Welcome to Real Baking with Rose, the personal blog of author Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Spend A Moment with Rose, in this video portrait by Ben Fink.

Check out my new creations


RSS AND MORE

Get the blog delivered by email. Enter your address:

Away Until May 1

Apr 15, 2007 | From the kitchen of Rose

i will not have any internet access where i'll be in europe--major separation anxiety!--but everyone benefits from a total vacation and it's been a long time.

i just didn't want anyone to worry when their questions go unanswered by me for two weeks and when i return it will, no doubt, take a while to catch up. you will be rewarded in the near future, however, with some great photos, stories, and quite possibly recipes from the dordogne, normandy, paris, and the countryside near frankfurt.

please continue to respond to each other's postings.

Comments

aloha reeni, good thinking. how about a spray bottle?

REPLY

Thank you Patrincia! Our daughter Francesca is much bigger now, this photo is over a year old but I do love our expressions in it!
I have used a spray bottle for syruping cake (long ago on FN Challenge they asked me if I was using Windex on the cake! the contestant next to me was impressed and probably went back to his kitchen and started using one too)but it's quite hard to clean out the narrow tube that draws the syrup into the spray. All too often I've trashed them because of that one part. Squirt bottles give my arm a workout! Good for small projects but not for large ones...
Hector, I have thought of "beheading" a watering can like this one, and making a "Franken"-bottle with a bottle that has ml/oz markings:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41%2BsKZgSIsL._SL500_.jpg
After all, I did find one place that sells something similar to the Holy Grail "Rain bottle," but again the top is not large enough:
http://www.pastrychef.com/SIMPLE-SYRUP-PUNCH-BOTTLE_p_915.html.. for the price I *would* like exactly what i want, if you know what i mean.

REPLY

Growing up in Peru, I never had a garden hose spray. So what u do is find a shampoo bottle that would fit the garden hose and on the bottom you will drill holes! Works very well!!!!

For genoise syruping, I use a squirt bottle. It works quite well and I can aim muchos cotrolled where the syrup needs to go. When using a garden hose type sprayer, I always put too much syrup on the center!

REPLY

Hi Reeni - first off, what a little cutie you share an avatar photo with! :)

Have you ever tried using a spray bottle? I've never used a laundry sprinkler, but I watched a pastry chef use a spray bottle once and it worked very well. You have to set the spray stream kind of half way between spray and stream. I used this technique when making Rose's Almond Shamah Chiffon Cake from RHC (about half way down the post).
http://butteryum.blogspot.com/2009/10/almond-shamah-chiffon-cake.html

Take Care, Patrincia

REPLY

Rose, I have had such a hard time locating a laundry sprinkler now! All the ones I find are antiques with a matching price. Others are too small to be really effective -- 1 1/2 inches in diameter, with a cork that you put into the neck of your own bottle.
I'm looking for something more like 2-3" diameter sprinkler face, to put on a liter bottle...
I remember from Le Cirque Jacques had something called a "Rain bottle" that was bright yellow and red, and it even had volume markings on the side -- very convenient for making sure a cake is evenly saturated from layer to layer. Can't find one like it anywhere! Any leads?

REPLY

a laundry sprinkler works well!

REPLY

I cannot find a resource for a small bulb baster to distribute the syrup for my Genoise. Any suggestions?
Thanks

REPLY

Michelle, this happens to me when I don't roll the chocolate praline thin enough or when the caramel praline is too coarse. The shards are still delicious and totally spectacular to see.

REPLY

Hello,
sorry I just figured out I posted in the wrong section; I will paste it in the appropriate area!
Michelle

REPLY

* Triple chocolate cake problem *
Hello everybody ;)
I am new to this site, and just bought the bread bible and the cake bible. They are just amazing!! My only problem is that I get so hungry every time I read them, I just won't stop salivating! (for real!!). I love the details and explanations, but over all, the way it is written...it is friendly and fun.

So I gave a try to the triple chocolate cake;
-the genoise was ok for a first one. could have been higher (but I overmixed, I was tring to blend the flour too well)
- the praline sheets; when they softened once applied to the cake, they kind of "broke" and fell on the cake instead of gracefully bending like on the picture. I did temper the chocolate (heat to 120 then cooled gradually and added tempered chocolate, mixed untill reached temperature) It is probably a tempering problem? Should I have added a little bit of oil? Or should I have added tempered chocolate up untill I reach the desired temperature?

Any help would be much appreciated
Many thanks!
Michelle
(I will try to upload a picture later)

REPLY

Thanks for the suggestions, Reeni! There's so much info in the cake bible - it's easy to miss something. I find myself looking one thing up and then getting totally sidetracked by something else of interest in the book.

REPLY

You don't need cake rings to build molded cakes -- a springform will do. If you want to do different sizes, just follow the directions in the cake bible for making a foil pan. I've even made different shapes (square, diamond, etc) by cutting cardboard to shape. A tape measure is handy for measuring the perimeter.

REPLY

Elicia and Hector - thanks for all the flavor ideas. I definitely need to get some cake rings - sounds like fun to build the layers!

REPLY

Mmmm... looks like you're making what is termed as a 'bombe batter' - a base that can be lightened with whipped cream, meringue etc for later use. I read about this in The Art of The Cake (again). Wld adding just fruit puree to the mousseline be too soft? With the curd base, you're basically creating Silk Meringue in another way - which is quite similar to a 'lightened' french buttercream. What do you think?

I also end up with leftover this and that. That's when I will frost together a small 6" gateau - that will be my breakfast for several days!

I know what you mean abt those dumplings. This year I've been lucky enough to have wrapped up the filling and glutinous rice perfectly into 40 dumplings with no extra! Last year I had leftover of one or the other when I made 2 continuous batches.

REPLY

Elicia, I think you and I are flavor adventurous!

Just a minute ago, I thought of something for my nephew Nichola's 1st luau. My sister wanted a cake similar to Josephine's with chocolate top and white sides. When I told her that I came up with this delicious 3 layers of Biscuit de Savoie soaked in Frangelico and completelly frosted with Light Whipped Chocolate Ganache, she said "I wanted white sides."

I am thinking on scraping-off or thinning-out the ganache sides and applying vertical thick bands of different flavors/colors of mousseline. How about I make a stock batch of "lemon curd w/o the lemon" (yolks, sugar, and butter), and later mix it with some strained conserves or some other simmered fruit puree? Will this satisfy you?

I seem to "recycle" all my "seasonal" ingredients, every cake I make is a continuation of the previous one(s). Perhaps it is inherited from my mother, each time she cooked something special, she ended on an infinite loop of more cooking. For example, when she decided to make pork dumplings, she ended with too much filling, then she made more dough to use the filling, then she ended up with too much dough, and so on.

REPLY

Oh Theresa, the fillings are ideas from books such as TCB and what I sometimes try out at the local bakeries! I also find a lot of filling ideas from the Pie & Pastry Bible.

I had a mousse 'phase' and did a lot of French-style mousse cakes. These cakes are like charlottes, and sometimes uses a thin almond sponge (joconde) not quite unlike the biscuit roulade to line a cake ring - the inside has 2 - 3 rounds of biscuits/genoises and filled with mousse in between. Sometimes the tops are glazed with a jewel glaze. The joconde around the sides means no frosting required - there's also an easy technique of creating patterns on the joconde sheet before baking - the resulting finish is very professional.

Try pairing mango mousse with orange soaking syrup and Grand Marnier (you can make the mousse as per Rose' Cloud Cream in TCB), or alternating layers of dark choc mousse with raspberry mousse, then unmould and glazing the whole cake with choc glaze (Matthew has some great instructions on how to achieve a smooth glaze over buttercream that works with mousse as well - you wouldn't want the mousse to melt on pouring the hot glaze!) Or endless combinations of whipped cream/cream cheese with anything from coffee, white choc to raspberry to strawberry to sour cherry. Also try the whipped cream lightened pastry cream from P&PB (chiboust cream) with fresh fruit. Of course, like Hector, I like to use tropical fruits such as longans, lychee, bananas, pineapple and the local fave - durian!

I also sometimes add a little base at the bottom - made with the cake crumbs from the crust combined with wafers or Oreo as you wld a cookie crumb crust - it offers a nice dimension to the combination of soft mousses/buttercreams/whipped cream and soft biscuit/genoise. Or for kids, try mixing crushed Oreo in the choc mousse! Oh yes, and try the peanut butter cream cheese mousse from the P&PB - great filling for kids!

For now, I'm inspired by Hector's mousseline and fruit curd combinations! The next few cakes will probably be fruit mousselines!

REPLY

Elicia, I'll bet you come up with some delicious combinations. Do share them with us, please!

REPLY

Oops Hector, I thought you had sliced the biscuit and filled inside as well!

REPLY

Elicia, "this cake" is the 11-tier cake. Each tier is a full 1.75" of biscuit, unsliced!

REPLY

Oh Hector, you probably bake more biscuits than me anytime! It's sliced into 3 usually and frosted with everything from buttercreams to mousses or whipped cream with fruit! I even use it for Bombe Alaska-inspired ice-cream cake.

Biscuits are easier to slice compared to the more delicate genoises. I usually chill genoises before slicing so that it's more firm, but with biscuits, it is ok to slice as is.

What is this cake you're working on? I'm amazed you have time for 'side projects' while working on your 11-tier cake!

REPLY

Dear Miss Biscuit de Savoie (Elicia), how do you handle your 2" high round biscuit? I mean, do you slice it and put a filling frosting? The cake I am working on does not have any layer filling -0| It is just solid 1.75" to 2" thick of cake, frosting on the top and on the sides and a bit under over the cake plate.

REPLY

Mmm... I have to say I've baked a 2" high round biscuit using the shortcut method and it was successful! Guess one has to try it to know! In any case, the classic method (whipping yolks separately) is not too much trouble - you just need to have an extra bowl and whisk.

You do have to stabilise your egg white foam following Rose's tip of starting with a low speed and gradually building up the speed. Most of the time, an egg foam fails because of insufficient beating. Rose' length of beating time indication is very good - relying on just observation alone is not enough.

The important thing about genoise and biscuit is light-handedness in folding in flour, and especially butter/oil. In fact, a biscuit is fairly foolproof as no butter is involved at all.

In any case, use the method you are most confident with!

REPLY

I completely agree with Reeni - I wouldn't be without my extra KA bowl and whisk.

REPLY

Elicia, yeah, I was so tempted to add food coloring, but this cake will be free of any artificial nothing! I think my raspberry moussline will be a pale pink =)

REPLY

Reeni, thank you for the most defenite answers.

REPLY

You can get really inexpensive immersion blenders, I've seen them at the drugstore even. But it is so much better to have a good one with a metal shaft that comes off for washing.
Re: separated-egg foams, it is definitely a pain to whip yolks and whites separately but the results are different when you bake as a layer or tall sponge cake than as a sheet. Yolks broken up and mixed into the whites do not produce as tall of a sheet.
My answer: whip the whites with half the sugar and have an extra bowl and beater for the yolks. Truly one of the best investments I have made is an extra bowl, whip and paddle for my existing KA, but this works with a little hand mixer too.

REPLY

Oh Hector, I confess I'm kind of a kitchenware shopaholic. The baking supply stores are like candystores for me! We don't have Cuisinart here, but I found the 'industrial-size' Magimix from France - the 3 litre bowl holds up to 1.5 litres I think - I had to have it as I know I can use it for baking - dough, cheesecake, ganache, poured fondant etc etc. Rose's books always advocate the use of a foodprocessor as a fantastic and quick method for some preparations, and after reading, I feel I must have one!

I must start using the immersion too!

BTW, the flavour options are mind-boggling. I'd love to be in your test kitchen! Just a thought though, I realise Rose suggested adding a little colouring (eg for raspberry buttercream) as fading may occur if stored for several days. Wonder if you are looking out for this problem since you are freezing the cakes in advance.

REPLY

Well, just for the larger batches. BTW, the immersion blender is so easy to clean - I just give it a whirl in a bowl or vase full of hot soapy water and then let it drip dry. (ganache does stick a bit though, so an old toothbrush helps get into the tight spots)

REPLY

Patrincia, so you use the immersion blender rather than the food processor to whip ganache? Easier to cleanup huh? Great tip, lets note that on Cake Bible!

REPLY

Elicia, your list of equipment is great! I spend hours a weeks shopping around. Yes, wish my food processor was larger, so the ganache doesn't overflow thru the center!

REPLY

Yes, Elicia, the gadgets are great, but there's only so much room! But they are nice to have sometimes. Thank you for the tip on the cake rings. I did wonder if 2" might not be tall enough.

REPLY

Hi Theresa,

Some immersion blenders come with whisks, but I believe it is a single whisk - whereas the hand mixer has two, and some has the optional dough hook (a bit too small though). I think the immersion is splendid and very versatile. On the other hand, a hand mixer can be used to make any of the single recipes in TCB, ie work with slightly larger amounts. Coz my Kenwood is a 7quart (quite large), I sometimes use the handmixer for butter cakes. For eggfoams and cream, it will take a little longer!

I totally agree with you that we sometimes seem to 'own' too many gadgets! I have an immersion that I've not even used yet, a large Magimix foodprocessor ... and 2 smaller blenders/choppers! Thank goodness some of them were free redemption items! I console myself that I bake and cook a lot and so therefore there's a use for every single one of these! I'm still tempted to own a handsome KitchenAid mixer!

Yep - always be aware of the height of the center hole of your processor - the capacity of the bowl is always not what it seems to be! Ganache can be very messy, yes! I once glazed a cake on a turntable without placing a rack on the bottom. The base of the turntable was sitting on a flood of ganache on the tray, and cleaning up was terrible! I've since done away with the turntable, and just place the cake on a rack over a tray. Now I've found a good reason to start using the immersion - for ganache!

BTW, cake rings here are 3" high - that's a more practical height.

