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Elaine's 7-Cake Wedding

Jul 22, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

A Special Posting from Hector!

A year ago, my cousin Elaine booked me for her wedding cake for September 13th, 2008. A month ago, she booked me for her entire wedding catering... I accepted with the only condition that her wedding will be called The 7-Cake Wedding. I designed a dessert party filled with small side savory dishes, and she is thrilled.

Here are the first photos. A semi finished, 3-tier Triple Chocolate Cake, started last month and desperately waiting to come out of the bag on the wedding day. The chocolate praline sheets will be applied on location since it would be non-respectful to freeze Piedmontese hazelnuts. The second photo is some prep work for Rose's extraordinary White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream. You can see the menu (and the cakes) on www.hectorwong.com/elaineandmatt

Please don't just say wow, instead lets discuss some issues I may encounter. You, bloggers, are my rock.

Comments

here is the continuation of Elaine's wonderful wedding, and the support of you wonderful bloggers:

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2008/09/hectors_7_cake_wedding.html

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a full day packing stuff to send back, and here the wonderful crusts of the many Golden Genoise. Reheated or gently toasted it makes wonderful toppings and fillings for coffee cakes and bear claws!

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

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a full day packing stuff to send back, and here the wonderful crusts of the many Golden Genoise. Reheated or gently toasted it makes wonderful toppings and fillings for coffee cakes and bear claws!

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thanks Gia!

although I had a 20 page work sheet with every step listed, down to the minute detail on equipment and prep inventory, I behaved like a mad chef towards the 11 hour. I think most guests did not notice since when they arrived I switched to all fake smiles face. But surely, my helpers and the wedding coordinator will remember my true colors.

The worksheet inventory each item to bring. We took 3 days to transport everything to the location, plus doing the needed prep ahead, like thawing the turkeys, marinades, and slowly bring to room temperature the frozen cakes.

I started on the 9 tier pistachio wedding cake on Thursday. I misswrote my worksheet and initialy made up a 20" tall cake. I knew it didn't look right. On Friday morning, I fixed it to 15" and compared my recipes, was correct now!

I was piping roses on it by Friday nigt, at the same time going thru inventory of hot foods. Everything was organized and delivered in boxes. On Saturday, we stacked all the boxes on one corner of the dining room, and the plan was to use everything in the boxes. It worked, the zillion items were put to use as needed.

I did forget to use my miniature silicone spatula to help serving milk froth from my aeroccino for the full coffee service we provided; that plus the bb swan cake were my wedding gift.

I also forgot to use the raspberry sauce for the charlotte, but no problem since that stores for years.

My staff wants to do this again, but with good pay as I truly think they deserve it.

Catering at a private home is always challenging, I still have pictures on my mind of the people living there while waking up and trying to reach the kitchen for breakfast. We were there since 5 am, just NO other way to finish cooking for the 11 am reception!

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Congratulations Hector! It looks amazing and I can only imagine how good it all tasted. Any lessons learned from this one? I can't imagine from how great it looks that anything went wrong!

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Jeannette, thanks very much. In fact, Elaine kept asking her guest to visit this blog, and indeed they did and for months. They showed at the wedding with so many expectations, and I hope they felt delivered!

I am more of a baker than a cake decorator. My decorations are more "baker" style. I like the down to earth, natural look.

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kids get so happy when handed a piping bag which is what I did with Arthur (30 y.o. wedding party member). He finished the copper topper and mocha cakes since I ran out of time!

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Julie, the blueberry lake cupcakes sounds the way to go. How old is your daughter? Kids get so happy

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Julie, the blueberry lake cupcakes sounds the way to go. How old is your daughter? Kids get so happy

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Hector, what a spectacular spread! I think I need lessons from you on decorating cakes, yours are beautiful. And so are the bridal couple, pass on my good wishes for their happiness please.

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Hector, congratulations!! Not only is each cake a beautiful masterpiece, but together they are a stunning achievement. Matt and Elaine are a beautiful and lucky couple.

I hope you're now off for some well-deserved R&R! Keep those photos coming, they are so inspiring, really an admirable feat. Can't wait to see the pistachio!

Re: your recommendation to make the blueberry swan lake- I made a kids' version over the summer. White chocolate whisper cupcakes with a cone-shaped cutout from the top (cook's dividend) to fill with Rose's summer blueberry topping, and lemon neoclassic buttercream rosettes or stars around the edge of the blueberries, leaving them visible. My daughter was able to pipe some of the stars herself and was so proud!

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Elaine and Matt as beautiful as the Blueberry Swan Lake. You do need to make this cake, swans optional.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/ElaineAndMatt4.html

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Hi Rozanne, glad you liked.

The mob prevented me to take a picture of the 7th cake, the official wedding cake =)

Glad all cakes stud up, weather was 50oC when I arrived at 5 am and took them out from the fridge. The charlotte remained in the fridge until 11 am, when the lunch started.

