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Hector's 4-Layer Moist Chocolate Genoise

Mar 09, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose

Hector sent me this lovely email and photos, and I just had to share...

I made this cake in 2005, after a 1 week notice of my good friend's wedding. She wanted chocolate cake and an off white frosting (was her second marriage). It was a 8 people wedding guest list, and I ventured to make a small but tall 4 layer Moist Chocolate Genoise, filled and frosted with Chocolate Ganache, inspired from Triple Chocolate Cake. I topped the cake with 16 pink edged Mouseline Buttercream roses. 16 is a Chinese lucky number meaning 8+8 (double fortune). The genoise and the buttercream were flavored with Moscato (Italian dessert white wine).

I hand carried this cake from Honolulu to Maui. I packed it in a cooler. I was also the witness, the best man, the photographer, and the wedding helper, so this cooler was glued to my body during the entire day. The wedding was outdoors (of course it was Maui), and I had no idea about the restaurant. Everything that day happened so fast that I can't believe how this cake made it safely. I do remember people saying "this thing tastes actually good" /H

Comments

Henry, I have just re-read the recipe and don't know how else to say but what is already written.

Did you weigh the flour? Or did u use cups?

Did you weigh the eggs? Or did u use 12?

I weigh everything except the minute ingredients up to 3 tsp.

Keep me posted, the recipe is written without any errors, and I do get 2" finished height.

Genoise is a technically demanding cake type, technique makes a big impact. Genoise aren't as forgiving as a butter cake.

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Hi Hector, I tried making the golden genoise again following Rose's inverting instructions. Upon cooling the cake fell to the same height as the batter - same result as when I did not take the cake out of the tin when cooling. The texture was fine-grained, but I really couldn't see any improvement in minimising the shrinkage by removing the cake immediately after baking. If anything, the lack of the support of the sides of the pan this time made the cake fall slightly more than last time, when I left the cake to cool in the tin.

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Well, I DID read those instructions in the Cake Bible. I've tried unmoulding and not unmoulding a normal genoise immediately, and there really was no difference. In some cases like the whipped cream cake, I tried inverting the cake after the recommended cooling time, and the cake was so fragile cos it was still warm, that it cracked into pieces as I was inverting. Since then I've tended not to take the cake out until coolish because of these experiences. I will try the golden genoise again and unmould at once to see if there's less shrinkage though.
Thanks so much.

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Henry, it is important to follow the instructions on the recipe. Every word on Cake Bible is important.

A chiffon is a very different cake than a genoise. A chiffon bakes on a very different cake pan. I have never baked a genoise on a chiffon pan, so I don't know if it will behave like u mention.

The heat of the cake pan causes the genoise to shrivel. the heat scorches the cake. There are more technical reasons and are written on Cake Bible.

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I didn't unmould immediately after it's baked. I know that the instructions in the recipe called for that, but I thought that if anything the cake would fall more if I unmoulded it immediately. I mean, for chiffon cakes, you invert the cake upside down till it's cooled down completely right? I don't understand why removing the sides of the cake from the pan would actually help maintain the structure of the cake... Hence I thought that the edges of the cake would cling to the sides of the pan, and hence preserve the texture better. Please kindly share your wisdom on this matter...

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Henry, did u unmold the cake immediately after baked?

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Hi Hector, would the golden genoise fall upon cooling? Mine rose to twice its height during baking, but after cooling it shrank to about the same height as the batter. The texture was okay. I wonder if your golden genoises sank at all?

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Aca disfruten del link directo al fan site en Español de La Biblia de Los Pasteles con todas las fotos de The Cake Bible:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Biblia-de-los-Pasteles-The-Cake-Bible/275043192527096

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Sona, I'm not Rose, but I love making the Moist Chocolate Genoise, maybe I can help?

There's a video of Rose making genoise here: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2009/06/pbs_107_allamerican_chocolate.html#more

It's not the exact same genoise, but watching it might help with whipping the eggs and folding techniques.

A few things to check:
Did you use chocolate that was 55-60%?
Is your measuring cup (for the eggs) accurate?
Did you use cake flour?
Did you sift it directly into the cup, without tapping or shaking (or better yet, weigh it)?
Did you whip the eggs for a full five minutes with a powerful stand mixer?
Did you fold only the minimum amount, i.e., only until flour just disappears, and only until chocolate is mostly without streaks?

Good luck, it's a lovely cake to master!

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Hi Rose,

I have to admit I am an amateur baker. I recently got hold of The Cake Bible (love it!). I love reading your instructions and love your method of teaching details through your recipes.

I tried the Moist Chocolate Geniose recipe yesterday. However my bater was rather flat and barely filled up one (9x2 round springfoam) pan to an inch. The instructions specify that the bater should file 2/3rds of two pans. Can you help me figure out why my bater fell so terribly flat? Was it the folding? Was I supposed to make two separate portions of it to fill both pans?
Also, the instructions ask for 8 large eggs that should measure upto 1 (1/2) cups. I found that 7 lg eggs measured upto 1 (1/2) cups and so I didn't add in the 8th. Should I have added in the 8th egg? Needless to say, my cake turn out to be a 1 inch cookie :( :(

Thanks so much for taking the time to help me. I am now challenging myself to get this recipe done right. Any tips would be great!

--Sona

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one of the new videos has piping, but only for stars, rosettes, and ladyfingers.

for my 4-Layer Moist Chocolate Genoise, i did not pipe a core.

also, i always use mousseline, it is very smooth to work with, i believe 'practice buttercreams' are a bit grainy, specially the confectioner's sugar variety.

good luck, and again, the best teaching for piping roses is practice.

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Thanks for the tips, Hector. I made some practice buttercream today, so I'm ready to start my rose apprenticeship. I'm glad you mentioned that you didn't use a core. I couldn't tell from the photo if there were cores or not.

I have tried to check out all of Rose's videos. Is there one for piping?

Thank you.

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Kathleen, so glad you will pipe roses, yes, i learned from wilton, however the best technique is called practice, all my students took this advice and now are rose piping masters! i always pipe on a nail, then transfer with the tip of scissors to the cake.

for other of my 'rose' cakes where you see the roses independently separated (gaps between roses, or on individual cupcakes), i place a little piece of parchment on the nail, then pipe the rose on the parchment, then take the rose still on the parchment and refrigerate or freeze. when hardened, you peel off the parchment as transferring the rose to the cake. when i make parchment rounds, all the corners are cut into these little rose parchments.

you can also use a hardening point in between, do refrigerate/harden the roses, then allow it to sit at room temp for a few minutes till the outside petals soften, then apply them on the cake, works specially well when you want well defined roses, but with petals touching each other.

happy baking. hope to see some of your piped roses. note that on my roses that look more like camellias (not so tall like a bud), i don't use a plain tip to pipe the center core, there isn't a core.

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Hector,

This cake (at the top of this page)has inspired me to learn how to pipe roses. The instructions in TCB and Wilton's instructions on line call for piping the roses on a nail. Is this how you did your roses, or were they piped directly onto the cake? Thank you.

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PS - I can't wait to get the DVD. Thanks so much Hector!

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Oh my - what a delicious package of goodies!

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http://www.myyellowkitchen.com/roselevy/chocolatesPalmiraLesperlesMilagrosGreenblackcocoa.html

i call this a $500 xmas in july. wonderful gift from chocosphere in oregon. just did a chocolate tasting with valrhona palmira 2008 64% vs dagoba milagros peru 68%

valrhona palmira is THE BEST fully flavored dark chocolate i've ever tasted. i could affirm this chocolate is best enjoyed by itself or with a fine wine or as a snack after a nice dinner or love making. to bake with it? i would be very careful as to not mask it, perhaps qualifies only for the oblivion torte? valrhona palmira is made with porcelana cacao pods. amedei chocolate brand also makes this chocolate and will try it next when the budget allows a 5 fold increase!

dagoba milagros is AWESOME. organic and fair trade certified, comes from cacao grown in my beloved Peru. it is a sweeter than usual dark chocolate, and still 68%, melts in your mouth. this would be the ideal chocolate for a dark chocolate lover who has a sweet tooth.

btw, as i've just announced, i have Rose's new bread DVD taped at General Mills. to get your copy, please write your name and address on a piece or paper or mailing label, and send it with a check for $10 to Hector Wong, 2888 ALA ILIMA ST, STE 2611, HONOLULU, HI 96818 or you can paypal to myyellowkitchen@gmail.com be sure to note bread DVD.

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Speaking of reusing "mistakes" or leftovers, I have several too-short genoise in my freezer. Several of my family members, including my hubby, wouldn't know a genoise from a brownie--so even though I can't use these cakes as "cakes" (one piece missing so I could analyze the situation isn't going to make for a nice celebration cake), I cut them into individual sized portions and glaze with leftover ganache (is there such a thing?) and refreeze as treats for us! Perhaps not a perfect dessert, but most of my family has no complaints!

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BrowniesFromScrap.html

here my photos of what i name Scrap Brownies, and it doesn't get any more scratch baking (scrap baking?) than this!

really, all bakers should have a container in the freezer where you gather your cake crumbs, cake level offs, old cake, collapsed cakes, test cakes, nuts, nuts and bolts, etc. toast it a little if too moist, add some chocolate chips, nuts, eggs, cake flour, coarse sugar, until it has a soft cookie dough consistency. add butter if needed, chocolate ganache, too.

then bake it on silicone financier pans, high heat 450oF for short time (15 min or so).

and you have the most wonderful treats. underbake for a chewer soft center, overbake for a extra crisp crust. i love to eat my Scrap Brownies warm, but do freeze for a few minutes just to harden the outside and get perfect unmolding but keeping the inside warm.

isn't the above recipe so odd? so inaccurate? well.... electronic gram scale bakers like me deserve some freedom every now and then. and what a perfect way to reuse, redo, recycle.

i am singing, was really great. the financier molds are perfect to hold any cake structure you may come up with. the side supports are so narrow that any cake or dough batter would bake and rise and develop great structure. i am afraid if you bake this on a regular cake pan, you may end up with a cookie crust or a flat dense cake instead.

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can't say no more, but next time, please leave the ganache in the big pot all together and let time do its magic, you will get an even better ganache than when cooled in smaller batches =)

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What delicious photos Hector! I should have warned you... when I made the ganache for the 3-tiered wedding cake, I ran into the same issue. It took much longer for the ganache to set up, but it eventually did. I sped things along by pouring the warm ganache into several smaller containers, and even onto a few sheet trays.

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when making my 3000 gr batch of dark chocolate ganache with the fantastic hawaiian chocolate, i puzzled why wasn't the ganache settling to frosting consistency as it cooled. for a moment i kept waking up every hour that night to see 'when will the ganache set!'

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/Chocolate-OriginalHawaiianChocolateFactoryb.html

but here it is, 22 hours later: SETTLED! the large 3000 gr batch took a long time to even reach room temperature, and from here, additional 18 hours went to set to frosting consistency. the result: NEVER had i ever before achieved such smooth texture and taste... and ohhh perfect icing consistency. my weather is 80oF and that night and following morning were particularly warm. the final test was to bring 2 little paper cups of 'liquid' ganache to my 72oF office and turn them on its side to see if it would drip or not. also, i could not resist to arm myself with my yellow ice cream spoon and make some ganache scoops. enjoy, good ganache takes time!

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What generous friends you have Hector!!!! I freeze my unused vanilla beans. They seem to last forever.

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Hi jeannette, vanilla beans are non perishable. Keeping them airtight in a canning jar in a dark and cool place will do. Because I need to use spent beans for this cake, I am scrapping all the seeds off and storing the seeds in a little bottle filled with vodka. The spent beans after the cake will be blanched in boiling water and stored in a larger glass mason jar with vodka, too. Both bottles will turn into the purest vanilla essence there can be, one with vanilla seeds which should work funtastic for creme anglaise or all recipes calling for vanilla seeds. It really is the year of vanilla for me.......... On top of all these vanilla beans, my friend Emily gave me a trio collection of nielsen-massey!

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What are you going to do with all those beans, Hector? And how will you keep them from drying out? I will be interested to read your answer!!

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Julie, I tell you this, the smell was of REAL chocolate and not of a confection. Was earthy and a bit musk touch of fermentation. I made a 4 kilo batch of ganache which took near 24 hours to set at warm room temperature thus indeed resulted in excellent smooth tasting melt in the mouth ganache.

I am going to spoil a surprise now: Hawaiian Vanilla Company just sent me 180 beans. I asked for spent split beans that will be part of a vanilla bean cake to promote the vanilla industry, and instead I receive full new beans. I am loosing some sleep on needing to hire a police officer to guard this cake during transportation and display.

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reeni, bob and pam cooper just emailed me and they would love to hear from you! i introduced your name.

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Aloha Reeni, I had a good feeling was you, what an honor.

and so sad to hear no Roys in NY.

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How interesting, Hector! Love the photos of your chocolate- it looks satiny and attractive. Wish I could smell it!

Hawaii would be a wonderful place to take a foodie vacation... Looking forward to seeing your macadamia cake!

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this last post was me... don't know why it came up as anonymous..

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long ago I was pastry sous chef of the New York Roy's (now closed) and tried sooo hard to get Hawaiian chocolate; I think that producer went out of business?
So glad that someone else has forayed into the market that is somewhat controlled by big Ivory Coast (with attendant human rights issues) and South American growers. It is a dream of mine to have a cacao plantation in my homeland, the Philippines, and produce world-class chocolate.
Hope the Coopers' chocolate will soon be successful nationwide!

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have the dark forces of chocolate taken you for the darker the better? of is it flavor that you wish for? do you know that "all" cacao is grown outside of the usa, except for a small production in hawaii? it is my honor and pleasure to mention that Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory (www.ohcf.us) is perhaps the only chocolate maker using cacao grown in the USA, right here in Hawaii. i've just got 5 lbs and honestly, impartially, now i have no reason to travel across the pacific and atlantic oceans to source chocolate made in europe with far flown grown cacao.

please give Pam and Bob Cooper a call for their lovely artisanal chocolate, made right at their home in Kona with single origin cru cacao grown in Hawaii. i will be interested to know what you think about 'our' chocolate vs all 'foreign' chocolate.

they ship nationwide, and their gift packs are lovely. for baking, i highly recommend their 1 lb bars, both milk and dark chocolate version. also, their upcoming criollo cru is literally out of this world, a light colored dark chocolate that seems to be milk chocolate but it is full of complex dark chocolate flavor and behavior. please don't be scared with the $40/lb price tag (or much more for criollo cru if available)... these are worth every penny.

the coopers flavor their chocolate with just a hint of vanilla, so when you bite into this... you really taste the cacao as fresh from the tree chocolate can be. it is plus-perfect for baking, ganaches, and everything desserts. also, they use no preservatives or enhancers, thus their chocolate bars aren't as shiny as expected, but don't be deceived by looks... the full flavor, uninterrupted, outshines shine.

i have never tasted anything like this, your taste doesn't travel from nutty to fruity, nor sweet to spicy, so characteristic of popular chocolates of modernity. instead you go straight to the taste of chocolate.

here is me =) last sunday at the whole foods seal of quality hawaii event, with proud hawaiian chocolate proud parents pam and bob cooper. be sure to click on the picture for more photos, including a fabulous ganache to be discussed later this year, a part of the ultimate chocolate wedding cake experience.

this is hawaiian gold. next week i will be posting about hawaiian 'liquid' gold (pure mac nut oil).

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YES, and here is the progress. My new oven is as small as one half sheet flush on the very top brackets fitted without an oven rack! I managed to get perfect browning by preheating tiles for 1 hour. Here pictures as I made the Chocolate Cloud Roll.

Small apartment also means unusual use of space and resources. Enjoy my high.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/MyChocolatePineCone.html

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Hector, could it be something like the chocolate pine cone? All I can say is wow! When I saw the caramel sticks I was reminded of your bridge cake, so now my imagination is running away with pictures of a pine cone atop a caramel bridge...

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Come on, Hector put us out of our misery!

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at this point of my career, all I can say is that I can be scared of myself. i know I promised to take a break, but could not turn down my uncle charlie who turns 60 on sunday. time to open your Cake Bible and guess what cake I am making from these pictures:

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/_guess.html

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Rozanne, u r welcome. Another one here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4430921586905453932

nope, can't get the rights for baking magic, neither for johnson wales series.

however, the 1988 video producer is long gone, thus i can share that video.

heavenly cakes will have free video!

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Hector, thanks for posting this. I loved watching it. Have you had any luck getting Rose's Baking Magic series?

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I will, but maybe under another thread, as this blog post has over 400 comments already!

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What a delightful clip! I hope you will post a few more Hector!

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Very good question, a spider allows the batter to go thru which creates more loss of air. I've tried it. The holes on the skimmer are just to create more friction on the surface of the "spatula," so folding is faster than without this friction holes.

I bought the video in Amazon.com. Was expensive!

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A - how in the world did you find this, and B - I wonder if a brass "spider" would work in it's place?

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to everyone who asked about Rose's less angled slot skimmer to fold, here it is as good as it gets!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2136428742172128025&hl=en

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Natalie, I had a feeling you were baking away in such intensity!

I would be curious to know does it compare baking cupcakes vs a 9" cake? I know cupcakes are easier to serve, but my suspicion is that cupcakes can't taste/feel as good as a slice of whole cake?

Kathy baked the Domingo in my 9" pan and texture was wonderfully perfect. Every time I eat cupcakes I can taste or smell the flavor of the cupcake cup! I am going to find you a set of silicone cupcake cups, reusable, no taste, easy to unmold; but a little hard to wash if you don't have a dishwasher (what I do is wash them with my laundry!)

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Hello Rose and Barbara, THANK YOU for your SWEET comments about the brownie photo.

Barbara, here's what I tried:
#1 Midnight Chocolate Cake - June Honda
#2 Chocolate Cupcakes - Williams Sonoma
#3 Dark Chocolate Cupcakes - America's Test Kitchen
#4 Chocolate Domingo Cake - Rose Levy Beranbaum
#5 Brownie Cupcakes (photo) - Joyofbaking.com
All were slighty different and yummy according to my kind coworkers/taste testers. I don't have one favorite but have enjoyed the experience which I credit to my friends Hector, Janette, and Kathy. Their zeal for food and baking have been inspirational.

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Happy belated b'day Hector!

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Oooh! I want one!

If Natalie has some comments or recommendations after trying all those recipes, I'd love to hear them.

Happy Birthday, Hector! And many happy returns -- with cake, preferably made by someone else!

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they are so gorgeous she should have post cards made! happy birthday hector!

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My dearest friend Natalie, neighbor, graphic designer, and right hand cake assembler made these for me.

Natalie has been working diligently on chocolate cupcakes for the past 15 days. She has been baking everything from America's Test Kitchen chocolate cupcake recipe to Rose's Chocolate Domingo. Lucky her office workers for the samplings.

You won't believe how good it feels on your birthday, when you see good cake, and made by other than yourself!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/NatalieBrownie.html

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Reeni, I didn't watch the episode but from your description it sounds delicious. I tried to go onto your site in the hopes of finding a picture but I encountered the same problem Hector did.
I love to see a pictures.

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Reeni, good to hear from you! I made a point with everyone that was stuck on TV with me last night, that I bet Reeni won the taste award! I found very interesting that the other competitors had an array of tastes, if not all choices in the cake world, some towards traditional vanilla butter cakes, some towards contrast layers, and some towards wanna be pastry taste excellence.

I wish Food Network makes episodes for cake taste and pastry excellency. Most people today think that cake needs to be sugar sculptures!

Thanks for the Chiffon recipe, I am going to try it, as 'sponge' cakes is my specialty. Do you use baking powder? Rose's recipe for her Mexican Killer Kahlua Chiffon on Rose's Melting Pot, does not use baking powder, and to my amaze it rises beautifully. Chiffon was my Mom's best known cake for layer cakes, and my sister still uses it as her only cake to date.

You can send me a cake, as it is a permitted item as long as it doesn't include any raw/fresh whole fruits or meat! I would send frozen and add dry ice on it so it arrives frozen. US Mail Priority Mail is the most cost effective way, and it takes 3 days. I am hand carrying (with dry ice, 2 lb is permitted on board) 2 layer cakes to Palm Springs. I know cakes are strong but it swirls my heart to think of mistreatment.

Your gumpaste work is nice. Your website is down? It asks me for a login id and password to access it.

Regards.

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reeni do send photos!

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sorry, I forgot on the outside...
Chocolate plastic ribbons: milk chocolate and lavender-tinted white chocolate plastic run through a pasta machine.
Gumpaste: anemones in deep purple, pink rosebuds, white calla lilies.
Free-form hearts and scrolls in tempered milk chocolate, piped and chilled to set before applying.
This was all in November 2005, a little more than 2 years ago, but I still remember every detail because every so often it will replay and someone will ask me about it again!

