Pellets Be Gone!

As many of you know from personal experience, one of the biggest challenges of making a chocolate génoise is eliminating the little flour pellets that tend to form when adding the flour to the egg mixture. I've always recommended reaching down to the bottom of the bowl adn pressing them out between your fingers before adding the chocolate mixture, but fellow blogger Matthew Boyer has come up with a superior method that works brilliantly for the "Moist Chocolate Génoise," a recipe I created over 21 years ago for The Cake Bible. Woody has confirmed how well the technique works by performing several tests and collaborating with Matthew on results. He discovered, in the process, that the chocolate mixture needs to be warm to blend with the other ingredients without losing volume. The resulting photos by Woody will show you step-by-step the process of how easily it works and the ideal temperature and consistency of the chocolate mixture. The photos of the finished cake and comparison to the cake made according to the original method are from Matthew. (Matthew also tested this method extensively for the classic chocolate génoise, but unfortunately it doesn't maintain the full volume of the batter.)

C40 1 thickened when dropped from spatula.jpg

1. chocolate and water mixture reduced to a thickened porridge consistency

C40 2 chocolate cooled to 100 F - 38 C.jpg

2. chocolate mixture cooled to 100˚F/38˚C

C40 3 eggs and sugar mixture warmed to 80 F - 27 C.jpg

3. whole eggs and sugar mixture warmed to 80˚F/27˚C over simmering waterbath

C40 4 egg foam at 5 minutes.jpg

4. whole eggs and sugar mixture quadrupled with whisk beater after 5 minutes

C40 5 sifted flour.jpg

5. sifted cake flour on top of chocolate mixture

C40 6 whisked in flour.jpg

6. flour whisked into the chocolate mixture to incorporate

C40 7 spatula stirred to see NO pellets.jpg

7. spatula stirred combined mixture to check for no "pellets" of flour

C40 8 1 cup  egg foam is 60 grams.jpg

8. 1 cup of egg foam = 2 oz. / 60 grams

C40 9 folded in egg foam into chocoalate and flour.jpg

9. folded egg foam in chocolate and flour mixture

C40 10 sliding chocolate mixture into egg foam.jpg

10. sliding the combined chocolate mixture into the egg foam

C40 11 under a minute to whisk batter together.jpg

11. under 1 minute for gently but rapidly whisking egg foam and combined chocolate mixture to make a completed génoise batter

C40 B 4 just over 1 inch batter depth 2 17 10.jpg

12. the batter fills each pan a little more than half-full rather than two thirds to three-quarters (but rises to the same height as the original method)

C40 13 side-view Matthew.jpg

13. Matthew's new method Moist Chocolate Génoise, side view

C40 14 split-cake Matthew.jpg

14. the Moist Chocolate Génoise sliced in half to show no presence of pellets

C40 15 new-on-left-old-one-right Matthew.jpg

15. comparison of the new method, on the left, giving similar results to the original method, on the right

Pellets Be Gone!

As many of you know from personal experience, one of the biggest challenges of making a chocolate génoise is eliminating the little flour pellets that tend to form when adding the flour to the egg mixture. I've always recommended reaching down to the bottom of the bowl adn pressing them out between your fingers before adding the chocolate mixture, but fellow blogger Matthew Boyer has come up with a superior method that works brilliantly for the "Moist Chocolate Génoise," a recipe I created over 21 years ago for The Cake Bible. Woody has confirmed how well the technique works by performing several tests and collaborating with Matthew on results. He discovered, in the process, that the chocolate mixture needs to be warm to blend with the other ingredients without losing volume. The resulting photos by Woody will show you step-by-step the process of how easily it works and the ideal temperature and consistency of the chocolate mixture. The photos of the finished cake and comparison to the cake made according to the original method are from Matthew. (Matthew also tested this method extensively for the classic chocolate génoise, but unfortunately it doesn't maintain the full volume of the batter.)