REPLY

PS - if anyone tries the immersion blender method for ganache, be very careful to keep it perfectly plumb... if you tilt it to one side or another, you'll have ganache on your ceiling! Also, you will incorporate the least amount of air if you just hold the blender against the bottom of your bowl (the "current" created by the whirring blades will give perfect results, just be patient).

REPLY

Exaclty! I tried filling my food processor to the brim once, but the ganache started seeping out through the center hole (which is shorter than the sides of the processor bowl). I had a tremendous chocolatey mess on my hands - you wouldn't believe how fast a puddle of warm ganache can spread!

REPLY

Ahhh, I see, Patrincia - like when you do ganache for your wedding cakes!!!

REPLY

Hi Theresa - Yes, I do usually use the food processor for ganache, but when I want to make a HUGE batch, one that won't fit in my processor, that's when I like to pull out the immersion blender.

REPLY

I have been thinking of a little hand mixer - but feeling guilty because I already have 2 stand mixers - an old one (an old Sunbeam, Hector!) and a new one. As Elicia says, though, sometimes you like to avoid the "major washup". It would be nice to just do the work in a smaller bowl. I didn't know that immersion blenders came with a whisk attachment. Patrincia, you don't use the food processor method for the ganache? Elicia, I think that is a good idea to do the roulade, so I don't have to worry about cutting the thin layer. I do want to try your (okay, Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat's) alternate mixing method.

REPLY

Speaking of the immersion blender... it's great for making ganache!

REPLY

I prefer to use my heavy duty inmersion blender for those quick jobs, instead! Mine's came with the whip attachment, too.

REPLY

Oh by the way, a little hand mixer is great for mixing small amounts without having to wash your stand mixer bowl. It is also inexpensive and takes up very little counter space. In fact, it is less cumbersome to use for quick whips - eg rewhipping small amounts of buttercream/ganache, combining small amounts of ingredients. Use the stand mixer for whipping eggs and cream (it incorporates air faster), and for large amounts only. In this way, there's less hassle of a major wash up everytime!

REPLY

Hi Theresa, The method was in The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat. I've used it in sheet as well as normal round biscuits. It works well and I've not seen any noticeable difference between the 2 methods.

Basically, the yolks are just whisked a little to break them up (without sugar), and all the sugar is added to the whites. Once the whites are whisked to the right consistency, pour in all the yolks, and whisk till combined. Then fold in the flour accordingly.

Biscuit can be used for tiramisu of course, and if you look at Rose's light sponge layers recipe in P&PB- it is similar to biscuit roulade. You can bake the sponge layers and do away with having to slice them thinly. I agree with Hector - the biscuit is very strong especially since it contains no grease and will hold up in a tiramisu - no problems at all!

REPLY

Theresa, grazzie! I am certain Rose had baked more B de S than all of us combined! And, I am certain all these adaptations we are trying do affect the final result, but again, a little less voluminous B de S is still great.

In fact, Savoie is a region of France who is now a region of Italy (or viceversa). Apparently this regions goes back and forth between the two countries. Luca (made in Italy) said that Tiramisu is done with B d S, so the Tiramisu Black Bottom tart should work fine. You will be surprised how STRONG is a layer of B de S, be sure to discard the top and bottom crusts (specially the top one is very sticky).

I grew up with a mother that will whip chiffon almost once a week with just and old sunbeam mixer. She whipped yolks by hand with a spatula! If I had only 1 mixer or mixer bowl, whip the yolks with a balloon whisk, but it is an effort. Try use your food processor egg white attachment, or a hand blender with a whisk attachment, or why not getting a little hand mixer, too.

Good luck.

REPLY

Hector, you are the biscuit MASTER! I am interested in Elicia's technique because I thought it might avoid having to use two mixers. I don't know if she usually bakes it in a sheet or in layers, and that may make a difference as to whether the shortcut impacts the final result. You had mentioned maybe doing the egg yolks in a food processor, and I think that's a really interesting idea that I may try. Related subject - have you tried the Tiramisu Black Bottom tart? It looks sooo good! I notice that a layer of sponge cake is in it - was thinking "B de S" might work for it, though it seems that it has to be sliced to a scary thin-ness (1/4"). Then again, even if it fell apart, it's going in a tart and will not have to support anything independently, so probably no big deal.

REPLY

Theresa, Elicia's biscuit sugar folding method sounds interesting and it may work. It sounds interesting, a time saver, and a good simplification. I like the idea for me since I dislike and forget to measure sugar twice (one amount for whites, one for yolks), not to mention that I am currently baking my life away with biscuit! However, since I started using the giant balloon whisk, I have now no-trouble doing folding the way Rose writes on Cake Bible!

Answering to one of your questions, if I may, I am certain Elicia will say that yolks must be whipped prior to adding them to the whites. I have one concern: when you whip yolks with sugar, a chemical reaction actually happens that “cooks the yolks,” turning them from deep yellow to light yellow or whitish. This may not be an issue on biscuit since it is cooked during baking, but for many recipes using “raw” yolks, it may be a must to be food safe. I am not sure what texture benefits the sugar/yolk mix creates.

Also, on Cake Bible, Rose indicates learning a “[great method of folding the flour/starch onto the yolks first],” but I really don’t know what she means, if that is just leaving the flour/starch sitting on the yolks for a while meantime you are whipping the whites or if you actually fold the flour/starch with the yolks first prior to folding into the whites.

One other big variable I have accepted is that if you use low quality corn starch or too old, the thickening power is low, then your biscuit will shrink on the sides! Use the best quality corn starch available and you will see a difference. I switched to food-service grade corn starch (lower quality) and my biscuits are shrinking a little. I believe if you increase the % of corn starch, it compensates.

Any minute details about biscuit, please do share, it is my passion right now.


Hector Wong . hector@hawaiistationery.com . Information Technology Manager . Hawaii Stationery . 99-1418 Koaha Place . Aiea, Hawaii 96701 . 808-748-7227 phone . 808-748-7283 fax. The information transmitted is intended only for the addressee(s) and may contain confidential or privileged material, or both. Any review, receipt, dissemination or other use of this information by non-addressees is prohibited. If you received this in error or are a non-addressee, please contact the sender and delete the transmitted information. If you wish to no longer receive emails from this sender, please contact the sender immediately.

REPLY

Elicia, I was rereading the posts above because I was thinking about the cake rings. I haven't found them locally (not done looking yet, though), but did see them at LaCuisine's site. They have regular cake rings in varying sizes, and also an "adjustable cake or tart ring." It's only 2" high but expands from 7 to 14 inches. I'm thinking it could double as the adjustable flan ring that Rose talks about for cutting tart dough. Unfortunately, it's $59, but could be worth it vs storing multiple items. Then again, the regular cake rings look like they might be taller which might be helpful. Anyway, that wasn't even my question for you(!!!). My question is, in rereading, I notice you said (to Hector, I think) "By the way, I use a little shortcut with the biscuit and I wonder if you've tried it. I wld whip the egg whites with all the sugar, then whip in the egg yolks at the end (before folding the flour in). It works well for me." Do you whip the yolks before adding them to the whites, or do you add them unwhipped and whip along with the already stiff whites?

REPLY

That's a good idea to ask the vet. I think you may get a very strange look, though!

REPLY

Hi Theresa, YES, moistened cakes are more even starting the second day.

One thing that may help is to use a large syringue instead of a brush or spoon. With the syringue you squirt or shake down the syrup straight down into the cake (you don't inject), I believe this "jet" of syrup will go in more preciselly and faster than brushing or spooning. If you find a turkey baster with a small spout, so it doesn't drip unless you press the bulb, it may work, too.

I am contacting my vet to find one such large syringue (60 to 70 cc). With the advancement of drugs, humans today need not such large ones.

REPLY

Hector, I did see those strawberries in Rose's picture - so red and beautiful! It's hit or miss where I am - as you said, they always LOOK good, but the only hint you have as to their taste before you buy them is their smell. BTW, I had more of my little cake today, and I like the texture and moistness better today. I like the Chambord syrup better today, too. I noticed too late in making the recipe that Rose says the layers are more evenly moist the second day. So next time maybe I will syrup the layers the day before I assemble the cake. Is that what you do?

REPLY

I really like using the tiny blueberries in a fantastic muffin recipe I have (it calls specifically for frozen ones). I use them for Rose's Winter Blueberry Topping too. Rose suggests only storing it for 6 hours at room temp, but I do put leftovers in the fridge, though they don't usually last very long because they're so yummy! I haven't tried freezing it yet.

REPLY

PS - if you like the frozen strawberries, stock up... I can't tell you how many times I've fallen in love with something at Costco, only to have it disappear or be replaced with a different brand.

Also, I made a batch of Raspberry puree using wild black raspberries (teeny-tiny ones) that grown on our property. It was amazingly delicious, and the color was a deep dark red - can't wait for more them to ripen this year.

REPLY

Hi Patrincia, I saw the blueberries in Costo, organic.

What do you do with them? Conserve? I've read that blueberries don't make good conserve? Or do you just make sauce and freeze?

REPLY

Hector - you'll be very pleased with the Costco ones. Do try the blueberries too; they are the small wild ones that grown in Maine - Fabulous!

REPLY

Patrincia, the Costco ones that come in a green and white bag are the ones I will use. My friend Deanna, who often makes cheesecake, uses them to make strawberry sauce and claims the taste is better than "fresh" ones.

REPLY

Hi Theresa, I am "MORE" strawberry fascinated. Your dessert sounds delicious and very creative. Did you see the picture of the strawberries Rose had in France? In my opinion, those ARE STRAWBERRIES, oddly shaped, irregular formed, deep red, and you can even taste and smell it through the photograph!

In Peru, the strawberries are like the French ones, too. Very wild looking. I've been living in the USA for the second half of my life and yet have not found anything close. The USA strawberries are too perfect looking. Even the organic local strawberries (Kula region) are not that great. In fact, the first time I saw strawberries in the USA, I thought "oh mind, genetically enhanced berries."

I must make do, and take advantage of "strawberry season" (now). La Cuisine is sending Wild Strawberry Arome next week, and will make a batch of Strawberry Conserve with it. I am sure Rose is right on this. I will first make the conserve with frozen strawberries (California), and then will make a batch with fresh ones (California, too, container shipped refrigerated for 1 week over the ocean... I've heard these strawberries are loaded white, and they turn red during shipping time with gas!!!). I won't attempt making conserve with my Kula local ones, since 4 lbs is near a month's salary. One day, I will need to grow my own.

Cake Bible says that fresh lemon juice is a good flavor enhancer for raspberries. Chambord, too. But for strawberries, I think "the best" is the wild strawberry arome.

I am so tempted to fly to Italy this summer and make the conserve there! Luca's Mom grows them each summer. But, she may get upset if I mash near 2 kilos of it to make conserve!

REPLY

Good idea to freeze the berries first! I haven't tried the Strawberry Arome yet, but most definitely will at some point (I think Hector mentioned that he had). I buy high quality frozen strawberries in bulk at Costco (6 lb bag). I've tried grocery store berries too, but the Costco ones are definitely better. I freeze small jars of the puree for use later - great mixed into yogurt, or poured over ice cream, etc. I just put a jar in the fridge to thaw the night before I want to use it - I suppose you could thaw it in the microwave if you wanted to, but I like it best cold. btw, I don't use the microwave method to make it because it's boiled over every time I've tried, despite using the larger glass measuring cup. I like the stove top method (just be sure to use a heavy bottomed pan), and I love the way the scent of the berries permiates the whole house.


I think you will find the continuous swirls very easy to do. You'll be sorry you hadn't known about it sooner!

REPLY

Hi, Patrincia! I used fresh strawberries because that was what I had on hand. They happened to be unusually good - very fragrant and tasty. Otherwise, I think I would have really missed the lemon juice. I washed and dried the berries, then cut them into slices/wedges and froze them - then proceeded with the recipe as written. I did check in a supermarket later for the frozen unsweetened ones - I found them, but only in a 4-lb bag(!). (But I could make a big batch since Rose indicates that it keeps well frozen.) I am curious about the Wild Strawberry Arome. Do you use this or do you get a good flavor just from the frozen berries and lemon juice? Thanks for the piping tips - the continuous swirl sounds like a good one to try. Next time I will definitely make more frosting to work with.

REPLY

I forgot to mention this - when piping with ganache, if you put your piping bag down for a few minutes, the ganache has a tendency to firm up in the cold metal tip (tube). If this happens and you try to force the ganache through, you can have a pastry bag failure (leak)... it's best to warm the tip by wrapping it with a warm washcloth for a minute (discard any ganache that is too melted, or gets wet). I found plastic tips (made by wilton) are handy for eliminating this problem (or avoid the problem by not allowing ganache to sit in the metal tip when you aren't piping).

REPLY

Hi Theresa - your cake sounds great! I know you weren't able to use the lemon juice in the puree because of your friend's "citrus issues", but do try it sometime - it makes an incredible difference in brightening the flavor. Did you use frozen strawberries? They are perfect for making the puree, and it doesn't seem so bad to squeeze them through a strainer, since they get so mushy when they thaw anyway. btw, I like to use my centrifugal juicer to strain the berries when I make strawberry and raspberry purees - it removes every single seed.

As for my ganache condensation problem - I'm sure my downfall was the fact that I mixed the moisture from the condensation into the ganache when I whipped it in my mixer. I was able to remove the condensation from the surface of my second batch of ganache before I whipped it, eliminating the problem. Even though I've made ganache for years and years, unexpected things like this do happen, but I learned from the incident. I'll be much less likely to use ganache on a swelteringly humid day (actually I would have preferred to use buttercream, but the ganache was specifically requested).

Cake rings - (I've also seen them called collars) I can find them at restaurant supply stores and some specialty cake stores. They kind of look like a cake pan without a bottom. The sides of a springform will work if you don't need to worry about the rivets and seems leaving an impression. I wonder if anyone out there has tried making a ring out of some sort of sturdy kind of plastic?

