A Friendship Forged in Cake Baking + NEW DISCOVERY

 Hector, Neighbor Patti, and Lawrence

Hector, Neighbor Patti, and Lawrence

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!

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Hector's Latest Take on My Cake--The Pavarotti!

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This brilliant labor of love by Hector Wong just had to be shared with all of you. From Hector: In my opinion, Rose's Baking Bible Chocolate Pavarotti Cake is the best butter cake, chocolate flavored, there can possibly exist. I will explain the science after a little personal writing below. By the time you read this posting, I will be traveling to my 30th high school reunion, in Peru, with the cake. This is an important anniversary for me, because I say: "it will be the last high school reunion that I will sport hair on my head, as well as, the same waist line of 30 years ago." Next year, I will let myself go! On the serious note, this year my canoe club lost more than a few paddlers from all sorts of heart attacks and strokes! This made me commit to paddle more, and roar for the people that left us too soon an open seat on the boat. I think of them all the time. As a joke, I tell my buddies that I am training harder because I want to fit on my suit for my high school reunion! The Chocolate Pavarotti is a butter cake where part of the butter is replaced with white chocolate (the serious ones containing pure cacao butter). Using white chocolate in the cake batter makes the crumb absolutely perfect because white chocolate is an emulsifier. Also, the cacao butter in white chocolate remains solid at much higher temperature than butter. The cake crumb is fine, slices like a dream, looking like it will crumble, but it remains put. I can lift a slice with two fingers without breaking. I modified Rose's recipe to fit a 10-cup bundt pan. To counteract the narrow widths of a bundt cake pan, I increased the ratio of baking powder. It turned very very very well. Then, I mixed a double batch of my bundt cake recipe, and baked 120 micro cakes, each on its own 2-inch by 7/8-inch cake pan. I am so pleased HOW LEVEL my micro cakes turned! Each little cake pan was filled half full, with 15 grams of cake batter. Because they are shallow, I baked at lower heat, 300°F. It took 20 minutes, and they rose beautifully to the top. Happy baking everyone, and let's see what happens next! Note from Rose: Hector also told me that the little glass top of the container is just high enough so that he could add ganache and not have it smear.

Hector's Take on Rose's Torta de las Tres Leches

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I just love how Hector transformed this marvelous cake which first appeared in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. The original recipe was a gift from the "two hot tamales" and is the best of its kind I've ever tasted. Here, in Hector's own words, is Hectors special version: Tres Leches cake is immensely popular in areas of the United States with Hispanic immigrants. My nephew grew up in Pasco, Washington, and he repeatedly asks for this cake. When I visited him, I saw first hands that Tres Leches Cake is available everywhere, literally even at Walmart! I found Tres Leches Cake of every shape and flavor, everything was Tres Leches: chocolate, fresh fruit shortcake, weddings, shaped cakes, etc. One day, my nephew gave me a same day order to make his cake. He does know my cakes take at least 1 week to execute, or several weeks to plan, or a few months to design. I put my thoughts together, and concluded that Tres Leches Cake is a very simple cake: a dry sponge cake moistened in milk and frosted with whipped cream. Instead of baking my own sponge cake, I experimented with store bought dry lady fingers, those same ones used for Tiramisu. It worked on first trial. Here are some higher level tips: 1- Buy imported from Italy lady fingers. Anything else does not taste the same. 2- Instead of cooking the tres leches milk sauce from scratch, mix 1 can of sweetened condensed milk with 2 cans of evaporated milk. No additional sugar is needed. Add 1 vanilla bean, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of vodka, dark rum, pisco, grappa or any other neutral flavor liqueur. Make this one day prior and keep in the refrigerator, allowing the vanilla bean to infuse. (My new method for making the tres leches milk sauce is below.) 3- For the whipped cream, I like to use dulce de leche instead of sugar. Use the same recipe of Coffee Chiffonlets in RHC. Dulce de leche is an excellent whipped cream stabilizer because it adds more butter fat and because the sugar is caramelized. This is perhaps the secret to make my signature whipped cream piped rose. No, you can't make my rose with whipped cream from a can. 4- I like to make my whipped cream in 2 stages. This is something I learned when working at a Japanese bakery. A day ahead, without using a chilled bowl, whip the cream until small streaks form but before it starts to thicken. Do this at speed one, as the slower the cream emulsifies the more stable it will be. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to pipe, continue to whip until stiff. 5- To make a rose mold, use a 8" round mold, about 10 cups capacity. Arrange the soaked lady fingers in a criss-cross manner. Invert to unmold. To Make Tres Leches

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I use residual heat and unmanned cooling. Bake for only 1 hour instead of 1.5 hours, using a enamel cast iron pot so it will retain residual heat. (Same as RHC, on water bath and loosely tented w foil.) Timer shuts off the oven at 1 hour and I let it cool in the oven with the door closed, overnight or 2 hours (ame concept as Rose's cheesecake.) Perfect non-scrambled caramelized milk!

