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Hector Builds a Bridge

May 27, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

This is a note from Hector from Hawaii and I thought you'd all appreciate seeing the spectacular photo plus a description of how it was made and for what special occasion!


Note from Hector:

Last Saturday, my younger cousin Keith Chan graduated in Civil Engineering. He organized a lovely dinner for our ENTIRE family which turned into a family reunion of 80. My relatives has seen me baking since I started with The Cake Bible back in 1989, but they have not seen any of my recent work, so I offered to make cake and attempt to re-introduce myself as a baker. My first cake from the book was the Golden Cage which I have a picture I dare $$$ to ever share publicly. I felt the responsibility to do something with caramel....how about a caramel bridge? If it didn't turn out, my cousin could fix it!

Here it is. The vertical ropes of the bridge were done by pouring caramel onto every other groove of corrugated cardboard lined with aluminum foil. Honestly, the technique is here, but I would execute this cake again, a little more carefully and precisely to make it look prettier and less heavy: I inserted Mc Donald's drink straws in the cake to prevent the bridge from smashing! I ran out of time that evening and showed up late at the dinner, never again because when you show up late no-one sees your cake! I do have a few pictures with my cousin and my nieces with the cake, but besides that people admired the cake mostly for its flavor when served.


it wouldn't hurt with this cake. maybe the answer is to get a non-stick savarin ring which will be darker in color and better release OR bake at 375!


Many thanks for your reply, Rose. Since I only have Bak-Klene @ home, I made the Golden Wheat Carrot Ring again today using it and it came out of the pan! (well...only about 1/6 of the top still stuck onto the pan. Otherwise, a great improvement!)However, I'd like to achieve the "golden Crust" you mentioned in the book. Do you recommend baking it longer than 30 min? (I actually baked my cake for a total of 40 min to avoid the wet/moist center. Cheers!


try baker's joy--then it definitely won't stick! or use solid vegetable shortening and flour.


I am speechless...please enlighten me once again on the subject of this delicious Golden Wheat Carrot Ring from the Cake Bible! My daughter so enjoys munching on the bits & pieces of this cake, because it refuses to come out of the Savarin pan recommended for this cake! Buttered the pan thoroughly, weigh every ingredients accurately. Baked an extra 13 mins over the recommended 30 min to ensure a crust to form, but still...this is 4th try on this delicious cake! Please help or recommend another pan I can use instead! (though my Savarin never had trouble popping out of this pan before!)

Many thanks! Sorry to sound like whining...


How precise and I am so addicted to food as this blog. Need to share with all of you that I've just whipped Golden Wheat Carrot Ring...

I hope you haven't forgotten how delightful this all-butter carrot cake is... I could not resist to lick clean the mixer's beaters (and the 6 qt bowl indeed)... was so glad to not waste any of the wonderful whole wheat flour, carrots, honey, etc.

Coming soon, pictures when I finish pre-assembling the cake. Also a quick report on Rose's Heavenly Cake Strips and how to secure them to any size cake pan.


i'm always feeling so grateful that i eat so very well but i think hector outdoes me!


Just want to quickly report that this morning, Monday, as I was getting ready to come to my office, I realized I had NO breakfast solid item NEITHER lunch prepared. I always have a slice of my own bread for breakfast and for lunch I always pack something from home.

As I was walking my dog this morning, which is the time I am nibbling on my bread (and also answering to some blog posts thru my smartphone), I ran my freezer inventory list in my mind and found slices of my birthday 2008 cake. I took a slice straight from the freezer and left it still on its wrappings for about 2 hours, room temp. I've just ate it (so you know, it is 10:16 am in Hawaii right now), yes a bit late breakfast... but how heavenly it was, so I am typing this blog entry right now to share my delight.

The huge filling of thin and double cordon rose strawberry conserve enhanced with la cuisine's extraordinary wild french arome on fruit and chocolate mousseline buttercream, in Rose's chocolate layer wedding cake moistened with frangelico syrup... heavenly cakes! The minute I opened the wrappings, a cloud of the most addicting aroma invaded my office.

The cake slice was very small (that is all I allow myself to have since I go thru so many cakes a month!). You know the saying: too small that it just gets stuck on your teeth, well... literally this is because I still have one or two tiny strawberry seeds stuck on my teeth and with so much enjoyment I refuse to let in!

Ode to the inventor of the freezer and vacuum bags.

P.S. Regarding my lunch, I brought Rose's pizza crust, frozen. Will heat it in the toaster oven with some pasta sauce and grated parmesan.