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Thank you Hector. Not to disparage anyone else in the competition, but it was enough for me as a pastry chef to hear that my cake "was the star of the the tasting part" on national TV.
If I could be assured that it would travel to Hawaii, I would bake you a cake like this. As it was, they called me months after the contest because they wanted another cake to use for the interior shots and I had to send a 6" via next-day air. One of my students who works for Carymax said that it was also a favorite of the Food Network/filming crew!
Instead, a breakdown:
Orange chiffon cake, made very similar to TCB but with orange oil and equal number of whites and yolks, baked in a regular round cake pan (for the size in TCB, possibly a 10x3).
Grand marnier syrup -- equal parts simple syrup and Grand Marnier in a spray bottle
Wild blueberry compote -- blueberries (I used half fresh cultivated organic from the Greenmarket and half frozen wild), sugar, pectin, and freshly ground nutmeg.
Mascarpone cream -- mascarpone cheese, butter, orange blossom honey, a bit of creme fraiche
White chocolate ganache buerre -- 3 parts white chocolate to 2 parts cream, then 1 part butter whipped in.
Enjoy! even if it does not come out the same, it will be delicious.

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Reeni, I am watching Food Network's wedding cake competition. Your cake is my favorite, and I wish I could taste a slice of it. The orange chiffon grand marnier, white choc ganache, etc, really kept the judges taste buds happy!

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elegant and delish! your photos are crystal clear as well. a real pleasure to behold.

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Some weekend pics.

Moist Chocolate Genoise 'cupcake' topped with chocolate kahlua mousseline buttercream. 25% whole wheat Basic Sourdough Bread, stilton and piave cheese dome. Golden Luxury Butter Cake dripped with grand marnier Creme Anglaise, Neve Nero scraps.

Enjoy!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/WashingtonDC-and-AMERICAN-in-PARIS_2.html

star dish, orange ramekin, and cheese dome from Crate and Barrel.

the only thing baked at the moment was the bread, the rest came frozen from -10 degrees.

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Everyone, here I am posting this link here again to share with you how wonderful Washington D.C. was to me!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/WashingtonDC-and-AMERICAN-in-PARIS.html

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Oh I'll love to see how you turn the bear into Dora! I made the same 3D bear with Golden Luxe and it was divine! Yes - welcome to the world of genoise - I especially love genoise made with part yolks or all yolks, and Rose's Golden Genoise is just lovely! Like a very light and eggy butter cake! Can't wait for your final pics!

I just made choc fudge cupcakes frosted with the glorious Sour Cream Ganache - simply lovely and what a wonderful texture to pipe!

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Hector:
Good for you. I have discovered the joys of Genoise about a year ago. I love them!. The golden genoise is exceptionally amazing. I have paired it with a Mouselline butter cream that was flavored with Amaretto and Coffee. YUM!

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I am intrigued Hector!

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I am in love again. With Golden Genoise that is! I find it very easy to whip and fool proof. Keep the eggs warm while beating, a water bath mixer attachment helps. When the volume has tripled, add the water (warm), and whip until the volume has almost quadrupled. Fold in the flour/starch and warm clarified butter without fear, it will deflate to 2/3, don't fear.

In a well preheated 350oF oven, the batter rises magically to double height! It is pure magic without chemical baking powder. I attribute this to the well whipped eggs, were warmth has almost cooked the eggs into air micro bubbles, these bubbles expand with heat in the oven, thus the rise. Allow plenty space in the oven, the heat should be quick and constant 350oF during the first half time so the cake can set w/o collapse.

The taste is pure butter and eggs, a refined version of yellow cake, superb smooth texture perfectly emulsified; golden. It is 'the cake' made of just a handful of very simple and natural ingredients.

Try it. These pictures will turn into a baby version of Dora The Explorer due next weekend. Will blog it.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/DoraTheExplorer.html

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Let me think, the flan is all about bubbles, meaning you want to prevent them. I used to mix the flan by hand for only a few minutes, then strain it without squeezing (pieces of whites and yolks would never mix in). But soon after I became the KitchenAid king in my group, I've decided to give it a try. The flat beater incorporates the less air (to none), and it must beat at speed 1 or stir to even more lower the chances of air incorporation. Why so long? I would just observe until there would be less egg unmixed. Initially, 15 minutes was reasonable, but one day I've got side tracked with other projects that I let the mixer go for over 1 hour. The speed is so low that the mixer is too quiet to hear unless you stand in your kitchen. And that time, I noticed an incredible improvement in texture. After beating for so long, I also noticed that the unmixed eggs would stick to the flat beater, so no straining needed. Straining incorporates air, too!

Now, if you want a lighter texture (I am using 100% evaporated milk), you could replace anything between 1/2 to 1/4 of it with fat free milk. It works. You can also try a white flan with just whites (equal weight as whole eggs), for the white flan, I would leave the 100% evaporated milk, as if fat free milk may thin it out just too much.

I stress the importance of making a good caramel. Don't burn it, the taste changes it completely. Honestly, many many times I burn mines, specially when I am not committing 100% of my attention to it (which is normally the case). I just throw it away and start clean with a new pot.

Very important too, to start with an non-preheated oven and water bath and bake at such low temperature, and later let the flan sit in the oven until completely cool. I've noticed that this gradual heating/cooling process would set the custard very nice and evenly. Again, I don't like flans with crust or with uneven textures as you dig into it (many flans I see, when sliced, have a nice top, and a bubbled out rough bottom). I criticize flan, that needs to be almost like a picture perfect prop, almost like making a fake flan just to make a nice photograph: if that is the case, I would make a caramel shell, then fill it with buttercream or bavarian cream, let it set and unmold, and photograph it, that is how the flan should look in pictures.

My homemade vanilla uses 1 vanilla bean cut in 1/2" pieces (I don't split them) and soaked in 1 cup of pisco for 1 month minimum. Pisco is grape vodka and it helps to cut off the "egg" taste of custard. Vodka works well, too. Or you could just keep adding used vanilla beans (split, seeds scraped out) to your natural vanilla essence, store bought. Regardless which one you use, it will give the same texture, so don't worry too much on this ingredient. The different flavors of different vanillas is unnoticed in flan, it is just a such dense, sweet, and fat dessert that the vanilla differences are overpowered; the caramel flavor is first (thus the name). Important though, to use the alcohol in the vanilla, as I do believe this alcohol helps with texture.

This is my original recipe, that I developed after many years of making flan, perhaps over 100 flans. I started from different recipes I gathered from my family. Once, I hosted a flan contest with my family, there were 7 or 8 entries, I became second place! My recipe is based on the recipe of my relative who won first place, her flan is excellent. She has it down to a science including the 50 year old flan tube pan which is almost falling apart, and she refuses to use any other pan. The pan affects the heating and cooking, so it is perhaps the main factor on texture. When she comes over with flan, I put mine's away.

I've been asked to make flan demonstrations at other people's houses. It comes out acceptable, but because of the oven, mixer, and pan differences, the textures are compromised! I am certain if you try my recipe in your kitchen, you will still NOT achieve my same flan =( But I am sharing as much thought and explanation, so hopefully you could adjust your setup and get a good one!

I do have a picture of the flan contest!

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Yep, looks like creme caramel to me! Amazing that it is beaten so long - how did you come to that, Hector?

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Hector, how do you make your home-made vanilla? I have seen recipes that call for vodka and vanilla beans but what are the propotions? I'm dying to try out your flan recipe. Sounds interesting beating it for so long. Is it an original "Hector recipe"?

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Thank you Nushera, sure use the pic as wallpaper. I am so happy about the rose wreath too, like I said I spent countless hours on the design desk to come up with this arrangement. I measured the size of my cookie cutters and the size of the piped roses, and I asked the children to cut exactly how many little cakes of what size and color! Was fun to see them practice how to count.

No, I did not freeze my jelly roll sheets. They were just refrigerated airtight for 2 or 3 days.

Yes, I think creme caramel = to flan. I haven't tried the pressure cooker method.

Mines is smooth from top to bottom, no bubbles, no burned crust. The caramel doesn't really infuse into the custard, it mostly sits on top and drips down as you cut. Also, I make it rather tall, once I tried to use a shallower pan and the caramel would just infuse into the custard, which I don't like. Most ones I've seen locally at hotels and restaurants are made about 1 or 2 inches tall, mines is about 4 =)

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Oh Hector- another brilliant n beautiful job from the Yellow Kitchen, bravo!
did u freeze the jelly roll sheets?

thanks for yr flan recipe, are flan and creme caramel same? yr egg-evaporated milk ratio is almost equal to that of my creme caramel recipe(i use 6 eggs + 2 cans of eva milk) but i do not beat that long. yet i get a satiny smooth finish coz i steam it in an old-fashioned pressure cooker(high heat till the first whistle, then 8 minutes on low, better not to open the cooker until cooled). Another point, if the pan's bottom is brushed with melted butter and chilled before pouring caramel, the finished top is more likely to be creamy n satiny, even if the caramel is a bit on the burnt side.

would u pls permit me to use yr beautiful rose wreath pic as wallpaper in my computer?

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Silvia, re: finding time. The buttercreams were made during my June/July baking nights to make the big cake; vacuum packed and frozen. About 2 weeks ago, I took 2 flavors each evening, microwave thaw, and piped them into roses. The jelly roll sheet genoise were baked early last week. The kids at my party made all the cut circles, placing, and topping.

King Kong, I don't know exactly what is made of. I know it is popular in Peru. Try google it =)

Flan recipe: heat on high 1 cup of sugar in a heavy sauce pan. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. When the sugar starts dissolving, you will notice a few darker caramel spots, stir them around. You must be in front of your stove, eventually all will melt and get a light gold color. When the gold turns into light brown, pour immediately on your flan tube pan. Under no circumstances let the caramel achieve a dark brown color, it will continue to darken as it cools, and it would taste burn. I usually throw away so many batches!

Mix at speed 1 or with the paddle attachment: 9 whole eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 4 cans of evaporated milk, for 45 minutes. Yes this long. Remove the paddle attachment carefully, it will have some egg clinging to it, discard. Stir 1 tablespoon of homemade vanilla essence. Pour on your flan pan (by now, the pan should have cooled down and cracking caramel glass broken noises should have been heard).

Place on a water batch, room temperature water, in a NON-preheated oven at 300oF for 60 minutes. Turn off your oven, do not open the oven door. Let the oven and flan cool completely before removing from the oven, usually overnight or 4 to 6 hours during the day.

Chill in the refrigerator, well wrapped for at least 24 hours, up to 1 week. Shorter time will not allow enough caramel from the pan to release.

Slide a non-serrated thin knife thru the outer and inner borders of the pan. Unmold upside down and leave the pan for about 15 minutes until the most caramel have detached. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Flan tastes better when it is at room temperature. Be sure to scoop a few spoons of dissolved caramel onto each serving plate.

It is important "your" 300oF does not boil the flan mix or water batch at any point, otherwise you will form bubbles in the custard as it sets. After 60 minutes the flan will still be fairly liquid, it will finish setting with the residual heat.

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Bravo - another breathtaking display by Hector "the rose man" Wong!

I Can't wait to hear about the flan too!

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Oh Hector, I love the way you put together the 'cupcakes'! Piped roses do take your breath away! I agree that golden genoise is buttery yet lighter than butter cakes! That's a wonderful twist to cupcakes!

Do fill us in on the details of the flan.

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I am always in awe when I see your presentation. The cupcake / flan wreath is really beautiful.

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Hector,
The rose wreath is very beautiful!

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Hector, since I started baking brad, I have always burnt hands and forearms.
I am re- reading the NKB threads, there is so much information, it´s difficult to remember it.

¿what is King Kong? Alfajores are delicious!!!!!!!!! And FLAN, I LOVE flan!!!!!

Everything looks beautiful and delicious, as always, hector, I wonder how do you manage to find time for so much baking.

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/RoseCupcakeRingGenoise.html

Hope you enjoy this one. My friends have heard many things from me
about Rose, The Cake Bible, and the blog, so I made this tribute to
Rose with roses at my Labor Day grilling party.

I am becoming so fool of myself and so over my head, that I DO LOVE how these "cupcakes" were put together (yes, I spent days drafting this on my design board).

I baked 2 jelly roll sheets of Golden Genoise and of Moist Chocolate
Genoise. Had several mousseline buttercream roses frozen. My
friends' children were put into work by making little cake cutouts
with cookie cutters, placing them on the ring, and topping them with
roses! Kids were thrilled with these cupcakes, and I think their
vision of cupcakes has now changed forever after tonight! They loved
the design, and loved firsthand the leftover cutouts! It was a hysterical first hour of the party filled with joy (and lots of noise) coming from happy children, I am realizing that I do enjoy having children in the kitchen!

By most these are the mousseline buttercreams used on the big Hawaii
Way cake. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, pineapple caramel, red
cherry, raspberry, mango, and kumquat lemon curd. I found the perfect balance of moistness and fat between such thin layer of cake and thick amount of buttercream. This by using a rather drier butter based cake (a golden genoise instead of a traditional butter yellow cake), and for chocolate the moist chocolate genoise w/o the syrup. Also, by choosing mousseline buttercream which is one of the lightest and less-sweet buttercreams of all, plus a few lightened with fruit curds or conserve. I've asked my guests if they thought the chocolate genoise was too dry, they could not say so after biting together with the buttercream rose. I had near 50 guests!

This is real baking . . . with roses!

NOTE: below you can see under glass domes 2 confections imported from Peru: king kong and alfajores. Then, fruits from Hilo: strawberry papaya and white pineapple, sitting on a 'refrigerated' marble pastry tile (big cake pan filled with water and frozen). Last but best is the flan, it is a recipe that took me 3 years to develop and indeed it is simple.

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Hola Silvia,

whenever I bake free-form bread that I want to slice for sandwich or paninis (not facaccia or other flat ones), I ALWAYS use a dutch oven with a lid (closed as you mention). The sides of the dutch oven help to rise the bread.

You won't need to use ice cubes! place the lid on for the first 5 minutes, that will keep all the steam the bread needs =) I am sure you know this, you do need to preheat your dutch oven and lid.

Now, be careful when handling the hot dutch oven, use long oven mitts otherwise can get on your arms burned tattoos! I have a mark from the coiled spring of one of my dutch oven handles!

You can continue this discussion on this thread, a little more on the topic and already more information posted, plus pictures =)

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2007/05/baby_no_knead_bread_encore.html

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Rose and Hector, is it possible to bake any free-form bread in a closed dutch oven? I was tempted to try it with the hearth bread, but finally decided not to.
I used the skillet, because my oven looses so much temperature when opened to put the bread inside, I thought at least the skillet would be very hot for the dough to start baking...
Yes, hector, I also put the bread on the rack , w/o skillet, for the last 15 minutes or so.

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Silvia, ud es tan linda! This triple chocolate cake was ordered by my dear friend Emily, I took $$$ but was somehow unhappy that I could not have a slice!

The cast iron skillet, preheated (takes about 1 hour to preheat all the way) is a great surface to drop your bread on for excellent oven spring! If you want to prevent an over browned bottom (burned), take cast iron skillet away after your bread has crusted; ideally placing the cast iron skillet on a rack under your bread, bread would be sitting directly on a rack above or on an 'any-kind' baking sheet

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Hector, I have been lazy with cakes, but busy with bread, but after seeing the photo of your triple chocolate cake, I know I *have* to try it.
Outside it's raining heavily and it's cold and damp; your cake is exactly what one would love to have for coffee break, with a cup of steaming coffee!
I'm drooling over my keyboard...

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Rose, last week I baked your Basic hearth Bread twice, and it was great!!!
I couldn't believe I had baked such a beautiful tasty bread by myself!!!
As I don´t have a baking stone and my oven sheets are too thin, I used my larger, preheated, cast iron skillet to bake the bread. Even if the oven's temperature dropped as much as 50 degreesF when I opened it to put the bread and pour the ice, the "boule" rose beautifully. There are some little details i still have to work out, but I am pleased aboutNo Knead bread and the sandwich loaf. Can´t wait to try a new recipe!!!

I know this isn´t the place to post this, but I don´t know where to find the index of topics....

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Lovely cake, Hector!

Yep - one 9" makes 2 6" - great for Rose's cheesecake recipe too! I usually make 2 6" cheesecakes with 1 recipe - one for myself, and the 2nd is a great size for a nice present to a friend!

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Great info as always! Thanks, Hector, Joan

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/TripleChocolateCake6inch.html

I've just made this 6" Triple Chocolate Cake. Everything was going perfect until I turned my hairdryer on high and a few praline sheets flew off! I had to cover the accident with "pretty" hazelnuts and a piped base border made of microscopic ganache beads!

Pointers for Success:

#1 When you roll chocolate praline sheets, use parchment folded in half. Spread against the folded edge, this straight edge would be your cake bottom. It fits perfect.

#2 For all of you syrup lovers, I have found a better solution than the 70 ml syringe. Use a bottle squeeze! The tip needs to be a 2 mm opening (a little larger than 1/16 inch). Don't squeeze, just let the syrup drop. You can aim pretty accurately even thru the edges of the cake. Pure magic!

#3 One nine-inch round equals to two six-inch rounds. So if you have a recipe calling for two nine-inch layers, you could half the recipe and bake two six-inch layers and enjoy a baby cake. The height remains the same, so it will be towering!

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I agree with Rozanne, Rose you're definitely our cake angel!

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I eyed at the parrish/magic line a long serrated knife, was about 14" long I think, at my local kitchen store. It was priced very low, I must go and steal it before the price goes up!

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one in the immediate family is enough! reminds me of a former assistant who told me if she ever needed brain surgery she wanted me to do it (i wasn't sure at the time if she wasn't implying that i was too much of a nit-picker)!
thanks rozanne

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Rose, you are so dedicated and committed to baking and helping those who are interested in it. You should have been a doctor. Imagine how lucky your patients would have been, but then the baking world wouldn't have had a great teacher like you. Have a good vacation!
Rozanne

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lovely--how i love this blog and you all on it!

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Joan - you are positively eloquent!

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Oh Rose - You are just so marvelous. I'm sure that people in the 'outside world' would have just reacted with - "so, just buy another knife ---" It's wonderful how the 'TCB people' are so kind to each other, not impatient, wanting to help, never condescending, nothing too minute to be overlooked. It really restores one's faith in humanity! I always love it as our blog conversations go on and on, and then suddenly a twinkle and there appears a litle pink box containing a special remark, or bit of encouragement - from an Angel looking over our shouler! Happy vacation, and thank you so much! joan

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joan, i feel so sorry for you i'm emerging for a half second from vacation to tell you that parrish/magic line carries the perfect knife with a 14-inch deeply serrated blade. next time you take such a precious object out of the house make a note on your suitcase or whatever that you can't miss when getting ready to return!

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Joan, I'm so sorry you left your slicer behind. I have been using a cake saw for years, so I can't offer any advice, sorry.

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Jen, I use mousseline buttercream, the petals remain standing up as I pipe them, never dropping. Hope this helps. Mousseline buttercream is very sturdy!

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
08/28/2007 04:00 PM

hector,
how do you get your roses to stand up so nicely? when i pipe roses with buttercream they are always sorta flat.
any tips?

jen

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Hi - I took my 14-inch wavy slicer with round tipp with me on vacation, and happily used it for layer cakes. Need I say more - I left it 'by the sea shore' where I was a guest in a rented house, and cannot retrieve it.
Albert Uster, Rose's source, is out of it, and I wonder what brand others like and are using? As always, thanks for your input. Joan

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Oh Hector... I can just see the look on your face when that person placed the cooler right side up. Huge flourescent sign next time!

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Oh Hector, everytime I have to place a box of cake into a bag sideways, I always feel like something bad like what you've experienced will happen! I keep asking everyone not to carry the bag and can only heave a sigh of relief once it has been displayed! The things we go through for our cakes!

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Thank you. I also use The Bread Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose's Celebrations, Rose's Melting Pot, and A Passion for Chocolate!

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Great idea Hector. I think the reason people are so impressed with your baking is because your presentation is phenomenal. Also not a lot of people bake these days, either they don't know how to or they don't have the time to. So what may seem effortless to you seems like a monumental task to a non-baker. Besides you use the Cake Bible and that alone is the biggest "wow" factor.
Rozanne

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Oh no, Lucky doesn't eat anything I bake, perhaps just a few raw fruit slices or veggies. Cooked or processed 'human' foods are bad for dog teeth and other ailments.

For the apricot and mango curd, I replaced the lemon juice with apricot or mango juice extract from my juice extractor. This juice was much more denser than lemon juice of course. The texture was 'fairly' similar with lemon curd, in fact locally people make and sell curds of just about any fruit!

I can't explain why people make so many Wows when they saw these 'cupcakes.' I spent about 1 hour answering questions on how I created them! Even the brown crusts on the top, bottom, and also the uneven brown sides was something to get exited about!

I have to share with you that I am so glad I took a photo before taking these to the party (a neighbors house nearby). I packed the cupcakes in an insulated bag / collapsible cooler. The bag was on its side. I placed the bag on the floor and someone decided to stand the bag up! Cupcakes went rolling and my heart was taken out of my chest! Things were still pretty cold/refrigerated that damage was fairly minimal, the buttercream roses are pretty tough when cold! I've heard many horror stories like this, and I think we bakers should take the responsibility. Next time, I will leave the cooler in my car, or put big signs saying DO NOT TOUCH.

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I love golden genoise - that must definitely taste divine! Love the cookie cutter idea - did Lucky eat the scraps?

BTW, Hector - how did you make curd from apricots and mangoes? What adjustment did you make to the sugar/egg proportions? Did the thicker juices/purees affect the texture of the curd?

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That must be one tall cookie cutter :) I love your presentation!