C40 1 thickened when dropped from spatula.jpg

1. chocolate and water mixture reduced to a thickened porridge consistency

C40 2 chocolate cooled to 100 F - 38 C.jpg

2. chocolate mixture cooled to 100˚F/38˚C

C40 3 eggs and sugar mixture warmed to 80 F - 27 C.jpg

3. whole eggs and sugar mixture warmed to 80˚F/27˚C over simmering waterbath

C40 4 egg foam at 5 minutes.jpg

4. whole eggs and sugar mixture quadrupled with whisk beater after 5 minutes

C40 5 sifted flour.jpg

5. sifted cake flour on top of chocolate mixture

C40 6 whisked in flour.jpg

6. flour whisked into the chocolate mixture to incorporate

C40 7 spatula stirred to see NO pellets.jpg

7. spatula stirred combined mixture to check for no "pellets" of flour

C40 8 1 cup  egg foam is 60 grams.jpg

8. 1 cup of egg foam = 2 oz. / 60 grams

C40 9 folded in egg foam into chocoalate and flour.jpg

9. folded egg foam in chocolate and flour mixture

C40 10 sliding chocolate mixture into egg foam.jpg

10. sliding the combined chocolate mixture into the egg foam

C40 11 under a minute to whisk batter together.jpg

11. under 1 minute for gently but rapidly whisking egg foam and combined chocolate mixture to make a completed génoise batter

C40 B 4 just over 1 inch batter depth 2 17 10.jpg

12. the batter fills each pan a little more than half-full rather than two thirds to three-quarters (but rises to the same height as the original method)

C40 13 side-view Matthew.jpg

13. Matthew's new method Moist Chocolate Génoise, side view

C40 14 split-cake Matthew.jpg

14. the Moist Chocolate Génoise sliced in half to show no presence of pellets

C40 15 new-on-left-old-one-right Matthew.jpg

15. comparison of the new method, on the left, giving similar results to the original method, on the right

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Five Cakes

In response to a request from Susan for photos of the few cakes that were not pictured in the new book we have combed through our photo files and came up with some photos that while not perfectly styled shots will at least serve to show the textures of most of those cakes and/or frostings. A snippet of the White Velvet cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache White Velvet.jpg Génoise Très Café Coffee Genoise.jpg Coffee Genoise Slice.jpg Coconut Cheesecake Coconut Cheesecake.jpg Coconut Cheesecake Slice.jpg Marble Velvet Marble.jpg The cake on the left was baked in a silicone pan. The one on the right was baked in a cast aluminum pan. The difference in color of the chocolate swirl is only a function of how much batter was mixed into the chocolate and not the way the pan baked. Marble in 2 types of pans.jpg And for good measure, a close up of the Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake Coconut Seduction 2.jpg Chocolate Génoise Chocolate Genoise on Rack_00011.jpg Caramel Ganache Caramel Ganache.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Five Cakes

In response to a request from Susan for photos of the few cakes that were not pictured in the new book we have combed through our photo files and came up with some photos that while not perfectly styled shots will at least serve to show the textures of most of those cakes and/or frostings. A snippet of the White Velvet cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache White Velvet.jpg Génoise Très Café Coffee Genoise.jpg Coffee Genoise Slice.jpg Coconut Cheesecake Coconut Cheesecake.jpg Coconut Cheesecake Slice.jpg Marble Velvet Marble.jpg The cake on the left was baked in a silicone pan. The one on the right was baked in a cast aluminum pan. The difference in color of the chocolate swirl is only a function of how much batter was mixed into the chocolate and not the way the pan baked. Marble in 2 types of pans.jpg And for good measure, a close up of the Heavenly Coconut Seduction Cake Coconut Seduction 2.jpg Chocolate Génoise Chocolate Genoise on Rack_00011.jpg Caramel Ganache Caramel Ganache.jpg