Piping - you don't need to be an expert piping a shell border, I used to do a simple zig-zag design, or a continuous swirl pattern - think writing in script the lower case "e" over and over, overlapping slightly, without stopping the flow of frosting. I'm always surprised at the amount of frosting it takes to pipe a border. For a normal sized cake, I always make at least one extra batch for the piped decoration (you can always freeze the leftovers). It's good to consider the size of your piped border too - the tip (or tube) you choose should relate to the size of the cake - you wouldn't want a teeny-tiny border on a 14" tier.

REPLY

Thanks, Elicia! I will definitely find out more about the cake rings.

REPLY

Great job Theresa - don't worry as a homebaked cake always looks good!

I've moulded ganache in cake rings - it works too. If you want to glaze the cake, mould it in a ring fitted to the cake diameter (thereby without frosting around the sides), then glaze the cake after you've released it from the cake ring. Cake rings are especially great if your fillings are thick (eg with fruit or mousses) - you needn't worry about the filling being squeezed out from the sides if you apply too much pressure while working on the top frosting. Hope you can find the equipment there, or try a springform pan!

REPLY

Hello, baking friends! I was tied up with family obligations most of the weekend, but made some time yesterday afternoon to play with food. I defrosted one layer of the Biscuit de Savoie, so that I could find out what it tastes like and practice techniques. I made the strawberry puree from fresh strawberries. I only had a pound of them, so reduced the recipe a bit. I didn't add the lemon juice (due to my citrus-challenged friend), but it was still quite flavorful as the berries were so nice. My husband did look a little horrified as I was pushing the berries through the strainer - he was thinking "why did you do that to those beautiful strawberries!" Rose is so helpful - as I was thinking about putting the 1 cup of juice into a 2-cup measure for reducing, I saw her note about putting it in a 4-cup measure instead so that it would have more room to bubble and boil. It still managed to boil over a couple times, but was fine. I didn't have any berries left over to "macinate" as Hector does, so I went with Chambord in the syrup. It was okay, but I think the berry juice, the peach juice, or the strawberry syrup (if I can get my hands on some) that you folks suggested would have been better. I don't have a syringe, so moistened it with a bulb baster - I didn't do the best job. Originally, I was going to split the layer in two and try the cloud cream in between, but I chickened out on splitting that thin layer of cake. Instead, I frosted with the stabilized whipped cream, put a pool of puree (using a little gelatin as Elicia suggested) on top and piped a very amateurish-looking shell border around it. Was fun, although I underestimated the amount of whipped cream that I would need. I thought I would only need 1 1/2 cups (after whipping) for my one layer cake, but I ran a little short doing the decoration. (I have to add that I have naturally cold hands and now, finally, have found a reason to appreciate this!) The cream was from a local farm and was thick and beautiful - I had to push it out of the container as it didn't want to pour. I think I did overbeat it a little, which I have a tendency to do, as it was quite thick to work with. I may finish it by hand in the future - or maybe it needs less gelatin since it is so thick to start with - I used the smallest amount but maybe I need to go a little lower. I might have had a little more available for decorating if it was just a little thinner. The cake looked nice in spite of everything, though. Patrincia, the decorating gun sounds interesting - hmmm...another gadget for the kitchen! Elicia, I am not familiar with cake rings - will have to look into that. Sounds like a great way to make the sides perfectly smooth. Seems like it would might work with ganache as well, though given Patrincia's condensation issues above, maybe it's not worth the risk. Thanks for everyone's suggestions! Rose, hope you are feeling better!

REPLY

Elicia - thanks for clearing that up for everyone. I've also read that the Tahitian is not recommended for pastry, but there are lots of chefs on TV who recommend it right now (it seems to be the vanilla of choice at the moment).

Re: vanilla sugar - I've been making it for years with used vanilla pods. Some books suggest simply covering the pods with sugar; others suggest grinding the pods and sugar together. I find the flavor to be better when you don't grind the two together. I like to sprinkle it on fresh fruit, whip heavy cream with it, and add it to my Chai Tea, etc.

REPLY

Oh, basically Mexican and Madagascar vanilla beans are the same type from the Vanilla Planifolia - vanilla from Madagascar and the neighbouring islands are called the Bourbon varieties. Vanilla is native to Mexico which produces some of the best vanilla, whereas Madagascar is one of the largest producer!

Tahitian is not a 'true' vanilla planifolia, but rather from a different species call Vanilla Tahitiensis. The scent has a marked difference!

Source: The Art of the Cake by Bruce Healy and Paul Bugat.

REPLY

Hi Theresa, here's an easy way to frost and fill the biscuit:

I usually use this method when I am using thick and soft frostings such as mousses or whipping cream. Get a cake ring 1/2" larger than your cake pan. Line the bottom with a cake board of the same size (you may wrap the outside with foil if there are little gaps between the cake board and the ring). Sit it on a low pan for support. Apply the cream around the insides of the ring with a spatula or pipe from a bag without a nozzle. Position your bottom tier in the center, then put in your filling to the desired height (make sure you fill all the gaps). Build up some frosting around the sides again before placing the next tier in the middle. Continue till you fill to the top. It is easy to smooth the top by dragging an offset spatula across. I sometimes create patterns on the surface by dragging a serrated knife across in a wavy motion. Chill till firm. Then place cake ring on top of a smaller cylinder (a tin or cake pan shld do). Ideally, the cylinder shld be higher than the cake ring. Warm the sides with a hairdryer or warm towel, and slide the ring down. You will have the most professional finish of smooth sides and top!

If you want to glaze just the top - do it before removing the ring. If the ring seems too high, adjust the height by placing more cake bases into the ring. Cake rings are used by most professional bakers nowadays! You can use a springform tin but the sides will not be that smooth.

Hector, again beautiful roses on a lovely star cake! I love those little vanilla specks! Do your friends call you Hector the Caker!?

Oh I also have to work ahead when I'm entertaining. I will usually work out what I need to do on a calendar planner, so that I can accomplish a few tasks daily, eg pre-grind spices and freeze, bake all my base genoises ahead and freeze, prepare buttercreams ahead and freeze! I also have to organise freezer space which is very limited!!

Oh Hector, I'll love to have a herb garden but right now space does not permit. Vanilla pods here costs quite a bit. I've read somewhere that Tahitian varieties are much larger than the Madagascar types, and much stronger in flavour. One cookbook I have actually writes that the Tahitian flavour may be a bit too overwhelming and prefers the Madagascar ones! In fact, the book states that Tahitian vanilla are traditionally regarded as inferior to the Madagascar varieties,and not fit for use in pastries!

According to this particular book, you can add a subtle vanilla flavour in your cakes by using vanilla sugar (simply steep sugar in an airtight container with used and re-dried pods) to replace the sugar in the recipe, or by grinding used pods (washed and dried) into powder and using a few pinches in the batter. I make tea with vanilla sugar... very nice!

REPLY

leave ganache uncovered for the first hour to prevent condenssation. then cover it to prevent a skin from forming or refrig. odors...

REPLY

Oh, I see. Well, it seems unavoidable if you place a cold object in a humid room, then it will develop condensation. The only other thing I could think of is that you could put a fine layer of melted butter of the top of it to protect it from the condensation, but it sounds like you already worked out a solution.

REPLY

Hector - That's what I think every time I use a pastry bag. Believe me, if I knew what kind of fabric would work, I would have made one by now!

REPLY

Or why not somebody starts making pastry bags made of insulated material such as those shiny car window covers?

REPLY

Oh Hi Matthew - Yes, I know about not covering the ganache while it chills in the fridge - it wasn't covered. The condensation was not present when I removed the ganache from the fridge - it formed as the ganache sat on the counter after I removed it from the fridge - like a glass filled with a cold drink (it was very humid that day, inside and out).

I only covered the second batch of CHILLED ganache with the paper towel AFTER I removed it from the fridge (because I knew more condensation was going to form again). btw, when I removed the paper towel 10 or 20 minutes later, it peeled off nicely (leaving an impression of the pattern on the paper towel), and it was very damp from absorbing the condensation.

REPLY

I know what you are talking about. I would recommend that you don't cover the ganache when you first put it in the fridge, otherwise you will get condensation. I always let mine cool for a few hours first before I cover it. That seems to take of the problem.

REPLY

Thanks Rose - I did mention that you suggested the ice water trick in one of the posts above (1:37pm).

While I've got your attention, I made a batch of ganache last weekend. It was a very hot, humid day here in Virginia. I chilled the ganache until I needed it. I removed it from the fridge and left it on the counter for a few minutes before whipping it in my KitchenAid. I noticed there was a bit of condensation on the surface of the ganache when I started whipping, but I didn't think a thing of it. Boy was I wrong - the ganache seized up into little grainy lumps (tasted fine, but looked terrible). I thought this could only happen if moisture was introduced while the chocolate was melting? I let the lumpy mess continue whipping, but it never returned it's former glory. I ended up re-melted it and started over again. I prevented the second batch from doing the same by laying a paper towel on the surface of the chilled ganache, to absorb any condensation before I whipped that batch, which seemed to do the trick.

Have you ever experienced this? Is there anything else I could have done to keep this from happening? Thanks so much for your time.

REPLY

for warm hands when piping, have a bowl of ice water alongside and dip your piping hand in from time to time. it helps a lot!

REPLY

Theresa - another benefit to using the trigger-style decorating gun is that you can get a very constant amount of frosting to squirt out with each pull of the trigger which can make your piping look more professional. It's much harder to achieve the same results with a pastry bag, until you've had enough practice.

REPLY

Hector - I forgot to tell you that I like your Star Butter Cake photo. Looks great!

I believe the Tahitian and Madagascar beans are indeed different varieties of vanilla (don't know about the Mexican, for some reason I thought it wasn't a true vanilla???). Anyway, the Tahitian and Madagascar beans should end up different sizes when they are mature. Are you planning on making your own extracts with them?

REPLY

Hector - thanks for the great tip; I'll try the parchment next time and see how it works out. I'm always striving to get the various components done ahead of time too, but you obviously are better organized than I... I'll keep trying though!

REPLY

Patrincia, THANK YOU. I don't know where I find the time, but sure thing that I follow all of Rose's tips on storage; I make most things WELL in advance.

Try using parchment pastry bags, they help inmenselly to keep the warm out from your hands. If you don't like the feel of it, you may want to line the inside of your standard pastry bag with a parchment bag. Surelly, the guns are a good alternative.

REPLY

Theresa - for me the hardest thing about piping is the fact that I have "warm hands". I once heard Gale Gand (pastry chef and host of Sweet Dreams) say that she would only hire pastry chefs with cold hands. I can see how that is helpful, but not completely necessary. Anyway, I like to use standard pastry bags for most piping, but for when piping something that melts very quickly (like ganache), I either wear an insulating glove, or I use one of those tube style guns - the hard canister keeps my warm hands away from the ganache. Rose also suggests dipping your hands in iced water.

I have to say I echo your comments to Hector EXACTLY! Hector - Where do you find the time??? (what I wouldn't give to be on your guest list!) :)

Theresa - btw, the finished strawberry puree is pourable, but not too liquid-y.

REPLY

Thank you!

Elicia, from BB, I only have holes and stains on the pages for Basic Sourdough Bread, Pizza, and Panettone. The rest of the book is fairly untouched. One thing that BB is missing is Chinese bao! (pau, manapua, buns, etc). The only bread I eat is for breakfast, I grill a few slices and take it with me while I walk my dog. If my roommate is home, we do make the full service paninis for breakfast. And BTW, I use a cast iron panini pan, stovetop, not an electric one. The cast iron gets tastier with time (needless to say more non-stick, too), and you should guess what I did last night after the party was over.... I didn't wash it, I let it soak on its own juices and this morning I rinsed it with hot water and heated it up.

Theresa, good luck on the strawberry project. Like I said, it is such a well received fruit, that anyway you use it, it will sell out. In fact, I had a pretty debate about how to use strawberries "in season." Most people claim that fresh locally grown is better, if only we can have the assurance that the berries were just harvested and never refrigerated (where it looses its flavor). I voted in favor for frozen berries with French arome.

Vanilla goes well on everything. It is a flavor enhancer more than a flavor by itself. The only time I can tell I am tasting vanilla flavor is on French vanilla ice cream and on infused milk/cream preparations. This blog motivates me in all aspects, I have 5 vanilla beans growing, now the waiting comes, takes months before harvest and curing. I seriously made the effort to be home each day at 10 am to do the polination of the flower, but now I "gave up" and do the polination just before coming to work at around 7 am, it seem to have worked.

The confusion I have is that we have Tahitian and Madagascar varieties. I don't understand if this means the location where the plant was grown, or if it is the botanical variety of the orchid itself. There is also Mexican, and now Hawaii is starting to grow vanilla too. The plant I bought came from a well known local nursery specializing in exotic fruit trees, and they told me it is the Tahitian variety. There is a very marked difference in smell and taste (and price!) between the Madagascar vanilla and the Tahitian vanilla (the Mexican is similar to the Madagascar).

Let me share this picture, it is a "butter cake" done with Buttermilk Country Cake. The frosting is Mouseline buttercream flavored with pisco and with the seeds of 3 vanilla beans (you can see the tiny black seeds on the frosting).

Happy weekend to all. I need rest. But actually I need to go Dim Sum on Saturday morning in Chinatown, and Cheese Fondue party in the evening at Hansel and Grettel's home (friends from Germany). Poor Hector!

