Hector's Preview Three from "Rose's Heavenly Cakes"

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I just LOVE Hector's take on my cake(s)! I think this one, in all its simplicity, is totally stunning. Of course simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve as one can't hide errors. Congratulations Hector--you have out done yourself. (And wait until the next one--it will be the grand finale!)from Hector himself: I have the honor to preview Rose's new wedding cakes, and one clause is to make the cake as written in the book. But, you know me . . . nobody said I couldn't rename the cakes and make them my own, so here is a "Slice of Heaven." The orange slice comes from the first orange tree planted in Hawaii, circa 1700s and perhaps the first in North America! The cake is the GRAND MARNIER WEDDING CAKE from the much anticipated book ROSE'S HEAVENLY CAKES. My project: 4 wedding cakes to preview, 365 days in the making. The progress: 3 wedding cakes completed, 1 more cake to preview by October 3 right after the book launches!

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You must be wondering how to pipe perfect beads? These are VALRHONA LES PERLES chocolate drops, 55% , dark chocolate, perfectly shaped pearls. Just place them one by one on the cake which indeed takes much longer than piping! I am renaming this cake (once again) as LES PERLES, for my yellow kitchen catalog. Now, let's bake. The cake recipe calls for Valrhona Les Perles, which I used but semisweet mini chocolate chips are listed as an alternative. First, coat Les Perles with some flour, then mix dry ingredients and some ground almonds, add the wet ingredients, then fold in the Les Perles. The batter uses about 5 tablespoons of orange zest but instead I used orange oil as one suggested alternative. I was skeptical, especially since I am good friends with an orange farmer an authority in Hawaii! Results? When adding the BOYAJIAN ORANGE OIL to the cake batter, I smelled I was inside an orange! It was orange heaven (sans the pollution, of course). The feeling was so great that I saved my mixer's beater in a ziplock bag and took it with me to the restaurant where I had dinner that evening! The cake baked flat gorgeous. I used ROSE'S HEAVENLY CAKE STRIPS: 3 strips folded and held together with metal clamps per 12-inch cake pan. The cake rose exactly to double and as flat as a lake, all across. The Les Perles rose beautifully together with the cake batter; the bumpy blisters on the baked surface are the Les Perles. I have never seen a butter cake rise so even, especially on the 12-inch layer. I told Rose she wrote this recipe "flat gorgeous." The cake is frosted with Grand Marnier Ganache, yummy! The monogram I applied for this special occasion was done with the 3M MPRO 110 MICRO PROJECTOR. The projector is as small as my hand, and it is so practical for cake decorating! It comes with video and computer cables. Most definitely, I traced the monogram with Les Perles! You know I don't specialize in sugar craft nor cake painting, but considering during the day I am a computer guy, now it is time to use some of that to baking! You may have noticed my writing style has changed, just feeling a bit exhausted, of course, but saving energy when the actual book is in my hands. Enjoy the Grand Marnier Wedding Cake, make it as soon as you get the book. This cake isn't difficult, the hardest part is to find the Les Perles, for which I would recommend ordering them from http://www.chocosphere.com Also, it isn't a bad idea to have a good night sleep prior to monograming. Instead, I was running on solar power rather than good sleep because I served this cake for an aloha party where I also carved the lechon and run a full service Illy espresso bar! Tasting impressions: "the flavor of this cake is so extremely well balanced: not too sweet, rich yet light, I could tell the orange and the Grand Marnier. The ganache was right on to kill, I could have this cake with a thinner layer of ganache in the filling because it is that good. The pearls are intriguing and look too beautiful to cut, how did you make them so perfectly round? I can see how each wedding cake on the new book is special and distinguished, if I get married I would need to have 3 wedding cakes: the mac nut banana cake, the lacquer glaze chocolate cake, and this one." There was one observation that I puzzled about: if you look carefully at the picture of the cake slice, you will notice pockets of pastiness. I puzzled with Rose, and she agrees that the pastiness comes from chopping the almonds too fine in the food processor. I should have watched youtube as a refresher! Please watch the PBS episode for the Grand Marnier Chocolate Chip cake. Special thanks to Valrhona, Boyajian, 3M, and to Rose's Heavenly Cake Strips. Extra special thanks to Ken Love from Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, whom I will be honoring at my next wedding cake preview from the book!