Flourless Nut Torte Technique Photos

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While going through and editing out over 2000 of my photos on the computer I discovered this great series of step-by-step photos, taken by Woody, of the Hungarian Jancsi Torta from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. As I have just posted a coffee pecan version of the cake, we thought it would be helpful to share the technique photos that are essentially the same.

GROUND WALNUTS

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CHOPPED CHOCOLATE PRIOR TO MIXING

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MIXED CHOCOLATE AND WALNUTS

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EGG YOLKS AND SUGAR TO BE BEATEN

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EGG YOLKS RIBBONY

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STIRRING IN CHOCOLATE AND WALNUTS

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YOLKS, WALNUTS, AND CHOCOLATE MIXED

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VERY STIFFLY BEATEN EGG WHITES

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WHITES FOLDED IN

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PREPARED PAN WITH PARCHMENT IF UNDER 3 INCHES HIGH

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BATTER BEFORE BAKING

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FULLY BAKED AND DOMED CAKE

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CAKE OUT OF OVEN AND BEGINNING TO SINK

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UNMOLDED

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COOLING

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THE CUT CAKE

The Best Party of the Year

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Goes to the Food Arts Epiphany Party. In all the years that I have been associated with Food Arts I've only ever missed one, and that was because I was away. I loved seeing all the full-time staff and also the free-lancers. And invariably, publisher and dear friend Michael Batterberry would be inspired to come up with some terrific article for me to pursue. Of course, one of the best parts was that each invitée would bring a special dish. One year Michael Batterberry made manicotti with wild boar sausage that was so delicious, I took some of the leftovers home and had it for breakfast. In recent years, I made sure that my culinary contribution was chocolate, as dear Ariane Batterberry so adores it. This year, the party was once again held in the home of fellow contributor, pastry aficionado, and dear friend Meryle Evans. And this year it meant driving for 2 hours each way as we now live in western New Jersey. As this was the year of the sad demise of the publication, I was so overjoyed to know that the tradition of the epiphany party lives on, so I pulled out all the stops and made one of the most time-consuming, complex, and fabulous cakes from The Cake Bible: "The Triple Chocolate Proposal Cake." It took an entire day to complete, but when I saw Ariane's expression of surprise and joy I knew it was worth it. The cake consisted of a chocolate génoise syruped with kahlua, sandwiched and frosted with light whipped ganache, and enrobed with hazelnut praline chocolate leaves. First the nuts are peeled and toasted and then covered with caramel. The caramel covered nuts are processed to a powder and then added to melted, tempered chocolate. The chocolate is then spread into sheets and rolled thinly. When it hardens it is draped over the cake, coaxed into submission by the use of a hair drier so that it drapes in folds that are never the same way twice. A close up shows the bits of praline powder in the chocolate. The entire cake used 1-1/2 pounds of my best chocolate and truly was a labor of love. What could have been more appropriate for a publication and group of people whom i have long felt to be beloved family.

Hector's Latest Take on My Cake--Gluten Free Génoise

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Last week, the Alpha Bakers made one of my favorite cakes from The Baking Bible, "the Lemon Posset," page 111. You can read about all of the results on their individual blogs if you click on Alpha Bakers Bake Along on the portal. It is fascinating to see all the different ways in which they used this ethereal cream that consists only of lemon, cream, and sugar. One person, Hanaa, even used it as a sort of tres leches by pouring it on top of the cake before it was set so that it saturated the cake. Hector used the posset as a glaze on a génoise made with 100% cornstarch. The texture of the cake crumb looks exquisite and I look forward to trying it for taste and tenderness evaluation!

Here is Hector's description of what he did: Reading all of Rose's 10 books, the Lemon Posset Shortcakes from The Baking Bible caught my interest. These are genoise little cakes topped with a light lemon curd. There are a few reasons for my choice.