Hector's Take on the Carrot Cake

This posting is for those of you who couldn't resist purchasing the Nordicware wreath pan for the fruit cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. Hector has put the pan to a spectacular new use! Hector's Carrot Cakes.jpg Here's how he described it: "We made a 4X batch, wet and dry ingredients on my 6qt ka filled touching the pouring shield, was beautiful, no strain on the motor since it is oil batter and also beater blade was fine. Then with a baby tub, we mixed carrots with a large wooden spoon. Josephine, 8 years old, held the wooden spoon with 2 hands and did all the mixing of carrots on her own! We took exactly 1x by weight, the batter grams you say fills each 9" pan x2 and made the nordic wreath, was 3/4 full or 3/4 inch from the top. So I say, 1x recipe is perfect for the wreath pan, all imprints turned gorgeous. The rest went to the mini cakes you see. Filling each mini loaf pan less than half full." Here's a close up of just the carrot cake baked in the wreath pan: Hector's Carrot Cake.jpg I also like Hector's treatment of the cake in the original 9" by 2" pan. He used macadamia nuts and set a ring of them around the pan touching the sides. Hector's Carrot Cake 3.jpg

Hector's Take on the Carrot Cake

This posting is for those of you who couldn't resist purchasing the Nordicware wreath pan for the fruit cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes. Hector has put the pan to a spectacular new use! Hector's Carrot Cakes.jpg Here's how he described it: "We made a 4X batch, wet and dry ingredients on my 6qt ka filled touching the pouring shield, was beautiful, no strain on the motor since it is oil batter and also beater blade was fine. Then with a baby tub, we mixed carrots with a large wooden spoon. Josephine, 8 years old, held the wooden spoon with 2 hands and did all the mixing of carrots on her own! We took exactly 1x by weight, the batter grams you say fills each 9" pan x2 and made the nordic wreath, was 3/4 full or 3/4 inch from the top. So I say, 1x recipe is perfect for the wreath pan, all imprints turned gorgeous. The rest went to the mini cakes you see. Filling each mini loaf pan less than half full." Here's a close up of just the carrot cake baked in the wreath pan: Hector's Carrot Cake.jpg I also like Hector's treatment of the cake in the original 9" by 2" pan. He used macadamia nuts and set a ring of them around the pan touching the sides. Hector's Carrot Cake 3.jpg

Mystery of the White Chocolate Buttercream Revealed

White Chocolate Lemon ButtercreamThis fabulous buttercream came about in a most peculiar backdoor sort of way. It started in my imagination as a cake! I long had the idea that it would be interesting to try my Chocolate Oblivion from The Cake Bible as a milk chocolate version which, in fact, was a viable idea (see page 372). I also wanted to try a white chocolate version and that's the one that metamorphosed into said buttercream. My original recipe called for combining just three ingredients: eggs, butter, and dark chocolate, which bake in a water bath to a creamy, dense, yet slightly airy custard that has been referred to as a chocolate mousse wedded to a chocolate truffle. When I replaced the dark chocolate with white chocolate, baked and then cooled the cake, it was not firm enough to cut. Though the cocoa butter in the white chocolate and the butter are very firm when chilled, the cocoa solids in the dark chocolate are needed to give it a firm enough texture. Of course I tasted it and it was luscious/delicious. What to do? I didn't want to add more white chocolate as it contains about one-third sugar so it had to be either cocoa butter or butter. Since butter is more readily available I tried beating softened butter into the white chocolate custard. The texture was amazingly soft, luxurious, rich (in the words of blogger Bill who wrote: What ever possessed you to try mixing eggs white chocolate and butter to make a custard? It is a miracle that the buttercream made it onto the cake and not directly into my mouth. This buttercream became the base for the lemon curd version on page 46 and a deluxe version on page 176 where I added cream cheese. Woody used the lemon curd version for his Lemon Luxury Layer Cake on page 43 and we were both surprised that in the photo it looked so lemony yellow. Actually we liked it but when we had made it, the color was a lighter ivory. So Woody set to work and discovered than when the buttercream is beaten longer at the final stage of mixing it becomes both lighter in color and firmer. It's hard to see the color change in the photos but they will give you a glimpse into the behind the scenes fastidious work that Woody has been doing over the past five years of his association with me and the book. The Different Stages Showing Changes in Texture and Color During Beating White%20Chocolate%20Buttercream%20refrig%20and%20room%20temp%20%204%20stages.jpg The Completed Buttercream with Out Favorite Lemon Oil 11%20buttercream%20w%20lemon%20oil.jpg