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

REPLY

Hector, you must be one popular guy! (And I don't think your roommate will ever move out.) Don't worry - no one feels sorry for you, living in Hawaii and growing your own vanilla beans! I haven't tried the Wild Strawberry Arome, so will be interested to know your thoughts on it. BTW, I think I misquoted Rose (sorry, Rose!) - she actually said that the frozen strawberries were better if fresh ones weren't in season. Looks like the frozen ones are better for the strawberry puree anyway. Patrincia and Elicia, I didn't realize until I looked at the recipe last night that the strawberry conserve is so chunky, so maybe the puree is a better idea anyway. Thanks for the suggestions on using it. I can use some for the cloud filling as Hector suggested, and then put the puree on top in one form or another. I don't have the decorating skills that you guys have, but I have a few weeks to practice before I find victims for my cakery! I hadn't heard of Monin's syrup, but will keep an eye out for it. Patrincia, sorry I remembered wrong about the vanilla syrup, but helpful to know how the vanilla worked in the Mousseline. Thanks, everyone!

REPLY

Oh Hector, You're one fabulous host! All your parties must be truly enjoyable!

I'm ashamed to say I own all 3 bibles but have yet to make anything from the Bread Bible! I did get a lot of info I needed in the BB when I was making chinese pau dumplings though!

I love panini - its my fave pick of the menu when I'm at a cafe. At home, we don't eat bread much except perhaps for breakfast sometimes, and my kids prefer fluffy refined sandwich bread!

REPLY

I've just finished my panini and chocolate fountain party. The bonus were two cakes: First, a third of Copper Mountain Topper Cake, to make this I used one single layer of Biscuit de Savoie, frost it, then pie sliced it in 3 pieces and stacked them together; it was the most beautiful big slice of cake I've ever seen. Second, I moisten one layer of Biscuit de Savoie with Frangelico syrup, then frost it with light whipped chocolate ganache.

I am finding making paninis a good way to use my soft textured, rubbery, basic sourdough bread made with plain AP flour, bleached. The panini grill makes the bread crisp with a tasty chewy interior. I didn't allow my guests to get a hold of the bread platter because I didn't want the bread to be eaten un-grilled. Instead, I had my guest pick their own panini fillings (prosciuto, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc), hand them to me on a plate, and I assembled the sandwiches and grilled for them... then I would deliver the paninis to their seat!!!

Modestly speaking, using Basic Sourdough Bread for grilled paninis is very very nice, the taste of the light sourdough goes extremelly well with the grilled cheese and prosciutos.

The chocolate fountain was filled with an uncooled recipe of Light Chocolate Ganache.

Happy baking. /H

REPLY

People in the US can purchase Monin syrups online. Has anyone found them for sale in any stores?

REPLY

Hi Theresa,

Do try a large shell border around the cake with the strawberry glaze in the middle. Or you can work your whipped cream into mounds on top and drizzle it with the strawberry puree for a dramatic effect(I've done this with Rose's fab raspberry puree which I've thickened ever so slightly with a tiny bit of gelatine).

Macerated strawberries wld give you an excellent syrup, but you can also try Monin's Strawberry Syrup and dilute it slightly. I keep several bottles of Monin syrups in various flavours - great for brushing on cakes when I don't have the natural flavours on hand, and a good alternative for liquers. Not sure if this French product is available is US?

REPLY

oh yes--i agree about jackfruit.

REPLY

Oh Rose, Durian is really an acquired taste! I don't really like it fresh from the husk either. I like it mashed and cooked - then adding small amts to whipped cream for frosting cakes or fillings for crepes. It's really nice when made into ice-cream too. I have a butter cake recipe made with very little durian but tastes fantastic.

Ever tried jackfruit? It's really nice and much more bearable than durians!

REPLY

hector, when i was in thailand i fell in love with tropical fruit. in the u.s., except when certain fruit is in season and available from the farmers, most of our fruit is pointless. thailand taught me how amazing fruit can be. i love mangosteen (who doesn't!), fresh lychees, passion (i adore) and other things i can't even remember. i don't however, like durian though i've tried really hard!

REPLY

jane, i can't see why the hot fudge sauce wouldn't keep well at room temp if canned. chocolate keeps well and sugar or corn syrup is also a great preservative/

REPLY

Hi Theresa - your thinking of the time I made the Mousseline buttercream without alcohol. I did increase the vanilla extract and added just a bit of water instead of the 3 oz of liqueur. I started with the amount of vanilla suggested in the recipe and then added a little at a time, tasting along the way, until it was just perfect. Then I added a little water at a time to lighten the texture just slightly, but next time I might not bother with the extra water because it didn't really change the texture that much.

I haven't tried the strawberry conserve yet, but I love Rose's strawberry puree added to buttercream and whipped cream. It's also excellent drizzled on a dessert plate, or poured onto ice cream and cheesecake. The puree is very smooth, intensely flavored, and completely addictive! (that goes for the raspberry puree too)

REPLY

Rose,

I absolutely adore your Hot Fudge Sauce (from Cake Bible). I make it for gifts, esp. end-of-the-school year/beginning of summer gifts. My question is: if I make the sauce, put it in jam jars, and seal them in a water bath (like jam), can they stay on the shelf at room temperature, or do they still need to be refrigerated? If shelf-safe, how long can they be kept that way? (Of course, refrigerate upon opening.)

REPLY

Hi Theresa. We have fresh papayas, bananas, mangos, avocados, pineapples, longan, lichees, etc, etc. Can't complain.

We have lots of bugs and birds, that delicate fruits like Tomatoes and Strawberries, get eaten out before harvest time.

We don't grow temperate or cold climate fruits, like apples, cherries, grapes.

I will be making strawberry conserve with frozen california strawberries and a drop of French Wild Strawberry Arome from Le Cuisine =) Can't wait to report how wonderful it should taste.

I WANT Rose, to start using more tropical fruits for Cake Bible =)

REPLY

I thought you had good fresh EVERYTHING in Hawaii!! I think Rose says that the frozen strawberries actually have better flavor (in the conserve, at least), if that's any consolation ... They don't look too good on top of a cake, though. BTW, I loved your post about piping mashed potato roses - who else but you???

REPLY

Hi Theresa, I wish you can mail me a slice!!!, it is very hard to find good fresh strawberries in Hawaii.

Yes, you need to add sugar as usual to the whipped cream, sorry for the omission. Even if your cake is TOO sweet, you need to sweaten as usual your whipped cream, nothing worse than a whipped cream without sugar. The sweetness added by the conserve or fresh strawberries in minimal.

REPLY

Hector - great thoughts - I will mull these over. I had thought maybe I could put both a layer of conserve and a layer of whipped cream between each of the cake layers, which would look nice when you slice it, but I don't know if that's practical. I like your idea of putting a pool of conserve on top. If I had your piping skills (and I don't!), I think I might pipe some whipped cream scallops across the top and leave the pool somewhat exposed. Not sure how red it will be as I have never made it before. I wasn't necessarily going to use fresh strawberries as it's so hard to keep them in peak condition. It's tempting, though, as they would look nice on the top of the cake, and they would give a little body to the cream filling so it doesn't just collapse when you slice it. I notice you don't mention sweetening the whipped cream in your scenarios - is that deliberate since the biscuit and the syrup are sweet? Thanks again!

REPLY

Theresa, I am going thru the same dilema, too, right now. Tonight I have a panini and chocolate fountain party, and there will be 2 cakes. One is Biscuit de Savoie, and my choices were to do it with chocolate ganache, with whipped cream, with raspberry conserve, or with strawberries.

I suggest the following for you. Depending if you will use fresh strawberries or not.

If you won't have any fresh strawberries, then make a cloud cream (mix whipped cream with strawberry conserve). Use this to fill your layers. You can eye ball the amount of conserve for your whipped cream, don't put too much, just until is tinted slightly pink. (fyi, to make this, you whip your cream as usual, and only prior to filling your cake layers, mix in with a fork some conserve).

Now, frost your cake with plain whipped cream with about 1/2 inch on the sides and only 1/4 inch on the top. Now, on the top, spread a layer of just conserve (if you need to make the conserve more spreadable since it won't add easily on the whipped cream, you can add a drop of boiling water to the conserve). Now over the conserve, put another 1/4 inch of plain whipped cream.

Imagine when you serve the cake, you will have a filling of "pink" whipped cream, then a top frosting with a "sandwich" of very red between white conserve.

If you will have fresh strawberries, to fill the cake don't use conserve. Instead, chop finelly (almost like a clumpy puree) a few fresh strawberries and mix it with some plain whipped cream; use this to fill the layers. This makes a much more uniform filling than putting a few strawberries, and dumping plain whipped cream on top. Frost your cake with plain whipped cream. Now lay the top with about 1/8 inch thin sliced strawberries. The presentation will be stunning when you serve a slice (pink filling, white frosting, and red strawberries on top). I don't care much to put slices of strawberries between the layers, because they don't cut well.

To moist your Biscuit de Savoie, if you don't have fresh strawberries, try using canned peach syrup, canned peach goes well with strawberries. Or make syrup for Biscuit as usual, but instead of adding liquor, add strawberry conserve (seeds removed).

To moist your Biscuit de Savoie, if you do have fresh strawberries, make syrup as usual, but instead of adding liquor, add "fresh strawberry macinate." The macinate is done by adding sugar and a hint of salt on fresh strawberries, and leave it on the refrigerator suspended on a colander for 1 or 2 days, "juice/macinate" will drip. Be sure to account the macinate sugar and substract it from the syrup.

I wouldn't syrup the biscuit with plain vanilla, since it wont add much to it since the biscuit is already baked with vanilla. Too much vanilla will add a bitter aftertaste.

Good luck, you really can't have too many strawberries, people love them any how they can get them.

REPLY

Hi, folks! Am thinking about those Biscuit de Savoie layers sitting in my freezer, and would love some opinions from you cake bakers. I think I might try making the strawberry conserve. Do you think it would work to put a layer of conserve, then a layer of whipped cream frosting between each cake layer, and then frost with whipped cream frosting? There is one whipped cream frosting that is flavored with the conserve, but I don't know if it would be overwhelming to have both the conserve itself and the conserve-flavored whipped cream. For the syrup, I think I have to avoid Grand Marnier (even though it would be perfect) because one of the people who might be eating the cake is allergic to citrus. So, I was thinking about a strawberry liqueur, but again, is that too much strawberry in the cake? Another possibility would be just flavoring the syrup with vanilla. Patrincia, I think you mentioned doing this in another post, but I can't find it. Did you add more water to compensate for the volume of the liqueur? And did you use a vanilla bean or extract? How much? Sorry if this is boring to some of the people reading, but I would be interested in other's opinions ...

REPLY

Yes - thanks for that info... I thought I was supposed to get the speed up to 10. I'll make note of this tip. Thanks again Rose!

REPLY

Thank you, Rose, for the specifics on beating the egg whites. I have a Viking, but I think the speeds are similar. I had beaten them mostly on 3 and 4, and then finally on 5 when I started to lose patience! :)

REPLY

hector, yes--i will be doing the demonstrations on the dvd--thanks!

REPLY

theresa, on beating egg whites, you can go as high as #8 on the kitchen aid but not #10!

REPLY

Rose, the DVD on your new cake book, will you be doing the demonstrations? We like to see "you."

REPLY

it's moister since there's no flour to dry it at all but i don't use a tester--no need as after 70 minutes it's done! it's chocolaty and moist but not wet and no residue.

REPLY

Kimberlie Robert
Kimberlie Robert
05/29/2007 11:57 AM

Hi Rose, Okay. Okay, so the cocoa powder would have made the difference. One would think after all my years of baking from your books, I would have known better. I'm going to try it again, this time with the cocoa. I'd like to know if the nature of this cake is moister than others? Should the tester be dry when the cake is done or will there always be a little residue moisture from the almonds and butter?

Thanks for all you do,
Kim

REPLY

Thanks, Elicia! I am having fun just thinking about what I will do!

REPLY

Thanks Rose, that's what I thought too when I didn't get a response from the producers. Anyway, I'll wait patiently for your new book with the DVD. I know it will be worth the wait. I ordered your Christmas Cookie book, can't wait for it to arrive.
Rozanne

REPLY

Bravo Theresa! Making your first biscuit opens the door to countless variations with fillings - fruit, buttercream, mousse etc etc... Enjoy!

REPLY

Reporting back from the egg white phobic front: I made the Biscuit de Savoie! Hector, I used your pan prep tips, and I used the egg white tips from you and Rose, and read Rose's info in the book as well about whipping egg whites. I was probably a little too afraid to use the higher speeds, so it took forever. I might have added the sugar too soon, which Rose mentions can really slow things down. BUT, eventually, it worked! I don't think I got all the volume possible from the egg whites, but the cakes rose magically in the pans. I was a little concerned because the batter was quite low in the pans, but they rose very well. They were still only about 1.25 inches high (in 8x2-inch pans), but considering how low the batter looked when I started, I was quite pleased. All in all, a good learning experience. Next time, I will brave a little higher speed and put the sugar in later. Thanks for everyone's help and encouragement.

REPLY

a recipe is a carefully crafted balanced formula that can take years to perfect.
what you have done by eliminating the cocoa is the perfect way in which to understand what each ingredient contributes, i.e. remove one at a time and see what happens. but it's always a good idea to make it the way the author designed it first to see what it's supposed to be because one thing for sure (as you have discovered)--if you change or remove an ingredient, particularly one that is instrinsic to its structure, it will not be the same.

REPLY

Kimberlie Robert
Kimberlie Robert
05/29/2007 06:11 AM

Hi Rose, I mean I omitted the chocolate all together. I just wanted almonds, much like an Italian cake. If the recipe had called for melted chocolate, I wouldn't have omitted it because it would have acted like a binder of sorts as it cooled. It seemed to me that omitting cocoa powder and water shouldn't have created such a mess. Could it really have been my problem? How would the cocoa powder have made the difference?

Thanks,
Kim

REPLY

kim, what do you mean you made it without the bittersweet cocoa. the recipe calls for dutch-processed cocoa which is unsweetened cocoa powder.what DID you use?

REPLY

rozanne, sadly the producers alone own the rights to this show so no answer may be their way of saying no. by way of consolation, there will be a terrific dvd coming out with the new book that will focus on all the specific techniques without the fanfare of a "show."

