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March Bake-off
Posted: 27 February 2010 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m early. I know. But I’ll be gone almost all of March and we’ll start remodeling our kitchen next week (yeah!) so can I play although I’m early????

Topic was “Challenge”, and since my friends that will get this August’s wedding cake will come over later today I decided that this would be a good challenge. I took Julie’s challenge to me - use my citrus - and my challenge - try a chocolate band for decorations. I’ve done smaller chocolate lattices before, but I’ve never bent the chocolate.  shock  And challenge number 3 was the lemon rose - I admired so many here and didn’t think I could do it.

The cake is the good old trusted Cordon Rose Cheesecake, sandwiched between layers of biscuit, with a white ganache frosting. With plenty of lime, Meyer lemon, and orange peel for a nice wintery citrus taste. I made thin candied kumquat slices and the lemon peel rose, all in the same syrup. It worked out great, and I used some of the - very tasty - syrup for the biscuit. So far so good.

The chocolate bands. Hm. Luckily my cake bible resurfaced this morning, my Roomba had pushed it under my couch, and hubby found it after I’ve been whining for weeks and searching all over! I followed Rose’s instructions, and it wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it would be. However, the first band took too long, and by the time I was done it was so hard that it broke when I was trying to bend it. Oh well, it’s chocolate, so melt it and start over.  Trial number two went better, but by the time I was done with it the parchment bag was beyond done so I gave up on the lattice for the lower tier.

Learnings:
The chocolate for the lower tier was a bit thin, so I had a few holes, which I glued over with the kumquat slices, stuck them on with a little molten chocolate. Note to self: More chocolate next time!
I wasn’t very happy with my parchment cone, the last few times I piped chocolate I used a Ziploc bag with a cut off corner which worked much nicer.
I had a hard time wrapping the chocolate around nicely, because I had stored both tiers on plates that weren’t completely flat. The little one worked better, the bigger one is pretty wrinkly on closer inspection. It wouldn’t have been an issue at all had they been on a flat surface.

In general it’s probably a better idea to do chocolate bands in the summer. It was perhaps 65 in my kitchen this morning, and I had a hard time keeping the chocolate from becoming solid very quickly.

You can also see better resolution pics in my *brand new* blog: http://quartercow.blogspot.com/  red face

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Posted: 27 February 2010 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ooooh, Silke, your cakes look gorgeous.  I do love the band on the top cake where you have the bottom part solid and the top part open.  Just sublime!  I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks.  What could be better than citrus?

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Posted: 27 February 2010 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Silke, the cake looks great!!  So imaginative to do the band and lattice in white.  And, I certainly cannot tell you had trouble. Did you add the citrus flavors to the cheesecake and ganache also or just the biscuit?  I have heard speak of putting the cheesecake between the biscuit before, I must investigate that.  Oh, and the rose looks excellent also.  Is that from one lemon?

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Posted: 27 February 2010 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks Annie and Renee! Yes, it tastes good, and the bride and groom are loving it! Yeah! Citrus flavors in everything, I figured I needed to do something with all that goodness! I attached a pic of the cut cake, you can see what I mean, Renee. I just bake the cheesecake, and while it’s cooling down I make the biscuit like for a roulade. Then I cut rounds out of the flat, and with a bit of flipping action put it between the biscuit layers. You can also bake the biscuit in the pans, but then it’s more of a production I feel…. And yes, it was a lemon rose.

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Posted: 28 February 2010 12:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow!! that looks sooooo delicious.. Thank you for posting that pic, I had no idea of what the biscuit looked like.  Your rose looks huge for a single lemon.

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Posted: 28 February 2010 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Oh it’s a 4” cake on top of a 6” cake, easy to make the rose look big!  cool smile

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Posted: 28 February 2010 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Silke, what a fabulous cake, congratulations on rising to the challenge! 