Thanks Julie, and my statistics about style preference remain true with your vote! Thanks for your feedback, response has been great that I tell myself today how is it that I haven't started my drawings for Hector 2009 yet.

By the way, my cakes are continuations of recent cakes and previews of future ones. I am testing a few design and construction schemes for my cousin's wedding in Sept 13th, 2008, when YES, I am doing everything including catering lunch for 80 people.



Here's wishing you a very belated happy birthday! I love the lattice cake, before you added the green roses! With the tops cut off the bands, you definitely don't need anything on top of the cake, it would detract from the effect, which is similar to when an artist makes it look as though a part of something he painted extends off the canvas. Really nice, modern and refreshing. And I live in New England!


Hellooooo Cindy, Happy Birthday to you, too, mines' was on May 16th... I knew we were closely related somehow.

Draw a rectangle on parchment paper. Width is the circumference and height is the height, of your frosted cake. Do one rectangle per cake tier you will cover with lattice.

Draw your chocolate lattice on the parchment paper, according the The Cake Bible instructions (see sample on Strawberry Maria).

For each cake tier, the bottom lattice was looping, but the top lattice was chopped. I looped the chocolate lattice on the bottom, but on the top I continued and later cut the parchment to achieve the chopped look. I think this gives a better design on the cake, a sense of direction and gravity, rather than making the lattice perfectly even looping all around.

In my hot kitchen, I had to chill the lattice in the fridge until harden. Then I took it out to room temp and waited until it became flexible (a bit melted). Wrap around the lattice parchment on your well chilled frosted cake (be sure your buttercream frosted cake is well chilled, otherwise you will not have a clean un-smeared finish). Return to chill until lattice has harden well, now peel off the parchment and pray.

I wrapped my lattice loosely (about 1/8-inch apart from the cake), so achieve a more defined look. The lattice casted a nice shadow on the cake. There is no problem of the lattice falling out when slicing the cake because butter and buttercream cakes need to be displayed at room temp for at least 2 hours prior to slicing, so the buttercream becomes soft and will stick to the lattice when you slice.

My favorite picture of the cake is this one, and click on the close up picture, too. It is the same cake prior to the bold green roses (which btw, has become a bold discussion topic with my art panel!):



Hector, Happy birthday. Your cake is stunning. I also had my birthday celebration last saturday but my exact date is 2June.
How was the chocolate lattice put around the cake?


emily, first of all it's really stunning. but i do think you could bake it with the cheesecake filling bc i do that with lady fingers. biscuit can absorb quite a bit of liquid without getting soggy as it has no fat.


Okay, inquisitive minds...

I used Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake recipe—you can find it on the Food Network. Like Rose’s recipe, it combines cream cheese and sour cream. (I have yet to try Rose’s recipe, but will let you know how it compares when I do.)

A couple of things I have found with the recipe: softening the cream cheese is the key to a nice creamy batter… and trust your instinct on baking time! I have had to double the baking time every time and when I tried a version adding Rose’s Strawberry puree to make it a Fruit Swirl Cheesecake, it was even longer.

Hector’s original birthday cheesecake was supposed to be a Strawberry Fruit Swirl Cheesecake on a layer of Biscuit Roulade and Charlotte Roulade sides with Strawberry Conserve & Biscuit Roulade.

Testers on my first Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake thought that the fruit was too strong—so I went back to a plain cheesecake. For the sides, the Strawberry Conserve was not thick enough on its own, so I made it into Rose’s Cloud Cream. I would have liked it a more berry color for more contrast with the Biscuit. The cheesecake was baked with a double layer of Roulade on the bottom. The sides were assembled later… I don’t think you can bake the cheesecake with Roulade on the sides, as it would have absorbed all the moisture. I forgot to bring over the Strawberry puree it was supposed to be served with, but I am glad you enjoyed it anyway.


I've just realized that Emily's strawberry creation on the Charlotte Biscuit Roulade Cheesecake is actually Rose's New York Creamy Cheesecake with the Biscuit Roulade Bottoms suggestion!


I am having Emily email me her experiences baking this dessert, and will post. I think everyone in her family and at her job ate so much of this since she told me the dessert she delivered for met was her final 5th trial!


Laurie, THAT is a great tip. Thanks!


For the easiest way to line the corrugated cardboard neatly with foil, use 2 pieces of cardboard with the foil pressed tightly between.
Laurie, just another Kitchen Engineer.


Just a little something for you.

Every one of my 8 guests took a slice home, and the rest has been individually wrapped then vacuum packed and kept at -20oC to share with guests that could not attend. Nothing better than enjoying a slice of a it without sweat, too.