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Hi Patrincia, that was quick. I baked them on a 10" springform pan, then with a cookie cutter I shaped these 'cupcakes'

They are more delicious that what they look! I could not resist by eating the left over cutouts!

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Oh my goodness - way to cute! What pan did you use to make these in Hector?

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I am certain my "next cake" will be Golden Genoise! Here are some 'Misses Cupcakes'

2.5 inches tall. Cake Bible says that "you could split Golden Genoise in two layers and use filling, but it is far more delicious to dig into one interrupted thick layer"

Rosed (of course) with fresh apricot curd Mousseline Buttercream.

Enjoy http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/GoldenGenoiseCupcakes.html

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Well done, Jen! Wonderful work with the mousseline butter cream (who needs to make the guests "peel" the fondant and throw it into the bin or to the doggie when the host is not around?)

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Great job Jen. Very impressive.

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Jennifer, PERFECTION! well executed and what a match with the card design!

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Oh Jen, that's a really lovely and cheery kiddy cake! And really matched to the invitation!

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
08/13/2007 11:25 AM

thanks everyone! :-)

the birthday girl was pink from head to toe from the icing!

Cake specs: simple white butter cake with mousseline buttercream. Mom wanted strawberry flavoring, but didn't want seeds, so I used straight strawberry extract. I thought it left a bitter aftertaste, but no one else tasted it. *shrug* The layers are 10, 8, 6 with the 8 and 6 divided into thirds and the 10 in 2 layers. The crown and wand were ghirardhelli (sp?) white chocolate, but i wish I had used candy melts because the crown fell over after an hour or so!

Oh I found a great jig for cutting the smaller layers: placed on a chinete paper plate, the edge was the perfect height for resting my knife on. So the layers were perfectly straight and even! A happy accident.

jen

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Great job Jen - I love it! Was the party girl happy with it?

Give us the cake specs.

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beautifully done!

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Wow - you matched it, Jennifer! What a great looking cake! (Love those cheerful colors on a gloomy Monday...)

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
08/13/2007 10:16 AM

Hi Everyone!

Just proud of a cake I made this week. My sister always asks for something that looks like her invitiation. This was for my niece.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I used real white chocolate for the wand and crown and it was super soft! otherwise, i was happy with the result.
jen

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Cindy, indeed YES.

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Hector,In your last set of picture of chocolate cappucinno next to your processor bowl ,that was the slotted skimmer,wasn't it?

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Silvia, I am more HUMBLE PIE! Best wishes on your brother's belated b-day. I am making a few things this week. First TCB special carrot cake with special cream cheese frosting; I've just picked up the Tobler Narcisse good white chocolate. I am going to make a 2x recipe of the cake, perhaps the second will be special cupcakes. Second, making a few of PPB cream cheese flaky pie crusts for more mango Rose that is arriving from a friends yard, how can I resist. Bake your life away!

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Hector, last week was my brother´s birthday, and I forgot it, as I was deep in the baking bread business. I promised him I'd bake the expected cake for our next family gathering, so this week I'll print your advices and start putting them in practice. Looking at your cakes makes me enthusiastic. A joan says, you inspire us!

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I need to report to everyone, that the pictures of big cake day will appear under a new blog entry.

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Stupendous, Hector, as always. You are my inspiration! joan

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Apart from the low adrenaline days after big cake day, I am enjoying the aftermatch! I have recycled the paddle man into wonderful chocolate cappuccinos. Paddle man was made with dark chocolate and Illy coffee beans on an aluminum foil frame. There was so much good chocolate and coffee beans used that I could not just toss this after the party. So, I ran it thru my food processor and use my French press to make the extraction. The milk foam is done with the Aeroccino, of course (the same one Rose uses, search the blog for its review).

I hope you enjoy the picture of the chocolate cappuccino, it is served on a Bormioli glass, the plate is from Rose's creme brulee set, and the spoon is an Alessi heart demitasse.

Bonus picture of my camera's memory card, wrapped on parchment paper. That is how I carry these!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/PetroglyphLife.html

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I agree with you Rose! Here we have a whole cookbook on tofu dishes alone (though not as thick as TCB!). And I've come across recipes for Tofu Cheesecake, Tofu Chiffon Cake, Tofu icecream of course, Tofu pudding etc etc - you name it!

Anyway, that was a fun dream, Hector! Just goes to show how much your life evolve around Rose and TCB!!

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tofu is manna from heaven--it can transmutate into just about anything. when i was in japan years ago i had the best tofu ice cream! so tofu bible isn't a stretch!

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Hector, you´re torturing us with this suspense!

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Ok bloggers, this has nothing to do with the topic, but I like to share.

They say you need to write your dreams within minutes of waking up otherwise you forget. Here it is:

Last night for dinner, I went to eat chinese food with my friend Craig, at a very good place I always take everyone to. Craig has so many favorite dishes that we ended up ordering 5 dishes just for the 2 of us. The bill came a little pricey (around $50) to our disbelief and it was written all in Chinese which I can't read (except for the numbers and about 20 other characters). We asked the waitress if that was our bill, and she said "you ordered 5 dishes, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, so about $50 bucks is the right bill! I swore that I will never go to eat with Craig unless we order only 2 dishes!

So I was full by the time I went to bed, and that always means dreams! I dreamed that a reporter was doing a segment about some well known baker. Apparently shot on location at Rose's apartment in NY, and I could identify a few of her kitchen equipment, assorted items I must have seen posted on the blog (the microwave/convection, the Zo, racks, etc). One of the rooms was a beautiful long room full of benches and drawers with the equipment lineup. Next to it was a oval bedroom, not many details on this. Then towards the end of the program, there was "Rose" talking, but she wasn't Rose, a look alike, and I was telling my brothers watching the same program that "she isn't Rose." The program was an interview to "Rose" because she just wrote The Tofu Bible. My brothers told me, who else would write a bible about something 'so short' like tofu?

No pun intended, that was my dream!

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I can't wait to see the other pictures. On Saturday I was telling my husband about your huge cake project and he said "you sound like you know him personally, like he is your brother". It was funny because my brother's middle name is Hector, my dad's middle name is Hector too and so was my grandfather's.
Rozanne

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Oh Hector, I'm already salivating looking at your 'trailer' pics!

Wish I cld get away with steamed dishes all the way! I have a choosy hubby - stirfry or fried a must (at least one dish), and he only eats steamed fish and steamed minced pork!

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Silvia, THANK YOU, and wait until you see the photos of July 28th!

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hector, you gave me an image to dream of tonight!! A whole refrigerator full of scrumptious cake, that´s almost too much!

Elicia:precisely, baking has been a great comfort to me! Even the days I cán´t use my hands very well, reading baking books and looking at the drawings (the BB's are awesome!)gives me such a great pleasure. And of course, you continue researching, reading... it' s better than swallowing pills!

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Beautiful! Hector the cakes in the fridge do look so delicious. You are a true inspiration to me. Thank you!

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And here one post party picture. I have saved a tiny bit of each mousseline buttercream for future use, perhaps for a cupcake party! the buttercreams should sit fresh in the freezer for years thanks to tilia's foodsaver! http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/FrostingMemories.html

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much anticipation is boiling to see the big cake. patience please, my photographer is still working on the pictures, she took more than 200 and we need to agree on which ones to share! but here some pics I took myself, pre and post party day. Hope you enjoy them. I particularly love the refrigerator picture; when my friends saw it they were a bit worry that there will be no more dinner parties! http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/A%20Baker-s%20Dream.html

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Elicia, my Mom used to do the following for all her 3 dish chinese meals: #1 steamed salted fish, #2 steamed brocoli with oyster sauce (or any veggie available, including lettuce!). The #3 dish was steamed chicken/beef/or/pork, she always had a huge batch of this sitting in the fridge to supply half week of meals! Does this help?

And if you absolutelly don't have time, replace the veggie with some dry herb or mushrroms, and the meat with some dry pork!

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Oh Hector, at least you haven't lost your sense of humour! You have a way of making the simplest food look good with photography! Wish I could serve just noodles in soup when I'm busy baking - my hubby gets pretty upset when I don't do the full chinese dinner with at least 3 dishes!

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Hector - glad to hear it went well. I can't believe you ran out of cake! Looking forward to the pictures.

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It is Monday, and I decided to make a run to one of my favorite grocery stores: Costco Deli. You know my primary meal has been cake for the past 2 months, so today, everything looked so wonderful, the giant prawns, the fresh local fish, the fruits, the sack of onions, the mushrooms, the grape tomatoes, the fresh ginger, everything. I could not resist and picked a giant sack of big gold potatoes and a wonderful rotisserie chicken just fresh from the oven. The smell of food was so wonderful in my car, that I turned the bird into a drive thru meal: I was eating the chicken in the car while driving! All my recent cake frosting and piping (and individual coffee bean coating and placement) must have given my fingers certain accuracy that I was able to dig thru the bird without a mess while driving my car.

Arriving home, I put the bird away, and I fixed a quick supper. Here is my first meal since many moons ago: http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/First%20meal.html

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I don't have all the photos taken on cake day yet, but here is a teaser: A Baker's Dream (refrigerator full of cake), and Frosting Memories (storing dabs of buttercream used in the cake).

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/A%20Baker-s%20Dream.html

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/FrostingMemories.html

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Oh Silvia, so sorry to hear abt your hand. I hope you have since found enjoyment in other activities, eg baking?

Hector, I think you will have new projects coming your way very soon. Anyway, your mixers will need a little rest, right? Try some non-cake baking! I always make a small note of recipes I want to try next, and when I have nothing to bake, I go back and refer to that list!

Still waiting eagerly for your photos!

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Hector, please, do rest!!! Take good care of your hands (and the rest of your body, of course!). I had hand surgery three years ago, and my hand won´t ever be the same. All my life i have worked with my hands (as designer and illustrator), and the repetitive work has taken its toll on my neck, back, arms and hand. Anyway, I still want to hear from you and see the images. regards

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Hector, we are waiting to hear your story and see your pictures!

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My dear bloggers, just wanted to drop a line quickly in case you are worried that I have deceased buried under a possible cake fallout. The cake event went very well, no damage control needed. The attendance was phenomenal, and we ran out of cake by 9 pm, cutting cake non-stop since 6 pm. I had 4 people cutting cake (including myself), 3 people were cutting cake at all times (I only brought 3 cake knives), so imagine how much cake we served. I spent all Sunday washing the kitchen even if my hands and feet were in muscle pain.

Right now, I am suffering from baking withdraw. YES, there is such thing. Trying to go back from the 4 hour a night of sleep to 6 or to 8! All day long my ears had this ghost sound of my mixers running, and my friends are already saying "what are you going to do now with all your free time?" Normally, I have some next project in the works to report, but for some reason, this time I feel zero; my neurons are taking their time to re-synapse.

Pictures coming soon, taken by my photographer friend turned cake cutter that evening.

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Hector, are you still recovering from the big event??? How did it go?

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Hector - I have been following your fabulous cake story! If available, please let us see a picture of the final masterpiece!

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Wow Cindy, I've never seen these black ones! I like them when their piping hot, crispy on the outside and soft inside!

Hector - great 'cake'! Remember, our hearts are with you no matter which part of the globe we are in!

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Everyone, thank you for your words of support. I won't be posting on the blog much for the next 48 hours. I apologize. Doing the final touches now, I am happy with these, very.

/H

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Elicia,
I am not surprise that you like the "Chau Taufoo" (which is a very strongly flavoured fried bean curd snack)if you also like durian.I have tasted those when I went to Hu Nam (湖南)on a trip to JianJiaZhan(張家界). It is black in colour and have the strongest taste . Together with the chili sauce. Taste really exotic.


black chau tofu
Cindy

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Hector,
It is saturday morning in HK already. I shall be excited about your event all day. 加油!(add oil)
Cindy

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Hector - Very nice "cake" :)

Good luck tomorrow - I'll be rooting for you all day!

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I made an additional cake for tomorrow. I hope people will enjoy a slice of it.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/Cards.html

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Hector, I just wanted to wish you ALL THE BEST for Sat, July 28. If anyone can successfully pull this off it is you. I admire your talent and patience.
I agree with Elicia about the Copper Topper cake for your interview. Afterall Rose herself said it was one of her best creations. How could you go wrong?
Rozanne

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Hector, I think you shld make the Copper Topper for your restaurant interview - maybe try to design individual portions!

Jen - hope you can upload pics of those lovely cakes, and let us know of the outcome!

Cindy - I live in KL - so do let me know the next time you drop by! I cook up pretty good laksa - Penang style! I was born in Penang, and they still serve up the best hawker food up north! BTW, the food in HK is also very delicious - I like the 'chau taufoo' incidently!

Try making a 6 or 7" round cake. You only need abt 2 cups of durian puree for a really thick filling - that's about 400g of flesh (1 durian shld suffice). The cake can keep for several days in the fridge.

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Jennifer, your cakes sound delicious! Can't wait to see the pictures...

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Oh Elicia, I hope I can try out a small one to share with my husband for we are the only 2 who llke durian at home. I am the only one to like lemon curd. Which part of Malaysia are you in? I have been traveling to Mal'sia for many times and been to places like KL , Melaka and port dickson to the south , and up along the east coast to as far as Terengganu and come down south through the Frase hill. I also went to Langkauwi on another isolated trip. Malaysia is big and connected by very good road so driving there is a pleasure.I did not tried cake there but I like the fruits and food such as satay and laska etc.Had met many nice people too.

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
07/26/2007 06:41 PM

Hi Everyone,
I just had my tasting with some investors who want to help me and my sister start our bakery. It was a hectic few days because we wanted everything to be fresh. I want to thank everyone for posting pictures of your work. Your confidence gave me confidence and I have to say I am quite proud of my results! I did 3 cheesecakes including almond with amaretto cookie crust. A delish white cake with coconut buttercream and toasted coconut. My Ho Ho cake which is choc cake with mousseline buttercream covered in chocolate ganache glaze and about a dozen different cupcakes. Hubby hasn't emailed me the pics yet, but I can't wait to show them off!

jen

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Hector, good luck with the "interview," too! Let us know how it goes ...

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Thks everyone for 'admiring' the durian cake! It's a simple cake - I was more excited abt the lime curd - really lovely!

Cindy, if you love durians, you must try to make this cake. Use a genoise or biscuit, split into 3. Blend equal quantity of durian pulp to cream. Prepare the super-stabilised whipped cream, reserve abt 1.5 cups. Mix the durian puree with the balance cream and fill the cake (thick filling is nice - I like more durian inside the cake!). Then add the reserved cream to the balance filling and frost the cake. The lime curd topping is optional - I also like it with a layer of longans (canned is ok). For syruping, use a combination of longan syrup (from the can) and a little Grand Marnier. And if the durian pulp is not too firm, you can increase the gelatin a little for the whipped cream.

Oh Reeni, I love jackfruit too, and it's cousin the cempedak! Maybe I will make a cempedak cake next!

Hector, you shld really applaud yourself and take a good rest! The whole project is unbelievable! I think you have enough cake already to feed all those rowdy guests!

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Just wanted to comment on something. When my friends come to help, I don't think I get more work accomplished, instead, just about the same as doing it all by myself. But there is a benefit: my friends put the muscle, and I just direct. I don't feel as tired at the end of the day with my friends because they do all the measuring, whipping, stirring, cutting, carrying, etc. They even come with nice steaks to grill!

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Thank you Reeni. I have six 10" cakes, then the following one each: 14-12-12-10-9-9-7-6-6-4-3-3 (inches). All cakes are round and are 3". I have planned to do two more 10" cakes, but my design people say ENOUGH. I need to feed looselly 1000 people, there will be a lot of other foods and drinks, but no other desserts or cakes. Do you think I have enough? I calculated the big cake to feed 600 people, and each of the 10" cakes to feed 30 people. In any case, I will concentrate on the cake topper (a coffee bean sculpture), and will leave the last two 10" cakes for last. I am glad I have found the limit, this project seemed endless! Perhaps, I will frost the last two cakes on site, after all, it will be a 'piece of cake' !

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Elicia - fantastic cake!

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Oh ,Elicia, What an idea of conmbining Durian and lime. I love both fruits but cannot imagine how they go together. Yes, it is Durian season. I love iced durian and also durian ice cream. It is a very very subjective taste whether you like durian or not. The smell actually put a lot of people off. For me. I only like the fresh fruit but cannot take it when they are processed into something browish in colour and like a sausage.
What a peculiar fruit.
cindy

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I am sorry that I have posted the photo of my slotted skimmers to the sourdough starter thread. Please go and take a look and commmet if we are referring to the same thing.Thanks.

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Congratulations Hector on approaching Cake Day with so much accomplished. I am a bit jealous because I never have that many friends eager to help me with big projects!
Elicia, I must agree that durian is probably the most pungent-smelling fruit imaginable! I myself don't really like the taste; I prefer langka, or jackfruit. In front of our house in the Phils where I grew up we had a tree that had fruit the size of small pigs.

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Oh I don't think any of you wld want to 'smell' durians! I don't really fancy the fruit straight from the husk either - I don't like the 'after-scent' of eating it! But when lightened with whipped cream as a filling for cakes - it's really nice. I have a butter cake recipe for it (uses very little durian) and it tastes wonderful. If any of you come to M'sia, I'll treat you to some cake!

Theresa, durian is a large thorny fruit with yellow creamy flesh inside - sometimes even bittersweet which I like best. It is very popular in Thailand,M'sia and S'pore. When it's durian season, some households even buy a whole carload full and it's dinner! It has a very strong smell though - stays in the fridge, car, your fingers! It's even forbidden to bring it into hotels and airplanes! I've seen tourists trying it out of curiosity - I think 90% of them don't like it! If you ever get your hands on some, try diluting the taste by lightening with whipped cream or icecream!

Matthew,if you do try it - let me know what you think of it!

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Elicia, how lovely is your durian cake! I have heard a lot about durian (it seems to be a either you-love-it or you-hate-it fruit. I wish I could see , taste and *smell* real durians!! or, of course (and that'd be better), have a slice of your cake

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Elicia, send me a slice! Lucky you to have FRESH durian! I think the frozen ones we find in the U.S. taste odd?

I have the paddles preserved in a bottle for future use. Will need to try the basic piped meringue instead with cocoa instead of the delicious chocolate I have in my cave.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/NeveNero.html

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Elicia, I've never been able to summon the courage to try durian, but your beautiful cake would be a good reason to start!

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What a beauty, Elicia! Though I must confess I have no idea what durian tastes like - or even what it looks like! :)

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Thank you Rose! I am going to toast these paddles for a few minutes at 350oF, after dehydrated, to give it a little darker color. It is so chicken skin color now! Just saw your posting about Rose's Heavenly Cake Strips. You have no idea how long I have been longing for this!

Yes, water freshly boiled is very hot but not simmering! I love using my copper fondue pot with a ceramic bowl on top that fits 1/8" loose so any steam escapes. The copper sides of the fondue pot conducts heat so well that not only the bottom of the ceramic bowl is heated (from the hot water), but also the sides are heated from touching the copper pot. But, you all need to try La Bomba from Lekue, all you microwave lovers, there is nothing better.

My name went accross a well known restaurant, they need new talent pastry chef on a very set menu they have for years. I think it will be worth to try even if that means making tiramisu daily and nothing else! I am meeting the owner and the referal contact for dinner and was asked to bring cake! I can't think of that right now.

Elicia, the picture was posted because I thought of you and the Matfer whisk! That 'heating lamp' is a white light I use to add light to my kitchen when I photograph. The meringues will be canister vacuum packed and transported that way, I won't be popping the canisters open until serving time. Hope that works.

I found an alternative solution to a problem I may have. I am unsure if the caterers will provide me with 1000 dessert plates, as I have requested and promised many times. So I am bringing a couple of boxes of pre-cut parchment paper that is used in the food industry (to wrap sandwiches, line plates, etc), and use these as the plates, perhaps folded in triangles. I think the idea is so cute, that even if the plates arrive, I will line them with a sheet of parchment!

I am running on 4 hours of sleep and are a bit grouchy today. But my mood is getting better because I just tole myself, this is to be expected.

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Here's a typical frosted genoise. Durian Cream Cake with Lime Curd topping. Actually, just want to show off Rose's lovely lime curd. The tangy curd goes well with the sweet and creamy durian flesh (mashed and mixed with super-stabilised whipped cream). It's durian season here now in M'sia, and this is my fave way to enjoy the 'pungent' fruit!


durian lime curd cake

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OK Hector, I want to live in your kitchen now! Is that THE Matfer whisk sticking out? And do I see a heating lamp - what do you use it for?

Congrats on completing the last leg of 'The Cake'! But if you stop making biscuits, will miss those lovely pics of your 'perfect biscuits'! Love those paddles and the paddler - they look realistic enough - wonder how you are storing them though - meringues don't keep crisp very long in our weather!

Oh Cindy, the slotted skimmer doesn't allow batter thru the holes. But a balloon whisk is far more efficient - try it once (with your own KA or Kenwood whisk) and you'll just love the difference!

I also don't temper the choc - it's not like you'll be keeping the cake for a few weeks for bloom to develop. I like to use the microwave method - it's easy and allows the choc to melt gradually so tempering isn't really necessary (you have to melt some of the choc, remove from the microwave and melt the rest by stirring, the residual heat will gradually melt all the choc). It's explained as an optional method in TCB with much precision (as always!)