The wedding cake was transported completelly assembled on Saturday. I finished it on Friday night and kept it in the fridge at 42oF; any colder would have produced condensation in my conditions. It made the 1 hour car travel as a miracle. Cake was 9" round and 12" tall, plus a little 5" as the topper. I brought a plastic rod with me and planned to stab the cake from the top shall the cake tipped during the ride. Had my IR thermometer and often checked the temperature as the mousseline is very solid bellow 50oC and perfect for the ride

I am desperatelly and unusually waiting for more pictures by the photographer. He took zillions of photos since Wednesday night.

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Absolutely gorgeous presentation and cakes. I can't wait to see the other pictures. Very smart of you to take time off after the wedding for some much needed rest. You must be exhausted. By the way, I thought you were doing 7 cakes, I see only 6.

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Hi Patrincia, on vacation till the 20th!

Blueberry Lake cake was the favorite! Also the Triple Chocolate one.

Just had Luca's wonderfull pizza for breakfast: a plain mushroom one and a taleggio-prosciutto one, both w/o tomatoe sauce. Bread bible recipe. By the way, Luca was very happy with the tomatoe pizza sauce I provided: a blend of Rose's oven dried grape tomatoes and organic jar pasta sauce! Cutting the zillions little tomatoes was a chore I did 3 months ago!

MORE pics later =)

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Absolutely stunning Hector!!! Bravo!!!!!!!!
Hope you get some well deserved rest soon!

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hi amy, I can't even walk today! my brother Miguel, catering server friend Wendy, wedding guest Arthur, and Luca, were put to work Mission Impossible style. We delivered on time at 11:00 am, frowning all morning because it would be much more relaxed if it was a late afternoon lunch or diner.

Elaine was very responsive and provided everything I asked that I felt anyone can do, like utensils, drinks, water, and milk.

Starting 4 months ago, when the menu was been developed, Elaine asked her guests to read my website and the very many blog comments. I feel blessed for such responsive and well prepared diners!

I feel for diabetics, I truly wish you could find a balance and be able to try cake. I am borderline diabetic and always have only a forkfull piece of cake or a fingertip dash of frosting. Baking with Rose is so exact that I don't end up with extra things to lick! When I watch my diners eat, I truly feel I am eating too. Helps on my waist line, can you imagine if I really 'eat' al I bake?

Plenty menu items on Elaine's wedding that you could have eaten. I can wait to see the photographer and video work, they slept in the wedding venue 2 days prior, so not to miss one step of my work. Someone said I will be featured on Food Network, must be a mix up!

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Hector, you are truly inspiring. I am diabetic and shouldn't even be looking at Cake and any sweets recipes. But seeing your work got me to buy the cake bible, testing out recipes, etc. I just wished I'd found these blogs when I was healthier. I want so very much to try my hand on the cakes that's in the cake bible. They look so pretty and yummy.

Anyway, exercising a some self-control and spacing out the baking periods, I hope to try more cake baking.

Guess after this wedding you'd be taking some rest? You've done all the prep work well so I'm sure Elaine, her husband and guests will be well served.

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Hector, good luck! Take lots of pictures so we can all see your triumph!

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Hi everyone, countdown time, I think I got everything but just very nervous I may forget to pack something with me!

The smell on my kitchen today of freshly peeled and toasted hazelnuts is uplifting.

See you all in a week.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/ElaineAndMatt2.html

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Thanks Patrincia. Specs are 7.75", 5.75", and 3.75" x 3" tall. I am using lychee instead of pears for the bavarian cream. The topper will be longan (dragon eyes). Doesn't the bavarian cream look perfectly emulsified? I am so proud of Rose's recipe.

Rozanne, yes I will stack. After I lay the longan, I will insert straws just a pinch taller than the tallest longan. Each tier is on a cardboard round wrapped with foil. I still haven't figured out how to avoid showing the cardboards; I may pipe a border but honestly feel that the stripes look much better alone. The color theme of the wedding is silver, so there you have it: aluminum foil silver! For some reason, the things I do look better on a home made aluminum foil cake board, than on those commercial gold ones.

My execution is getting better, I am particularly concerned that the raspberry stripes shouldn't be smudged thru the biscuit. When I made my first Charlotte, Rose told me it gets easier after the second time, and I am glad I listened!

I put these on my freezer last night, covered with wrap. Tonight I will vacuum pack them, but first I will attempt to saw off a little bit of the tops, thus more perfect.

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Hector, that looks so good and perfect. Are you planning on stacking them and how?

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Absolutely scrumptious looking - such lucky guests!

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Cakes are getting ethereal...

In my opinion Rose's bavarian cream is superbly delicate, flavorful, balanced, and long to execute! Poaching the fruit is the part that takes longer, suggested to do the day ahead and let the fruit sit on the poached juices overnight for maximum flavor. Buying canned fruit is a shortcut, but what a metal taste it comes with.

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

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Cakes are getting ethereal...

In my opinion Rose's bavarian cream is superbly delicate, flavorful, balanced, and long to execute! Poaching the fruit is the part that takes longer, suggested to do the day ahead and let the fruit sit on the poached juices overnight for maximum flavor. Buying canned fruit is a shortcut, but what a metal taste it comes with.

