Hector, who has a major long-time presence on this blog, has created a new cake with his new boyfriend who loves to bake! This is a friendship made in heaven: Lawrence who has baked from many magazine recipes, which are mostly not very technical, learning from master baker Hector, resulting in this magnificent cake which they made together.
Here, in Hector’s charming own words, is how it happened:
He weighs when possible, but still uses cups when the recipe is such. He doesn't know what baking powder does to surface tension on butter cakes, but he seems to have understood it from me on this recent cake. He repeats back, talks about it a day or so later, these types of high-level baking chemistry information, which tells me he is listening and he is understanding. He knows that confectioners sugar contains cornstarch, and knows that is why cream cheese frostings with it are gritty, and has asked me how to fix that.
The golden génoise i made last month, was with Lawrence. He really loves it and keeps wanting to make it again as the cake base for any of his magazine recipes, even for chocolate cake, he wants the golden génoise! He is a great assistant and hands on, and is not afraid of doing the process himself, weighing straight in the mixer bowl several ingredients at a time, separating eggs with scooping the yolks with his hands, folding génoise, etc.
We just made one of his magazine recipes (see PDF below). It is essentially a white cake, but my question to you is "what does whipping the egg whites to stiff peak do to a butter cake?" (For my answer see below.) i measured everything in grams, and the cake turned out very very well, good texture and flavor and sweetness. I didn't know how Williams Sonoma measures flour, i just used the grams equivalent assuming as it was your recipe. The cake didn't dip, nor volcanoed.
I didn't have a good quality raspberry preserves, as called on the recipe for the filling, so i decided to move all of "raspberry" as fresh fruit, on the top as your valentines cake. it looked great of course, and honestly, i don't care for jam filling in my cake layers.
The almonds were hand cut, from whole raw unsalted almonds. Cutting the almonds with a knife kept Lawrence entertained! I also showed him proper technique: You don't slam or throw the almonds to coat the cake sides, but instead, you scoop as much as you can hold with one hand and apply to the cake sides from the bottom, and upwards, and letting a lot of extra almonds fall.
Changing the cream cheese frosting with your creamy dreamy one, was great. I used Felchlin 36% white chocolate, SO DELICIOUS. i am considering using your White Chocolate Whisper Cake instead, but I will try whipping the eggs whites and see what it does.
Whipping egg whites to stiff peaks for a butter layer cake creates air bubbles in much the same way as chemical leavening. It is sometimes used to replace baking powder or, as in this case, to supplement it. I find that unbleached flour in a butter layer cake usually results in dipping in the center and coarse texture so I suspect the whipped egg whites gives extra support and counteracted that!