Mystery of the White Chocolate Buttercream Revealed

White Chocolate Lemon ButtercreamThis fabulous buttercream came about in a most peculiar backdoor sort of way. It started in my imagination as a cake! I long had the idea that it would be interesting to try my Chocolate Oblivion from The Cake Bible as a milk chocolate version which, in fact, was a viable idea (see page 372). I also wanted to try a white chocolate version and that's the one that metamorphosed into said buttercream. My original recipe called for combining just three ingredients: eggs, butter, and dark chocolate, which bake in a water bath to a creamy, dense, yet slightly airy custard that has been referred to as a chocolate mousse wedded to a chocolate truffle. When I replaced the dark chocolate with white chocolate, baked and then cooled the cake, it was not firm enough to cut. Though the cocoa butter in the white chocolate and the butter are very firm when chilled, the cocoa solids in the dark chocolate are needed to give it a firm enough texture. Of course I tasted it and it was luscious/delicious. What to do? I didn't want to add more white chocolate as it contains about one-third sugar so it had to be either cocoa butter or butter. Since butter is more readily available I tried beating softened butter into the white chocolate custard. The texture was amazingly soft, luxurious, rich (in the words of blogger Bill who wrote: What ever possessed you to try mixing eggs white chocolate and butter to make a custard? It is a miracle that the buttercream made it onto the cake and not directly into my mouth. This buttercream became the base for the lemon curd version on page 46 and a deluxe version on page 176 where I added cream cheese. Woody used the lemon curd version for his Lemon Luxury Layer Cake on page 43 and we were both surprised that in the photo it looked so lemony yellow. Actually we liked it but when we had made it, the color was a lighter ivory. So Woody set to work and discovered than when the buttercream is beaten longer at the final stage of mixing it becomes both lighter in color and firmer. It's hard to see the color change in the photos but they will give you a glimpse into the behind the scenes fastidious work that Woody has been doing over the past five years of his association with me and the book. The Different Stages Showing Changes in Texture and Color During Beating White%20Chocolate%20Buttercream%20refrig%20and%20room%20temp%20%204%20stages.jpg The Completed Buttercream with Out Favorite Lemon Oil 11%20buttercream%20w%20lemon%20oil.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Buttercream Process Shots

Mousseline ButtercreamBeaten Butter 276%20B2%20whipped%20lightened%20butter.jpg Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites 276%20A1%20stiffened%20whites.jpg Beating Sugar Syrup into the Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites 276%20A3%20adding%20syrup%20to%20whites.jpg Final Stage of Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites with Syrup 276%20A4%20stiffened%20whites%20w%20syrup.jpg Adding the Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites to The Butter 276%20C1%20butter%20and%20whites.jpg Mixture Beginning to Curdle 276%20C2%20mixture%20starting%20to%20curdle.jpg Mixture Curdling More 276%20C4%20full%20curdled%20mixture.jpg After Further Beating Buttercream Almost Completely Smooth 276%20C5%20mixture%20starting%20to%20smooth%20out.jpg Perfectly Smooth Mousseline Buttercream 276%20C6%20finished%20buttercream.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Buttercream Process Shots

Mousseline ButtercreamBeaten Butter 276%20B2%20whipped%20lightened%20butter.jpg Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites 276%20A1%20stiffened%20whites.jpg Beating Sugar Syrup into the Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites 276%20A3%20adding%20syrup%20to%20whites.jpg Final Stage of Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites with Syrup 276%20A4%20stiffened%20whites%20w%20syrup.jpg Adding the Stiffly Beaten Egg Whites to The Butter 276%20C1%20butter%20and%20whites.jpg Mixture Beginning to Curdle 276%20C2%20mixture%20starting%20to%20curdle.jpg Mixture Curdling More 276%20C4%20full%20curdled%20mixture.jpg After Further Beating Buttercream Almost Completely Smooth 276%20C5%20mixture%20starting%20to%20smooth%20out.jpg Perfectly Smooth Mousseline Buttercream 276%20C6%20finished%20buttercream.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Wedding Cakes