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

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Spaghetti with red sauce is a pasta dish most everyone in the world recognizes. Little does the world know that for good pasta, you need good pasta!

Garofalo, from Italy, is now widely available in the USA. My friends from Italy claim this brand is better than Barilla or De Cecco. Dare to make your favorite spaghetti recipe with this brand and I promise you will notice a difference! (by the way, Barilla in the USA is made in the USA, and although looks exactly the same, the taste isn't, so don't get too exited when it goes on sale for $1).

Here is a picture of the baker's pasta dinner: a carbonara made with red bell pepper pure and egg 'waste' (broken yolks, fat on the whites, from separating dozens of eggs for Elaine's wedding!)

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/savory/Garofalo.htm

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Lu Ann, I have made the Moist Chocolate Genoise on shaped pans, and works just fine.

Update picture on my "wild" tomato plants. The ones that just grew themselves this year. I recognize San Marzano, Cherry, and Grape. The San Marzano is from seeds I planted last year, the Cherry or Grapes must come from birds or from picnis.

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

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Rose, I love The Cake Bible. I made the classic genoise for my daughter's first birthday and it is still talked about today (she just turned 7).

Am about to embark on a cake for my sis-in-law's bridal shower and have selected your Moist Chocolate Genoise and have two questions for which I was unable to find answers in a search of the blog. So, if I may...

1. Shaped pans (hearts of course) are not listed on the page and I wonder if that's just because you hadn't yet tried the recipe in a shaped pan, or if you recommend against such a choice.

2. Bride requested chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. Is this an odd taste combo to you? The bride's preference is what I will make, and it seemed tasty to me, but if my husband's expression was typical, well, I had better brace myself and perhaps have a second choice available!

Thanks so much for your time.

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Let me try again, and attempt to motivate you to bake meringue swans. They are utterly delicious, light and airy, and not so sweet. Good eaten alone, or filled with whipped cream, fresh berries, or your favorite dessert. Meringue swans are a classic elegant 'old fashion' edible vessel to present desserts.

I tried several piping methods, and could never get the perfect swans as pictured on TCB. What I would recommend, is to follow your own instinct and pulse, and pipe each line of the template as a continuous stroke. DON'T stop to think if it should look a certain way or not. I am particularly happy on how the pointy wing ends look on my swans, and also the little pointed beak and bumpy nose. I am not very happy of the bumps elsewhere because these happened when I stopped to think!

Rose's template is perfect, but I think you can use a different piping tip, maybe use your favorite tip or the one you use most. There can't be anything wrong shall you decide to pipe the wings with a star tip, for example.

It is baking magic to make 'living' creatures out of batter! I sure hope you get started as I have just done. You all that have started piping roses, making genoise or biscuit, or enjoying caramel copper topper silk meringue cakes because of what I reported, please DO start making swans.

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Thanks Patrincia, I am so zombie some days from long nights that I do feel I am in heaven!

Amy, no pictures on the 8-8-8 15-cake weekend. I used the camera from the bakery and it is their proprietary information. Sometimes I quickly steal a photo with my cell phone, but believe me... I was so tired I did not. Cakes were nice, but not as loving as if you do everything yourself.

My favorite is the Triple Chocolate Cake, exactly as it is done on TCB.

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Did you post a picture of the 15 cake wedding cakes yet? Would really love to see them.

Hector, you know I am not a "cake baking" person at all. I go for the pies because I seem to have more success with it.

But, darn! Your cakes got me salivating and I am just gonna have to try some of Rose's cakes. I'm going to try one of her chocolate cakes. Which one would you suggest is the bestest (I can only bake 1 cake for the next 2-3 mos - diabetes you know!).

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Looks heavenly Hector.

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Thanks Jeannette.

Emily (who made my birthday's roulade cheese cake) hosted lovely dinner last night. I showed up with 'quick' blueberry swan lake:

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BlueberrySwanLake2.html

I 'stole' one cake layer away from Elaine's blueberry swan lake. Slapped some caramel silk meringue buttercream. And, quickly made the blueberry toping (it is easy). And there you have it. I am glad I did, because I actually never tasted the white chocolate whisper cake yet. It is now in my approval!

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You are a MARVEL, Hector! I don't know how you do all that you do, what would your friends do without you?

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Just say no Hector - you can do it :).

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you can tell where is my mind!!!

did survive 8-8-08, wasn't that bad, had a lot of help.

one thing for sure, I have my hands full, and lets just hope no more lands on me.

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One thing is for sure - you don't back down to a challenge do you?!

I was referring to the 15 wedding cakes you mentioned that you had to set up for the weekend of 8-8-08. How did they go? Are you still taking over the floral shop? I hope you dont' cause yourself a nervous breakdown!

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Hi Patrincia,

So funny, yesterday I was thinking of my friend Craig while frying the salmon. He dislikes salmon very much. The phone rang and it was him calling a few us to share dinner at his place. We ate Costco chicken and ribs! I put the salmon in my fridge for today instead!

