All the convenience of a bowl of cereal, all the elegance of a French dessert. Would you ever guess that this cake is made with Cream of Wheat? I never would have. This recipe is usually made with a box mix by the French; Dorie says that our Cream of Wheat cereal is a very close approximation. I have fond memories of winter mornings spent doctoring up bowls of porridge with a pinch of this, a dash of that (mostly butter and sugar, and most importantly, salt). This tastes a lot like I remember, actually. The big difference is the caramel because the base is simply milk, cereal, egg, sugar and vanilla. Put them together and what do you get? A custard! Love. Love. Love.
I may have let my caramel cook a tiny bit longer than I should have. Mine soaked completely into the cake ( or custard, really) and I had no graceful pools of amber around my slices. I was a little nervous about the timing; maybe the caramel sensed my fear. But nevertheless, I loved the burnt sugar taste that contrasted with the custardy sweetness of the rest of the cake. I went with Dorie's suggestion of golden raisins as the fruit addition, but the next time I make this I'm adding dried currants. I love their tiny size and their intense jam-like fruitiness. They would go well with the dark sweetness of the caramel and maybe wouldn't sink right to the bottom of the pan.
Custards have always been a favorite dessert of mine. I adore bread pudding, rice pudding, and anything else that involves eggs, vanilla and cream. I've never attempted a flan, but I would like to, now that I've conquered my fear of caramel. I have a feeling that it will just take some practice to recognize the right stages of coloring and knowing just when to pull the pan off the heat. This dessert is a perfect place to start. The custard/cake is a snap to put together and only involves the most basic of ingredients. Milk, sugar, eggs.... and these are a few of my favorite things. Practice makes perfect and I'm pretty sure that there is no bad way for this cake to turn out. Be sure to check out what the rest of the group picked to bake/cook this week on French Fridays with Dorie!