Woody put seven pounds of weight on top of this cake to test the integrity of the plastic straw supports! Dk%20Ck%20Passion%20with%20Weights.jpg These next photos show Woody leveling a wedding cake: The cake raised slightly above the top of the pan using cardboard rounds. 280C3cakebeforeleveling.jpg The long serrated knife resting on the edges of the pan as a guide for cutting off the slightly domed top to make it level. 280C4beginningofleveling.jpg The leveled cake. 280C5finishedleveling.jpg When necessary to level a cake, always position the cut side down to avoid getting crumbs in the frosting. The only one of the wedding cakes in this book that needs leveling is the banana cake pictured. This is because of the potassium contained in the banana that absorbs and holds moisture, creating steam during baking. Together with the extra structure from the banana fiber there is no way to get a totally level cake and believe me we tried! Close up of the lemon peel rose wedding cake decoration. Lemon%20Peel%20Rose.jpg Close up of a slice of the Double-Chocolate-Whammy Groom's Cake showing the brownie pieces suspended in the baked cake batter. Groom%27s%20Cake%20Cut%20Slice.jpg Those of you who, like me, have sat underneath this white plate with dental instruments hanging over it may enjoy knowing that this is the original milk glass plate that my mother had in her dental office even before high-speed drills became available and the white plates smaller (i have that one too!) I just love the way photographer Ben Fink shot this photo and the choice of shiny black background Roy Finnamore, the prop stylist, chose which reflects the white plate giving the scallops a double image. It was his idea to use the dental plate--devining a long-time wish on my part. Years ago, when my mother retired, she gave me the plate saying "maybe someday you can use it for a cake." Had she lived to see it, she would have been 98 three days from today. Deep%20Choc%20Passion%20Wedding%20Cake_00061.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Wedding Cakes

Woody put seven pounds of weight on top of this cake to test the integrity of the plastic straw supports! Dk%20Ck%20Passion%20with%20Weights.jpg These next photos show Woody leveling a wedding cake: The cake raised slightly above the top of the pan using cardboard rounds. 280C3cakebeforeleveling.jpg The long serrated knife resting on the edges of the pan as a guide for cutting off the slightly domed top to make it level. 280C4beginningofleveling.jpg The leveled cake. 280C5finishedleveling.jpg When necessary to level a cake, always position the cut side down to avoid getting crumbs in the frosting. The only one of the wedding cakes in this book that needs leveling is the banana cake pictured. This is because of the potassium contained in the banana that absorbs and holds moisture, creating steam during baking. Together with the extra structure from the banana fiber there is no way to get a totally level cake and believe me we tried! Close up of the lemon peel rose wedding cake decoration. Lemon%20Peel%20Rose.jpg Close up of a slice of the Double-Chocolate-Whammy Groom's Cake showing the brownie pieces suspended in the baked cake batter. Groom%27s%20Cake%20Cut%20Slice.jpg Those of you who, like me, have sat underneath this white plate with dental instruments hanging over it may enjoy knowing that this is the original milk glass plate that my mother had in her dental office even before high-speed drills became available and the white plates smaller (i have that one too!) I just love the way photographer Ben Fink shot this photo and the choice of shiny black background Roy Finnamore, the prop stylist, chose which reflects the white plate giving the scallops a double image. It was his idea to use the dental plate--devining a long-time wish on my part. Years ago, when my mother retired, she gave me the plate saying "maybe someday you can use it for a cake." Had she lived to see it, she would have been 98 three days from today. Deep%20Choc%20Passion%20Wedding%20Cake_00061.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Baby Cakes