Bridezilla vs. Cakezilla is on September 13th. I am worry because Luca is taking all the stress. He is storing lots of my frozen stuff, plus Elaine's party favors. Both Elaine and I live in Honolulu, Luca in Hilo where the wedding takes place. It is a 1-hour flight, no boat nor ferry option.

Just this past weekend I almost had a heart attack sending stuff to Hilo. I was near out of dry ice and the next best option was to use ice packs instead. My rule is: ship frozen stuff with dry ice / ship refrigerated stuff with ice packs. YES, most people transport frozen stuff in a cooler without anything for a few hours, but for cakes and buttercreams, these thaw when the temperature is slightly over 0oF. I think I am having 'empty nest syndrome' because now some of my frozen babies are no longer in my place!

I have come to realize that the catering I am putting up, has more than 1000 steps, with about 100 to be done on the day of the party! I do have some full time help, my brother Miguel is flying over for the wedding, staying for 2 weeks and he loves to cook and indeed can make photography too. Of course Luca too. Plus 2 or 3 people assigned just to help me fly the food over on that week.

I thought Rose World Cake was supposed to be my ultimate big, but who am I fooling? I said the same thing with Hawaii Way cake. It gets better (or harder) because Rose once said "hurry up and finish making all the cakes from TCB" because the new book will come up with hundreds more of cakes you will want to do."

Here some snapshots of work in progress. A puzzle if you can identify everything on each picture:

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/BIG_CAKES/ElaineAndMatt/SnapShotsSentToHilo.html

Last weekend I worked on CR raspberry conserve for the Ethereal Pear Charlotte. Was intending to use lychee instead of pears, but unsure since the season is over. What can top off lychee? I can still make the lychee bavarian cream with my new lychee liquor, but what do to make the beautiful top fruit pattern?

Tonight will do the CR strawberry conserve for the cheese plate.

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Yummy Salmon - one of my favorites!

So how did the 15 wedding cake "Bridezilla vs. Cakezilla" weekend go?

How are you holding up?

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Happy belated 8-8-8, here is my Chinese red tribute.

My Mom's favorite way to eat salmon was to pan fry it and serve it under a tomato tamarind. I extended the same concept but replacing the tomato tamarind with Cordon Rose Strawberry Conserve, simple syrup, and vodka! YES, the same one I used to moisten the Biscuit de Savoie on my Star and Stripes July 4th 2008 cake.

You must try it, the sweet from the syrup and the slight tartness of strawberries made the salmon yummier than any tomato tamarind base. The vodka just cleaned off the pan. And how appropriate to use the red from strawberries to naturally enhance the color of the wild caught sockeye.

Be sure to add salt.

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

Enjoy.

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I am a bit uncertain or in denial to be in panic mode? What do you think? I have a bit over a month to go, but also I am juggling moving my home and my kitchen to two new places!!! I think the true test will be surviving this weekend of 8-8-2008 when I need to deliver and setup 15 wedding cakes. It is going to be an interesting week of Bridezilla vs Cakezilla.

Here is the staging of the Blueberry Swan Lake. Because there are 6 other cakes on Elaine's wedding, I decided to scale down a bit, so I used only used 1 baked layer. I torted the layer with a double generous filling of 'kumquat-lemon' silky lemon buttercream.

It is not recommended to use a thick filling because it throws off the ratio of cake-to-frosting, but I make my ways because I think this buttercream turned extra-extraordinary by replacing common lemon with kumquats. Also, the top and sides frosting are ultra thin.

To use kumquats instead of common lemon on the classic buttercream follow these instructions. Be sure to use organic unsprayed fruit or if store bought was with hot soapy water. First, peel your kumquats with your fingernails (it comes right off), then cut the naked fruit in half and squeeze the juice over a strainer, now run the peels together with the juice in your food processor until fine. In other words, you are keeping everything except the membranes and seeds of the kumquat, which are bitter.

Now freeze (this is necessary to release maximum flavor). When you make your buttercream, thaw the processed kumquats over a strainer and press until you obtain the volume of juice indicated on the buttercream recipe. Save the peels and fold into the completed the buttercream, if desired.

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

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You may appreciate this picture of the Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve. I've added the first picture where you can see the conserve after part of the seeds has been removed. I use the Kitchen Aid Food and Vegetable Strainer, running the conserve several times until the seeds shoot out clean. This strainer has holes big enough for just the right amount of seeds to pass thru. I always use frozen raspberries as I believe the fresh ones come loaded with fungicides and indeed are not as tasty (unless you have a farm to pick fresh ones).

I add one drop of La Cuisine's French raspberry essence, per pint prior to processing.

I treasure so much this conserve, that I only use it when making the Ethereal Pear Charlotte, and also eating it alone or as a dip for a cheese course. Any other application will be a waste as you can buy similar conserves with money sans the mess. Second and third photos are the cleanup!!!

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

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Going off topic here.........why does Rose's post above say "From the kitchen of Rachael on 07.22.08 at 3:15 PM in Special Stories" at the end? Usually it says "From the kitchen of Rose..." Just wondering.....