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when water is simmering, gently or not, there is steam. i'm sure hector did not mean simmering, but rather water that is no longer at a boil, i.e. very hot but NOT simmering water!

cute paddles hector!

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/NeveNero.html

The hand craft is present, the labor of love, too. But I am uncertain if these chicken drumstick looking things will pass as canoe paddlers or paddles! I plan to put one piece on each dessert plate as the cake is served.

I've just piped these using Neve Nero (page 300 TCB). I can't wait to make the real S shapes with the nice ridges. Let me tell you, this is probably the best Italian Meringues you can taste, it was heavenly on my taste buds.

To make these canoe paddlers and paddles, I purposely over-folded the chocolate onto the meringue, so the piping will be more watery, it piped like a dream (my dream at least). I set these for 30 minutes at 140oF convection, and then overnight at 100oF convection. This low temperature prevents the meringue to expand.

I will report back tomorrow, to see if these are edible, and what my design committee says, they are coming over Wednesday night for a helping party.

I will dream that perhaps the flat side of these things will look less like chicken drumsticks!

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Silvia- when melting chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water ('freshly boiled' in Hector's word), make sure the bowl is dry nd clean. any moisture in the bowl will cause the chocolate to seize and harden as it melts. if this happens, simply add 1 to 2 tsp vegetable oil and stir until chocolate is smooth. the pan shouldnt be one with beak(s) as steam may come out and affect the texture of chocolate.
u can also melt chocolate in microwave using a DRY microwave-safe bowl. the time for melting may vary from 1 min to 7 mins for different types of chocolates and the temperature of the chocolate is also a major factor. but generally setting the power at 50% and checking at short intervals(firstly after 1min, then 30secs)is safe. u can take the bowl out when nearly half of the chocolate is melted. the inner heat is enough to melt the rest when stirred. melting chocolate in microwave is greatly labor-saving when u plan to pipe writings,string-like designs, chocolate swirls etc. just melt the chocolate directly in a microwave-safe steam-lock bag, then squeeze into one corner, twist bag and then snip tip! chocolate buttons are the best form of chocolate to melt (sp for piping writings directly on the cake) as the contents are likely to keep the melted form softer for a longer period.

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Cindy, Silvia, picture is on page #458 of TCB, under Slotted Skimmer. Not to be confused by the Angel Food Cake Folder (which in a way makes more sense but it isn't the one).

The batter of genoise of bds 'does' not go thru the holes of the slotted skimmer. The holds work just a surface tension.

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Oh Hector, Like Silvia,I also want to see the picture of a slotted skimmer. I thought I had one which I tried using but the batter did not pass through the holes.May be the holes need to be bigger . I shall try to post the photo of my "slotted skimmer" later.

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Cake Lover, sorry for the short reply, fixed. /H

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Hector the picture for the 'dark red' flavor for tier #7 says "page not found"? I am dying to see it as I am following your incredible cake project daily!

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Silvia, do a search re: my balloon whisk. JB Prince. Scroll up a little with all the source info, reposted links.

making chocolate pralines sheet is extremely easy, you don't need a thermometer. I never use a thermometer to temper chocolate. You need a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl wide enough to sit above a pot filled 2" inches of hot water (not boiling, but freshly boiled). Make sure the water is never touching your upper bowl where the chocolate is. On the bowl, place your chocolate broken in pieces. With a rubber spatula stir, scrap and smash the chocolate, do this generously. You want all the smashing to soften the chocolate, and not getting it soft from heat . At the beginning you won't see much melting, but in a few minutes you the bowl sides will appear 'dirty' with melted chocolate. When the chocolate is 1/2 melted (there will be pieces of chocolate unmelted), remove the bowl from hot water pot, and continue to stir/smash until all is melted. The remaining heat in the melted chocolate will finish melting the unmelted pieces, and this is the best way to avoid loosing the temper (never keep the heat source all the way until completely melted).

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Hector, where did you buy your balloon whisk? I could not find where to order one. Will it fit into my 4.5 qt KA’s bowl?

Rose, I was glad to read that somebody had been able to use the KA to fold in the ingredients. I have to try it!

Hector, do you have a picture or a link to a picture of a slotted skimmer? I am not sure if both of us call “slotted skimmers” to different things.

Yesternight I read the recipe for the Triple Chocolate Cake. Though no expert, the genoise and ganache (I’d prefer to use the white chocolate ganache as a filling, because of the contrast of colors) don’t make me nervous, but the chocolate praliné does.

My only experience with chocolate is filling plastic moulds with compound chocolate, to make little figures. I have never tempered chocolate, and the idea scares me, I don´t even have access to a decent thermometer!!! (Don´t know the reason, but really precise thermometers for cooking and baking are almost impossible to find…)

Rose, it is oissible in my situation to make the praliné sheets? Any suggestion for a substitution of them (sigh..., they´re so pretty...)

Anyway, I am thrilled with the idea of “my first real cake”!

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Hector, next time I want to see the "before" picture of the dishes (i.e. the kitchen mess)! Congratulations on getting all the layers baked - you are on the home stretch now. I do love the look of the coffee beans; piping is beautiful, but this is a different kind of look - simpler and cleaner. It goes well with the petroglyph. And if Illy is contributing so much, you are right to feature their product.

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Elicia, I hope you appreciate this picture, almost every piece of equipment I have is on display! Here is a picture of my sink after the cleanup washing.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/THEYELLOWKITCHENTOO.htm

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Just wanted to report, that tonight with great sadness I whipped my last batch of Biscuit de Savoie for the 11-tier cake project and perhaps for this year! I am ready to move on to another cake, perhaps Biscuit a la Cuilliere and start making conconctions with it (spooned tiramisu is ringing in my mind now).

Here is the photo of the last of the savoies! http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/LastBiscuitDeSavoie.html

The countdown clock has started, the 11-tier cake is for this Saturday July 28th. Everything I plan to do this week will have a plan B in case it doesn't fall thru. The major accomplishment I think I've done last week did not come from the oven, but from my writing pad: deciding to use the same chocolate covered coffee beans in between the cakes when I stack all the layers, this will give a more uniform look, I was planning to pipe buttercream instead. I am allocating 2 hours on site for this. My friends are knocking on my door to help me this week, sometimes I just want to be alone in quietness, for this task of bean coating will be perfect for them.

Also, I won't be making the cake topper out of caramel and almonds. This Hawaiian petroglyph paddler. Instead, I will line a wood or cardboard skeleton with coffee beans, yes, won't be too edible, but I think Illy will be happy to be so noticeable on the cake.

You may be asking yourself where will be my real work this week? Well, I will pipe Neve Nero in the shape of the Hawaiian petroglyph paddler. Page 300 TCB. Enough to lay around the cake table, and perhaps 1000 of them to top each slice of cake when served. THAT satisfies my complaint that this cake doe not much resemblance to paddling or yacht clubs. The shortbread cookie was a good option to make these, but I think I can pipe faster than cutting cookies. I will need to make lots of golden genoise with all the surplus of yolks!

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Oh yes, I live in the humid tropics too, and my digital scale serves me well. No problems at all!

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Thks Rose, I also assumed I might curdle it! Guess I'll just whip up another batch AFTER assembling the cake.

Oh Hector, you think of the most amazing things! I'll let my wrist take the strain for a while, haha! There is a shop that sells Matfer whisks here but most unfortunately they do not carry the large balloon whisk! The larger the whisk, the longer it is - which is what I don't need. I've examine their other whisks though, and the quality is exquisite and lightweight, so I told myself that only THE Matfer whisk will do! I did hint to the personnel at the shop that Matfer does carry a balloon whisk and wld be good if they can import it! Am keeping my fingers crossed!

I agree that the black forest isn't the most chocolatey chocolatey choice.

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Dear Rose! You are so unbelievable! The hazelnut paste for the Creme Ivoire Praline is sitting right there on p. 430 at Uster. You are soooo sharp. best, joan

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Rozanne - Am having the same problem - today the eggs didn't look exactly right, but was afraid to go beyond 5' for fear I would overbeat them. I should have! Layer is 1 1/4'. It is light, and I syruped it, and will put buttecream on it. But will do another one tomorrow. I want that 1 1/2' like you. I did 2 choc.genoise the other day and same problem, but now am fiddling around with temp and new Chicago Metallic pans, so guess will just have to keep plugging along. At the price of Valhrona, I soon will hardly be able to afford gas! joan

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Rose - thanks for speedy response - am doing it in the a.m. best, joan

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when in doubt try a little in the buttercream. that's what i would do with a new product if there were no info. as to how much sugar.

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Dear Rose, Once again re the praline paste: May I put it into Neoclassic buttercream [as in classic bc?] - or at all? The classic recipe calls for praline paste with 50 percent sugar. In Creme Ivoire, however, you call for the paste 'without' sugar. Yet, on p. 431, you state that you "prefer the 100 percent hazelnut and carmelized sugar variety." My jar simply came with hazlelnut/sugar - a Switzerland variety. It seems as if I will need several kinds? joan

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The triple chocolate cake sounds a better alternative than the dark Forest cake, to me (I *don´t* like the flavour of preserved cherries, the only ones you can find here). certainly, he' d trade the cherry for thehazelnut flavour, he also loves nuts (and so do I!). I doon´t know, though, if I can find hazelnut liquor here, it´s a matter of availability, not of alcohol content!!Tonight, I read the recipe, and I imagine, tomorrow I'lla ve fresh questions for you.
You have a really, beautiful, sweet sister!! and she must be very proud of such a skilled and caring brother (i'd be, I'm one of the ones that bakes their own birthday cakes). regards...

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Silvia, the Triple Chocolate Cake is my favorite 'most chocolatey' cake. And I have baked this cake about 20 times!

If your brother doesn't mind a whipped cream that is chocolatey brown in taste and color, he will be happy with the Light Whipped Chocolate Ganache, which I describe it as a whipped cream with chocolate taste.

Let me attempt to paraphrase how Rose describes this beauty she invented: The beauty of this cake for chocolate lovers is that you will hit their palates with chocolate in 3 forms: chocolate genoise cake, chocolate ganache, and chocolate praline sheets, each is a different texture: spongy, creamy, and solid, respectivelly. Unless people could smoke or inhale chocolate, these textures will effectively hit your brother from all senses he can perceive for chocolate.

The cake is moistened with Frangelico (hazelnut liquor). Ask your brother is he would like hazelnuts which IS INDISPUTABLY the best compliment for chocolate. The taste of hazelnut goes so well with chocolate, that the alcohol in the Frangelico and the hazelnut taste itself go unnoticeable. In my opinion, the chocolate genoise becomes even more chocolatey with the frangelico liquor, that you can't tell about the alcohol or even hazelnut taste. It is like adding MSG to food, you only enhance the flavor!

You could perhaps, leave the praline sheets open faced, and fill the cake top over the ganache with large swirls of whipped cream topped each with a cherry. I made one similar open faced Triple Chocolate Cake, which my sister placed her Pooh candles on (see picture). Alternatively, you can overlay the sides and top of your ganache after it sets in the refrigerator with whipped cream (like the slice of cake in the picture of the little wedding cake described at the beginning of this blog entry)

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/TripleChocolate.html

I have more fun doing this cake in stages, and find impossible to do everything in one day or even from the prior evening. I would suggest you bake the genoise, moisten them, layer and fill with ganache, and freeze it. Then another day, make the hazelnut praline and store it at room temperature airtight. Then the day of your party, make the chocolate praline sheets, attach them to your cake, and top with whipped cream and cherries.

Bake your life away. /H

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hechtor, I think you had a link to a photograph of your whisk, but I couldn´t find it. I want a friend of mine(who'll be visiting his sister in the USA) to get me one of these whisks. I also want a digital scale, but after reading about the problems some people've had with them, I'm a bit afraid. How much humidity can these scales stands? I won´t put the digital scale in a dishwasher, I promise ( I don´t even own one!), but the tropics can be really humid...

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Silvia,

the BEST whisk is the JB Prince / Matfer 14.5" diameter balloon. Anything else should try to come close to it. The main characteristics of this whisk, that I can note are:

1- The diameter is perfect for a 5 or 6 qt mixer bowl. It handles areas of the batter very effectively, it grabs about 1/3 of batter at once. You don't want a smaller whisk that you would need to dig into the batter so many times, deflating more.
2- The wires are strong, sturdy, but they are also flexible at the base. It is very easy to shake the batter off from the whisk because these wires give in as you shake.
3- The total weight of the whisk is very very light, if you have a heavier whisk you can "smash" your batter. I have compared this whisk with other whisks this size, and these other ones are too heavy (mostly used in restaurants to mix huge buckets of pizza sauce, not to whip anything).
4- The separation between wires is perfect, a little on the wide spacing.
5- I am certain, Rose has tried many many other tools, and she prefers this exact whisk.

Finally, I would suggest, that if you can't find this whisk, continue to use your rubber spatula or a slotted skimmer. I get almost zero deflating with this whisk, and next to that is my slotted skimmer and rubber spatula. Any other whisk I have, deflates even more.

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As usual, the last unsigned letter is mine...
hector, I can find here bigger whisks, but perhaps not as wide (14") as yours.
I guess what makes them better to whisk is the diameter, not the longitude.
I have also used the whisk that comes with the mixer, but the lack of a handle made it difficult for me to whip. Your idea of attaching it to a pole sounds interesting...

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As usual, last letter is mine...
hector, I can find here bigger whisks, but perhaps not as wide (14") as yours.
I guess what makes them better to whisk is the diameter, not the longitude.
I have also used the whisk that comes with the mixer, but the lack of a handle made it difficult for me to whip. Your idea of attaching it to a pole sounds interesting...

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Rose and Hector, my brother asked for a cake, very chocolatey, filled with something chocolatey, with lots of cream and cherries. Doesn´t it sound a lot like dark Forest cake?? I'm flattered by hus confidence in my skill, but a bit afraid, this'll be my first time making a complex cake!! Kirsch is almost impossible to find in thr supermarkets, can I substitute it with another liquor (and brandy is much to expensive)??
I think I can bake moist chocolate genoise, fill it with white chocolate ganache and over with whipped stabilized cream (because of the heat). What do you all think!!

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Elicia, I thought of using the stand mixer whisk, too, and I think it will work. Perhaps you can attach a pole to it to turn it into a handle. Maybe you can find a metal or wood rod and end it like the mixer's plug with a little L movement locking mechanism and a spring!

But since you make so much genoise and bds, I think it will be worth the planning and effort to have someone bring you one. Actually, the one from JB Prince, is Matfer from France, so perhaps you can have it coming from the other half of this planet.

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it won't be nearly as smooth and you risk curdling it if reheating.

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Just one little question - can curds be warmed to pouring consistency if refrigerated? I want to be absolutely sure. I just made Rose's wonderful lime curd and had intended it as a glaze on top of a cake (which I've not made yet)! The curd's cooled and if being refrigerated. Was wondering if it is ok to reheat, like jam?

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A little tip for all those who can't get their hands on the Matfer balloon whisk - if you have a stand mixer (either Kenwood or Kitchenaid) with the large balloon whisk attachment, you can use it to fold your biscuit/genoise batter too!

Of course, it will be a bit straining on the wrists as there is no proper handle, and if you are making a big cake, the whisk may just 'drown' in the batter! But I find that folding with a large balloon whisk is so much more efficient (less deflating of batter and no little 'pebbles' of flour) - it seems worth it! I'm still looking around for that large balloon whisk (JB Prince doesn't deliver out of US!) so the whisk attachment on my Kenwood will have to suffice for now!

Rose - thks for the tips on the Ricotta Loaf. I have to say it is a very flavourful loaf indeed and I just eat it as is!

Hector, I agree that piping bags shldn't be filled too full - it is difficult to squeeze and hurtful on the hands! I've started using parchment too - it gives a good grasp and definitely less warming on the buttercream!

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it would disturb it.

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Dear Rose - I just received my praline paste. I see that you say re a Praline Ganache that it could be added to the chocolate before processing. Could the same thing be applied somehow to the Light Whipped Chocolate Filling and Frosting, or would it disturb the consistency, airyness, etc.? Thanks, joan

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It happened to me, too. The first time I attempted to make a parchment piping back, I didn't have time to read TCB.

Hint, you may want to take those triangles out of the box if they came rolled or folded, and store them flat. It is much easier to assemble a piping bag from a flat sheet of parchment than a curled one!

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Thanks friend! I knew TCB gave the instructions, but I was pressed for time and didn't want to look it up - my memory served me pretty well though.

Yes, it is early here 6:30am EST. I've been up working all night on a non-cake project. I'll take a very long nap later today!

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Hi Patrincia. TCB has instructions on how to make parchment bags =) But I know what must be happening, there is so much info in TCB that one forgets where everything is at!

Posted your lovelly cake under Patrincia's Wedding Cake.

Is it early morning for you now? It is a bit past my bedtime here, so I am signing off.

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Hector - yep, I found a box of 100 15" parchment triangles for $5 at Wal-Mart. The only problem is the box didn't have any directions on it showing how to fold the cone - it just took me a minute to figure out, but printed directions would have been nice. I stapled my bag too - sometimes I staple together when making a large tier - who knew a stapler could be so handy in the kitchen?
Btw, did you get the photos of the cake I emialed to you?

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Patrincia, parchment bags are the only thing I use to pipe buttercreams. I grew up piping whipped cream with a stainless steel gun, so I am not used to any heat transfer from my hands (although my sister suffers from warm hands much worse than me). I have those pre-cut parchment triangles 15” which makes rather “small” piping bags. These triangles I find a better value than having to make your own triangles out of a roll. For a 9” cake, I need to fill the bag twice. I used to stuff the bag as much as I could, because it could be just enough for a 9” cake, but after so much squeezing out from the top, I decided to just fill the bag half way, keeps cleaner, and to refill a cleaner bag is much easier than a messy one. Yes putting the parchment mess inside a regular piping bag is a nice method, too.

My regular piping bag is reserved for just really big jobs, or for garnishing meals (mashed potatoes, butter swirls, etc). I also use a regular piping bag for royal icing which squeeze pressure is so strong that it would just pop open a parchmet triangle bag!

I think it is much more environmental friendly to use these disposable parchment papers than all the washing you would otherwise need on the regular piping bags. Water is a resource that can be harder to renew than trees!

Regarding the ‘small’ 15” parchment triangles, I also use them to cut 9” or smaller circles to line my pans, and all the extra corners I save to skirt my cake when I frost! Nothing goes to waste. I found a pack of 100 triangles for around $6, when a roll of parchment can cost about $10 and does not have enough to make 100 triangles!

One last thing, I don't seem to find any tape that will attach to my parchment bags, so I can form them nicelly. I use instead staples! and it does a fast job!

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Joan, glad you found it! For Biscuit de Savoie, I put equal weight of syrup per the weight of the cake (crusts removed). For Genoise, follow that egg ratio in TCB. I've just read page 120, and it clearly says that the Genoise w/o syrup or with too much syrup is 'not a good thing'

I am exited for your new cake. Do share the after match.

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oops! just found the syrup proportions hidden under a sticky marker on p 120 - genoise classique. Thanks. joan

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Well, sorry, but back to the syruping again - I have blogged and googled and consulted TCB, and still can't bring up proportions. Somewhere I think I saw, maybe it was Hector, mention a ratio - sprinkle 2T per egg, or 1/4c for 8 eggs - I just can't find it, and don't remember. Don't want to ruin tomorrow's genoise. Thanks for help as always. joan

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Oh Hector - before I forget, I piped my buttercream by using parchment instead of the usual pastry bags (once I figured out how to make a cone that is). What a big difference it made by "insulating" the buttercream from my warm hands. I ended up holding and squeezing the parchment bag differently too (which was a nice change). I started by folding the parchment bag down from the top, crimping it little by little as the bag emptied (instead of the constant twisting and squeezing of traditional bags).

One possible drawback is the parchment bags can only be used once, but if you are a messy decorator like me, that could be a good thing - no matter how hard I try, I always seem to get some buttercream oozing out from the top of my pastry bag - it gets so slippery when that happens. A tip for those who have the same problem, just slide your whole slippery pastry bag, as is, into a new, clean, dry bag and proceed as usual.

I also found it's easier to remove the decorating tips from the parchment cones - I just cut the used bag all the way across, just above the metal decorating tip, then all you have to do is simply unroll the parchment that's wrapped around the tip. I haven't experimented with using a coupler in the parchment bags yet - maybe next time.

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Thanks Hector - I'll send them right away.

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Patrincia, that was me, I forgot to fill in my name.

Rose and Reeni, if we knew where you live, your doorstep will be filled with birthday cakes! In fact, there is special chapter in The Cake Bible on how to mail cakes!

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Patrincia, for emergencies, feel free to email me your photo, and I will post it in my link! hector@hawaiistationery.com (I think my email is very public by now!)

In other words, I can't wait to see a photo of your creations!

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Hmmmm - sounds like a Hector post to me! Great idea about sharing the cake with the restuarant staff! Btw, my tiny 2-tiered cake turned out better than expected. I'm busy packing for a trip, but I'll try to get a photo posted before I go. If not before, definitely after.

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Patrincia, it is perfectly fun to enjoy your birthday at a restaurant, but do bring your own cake! I have started to bring cake to all restaurants I attend, birthdays, business lunches, or what not. The way to not get in trouble is to share cake with the restaurant staff.