Ingots, also known as financiers, in a silicone financier pan.Financiers%202.jpg I love the way this photo captures the glistening points of butter on the surface. Financier.jpg Woody took this great shot of the Plum Round Ingots using pluots which shows the side view as the book photo shows the overhead view. Pluot%20Financiers%20%20side%20shot.jpg This photo demonstrates how different the crust looks when the mini vanilla bean pound cake is baked in a non-disposable metal pan. Mini%20Vanilla%20Bean%20Pound%20Cake.jpg The silky-fine interior crumb of the mini vanilla bean pound cake %20Mini%20Vanilla%20Pound%20Cake%20cut.jpg The photo in the book of this baby lemon cheesecake uses 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon curd (1 1/2 times the recipe given in the book). This is how it will look if you use 1 tablespoon of lemon curd. I was testing it with a chocolate biscuit base but prefer the yellow version as in the book photo. Baby%20Cheesecakes%20with%20Lemon%20Curd.jpg The Quail Egg Indulgence Cake (not shown in the book) Quail%20Egg%20Cake.jpg I love the special antique glass that Zach Townsend used in this photo when testing The Bostini. Bostini%20Test%20II%207%20oz.%20cup%20at%20two%20thirds%20full%20choc.jpg It was a difficult choice deciding which of many wonderful photos to show of Isabelle Chirls and The Mud Turtle Cupcakes. I love this one because it shows her beautiful anticipatory smile. Mud%20Turtle%20Cupcakes_00028.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Baby Cakes

Ingots, also known as financiers, in a silicone financier pan.Financiers%202.jpg I love the way this photo captures the glistening points of butter on the surface. Financier.jpg Woody took this great shot of the Plum Round Ingots using pluots which shows the side view as the book photo shows the overhead view. Pluot%20Financiers%20%20side%20shot.jpg This photo demonstrates how different the crust looks when the mini vanilla bean pound cake is baked in a non-disposable metal pan. Mini%20Vanilla%20Bean%20Pound%20Cake.jpg The silky-fine interior crumb of the mini vanilla bean pound cake %20Mini%20Vanilla%20Pound%20Cake%20cut.jpg The photo in the book of this baby lemon cheesecake uses 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon curd (1 1/2 times the recipe given in the book). This is how it will look if you use 1 tablespoon of lemon curd. I was testing it with a chocolate biscuit base but prefer the yellow version as in the book photo. Baby%20Cheesecakes%20with%20Lemon%20Curd.jpg The Quail Egg Indulgence Cake (not shown in the book) Quail%20Egg%20Cake.jpg I love the special antique glass that Zach Townsend used in this photo when testing The Bostini. Bostini%20Test%20II%207%20oz.%20cup%20at%20two%20thirds%20full%20choc.jpg It was a difficult choice deciding which of many wonderful photos to show of Isabelle Chirls and The Mud Turtle Cupcakes. I love this one because it shows her beautiful anticipatory smile. Mud%20Turtle%20Cupcakes_00028.jpg

Out-Cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: Mostly Flourless Cakes

This photo of the Frozen Candian Crown illustrates how the lady fingers rise above the filling when the bottoms of the fingers are not trimmed off.Frozen%20Canadian%20Lemon%20Torte2.jpg A slice of the Frozen Canadian Crown with Untrimmed Lady Fingers Canadian%20Crown.jpg Plated TiraMisù Tira%20Misu%20Plasted.jpg The Whipped Cream Filling Version of the Chocolate Featherbed %23322AA2topshotslice.jpg A Forkful of Chocolate Featherbed %23322AA5cakeisstilllayeredandbowateringoutofwhippedcream.jpg The Completed Jancsi Cake Batter 284A10completedbatter.jpg Batter in the Parchment-Lined Pan 284B2batterbfbaking.jpg Jancsi Baking in the Oven 284B3domedcakeinoven.jpg The Baked Jancsi Beginning to Sink to Form the Classic Concave Contour 284B4cakebeginningtosinkoutofoven.jpg