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sugar, turn to the recipe after crème anglaise on tcb. I used these instructions but with the smbc amounts plus the amount of pistachio I indicate.

try it, it is like no other. you will love it as is or with chocolate praline and strawberry conserve, either or both together as I've just gobbled some for dinner tonight over a slice of biscuit de savoie!

I almost added raspberry conserve, too! but was not patient enough to wait until the raspberries were done... oh mine, don't attempt to make raspberry conserve unless you had a easy day, I didn't so now I am so exhausted and thinking of buying it instead!

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Hi Hector,

I have thought of adding pistachio to SMBC. Great that it works out! However, I didn't quite get what you meant by steeping pistachios in the anglais.... (english not being my mothertounge)! I get the anglais stage....but do grind the pistachio's or...what.

(Am i embarrasing myself now)??

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Hold the vanilla beans!!! You know the Caramel Silk Meringue Buttercream is my favorite, but for Elaine's wedding I am using a Pistachio Silk Meringue Buttercream to fill her wonderful 9 layers of Biscuit de Savoie. I think the green filling will look stunning against the blonde biscuit.

To make Pistachio SMBC, steep 1/4 cup of toasted and de-skinned nuts in the milk for the creme anglaise and hold the vanilla!!! Then if desired, add a bit of pistachio liqueur and La Cuisine's wonderful pistachio essence. I did, and here the results.

Picture taken of the plastic tub I use for freezing the buttercream prior to vacuum packing.

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

Prior to freezing, I complained that the pistachio flavor was lost in the silk meringue, but after licking clean my freezer tubs I determined that freezing must have done something to the flavor: the pistachio flavor is now exploding.

I encourage everyone to experiment with freezing as a way to intensify the flavor profile of buttercreams, specially the ones with a "plant kingdom" component. All plant products have rigid cell walls that explode during freezing thus more flavor release.

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Jen ~ How do you rotate your 3 pans? That is one of the issues I have with using 3. If I use 2 pans then I just rotate 180 and switch them.

I have the cake leveler from Wilton so I don't have issues with unlevel layers.

If I use 2 pans and use the alum foil collar then I can bake 2 tall layers that will still be tall after I torte them...and I don't have to buy a 3rd pan.

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Amy, you got it!

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Had a similar problem with my lemon layer cake. Picture showed caked a lot taller than my final product. My girlfriend made the same cake and hers came out like the picture. After reviewing the cake pan, oven temp, ingredients - I was left with one item - how about my baking powder. Checked the container and it looks like I am still good. So ---

I read up on the internet – baking powder loses its effectiveness 3 mos from opening.

Also, they suggested a test for the bp:

On 1/3 cup hot water, add 1 tsp of bp. It should bubble vigorously. Mine didn’t even do anything!

Mystery solved!

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Dear S.H. Sorry, I missed this question.

Does your recipe tell you how full you should fill your pans with batter, how deep your pans should be (1, 1.5, or 2 inches), and how tall should your baked cakes come out? This would be the only way to know if you made something wrong.

I would say, if your cake tastes good, then don't worry about anything. Not every yellow cake is fluffy, in fact most are not.

One only possibility (but please clear the above considerations first), is that your baking powder is too old. An opened shelf life is 6 months. Or 2 years if you always keep it in your freezer (it is ok to use your baking powder straight from the freezer).

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Donnie, seems like you are on the right track. Please just don't fall on the artificial stuff like: egg substitutes, shortening, fake whipped cream, hydrogenated fat sprays, etc.

High fructose corn syrup is also a questionable ingredient for people with heart disease and cholesterol, and unfortunately it is present in almost ALL store bought foods. You name it: bread, sauces, ice cream, cookies, etc.

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We have a family with many relatives of extreme heart disease. Cholesterol is the culprit. So I use 1 additional egg white(3 egg whites) if a recipe calls for 2 egg yolks.
We also use more Corn oil for pancakes and baking, and olive oil for dinner meals.
Canola oil comes from Canada and is genetically engineered.
Using less butter and no more egg yolks our cholesterol levels have tapered off.
We also watch our meat consumptions, having beef one time a week instead of daily. hugs :)

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another great idea. isnt it wonderful to have resources among our fellow bakers!

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I use my 1 inch deep tart pan to guide my serrated knife and score a perfectly even slit on my 2 inch baked biscuit. Then with unflavored dental floss, I run it thru the slit all the way and get my 1 inch perfect layers. My mom liked to stick one toothpick on each layer, one toothpick on top of another, prior to separating the layers, so when you put the layers back together you realign the toothpicks thus perfect even cake even if not sliced perfectly!

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Need some advice; I baked a standard yellow cake in 2 9-inch cake pans and I am curious what the height should typically be-mine were about 1 inch high. If this isn't fluffy enough, could someone trouble shoot the possibilites (I used the recent Cook's Illustrated fluffy cake recipe). Thanks.

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Jenn - great idea about the cake layers in different pans. I just baked a Lemon Layer and a Chocolate Layer and had difficulty slicing them evenly - thus lopsided layers.

BTW - I've attached a link here for a Cheese Course you might find useful.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/the-ultimate-cheese-course-recipe/index.html

Good Luck on your mom's 60th/

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Amy, your wine cheese dinner sounds spectacular!!!