First, I love making genoise, and knowing I learned how to use any cake pan size and shape to bake genoise, I felt confident I can make it into an odd shaped cake. Also, one of the office staff is wheat intolerant, so checkmate... I decided on using my no-flour variation.

Secondly, the lemon posset was described as a lemon curd without eggs, so I felt for all the mothers whom ask me to make a cake without eggs because their kids are allergic to eggs. I feel so depressed to know eggs is on the no-foods list. I tell those mothers, go somewhere else, because eggs are fundamental in my recipes. I do feel terrible. With the lemon posset, I could at least offer a filling or frosting without eggs! I can offer a recipe of lemon curd without eggs with the amazing lemon posset!

Thirdly, I knew making an odd shaped cake will leave me unsatisfied. So, I decided to make a giant cake batter, sufficient for my client's odd shaped cake and for a bundt cake for myself! I whipped a whopping 20 cup genoise cake batter, filling to the rim my 7 quart spiral mixer. For a 10 cup genoise cake batter, a 5 quart mixer is sufficient. I used Rose's Heavenly Cakes Genoise Rose recipe multiplied by 2, to make a 20 cup genoise cake batter.

To make the cake wheat free, substitute by weight the cake flour with cornstarch. With all cornstarch, the rise and grain are glorious. However, the texture is a little coarser such as there is a crunch when you bite on the cake. Everyone seems to like it, and describes it as a light and moist cake. It really is lighter than air. I describe my wheat free genoise as a ladyfinger with buttery taste.

To determine how much lemon posset to make for a 20 cup genoise, compare the amount of eggs used. I scaled up the lemon posset recipe by 5 1/2 times. Also, and perhaps the best piece of information from all my writing, is that I used a true old-fashioned heavy cream. It just makes everything made with cream much more delicious and with an amazing thick consistency. To do this, replace 1/4 of the cream with melted unsalted butter. I learned this from Cake Bible's Real Old Fashioned Whipped Cream recipe.

Bake the cake, cool it, moisten it with lemon syrup, chill it overnight, place the cake on a rack, pour the lemon posset like a glaze, collect what drips and pour again about 3 to 4 times until there is very little drippings.

Hector's Christmas Present to You!

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Hector's Take on my Cran Raspberry up-side-down cake from The Baking Bible is extremely clever, attractive, and practical. It can be adapted for other cakes.

From Hector: Here is my take on Baking Bible's Cran Raspberry Upside Down Cake. Aside from heating the caramel too dark, I adore this idea! I needed this cake for a large party, so I made a double recipe and used a 12" pan (twice the volume of a 9" pan equals to one 12" pan, rounds, 2" deep). To provide center support, I fitted a 6" cake pan on the center. The end result is a large ring cake, perfectly level, plus a little 6" cake. Pictures can describe step by step what I did. Note I am using a gluten free flour. I am happy with the looks and taste.

Note from Rose: When using wheat flour the cranberries do not rise to the top of the cake so that when inverted the cranberries are on top.

Hector's Pumpkin Chiffon Bundt Cheesecake

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For the holidays, Hector is offering this special new "Take" on my cake. He says that it's like eating pumpkin chiffon pie. My cheesecake ebook has recipes for 3 types of cheesecakes, techniques I learned from Rose! These are: sour cream batters, heavy cream batters, and no-bake batters. I like to use a bundt pan for the no-bake cheesecakes. Un mold it like a jello mold, after dipping the pan in hot water for 2 minutes. The cake serving plate should be chilled in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, so the melting cheesecake runs off "just enough" and sets into irresistible lickable drips. The recipe is on my ebook. Basically is part pumpkin or other flavor custard cream, part cream cheese, part cream, and part italian meringue. If you don't have my ebook, you can use the instructions on RHC's no-bake cheesecake.

The crust for no-bake cheesecakes on a bundt pan is pressed on top of the batter, which when inverted becomes the bottom crust. For my pumpkin take, instead of a cookie crumb crust, I used whole pecans... perfect occasion to use lots of pecans prior all get exported to China! PUMPKIN CUSTARD canned pure pumpkin: 240 g (about 1 cup) sugar: 25 g (about 2 tablespoons) gelatin: 10 g (about 1 tablespoon) ground ginger: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon: 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg: 1/2 teaspoon salt: 1/2 teaspoon Stir together all the ingredients. Rest, covered, until the gelatin is hydrated, about 10 minutes. On medium heat, stirring continuously, cook until it starts to darken and thicken, about 10 minutes. Puree with a food processor or immersion blender, until very smooth. Keep lukewarm, covered.

