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An Odyssey Begins… My First Wedding Cake
Posted: 13 January 2008 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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FINALLY—I’ve done some baking.

I did my first test run on some wedding cake.  I did (2) 6-inch rounds using the Yellow Butter cake numbers from The Cake Bible.  I followed the recipe exactly until the end, except I took approximately one quarter of the batter and incorporated 50g of bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% cacao).  I then filled the pans with the yellow batter, then put the chocolate batter on top and swirled it for a marbled effect.  Baked at 325F in a convection oven and bake-even strips for 38 minutes (when the cake tester came out clean).

Seemed to be OK until I removed them from the pan.  I used cake strips for a 9-inch pan and wrapped the excess around, which seems not to have been a good idea.  It seems like one side of each cake didn’t set up quite enough, and was too soft and fell apart upon removal (2nd pic).  Otherwise the cake strips worked well, and there wasn’t much mounding.  I might need to buy another set and cut them to the appropriate size for the smaller pans.

The marbling effect was good, though (1st pic). I slapped some chocolate mousseline buttercream on it and some fondant roses I had lying around, and invited a couple of friends over (who totally misunderstood that I wanted them to take the *WHOLE* cake, not come over for a slice) and we ate some.  Nice.  Moist.  Decent chocolate taste, although kind of hard to differentiate from the chocolate frosting.  I was concerned that just adding melted chocolate would affect the structure of the cake or throw off the baking powder ratio, but everything seemed OK.  I’m still worried that the results won’t hold up for the 12-inch layer, but that can be tested separately.

Here’s one thing I learned—each cake layer rose just over the 2-inch sides of the pan.  I’m glad I didn’t spend $85-90 on the 3-inch high cake rings, because my layers are going to be just over 4 inches high after they’re iced. Metal flashing might be the way to go after all…

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Posted: 14 January 2008 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I’m sorry I can’t taste it, but it looks pretty good’,  I love the roses on the top, did you make those too?

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Posted: 14 January 2008 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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jeannette - 14 January 2008 11:24 AM

I love the roses on the top, did you make those too?

I did make them, several weeks ago grin—they’re hard as rocks now. I was practicing with Wilton fondant and set a bunch of them aside, so I grabbed them.  I actually made a batch of Rose’s fondant this weekend, too.  It seems to have come out well, and it’s GOT to taste better than the Wilton stuff.

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Posted: 14 January 2008 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Hi Dan - nice roses!!!

The length of your cake strips shouldn’t have effected the way the cake layers baked.  Did you thoroughly soak the strips before you wrapped them around your cake pans? 

Your results might have been more related to your marbeling technique.  Rather than pour all the chocolate batter into the other batter (which makes it pool at the bottom of the pan), you might find it easier to fill the pans with a little of the white/yellow batter, then dollop a few blobs of chocolate batter, then more white/yellow, then more dollops of chocolate, etc until all the batter is in the pans.  Then swirl with a knife and bake as usual.

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Posted: 14 January 2008 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Patrincia - 14 January 2008 05:06 PM

Hi Dan - nice roses!!!

Thanks… Fondant roses are much more forgiving than buttercream ones.  Still not very good at those. I’m going to try my hand at some calla lilies.

I did soak them thoroughly. I think there may have been too much insulation on part of the pan, since the 9-inch cake strip was doubled up over about 1/3 of the 6-inch pan.  The area that broke up was about the same size as the doubled up part of the strip, and it happened on both cakes in about the same way.  There was at least 6 inches of space between the two pans and the convection was on, so I don’t think insufficient air circulation was the cause.

Looking at my own pictures again, I do see what you mean about the marbling… the chocolate batter does seem to have spread out to the sides in a sort of upside-down mushroom cloud.  Aesthetically, I don’t think it’s a failure, but the checkerboard cake from TCB does call for whole eggs instead of egg yolks to provide additional structure to compensate for the addition of the chocolate.  Part of the reason for this experiment was to see if I could get away with the recipe “straight” with the addition of melted chocolate.  I was more concerned about the center falling; it didn’t occur to me that the sides might be an issue.

When my 12-inch round pans come in, I’m going to try again with the bottom layer.  I do think that I’ll switch to either all whole eggs or a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks. It seems to be an even swap by weight (100g whole egg for 100g egg yolks); is this correct?  Also, RLB/TCB recommends decreasing the baking powder when substituting yolks for whites, so I’m inferring from that I’ll need to increase the baking powder if I’m adding whites.

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Posted: 14 January 2008 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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That being said, I could try marbling with white cake since it *only* uses whites.  I do like the symmetry of using the yolks in the cake and the whites in the mousseline buttercream, though.

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Posted: 14 January 2008 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Forget the cakes, I love the dog!  My stepdaughter has a pup that looks just like your pooch - it’s the only small dog I’ve ever fallen in love with - everyone does. She’s too cute and full of personality to rate anything less.