I just want to report to all dutch oven bread bakers that I have invented an "energy efficient" way of bread baking:

Preheat your dutch oven on your stove rather than in the oven! On my stove's largest burner, gas, at minimum setting, it takes 20 minutes for the bottom of the dutch oven to reach near 500oF. I don't turn the burner to the maximum because cast iron takes a while to heat regardless on how much heating is available, so with the minimal setting you will notice that your kitchen air will warm up much less while your dutch oven takes the same time to warm up if on maximum heat.

This is a lot faster than what it would take to preheat the dutch oven in my range oven, about 60 minutes and a lot less energy use, too. I will soon use an induction stove, it should heat the cast iron dutch oven in minutes!!!

And let me tell you what an "oven spring" I got, right on the stove, about 10 minutes with the lid on.

Then, I continued the baking on my little convection oven at 450oF, with the lid off. Convection is desirable on bread baking when removing moisture is a factor. This oven preheats in 7 minutes.

All in all, today I did not have to wait 1 full hour to start baking bread, nor I left the entire kitchen or the big oven hot. It is all about energy conservation nowadays

Here is the picture, and I can't wait for tomorrow to slice it for breadfast.

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

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Glad to see use of Moscato 'd Asti. To me it taste a lot better than champagne.

Talking about the Cheese course, thought I'd send you a link. Might be useful. Great ideas for the cheese course - treatment, accompaniments. Am having a Wine Cheese dinner for friends and am using this as a guide. Also serving home baked breads such as: Sourdough Whole Wheat, Sourdough Kalamata Olive, Rosemary, and Sourdough French with Gruyere cheese breads.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/the-ultimate-cheese-course-recipe/index.html

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Jen, yes, most cakes layers bake better when baked individually.

Glad you asked about how to present cheese. I like to offer only 2 or 3 cheese varieties. I present the cheeses as whole wheels or wedges as big as one can afford. One knife per cheese, guests cut their own. Depending on the cheese, I add complimentary fresh fruits nearby, or honey and fruit jams jars right on the cheese board. You can also add wine bottles and bread. For Elaine, one of the cheeses is a 3 lb wedge of Grana Padano, it goes particularly well with strawberry conserve.

Attached is the food floor plan, there are 2 sections: cold foods and hot foods. The cheeses will be on the cold foods table, together with the fruits and greens, and cakes. I know cakes are eaten last, but I always make a statement to warn diners to save room for cake!

I've added a few cheese pictures. My favorite is the one I am on with Luca. I look at this picture each time I attempt to serve cheese.

Also a link to my work guide / timetable.

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

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Hey Bianca,

I always have trouble baking layers that are big enough to torte because I like them too be thick too! So I gave up and started baking thinner layers. I always serve my cakes with three layers of cake and 2 of frosting. Now, I bake the 3 layers separately and stack. The best part is that I always have 3 nice even layers with flat bottoms to choose from when putting on the top. I also lower the temp in my oven by 25 degrees so that there will be no doming, and now i don't have to mess around with baking strips either.


Hector, have you thought about how you are going to present your cheese? I am doing my mother's 60th this weekend and I am looking for inspiration. i really want the table to look abundant,

jen

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a bit of laxative mineral oil won't hurt on eating a cake which for the most part are a bit harder to digest =)

On the kahlua mocha cbiffon, I've replaced the safflower oil with macadamia oil which is easier to find for me. I figure, macadamia goes well with mocha!

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Lorelei,

The Creme Ivoire deluxe calls for cocoa butter and neutral oil in addition to white chocolate. It states you can use safflower oil for the neutral oil.

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I've tried the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream and it is so delicious. But I originally wanted to make just the white chocolate butter cream...the creme ivoire deluxe. It and a couple of other recipes uses a flavorless oil, such as mineral oil. But isn't mineral oil a laxative? Will my guests and children have any problems eating that?

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Matthew, Cadco 1/4 size, commercial, true convection. It has been MORE than perfect for all my genoise and biscuit. I think for butter cakes it may dry out the cakes, but I can probably fix this with syrup.

Yes, my regular oven preheats to 350 in 10 minutes also, but when I open/close the door, I get the typical -25 to -50 drop in temperature. If the oven was not preheated for 20-30 minutes, the recover time is about 15 minutes. If the oven was preheated for 60 minutes and lined with cast iron or quarry tiles, the recover time is 5 minutes.

Also, my regular oven floor is 500 plus degrees, can you measure yours? It is normal, since the heating element is there. Can you also measure the temperature of your oven walls? I suspect is higher than the 350.

Also measure your top rack vs bottom vs middle rack temperature. Typically, the temperatures fluctuate as you go up the racks.

On the Cadco, I reach 350 in 5 to 7 minutes. I used to turn on my regular oven before I start measuring ingredients; on the Cadco, I turn it on when I start whipping the whites. EVERYWHERE remains at 350 and the recover time is less than 5 minutes (without any tiles and without long preheat). The heating element is on the back wall, hidden, behind the convection fan. The fan is not exposed (the air would be too strong), but there is a "false wall" in front with a few holes in the center and larger openings on the left and right sides. Most larger commercial convection ovens have a fan that is much widelly exposed.

