such a bake-o-phobe that if a recipe doesn't go smoothly, I panic -- or quit. I definitely need a good reference for substitutions.

Jenny said...

So, ummm, when did the chipmunk invade your house through the cat flap? :-)
Cool substitution, something I need on occasion for school snacks!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now that is a reference book we should all have Jasmine. Well, except for those perfect folk out there. I'm not one of those!!

Domestic Goddess said...

Glad to see you back in action - I've missed you these last few months.

The cakes look scrumptious good thing your stove behaved this time around!

Sara said...

That sounds like a great book, it's always handy to be able to find food substitutions in a pinch.

Anonymous said...

Great tip - I'd never heard of that book before, but I'll be looking into it now. So glad you are posting again, and hope you are doing well.
Madam Chow
Madam Chow's Kitchen

Annemarie said...

What a great sounding friend. :) I've never heard of the food substitute book either but I'm sure once I find it I'll wonder how I ever got along without it.

Annemarie said...

thank goodness for this post - I'm sitting eating my scrambled eggs for breakfast, about to make a cake for friends coming around in a short while, to find that I'm eating the 3rd egg I need for the recipe. Sigh. Egg substitutions away!

jasmine said...

Hello all

I'd always done my own flavour substutions, but when it came to subbing thigs that affected the dish's chemistry I was totally lost. I saw this on the shelves of a local bookseller a while ago and realised that I should buy the book when I caught myself making trips to the store just to consult the book! Definitely worth the very reasonable price.

Kate--You are truly lucky to be able to do that...then again, I could probably pop next door and "borrow one" but I still don't know them all that well...

Annemarie--glad this post is of help!


browniegirl said...

A great post Jasmine, and that chipmunk story sounds so good...:) I have a handy hint in a very old recipe book compiled by a bunch of mums to raise funds for their childrens nursery school. It goes like this: An egg substitute for cake baking: One dessertspoon vinegar added to 1/2 pint of milk is equal to two eggs. I have never had the need to try it out and if you do I hope you will let me know. Thanks. Hugs Colleen xx