Also, a picture of home canned tuna in 100% extra virgin olive oil. It is easier than you think and all you need is 1/8 teaspoon of salt per half pint jar. I posted earlier on how to make this. I labeled these 5 jars as SALTY because I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt instead. Note: I keep my jars in the refrigerator just in case for safety.


EVERY TIME I wear the chef's jacket I tell myself: "no" to commercializing or mass producing my art work. I think I will eventually make the chef's jacket some sort of art wear. Stay tunned.

You all are making my birthdays awesome.



Very cute card and so appropriate!

Love the Chef's jacket Hector, it suits you well. Emily's cheesecake looks wonderful. Did she use Rose's recipe?




Turn up the volume for that e-card if you can.


Patrincia, Rose, Barbara A, Jeannette. THANKs for visiting my face on THE YELLOW KITCHEN.

Doesn't Emily's cheesecake rose look wonderful? The pictures always look better than in person... but that doesn't make me stop from thiking that Emily dared me to bring such beautiful creation against mine's. I am so proud of her.

Do note that my chocolate lattice cake is "tiny" been 7.25-inches the bottom tier. The top tier was given to my hardest baking helper friend, Natalie, as she had to leave early. She took it home as a very special cupcake.

(reminder that Natalie helped me from 8am until 2pm the day we delivered Rose's World Cake; together with Luca and I, took us this long to assemble this world in roses)

The cascade of GREEN roses was a bit masculine (my cake after all). Please notice the tiny strawberry seeds on this green-strawberry mousseline and also the trails and holes the seeds leave on the rose petals as piped. Almost like a rose made out of plaster. A happy accident. In any case, the green food coloring turned so bright, I call it the Carmen Miranda touch.

Rose, I really love how you name my creations. 'Bedspring' is nice. My party food was your wonderful pizza recipe. Luca executed the pizzas with so much happiness, as he and his family are TOTALLY satisfied with this recipe from The Bread Bible. 'Bedpring' is a Valrhona 66% lattice, kept frozen, and dropped on a slightly cooled white pizza (mozzarella, gorgonzola dolce, and parmigiano reggiano). The copper pizza pan is wonderful as it cools immediately. Chocolate can be used in savory dishes, my guests were surprised and finished this pizza in seconds. A sprinkle of coarse salt on top of the chocolate is heaven.

Let me share wonderful e-card sent from Patrincia, it hit the points!



Happy Birthday, Hector! Your creations are fantastic, and you are so lucky to have such a gifted friend also.


Hector, Happy Birthday and many happy returns!

Wow, I was thinking of maybe one big rose on top of the cake with a few around it -- and what do you do? You do a whole cascade of roses! Amazing!


happy birthday hector and i can see it was indeed!
you guys have taken roses way beyond rose! the strawberry one is stunning. and your lattice cake is amazing as is the chocolate "bedspring" one.
there is no end to your artistic vision. i keep wondering what next?!


Great photos - I like the addition of the BC roses. Emily's cheesecake is great!!! What a nice strawberry Rose on top. The chef's jacket looks good Hector!


Good eye, and thanks for noticing. The top cut off was totally intentional.

I like to make everyone happy, so here is version #2 of the cake. Plus, and amazing surprise my friend Emily just brought in: cheesecake on charlotte roulade.

And last but not least, gorgonzola white pizza topped with chocolate lattice and sea salt.



Lovely cake. I really like the lattice.
I think the fact that the edges of the lattice are cut off may be the problem for some people. It seems cut off to me and my eye wants to follow the circles in the lattice all the way around but they are cut off.


From Toronto, Canada.


Rozanne, are you from the USA? My Europeans say to keep it as is, my USA people say needs a topper or flowers! I am glad I took the picture now, as any topper will be a totally new version of the same cake!


Great looking cake Hector! I think you should leave it the way it is. Hope you have a great day on Sat. at your b'day party.


Lovely cake Hector, I like the "shadow effect" too! It's nice as it is but I agree that a little something on the top would probably improve it. But hey, you don't have to be a perfectionist all the time! Give yourself a break now and again ...;)


There's always gumpaste or silk :).


Thanks for the suggestions Patrincia.

I haven't ventured on fresh flowers on cakes yet, unless the ones I grow myself!


Alstromeria are also called Peruvian Lilies.



I have to agree with your left brain friends... how about white flowers with brown accents(orchids or alstromeria maybe).