What I am more amazed, and considering the "heat source" is coming from the back wall, my cakes brown evenly all the way. The cakes touching the back oven wall vs the cakes touching the oven door, all brown equally and at the same time. The same for the cakes touching the oven ceiling or the cakes on the bottom rack. Ok, they are not touching, but maybe only at 1/4" clearing. On my regular oven, if the clearing is less than 2", I get burn.

The Cadco is a much similar oven to the ones I saw in Italian homes. After all, this Cadco is made in Italy!!!!!!!! Am I overly doing it for this country?

Gamed?

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Thanks for mentioning this Matthew... my oven heats up quickly too.

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What type of counter-top convection oven do you have? So you prefer it now for baking cakes?

Incidentally, since I got the omega thermometer, I now know that my regular oven preheats to 350 in 10 minutes. I had always waited at least 20-30 minutes before using it, but I guess I didn't have to.

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Bianca, absolutely, unless you are using a frosting good enough to eat by itself (like ganache, cream cheese bc, silk meringue, or a wonderful fruit flavored mousseline), you need more cake than frosting.

The aluminum idea came from TCB notes on how to build your own cake pans.

Yes, you need to compute the volume of the pan extended. I get best baking results when I extend the pan only 1" for a 2" pan. That is 50% more volume, so you need 50% more cake batter.

When baking foam cakes (genoise, biscuit, chiffon), I whip a double recipe, and use the extra to make cupcakes or madelaines. Foam cakes loose more air when whipped in larger batches or when filling deeper pans, so a 50% computed extra cake batter fall a bit short.

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Rozanne, I will need to type in detail and have my help follow blindly. There is no room for discussion on D-Day. But I will kindly ask them for ALL their input before and after =)

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Hector ~
You may have just given me the solution I needed for my forum question on the "Cake Pans" thread.

Sometimes I will collar my pans with parchment paper and fill the pans almost to the rim. The parchment gives just enough support for the rising cake but definitey not enough to support the weight of cake batter leaning against it. I like the idea of the sturdiness of the alum foil. How many times did you fold the foil? How many layers thick is it?

My issue posted on the "Cake Pans" thread was that I made the AC Downy Yellow (just 1 recipe) and used 8x2 pans instead of the 9x1.5 pans as suggested in TCB. They were filled about half way and the cake rose over the top of the pans during baking but never enough to spill over, then shrunk a little after cooling. So I ended up with 2 layers about 1.5" each. After torting each one to make 4 layers, and assembling them with choc BC (not MBC though) the frosting-to-cake ratio was off. It seemed like there was too much frosting and too little cake. I am leaning toward thicker cake layers rather than less frosting (frosting wasn't that thick since I was already worried about running out).

So if I could use the alum foil idea and extended the height of the cake that would be great!!

If you are extending the height of the pan an additional 3 inches, do you compute the volume and then decide on how much batter you need using the rose factor? Or am I making it harder than it really is? Or you could just make it easier and extend it by 2 inches and double the recipe for the size pan you are using? Just thinking out loud....

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Hector your organization skills are excellent! I guess you have to be, considering the monumental tasks you undertake. You are smart to enlist the help of others, as long as they are capable of working independently, which I'm sure they are. Looking forward to future postings about the wedding.

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http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/TripleChocolateCake7-5-3-inch.html

Last picture, and that is all I got until I get back to baking more. This is the triple chocolate cake, as how much I filled the pans. These were baked on my 30" gas range.

I have recently switched to using my quarter size countertop convection oven (a partial picture of this oven is on the last picture), which I am adoring... preheat takes 5 to 7 minutes and it is 100% uniform heat all the way including when there is less than the recommenced 2 inches clearance from the oven walls!!! It has 3 little oven shelves, and each can hold 3 9x1.5-inch round pans simultaneously. There isn't enough shelf clearance to fit an overfilled 2-inch pan, so for my 7-5-3x2-inch pans, I fit them all together on the middle oven rack... literally a touchy feeling...

A 12-inch round doesn't fit, but a 12x9-inch oval does!!! Will I need to become the first all oval large wedding cake baker?

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Kayenne, what you see is what you think. This is my chocolate cutting board, and it comes from Italy. Thanks for noticing =)

Here is another picture I hope you all may find useful. For the kahlua chiffon, the layers are not torted nor filled, so I extended my cake pans to near 3" tall which is the format I plan to keep uniform across the cakes. I used aluminum foil and 3M scotch tape (do you know that 3M scotch tape is oven safe?).

The chiffon cakes baked well, overfilling, and still giving that characteristic chiffon cracked top. Cooling them not-upside down was a risk I took, be sure there are no cold air drafts (not an issue for me). I baked an extra 5 minutes, to firm up and dry the chiffon structure a bit more to prevent deflation, and not an issue since this cake is soaked with 1 cup of kahlua liquor.