ITALIAN MERINGUE egg whites: 90 g (about 3) cream of tartar: 3/8 teaspoon sugar: 175 g (about 14 tablespoons) water: 45 g (about 3 tablespoons)

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE BATTER cream cheese: 450 g (about 1 lb) heavy cream: 465 g (about 2 cups

How Rare It Is....

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...to come up with a whole new and exciting concept for a cookbook on cakes! When I was introduced to Jen Rao through a sampling of her uniquely delicious cupcakes from the Belvidere Farmer's Market over a year ago I knew at once that she had the potential of writing a very special cookbook. It was a while before we actually met in person but I was so impressed I lost no time in giving her advice via email. One of the first things I warned her about was to keep the idea secret. But last week, in this great interview in a local newspaper, Lehigh Valley Live, the cat's out of the bag! Actually, there really wasn't any reason to keep it a secret as not many if any have Jen's unique background to pull this off: Around the World in 80 Cakes is a result of her travels, her scientific background, and her experience in baking.

Hectors Chocolate Mango Oblivion

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Hector has just done another "take on my cake"--this time from The Cake Bible.Here is Hector's description of his creative process: one day Matthew Boyer told me: "Hector, the Mango Passion Tart on the Pie and Pastry Bible is the best pie on the book." i took Matthew's words seriously and made this tart several-several-several times, including my now ubiquitous 6-feet wide Rose World Cake! several years has passed and the mango rose decor remains embedded in me! my latest mango rose is the topping for my latest creation: the Chocolate Mango Oblivion. what is this? follow Cake Bible's recipe for the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle torte, except replacing the butter with fresh mango (equal weight, finely pureed with a food processor or immersion blender). for the Chocolate Mango Oblivion, i bake it with a 9" tart pan. i use passion fruit jelly to make the mango slices stick to the cake. brush xtra on top of the completed rose, to make the petals shine! diluted and strained apricot preserves works just as well. the Chocolate Mango Oblivion will take part at my demo for the Westin Moana Surfrider resort, special event called Mangoes at the Moana (July 21st, 2012)

Hector's Chocolate Avocado Oblivion

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Years ago, when I gave a lovely chef in Italy a copy of my book The Cake Bible, she said she could convert every recipe from butter to olive oil. My response was: "so could I, but I don't choose to!" Now here comes our Hector, converting the butter to avocado! I'm willing to suspend disbelief until I try it myself. After all, avocado is buttery rich, and his cake couldn't be more beautiful! Hector's Chocolate Avocado Oblivion Hawaii Avocado Festival, Kona 2012. aloha everyone, this is my 4th time in Kona, and i can't start by telling that it exceeded ALL my expectations... i know... i make wow-cakes, but this one, was yet the biggest wow! i worship Rose with a recipe i wrote thinking of her. and it starts like this: "a favorite way to bake with chocolate is on the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte (Cake Bible, 1988). i styled 10 versions of essentially the same cake, but now i depart far and sabotage the recipe: using avocado as butter. this cake feels like biting dark chocolate in heaven. Chocolate Avocado Oblivion is as dark and dense as it gets. enjoy naked. passion fruit jelly on the plate makes a good marriage. dark rum on the passion fruit jelly becomes a menage a trois. enjoy warm, at room temp, or chilled. you will experience the same victim 3 different ways!" let me share highlights from my heart: the yellow man (yours truly) and his pink woman (chef patti kimball). patti helps every time i am in kona. she is more than any chef can ask for. indeed, patti helps every chef event there possibly can be on the entire island. patti is a member of the American Culinary Federation, Hawaii where i have become an honorary member. all three people on this picture are made of chocolate. i baked with Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory dark chocolate 60%. hugging Pam and Bob Cooper, the only people on the entire USA and indeed the rest of the developed countries that makes chocolate from farm to bar from their own farm and their own factory. the scenic landscape is the view from my bedroom! kealakekua bed and breakfast. Alton Brown's very final episode of Good Eats was about chocolate, and he is spotted at the Cooper's farm! hot weather, this cake was enjoyed at 80 oF degree weather. because it uses avocados instead of butter, it is much denser and sinful!!! guests enjoyed a slit of heaven with a side of passion fruit jelly thinned out with dark rum. people asked for second servings even after the glorious full sit down dinner paired with many-many wines and coffee. i was overwhelmed. for the recipe and more photos please visit here.