It’s clear at this point you’ll have this whole wedding cake business down to a science by the time the wedding rolls round - and no doubt whatever, it’ll be fabulous in looks and taste.

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Posted: 15 January 2008 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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I’m hijacking my own thread, but I wanted to report that one can make a decent mousseline buttercream using Earth Balance.  I said earlier in the thread that I have a “niece” that can’t have milk.  Her mother’s birthday is tomorrow and I made the Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (no milk or butter!) and the “butter"cream to go on it.

It definitely doesn’t have the consistency of mousseline buttercream with real butter (more like classic buttercream; I bet I can melt it with an angry stare), but it should serve its purpose.

[PS I’ve been promoted to Jr. Member!]

01/16/2008 - updated post to include a picture of a Chocolate Mayonnaise cake decorated with “Earth Balance Buttercream.”  The chocolate mayo cake is SOO moist and delicate it crumbs all over the place, so it’s not as neat as I’d like.  Plus I “missed” when placing the top layer and had to adjust.  Haste makes waste!

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Posted: 21 January 2008 11:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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No more baking yet, but some interesting research and observations from The Cake Bible as I’m trying to adapt the yellow wedding cake numbers to a marble cake.  I want to try and switch from an all-yolks recipe to one using whole eggs for additional structure to support the addition of the melted chocolate.

According to Rose the following are all equivalent (although not necessarily equal):
1 whole “large” egg (50 g; 3 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp)
2 egg yolks (37.2 g; 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp)
1.5 egg whites (45 g; 3 Tbsp)

Clearly, one cannot simply “swap” yolks for an equal volume or weight of whole eggs. Now what?  Patrincia’s suggestion sent me to the checkerboard fantasy cake recipe.  The yellow cake base recipe calls for 2 egg yolks for 100g each of flour and sugar.  The checkerboard cake calls for 4 whole eggs for 400g each of flour and sugar, or 1 whole egg per 100g each of flour and sugar.  2 egg yolks really are equivalent to a whole egg!  Since I’m baking by weight, I converted each egg using the “standard” weight of 50 g and plugged it back into the cake base recipe.  I also converted the baking powder ratios in the base recipe to the same ratios as for the checkerboard cake.  (I’ll share my [as yet **UNTESTED**] spreadsheet if anyone wants it.  I’ll do my best to explain my reasoning if you want to check my math).

I’m a little bothered by the fact that one can’t do the substitutions by weight or volume, but I suppose it’s due to the very different characteristics of the yolks and whites.  I’ll save myself the grief of trying to substitute some of the yolks for whole eggs and swap all of them for whole eggs.

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Posted: 10 February 2008 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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How’s the process going, Dan?

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Posted: 12 February 2008 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I did a cake last summer for friends. I leaned heavily on a book called Wedding Cakes You Can Make by Dede Wilson. It has a lot of really practical information in it; it bailed me out in a big way. -tracy.

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Posted: 12 February 2008 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I haven’t been doing much baking… work’s been crazy and I’ve been doing mostly logistics and other things:

I’ve found some ribbon that more-or-less matches the bridesmaid dresses.  My cousin still hasn’t made up her mind on flowers, but I did tell her to ask her florist not to pick anything poisonous grin

I also think I’ve decided on a “flavor” for the mousseline buttercream.  I was trying to think of something more interesting than vanilla, but the marble cake presents some difficulties there.  Fruit is out.  I thought of a layer of marzipan between the layers, but several people told me that it was a bit too “busy” with all the competing flavors.  Then I happened upon a jar of dulce de leche and found my inspiration!  I think the caramel will give the frosting a nice ivory color and a subtle flavor that will go nicely with the marble cake.

Hoping to get more into wedding baking soon.  In the meantime, I tried Rose’s genoise au chocolate for Valentine’s Day.  It just came out of the oven.  I’ll try the dulce de leche buttercream on it to see how it goes…

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Posted: 12 February 2008 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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The dulce de leche sounds perfect!
Mary M-S

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Posted: 13 February 2008 12:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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HI Dan, just wanted to comment on your’e issue with the bake even strips you had when you did the test run. I often end up with overlapping strips but have not had the uneven problem.  In fact, the author mentioned a couple of positngs before, Dede Wilson, also comments on how this doesn’t affect the rise of the cake.  Maybe Rose knows different?? The only time I had problems was when I baked to 7 inch layers on the same rack.  I thought I had spaced them evenly apart, but my cakes ended up with slants.  I don’t know if this is the issue with your cakes, but maybe it can help with the troubleshooting!

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Posted: 16 February 2008 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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rose villanueva - 13 February 2008 04:36 AM

HI Dan, just wanted to comment on your’e issue with the bake even strips you had when you did the test run. I often end up with overlapping strips but have not had the uneven problem.

I think I may have figured out the problem with the sides of the cake.  I was running the blade of a knife around the inside edges of the pan just after the cakes were out of the oven.  I should have probably let them cool for 10 minutes before I ran the knife around.

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