The mocha and the coffee glazes will be done one day prior. These should not be refrigerated to keep it shiny. And yes, I am down to the hairline detail, the ingredients for these glazes are already premeasured and stored on its own little vacuum bag.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/KahluaChiffon2.html

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thank you everyone for your input, much needed and appreciated, please keep them flowing and consider this project yours, too.

Patrincia, re: wc cc bc. Firmness comes from the wc, it will be as firm as how much cacao butter is present and how careful you melt the wc. Always melt only 3/4 all the way and with minimum heat, then let residual heat and constant stirring finish the melting... it can take half hour!!! If wc is heated pass fully melted then "it looses its temper," and much worse than with dark chocolate, it doesn't re-firm as originally is.

My Carrot Rose Ring was done with the wc cc bc recipe with full amount of unsalted butter. It managed to pipe the roses and also the pearl border, but it was definitely softer than the mousseline.

Julie, absolutely!!! for my cousin, I reduced the amount of butter and it became super firm. Here is a picture of the sitting at room temperature for hours, very firm and hasn't lost its shape. And btw, it is the teacher who needs to learn from the student, to become the best teacher one can be!

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

80 guests, including children. It is an informal lunch wedding at a private home, I am thinking that family guests will want to help me cook, so I need to find something for them to do (if you know what I mean). I have a timeline with my own organization. It is a 10 plus page writeout with every step that needs to be done. Roughly, I read this writout about 30 minutes everyday, in the morning while I day dream at my day job, then when I get home I know what to work on. My goal is to bake/frost all 6 cakes by August 13th and freeze well. Except for the swan lake cake, 5 cakes are only 7-5-3-inch tiers. I am on cake 4 this week, then use the month ahead to finish all possible food prep ahead. The week of the wedding I want to work on the 7th cake, the actual wedding cake, it will be too big to store in my fridge if done ahead.

Did I miss mentioning that the wedding is on another island? 1 hour by plane and over the ocean from my island. Luca lives on that island and he is already taking a lot of equipment and wares each time he hops between islands.

My brother from Washington State is flying in to help me 1 week prior. He and Luca are excellent cooks and very creative, I had to command that I will take all their input and suggestions prior and after the wedding day, but not on that day!!! I have drawn a food floor plan. Luca will be baking all the pizzas, and I think my brother will do the grilling. I have a friend from the bride's party also wanting to help, I think I will have him manning the cold food table.

Bianca, 2 birthday cakes on one weekend is a lot!!! I try not to make more than one cake per day, or 7 cakes over a time frame of 2 months!!!! Yes, the chocolate genoise is already torted, filled and frosted. Each tier is a baked 2" plus layer, I fill my pans near the rim, so it bakes over and after the trimming of the crusts, I end up with a perfect 2" layer. I torted in half and filled will with a generous 3/4" filling of ganache... I hope people won't complain on eating as much ganache as cake?

Luca will be transporting some of the frozen cakes starting next month, already, so I don't end up hauling 10 suitcases when I fly in 3 days prior the wedding. I am taking off from all my day jobs 1 week prior and 1 week after.

I am trying to choose a helper to assist me assembling all the cakes on the wedding day, this person would be Natalie, but unfortunately she is not available that day. One idea is to go to the wedding location on Friday and assemble the cakes and place them on the display table, then cover them with huge styrofoam boxes, so they remain refrigerated and fresh until the luncheon.

I do feel my menu is a "wow" but perhaps because I have chosen fancy words. I have a feeling all the food (and cakes) are indeed "simple eats," but regardless, I am not going to add more detail to it than what is already in, nor come up with last minute add ons which I am famous for. That is my preach and I must follow.

I will post my timeline soon, it should include all fine details, including the dozen of black sesame seeds I need to get for the eyes of the meringue swans!!!

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do my eyes deceive me on that cutting board?

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Well, I feel like an idiot stressing over 2 birthday cakes for next weekend!!

Not sure that I can offer much help...my only advice, which may be obvious to you, is to be organized and have a written plan. Even the pros on FN's cake challenges write down a timeline/plan.

Is the genoise in the pic already torted and filled? Or do they bake that tall?

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Hector,

OK, I know you said "don't just say wow", but that menu is really something! An incredibly ambitious undertaking!! That is one lucky couple.

How much help will you have? It seems like there are a number of things which have to be prepared fresh that day or on-site, and the event starts early in the day! How many guests will there be?

Are you assured in Hawaii of having a warm enough temperature to shape the chocolate praline sheets on site, or will you be toting a hair dryer?

As for the white choc cream cheese buttercream being soft, Rose does mention that Shirley Corriher reduced the butter to enable it to stand up well to an Atlanta summer; you probably already knew that!

Not sure how else I can help you think through issues, I feel like it's a bit of the student trying to help the master... But I'll keep thinking about your undertaking and checking in with any thoughts!

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, it'll be great to follow your progress!

Best wishes,
Julie

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Wow! Amazing. I'm over-whelmed just reading about it. Lucky bride ...and all who attend. :-)

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Hector - have you made the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream before? I find it a tad on the soft side.

Have you developed a timeline for all your prep?

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