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Help on Ideas for Birthday Cake
Posted: 21 January 2010 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A good friend of mine is turning 30 next month and she requested chocolate on chocolate cake. I want to make the cake as she requested but I also want to make it more special by adding some fruit flavor (raspberry/strawberry) into it.

I’d thought of making the Moist Chocolate Genoise cake. I’ve tried both recipes from TCB and RHC and loved it. Last month for my birthday I made the Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise. While I love the Genoise itself, the raspberry ganache is an overkill for me. Too sweet and kinda overpowering. I know my friend has similar taste bud, so now I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what combo to do. Should I do a chocolate buttercream and flavor it with raspberry/strawberry sauce/puree? Or should I do another flavor variation instead of these fruits? I’d appreciate any feedback.

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Posted: 21 January 2010 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The triple chocolate cake from TCB is one of my all time favourites and I do believe it uses the Moist Chocolate Genoise.  When I was taste testing the fillings for the wedding cake I was doing in Nov., we tried the Raspberry Ganache and the Light Whipped Ganache (in the Triple Chocolate Cake) and everyone thought the Whipped Ganache was more “bitter” compared to the Raspberry—I didn’t really expect that response as doesn’t call for overly bitter chocolate and whipping it makes it light.  The hazelnut praline band is soo decadent and great textures ... so if you are looking for something not as fruity… I can’t wait to try the Devil’s Food from RHC—it’s on my list to do when I have an appropriate event.  Have fun—a tough, but good kind of decision to have to make.

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Posted: 21 January 2010 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Jenn, I got a whole bunch of great ideas from people when I asked a similar question in this thread:
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/337/

One thing I reported on p 2 of that thread, after the cake was made: Mixed some left over raspberry ganache with equal part plain mousseline for another cake later. It was sooooo good! Very light, yet rich. Hard to explain. Looked a little bit like milk choc ganache, but had the subtle notes of dark choc and raspberry.

Another thing to search in the forum is the instructions for what we’ve come to call “Bill’s buttercream.” Chocolate. Light and lovely! smile

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Posted: 22 January 2010 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Jenn - 21 January 2010 09:25 PM

I also want to make it more special by adding some fruit flavor (raspberry/strawberry) into it..

I hope you know your friend’s tastes well; if I had asked for a chocolate on chocolate cake and you slipped something non-chocolate into it, I’d be very disappointed.  I’d try to scrape it off.  grin

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Posted: 22 January 2010 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I think chocolate paired with fruit doesn’t always appeal to everyone, do you know whether or not she’ll like it?

I’m with Carolita on recommending the Triple Chocolate cake, which is enhanced with Frangelico. 

And the light whipped ganache can be enhanced with rum, brandy, grand marnier, frangelico or amaretto (I’ve made all of these, one tablespoon of liqueur per cup of cream).  I haven’t had any issues with the LWG being too thin, but I also use 40% cream.  If you’re not using 40%, you can sub one tablespoon of the cream with the liqueur rather than just adding it.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks Sherrie, Carolita, Charles, and Julie for all the recommendations!
@ Sherrie - I own TCB but I rarely open it, :(.Triple Chocolate cake sounds yummy - I will try that one. The chocolate praline band is the one for La Porcelaine on the cover of TCB right? That looks really good and would impress everyone but it looks difficult. I’m afraid I would mess it up.
@ Carol - I’m always amazed every time you give links to old forum discussion (this one is from 2008!). I have used the search function but it always return so many post that I feel overwhelmed. Thanks for bringing up Bill’s buttercream, I had saved the recipe somewhere but had completely forgotten about it.
@ Charles - thank you! You brought up a very good point! She did say she wanted chocolate on chocolate. I let my own preference in the way here (I love fruit pairing with chocolate). I should honor her request that and save the fruit pairing for my own cake.
@ Julie - light whipped ganache flavored with some liquor is a great idea. I know for sure she likes adding some liquor to her cakes.
A lot of great ideas here.. It’s enough to do a chocolate cake marathon smile!

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Posted: 22 January 2010 03:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hi Jenn,
The TCC’s band is different from the cover (that one is the La Porcelaine—and made of chocolate fondant—not a bad choice either!  But that cake uses Raspberry Ganache if made as directed).  The TCC is the one I have as a pic for my avatar—I didn’t droop the band as Rose did in her book.  The main thing when working with Praline Band, is to have the correct temperature—if your home is cool a hair dryer is a handy tool.  The band is not terribly difficult to make (more time consuming than difficult) and I love the contrast in textures in the cake!  Also, it is an abstract cake, so if you have the odd issue with the band, you could probably do a mosaic/stick/be creative edging and it will still be impressive. 

