Friday, June 28, 2013

Jeanne's Cake

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It's funny how our tastes can be influenced by what we grew up with.  You may recall me mentioning Jeanne's Bakery in the past.  It's a well-known bakery in Winnipeg that makes a distinctive cake with a cookie bottom and chocolate shavings on the side.  For many Winnipegers, Jeanne's is a staple for any celebration.  

The thing about Jeanne's cakes is that most people, who try it for the first time as an adult, are pretty unimpressed with the cake.  The cake itself is pretty dry.  It gets worse if you put it in the fridge (freezer or counter storage only).

The flavour isn't particularly strong.  It's not even that nice to go to the bakery itself.  It doesn't have that typical bakery smell that entices you to add a couple of treats to your order.

Despite all of this, it's a hugely popular cake and is one of the few food items I will add to the request list when family is coming to Ottawa for a visit.

Recently, my dad and stepmom came to visit to celebrate Father's Day and my dad's birthday. Somehow bringing a Jeanne's cake wasn't added to the "bring to Ottawa" list.  So, my stepmom and I decided to take matters into our own hands.

Jeannie's Cake

1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup icing sugar
1 dash salt

To prepare base, cut shortening into dry ingredients, mix well.

Pat firmly and evenly into an 8 inch square pan and bake at 350 deg. F. for 10-12 minutes. Cool. 
Note: the base and cake are baked separately.

For cake: cream shortening, and sugar; add eggs and vanilla, beating well until fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350 deg. F for 25 - 40 minutes.

Frosting: in small saucepan, stir tog. milk and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixute is thickened and smooth. Cool.

On highest speed of mixer, beat cooled flour mixture with butter, shortening and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Blend in icing sugar and salt; continue beating until frosting is very fluffy. This will take at least 15 minutes.

To assemble cake: place shortbread base on serving plate; spread with small amount of frosting. Place cake on base. (you can split the cake for layers).
Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. If desired, garnish sides of cake with shaved semi-sweet chocolate. Note: If you are decorating your cake, it is best to add the shaved chocolate beforehand.

Note: we found that the chocolate was easiest to shave when it warmed up a bit.  Next time, I'd probably try freezing it after shaving so that it doesn't melt in my hands when pressing it onto the cake quite so much.  Any advice on how best to do this is welcome!

Verdict:'s the closest thing to a Jeanne's cake I've tasted that wasn't from Jeanne's Bakery.  But, that isn't really a huge feat.  I found the cookie crumb to taste more like shortbread than Jeanne's.  Also, I tasted the shortening in the icing more than I'd like.  The cake itself wasn't as fluffy.  Everyone liked the cake, but I wasn't crazy about it.  I forgot to put icing between the cookie crumb and the cake.  I'd definitely recommend doing this...maybe even a layer mid-cake.  



That Girl said...

It's still kind of cool that you can replicate the cake at home and not have to go to Winnipeg for it.

giz said...

I would kill for a Jeanne's cake just for the warm memories it creates. You're right - in the realm of cakes, it's really nothing special unless you're a Winnipeger.

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