I also find my way to personally bring a cake slice to the chef in the kitchen, believe me… I DO IT! One time, it was so cute that I forgot my cake knife, so the chef lended me a nice chef’s knife; it was so sharp (the knife and the gesture).

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Speaking of birthdays - seems we're all in the same boat - I'm the only one in this household who is willing to make a cake, but I haven't made one for my own birthday yet. The family used to get me an ice cream cake every year, but I'm not really a fan of those things so this year I announced I would enjoy my dinner at a local restaurant and order dessert to go. I chose vanilla bean cheesecake, but sadly it was terrible. Rose just has us all spoiled with her fantastic recipes.

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I used to think it was only me. I baked my own birthday cakes for years because I knew what I wanted, but also felt very sad that nobody wanted to bake me cakes!
Now, I don't have much use for birthday cakes of the conventional sort because I don't have birthday parties (And being just my husband and myself eating a whole cake would last too many days! Our son can't eat much of the stuff that is in good cake, either.) We go to a restaurant for dinner and I have a plated dessert instead. Sometimes two.:D

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on the subject of birthday cakes, when the cake bible was published i gave my husband a copy saying "here! now you can bake my birthday cakes." he didn't by the way and i was just kidding. it seems no one wants to bake a cake for me! hmmmmmm.....
by the way, he didn't know he was in the intro until ppl started coming to his office at nyu medical center asking if he was the dr. beranbaum mentioned in the cake bible! i'm sure he was less than thrilled!

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bc of the fat in the ricotta the crust will not be crisp so no need to butter dip the rolls but just as it's optional for the loaf, it would give a lovely flaor to the rolls so feel free!

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Oh Hector, Ironically I've not baked my own b'day cake yet! So I've always had to contend with poor tasting b'day cakes on my own b'days(store-bought that is!)!!

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Hi Rose, On the ricotta buns - wld you advise to butter-dip it as well? I was thinking of experimenting with a sweet filling (my kids like sweet 'soft' buns!) - so thought I cld use a 'remonce' (I think) sort of filling or maybe spread the 'remonce' and roll up like sticky buns! Any good advice?

Over here, the buns are super-soft as bakeries use chemical 'bread-improvers'. So, I'm still trying to get them to like my homemade bread!

Sylvia, the moist choc genoise wld be a better option if you prefer a particular choc flavour. Simply because you can use your fave brand of bittersweet choc! I've made the genoise with different brands of semisweet and bittersweet chocs, and the tastes (and sometimes textures) do vary!

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Silvia, you are going to LOVE The Bread Bible. My non-baking friends love to read it, too. It is so informative. A good story book, if you may.

I think Rose can get a pHD disserting with The Bread Bible.

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Let me add one more thing, not that I haven't written enough, really.

Today, another friend mentioned me as "the guy that makes his own birthday cake"

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Silvia, I think once you add the syrup the flavor will balance and become nice. My chocolate genoises are always like that (bitter, chocolatey, not so sweet). Both chocolate genoise in TCB are designed to be moistened with the indicated syrup. The syrup will add the ‘lack’ of sugar. The genoise itself has less amount of sugar than usual, so eating it w/o syrup will taste a bit unsweetened.

The #1 compliment I receive when I make one of TCB cakes is “glad it isn’t super-sweet!”

Tasting the crumb is not a good indication of how the cake tastes. The crumbs are often burned or too heavy and moist than the cake inside; the texture is completely different, denser. Maybe, you can cut a 1 to 2” hole in the middle of the cake and taste that. Cover it with foil, or parchment, and frost right over; or put an ornament or cookie or cherry on it! This lack of center in your cake will go unnoticed when you serve your cake cut in the traditional pie slices; actually, you slices will cut much nicer and cleaner, without the pointy end crumbling apart as usual.

One time, I changed the shape of my cake from round to hexagon, so I could taste the cake (cutting the hexagon left me with nice cake to try). This was so convenient than whenever I need an oval or a heart shape cake, I start from a round cake and do the same! I often freeze these ‘stolen treasures’ for later enjoyment or to share with friends at any ocassion.

Good luck on the moist chocolate genoise, it is my favorite. Try the light whipped chocolate ganache instead of the cocoa whipped cream, easy to do and perhaps more stable in warm weather! The moist chocolate genoise is on the unsweetened side, even with all the syrup, for the sweet ganache makes a good balance.

Are Genoise your favorite cakes now? Did you get the 14.5” circumference balloon whisk from JB Prince? Or are you the person with the small oven? I can’t recall my memory.

Cake making and baking in general are full of fun and surprises, that you need to experiment and adjust to your own taste each time you make your own design or creation. You need to experiment and find your own balance with the types of cake, the types of frosting, the textures, the sugar, the garnishes, etc. However, I can guarantee you from personal experience, that if you follow any of TCB recipes (or other books written by Rose) exactly as indicated on the recipe, you will have nothing short from perfection. The Triple Chocolate Cake, the Copper Topper Mountain, the Buttermilk Country Cake topped with home made Creme Fraiche, the Golden Cage, the Mexican Killer Kahlua Chiffon, the Plain Wonderful White Bread, the Basic Sourdough Bread, the Pizza, the Oven Dried Grape Tomatoes, the Cordon Rose Conserves, and etc, etc, are ‘ALL my favorites.’ I am a bit happy that Rose’s new book about cakes, is not due until Fall 2008, because I am still not thru all her previous books!

Please do report back how this chocolate genoise project goes for you.

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Again, I forgot to sign my letter, I beg your pardon

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Rose, forgot to tell you that my family, who used to show little interest in cakes, now has adopted the Chocolate Bread, perfect Pound cake and Domingo cake as "the" family cakes. For special occasions, triple layer devil cake, with milk chocolate buttercream or ganache...The flavour and softer textures are very, very different to most of the cakes that you can eat here. And I'm also very excited, beacuse I ordered the Bread Bible. I can´t wait ti have it in my hands!

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Rose, I was also very surprised with my microwaved genoise. Actually, I did not syrup it , because I thought it’d be a waste!! And then, it was too late…we had almost eaten half the cake. But I’d never do it again, guessing the correct microwaving time is really difficult.

Hector, I baked the chocolate genoise . I still haven´t moistened it, but I had a crumb and it tasted a bit too bitter and chocolatey (and I’m a bitter-chocolate fan!). I have had the suspicion for a long time, that our natural cocoa is a bit too strong. Anyway, I have first to moisten and then taste it.

On Sunday I will try, finaly, the moist chocolate genoise, and perhaps fill and frost it with cocoa whipped cream. I will follow all of your suggestions!!!!

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p.s. oh what a brave new world which such wonderful breads in it. i invite everyone in!

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ricotta bread buns--absolutely yes!

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Deanna, thank you for the nice words! I am so sorry your cake cracked, I've been there! Instead of a cooling rack, you can use a cardboard lined with aluminum foil and place it suspended on something so air flows under the board. Also, you can line your oven rack with aluminum foil, and use this as your cooling rack!

I made my molded cake with scraps of Biscuit de Savoie, a butter-less sponge cake. I combined it with Mousseline Buttercream. You need to do the incorporation evenly but gently, avoiding excessive braking of crumbs that would otherwise turn into a paste. Line a cake pan with plastic wrap and pour this 'batter' in. Refrigerate overnight and unmold. Keep refrigerated, slice and serve the cake at refrigerated temperature, it is the refrigeration that holds the cake up by hardening the frosting.

Because this concoction uses a large amount of frosting compared to a normal cake construction, be aware to avoid excessive moisture or grease. I am suspecting your chocolate cake is butter based. I wouldn't do this concoction with buttercream, because it can be too heavy or greasy for your palate. Try using Super Stabilized Whipped Cream instead. And by all counts, if you can add a fruit conserve in it, it will lighten up the texture and the taste. Hope you dare to try it and do report back!

I have posted 'several' picture of the big cake on this entry, scroll up and look at the links. You will find also many other related cakes that are off-springs of the big cake. The big cake will be served on July 28th, and I am not finished yet!

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Hector... I haven't posted here yet but have been reading a lot and have a question for you. I am making a large cake (heart shaped, 3 tier, on pillars) and I've broken one of the bottom layers of chocolate cake... I didn't have the right size rack to cool it on and tried to make do... I'm so upset because it had to bake for so long and the cake has to be ready early Saturday. I guess for a cake that size w/o a rack the right size perhaps I should just cool it in the pan?

Anyway, I remember looking at your site and you had made this fabulous formed concoction with cake scraps. I now have a LOT of cake scraps :)... I just don't know what to do with them. Can you share how you made the cake scrap confection? (I can't even find a picture of it right now on your site.) And also I've tried to find a recent picture of your big cake you're working on and haven't found one yet... care to share? It's absolutely fabulous so far from what I've seen!! Thank you!

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Hi Patrincia, no worries, I did not go chocolate untempered with the monstrosity =)

I plan to cut the tiers TCB way, that is how my Mom taught me. I like it because all slices come out pretty even, and you end up with a lovelly center little cake!

Elicia, the Ricotta Loaf sounds good, BB has many many breads! I've haven't tried it myself... but that is a yet.

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Theresa, I agree with Rose - the banana cake is really extremely moist (especially if you've used the max amt of sour cream as indicated in the recipe!). I topped it with toffee/caramel just so it can hold the praline powder (I wanted some crunch) and it was a bit gilding the lily!

Hector, strangely I'm quite bad at cutting cakes! I have a friend who is very good at it though, and she usually does the honour if she's around!

Mmm... continuing my BB exploration - made the Ricotta Loaf - ethereal and super-fast! BTW, shld be able to shape it into buns too right?

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You are so funny ("lost your temper quicker than dark chocolate"). Yes, I usually make it known that I insist on cutting the cake myself, but since this was a surprise, I didn't make the usual announcement.

Please note I only called your 11-tier cake a monstrosity because of it's size (meaning exceptionally large; enormous). You know I think it's beauty is exquisite - I just love the colors and I especially like the chocolate covered coffee beans separating the tiers.

So how do you plan to cut the tiers... TCB way, or the "straight cut" method (don't know what it's called, but you cut straight lines like you would for a square cake)? I've done both, but I think I like the newer method better - it requires less turning of the tiers during the cutting process, plus I think it's a little faster.

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Patrincia, what a horrible (and common) experience. Did I tell you that when I made the bunny cake, one of my lovelly dinner guests tried to help and put my 6" chef knife thru it? That is when I lost my temper quicker than dark chocolate!

Believe me, for the 11-tiered (please don't call it monstrosity), I will be doing all the cutting MYSELF! Something I can do rather quickly if I have all plates and spoons pass right under while I cut, and for that I have 3 assistants and a backup work shift!

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Hector - I looked at the Miele models but ended up with a Riccar (which I love). I use a Delonghi Scopa on my kitchen tile, but just wondered about the Roomba.

Anyway - I hope you will be taking a well deserved break after this mammoth cake is delivered.

I won't try to compete with an 11-tiered monstrosity like yours, but I'm doing a tiny 2-tiered cake this weekend - Rose's white butter cake with raspberry buttercream filling and mousseline buttercream frosting. This is actually the first cake that I've ever been asked to do for someone I don't know (I'm so excited!). The last cake I made was a surprise b-day cake that was supposed to be served at a cook-out. The cake was safely boxed and hidden in the kitchen awaiting it's big debut. Unfortunately, the hostesses husband wasn't in on the surprise, and he started cutting and serving the cake without our knowledge - you can imagine how shocked I was to see pieces of a very familiar cake walk past me on peoples plates. To make matters worse, he insisted on cutting my cake with a hamburger turner of all things! Needless to say, there was no happy birthday song, and I didn't get any photos of my once beautiful cake. Speaking of photos - the cake prior to that was covered in dark ganache, but the lighting in the room was so poor the photos didn't turn out. I'm determined to get a good photo of the cake this weekend though - I will post when I do.

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Not at all, and that is the most asked question!

Roomba is intelligent and follows your walls or baseboards. It sweeps clean baseboard with it built in spindling little arm that sweeps thing out of the walls/baseboards into the roomba’s mouth!

The only thing that does accumulate is on the corners, but maybe just 1 inch. Roomba is round, and it can’t reach the corner to perfection. Again, only about 1 inch of your corners will remain dirty, that little spindling arm reaches almost to the corner.

Roomba does not push dirt around at all. I believe a standard vacuum cleaner pushes more dirt around with its exhaust air flow (unless you have a Miele which exhaust air flow is upwards!).

But, honestly, it takes me 10 minutes to vacuum one room with my Miele. Roomba takes about 40 minutes, unattended that is.

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Hector - funny tip on mopping the floor! Just wondering - did the roomba get all those little crumbs up against the cabinet baseboards? As for the cake I'm so sorry I will be out of town on your big day - I don't know if I'll have computer access, but I'm going to try. If not, I'll race home to my computer on the 31st to see how it all went!

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Rose, thank you - I hadn't tried it yet. Based on your warning, I think I will go with the sour cream ganache frosting you recommend in the Cake Bible instead. Have to have that chocolate with the banana! (Though I have put cream cheese frosting on it in the past and liked that, too.)

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theresa--i wouldn't use ganache syrup with banana cake--the cake is too dense and moist! but if you already did--do tell us how it worked for you.

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Hector, sounds like the project is well in hand. (And yes, if I was there, I would be doing dishes. And I would certainly be available for any taste testing...)

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Quickly, a time saver I like to share with you. If you have no time to mop your kitchen floors, attach one of those swifter wet towels on your feet bottoms and you will be cleaning your floors as you walk! Trust me, it works.

P.S. Pre-mopping: I used to have a Roomba, and I LOVED it. But after it died, Luca got the Miele portable-friendly canister vacuum. Miele ROCKS; not to mention that they are one of the finest kitchen appliance manufacturers.

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Hector, you're enjoying the 'leis' effect piping I see! Wow, transporting all those cakes will be quite awesome! I hope you have friends offering to transport the precious cargo!

Love that marble choc effect! You've really gone over-the-top with Biscuits! Even when the cakes are gone (eaten up) this major project will definitely be well-remembered!

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Theresa, I was replying to your post, but my computer froze. So here is a picture of what I typed!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/blogPost.html

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Theresa, I was replying to your post, but my computer froze. So here is a picture of what I typed!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/ChocolateMarbleAndMangoRose6.html

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Joan, that is great news! Thanks for sharing the source of your syringe. You will love the JB Prince 14.5" diameter ballon, I think they call it a 18" ballon (lenght).

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/ChocolateMarbleAndMangoRose6.html

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Hi all: Today received my huge 14.5 balloon from J. Prince!
But, even more great: My wonderful 70cc syringe came. It is 'latex-free piston syringe,' well marked, with a thumb-ring pusher, and even has a separate little Luer tip that enables a smaller amount to come out - don't know if too small for syrup, but the regular nozzle will be fine to shake out syrup. It is a Bard [$4.07], and I got it from: Edgepark Surgical/1810 Summit Commerce Park/Twinsburg, OH/44087. Item #570038470 Their phone is: 800.321.0591 or 330 963.6996. However, I acquired mine from their website: www.edgepark.com. Joan

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Good point, Hector - I can see where it would be helpful to have the cake on a rack, especially since the ganache is firmer than the usual syrup. I guess I could also do the bottom first (avoiding the sides) and let things harden up, then reheat the ganache and do the top and sides last (maybe put a fresh round of parchment on the bottom before turning it right-side-up again so it doesn't stick to the rack).

How is the yacht club project coming? Are you on schedule for the 28th?!!! Where are you storing the cakes? What is the role of the cookies?

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Theresa, I used to syrup with the cake on its parchment or serving plate, and I have tried to serve the cake bottom side up, too. But now I syrup with the cake on a cooling rack instead placed on a big tray or sheet pan. It makes a 360 degree difference! You want all the drippings to fall under the cooling rack, not to accumulate on the bottom of your cake. Rest the cake for a few hours (wrapped in plastic) until all the drippings has fallen. Invert your cake, and syrup the other side, rest again to drip. Reuse the drippings.

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I haven't tried the ganache syruping yet, but was thinking about trying it on the Cordon Rose Banana Cake. (Chocolate and banana - YUM!) I happen to have one (unfrosted) in my freezer. Looking at the instructions, I can't help but wonder if the ganache syrup on top of the cake gets mussed, since you do it first (so that the pan and the parchment contain the syrup) and then turn it over and remove the parchment to put ganache syrup on the bottom. Or do you serve it "bottom" side up because of this?

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Cindy, the 2" cut into 1" will be satisfactory. There is a picture of the slotted skimmer in TCB, it is a common utensil.

I level the batter on the cake pan carefully with a spatula, I make sure the batter is touching the pan sides a few milimiter higher than the center of the batter! For this, I spindle the pans, so the centrifugal force pushes the batter to the sides a bit higher. The BdS rises evenly with a very small dome, the extra batter on the sides compensates. This dome flattens in a few minutes during the cooling process.

I don't know, ALL my baking-powder-less cakes bake VERY even flat. I think there is an explanation somewhere in the blog.

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Cindy - its one of those ladles with holes that you use to drain deepfried food! Find one that is wide and flat and you will need to straighten the handle angle a bit.

Hi Rose, I read about that lovely choc chiffon wedding cake you made and I can't wait for the book! Choc syrup is heavenly and I believe your version will be doubly heavenly!!

I love the poppyseeds in the lemon butter cake. Can also use it on top of buns instead of seeds and nuts, right?

Hector, I have a set of those pastry star tips too! Great for piping mousse/fillings into tartlets and large borders. Will try your 'leis' technique next time!

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Hector,
I want to have 2" BdS for my oven can only accomodate one 9" pan . I shall slice the 2" into two 1" layerand assemble into one cake. I have tried that during the weekend, the result was satisfactory. How can you make your top so smooth,do you level it with some tool?
BTW, a slotted skimmer, I am not sure what exactly it is. I have one that I use to drain the ingrdient of the soup which is like a ladel with holes to allow the water to pass through but it is flat with holes of 0.5 cm diameter. Is that close to it?
Thank you for your input.
Cindy

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Thanks so much Rose - you will make a baker out of me yet! joan [today my lesson has been to read all of your prior comments on ganache condensation since it happened to mine - I looove this blog.]

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i'm so glad you're not giving up on the cake as it's my signature i like it so much! the sad thing is that poppyseeds are not very popular in this country--it's a catch 22--they aren't popular bc ppl don't know what to do with them and then they become rancid and when ppl try them they think they're bitter because they are when rancid! if you get them from penzey's you can get large quantity for less than a jar costs and they are fresh. put the bag in a freezer weight bag and freeze them where they will keep for months--well over a year.

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Rose - re poppyseeds: new jar and neew cake. I think the jar may have had too long shelf life. Will try again very soon. Loved the cake! joan

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joan, poppyseeds do indeed have a bluish cast but blue mold is mold. it must have been stored too long.
as for poppyseeds, always a good idea to smell or taste them as they get rancid quickly and should be store in the freezer for maximum shelf life.

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Re the lemon poppyseed, cake - it did, indeed, have a delicious lemon sticky, but when my poor husband cut a slice he was aghast, saying there was blue mold all inside, and refused to eat it [didn't stop me] - I used Morton & Basssett poppyseeds and, while I did notice a slight blue cast to them in the bottle, I just ignored it. I have never seen this before What do you think? joan

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elicia, thanks for reminding me--good point--i have a cocoa syrup in the upcoming book!

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i'm truly shocked to see that someone has baked a génoise in a microwave! i wouldn't have imagined it would set.
but re the syruping, génoise is like a sponge--well--it IS a sponge. it should be syruped a day ahead and it does absorb the syrup perfectly and evenly. follow the recommended amounts and it should be great--but if you make it in a microwave it may well be much moister so i can only speak for traditional methods here.
the lemon poppyseed does keep most of the syrup on the surface but it forms a delicious sticky barrier to keep the inside from drying--it really works!

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Elicia,

I used a large star tip (pastry size, open star). I piped as doing scalloped borders, but I pulled the tip completelly away after each 'star' was piped.

Another way to explain this: a series of individual stars piped with the tip angled 45o and not the traditional straight 90o.

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Nushera, THANK YOU for the Viennese Fingers recipe!

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Elicia, I saw the grape jam in the Ball canning book, but I used the recipe from Cordon Rose Strawberry Conserve. I brought the preparation to 220oF, for the jam geled very well. I am getting better with canning, bought new lids, and all

I can't wait to try Rose's cherry jam!

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Haha! Mudcakes have mud - that's a funny one! From the pics in the recipe books, the mudcakes look like a rich, dense (finecrumbed) butter cake, not puddinglike. Haven't tasted one yet though! I think mudcake is a popular term used in Australia?

Grapes! What will you think of next, Hector? I thought the borders look like leis too - not exactly shell. How did you pipe them? A cross between shell and star?

I just bought a 30ml/1oz syringe from a pharmacy - big enough for me to use for syruping! Can't find any bigger ones!

I believe the choc ganache syruping works for choc butter cakes. For choc genoise, alchohol and sugar syrups (more liquid) works better. I've syruped a choc genoise with a cocoa syrup though - a recipe from another book - cocoa is cooked with water and sugar to make the cocoa syrup.

Syrup shld penetrate very well with genoise - make sure top and bottom crusts are removed as Hector said!

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thks Joan, i sometimes use the large marinade syringe which i bought from a chinese variety store(it's easier to say what they dont sell) for Aus$2.