But, I do have a strong bias.  Every time I’ve made this cake there’s been nary a crumb left.  And I totally agree with Julie, the Frangelico is a must!

Have fun!

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Posted: 22 January 2010 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sherrie - thanks so much for the explanation. You are very thorough! I love the picture of the cake in your avatar. It is so pretty and elegant. When I get home today I will check out the praline band recipe. It What you said encouraged me to try - maybe I try it out before the birthday date - especially since it’s still a month away.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Sherrie,  I would like to make the chocolate band but I do not want the praline in it.  Do I have to use it or a substitute?  I would rather just not have anything with that kind of texture added.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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No reason to include the praline powder unless you want to, CRenee! If you look on p 386, Rose says that large thin sheets of chocolate (meaning chocolate by itself) OR chocolate praline look magnificent draped around a cake, “transforming it into a modern soft sculpture that never turns out looking exactly the same way twice.”

Another option along similar lines, but with a different mouthfeel, is the chocolate rolled fondant that Rose used to drape the cake called La Porcelaine, described on pp 199-200 and pictured on the cover of her Cake Bible.

But you might want to read the head notes on the Triple Chocolate Cake p 201 before dismissing the idea of chocolate praline sheets out of hand. The praline stirred into the chocolate is finely powdered, not left in great chunks. Apparently, Rose got several marriage proposals through the cake as designed!  cheese

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Posted: 22 January 2010 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thank you Carolita. ... As soon as I posted that I did turn to my TCB and found that statement but so far find no adjustment instructions otherwise for leaving out the praline.  In any case, I will consider your advise ..it certainly is a tough decision…I just love chocolate!!!

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Posted: 23 January 2010 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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No adjustment required if you want to make straight chocolate sheets to encase your cake. Just follow the instructions p 315 TCB, except for the part about stirring in the powder. Leave it out, if you want straight chocolate. Put it in, if you want chocolate praline. It’s that simple and straightforward.

Rose has you make 6 sheets in case of breakage, though you only need 4 for a 9” cake. She than tells you to go to p 386 for shaping/decoration techniques.

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Posted: 23 January 2010 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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CRenee - I’m glad you asked the question. I had thought about excluding praline as well but figured that I would have to make the chocolate band/chocolate lattice band. It’s good to know that we can still make the sheet without praline. Thanks Carolita!

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Posted: 23 January 2010 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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And, today, Jenn and Carolita, I found some Spectrum shortening…so now I have the dilemna of chocolate fondant or chocolate sheets…  smile

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Posted: 25 January 2010 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I made a 6 inch test cake this weekend of the Triple Chocolate Cake. The cake - Moist Chocolate Genoise - turned out well. I then proceed to make the Light Whipped Ganache and failed miserably.

I opted for the faster method, which had me melt the chocolate with a little part of the cream. I did this in a double boiler and it turned out well. Then the recipe said to wait until it’s no longer warm - then whip the rest of the cream and add the ganache. At this point is where things went south. The whole thing turn grainy and it never became smooth. I even thought that it’s not cold enough or something (even though I refrigerate the mixer bowl and the whip). I refrigerate the whole thing back, and continue whipping - and I think I made chocolate butter. I was so devastated. I am not sure what happened. When I was about to whip the cream - I got a phone call and ended up being on the phone for 45 minutes. The chocolate mixture was sitting on counter the whole time. Could this be why?

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Posted: 25 January 2010 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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So glad you gave it a go, Jenn!  I’ve had a few run ins with the whipped ganache and the temperature is important, but I’ve also discovered that overbeating (as Rose mentions) is also the culprit.  I’ve actually beaten the mixture by hand so I could carefully control the beating.  Also, it is possible to salvage it, by reheating (but don’t overdo it!  I did that once…bad bad idea!).  I actually forgot about the ganache issues I had with that cake as it’s been a couple of years since I’ve made it…but so worth it…I promise you!

I just noticed that Rose has the Light Whipped Ganache recipe in RHC and has specified the correct temperature for beating is at 65-68F (as are most cake related frostings, it seems!)—p.277 Although, I should add that it’s not buttercream smooth, or at least it’s never looked that way when I’ve made it—and in the pic for the Featherbed in RHC, it looks like its a bit firmer/meatier (bad adjectives, I know!). 

Although, I must say, I can’t imagine the cake without the praline paste…it would be fine without, but it is absolutely over the top with it.  It is incredibly addictive.  Although, the lattice band would be nice with it too!  Or a spun sugar decoration…Hmm, ideas for next time!

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