REPLY

Kimberlie Robert
Kimberlie Robert
05/27/2007 04:38 PM

Hi Rose,
I made the Bittersweet Cocoa Almond Génoise from the Cake Bible this weekend (without the bittersweet coco)and I encountered a few problems. I weighed everything, double checked my oven temp, folded in the egg whites without any problem (they were soft and flexible) and baked the cake for the 70 minutes you suggested. It looked done, but the tester came out wet. I took it out anyway and after it cooled, discovered that the cake wasn't done and it broke into pieces. Thinking I misjudged, I made it again. Was extra careful with everything. I had no problems with the batter, but it seemed a little greasy. This time I left it in the oven for 90 minutes. I let it cool in the pan for 45 minutes. The parchment paper was really oily and it pulled away half the cake (the same thing happened the 1st time). It was very fragile and still a bit wet in the center. Is this the nature of the cake? Should it have been dryer? Less greasy? The taste was there, but the texture seemed off. What could I have done wrong?

Best,
Kim

REPLY

Rose and Hector,
I haven't heard from the producers of Baking Magic either. I keep checking my e-mail everyday hoping to see a response.
Rozanne

REPLY

I haven't heard a thing from the producers. Will keep trying for magic . . . no (witch) broom intended.

REPLY

weeeel. that's why i called my show "baking magic." incidentally, did anyone get a response from the lovely producers?

REPLY

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

Yesterday, I beated the whites GRADUALLY and never reaching high speed. Here is what happened: during the half end of the baking time, the biscuit rose incredibly higher; all the way to the top of the pans. Most times I have made biscuits in the past, it would not rise anymore during the half end of baking. Is this magic?

REPLY

I'll bet you did - you're so thorough! Thank you for the advice.

REPLY

syrup will prevent freezing solid. of course syrup preserves them to some degree. keeping them untrimmed protects them in the freezer. so probably either would be o.k.-i vote for the freezing before trimming. the only way to know for sure is to try it both ways which i probably did knowing me!

REPLY

No wonder my whites never whip the same. I remember my Mom saying to beat the whites to "punto de nieve" GRADUALLY.

REPLY

Thank you - that's very helpful. (It's such a thrill to get advice directly from you, Rose!) If not for your comment, I would definitely have assumed that I should use the highest speeds on the egg whites. I will keep it to medium at most. What about freezing the cake layers? In the Cake Bible, you mention freezing the layers without syrup. Should I wait to trim them until they are defrosted and ready to be "syruped," or should they be trimmed prior to freezing? (Last question - I promise!)

REPLY

i have to add one comment about whipping egg whites. always start on low speed and increase the speed gradually to get maximum volume. don't use the highest speed at any point as it can break them down a bit.
if, however, there are very few whites in the bowl, you can start at a higher speed. it's the gradual escalation of speed that produces the most stable results.

REPLY

Okay, I am going to try this because you guys are inspiring me! If not this weekend, then the next, depending on how the rest of life goes. I only have two 9x1.5 pans, but I have three 8x2 pans. Looking at the pan volumes listed in the Cake Bible, I think the three 8x2 pans would be close enough in volume to work (19.5 cups for the three 9x1.5 vs 21 cup capacity for the three 8x2 inch). (If my math seems off to any of you, please do speak up!) Hector, I have printed your egg white whipping tips. I will tell you how it comes out, even if it's a disaster. (Elicia, no pics because I do not have a digital camera, but I will be honest!) Anyone - should I freeze it untrimmed and unmoistened or does this need to be done prior to freezing? Thanks.

REPLY

Theresa, whipped egg whites is easier than whipping mashed potatoes or cream! It is the first thing I did with my stand mixer. My egg whites never curd even if I overwhip, the only delicate part I do, is to determine when is the right time to add the creme of tartar and then the sugar, however I find not to be so critical.

Add the creme of tartar when the whites look well mixed, but still look like raw egg whites (liquid, clear yellow, not white), like if you would have mixed well for an omelette with a fork; Rose calls it "foamy." In fact, I often add the creme of tartar right from the beginning, the only problem that can happen is that some clumps may form, but with your stand mixer at high, it will be broken in no time.

When the eggs whites have soft peaks (it will look like a white gravy), Rose calls it "soft peaks," then you add the sugar. Now you keep the mixer on until it becomes stiff.

Anyways, you all cake makers, here some pics of today's breakfast.

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2005/12/a_quick_and_easy_sourdough_sta.html#comment-39169

REPLY

Well, I do have a certain "fear of egg whites" - but the cure for that is practice! I will probably bake it and then freeze the layers for when I need a cake in the summer. (Alas, my husband is on a diet, so I've been doing a lot of baking and freezing lately. Four loaves of egg bread last weekend!) I assume I should freeze the layers with the crust still on? (I'm sure this is in Rose's instructions but I don't have the book in front of me at the moment.) I normally make butter cakes but was thinking this would be nice if I want to frost it with something lighter that needs to be refrigerated - as Rose mentions, the butter cakes get kind of stiff in the fridge. (On the other hand, I tend to have NO extra room in the fridge!) Thanks for all the encouragement. :)

REPLY

Oh Hector, thks so much for offering to ship the book! You're a darling! Will let you know once I've checked the sites, but it shldn't be a problem with books. I've ordered them in the past.

BTW, do you rear your own hens too? Haha!

Lucky you can get fully-rounded bowls. Mine have a little base. However, I sometimes mould my charlottes in a springform pan - just arrange the swiss rolls around the pan in the same manner!

Theresa, you can't go wrong with Rose's biscuit recipe. There's no oil to weigh the batter down, unless you are very heavy-handed. Since you bake, you wldn't have a problem folding the batter lightly! Show us pics, ok?

REPLY

Theresa, I weight my egg whites and my egg yolks, individually. I often end up with extra whites, or extra yolks, it depends on the mood of the hen!!!

REPLY

Hector, thanks for the tips. Luckily, I do have 2 mixers as I kept my old one when I bought a new one. It does come in handy sometimes. I was looking at the recipe last night and wondered if you weigh your egg whites and egg yolks separately, or if you just make sure that the total weight of the eggs is correct. I have found that what Matthew said about the organic egg yolks is correct - they are smaller than regular egg yolks. I have only made butter cakes in the past, where the eggs aren't such a critical factor.

REPLY

Hi Elicia, if you can't find the book or if they don't ship to Malaysia, I can do it for you. BTW, I've just found the perfectly round 6 cup bowl to mold charlottes, a very inexpensive set of plastic bowls made by OXO I found at a discount store.

Theresa, Biscuit de Savoie is pretty fast to mix. Have all the ingredients measured before you start to mix, and it goes very fast. If you don't have 2 mixers or 2 sets of bowls and beaters, I would suggest to do the yolk part with a ballon whisk, food processor, or in your blender. What I have done in the past when I only had 1 stand mixer, is to use a plastic bowl with the mixer to beat the yolks with the flat beater attachment. Hold the bowl under the mixer and juggle it while the flat beater goes around it. Be careful though. This way, you save the mixer's whisk and mixer's bowl for your whites. It is important that your bowl/beaters for the egg whites are completelly free of any grease, prior to making the biscuit I rinse them with super hot water and dry them with paper towels (I don't trust my kitchen towels since they may have traces of oil).

Use CAKE FLOUR, and use superfine sugar. For the sugar, I just process until fine regular sugar in my food processor or mini chopper.

When you prep your pans, I find it easier than prepping for butter cakes too. All I do is cut a round of parchment, place a paper towel on my kitchen sink, put the round parchment on it, and spray very lightly a shot of PAM (regular cooking spray). Now you place the parchment on your cake pan with the oiled side down. This way, you won't have any grease on the sides of the cake pan, and it is a lot faster than brushing or spraying otherwise. After I prep the firs pan, for the second pan, I do use a clean paper towel again on my sink, because you don't want any left over grease from the previous spray to touch the clean side of your parchment that will be touching your cake. Biscuit should be baked on "grease free" surfaces.

REPLY

Hector, I will count myself lucky if I can successfully bake the Biscuit de Savoie! :) But I love the journey and I love your passion for baking. Rose is such an inspiration - her recipes are so precise - if you follow them, you know that things will turn out right.

REPLY

Mmm... Hector, you've got me all excited to try to get the book on Amazon/Ebay. Wish me luck its available,ok?

I've done buttercream with creme anglaise too (I have a recipe quite similar to Silk Meringue) - I agree its heavenly. These kinds of buttercream (without confectioner's sugar) are just so delicious, you just need a good genoise or biscuit to go with them! I love caramel - will definitely try that gorgeous Copper Topper once I find the book!

Hector, you are one very meticulous and passionate baker - truly matched to Rose's dedication to her books.

Keep the pics coming... and yes, I love charlottes!

REPLY

Wow Patrincia, that is great!

REPLY

Hector - I own Rose's Celebrations too. You must try the Cold Lemon Cream Souffle (great for the summer), the Bulgur and Duxelles, Boeuf a la Ficelle, Checkerboard Fantasy Cake, Celia's Pure Potato Latkes, and the Glace de Volaille. They are all amazing recipes!

REPLY

Cindy, Theresa, Rozanne, Patrincia, Elicia, Matthew, and ROSE!

This cake is called The Copper Topper Cascade Mountain Cake, page 23 of the book Rose published several years ago Rose's Celebrations. I love this book, you feel like being at Rose's home, sitting at her dinner table though the year. Rose shares several anecdotes about the recipes, ocassions, her husband Elliot, and friends. The book is out of print but you can find it at eBay or Amazon, used or a library copy. In fact, this cake is still photographed for one of Rose's press releases that you can find on this blog (see left tittle column).

I am speechless too, because I am still disecting all steps of this wonderful cake.

If I may say so, I like to encourage everyone to make the caramel silk meringue buttercream. You learn to make caramel, you learn to make creme anglaise, you learn to make italian meringue, and you learn to make buttercream. It is like 4 different flavors or seasonal ingredients blended together without overpowering one another (this balance is the basics of Italian cooking!!!). Surelly and hardly, you will need to slave a few hours in the kitchen to make it, and use at least 3 good quality sauciers (4 is better), needless to say that 2 mixers or 2 sets of bowls and beaters are almost madatory.

This cake also makes you practice about sugar, and temperatures, how to use a thermometer and how to do the same without a thermometer!!! I am starting to feel that a thermometer is very practical, but you also need to train yourself without one. I like to eye the temperature by eye and smell first, then use the thermoter to verify or achieve the final temperature. For example, if you make caramel, burn until the color changes from light yellow amber (the color of light corn syrup) to golden amber (the color of amber stone with a fossil insect), this transition takes only a few seconds.

Rose gives instructions with and without a thermometer, very handy. One more example is when making the creme anglaise. Like "when steam starts, or when bubbles form on the edge of the pot," etc.

I am speechless, too, too, because I am eating and now are busy absorbing the sugar in my body. I had just breakfast-ed a slice of this cake and a well made capuccino. I am the only guy on my block that walks his dog while enjoying a piece of nice cake! or the only guy on my block that leaves the house with a glass of capuccino on the car's cup holder!

I am making this cake again in the next week or so, but just a "slice." I am attending a 3 people / 3 guest birthday party this weekend, and I plan to make a "slice" of copper topper mountain cake. What I will do is bake 1 layer of biscuit de savoie, cut it in 3 equal pie edges, and stack them one on top of another to make the 3 layer cake. I will cover the "slice" cut side with acetate or foil to prevent frosting to get there, frost as usual (sides, top, and between layers), my idea is to make this a "true looking slice of cake" (plus I think nobody should have more frosting than what you should initially!).

By the way, I've just got my copy of Rose's Melting Pot. Google this one. This has an atonishing presentation of a chocolate/coffee chiffon.

REPLY

Hector, I am speechless! What a great looking cake, it should be on the cover of a magazine.
Rozanne

REPLY

Sorry about the double post - forgot to put my name in the first one! Rose, can you ask your web guy to remove one? Thanks!

REPLY

Hector, that is so beautiful! It must have been yummy. Congratulations! And thanks for the cake leveling tips - I did notice that the unfrosted layers in your previous pictures were nice and level.

REPLY

Oh Hector, the cake is marvallous!! congrtulation on your cake and your big day. Was the number of caramel triangles equal to the no of candles that should be on the birthday cake? What a clever way to disguise your age!

REPLY

oh hector--you are going to be heaven for sure with that one!

REPLY

THANK YOU! I can't wait to go home and enjoy one more slice of cake!

I am so happy with how perfectly even my layers baked. My self standing range is 30" wide. Convection (non-commercial) was turned on: I do this all the time when I have to bake cakes on more than one rack. Two pans were on the top rack. The third pan was on the lower rack (in the middle under/between the two top pans). The top pans were magic line. The bottom pan was a kitchenaid cook series, very heavy grade, non stick dark inside and out. All layers baked at the same time.

Ethereal Pear Charlotte next!

REPLY

Lovely,lovely,lovely cake! Mmm... can imagine the taste of the caramel crunch against the smooth and creamy buttercream and syrup-laden cake! Wish I were there!

Yep - I also experience very level tops with biscuits and genoises, without the strips (I didn't manage to buy them here until just recently!) But I must say your biscuits were perfectly shaped! Bravo on the spinning method!

Thks for your very detailed descriptions on the caramel pieces - will be helpful if I attempt this cake. Its definitely a very stunning decoration to make without having to fiddle with piping tips!

REPLY

Hector - excellent job of scaling the recipe up to fit the 2" pans, thanks for doing the math for everyone (and for saving me the hassle of having to find the shorter pans). I'm going to
add your notes to my well written in copy of The Cake Bible.

Yes, I like the pan spinning trick also. I find spinning the pans especially effective when baking large tiers. If you're making a butter cake, you can give the pan a good thwack on the counter too (but obviously this is not recommended for the Biscuit de Savoie, or any other "gently folded in
egg white" type cake batter).