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Hector- here is a recipe of Viennese Fingers (shortbread-type biscuit) that u can pipe. pre-heat oven at 180'c or 350'F. Line 2 baking trays. cream 100gm unsalted butter + 40gm icing sugar until light n fluffy. gradually add 2egg yolks nd 1.5 tea sp vanilla essence and beat thoroughly. sift in 125gm plain flour. using a knife mix until all ingredients are just combined and mixture is smooth. spoon the mixture into piping bag fitted with 1cm(0.5") fluted piping nozzle. pipe wavy 6cm(2.5") length on the trays(makes 20). bake for 12 min or until golden brown. cool slightly on trays, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. traditionally the biscuits are half-dipped into melted dark choc-butter mixture(100gm dark chocolate + 30 gm unsalted butter; of course melted on a double boiler or in low-microwave).
i think u can dip what the petroglyph
would be holding in his hand:-)
btw, quoted the recipe from an old issue of the Australian Women's weekly, and the photograph seems promising!

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/CrowdControl3.html

In searching of a 'dark red' flavor for tier #7, I made this red grape conserve; the color is right! Next, a more finished version of the paddler cake; and just now looking at the photo on my computer I think those thick borders look like leis... And bonus 2 photos I took today, source of my inspiration. Enjoy!

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Thanks Rose for support, and for half-pan comment. Thanks Rozanne for info and advice - feels good to know I guessed right. joan

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Elicia - just yesterday I was researching recipes for Blackout Cakes (choc cake w/choc pudding). According to some, Blackout Cakes are sometimes referred to as "Mud" Cakes (at least in places outside of NY). I wonder if the mudcakes you are talking about are similar?

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Joan, I don't think the ganache will work to moisten the genoise, you will have to use a fruit / liqueur syrup. The genoise is dryer than a butter cake and needs the extra moisture.
Rozanne

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Joan, the person (Helen) who posted the question to Rose was talking about the Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake. It is on pg 54 of the Cake Bible.
Rozanne

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Elicia and all - Re the ganache syruping discussion a while back - Chocolate Fudge cake was mentioned as turning out beautifully. Rose [to Helen] makes reference to it being lovely for 'my chocolate cake' - do you know which cake that was? Would this chocolate ganache glaze be overwhelming for the chocolate genoise cakes or are they better with liquor and fruit syrup? I think it sounds wonderful, but want to use it where it is best. Thanks, joan

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oops - not 79cc, but '70cc' sorry. j

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Nushera/Silvia - Rose speaks to this syringe use on page 460 of TCB - 70cc. I just ordered a 79cc one from Bard on the internet. They are readily available. I just ordered a syringe alone, not the needle, for less than $10. joan

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I think mudcakes have mud! It may be just a restaurant fanciful name, that's all.

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Silvia, thank you for spectacularizing my cakes! I am still trying to find myself and establish a niche unique to me, been TCB the biggest tool.

I am certain the clay ovens bake well, WISH I HAVE ONE. Clay dissipates and maintains heat very evenly! It is something, we 'modern oven users' try to replicate (see my posting about the tiles lined in my oven). Of course, I think it is a little more cumbersome to light that clay oven as oppose to turning a electronic switch!

The whisk I have is extremely light, you will be surprised that this giant is feather weight!

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Silvia, adding syrup depends on the type of cake, and for Rose's Moist Chocolate Genoise IT IS REQUIRED. Be sure to remove/discard the top and bottom crusts of the cake, these would absorb most of the syrup and turn into a pasty mess, which also prevents the syrup to penetrate into the cake.

If your layers are about 1 inch, the syrup will penetrate all the way. If your layers are thicker you may want to syrup the top, then flip your cake, and syrup the bottom.

Do leave them wrapped in the fridge for 24 hours, for the syrup to migrate evenly, there is just no other way for gravity to work and get an evenly moist cake

Be sure to use the correct amount of syrup, too much or too little is bad. GOOD LUCK.

P.S. I don't have the 70 cc syringe yet, as doctors seldom use such big size anymore, but my biochemist friend is getting me one really soon. I am sure it will be a great syruping tool because Rose said so!

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thks, Silvia. i couldnt have baked better if Rose didnt write TCB. Hector used a medical syringe of 60/70cc to inject syrup in his genoise, so far as i can remember.

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joan--i posted a question a few weeks ago when i was away about half sheet pans and just wanted to be sure you knew that the chicago metallic are perfect. the extra 1/4 inch is the measure from the very top but it gets smaller as you measure toward the bottom.

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I'm sorry, I didn´t sign the last two letters.
regards, Silvia

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Hector, I plan to bake the moist chocolate genoise for my sister´s birthday. I want to know if you always use syrup with genoise, and how do you manage to avoid the cakes from becoming soggy. Usually, I try to avoid using syrup, because I get a soggy outer surface, but a dry interior (it happened, for example with the lemon poppyseed cake). Perhaps if I inject the syrup into the cake...?
if I bake the layers one day before, do I have to moisten them before wrapping, or shoul I moisten them just before assembling the cake?
Thanks for your help

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Nushera, it´s encouraging to learn that we are not alone in our pursuit for better cakes!!!! One of the best things with Rose's book (or *the* best thing), is the solid theoretical basis that she teaches, which enables us to know , use and adapt better the resources we have at hand.
Anyway, whenever I see hector's spectacular cakes I wish I could bake something similar. I have to tell myself, it´s a matter of time and practice.
My first genoise ever was Rose´s Classique genoise. It was really easy to make (though many people say genoises are difficult to master), following the book's instructions and using the balloon whisk (not as big as hector's,it would be too heavy for me). I microwaved it (the oven was broken that night), and the texture was so exquisite and light, that we ate it just at it was, without syrup or any buttercream.
here, in the country, some people still use their round clay ovens to bake evertyhting. it's just a matter of experience, I guess

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Thks Theresa!

I must say TBB is an interesting read - its more than a cookbook, its a great reference on the know-how of breadmaking! Kudos to Rose for her most meticulous observations and experiments, and putting all these knowledge into the book!

Yes, the Banana Loaf is pretty much a very flavourful, light and moist sandwich loaf - the banana flavour is really subtle. It makes a great healthier substitute for commercial sandwich loaves!

Over here I can get bread flour but almost impossible to find 'unbleached' ap flour! I ended up buying organic unbleached flour - the only ones available! So am feeling very 'healthy' when I eat my homemade bread!

Oh and did I say the Banana Sourcream Butter Cake is just so moist and soft (I made it with the maximum 1/2 cup sourcream) - very different from the classic banana pound cake which is moist and dense but more chewy.

Oh Hector, with so many bananas, you may also want to try Rose's banana CreamCheesecake. It is just heavenly! As for pixs, so sorry as everything seems to be gobbled up already!

On greasing - try Wilton's Cake Release - superb release and perfect crumb with just a little of it. I sometimes don't even grease/flour for genoise, but always make sure the base is lined with parchment! And without a large balloon whisk, the slotted skimmer is definitely the next best option!

BTW, just wondering - what's the diff between mudcakes and moist butter cakes? I see a lot of recipes for choc or white choc mud cake - the ingredients look pretty much like a choc fudge cake. What really sets a mudcake apart? Can anyone enlighten me?

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Cindy, use a slotted skimmer slightly bent so it is less angled, or use a super large silicone spatula. A 2.5" diameter whisk WILL NOT DO.

Lets compute: 1 recipe of BdS is for 3 1" layers. That is a total of 3" of cake. If you want 1 2" then 2/3 will do! I've tested it.

Why do you want a thick 2" BdS? I find 1" layers much yummier since it likes lots of fillings. Thinner layers also syrup better.

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Thank you Hector, I actually only want to make one B de S of 2 " high . I shall try to use 2/3 the TCB recipe and make one . See if it can turn out like eyours. For this smaller amount , do you think an ordinary 2.5" diameter whisk will work? Thank you.

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Cindy,

The 3 biscuit de savoie, 2" high, were baked by using a near double recipe of TCB. I used a 15.6 eggs recipe (or 292 grams of yolk and 467 grams of whites, factor the rest of the ingredients accordingly).

TCB recipe is for 3 biscuit de savoie, 1" high. It calls for 8 eggs (or 150 grams of yolk and 240 grams of whites).

You will need a 5 qt stand mixer to whip the yolks, and a 6 qt stand mixer to whip the whites, or have 2 bowls (one bowl must be 6 qt). During folding, first, I add 1/3 of the whites onto the yolks, then pour this yolk and white mix to the 6qt bowl where the other 2/3 whites remain. There is no way you can add all the whites into the 5 qt bowl.

I (and Rose) give heavy importance to the 14.5" giant balloon whisk to do the folding. I am uncertain if you could use a spatula to fold such large quantities of biscuit de savoie batter.

Fill your pans 1/4" to 1/2" inch full.

Good luck!

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Hector,
Are the 3 biscuit de savoie that you baked at one time made with the amount of ingredient specified in TCB? Each of them is 2" high. I can only bake one at a time due to oven capacity . I made the B de S by measuring one third of the ingredients and the biscuit was like 1" high only. What could be the problem ? not enough beating of the white?
Any comment ? Thank you!

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Thank you Patrincia and Hector for your kind and instructive advice about the spraying and linings of the different pans for the different cakes! I have printed them. I was confused for sure. Joan

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Do you have a good recipe to make piped cookies? Something using simple ingredients.

I like to make cookies in the shape of this Hawaiian petroglyph canoe paddler!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/Paddler%20-%201.jpg

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Silvia, Nushera, absolutelly, part of been a good baker is to do with what you can find! TCB is a good book, and you most certainly can use it as a 'reference book.' TCB describes in detail the physics and chemistry of each ingredient and equipment, that I would say as long as you can find a substitute with similar properties, go for it!

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again to Silvia, i cant stand even the mildest noise in microwave oven and the electricity bill is a real headache, so i have to use the oven built in gas cooking range. its almost gone;-) as the knob doesnt work properly. even then using a oven thermometer i am doing pretty good(Not "not bad"). in my childhood i saw my grandma making perfect baked dishes on a clay-oven (in a no-electricity, no-gas remote south-asia village). no worries abt yr oven!

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Silvia, i know how it feels when u cant help substituting ingredients in the original recipe. i stopped looking for bleached cake flour as almost all the products available here are "proudly" unbleached (even the most expensive brand declaring u r baking contry's best)! thank God Rose is here. i can make my own cake flour with her invaluable instruction. though at the outset i was in a dilemma if cornflour nd cornstarch stand for the same product;-) i am not as experienced or expert as someone like Patrincia but i feel proud of my Rose-influenced baking skill(!) when i find myself successfully baking Genoises! get yr home-made versions of cake-strips n heating core and replace yr spatula with large balloon whisk for folding/mixing- you r sure to get surprising results with Rose. best of luck.

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Hector, as a matter of fact, it´s not just a translation problem, we don´t actually have as many flour, cocoa, chocolate, sugar, etc kinds as you do.
For example, you can just find all purpose or wholemeal wheat flour at the supermarkets. One friend had to buy 50 pounds of pastry flour to a factory, in order to have lower protein flour and that´s the "cake" flour we use. And also, we live at a high altitude, and have had to experiment a lot to get acceptable results.
I also loved to bake as a child, but I learned alone, there were few books then (neither good nor bad), just family or friends' recipes. The few books available had almost no instructions, explanations or images.
One of my first *real* baking books was Rose´s, and I´ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
My baking skills have improved a lot, and also, now I am able to judge cakes and tell what´s missing or what should be improved.
You´re right, I have to learn to use the ingredients and tools I have at hand, it´s a matter of adapting the recipes, by *using* Rose´s theory.
Wish I had 2 ovens! Mine is really small and doesn´t bake evenly; still, i manage to bake my cakes and my bread with it.
I love your mango Rose cake, it´s a beautiful idea, that I should try, now that we have plenty of mangoes here.
I´m going to experiment with home made cake strips, and also, with changing the leavener.Thanks for your help, Silvia

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Joan,

I follow closely how to prepare the baking pans, it really depends on they type of cake: butter cakes, genoise with butter, and biscuit de savoie (aka genoise without butter).

If you are using parchment, you can spray your pan with Pam or BJ. I think it is better to use BJ (w/ flour). When I spray with Pam (w/o flour), the parchment comes out 'wet' greasy. I suspect the presence of flour will prevent this.

On the parchment, again, it would be best to spray with BJ, because the flour presence will form a nice golden crust on the cake. But, it is ok to bake naked, the parchment will peel off, and you just don't get the nice crust, which wouldn't matter much if you plan to level-saw or get rid of the crusts for a tiered frosted construction.

On biscuit de savoie, the rule is to bake on 'clean' pans. You do spray the bottom of the pan with Pam or BJ, but then you put a clean parchment on it. The cake batter is never touching a greased surface.

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Elicia, I have about 4 apple banana trees in fruit, so far just eating about 3 a day as they ripen! I was told that harvested apple bananas can be allowed to turn skin black, so I often do. They shrink, the skin gets thinner and the fruit smaller, but the edible flesh is still firm and super sweet! Hey, is there a way to make banana conserve? or such?

I must try the Banana Featherlight Loaf you made! I think I once made it, is that the one described as a loaf bread with banana taste and not as a banana bread? I loved it. Pictures please, of your creations!

CONGRATULATIONS on your TBB initiation! You will notice that in no-time, you will make all your own bread! I love bread making, it is so organic, so alive. Takes relatively little work, just a lot of sitting time for the rises. THE YELLOW KITCHEN has turned into a yeast free place, don't use commercial yeast anymore, just my own sourdough starter. I use the starter for any bread calling for yeast! TBB and this blog explain in detail how to achieve a non-sour bread using sourdough starter, how to achieve a tastier non-sourdough bread by adding sourdough starter, and how to extend bread shelf life by using sourdough starter! Versatile!

After the 11-tier biscuit de savoie cake is delivered, I will need to go into butter cake mood for sure! Right now I can whip the biscuit de savoie with my eyes closed and that is boring!

... eating 2 apple bananas as I type this blog ...

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Hi Joan - for butter cakes, I spray my lightly colored, aluminum cake pans (Magic Line) with Pam, then line the bottom of the pans with either parchment or waxed paper (either works just fine), and that's it - I don't re-spray the parchement/waxed paper, but I don't think it would hurt if you did.

Baker's Joy - I did give Baker's Joy spray a try once, but the nozzle must have been defective, because the stuff came came out in a clumpy stream rather than a fine spray. I returned it and decided my method was working fine, so why mess with a good thing?

As for Genoise - Honestly, I haven't made any yet so I don't know how not flouring the pan would effect them.

I hope I helped answer your question.

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Elicia - we missed you! Welcome back.

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please do a search on the blog for "printing." i have explained sevearl times how to tell which printing the cake bible is in. also try "revisions."
there is no 1993 edition of the cake bible--only 1988.
revisions were made in the 34th printing. the printing number is on the page preceeding page #5--the foreword. the cover has a quarter size red round in the upper right hand side that says "revised ingredients and equipment sections."

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Hector - I just ordered the 1993 of TCB. Is that the edition you referred to as containing updated equipment and ingredient lists? If so, does it include any changes or additions in recipes? Perhaps that is only happening in the neew 2008 book. Thanks.

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Patrincia, thanks for this information. I am confused, however. Rose says for the butter cake and the genoise pans to grease, line with parchment, then grease again and flour. When you say you do not flour your pans, but just spray with non-stick spray, are you just using something like Pam spray under, and then the parchment round and then nothing on top of the parchment? I was using Pam under the parchment and BJ on top of the parchment bec I thought perhaps when CB was written there probably wasn't a non-stick with flour in it like BJ. I guess my way was overkill and the cake didn't even need it. Now, however, I am coming upon the helpful advice here. I just purchased some Chicago Metallic pans 9 x 2", sporting "Resist, non-stick, pre-coated, etc." - Then the recipe they provided calls for greased and floured bottoms - hmmm. They are nice and heavy at any rate. Funny, I had just read in CB last night about the crumb coating and Rose's advice to use that thin coat out of a small bowl later discarding, so that the crumbs don't 'contaminate' the contents large pristine frosting bowl.

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Oh Hector, you're really meticulous when you bake! Those mango roses are getting contagious!

Haven't access my emails for a while and it was fun reading ALL the comments on this blog! Oh BTW, love your 'handsome' dog - she's quite a character huh!

OK - I've finally baked a proper bread from TBB. Not sourdough though - will take it one step at a time, especially since the only SAF instant yeast I can find comes in 500g packs! That's a lot of yeast!

I baked the Banana Featherlight Loaf - it was heavenly! Soft and fluffy enough to pass off as one of those highly refined white sandwich loaves we buy, yet much more healthy. What I really appreciate is that the banana flavour is so subtle, the lightly sweet loaf can be used like regular sandwich bread with fillings, yet packed with fibre! Oh and I have extra bananas - made the Banana Sourceam Cake - moist and heavenly - topped with toffee sauce and praline powder!

I seldom bake butter cakes in the past, as I find it more tedious than genoises (creaming butter & sugar, ugh!). Nowadays, Rose's method is so fast and simple, I'm starting to enjoy butter cakes more! Have even successfully converted some of my butter cakes recipe to Rose's method!

Mmm... must try baking in my microwave's convection mode - haven't tried it in the past!

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Silvia, thank for the keen words. Keep on trying, you can bake with your local ingredients, it is just a matter of language translation and a matter of testing what works for you!

Here a new treat, and for you! I made this last night. I have this big cake I am working on for July 28th, and it is giving me a lot of 'test cakes'

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/MangoRose4.html

Why are my cakes spectacular? =) I have TCB since 1988 when it was written. This book has been used and abused; it is going to Italy to be hand-stiched and leather bound. I have a second copy of TCB that I got recently with the updated ingredients and equipment list. I have been baking since my Mom allowed me to help her in the kitchen. At 15, I made my first wedding cake for my oldest brother wedding, served 500. Believe me... I am still 'experimenting.' My brothers and sister also bake their own cakes; they are my biggest critics and until this day I am not able to 'satisfy' them.

I don't use cake strips, however I highly recommend them to achieve level cakes "easier." I used cake strips for a long time until I mastered my oven temperature and amount of baking powder per pan width, mostly the main factors to get level cakes. I find all recipes on TCB not needing cake strips (as long as you follow the correct pan width and oven temperature). TCB goes in detail how to achieve level baking.

Regarding oven temperature, a good generalization is to use lower temperature and longer baking time to achieve level cakes. For sure, if your cake is browning too fast, you will have a volcano, too.

I use a countertop microwave/convection oven, Panasonic or Sharp, consumer model. Rose recommends it, and she owns 'at least two.' It has a turn table, which is the main reason to choose these (you never bake in microwave mode). The turntable makes the heat distribution "perfect." But this oven is small and it can bake up to 2 9" cakes, or so.

For larger work, I have a "regular range" for home (not commercial grade). A 30" self standing range/oven, gas. KitchenAid Architect Series I. The oven has slots for 5 racks. The bottom of the oven above the heating element is lined with quarry tiles. I am lucky that the heating element is covered, so I can place the tiles on the cover. The top rack is also lined with quarry tiles. That leaves me with 4 available slots for racks, which I only use 2 at the most for baking cakes, so there is good clearance in between for air flow. When I use 1 rack it is placed in the middle, and when I am using 2 racks these are placed equally distant.

I use 1 rack for 2 9" cakes. They fit side by side comfortably. When I bake 2 9" I prefer to use 1 rack than 2.

I use 2 racks for 3 or 4 9" cakes. The bottom rack bakes slower so I leave them in the oven for about 5 minutes longer. I always leave the convection fan on when using 2 racks. With 2 racks, I can also bake 4 9" cakes, or anything that fits.

I ALWAYS make sure there is a clearance of at least 2" between pans and a bit more between the pan and your oven walls, for good air flow.

Happy baking, keep baking and you will bake level!

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Hector, your layers look just PERFECT. Do you bake them all at the same time? What kind (and size) of oven do you have? Do you use cake strips?
Also, the finished cakes seem lovely to me, how long have you been baking?
I bought TCB last year, but my results aren't as spectacular as yours, because I it's almost impossible to find here all the ingredients Rose asks for. Still, I continue trying!

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Ha! I love the one where Lucky is sticking her nose out the back of the chair!

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She is adorable! (What a life!)

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Theresa, here is Lucky at THE YELLOW KITCHEN. And when she is bored from so much baking, she jumps right onto her daybed!

www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/LuckySHE.html

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Matthew, July 28th. And I make the BEST cappuccinos there is! Francis Francis X5, Illy medium roast beans, KitchenAid Pro Line burr grinder set at dial #7, Nespresso Aerocino milk frother with pre-chilled skim milk, and a good friend of the local Illy-USA sales manager!

A treat for you all (Lucky loves to clean the mango seeds). Here Mango Rose #2. I had to assemble this in 30 minutes. It is a little smashed because it had an accident in the car; I very much dislike to ride on a tall SUV with a cake on my lap. 4 layers towering Biscuit de Savoie moistened with pure mango juice (fresh); plain whipped cream (no vanilla extract), and of course fresh mangoes on top (something I get free here, ok rub it in...). The taste was well balanced, mango has such strong flavor that I didn't find necessary to blend chopped mangoes in the filling.