I’m with Annie, I love, love, love the design of your band, solid on the bottom and lacy filigree on top- may I “borrow” that idea?  And I love thinking about all that citrus, what a perfect balance with the richness of the cake, yum.  Plus you made it a tiered cake!  Wow. 

Did you beat the eggs for the biscuit whole?  The Tres Leches cake does that, too.  I’ll have to try it sometime. 

Is your Roomba one of those little robotic vacuums?  I laughed when I thought of it hiding things under the couch!  I like the new blog- where does the name come from, is it historical?

Good luck with the kitchen remodel- hope they finish on time!

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Posted: 28 February 2010 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks Julie, very kind words! From the queen of decoration! Of course, I’m sure you’ll make a beautiful rendition of it… Just looking at your avatar I’m sure of it…

I actually compared the recipe I’m using for the biscuit (from a German cookbook) with Rose’s chart in the cake bible, and what I’m making is a Genoise, although I don’t always use the butter in it, which then turns it back into a biscuit? Yes, I just beat the eggs whole and with the sugar over a waterbath. Much easier and much more reliable results for me than the standard method.

Yes, the Roomba is the little robotic sweeper. With a household with two cats it’s what’s saving me.

Kitchen remodel - yes, it’ll be interesting. Demolition starts Saturday. The good thing is that the friend for whom I bake the wedding cake is the contractor - so he has an interest that the kitchen is done by August! I’m just not thinking about it. It’ll be done at some point.

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Posted: 28 February 2010 04:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Silke, gorgeous cake! It is such a beautiful design - very elegant and stunning. Excellent for a wedding. I LOVE your chocolate band. I keep staring at the design (the shape of the swirls) - looks super gorgeous! The color is a nice contrast with the yellow roses. Which white chocolate did you use? Do you add anything to it (since the cocoa butter content is not as high as dark chocolate)?
Oh, and nice avatar cheese.

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Posted: 28 February 2010 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Silke congrats on the cake and your blog!

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Posted: 28 February 2010 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I don’t know if this qualifies as a March Bake-Off. This is a challenge because I have never made 2 fancy cakes in 1 weekend, never made lattice band before and was nervous about it, and never pipe basketweave before. Also, I was not sure I could accomplish all the things I wanted in time for the party.

This is my version of the Triple Chocolate Cake. I used grand marnier syrup (instead of frangelico) and lattice band (instead of chocolate praline sheet). The lattice band was a challenge to make, for sure. It took 3 tries to get it right. At first I added a drop of glycerin to the tempered chocolate. The chocolate harden right away! And I couldn?t re-temper it since I?ve added glycerin. I don?t know if I can just melt it and reuse (is that the same thing as tempering?) and didn?t want to take a risk, so I started over. The 2nd time I thought to use less chocolate so I melted 2 oz. I started piping it on the wax paper, but the parchment cone?s hole was too small so the lines looked raggedy, so I started over. I re-tempered the whole thing, and added some newly tempered chocolate. 3rd time?s the charm! It was really fun swirling the parchment cone around smile. Oh and initially I wanted to pipe ganache on top of the cake, but I didn?t like how the ganache looks piped. Plus it starts melting with the heat of my hand. So I ended up piping the birthday girl?s name with chocolate, and left enough room for candles grin .

The 2nd cake is the Golden Luxury Butter Cake from TCB, with 1 layer of Ginger Roulade at the bottom, frosted with lemon curd mousseline bc. I reduced the amount of sugar in the lemon curd by a little less than half. This is my 1st time doing basketweave. I?ve been wanting to try it but was afraid. It?s actually not as hard as I thought, just time consuming. I followed Rose?s direction to a T, using 2pastry bag, one with no. 3 round tip and the other with number 47 basketweave tip.