I've just ordered my bench scrapers from Matfer =)

Here is "my" cake. It is a 7-5-3 incher. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the effect of the chocolate lattice bands. Look at the closeup picture for better judgment. Somehow the little space between the chocolate and the cake casts a nice shadow rather than piping the lattice directly on the cake.

By the way, my left brain friends want me to add something on the top of the cake. My right brain friends say it is good as is.



Patricia, I agree with you. I use a bench scraper too and it is so much faster and easier. I find it easier on my arm as well compared to using the spatula.


Hector - using a bench scraper to smooth the sides of your cake is like using a heavy duty turntable :)... why not use the best tools available? I can do a perfectly smooth, plumb cake with an offset spatula, but the bench scraper is faster (time is money as they say).

Btw everyone, there was recently some talk somewhere on here about heavy duty turntables (can't remember if it was here on the blog, or the on one of the forums)... anyway, I was at Michael's craft store today and I was given a 50% off coupon at the register (good towards the purchase of one regularly priced item from June 1-8). The heavy duty, cast iron turntables they sell are normally $70... might be a good opportunity for those who have been wanted to get one.


Thanks everyone!

I spent all night yesterday frosting my 3 tier chocolate cake for my birthday party this Saturday.

The cake is Rose's chocolate butter wedding cake moistened with frangelico syrup and filled with super-strawberry conserve mousseline buttercream that is more strawberry than anything you can grow (instead of liquor, use equal volume of conserve, on top of that add more conserve for the fruit mousseline variation).

I've spent hours frosting the tiers, with chocolate mousseline. I used valrhona caraibe plus some chocolate ganache paste that I had left from my friend Isabella from Bologna. The frosting was so thin (due to the excessive amount of chocolate and my 82oF kitchen) that it took me literally hours to perfectly frost the tiers smooth. I triple crumb coated the tiers, basically. I take pride to never resource to a straight bench scraper to make my frosting perfectly vertical... somehow using my free hand and an angled frosting spatula makes me feel inspired and watch how the cake becomes alive and smooths itself out for me.

So, now, I have 3 light brown tiers, and I don't know what to put on it!

I planned to display the cake on top of a lacy chocolate lattice disk floating on air, but at my 80oF plus weather the lattice does not hold. So, I have this wonderfully perfectly executed 12" round lattice made with 100% valrhona caraibe that I may need to melt and turn into something else. Another thing is that I won't use any caramel on this cake.

This morning, as I took care of my birds and walked my dog, I could not resist but to look at the outdoor greenery and maybe find a component for the cake. Lots of weeds I need to sift thru.

Look at the drawing on the mid-bottom-left side, and wish me luck that this cake will turn out well.

Have I lost my magic? Or maybe I am just not the 3-tier baker?



Bravo! The only thing you might have added: a little ribbon at the end of it and a hard-hat and scissors for the guest of honor!


Wow Hector! Have been watching through all the planning stages in your posts about this one and the result is spectacular - well done!! Your brother must feel very special knowing the time, love and effort that went into this creation.


Absolutely amazing Hector! The imagination, the execution, the result...wow!


The 80 Wongs and Chans can now see the cake on the blog!


I love the bridge... such a good imagination! Very creative Hector! I'm sorry the cake wasn't seen by more of your :(.


Rozanne, YES, I daydreamed for weeks on how to line the corrugated cardboard with foil in the most efficient way. I thought first of folding a sheet of foil in zigzag, then resting the zigs down on the cardboard grooves and the zags up in between.

The actual technique I used turned simpler. I crumbled a sheet of foil, then I de-crumbled a little. The crumbling compresses the foil with extra material, just sufficiently to stretch/smooth the foil on the cardboard grooves.


Here is my proud cousin Keith, he was so responsive when I showed up with the bridge cake... now he is a little confused from what he learned in school... he is afraid that my bakery may need his skills more than a construction firm.

Overlooking my niece Josephine and her aunt Courtney. Josephine asked me "did you make something with caramel for uncle Keith?" Josephine's caramel Barbie cake left a little scar in her memories because she got scared when finding out that Barbie was only half body and half stick. Courtney's mother said "you know... some Barbies are half stick!"

Also, the drawing process, including the template I traced for the corrugated cardboard. You know that I like to share (including bugging so much on Rose's blog!)



Cool idea. Great job Hector! Lining the corrugated cardboard with foil must have been a tedious task.


Thanks Matthew! Aluminum foil is so handy for caramel work. Everyone can do this, practice is all it takes, and be careful not to burn yourself or crack your table's glass top... both have applied to me.


Very clever technique for the bridge Hector!



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