Another "Hector's Take on Rose's Cake" for the Gallery of Rose Cakes!

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KONA LEMON MERINGUE CAKE This is so unbelievably unlike anything I've ever seen I just have to call your attention to it but it will also appear on Hector's blog. Hector writes: clever! a favorite pie presented as an elegant cake. a simple sponge cake, butterless and oil free. whipped eggs, plain vanilla. perhaps too plain. my secret weapon is adding an invisible hint of coffee extract, just to lift vanilla tones and tame eggyness!

Hector's Rose Reappears Via Jenn

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I was checking out this weeks' heavenly bakers to see each rendition of the cake of the week which was the Many-Splendored Quick Bread and low and behold: look what I found on Knitty Baker Jenn's blog--a stunning rendition of Hector's "rose valentine." I think it is the most perfect design for a heart-shape cake ever which Jenn adapted from a round version: The Strawberry Maria from The Cake Bible.

Hector & the Mango Rose

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I asked Hector to do a writeup on the 2010 Kona Mango Festival as he had the honor of being their star presenter. Here's the stunning mango cake he offered: To see a gloriously detailed description of the event complete with photos, do read on!

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What an adventure my passion for -the rose- has taken me! During the day, I am an information technology manager for Hawaii Stationery Co. Before sunset, I canoe paddle for Kamehameha Canoe Club. At night, I bake. Every now and then, all my skills are put to use together. I have just participated at the 2010 Kona Mango Festival held at the beautiful Keauhou Beach Resort. This is a yearly event, but my invitation arrived only a month prior. Without much introduction, Ken Love from the local tropical fruit association asked blindly if I could be part of the mango festival. I gave it all I have, yet they gave me much more in return. Publicity and community involvement started to pour in. I was frazzled. How can I keep my cool? I asked Ken. The answer: "just do your thing, cut mango, and make the mango rose." Ken asked if it was possible that I could bring a few cakes for tasting. He assured that I will have plenty fresh mangoes to cut and show, and that if cake wasn't possible, people will be just as happy if I show pictures of my previous cakes. Ken got the point, who is Hector? or where does Hector come from doesn't matter... all you need is to see his work. The minute I arrived at Kona, I was asked to be here and there. I experienced first hand the island's bounty. First, on Friday afternoon, I ran a quick demo at NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority). They were having a cold water seafood market, and local chef Olelo Pa'a Ogawa demonstrated a delicious lobster salad. Olelo asked me to cover dessert, so I brought a couple of Miette's Tomboy cakes and topped it with mango roses. I thought of this as a warm-up exercise. Second, on Friday evening, I ran a more serious demo at the ballroom of the resort, and the target audience was the local culinary federation ACF KKCA chefs. Not many people showed up, but I took this as an opportunity to video tape my demo and have my internet friends join in. I brought the Coconut Cheesecake, baked without crust and topped it with mango roses. I also ran a keynote presentation, and of course: I hooked up my own cables! Enjoy the photo collage by local food writer Sonia Martinez Third, on Saturday afternoon, I ran my official demo for the festival. The turn out was double than what everyone expected. My 6-tier demo cake was cut into small 1-inch squares and fed near 200 people. Chef Patti Kimball from Konawaena High School and the best of her 100 plus culinary arts students baked 6 tiers of Gâteau Breton for me! We used macadamia nuts instead of almonds, yum! Patti was short on emails, yet my instructions were lengthy. Judging by the gorgeous texture and taste, Patti and her students were stellar. She followed my scaled up recipe to the gram. She followed the measurements to the 1/8-inch: referring to the nerve wrecking request to cut cardboard rounds 1/8-inch narrower for each cake, so it would look pretty, and also referring to the need to drill a 1-inch hole on the center to accommodate the acrylic poles. On the morning of the festival, I was nowhere to be found. I was slicing and making 20 lbs of mango roses. Luca was skinning mangoes and glazing the cakes with local fruit jellies. The minute I walked out from the resort's kitchen, I held strong to Sonia and the rest is history. I love Sonia's side of the story posted on her blog As I carried the now 40 lb cake to the presenter's stage, I stomped with Ken, Patti, and several friends I made during the week. They helped me answering questions to the crowd of people that made me feel I was The Beatles! I dreamed of you been there and share this experience. I said at the closing: "I never dreamed that one day I would be making mango roses for an audience." This said while I held a framed picture of my Rose World Cake. I carry your hearts everywhere I will go with Rose.