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Maple Walnut
Posted: 10 June 2009 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi fellow bakers.  Here’s my latest cake.  It is not my best effort, but by posting some of the problems, we can all learn a little.  I made a Maple walnut layer cake.  I use Rose’s Golden downy yellow cake.  I add some maple extract and maple syrup to the batter (don’t have the proportions with me right now).  I then Make mousseline buttercream with maple syrup.  I follow the directions for the classic buttercream/maple variation, but I cook the sugar to 248 degrees and beat it into egg whites…works like a charm.

OK…here’s what went wrong.  I’ve been baking for years…and still occasionally make stupid mistakes.  I put both layers on the same shelf in my oven, the pans were touching and although they tested done, they were completely wet and underbaked in the areas where the pans were touching.  It was 11 PM…and well…I had to press on…and there was no way to really salvage it and have it look good…so I started again.  (I did snack on the part that was baked through, though).

Started again, rebaked the layers, but by the time I was done…I was just too too tired to do the frosting.  I did the frosting while my guest was over and frosted the cake right before we ate.  I had forgotten, that when you cook the maple syrup to 248 degrees it really bubbles up a lot on the way.  I had used a pot that was too small…and the hot syrup bubbled up all over my stove…with my guest there.  AHHHHHHHHHHHH!  In addition, there was no more maple syurp in the house.  I added some corn syurp, eyeballing it considering I wasn’t sure how much I lost. got it up to temperature, finished the buttercream, and added a little extra maple extract in the end to compensate for the corn syrup.  I quick frosted the cake and did a quick border, encrusted it with nuts and dug in.  I isn’t my prettiest cake, for sure, but it tasted fine.  Even with all the misshaps, and with all the cleaning of the stove…it was fine in the end.

With my guest and “other half” standing there waiting for cake….cake…cake…we want cake…now!...I couldn’t really take my time assembling and piping, and making everything neat and pretty…but here it is.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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it looks killer!!  Its nice hearing about all the mistakes even the best bakers can make- that way I don’t feel so bad lol.
For putting it together with guests peering over your shoulder i’d say you did a hell of a job!!

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Posted: 10 June 2009 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for the compliment…I would hardly consider myself among the “best”...there are so many more experienced and accomplished than I am. Stuff goes wrong all the time for me…and I always learn something along the way.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for sharing Bill. Your cake looks great even with an audience chanting “cake, cake, cake” and adding to the pressure.  LOL

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Posted: 10 June 2009 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Bill, please don’t make any excuses for your decoration - I’d kill to pipe like that!  Looks delicious and if you hadn’t told us we would never have known of the pressure you were under.  Do you work well to a deadline?
Annie

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Posted: 10 June 2009 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’ve always worked well with deadlines.  I do, however, stay up way to late at night to get them done.  With this one…I just couldn’t.  I had a whole meal to prepare (lots of stuff that reheats well because there was no time to cook the evening of the dinner).  I was actually up to 3 AM the night before, which is why the buttercream had to wait until the time of the dinner.  (I did get up at 6:30 AM to go to work…so needless to say I was sleepy.  I like to discuss and share the problems that pop up along the way.  None of us are perfect…and we can all learn from the mis haps.  Oh…and by the way…with respect to the piping…I took a class a couple of years ago with Toba Garret at the Institute for Culinary Ed in NYC.  It was for one week…Monday-Friday from 9 - 3 PM.  I made it “my vacation” but stayed in town and spent the money on the course.  I actually had gotten a gift certificate for classes at the school…this was kind of a pricy one…so I had to kick in the rest.  It was definitely worth it.  There is nothing like being taught close up how to do something like this.  There was also lots of time for intense practicing.  I could have never learned on my own by looking at pictures..etc.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Bill, you cake looks wonderful, I bet despite everything it was delicious.  And I enjoyed following your tale, we’ve all been there.  I thought you were going to say that you cut each layer into two halves and pieced the cooked halves together to make a circle, then just made a one-layer cake.  Instead, you started over!  Such perserverance, I admire that!  And yes, I agree with the others your piping is lovely.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Julie:
I did think of doing that…and I probably should have.  I really didn’t need the cake to be as big as it was…but I was angry with myself for making such a stupid mistake…and perhaps, on a certain level, I felt I deserved to have to do it again.  Typically I bake Rose’s recipies in 1/2 amounts in a 7” pan…I have a small place and often a 9” cake is too big.  two 7” pans fit just fine on one shelf in my oven…but the 9” pans, well, that’s another story.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Bill - 10 June 2009 05:49 PM

Oh…and by the way…with respect to the piping…I took a class a couple of years ago with Toba Garret at the Institute for Culinary Ed in NYC.  It was for one week…Monday-Friday from 9 - 3 PM.  I made it “my vacation” but stayed in town and spent the money on the course.  I actually had gotten a gift certificate for classes at the school…this was kind of a pricy one…so I had to kick in the rest.  It was definitely worth it.  There is nothing like being taught close up how to do something like this.  There was also lots of time for intense practicing.  I could have never learned on my own by looking at pictures..etc.

Bill, I envy you!  smile I’m sure the classes were fun and very informative.

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Posted: 10 June 2009 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Bill, your cake looks delicious! And the rope border is simply gorgeous. If you didn’t tell the back story, I wouldn’t have guessed the pressure you were under.

Thanks for the tip about using maple syrup in Mousseline. Will definitely give that a shot as I love maple syrup. Every year when my daughter goes to the US for Xmas, she has to lug back a big bottle for me.

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Posted: 11 June 2009 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Looks and sounds very tasty!  I hate that added pressure from peering eyes, but you certainly pulled it off!!!  Way to go Bill smile.

PS - love, love, love the brown/blue plate!

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Posted: 11 June 2009 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bill, your piping is great!

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Anne

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Posted: 12 June 2009 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks all.  The plate is part of a set that is one of my favorite posessions.  I was in New Hope, PA (If you are unfamiliar with the town, it is a charming little spot with lots of shopping for things like hand made crafts, antiques, etc.) It is right across the river from Lambertville New Jersey…which has lots of antique shopping as well.  In this lovely shop in New Hope they had this lovely hand made pottery. I loved the teapot.  It was just beautiful, and a friend that I was with…since my B-day was approaching, offered to buy the teapot, the sugar bowl, and the creamer for me.  (VERY GENEROUS…THE STUFF IS PRICY).  I then bought four small plates, and four mugs…and made a display in my wall unit…of this little tea set.  My sister stopped by one day and said “That stuff is beautiful…you should get the whole dinner service”.  Fast forward about 15 years, I now have a full dinner service and luncheon service for 12, plus assorted serving pieces.  What…me…obsessive?  The manufacturer is Bill Campbell Porcelain.

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Posted: 12 June 2009 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Oh…and by the way…if you try the maple syrup trick with egg whites/ mousseline…don’t use a tiny pot (I usually do syrup for butter cream in a tiny pot that you melt butter in…so that the thermometer tip is fully in the liquid). This will bubble up much more than a regular syrup as it approaches 248 degrees…and cleaning the stove is not fun.

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Posted: 12 June 2009 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Good to know Bill - thanks for the tip!

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Posted: 13 June 2009 04:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Thanks for the tip Bill. Guess a 2 qt. pot will be deep enough?

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