Well, I could call this cake a beautiful example of spare modernity… or, I could (more honestly) call it a feeble attempt to salvage a project ravaged by the fearsome gods of chocolate.
I didn’t follow one of Rose’s tried-and-true pairings, so I only have myself to blame. When I first received Heavenly Cakes, I told my daughter and husband that they could each pick out whatever they liked and I would make it for them, figuring it was probably best to get them excited about the book so they would be a little more understanding about the obsession that would certainly develop…
My daughter’s pick was the whoopie pie, which she loved and I thought was amazingly good and grown-up tasting for such a funny little cake (pic on far right).
My husband, who loves deep, dark chocolate (he eats the 85% stuff straight- very manly), asked for something “chocolate- not sweet.” He’s from the South, so the cake is Sybil’s pecan torte, minus the coffee flavoring, which he does not like. I used a version of ganache with his favorite 85% chocolate, brown sugar and bourbon. And that shiny glaze, couldn’t resist.
I did have a problem with the pecan torte rising higher than the sides of the pan, so when I went to cool it upside down I couldn’t use a rack. I tried to prop the edges up on coffee mugs, but it fell off, yikes! I did measure my pan and it was large enough according to the book (9” x 2.5” interior), and I did weigh both yolks and whites, so I’m not really sure what happened there.
Originally, I was going to top the shiny cake with a shiny rose, a dark chocolate version of the chocolate modeling paste roses on the cover of TCB. But after two weeks of trying, I gave up on those. I’ve learned several pointers for my next try:
- you really do need all the corn syrup (had to throw out the first batch, which was a rock that could not be salvaged by remelting and adding more syrup)
- the paste is easier to knead and roll at warmer room temp, but easier to cut and form flowers at cooler room temp.
- the petals have to be very thin, or else they need a lot longer to dry (many, many more days). I made some leaves which would not glaze properly, despite drying for 6 days. If the rose ever dries, I’ll try glazing it.
Then, I thought I might try some white chocolate leaves, but chose the wrong leaves- too delicate- and they wouldn’t peel off in one piece.