I just might have to come up with a reason to make that cake soon... your flavor description is most tantalizing!

REPLY

At this point, it is hard for me to find the source of my knowlege: from instinct, from experimentation, or from Cake Bible!

One reason I tossed my magi-strips is because they were attracting cockroaches since the strips are hard to wash! No more on this.

REPLY

hector you have SUCH good instincts. i've found that magi-strips aren't necessary in cakes without chemical leavening. and especially not for those cakes with syrup as in butter layer cakes baked without the strips, the edges get browner and drier and there is no syrup to equalize this.

REPLY

I forgot to answer your question. I didn't have to trim anything, exept for removing the top and bottom crusts.

REPLY

Hi Patrincia.. BRAVO!!!

I returned the slanted Chicago Metallic pans. They were 8.5" at the bottom and 9" on the top. 1.5" deep. Very well made though.

I ended up factoring the Biscuit de Savoie recipe x 1.33 and used three 2" true 9" pans. The recipe was for three 1.5" pans, so I figured by adding an extra 1/2 inch per pan that is another 1.5" pan. So, one more pan out of 3 is a factor of x 1.33.

The cakes baked extremelly even, no magic strips. I am wondering if magic strips are necessary for cakes without leavening, as this one is.

This is how I fill my cake pans with batter to make spread evenly without much loss of air. I fill from the the pans with batter from the center out. I drop the batter on the center of the pan, and let it spread naturally to the sides, or if it is a thick batter, I start from the center and circle out. I end up with a "mountain" to some degree.

Now, I use my spatula to spread them very very gently but not completely.

Now I spin the pans, so the centrifugal force spreads to the sides. My sides end up been about 1/8 to 1/4" higher than the center.

In summary, I make my batter a little concave (sunken in the center, more batter on the edges).

I don't know if this method is ideal, but I am very happy with it!

REPLY

Hector - I was just looking over your photos again and it doesn't seem that the slanted sides of the Chicago Metallic cake pans you used were much of a factor in this particular recipe (like they would be in others). Or did you trim the layers before you assembled the cake?

REPLY

Oh Hector - you should have heard the gasp I let out when I saw the photo of your finished cake... the word stunning is an understatement! BRAVO!!!!!

REPLY

One of the reasons I enjoy Rose's books is because her creations are STUNNING.

Making the caramel "broken glass pieces" was a fun process. Let me share a few tips.

1- Instead of using a slightly greased pan to pour the caramel on, skip the grease and line the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, shinny side up. Caramel spreads and sticks more evenly onto non-greased surfaces, and the aluminum foil makes the cooled caramel sheets easy to lift and it peels right off.

2- You "can" make your caramel sheets ahead of time! I would say up to half day ahead even on extreme hot humid days. Peel the aluminum foil just prior to using thee sheet, that will make the foil side of the caramel airtight and dry. Lay a second sheet of aluminum foil on top, to prevent excessive air flow (air brings in the humidity). When ready to use, if the sheet has started to get humid, bake it on a well preheated oven 400oF for a few minutes until it remelts.

3- I used whole almonds, raw, unpeeled. I sliced each almond in half by hand, ending with half almond pieces one side with the skin and one side white. To make these broken glass pieces showing the white side of the almonds (that later are placed on the cake facing front), place the almonds with the white side down on the pan. It is the side of the caramel sheet that is touching the pan, that will be nice and flat, like glass.

4- If you want both sides of the almonds to have caramel, first place the almonds with the white side up, first. Then once the sheet has cooled, peel it off from the foil, and turn it upside down on another piece of foil. Bake at 400oF until it remelts. The caramel will nicelly set flat now on the white side of the almonds.

5- All this caution to keep the caramel pieces dry and wholesome, should be done with caution. I find actually very dangerous to serve the cake with caramel broken glass "just done." These pieces can cut your fingers and mouth. Allow a few hours of "cake display" so the caramel sharp edges can soften.

And like Rose says on the recipe: The Copper Topper Mountain Cake tastes even better than what it looks, this is defenitelly for the caramel lover. The caramel flavor in the meringue buttercream is actually very mild, and the texture of the buttercream served at the perfect temperature is just like custard, so if you are a creme brulee, flan, crema pastichera, or tan-tat lover, this frosting is for you.

For sure, this copper topper effect, will now be part of my regular menu.

REPLY

The cake is stunning! Those caramel pieces make all the difference. Very dramatic!

REPLY

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

And I was thinking about you, too!!!!! and thoughout the entire dinner!!! We were the last ones to leave Roy's.

I took as many photos as I could, telling everyone these would be on the blog. Sorry pics turned a little blury, must be due to the Mai Tais.

Waitress and staff screamed when the cake was put on the table. I said "this called Copper Mountain Topper and is Rose Levy's creation, I follow her books closely, and I have her personal advise, too." They WOW'ed.

Will write more shortly. Please enjoy, these pics are for you, and I titled this page "trying to be Rose" (just look at the last picture, I even wore a plain t-shirt to make the cake colors stand out!)

Finally my friends had the opportunity to keep me sitting on the table with them, usually I am the one running around the house cooking and serving for them! Oh, when the Roy's staff volunteered to handle the cake cutting, I had to gently decline! BTW, this cake sliced and plated very very well, that Biscuit de Savoie is really sturdy!!!

... saved 2 slices for you... one eat in, one take out...

/H

REPLY

Hector, hope you are having a great celebration!!! (I'm thinking it's about 3:30 a.m. where you are and you are having an early breakfast with your friends after your night of partying!)

REPLY

hector--those are some fantastic photos! i can't wait to see the finished cake!!!

REPLY

Hi Hector,

Your fabulous cake is coming together nicely! You must assemble the caramel pieces at the last minute - I know about humidity! - I made praline powder and they do clump together after a while. Look forward to your final pic!

Wow! I must say you come from a family of culinary talents! Wish I can learn from your mom! I make the teochew version of mooncake, which has a pastry not unlike puff pastry with yam filling - it is deepfried. You must have inherited some beautiful mooncake moulds from China! I had a 'dimsum-making phase' last year and even bought a few chinese dimsum cookbooks (good ones are hard to find)! Those little morsels are a bit tedious though... but delicious! Will definitely write to you some time on non-cake issues!

Back to the espresso - I use powder with the drip machine, and beans (that I crush on a mortar and pestle) for coffee mousse and buttercream (the recipes I have instructed to steep crushed beans in milk...) I know a store that specialises in coffee machines - will probably go and look out for the little gadget you proposed. Definitely a more viable investment than those large machines that take up counter space!

Wish you are my neighbour - then we can share recipes/tips and taste each other's food! Haha!

By the way, I use a little shortcut with the biscuit and I wonder if you've tried it. I wld whip the egg whites with all the sugar, then whip in the egg yolks at the end (before folding the flour in). It works well for me.

Will be busy this week with the bunnycake, plus another cake (one for the celebration at her nursery, and one for home with family), and some finger food to go with it - Rose's peanut butter mousse tartlets and maybe coconut milk agar-agar jelly (it is popular here). Kids' stuff!! And yes... will be piping roses!

Thks for your encouragement on roses, and of course, Rose's excellent piping instructions - I managed some great buttercream roses!

REPLY

Thank you Hector. you are always welcome in Hong Kong. Dim sum...m.m.m yummy!!!

REPLY

Hector - the photos look wonderful! I bet the other diners in the restaurant will be wishing they were at your table! Have a great birthday celebration!

REPLY

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

Aloha all, just wanted to share a quick preview of the Copper Topper Mountain Cake. I am in the middle of slicing almonds by hand and thought about the bloggers.

The Biscuit de Savoie were factored by 1.33 to fill three 2 pans. I am extremelly happy with how they baked. I made the Caramel Silk Meringue Buttercream last month and froze it; and it slowly thawed perfectly to room temperature and re-whipped like a dream. When I was assembling the cake, I ran short or buttercream (blame it on all the tasting and sharing I've been doing), so I had to quickly make a second batch. One of my birthday presents arrived, and it helped inmmensilly (the CDN infrared thermometer!). YOU NEED to try the Caramel Silk Meringue Buttercream (a thermometer is not madatory, I made the first batch without one). At room temperature or slightly chilled, it has the taste and consistency of pastry cream or a cream filling used on many desserts. It isn't greasy or heavy, far from a regular buttercream! I did invested on a $9 Tahitian bean, and made sure the tiny black spreackles of vanilla seeds photographed well! Coincidently my vanilla plant is blooming, and I polinated the first bloosom yesterday (a bit too late during the day, hope it sets, the polination must be done before 10 am). There are 5 more flowers that each will bloom one day appart, so for the next 5 days I will need to come to work a little late!

I don't know if I made a bad choice, but I decided to slice my own almonds. I really dislike those grocery store sliced baking almonds, never smell fresh enough. It is just time consuming to slice your own almonds! I remember that almonds are dicotyledons, so I used some taxidermy skills to find the line where the 2 almond cotyledons split, and that is where you cut from! Call these "split-not-sliced" almonds. I plan to toast them for a few minutes on a baking sheet.

Also wanted to share the photo of the Amaretto Disaronno!!! Blame its fast consumption to the towering cake. I made near 3 cups of syrup, and the Biscuit drank it all!!! I shall bring the bottle to the restaurant tonight (where the cake will be presented), and have each diner take a sip! I am looking forward to have a slice of cake, and taste the fragant Amaretto.

Photo of the finished cake... hopefully I can take a photo at the restaurant, since that is where I will be assembling the caramel pieces, so they are nice and crisp! I made clear to the restaurant that we must provide an extra reserved seat for this cake!


REPLY

Hi Cindy, you are blessed in Hong Kong, unmistakenbly the best place for Dim Sum!! Never been there... yet, but friends and relatives tell me about it.

Golden cages, EASY to do, you just need to try about 20 times to get a good hand:
http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/GoldenCage.html

REPLY

Hi,Hector,It is really interesting t know all these .I am a Chinese living in Hong Kong. Here we can have chinese steam bun ,Mai Tau to go withour dishes such as stir fry beef or mutton. I like to see your cakes .I have seen your golden cages ,3 of them ,one of these is heart shape and you tell of how to experience with the caramel. Those crystal like cages are really facinating . But I cannot find the link anymore . Can you post it again? Thank you.I went to Hawaii for my honeymoon years ago. lovely place with nice people.
Cindy

REPLY

Elicia! My grandparents and my mother were born and raised in China. My Dad, and myself in Peru. You got me on that one, yes I hardly use corn starch!

My mother was a great Chinese cook. She was a homemaker, and my Dad often hired some Si-Fus (Chinese chefs) to come home and teach my Mom some delicacies. She mastered Moon Cake, Bao, Chinese Rice Tamales, to name a few. I have my Mom's Moon Cake molds, and one day I wish to make them. I think I share my Mom's passion to bake in big quantities, I have pictures of our large dining table with hundreds of Moon Cakes! Mom made so many other Chinese delicacies, too, dimsum included. Often, she will feed us Siu Mai (pork hash), won tons (in soup or fried), Chong Fan (rice rolls), etc, etc. Because in Peru, back then, was difficult to get some things, Mom made her own Sillau (shoyu, or soy sauce), that she also mastered and I helped daily to uncover the soy bean bottles during the day, and cover them during the night, every day of the summer! That I also want to make! Mom made also her own preserved salted duck eggs and also the thousand year old eggs! ok, in case you need me to write more about non-cake, email me at inkasoy@hotmail.com I have 2 dear Chinese friends from Malaysia, and love their food.

Regarding espresso!!! What coffe maker do you have? A standar brew unit? The ones with a paper coffee filter or some sort of filter. I call these drip coffee. You cannot make espresso on these ones.

You don't need to invest on a espresso machine. You can just get the inexpensive Bialetti Mocha (made in Italy), which is the popular stove top little aluminum jar. Make sure it is Bialetti, it is aluminum, and it is the 3 cup Mocha size and model. They also have stainless steel units, and also of different sizes. They also have the one with built in capuccino milk maker. These, are those gifts one get on your wedding day, and later never use! (quote from my friend Luca -made in Italy, too).

There are concerns from the aluminum used in the Bialetti, but let me tell you, for some reason coffee doesn't react with aluminum. It is safe, the Italians have been using it for generations. Since you won't be making espresso often, then you must wash your Bialetti with hot water and a gentle scrup, and store it dissasembles (easy to take apart, too). Because if you don't you will end up with unappetizing water crystals inside that come from the room humidity. Note, never wash your Bialetti with any kind of soap, and if you will be using it daily or every other day, don't wash it at all!

The espresso beans you are using on your coffee machine, are they beans, or they are ground?

Anyways, you must try making Tiramisu with "true" espresso.

We have durians in Hawaii, but they are imported and frozen, very expensive and very popular. I am sure your durian cream for genoise is one of those things to die for! I like to try, send me some! I have a small longan tree, that grows well here. And of course Mangoes (also called the city garbage fruit, because they are so many mango trees at people's houses and they let the fruit drop and rot).

Please let us know, and share pics of your bunny! I have a giant bag of whole unblanched almonds, I think I will try to make marzipan (even if it coarse), unless I find another way to use them too, of course I could try a chicken almond stir fry.

Aloha, and do come and knock on my door, we are relativelly close!

REPLY

Hi Hector,
Wow! That was some coffee technicalities! Actually, I just use my coffee making machine with double the amount of espresso beans (that was according to the recipe I have!)! I have to say that I'm no coffee connoisseur and more of a tea person! The only time I use coffee beans is when I'm making tiramisu, coffee mousse cake or coffee buttercream! Thks so much for the really valuable knowledge... maybe I shld think of investing in a good espresso machine!

Oh yes! I knew you were probably part chinese from your surname. Also realised you may probably not do much chinese cooking from your previous messages (especially the fact that you hardly use cornflour!) My other love (when I'm not baking) is dimsum and Malaysianised spicy chinese food. Maybe someday we will share ideas on egg tarts, dumplings etc ( have made some of those at one time or another!)