Enjoy, MY FRIENDS: http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/MangoRose2.html

P.S. I feel like I am exploiting Matthew's original idea of using the mango rose!

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Hector,
If you wanted me to participate, the cappuccino would have to come first! So when is the big day again?

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Hector - I was wondering where Lucky came in, but I am happy to see that his walk is included!

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Oh Hector - we'll be right over!

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/CrowdControl2.html

You can have a day job, house guests, and whip a 16 egg batch of Biscuit de Savoie. All you need is to sleep 1/2 hour later and wake up 1/2 hour earlier. This is how:

1/2 hour prior to going to bed. Separate and measure egg whites and yolks. Also measure sugar and superfine it in the food processor.

1/2 hour prior to your normal waking up time. Turn on/preheat oven. Whip yolks with the sugar. While yolks are whipping, measure and sift your flours and prepare your baking pans with parchment and grease on the underside. Now add the warm water and vanilla to the yolks, whip more until it hardens again. You will have a few idle minutes, so this is the opportunity to get your clothes ready for your day.

Once the yolks are done, add the flours on top. Whip slowly the whites, more idle time, measure and add the cream of tartar, more idle time, add the sugar, and more idle time.

Fold and bake, and now you have 25 minutes to jump in the shower and get ready for work. Unmold, place on the cooling racks, walk your dog with your carry-out breakfast for about 30 minutes. Prepare your cappuccino and load it on your car's cup holder. Wrap your lunch (home made of course) and load your car. Now, wrap your cakes in plastic wrap, and leave for work! Plan to get a super-size diet Coke so keep you awake.

Frost when you come home, or place in the refrigerator until ready to frost.

Call friends to help!

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Thanks, Rozanne - I will print this out right now! It sounds SOOO good!

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Theresa,
Here's the posting Elicia is refering to (in case you couldn't find it).

"helen, the perfect solution to making my chocolate cake richer without being denser is to apply a ganache glaze to the interior of the cake. (you are going to LOVE this!)i've only done this on a 9 inch layer so you're going to have to work out the proportions but it's easy.
for a two egg recipe, use 3 ounces/85 grams of bittersweet chocolate 51 to 61% but no higher, and 6 ounces/175 grams of heavy cream.
when the cake is baked, as soon as it comes out of the oven, poke deep holes with a wooden skewer all over the cake and brush in half the warm glaze. actually i found the directions i wrote up for the 9 inch layer:
While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze:
Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Scald the cream (heat to the boiling point. Small bubbles will appear around the edges), and with the motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process a few seconds until smooth. (Alternatively, grate the chocolate, place it in a small bowl and stir in the scalded cream until the mixture is uniform in color. Transfer the chocolate glaze to a small bowl and keep it warm.
When the cake is baked, place it still in the pan on a rack and with a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the top. Use a brush to dabble half of the chocolate glaze onto the cake. It will take about 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a flat surface, such as a card board round or plate, which has been covered with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Peel off and discard the parchment and poke holes all over. Dabble with the remaining glaze, brushing a little onto the sides of the cake as well. Cool completely, for 1 or more hours, until the chocolate is firm to the touch.
do let us know how you liked it. since you have so much time i'd encourage you do to a trial version.

Posted by: Rose Levy Beranbaum | August 20, 2006 5:22 PM"

Rozanne

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THANK YOU, Elicia.

Yes, that is a Ruffoni fondue pot, hand hammered, tinned, and Made in Italy. I use it also to keep bread warm and to temper chocolate, both cases using the bain marie method with the included ceramic pot insert. It is also great to do deep frying! On my next gambling strike I promise myself to get the big Ruffoni set!

Try making your dinner rolls using sourdough starter instead of yeast!

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Hi Theresa, The ganache syruping idea was from Rose on this website (try a search - I can't remember which particular blog). The method is similar to the Kahlua syruping method for the Choc Bread in TCB, you will need to poke holes (as in fruit cakes) and syrup with the ganache - top, bottom and sides. The ganache does penetrate through the cake and also leaves a thin film of glaze on the top - it keeps the cake moist without any frosting! If you do prefer to add frosting - it shld also be ok and most divine!

Oh Hector, love that sourdough bread, and is that a beautiful copper fondue pot in the background! You take lovely photos, and I'm a sucker for fine kitchenware!

Will probably start with baking the butter-dipped dinner rolls as my kids love white fluffy bread (unfortunately)! Maybe I'll add some fillings into the rolls - eg cocktail sausages, cheese etc - my kids love those kind of buns. Shld be ok with the dinner rolls recipe, right?

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Elicia, THANK YOU for your detailed feedback, much agreed and appreciated. My sister was a little dissapointed when I said that I will decorate the sides of the "sponge cake" with buttercream. She wanted whipped cream. But, like you said, the fruit flavored Mousseline Buttercreams are a welcome addition. We will see. TCB mentions something about the proper temperature to enjoy a butter based cake (not too cold, on the warm side), so I deduce from this that buttercreams must have a recommended temperature for the palate, too.

I am very happy with the swirls of espresso syrup, too. I find interesting to fork into a slice of cake with interesting patterns and flavors, it becomes multidimensional. My worries of not doing any filling in the 2" layer of cake are satisfied, I think it was fine!

WOW, your chocolate cake moistened with ganache syrup sounds great!

Did you mention Bread Bible? Hope this picture inspires you, I baked this last night.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BasicSourdoughBread25%25WholeWheat.html

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Elicia - how did you "syrup with ganache"? Did you have to poke holes in the cake? Did you frost or glaze it after that, or was the syrup enough to finish it? (And the Cinnamon Crumb bread sounds divine!)

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Hi Hector, I agree with your observation on our weather and buttercream! Over here, the preference is for fluffy biscuit/sponge with thick layers of whipped cream, and preferably fresh fruit! Mousses are much welcome too.

I personally prefer the finer-grained and richer genoise with thin layers of french buttercream (or any buttercream without confectioners sugar!) - but most people feel its too sweet and rich! It shld be enjoyed in small slices, right? I, on the other hand, don't really like thick cream without any add-ons - I prefer it 'thickened' with cream cheese/mascarpone or pastry cream - I believe is the more European style of enjoying cakes! And nothing tastes better than a nice moist rich butter cake (preferably choc) with creme anglaise!

Coming back to your cake - love the swirls of espresso syrup on the cake! I think its the best way to 'coffee' a cake instead of adding 'coffee flavouring' to the batter. The thick buttercream shld be fine since the cake is biscuit and there' no filling! Oh yes, and buttercream is best enjoyed a little chilled, but I think fruit buttercream (eg lemon curd buttercream) is fine at room temperature as the sour tinge is refreshing.

Also reporting - I made the Choc Fudge Cake from TCB and followed a tip from Rose I found on this blog - syruping it with choc ganache! The cake was really chocolatey, soft and moist - wonderful!
And have just attempted my first recipe from the Bread Bible - cheated though as it was the Cinnamon Crumb Surprise - more of a cake than bread!

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
07/06/2007 12:54 AM

I agree with Patricia! I rarely eat cake anymore because it don't even taste the flavor properly!
Jen

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Hector - I think you are overdosing on buttercream :)

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Hector, the cake looks yummy! Only you would think to frost the bottom of the cake! :)

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Just a review I wrote myself to see how these cakes are tasting. Hope you can taste by words!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/Paddler.html

Here the review, and also a reaction I wrote to one of my assistants. I love Costco and in fact most of my baking supplies come from there, please to pun intended:

"I won't compete with Costco bakery, and I will continue to bake from scratch even if that means not going into business. Yes, the taste can be pretty similar (scratch and mixes), but perhaps I can market by listing my ingredients as real, healthy, digestible, and close from the land or unprocessed resource. Try reading the label at Costco cakes, most of it is not real food.

Just had the test cake tonight, went to Allen's place, I was so bored at the beginning, but then the party warmed up, met nice people. We had the cake I made with the canoe paddler petroglyp made of coffee beans. I think it was 80% excellent, comparing to 100% which would be the Copper Topper Mountain Cake I made for my b-day at Roys. First of all, it was a 2" solid layer of cake, no filling in the middle. Traditionally this cake are layered into 1" thick and filled with frosting in between, I did put a generous top of frosting, sides, and even bottom (the frosting stuck on the plate). It was light, definitely for the European market or the foodie person, not so sure if the locals will buy into this! I loved the espresso used to moist this cake (for my b-day cake I used Amaretto). The coffee taste was light, I think most kids won't even tell. I am tempted to make ALL the extra 9" cakes for the WYC moistened with coffee!!! It gave interesting brown shading on the 2" thick cake. The amount of syrup was just right (I measured by equal weight to the cake), I didn't think the cake was "dry" but maybe a "little dry," definitely not soaked wet, I like to believe that this tender dryness goes well with the rich buttercream.

One thing I still need people to decide is that I believe that this buttercream may be too heavy for Hawaii warm weather, I feel it oily in my tongue or maybe just on my licking fingers or cake knife. Or maybe I have been whipping so much of this buttercream lately that I am a little tired of it. It is the best buttercream in the world (fact, not exaggerating), but I prefer to eat it at around 50 to 60 degrees chilled, than at room temperature (which is about 75). For my b-day, the cake was at 50 degrees (temperature of a cooler holding a cake that has been previously kept refrigerated at 30 degrees) which made it just right on the palate (didn't feel greasy)."

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Theresa, THANK YOU! I am glad you noticed it is a paddler because there is another petroglyph that looks just like this but it is a warrior: the paddle can be shaped like a sword!

On of my two assistants thinks that I should instead make a few 3D paddles out of chocolate and stick them on these extra round cakes. I told her that unless she does all the sticking around, it may not work! On the party day, I don't see myself capable of transporting and staging an 11-tier cake with an endless number of 9" cakes and doing all the sticking of the chocolate paddles. Also, I appreciate fellow bloggers feeback, [...we expected to see more piping on top of the round cake..] possible refering against "this pile of beans."

I am proud to share that my local Illy USA rep is donating the coffee beans. Also, Wilton is donating a few of their publications to be auctioned at the event this cake is in.

Bake your life way. /H

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Hector - I love the paddler (sorry - petroglyph!) in coffee beans!

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Nushera, just trying to "design local." Many people here just pile a few rocks together to make petroglyphs! So my little coffee beans are up to scale =)

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i thought the top would be showing some more of piping... but it's got a different look. really cute!

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Hector - it's so cute!!!

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Jennifer, tamarind is yummy, but I believe the flesh is more on the red color, the skin is brown.

Nushera, I didn't coat or treated the mangoes in any way, they remained nice and yellow/orange for 24 hours (it got eaten that fast). When I slice mangoes ahead, it stays nicelly colored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator, I wonder if this is the fact that I am using fresh local mango?

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Oh, is that what "staining" meant? In the US we say the fuit "turned brown".

Isn't it interesting how various cultures describe the same things so differently?

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Hector, thank u so much. peeled slices of fruits like mango, apple, banana tend to get a thin coating of staining (the term might be oxidation in chemistry) if left for long hours, some people soak the slices in lemon juice to prevent that. just wondering what u did.

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Jennifar, ripe tarmarind flesh is pasty in texture and taste varies from sweet-n-sour to extremely sour. mostly used in making chutney(thick sauce-like but contains more spice n aroma; goes extremely well with indian-style hot finger foods)

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
06/29/2007 02:33 PM

tamarind is a brown fruit, tho i have never tasted it.

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Elicia, I like the idea of the flavored fondant, much more palateable. Rozanne, YOU 'r AMAZING! This cake is for the bloggers!

Had a little mishap yesterday, I added too much apricot curd into the mousseline, it became too soft. Oh well... I call it a quit, so I put that droopy mess in the freezer. I plan to whip a new batch of mousseline and add it to it to make it nice again, should work. But I promise today (Friday) and this weekend, I won't bake!

By the way, I am convincing myself that using Kahlua in the mousseline is great as a neutral liquor for buttercreams that you want to flavor. Seems that the Kahlua 'coffee' taste is so in the background that you can't tell after you add a fruit flavor to the mousseline. Traditionally, I use pisco, vodka or white wine, as my neutral liquor for the mousseline. Believe me, YOU MUST add the liquor, it perfects the texture and it balances the sweetness and greasiness perfectly. Maybe perhaps I have become coffee and alcohol indifferent due to over use?

Now I am engineering the 6 upper layers of cake. I drilled a 1/4" hole on the center of each separator plate and cake board, to stake a metal tube thru all the 6 upper layers. When I make the caramel cake topper (petroglyph paddler) I will attach a dowel rod, like a lollipop with a stick. This stick should fit nicely in the metal tube. Perhaps I will glue the stake on the bottom cake separator plate so it won't tip over?

Here some flavors for the other 6 layers I need to make, I will continue to red/brown/cream color scheme. For brown I am thinking on doing milk chocolate, and then a dark chocolate bar I still have from my friend in Bologna. I think there aren't that many fruits that are brown except over-ripen bananas, and believe me, it is in the test runs in my kitchen. [Excerpt from my local friend Kathy: strawberry, coffee and mango...I can't imagine that those flavors mix well. Coffee and chocolate, hazelnut, and anise goes well. Strawberry might cancel out mango? Need a taste test? How about coconut...Red fruits? Cherries, pomegranate, guava (kind of), watermelon, ruby grapefruit ... I'll think ... Yellow/orange? Papaya, peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, ...]

.... ENJOY ...

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Hector, your pictures are amazing and so life like. I feel that if I touched my screen I will be able to taste it.
Rozanne

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Hector, the "extra cake" is beautiful - simple and elegant!

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Hector - your piping skills are improving!

Nushera - your Caketor/Hector comment was very funny!

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I think minimal use of fondant for decoration is fine. Covering a whole cake with 1/4" thick fondant plus additional large fondant figurines is another story! Unless it's a huge wedding cake that needs early preparation and long hours of display! Even then, alternative frostings and decor is available - eg buttercreams, choc glazes, choc strips/sheets, fresh fruit and flowers!

If fondant is really necessary - it may benefit from flavouring, eg Rose's method of flavouring with orange flower water or rosewater, or by using minute amounts of concentrated flavourings - discovered these - a teeny drop will do and they have chic flavours such as champagne, creme-de-menthe and amaretto!

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Oh Hector, If you come to M'sia, do bring a slice of leftover cake!! I'll definitely treat you to some great local delicacies! Haha!

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Nushera, yes the mango rose was refrigerated. What do you mean for staining on the mango slices? I didn't use any food coloring.

Oh yes, sliced mango in the fridge gives a foul odouring. I keep it extremelly airtight, inside a cake pan or glassware and wrapped with 2 or 3 layers of plastic wrap. This trick of using several layers of plastic wrap makes things so airtight that you could even hold a stone on it.

I can't wait to visit the Hilo Farmers Market this Saturday, it was featured by Emeril recently. It is Litchee season. I will look for more fruits to complete the 11 tier cake.

Credit of the mango rose is to Matthew, who posted a NICE one a few weeks ago. And ultimatelly, credit to Rose, who uses this rose design cleverly on her Pie and Pastry Bible.

Also, going back to 'edible art'; I grew up in a country where pastillaje and fondant was heavilly used, also lattice, and all sort of 3D decorations. When I first saw Cake Bible, I said TASTE can be better than 'edible art'

I have a few TASTE-artful things in my menu, the mango rose is the last addition.

Once again, thanks you all for all your keen attention and advise. The support is very much appreciated and needed since I am already running on 2 lesser hours of sleep a night! After the party can I take a vacation at one of your many wonderful places you are? Malaysia, Australia, East Coast, you name it.

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Nushera, thank you for been keen. How about this for extra cakes? A few of these to prevent 'big cake' to be eaten so soon. 9" rounds with disappearing cake boards.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/CrowdControl.html

Nushera, ABSOLUTELLY I am on your boat. I very much dislike all the cake decorating shows on FoodTV, such edible art. I do admire their skills of being a sculptor, carpenter, magician, etc (seriously). If only these giants made of sugar could be "really" edible. Not much REAL BAKING going on. In any case it is an art, just a different specialty.

I am more into totally edible cakes (and digestible).

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Caketor, i mean Hector, did u keep yr mango-rose in the refrigarator? how did u prevent staining on the mango slices and the odouring in the fridge?

i think Hector's cakes do give us brilliant ideas about what celebration cakes should look like. these days professional cake designers (and those who orders) seem to create statue or replica of peculiar objects like big-brand handbags or even shoes! with mechanical nd technical support the finished leather-like product do attract our attention... but all that is missing is nothing but delicacy. just think about the trend of imprinting computer-generated image(photo) on the frosting. i cant even imagine of cutting such a cake. (with due respect and apology to those who likes the socalled "edible art"). thank u again, Hector.

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Hector - that one is going into my "recipes to try" file!

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Elicia, to make the coffee curd, I followed the recipe for Lemon Curd. Replace by volume the lemon juice with espresso coffee. Then, after cool, I added Medaglia d'Oro espresso powder until I achieved the color and taste desired. Be sure to dissolve the powder in a little bit of water first, if you just add the powder it won't dissove in the buttercream. IT WAS ONO-LICIOUS!

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Mmm... am still looking out for Bialetti!

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Hector, I assumed you used mango puree for mango curd, but how do you make coffee curd?

And I agree with Patrincia, you take great pics of your wonderful creations.

The batch of layers is a great combination too - love the colours.

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Thank you Patrincia. Flan IS MY SPECIALTY!

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BTW Hector, I meant to tell you I liked your "National Geographic" style Yellow Kitchen photos - just like the magazine, each one of your creations is a work of art. Is photo #6 a flan?

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Haha.... Hector, you crack me up! On behalf of my Italian ancestors, I am in no way offended by your comments :)

PS - My English/Irish ancestory prevailed... I prefer Tea.

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You can see that I am getting a little sloppier and tiers 10-9-9 (inches) are not as perfect, compared to the lower tiers 14-12-12. I will be bringing a little angled spatula on site, to do touch ups.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/YachtClub5.html

Some observations: the pictures are pretty color accurate, but they are not in size scale, also note that tiers 14-12-12 is only 12-12-12 on this picture (I later added the extra 2 inches for layer 14). I am VERY happy with the flavors I came up with for tiers 10-9-9, and I hope my guest will agree. All cakes are moistened as usual with coffee. All buttercreams have Kahlua. The flavors in tiers 10-9-9 are: Cordon Rose Strawberry Conserve with wild strawberry French arome, coffee curd, and mango curd. I just happen to have so many yolks (not hard to figure this one out), so it is being used as curds. I also like to believe that curds are pretty stable as frosting. It is amazing how closely these colors are from tiers 14-12-12, if not a shade darker which was my intention; baking magic again.

Note that tiers 10-9-9 are on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, this helps tremendously to transfer the cake around and eventually slide it on top of tiers 14-12-12 on site. I realize that if the cake is very refrigerated (fresh taken out of the refrigerator), it is very sturdy and finger mark proof.

These tiers were left at room temp for several hours, without anything happening, the Mousseline Buttercream is really stable. I had to leave these babies at room temp because I didn't attach the coffee beans yet, and I had to go out and eat dinner!

Enjoy.

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We have Medaglia d'Oro at most supermarkets in Hawaii and the rest of the USA. In as much as possible I try to use Illy fresh espresso instead, but when I need a more intense color, I add Medaglia d’Oro powder. Be aware that Medaglia d’Oro is the actual espresso coffee liquid (as if you would drink it) but dehydrated. It isn’t just ground coffee or a chemical compound.

Unless you drink 1 cup of coffee daily, there is no justification to get an espresso machine. Get the moka pot instead (stove stop, 3 cup size). YOU MUST find the Bialetti brand, or arrange with me to mail you one. The Bialetti moka is quite inexpensive, and it gives a very GOOD espresso even better than most average espresso machines. If I can be little racists and stereotypical (apologies in advance), people say that Mexicans travel with a little bottle of Tabasco in their purses, well... Italians DO travel with a 3 cup Bialetti moka (I have seen it). Be aware that there are many moka pots that look identical to the Bialetti brand, but they are not. By the way, get the simple moka pot, not the cappuccino or the stainless steel models.

I’ve just finished group 2 of the cake, pictures coming (looks the same as group 1). I am very happy with the flavours!

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Elicia, you can usually get the Medaglia d'Oro espresso powder from King Arthur (www.kingarthurflour.com). I just checked now (item 3154) and it is out of stock, though. :( It just says "espresso powder" on the website, but I have bought it in their retail store and it is the Medaglia d'Oro brand. If you can't find it elsewhere, maybe you can call them (800-827-6836) and see what the situation is - whether they will still carry it, and whether the brand will be Medaglia d'Oro.

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Thks Hector for the info on coffee. We have Illy here and it is not much more expensive than other premium brands. As for the machines, it's quite mindboggling - there's big sophisticated ones to the simple one you've described to me earlier. In any case, I haven't found the Bialetti brand, thus am still considering my options! Am also looking out for the instant espresso powder brand mentioned in TCB!

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Thank you Nushera!

Elicia, nephew's cake is "plain," but I think I have some time (calendar wise, not my actual time!) to spice it up!

I like Illy. It is from Italy (roasted and packed), region of Trieste. Luca (also from Italy!) says that Illy is on the pricey side, and perhaps it is Italy's best known coffee export, first to Lavazza. In Italy, Illy is considered the Ferrari of coffees, and the most trusted brand nationwide.