One thing I’m wondering about, the Golden Luxury cake was hard to unmold even though I greased the pan with shortening, top with parchment rounds, then sprayed baking spray on top. I also used Rose’s silicone strips. My oven was the correct temperature. I left the cake in the pan for 10 minutes after it’s done, as Rose instructed. When it was time to unmold, the crust around the cake feel apart in places. So I had to patch sections of the cake with a mixture of crust and buttercream. Anyone has any idea why this happened?

The chocolate cake most of the attention, because of the lattice band. Everyone wants a little piece of the band, which I found funny because it?s just melted chocolate. I think no one?s even seen a lattice band before. Several people (mostly guys, interestingly enough) asked me how I did the band. Some thought I piped it on the cake and was wondering how it?s possible.

This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It was pretty intensely chocolate with the light whipped ganache. Tasting impressions at the party was mixed. Some people liked the chocolate cake more, some liked the lemon luxury more. One person thought that the lemon luxury is a sponge cake because it’s more fluffy and has a lighter texture than the chocolate cake.

I am not sure I will attempt to make 2 fancy cakes in 1 weekend. I spent Friday night and Saturday morning & afternoon in the kitchen. I was so tired that I slept 9 hours last night. I didn?t regret it though, I had a lot of fun and the look on my friends? face when they saw the cakes was priceless. Thanks for Rose for making me look like a professional baker cheese .

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Posted: 28 February 2010 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Oh Jenn, everything qualifies this month - if it’s a challenge for you. You turned out two stunning cakes! Funny that we both did chocolate bands - perhaps we should have picked that as a theme grin

I love the basketweave, I’ll have to look up how to do it. Though I don’t think I’ll have enough patience for that. No wonder your friends were impressed! Beautiful!

Nice avatar as well!

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Posted: 28 February 2010 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Oh and Jenn and Paul, thanks much! I used Valrhona white chocolate, was stuck between that and cheapo chips, and I figured I’d better treat the guy that’s responsible for redoing my kitchen well!

Julie - forgot to answer - no, the name of the blog is because everybody thought I went nuts when I decided I’ve had it with industrial meat and eggs, and bought the quarter grassfed cow and the 100 dozen happy eggs. I figured I’d chronicle what I’m doing with it. It’s been a while, and I’m finally coming around to starting the blog, but no worries, I just bought the next quarter cow, and I found this farmer which has great happy lamb and eggs, so I still have plenty to write about!

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Posted: 28 February 2010 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Jenn, 

Both of those cakes look great… I especially like the lattice band and the decoration on top of the basketweave cake.  Congratulations to you.  I fully understand the challenge of taking on tow cakes with new features.  Will you use the lattice band more often now?

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Posted: 01 March 2010 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jenn - 01 March 2010 01:09 AM

I don’t know if this qualifies as a March Bake-Off. This is a challenge because I have never made 2 fancy cakes in 1 weekend, never made lattice band before and was nervous about it, and never pipe basketweave before. Also, I was not sure I could accomplish all the things I wanted in time for the party..

Sounds like a HUGE challenge to me! And it looks like it all turned out so well, congratulations!

And I couldn?t re-temper it since I?ve added glycerin. I don?t know if I can just melt it and reuse (is that the same thing as tempering?)

Adding the glycerin seizes the chocolate, so you can use it in a recipe where it is combined with liquid- like the Moist choc gen or Barcelona brownies.  You could also try ganache, but it might not turn out totally smooth, maybe reserve it for a filling rather than the outer layer.

One thing I’m wondering about, the Golden Luxury cake was hard to unmold… Anyone has any idea why this happened?

Did you run a spatula around the edge (pressing against the side of the pan) before unmolding?  It sounds like you did everything right.

Your band worked out beautifully, your basket weave, too!  Very nicely done!!  My experience with chocolate bands matches yours, in that people are very impressed, perhaps as you say because the bands are not so common.

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Posted: 01 March 2010 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Jenn, I think your cakes are beautiful and I also think you are gifted!  To do two new cakes in one weekend is the ultimate challenge, no wonder your friends were impressed. grin

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