Of course, baking is closest to my heart. I love cakes! Its also strange that some of the best cooks who don't bake find baking to be a 'mystery' and highly difficult (they must not have discovered the Cake Bible!).

By the way, do you eat 'durians'? It is a southeast asian fruit of acquired taste! It's very creamy and goes well with whipped cream and mascarpone. I've made a really nice genoise using durian with cream, and a bit of canned longans - as per your comment, the syrup from the can also makes a pretty good soaking syrup. We also use mangoes extensively here for cakes, and of course pineapple.

And to update you on my preparations for the bunny cake - have made some pretty pistachio marzipan flowers and butterflies - but they seem to be taking forever to firm up (must be the humidity) - its been 2 days... am keeping my fingers crossed!

REPLY

Hi Elicia from Malaysia. I am Chinese, too, but raised in Peru! I admire a lot Chinese food, but don't know much how to prepare it. My Mom was great on that, and now in Hawaii it is easier to eat out at Chinese Restaurants than make it myself! Some things I do at home, like steamed fresh whole fish and other very homey foods.

Anyways, going back to cakes, you are getting me started on Espresso science!!! I've done a lot of reading on this, and all this has been verified by my friend Luca. As Luca says, Espresso is made in Italy, and him too! Here is the rap:

The first parameter for espresso is the "making method" (or extraction). I find only 2 ways to make reasonable espresso, and both are not really "brewed," subject to interpretation. Espresso is extraction done with hot steam (or high pressure vapor), not water, not dripping. The extraction should be about 10 seconds only, longer time will make your espresso bitter (after 10 seconds, you are 'over-extracting' releasing the bitter compounds of the coffee. Unfortunatelly, too many coffee shops in the USA do over-extraction. The 2 ways to make this are using a Bialetti Moka or a true Espresso machine.

The second parameter for espresso, is to use fine grind coffee. There is a specific size for espresso grind, I can't recall. Normally it would be the smallest setting or close to it on your burr grinder. Yes, you need to burr grind, not blade grind. During coffee grinding the beans shouldn't be heated because it looses flavor. Again, unfortunatelly, too many people like to blade grind because it is more readily available and inexpensive, and also it gives you the smell of "fresh ground coffee" (go figure, the heated beans are evaporating the flavor). When I burr grind my beans for espresso, I can't smell anything! Also, it is best to use freshly ground coffee for espresso.

The third parameter of espresso is to use medium roast beans. Most roasts in the USA are dark roast, even Kona roast is a dark roast. Starbucks is also a dark roast!!! When you go to Starbucks, and order espresso, they are using the right machine to extract your espresso in 10 seconds, the are using the right grinder (burr), but they are using the wrong roast! The only descent coffee beans I find in the USA that are medium roast comes from Illy. Lavazza is also good. Both are imported from Italy. I think at some boutique coffee roasters you can find also a medium roast. If you smell it, it isn't strong, it doesn't smell burned or toasted.

I really don't know how you can make a espresso with twice the amount of beans. What I do when somebody asks me for a double, I make them 2 espressos and serve it in the same cup (my espresso machine has settings for 1 espresso and also for 2 espressos, so for a double I just put the 2 espressos in the same cup). I do however make "weak" espresso, but using less than 1 scoop of coffee per espresso.

Whenever somebody asks me for American coffee, I just add hot water.

I've also read, that making coffee with the espresso method (short extraction time, using hot steam), it is healthier than a long brewed drip coffee. In fact, there is less caffeine in 1 cup of espresso than in 1 cup of brewed coffee!

Whenever my espresso machine is in maintenance or out of order, I use the Bialetti Moka which is a stove top little pot. If you get this, make sure it is made by Bialetti, aluminum, and it is the 3 cup size. Anything smaller or bigger makes the taste slightly different.

Espresso vented out..... /H

REPLY

THANK YOU. Had an early dinner celebration on Tuesday night, we went to this hole in the wall called Little Village in Chinatown. We ordered this new dish called Volcano Pork Chops, pretty impressive presentation. These were small slices of fried pork chop with garlic and chives, then wrapped on foil, and presented on a plate set on fire with some vodka I suppose. The waitress unwrapped the foil and put the fire off at our table.

I need to start taking pictures of my culinary trips this week!!! Tonight we are going to a new Japanese sushi buffet, and Sunday to Roys. Rose pics of her Deer Valley trip are GREAT.

REPLY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HECTOR!!!XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

REPLY

Yes - Happy Birthday Hector!

REPLY

Hi Hector,

Firstly HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It's 16 May here in Malaysia already!

Oops ... meant to type 'double-strength espresso', not double-brewed. Just brewed with double the amount of espresso beans.

My tiramisu cake turned out ok when I unmoulded it this morning. The layers showed through nicely, although the biscuit was a little smaller than the cake ring. The 1/2 tsp of gelatine helps to hold it up just enough. Will be busy cooking up a nice oriental dinner tonite with some of my hubby's fave dishes (I'm chinese by the way!).

Enjoy yourself today!

REPLY

Hi Elicia, ever since this blog and all of you, I also bake more!

What is souble-brewed espresso?

REPLY

Hi Hector,

Yep, real espresso double-brewed is the way to go! I also do it the same way, rolling those ladyfingers in the coffee - a bit icky! Haha! I add some kahlua to the coffee as I can't get Marsala here.

By the way, love your labels. You are so enthusiastic! Eversince I've been on this site lately with all of you bakers, I've been motivated to bake even more frequently!

REPLY

Actually my Italian friend Luca, made it. He Googled it, and found the Tiramisu Recipe from Giada di Laurentis.

Hey, did you use real espresso coffee? I saw Luca putting the coffee on a shallow dish, and roll very fast the lady fingers on it, one at a time. You want just the outside of each lady finger to be soaked, the inside should still be dry and when your assembled tiramisu sits in the fridge for a couple of hours, then the inside of each lady finger will soak in a little more, you end up with a beautiful gradient on each lady finger.

REPLY

Hi Rose,

Thks for the advice. Actually thot of topping it with marzipan, then a layer of creme ivoire! May try out 2 tier and see if it holds up well in our warm weather!

Hi Hector,
Yep, 16 May it is! (its also Teachers Day here - students will celebrate and honour their schoolteachers).

I usually make the scoop-from-bowl type of tiramisu - just firm enough to slice and scoop out. Not sure if it will hold up as a cake though, ie without the sides of the bowl/tray for support. My recipe uses 500mlcream, 250g mascarpone, 2 eggyolks and 125g sugar. Pls do share your recipe though! Thks!

REPLY

it's fine to use the pistachio marzipan but as i must have noted in, the book, i usually use the marzipan inside a cake as the top will dry out if left exposed to air. if you keep it covered it should be fine.
i would encircle the pan with the biscuit before baking. it will absorb just the right amount of moisture from the batter.
be sure to coat the sides of the pan first with baking spray and use a torch or hair drier for unmolding.
pistasha liqueur is no more but if you want extra pistachio flavor get the pistachio essence from la cuisine.

REPLY

May 16th? I will try to get you a good tiramisu recipe, you don't need to add gelatine =) Or try Tiramisu al Cuchio (spoon in Italian), which is a Tiramisu done in a bowl and to serve you scoop it out, it is indeed delicious.

REPLY

Hi Rose,

Am in the mood for your lovely cheesecake again (which I have baked quite a few variations) which I will be baking a couple of weeks later. Wld appreciate if you can advise ... am thinking of doing the white choc version with a pistachio biscuit roulade as the base (replacing almond in the recipe). Wld it be ok to top the cheesecake with the pistachio marzipan? M not sure if it will work since the cheesecake is kind of moist.

M also thinking of encircling the cheesecake with a band of biscuit roulade (like the french-style mousse cakes which uses a band of joconde - which is quite similar to your biscuit roulade). Shld I do this after baking the cheesecake, or can I line the pan with the roulade, then pour in the cheesecake batter and bake?

Lastly, what's the best replacement for pistasha liquer? Can't find any specialty liquers here!

Thks so much! And I have to tell you that everyone who has tasted your cheesecake commented that it is simply out-of-this-world! And its so simple to make!

REPLY

Hi Hector,

I have to tell you that you share the same birth date as my hubby! Unfortunately, he's not so enthusiastic about cake!! So am baking a simple and small tiramisu cake for him (ie replacing ladyfingers with biscuit cake layers, and stabilising the mascarpone filling with just a little gelatine so that I can mould the cake in shape). Of course, I have to cook up his favourite dishes for dinner!

Look forward to your cake though - and here's wishing you a thoroughly enjoyable celebration!

REPLY

of course you can add more sugar if using for toast.

REPLY

Dear Rose, just wanted to share with all that your Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve is DELICIOUS for not having a better word. I tried a bit of the 1/2 cup extra that I left in the fridge, the texture is amazinly smooth, and it isn't one bit sour at all, it is just enough tart. The extra seeds add wonderful texture and fun. For sure, when I was tasting it warm while being prepared, you can't tell how wonderful it is until it cools and sets. Hope this lasts a couple of years, 2 or 4 as you state is the shelf life, unless I start offering it with toast or for breakfast, it is good -as is- even you say it can be not sweet enough for spreading on bread. I am going to order the wild strawberry arome from La Cuisine, and make the Strawberry conserve soon. Thanks again for Cake Bible's great recipes and sorry it is taking me over 2 decades to try them all.

REPLY

Found a great brochure about canning at the BALL site:

http://www.freshpreserving.com/filebin/pdf/howto/lo_acid.pdf

REPLY

you don't need to but everyone should have the ball basic canning book just as reference--it's just a paper back.
the instructions i gave with the recipes are adequate. lots of people simply sterlize the jars and lids in boiling water and invert them onto a rack to cool. this also produces a vacuum.

REPLY

Oh no, I have opened a can of worms. Now I need to get books on canning. Need I slow down my baking (I haven't finished the Copper Mountain Topper Cake yet, and I am already planning on the Ethereal Pearl Charlotte).

REPLY

Hello Theresa, glad you are remembering my upcoming birthday!!! So far I've had a few people tasting the Caramel Silk Buttercream which is frozen. Frozen tasted like vanilla ice cream, and thawed/rewhipped was heavenly; we also put it on bread toast just like butter. The Tahitian vanilla does make a difference over the Madagascar vanilla (in taste, in fragance, and in price!). Got the 1.5" Chicago Metallic pans, but I am a little dissapointed that the sides are not perfectly straight, but the pans are heavy and well made. I will be making the Biscuit de Savoie soon. Perhaps the non straight sides don't make much difference on a 1.5" layer.

The birthday party venue has been decided, it will be at Roy's, I hope they don't get upset that no-one will be ordering dessert! I plan to layer and frost the cake one day ahead of time so the wonderful Amaretto spread evenlly, keep it refrigerated, and right before the party place the caramel pieces on top. I think Roy's will keep the cake in the fridge and I hope this does not make my caramel sticky.

Now I am hunting for a 70 cc syringe.

REPLY

sounds like you're doing fine with the canning but i recommend getting the BALL book on canning--trying googling--they're the final word for the basics. another must have is jeanne lesem's "preserving today" (knopft)

REPLY

Hello bloggers, I don't have any experience canning, appreciate if you help me on this. Last night, I made a batch of Cordon Rose Raspberry conserve using frozen raspberries. It was delicious easy job. I used my KitchenAid Fruit and Vegetable strainer, and about 1/4 cup of seeds were collected and discarded (I passed the expelled seeds several times thru the strainer to get more pulp out, so each pass was adding more seeds to my conserve). I wonder if I have too many seeds?

My real question is how do you check for a good seal? Is this when the lids are concave (sunken in) and they don't pop up and down? Also, I've read that when you have the jars boiling to not tighten the lids too much so air can escape, how much is too much and wouldn't water go in? When do you tighten the lids more? One of the jars ended with a non-concave lid, I opened and closed the lid, boiled it again, and after about 10 minutes the lid became concave. I suppose I can keep an eye on my conserves and if they start to mold I can "scrape the mold out" and reboil/seal the jars?

Also, the conserve wasn't sweet enough to eat with toast for example, but I think Rose addresses this. It is tart and I think it will go well with a sweet Biscuit de Savoie or Whipped Cream.

REPLY

Hector, how is the birthday cake coming? 1 week to go! Did you get your pans and rebake the Biscuit de Savoie yet?

REPLY

if you subscribe to this blog--and there's a box to check if you'd like to do this, you get the newsletter greeting which is pretty much every month and also are notified whenever there's a new posting.
since i've had over 150 postings from bloggers during my absence, i haven't had the chance to enter new things. in fact--i'm so far behind i haven't even entered the great photos from my ski trip to deer valley.
you don't have to subscribe--though there's no fee. you can just visit the main page of the blog and see what's new.
as for the improved structure of bread: think of rising dough as exercise for the elastic strands of gluten. the more then expand and contract, the stronger they get, unless you allow the dough to over-rise and break those strands which weakens them. better structure in this case means tighter less open grain.
if your challah is drying it could be due to extra rising bc there is a certain amount of moisture loss. you can combat this with a moister dough to begin with or add old starter as i suggested in the recipe on this blog which is now my fav. it also increases extensibility making it easier to braid and shelf life!

REPLY

Welcome home, Rose! I hope you had a great trip and a wonderful return home. Maybe you've posted about your trip, but I have a hard time figuring out how to find things on here in chronological order. Also makes it hard for me figuring out where to post a new question rather than a comment/response. Sorry if this is in the wrong place! My new question concerns number of risings. You say in the BB that structure/flavor improve with each rising. I'm not sure quite what "structure" means. And my family thinks all fresh bread tastes fantastic, so does 1 vs. 2 rises really make a big flavor difference? Does it make a difference how rich a bread we're talking about? Specifically, with challah: rise twice or eat earlier? Don't know if this is part of what's meant by "structure," but my family has said my more recent challahs -- since I started trying to improve them! -- seem more dry to them. Is that because I've added a 2nd rise and often a refrigerated overnight first rise? Or is it more likely my fiddling with proportions? Thanks for any insights!