However, Illy isn't "the best" coffee in Italy. Many coffee shops in Italy roast their own coffee, and many are EXCELLENT. Each neighborhood is known for one or two famous coffee shops, with their own roasting.

What I like to think in the USA, is that Illy is perhaps THE BEST there is. It is so consistent. It is also one of the pricier ones, running at $12 per can, where you can pay maybe $3 else some other brand.

One thing I admire about Illy is that they really know about coffee. I agree that the main factor of "good" coffee is the roasting method and the brewing method. Illy has these PERFECTED.

Many coffees in the USA are marketed and priced by their origin, for example 100% Kona Coffee is a luxe. Or, 100% Egyptian. Or 100% Organic. I totally disagree with this categorization. There are so many expensive coffees out there that are roasted terribly. It doesn't matter if your coffee has been grown in the best place on Earth, if you roast it bad, you get bad coffee. Illy uses a blend of coffee beans from all over the world, and they have a special flavor blending machine that will always produce the right blend for the consistent Illy flavor.

Unfortunately, the dark roast (French roast) with the brewing coffee filtering machine are the most popular and "inexpensive" in the USA. But with time, people are getting more information about coffee, asking for a different type of roast and using a pressure system (espresso machine). Have you noticed that now we have so many espresso machines in the market?

I am a fairly new coffee lover. There is nothing more gratifying than making 1 shot of espresso done just right. The aroma is uniquely the best. This shot can be turned into the most beautiful capuccino, latte, or americano!

I swear by most everything that Illy have said about how coffee is roasted, packed, ground, and extracted! It is also healthier than filtered!

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i think Hector's day has got 72 hours i/o 24. or he might be the Aladin of 21st century with the yellow kitchen replacing the magic lamp!

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Oh Hector, Just sniffing the coffee is probably energizing! BTW, is Illy the best? We have it here as well, but we also have several Italian brands. I've not used Illy before.

Can't believe you made 2 mango cakes!
Do fill us in on how you wl be decorating your nephew's cake!

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Hector, I was thinking the luau would be outside, so it would be a good test for your unfreezing experiment. Oh, well! I'll bet the Amaretto will be very nice on the biscuit ...

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Rozanne, I think the energy is coming from all the Illy coffee I am making!

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You all have no idea how much support you are. I call you my cake saw!

I am EXHAUSTED, and have 3 nine-inch, 1 four-inch, and 2 three-inch layers of Biscuit de Savoie in the refrigerator and a 18-cup batch of Mousseline Buttercream. Seems like these smaller layers are no-less work. These for the 11 tier WYC cake; I thought I could get these frosted and put away yesterday, but it took me 1 hour alone just to design the mango rose [my dog Lucky, loved to lick the mango seeds!] The mangoes came from my co-worker, and she has been asking for her cake! I've just brought it over and she loved it. Of course, the not-so-cake-people are saying "what the hell is that, literally!" It was done with Biscuit de Savoie scraps and a lovely Mussolini Buttercream mixed with fresh mango. I have a smaller six-inch version in the refrigerator, I think I will freeze it until I am FREE (such strange word).

Oh, I also have a 4x dough of Basic Sourdough Bread. It is on its final rise and sitting under my office desk, so I could do the repeated punch downs while working (I just say that I no longer work in my office, I blog instead....). The bread will be baked tonight since I have out of town guests staying with me and tomorrow morning they expect grilled paninis for breakfast! NO, I don't make my own prosciutto, but if I could... I would!

I am noting down all your EXCELLENT tips re: cake defrosting. My nephews 1st Luau is on July 7th, a small family dinner with 2 tables at the best Chinese restaurant in town! My sister requested ganache, so I did, but now she wants me to frost the sides with white whipped cream, like Josephine's. No promises. The cake is a 3 thin layers of Biscuit de Savoie (you knew this one), moistened with Amaretto.

QUESTION: I am worry that there would be flies at the event!

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Hector,
What kind of cake was it and what buttercream did you use? By the way even my 3 1//2 yr old noticed the two shades of mango.
Rozanne

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Hector,
Where do you find the time and energy to make all these cakes????? The "mango rose" cake looks lovely. I like the two shades of mango you used.
Rozanne

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The styrofoam is exactly what I was referring to. You can get it in a box shape or make your own from the light styrofoam sheets. It will be great for transporting the cake and keeping it cool (when taken out of the fridge). The insulation is better than paper boxes.

I've seen hotels display cakes with dry ice (even in the open) and it seems ok. I agree it wld not work with frozen cakes, but I think cool/thawed cakes shld be fine. Anyway, fill us in on your testing, ok?

Ooo... another beautiful mango rose! You're on hyperdrive, Hector - so many cakes over the last few weeks!

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Hector - (I've never done this myself, but I think I'll give it a try sometime this summer). I've read that you can make your own insulated cake box out of rigid Styrofoam - the kind you get at a home improvement store. I've seen it with a shiny metal fabric kind of stuff on one side. It shouldn't be too hard to cut it up and duct tape it together into a box shape with a hinging lid or door.

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What a lovely mango rose! Hector, when is the luau for your nephew? Maybe you can try out thawing a test cake at your relatives' party! Nothing like family to eat the experiments! :)

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Thank you all for your invaluable feedback regarding thawing. Why reinvent the wheel, just follow Cake Bible. I will be thawing gradually in the refrigerator (will try a test cake, too, straight from the freezer).

Treat for you:

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/MangoRose.html

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The dry ice idea does sound dramatic, but as far as I understand, it would only exacerbate the condensation problem. The cake cooling the surrounding air is what causes condensation, so to avoid it, it actually needs to be a higher temperature (above the dew point).

I'm sure you must have read this already, but Rose recommends removing the wrapping and defrosting the cake overnight in the fridge in an airtight container. It is on page 164 of the CB.

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Hector,
I agree with Patricia, you should consider doing a test run with a frosted frozen cake. Maybe place it in your backyard in the shade. Afterall your end product is far too precious to be ruined by the weather.
I love Elicia's idea of dry ice. It would definitely be the "icing on the cake".
Rozanne

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Oh Hector, piping can be therapeutic! Not the mixer noise though - I can plug my ears but my poor neighbours (just realised the Kenwood is a 6.7ltr - more noise!)

Oh I think it's dicey to serve from frozen - the breeze may do it for the surface, but I agree with Patrincia - the middle may still be frozen! 2 hours may not do it! Gradual thawing is better I think - perhaps you can find those huge styrofoam boxes to fit each of your stacked tiers? The insulation is just right for gradual thawing - you can even place the cake inside it the night before. I think the mousseline can withstand the heat for 2 hrs even if it's not in a frozen state to start with!

Maybe you can place some dry ice around the display to keep the air around the cake cool - it wld also have a dramatic effect!

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Hi Hector - I knew you would LOVE the heavy duty cake turntable (I'm telling ya, I don't know why I waited so long to finally get one).

Condensation - When is the big cake due??? Do you have time to do a test with your buttercream to see how long it takes for condensation to dissipate outside? I would think a gentle breeze would help to speed things along, but like Matthew said, the dew point will play a huge factor for you.

Frozen cake - How long your cake will be on display before it's served? I'm sure the outer layers will thaw quickly, but the center is going to stay frozen longer because it'll be surrounded with more frozen cake, instead of the gentle breeze of warm air (something to consider).

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Hector, you can get an idea by looking at the dew point on your local weather. I just looked at Honolulu and the dew point is 66 F. That means an object that is 66 degrees or cooler will cause condensation to form. Raising the temperature or air circulation are a couple of ways to fight condensation. If your dew point gets into the 70s or 80s, I'm not sure how much air circulation is required to offset the high dew point though.

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Elicia, I AM SO GLAD you are becoming rosed up! Isn't rose piping not that hard after all?

I've got inexpensive ear plugs from my local drug store; they are for swimming and made of soft silicone. They look like those fancy in-ear headphone plugs. Noise reduction is about 25db, I can still hear my phone ring and some conversation. IT HELPS TREMENDOUSLY. My “real” noise cancelling heavy duty headphones should be arriving in the mail soon, too.

Llast night I had a near catastrophe. I decided to add 2 extra inches to the bottom tier, because it is supposed to be a 14 inch tier. So I did by adding a strip of cake and frosting to it. Taking the frosted cake out of the freezer to my warm room temp caused a lot of condensation. It took me about 20 minutes to work the 14” strip, and I just let it go by praying a lot (Patrincia, BTW, the heavy duty cake turner is such a luxe essential equipment!). I figured that if I placed the cake back in the freezer with all these puddles of water, it will freeze into unsightly icicles. So, I placed the cake in the refrigerator for about 3 hours until the condensation minimized, and then froze it again. My bad for all this unsafe handling! Things seem to be fine, and I hope this near thawing didn’t mess things up too much.

Now I am concerned for “D” day when I need to serve the cakes. I don’t know how I will handle all the cake thawing. I do have room in my refrigerator to gradually thaw all the cakes, but I was hoping to transport the cakes “frozen” and just place them frozen on the table. Cake won’t be cut for about 2 hours. The event will be outdoors, under shade, about 80 degrees and with a gentle breeze. We are not very humid in Hawaii, nor dry neither (our weather is seldom sticky). Do you think this open air will eliminate the water puddles?

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That will definitely be a very sweet cake for a shower! I actually love how you left the sides around the top of the cake 'unfinished' - to create the 'lake'! You know, I have only 1 heavy duty mixer - a Kenwood (I think it's about 5 qts) and the noise is quite crazy! It's ok for Rose's butter cakes which require relatively short bursts, but when I make buttercream or genoises, I have to close all the doors! I've also stopped baking late at night in fear of the neighbours complaining!

Baking is very productive, so I think it's ok to bake your life away!!

I'll probably spend this Sunday practising rose moulding from fondant, and maybe more piping! I piped some fairly ok rosebuds and half roses the other day, and am quite satisfied!

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Nahhhh, the swirl effect on the cake sides is better done at Cake Bible! (or Rose's Celebrations).

On a 9" springform pan, I lined the bottom with 1" Biscuit de Savoie. Moistened with Amaretto syrup. In a bowl, I gently folded Biscuit de Savoie scraps (not upper crusts) with chocolate Mousseline Buttercream, then molded it on the springform. Then remove the springform and trim the sides into a heart shape, with a serrated knife (I used my computer to blow a heart clipart into 9" diameter, cut it with sizzors, then used it as a stencil, worked beautifully).

Elicia, YES, raspberry Mousseline Buttercream applied on the sides, leaving a rough rim on the top edge to make a little lake. Refrigerate until the buttercream has hardened. Light Whipped Chocolate Ganache was softened on the stove for 1/2 minute and poured on the lake. Refrigerate until the ganache has hardened and pipe the letters.

I am attending a wedding today at the Ihilani Koolina Resort, all day form 2 pm until midnight I suppose since the reception is at 5:39 pm. YIKES, I love weddings but this long one will make me change. I will forcefully sneak out on the middle of the wedding to deliver this heart cake to a wedding shower (different people), also this evening, a potluck barbeque in a town nearby. Lets put is this way: If the resort's wedding cake is "average," then I will eat my slice of cake at the barbeque event!

Pointers for Success: Get ear noise canceling mufflers, really, my ears are in pain of turning on my mixers again.

I am baking my life away, specially this week!

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Hector - Mmmmm, I can taste it now!

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Oh Hector, Is that the raspberry mousseline? I am guessing the internal filling is probably choc ganache? Love the way you frost the sides! Really sweet cake! You're a genius!

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Elicia, 1/8" below the rim sounds right!

Thanks for also suggesting to leave the layers as is, and I love the Sunny Fruity Espresso Cocktail Cake, too.

Here is a treat, just whipped "with scraps" try guess what is inside and outside!

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/CarleenAndDan.html

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Sweet charlotte Hector! Love it! I agree to leave the cake as it is, the fruit mousseline by itself already looks so yummy and attractive, and decidedly 'modern'! Maybe you want to rename this as your Sunny Fruity Espresso Cocktail Cake!

Oh Joan, I agree with Hector - genoise and biscuit batters shld be filled to just 1/8" below the rim - these sheet cakes do not rise very much and are really level even without baking strips. Your Chicago Metallic pan shld do it. The 1/4" shld not make much of difference. But if you want to be sure, just increase your recipe slightly and bake the extra as madelines or cupcakes! Be careful not to deflate the batter, and sheets bake very fast - 10 - 15 mins or so - and must be unmolded immediately!

Over here, we don't get the branded sheet pans, but our local pans sheet pans (1" high) have square corners and straight sides and comes in many different sizes - both rectangles and squares!

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What a sweet little charlotte! Thanks for sharing it!

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/YachtClub4.html

Towering 12" wide Biscuit de Savoie. Below the baby charlotte. I saved the edible scraps from leveling the layers, mixed some raspberry mousseline buttercream, and mold it on a bowl.

Enjoy!

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Jen, THANK YOU for confirmed that we can freeze the Mousseline Buttercream flavored with lemon curd!

Rozanne & Elicia, now you are getting me started with ‘passion.’ Also we have fresh guavas in Hawaii’s hiking trails, too! I remember someone bringing a jar full of pure guava juice (no water added), it was heaven. I will need to send a buddy to get these, ‘cause I am almost out of breath and energy by now! Yesterday, my coworker gave me 5 nice mangoes yesterday, so mango curd will be, too. Soon I will need to “stock” a freezer full of fruit flavored mousselines.

I've been discussing with my design team about what decorations to put on the cake. It seems like the cake will remain as is (frosted with fruit, and lined with the espresso beans, Elicia... I like the gaps, too, looks floating and will make cake cutting less messy). I was thinking on piping 2 inch tall petroglyphs and attach them on each layer, all around, but that seems to be too busy. My design team likes the cake as it looks now: like a creamy fruit charlotte. I will add a petroglyph on the very top.

Anybody has a freezer out there I can borrow? I think I will buy the chest freezer from Costco, is under $300.

THANK YOU for your tips, many of these things are my first trials! And believe me, I am not wasting anything, even the cake trimmings are going to good use (picture next).

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Joan, I believe Elicia has a lot of experience baking Biscuit de Savoie on half sheet pans. The ones I have are Chicago Metallic, non non-stick, and 17 something x 12 something.

I find that mixing Biscuit de Savoie is such personal variable, with your particular setup you may end up with too airy or too flat texture, both equally delicious. What I would do is up the recipe a little and bake the overflow on an extra 9" round pan or make cupcakes.

I would fill your half sheet pan near full, or 1/8” from the rim, also lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees. Large cakes don’t rise as well.

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Deaer Rose - I have noted that you call for jelly roll pan 17 x 12" for souffle rolls biscuit de Savoie, etc. I have searched and searched on this blog and on-line - I did purchase 18 x 13 [half pans], and returned them. I feared the cake would end up as thin as a 'cookie,'as one of our persons said the other day. Finally, yesterday I found Chicago Metallic 17 !/4 x 12 1/4. It looks as if that is the best I can do, unless you know where the exact 17 x 12 live? Thanks so much, one more time!!! Joan

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Hector, the little gaps between the 2 rows of beans is what makes it special!

Yep, agree on passionfruit - will marry well with the rest of the flavours and colour!

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Hector,
Your cake looks too good to be eaten. When it is all done it is going to look magnificent. I love the coffee bean idea. Your flavours so far are well matched. Have you thought of a passionfruit buttercream?
Rozanne

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Hector, bravo! so far...your project is a wonder. Re: Rose's lemon curd, I have frozen it in the Mousseline, with good results. I have not tried freezing it by itself - maybe someone else has & can help you with a comment (anyone?). And speaking of curds - you might consider Rose's variation with passion fruit (I use puree, in the amount she specifies) for one of your other tiers. I can't even describe how good that stuff is!!

Continued good luck to you as you progress!

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Elicia, I am loving the colors, too, and the leftover scraps. I will be bringing the cake in stacks of three! These bottom layers are 12" each about 2.5" thick. On the base layer I placed 4 Wilton hidden pillars, then 8 dowel rods, then a Wilton scaloped separator plate. On top of the separator plate I placed plenty of double sided foam tape on the spaces between the 'circles of strength.[ The layer above is on foiled double corrugated cardboard, it attached pretty good on the separator plate with the double sided foam tape. Note that the cardboard is double (two discs), placed with the corrugated lines on an X, and glued with each other with Elmer's glue. I will do the same for the 10" and the two 9". And perhaps, too for the smaller 7" and 6".

Glad you all love the coffe beans in between layers, it was improvisation, since I am using so many boards between layers, the layers are floating above each other.

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Hi Hector, The buttercream colour combinations are spectacular! And the espresso beans separators are really unique. Ooo I love lemon curd buttercream too, and raspberry! Can you mail me a piece of leftovers! Haha!

Will you be delivering the cake stacked, or will it be stacked on site? Or perhaps you will bring it there in stacks of 3 or 4?

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Patrincia, glad you like these colors, I think they match. However, to find all 11 colors I will need to review my color charts! (not all colors look well together).

I think I will remain with the earththy tones of wood. The cake is for a rowdy bunch of canoe paddlers as the organized said!

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There's no question about it - your cake looks spectacular. I love the colors of the buttercream separated by the coffee beans. I can't wait to see what happens next!

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Jennifer, I am worry about the table, too!

Theresa, you are my #1 fan!

Matthew, I appreciate your feedback seriously well.

I am capricious and perhaps bipolar, too. I change directions too often. The main reason I don't want to do this commercially is because it can be too fixed!

The coffee combination with fruit is questionable. The Biscuit de Savoie tiers are moistened with syrup with espresso shots instead of liquor (by volume). The crumb has tinted brown, but the coffee taste is somehow faint. Now add a fruit Mousseline Buttercream on it, and your liver starts to growl.

The 1st tear, with raspberry conserve buttercream, in my opinion went extremelly well. I trimmed off 2 inches of the 14" tier, to share it with my human tasters to agree with me. It feels to me that you biting into a pastry with fresh whipped cream, fruit, and a coffee shell. I tasted it at room temperature and also at refrigerated temperature (butter tastes different when cold vs warm).

The 2nd tier, with chocolate buttercream, is standardly accepted.

The 3rd tier, with kumquat lemon buttercream, I won't be slicing it off, but I think the lemon taste is pretty similar to raspberry. In fact, I added kumquat juice to the raspberry buttercream. I used kumquat lemons which have orange skin. I love kumquats because the juice is sour like lemon, but the skin is sweet and orange. I hope this lemon curd on the buttercream freezes well though, I haven't found any direct indication on Cake Bible other than lemon curd should be kept only refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

I think (or maybe I am already too far off, that I am just telling my own brain), that the Kahlua in the Mousseline Buttercream is the unifying flavor.

The smaller serving cakes, I will follow the organizers suggestion to go plain vanilla or chocolate!

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Jennifer Schmitt
Jennifer Schmitt
06/21/2007 03:08 PM

Wow! All I can add is, " I hope the display table is nice and sturdy!"

Go Hector!!

Jennifer

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Looks YUMMY!!! (And the coffee beans look great between the layers!)

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Are the little orange specks zest in the buttercream? I don't think I've ever tried coffee beans and lemon together--how is that combination? You're so capricious Hector that I'm not surprised the direction of this cake changes each time I read about it!

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[Theresa, you are right!]

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/PaddlersWYC/YachtClub3.html

I’ve decided to make each of the 11 tiers with a different flavor. The 3rd tier is up, with a tasty lemon curd mousseline buttercream. I’ve used kumquat lemons. LET ME TELL YOU, Rose’s lemon curd is as good as how she introduces the recipe in Cake Bible. I love how Rose warmly humanizes the recipe “[quote] lemons are available year round and in spite of domestication they are always good,” as good as her lemon curd!

[strawberry cordon rose conserve with french arome on its way, also winter blueberry topping, and also pineapple puree, that isn't 11 flavors yet and each flavor needs to color coordinate with each other!] oh, I have a beautiful apple banana tree with near ripe fruit, let me try it on the buttercream.... oh #2, it is Lichee season, you can even find them in Costco!

I spoke with the event organizers, they kindly told me that my cake will be displayed at a very prominent location and that there will be no other desserts. THANK YOU, they know I dislike competition, but that just means that I will make a few (more than a handful) of baby cakes to cut and serve. Let the big boy stand pretty at least for half of the night! I am hopeful to get a loan of a freezer from my local restaurant supply store, or perhaps I should contact the local Sub-Zero flagship showroom for space!

Pictured: a dab of buttercream in a red ramekin, perfectly preserved in the freezer. This is for the first person that shows up at my door step (mail man not included).

I need to share with you that my first batch of chocolate coated espresso beans was exact to the each, didn’t have 1 extra bean after applying them to the 3rd tier... baking magic! Patrincia: they taste good and they are lovely irregularly coated, shaped, and shaded! I used Callebaut coverture 55% cacao bittersweet. It is a good baking chocolate, a little on the sweet side for bittersweet, but I find it perfect for the espresso beans.

Last picture: search your feelings, join the dark force! I wish Luke or Vader would take care of the carpentry for me! Wood pegs, tubing, double sided tape, and saw dust! I am afraid this cake needs more than plastic straws... Hope you don’t mind my rusty saw!

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Hector, are you really going on a two week break from baking? I don't believe that for a second! I'm thinking by Saturday you will be itching to work on your project again...

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