March 4, 2010


And we are not talking onion here!

Cakes. That is what we started with in Term 2 with Chef Hall. A lot of individual work and at a much faster pace. On a sad note, we had another class member leave. We all are adjusting to the change.

I am with a new group member now, Sarah. We work well together and I appreciate her humor. I think she gets my Star Trek jokes... well, she laughs at them I think. I hope she isn't laughing at 'me.' ;)

I have cake coming out my ears. First was a chiffon cake with a buttercream frosting. Kind of a plain, bland cake. I wasn't really able to get it as level or the frosting as flat as I would have liked. I also need to practice more on the rosettes. I ate a couple bites of it and didn't much care for the taste of the frosting. I know someone who loves the frosting and I just love the cake, together would could have finished this cake. But alas, she is far away in the 'burg. One day, we will get together and bake. One day soon!

Next on the list is the ever different but always tasty, carrot cake. Our recipe adds coconut and pineapple to the mix so I think it is more of a hummingbird cake but what do I know! The cream cheese frosting, unfortunately, was made with part buttercream. I am not a big a fan of buttercream so it really ruined it for me. It looked pretty though! I masked the sides with toasted walnuts and decorated it with marzipan carrots.

Angel food cake. I love angel food cake.  Such a strange texture and so wonderful in just basic, sweet/vanilla flavor. I have been eating a slice a day since I made it. I wish blueberries where in season. I would make some lemon curd with all the extra yolks and I would be all set... mmm.

Pineapple upside down cake... one of my grandpa's favorites. I don't understand maraschino cherries. Take out everything natural and put back in nasty. Bleck. I liked the cake but really, I just picked out the cherries.

Anyone ever rolled a cake? I haven't. I made a lemon roll cake in class and it was weird. You bake a roll cake in a sheet pan. You let it cool. You dust it good with sugar and roll it on itself/parchement in a roll and chill it. The next day, you unroll it and brush it with a layer of lemon curd. Then you roll it again and frost it with the (bleck) buttercream. Then for presentation, you trim the ends at an angle. Then you score it and put rosettes on each section. It was quite a process. I could have made a bûche de noël instead (frosted differently, everything else is the same) but wanted to practice my rosettes.

Next up, the queen of cakes, cheesecake. We got to pick what to marble it with so I went for a orange cream marbled cheesecake. You couldn't really see the orange streaks but it tasted sooooo goooood!!! I was smart and gave 3/4 of it away. I only brought home enough for Alan and me to snack on. I could/would have eaten the entire thing if given enough time.

Now we get into the fancier stuff. Charlotte Royale filled with Bavarian cream. A messy production! This is another roll cake only this time we cut it up and then layer it with bakers jam. Then you cut up 1/4 inch slices and line a small bowl (or Charlotte mold) with them. My jam was a bit oozy so mine is not as clean as I would have liked it. I am at the point in class where I know what I want it to do but I am still awkward and not quite skilled enough to be exact. I know, practice will help but it is still frustrating.

Once you have the bowl lines, you chill it and make Bavarian cream. This involves powdered gelatin. You put it in water for it to 'bloom' and then add it to something hot in order for it to 'dissolve.' It is kind of a creepy texture but it is really useful. I am still on the fence about whether I like it. Anyway, you fill the Charlotte mold (the bowl lined with the layered roll cake slices) and then put a plain piece of roll cake on as the bottom. Not a tasty cake (I dislike the bakers jam taste) but it is very pretty.

Need a pick me up? Well, how about tiramisu! First we had to make ladyfingers, which is difficult enough, but then you take a roll cake round as a base, wrap a piece of acetate around it and tape it. Hopefully you left enough of an edge between your round roll base and the acetate strip. This is where you will start lining up your ladyfinger cookies. My acetate strip was too tight at first so my cookies wouldn't stand up. After I adjusted it, they finally stood up. Once you have the fingers up, you soak/brush the fingers with espresso/coffee simple syrup. Then you fill it part way with a tiramisu filling (egg yolks, sugar, Marsala wine/rum, mascarpone, and cream). Then more cookies, soaked with espresso/coffee simple syrup, and then more filling. On top of all of that, chocolate curls and a dusting of powdered sugar.

More chocolate? Why, sure! Chocolate honey mousse torte. Here you make a mousse by cooking the eggs with boiling honey. You have a roll cake base and a fancy strip of jaconde-stripped cake to decorate the bottom. Like this or this. My mousse set up really nice and the cake itself looked really cool. Just for size, this is about a 6" diameter cake. The Charlotte Royal is about the same. The other cakes were all 9" diameter.

One of the craziest cakes yet to work on has been the chocolate chiffon with dark whipped ganache icing, banded with a tempered white/dark chocolate band. You make and frost the cake. Then you temper chocolate. Then on a strip of acetate that is as long as the cake is round, you draw a continuous design with your tempered dark chocolate (that is being held at 88-90 degrees). Then wait a second or two and cover your dark chocolate completely with the tempered white chocolate (also being held at 88-90 degrees). Tempering is a pain but it really does make the chocolate look nice. Then you wait a second or two and lift the strip and set it in a clean spot. Then, before it sets to firm, you have to transfer it to the bottom edge of the cake and wrap it. I waited a bit to long and mine had a couple of cracks in it. All that work and I ruined it in a matter of seconds. :) Ok, ok, not completely ruined but the perfectionist in me wishes I had those seconds back!

Phew! The first section of cakes is complete. I don't have any that I need to do over so onward to the fancy cakes and wedding cake design!

1 comment:

  1. I have always wondered what exactly is in tiramisu. Thanks for explaining it so well. I'll take a slice of that chocolate chiffon with dark whipped ganache icing. It looked gorgeous! Wedding cakes next? I can hardly wait!