REPLY

e vero--bravo hectoro! have it bound in leather!!!

REPLY

I am sending it to my friend Luca in Padova or my friend Isabella in Bologna, after all is there where they have the 2 oldest universities in the world and book binding is not a problem!!!

REPLY

thank you hector.
check out book binders--i'm sure some people are still rebinding books.

wow! can't believe i actually found the info. on my treo--hope it's still viable The swan bindery: 213/962-0332-Susan D. Staples (met at Cook's Library signing in LA years ago)

did i mention the bread bible is stitched as will be my new book.

REPLY

My niece is very skinny, so she can use all the buttercream!!!

(I think I've read this somewhere, too)... having your Bibles is like having the best summary for hundreds of cookbooks an authors. You save me time (and bookshelf space)!!! I really appreciate you list all the Bibliography used, and also mentioning other great people in your books.

Last night, I also opened Rose's Celebrations. After reading the first recipes (Oysters in Puff Pastry, Patte Baby Artichokes), I really had to stop. I may need to "commercially" announce public to come to my home each weekend, to eat all this I want to make!!! (gosh, I love oysters, and now it is your responsability that I will start saving my own oyster shell collection!!!)

My dinner guests don't know your name well, they mostly know everyone in FoodTV instead. I tell them "Rose Levy got famous way before the days of MTV style FoodTV!!!. They go to the local library and borrow your Bibles...

Ok, time to sign off, too many "personal" emails during company time, needless to say that I confess today I am fixing my first copy of Cake Bible (I will finish taking it appart and rebound it somehow).

REPLY

i know just what you mean--when i go through it i can hardly believe i wrote all that.

great idea to save the buttercreams for cupcakes--i do that too buy usually don't get around to making the cupcakes! if my nephew lived closer than frankfurt....

as soon as i catch up i'm going to post a photo and tell stories of my trip and how my great nephew reluctantly tasted his first ganache--made with belgian chocolate no less. by the way your neice is absolutely exquisite but i know, despite my head cold adled brain, that i already told you this.

REPLY

Rose, you are a great motivator, less to say that you remind me of the best college professors I ever had. Just the other day while reading Cake Bible, I was telling myself "how can I still use this bi-decade book with that old book smell and color?" I leave the answer to my dinner guests, when they ask me where did I get the recipe, I say "Cake Bible."

My memory must not be that large, but each time I am done with a section of Cake Bible, I forget another section. This is a book you never finish reading!!!

By the way, I am going to start saving for my niece all the different buttercream left overs I end up with. She is all into bringing cupcakes to school that my sister bakes.

REPLY

it's so exciting revisiting these favorite cakes and buttercreams i haven't tasted for a while. i'm jumping out of my skin with impatience for you all to experience my new joys from the upcoming book--now that i've submitted the manuscript 16 months seems so very long away. but hector, i'm sure there are many recipes left to try in the cake bible not to mention pie and pastry....the ethereal pear charlotte for one, the raspberry ganache in la porcelaine using 60 to 62% cacao chocolate....and the white chocolate pistachio wedding cake--make 1 layer just to experience the amazing flavors of the pistachio against the soft white cake and creamy white chocolate buttercream--it is dreamy in flavor and visually too!

REPLY

so far, the Caramel Creme Anglaise tasted OUT OF THIS WORLD, and when added to the Silk Buttecream it became OUT OF THIS UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!

REPLY

Thank you for spelling Mascarpone correctly (my pet-peeve when someone calls it MARS-capone).

Can't wait to hear how your Copper Topper Mountaing Cake tastes when it's completely assembled.

Still working on the marbled checkerboard fantasy cake photo - have to ask my son for assistance.

REPLY

Hi Patrincia, I will accept a slice of your Checkeboard Fantasy on the calorie free version aka a photo!!!! I haven't assemble the Copper Topper Mountain cake yet due to logistics.(http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/images/rose%20PR%20crp%20fnl.jpg)

Instead, I am enjoying the test Biscuit de Savoie in the form of Tiramisu. I used real espresso for it, and of course real mascarpone. Was heaven. I was happy with the cake texture, in spite of my worries that the cake was too flat.

My Caramel Silk Buttercream is already done, and frozen. I should be rebaking the Biscuit de Savoie as soon as my nes 9 x 1.5 inch pans arrive from Chicago Metalic.

Wish my birthday was today =)

REPLY

Hector - how did the cake turn out... did you save us all a piece?

My marble cake turned out wonderfully. I used the Checkerboard Fantasy Cake recipe from the Cake Bible - baked it in a 12x15 cake pan instead of 3 9" round pans as the recipe suggested (made the recipe twice, one for each layer). I didn't make any adjustments with the baking powder and the cake turned out nice and even using baking strips (I cut the cake size down to an 11" square and reserved the scraps to make a trifle). I frosted it with the Cake Bible's Dark Chocolate Ganache (whipped). I piped a beautiful border with a large star tip and decorated the top with burgundy colored fresh roses. The cake survived a 3-hour car trip and was displayed for an additional 2 hours before it was served - it held up extremely well, and the cake tasted great - the butter, chocolate, and vanilla were present in every bite! I'll post a link with the photo as soon as I figure out how.

Next the genoise...

REPLY

Thanks for the suggestions. I think it turned out to be a combination of too little flour and over rising (on the last rise). The dough was never like "bread soup". It had nice structure and looked really good, but that internal structure looked kind of translucent. I guess it's hard to describe. My last batch was perfect (or as close as I've gotten thus far :-))Anyway, I love this forum...~thanks

REPLY

Hi Theresa, the answer is yes and yes. I was debating to make the Biscuit de Savoie again provided I find a recipient to "eat my mistakes." I will try again with the 1.5" high pans instead of the 2" pans; Rose indicates to make sure we use the correct pan size. I feel the ones I baked last night on the 2" pans turned too low. These low layers indeed turned out very even in spite of not using magic cake strips. Also, I may end up freezing the Silk Buttercream and bake the Biscuits on a later week. I find very useful that Rose tells us for each thing what is the shelf life and how can it be stored. If I have a chance to do the Biscuits again within 5 days, I will frost it, and freeze the layered cake. This cake has so many steps that I really don't see myself doing it all at once.

REPLY

Hector, so happy to hear about the fun you are having with your project! Are you planning to assemble it and then freeze it until your birthday, or is this a "test" cake that you will repeat for the actual occasion?

REPLY

Dear all, I am half way done making the above sensation. Rose calls it The Copper Topper Cascade Mountain Cake (Rose's Celebrations page 23). So far it has been a pleasure baking the 3 layers of Biscuit de Savoie... this sponge cake is quickly becoming my "vanilla" version of Moist Chocolate Genoise; I just love baking cakes without butter which later are moisted with syrup. Also, I feel lucky that it helped me a lot to have two mixers since yolks and whites are beaten separetelly. I got a refurbished KA Artisan, for $159 bucks, what a God send... I would say it is more practical than buying a second set of bowl and whisk.

Now, making the Creme Anglaise with Caramel. You need about 3 heavy sauciers for this!!! The end result, YOU NEED TO MAKE IT FOR YOURSELF TO BELIEVE IT. It is delicious. I don't have a thermometer, but I followed Rose's extensive details. Everything worked as described.

And the last thing I did tonight was the Silk Buttercream, later blended with the Creme Anglaise with Caramel. Let me tell you, this is the first time I am making Creme Anglaise or Silk Buttercream... and I am already thinking that these will be something I will be doing often!!! The Silk Buttercream is similar to the Mousseline Buttercream, different indeed, but equally delicious. The Creme Anglaise alone is such nice sauce!!!!!! I think you can brag about it how many steps it takes. (and surelly, having two mixers to make Silk Buttercream works well).

I will assemble the cake tomorrow, and really, right now I need to be hitting bed instead of writing out my enthusiasm and appreciation to Rose Levy's books.

I think I will hit the Amaretto di Saronno and sign out from the blog, after all you only need 6 tablespoons to moist the Biscuit......

Chin Chin. /H

REPLY

Oops, here is a better link of another great Rose Levy's creations I will attempt:

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/images/rose%20PR%20crp%20fnl.jpg

.... Kathy: I know, it is too much to ask to wait until your bread cools. I think it depends what kind of bread you are making, and the size of your loaf. If you are baking small loaves or dinner roll sizes, then it should cut fine fresh from the oven. If you are baking larger loaves, high moisture free formed artisan breads with great crusts, and breads with great holes and crumb, then it "can" turn into soup... the issue is not the sides sinking (great artisan breads with crusts don't sink from the outside), the issue is in the center or inside of the bread.

REPLY

Patty, it sounds like you might be right that you are not using enough flour. The desired wetness of the dough can depend on the recipe, too, though - a French-style bread may call for a wetter dough to get the desired holes in the loaf. For a regular loaf of bread, you don't want to add too much flour, but you do need enough to form a nice, springy dough. Are you kneading the dough by hand or by machine? If you are not already doing so, maybe you need to knead by hand, just to get a better feel for the dough. The other thing that might be happening is that your rising spot may be too warm and/or you are letting the dough rise too long. (The fact that it deflates so much when you slash it might indicate that it is rising too much.) Just keep trying and experimenting with the different variables and you will get it right! Even the loaves that don't turn out perfectly will likely taste pretty darn good. I hope this is some help to you. Best of luck to you in your baking.

REPLY

Hector:

If you have kids in the house while the bread is baking(anyone under 65), they're going to smell it, and be waiting for the moment when and you take bread out of the oven. It would be too cruel to deny them the chance to cut into a loaf of bread fresh out of the oven. Okay so the loaf sinks a bit on that side, but that's a small price to pay for the sheer joy of eating it on the spot. We have NEVER had bread soup! It's always been delicious! This is over 100's of baking events, not just a few.

its a good way to get your kids interested in baking, too.

REPLY

Patty, Matthew, indeed I ALWAYS let the bread completelly cool before cutting it. If you want warm bread / freshly baked, then after the bread is completelly cool reheat it for 15 minutes. If you cut a hot or warm bread, fresh of the oven from its first baking, you will end up with bread soup most of the times. It is written on Bread Bible.

Regarding my next recipe, Patrincia, I found the recipe of http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/images/rose%20PR%20crp%20fnl.tif in Rose's Celebrations (I got this book after digging thru my aunts basement, book is out of print). I will bake it for my own birthday May 16th!!! I've read the recipe briefly, it is a 3 layer Bicuit de Savoy, filling and frosted with caramel flavored buttercream. Those wonderful caramel peaks are just beautiful. I will try to photograph my version of the cake, my face included =)

REPLY

Yet Another Anna
Yet Another Anna
04/23/2007 07:46 PM

To answer Patrincia's question: "To anyone who wants to join in - which one of Rose's recipes did you make last, and which one are you planning on making next?"

I made a half batch of Raspberry Conserve (The recipe's in both the Pie and Pastry and Cake Bibles), then a few days later, made the conserve again, based on the general ratio Rose gives (1 pound berries, 5 oz. Sugar, 3 oz. water?) and made a blueberry version with a pound of frozen blueberries.

I used them in jellyroll cakes, one plain vanilla jellyroll cake (from one of the Cook's Illustrated books) with a sherry/sugar soaking syrup, topped with raspberry conserve, the other a lemon cake (Lisa Yockelson's Lemon Roll from 'Baking by Flavor) topped with a lemon soaking syrup and blueberry conserve.

Both conserves are delicious, and the best part is that I have plenty left over for other applications.

The jellyrolls were fine, my favorite so far has been the raspberry/sherry one, but the lemon/blueberry needs tweaking. Somehow all that lemon flavor overpowered the blueberries. Next time I'm thinking I'll just make the plain vanilla cake and top it with the blueberry, to see if that will give the conserve a better chance to shine.

Both did LOOK really nice, which was also great.

Not long befor that I used her lemon meringue pie filling (but 'cheated' and used different recipes for both crust and meringue.) Loyalty issues aside, the pie did turn out quite nicely.

REPLY

Hmmmmm, slow week on the baking blog....

I'm going to make Rose's deluxe double-vanilla version of the Perfect Pound Cake today (from the cake bible), and I'm planning on making a marble cake this week, but first I want to search this site for suggestions on which one of Rose's recipes to use.

To anyone who wants to join in - which one of Rose's recipes did you make last, and which one are you planning on making next?

REPLY

Patty,

I have a few questions that might help others give you an answer. When you say wet, do you just mean it is not done on the inside or literally wet like a rag? Do you measure your ingredients by weight or by volume. Are you trying to make one of Rose's recipes? Do you allow your bread to cool completely before you cut it?

Perhaps your oven thermometer is off? It also sounds to me like you are making the slashes too deep. The bread shouldn't deflate like that. The slashes should only be about 1/4-1/2 inch deep. It also helps to uncover the bread for about 5 minutes so that the crust will toughen slightly before you slash it (all tips in the Bread Bible).

REPLY

I am new to bread baking and have a technique question. So far everything I bake is consistently wet. I am not sure if it is too little flour or too little baking. I think it is too little flour, b/c the internal temperature as well as the outside appearance of the bread indicates that it is done. I guess I just want to know if it could be other factors, like something to do with the kneading or rising process. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Also, when I put the bread in the oven just before baking, I make three slashes in it with a sharp knife as directed. When I do, the bread deflates to about half it's size. Is that normal?
Thanks...Patty

REPLY

POST A COMMENT

Name:  
Email:  
(won't be displayed, but it is used to display your picture, if you have a Gravatar)
Web address,
if any:
 
 

Comment

You may use HTML tags for style.

EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Sign up for Rose's newsletter, a once-a-month mouthwatering treat!

DATE ARCHIVE

Featured on finecooking.com