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Room Temperature Fillings
Posted: 28 March 2010 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What are the various filling technologies for cakes that can remain at room temperature, besides buttercream?  I want something coffee or espresso flavored, but was thinking of a different texture to contrast with a companion ganache or buttercream frosting.  My initial thought was pastry cream, but I see that it must remain refrigerated.

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Posted: 28 March 2010 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Charles, maybe you could try a coffee curd. I know some of the forum members have made it. Maybe one of them will chime in.

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Posted: 28 March 2010 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Rozanne - 29 March 2010 01:02 AM

Charles, maybe you could try a coffee curd. I know some of the forum members have made it. Maybe one of them will chime in.

Thanks Rozanne.  I googled on “coffee curd” and found no hits.  That’s very unusual.  I’m a little unclear on the difference between a curd and Creme Anglaise; and for that matter, pastry creme isn’t a huge step away either. Are you sure that a curd filling doesn’t need refrigeration?  The Lemon Luxury Cake recipe in RHC says to refrigerate the cake.

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Posted: 28 March 2010 11:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Charles, creme Anglaise and pastry cream have milk or cream in them but curd doesn’t. I know you can keep lemon curd at room temperature b/c it has a high acid and sugar content. Rose mentions this somewhere on the blog too. How long do you plan on keeping your cake at room temperature?

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Posted: 28 March 2010 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Rozanne - 29 March 2010 02:22 AM

Charles, creme Anglaise and pastry cream have milk or cream in them but curd doesn’t. I know you can keep lemon curd at room temperature b/c it has a high acid and sugar content. Rose mentions this somewhere on the blog too. How long do you plan on keeping your cake at room temperature?

Ideally, I’d like something durable enough to make it a day or two ahead, and then have it take a day or two to get eaten; sometimes I take them to work and it sits out overnight.  If that’s too much to expect of curd, then I may have to use the buttercream solution.  I’d just like to know what my options are. 

Thanks

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Posted: 29 March 2010 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wow, the curd sounds like a great idea, R!  Charles, it is like lemon curd, except you use espresso instead of lemon juice, as Rozanne points out, there isn’t any dairy except butter.  Not sure if the acidity of the espresso matches that of lemon juice, but it should have pretty good keeping qualities.  You could also consider making the curd with caramelized or brown sugar, which would increase acidity.

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Posted: 29 March 2010 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Julie - 29 March 2010 02:47 PM

Wow, the curd sounds like a great idea, R!  Charles, it is like lemon curd, except you use espresso instead of lemon juice, as Rozanne points out, there isn’t any dairy except butter.  Not sure if the acidity of the espresso matches that of lemon juice, but it should have pretty good keeping qualities.  You could also consider making the curd with caramelized or brown sugar, which would increase acidity.

I will have to experiment, but this raises more questions:  I had assumed it was the egg, rather than the dairy, that required something to be refrigerated.  We mix chocolate and dairy together, and the result doesn’t need refrigeration.  Why?  And some of our frostings incorporate egg yolks, why don’t they need refrigeration?  And a whole stick of butter should be refrigerated, but why not things that incorporate butter?

Some research suggests that coffee has a PH in the 4.5 range, whereas lemon juice is 2.0; the scale is logarithmic, so 2.0 is over 100 times more acidic than coffee.  However, if I use my espresso powder, perhaps that will be more acidic than just coffee, which is very diluted.  And perhaps I could add some cream of Tartar?  Anyway, I do have a PH meter, so I might be able to working something out.

Thanks for the ideas!

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Posted: 06 April 2010 11:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I ended up making an espresso buttercream.  I interleaved torted layers of the Genoise chocolate cake with alternating fillings of the espresso buttercream and the Midnight Ganache, with the Ganache as the final frosting.  I used the cocoa syrup on the Genoise and flavored it with Tia Maria.  This was new level of cake eating in my experience and everyone who ate it was stunned.  I’m not sure that I can go back to making regular old yellow cake with frosting….

I still don’t frost well and my planning is poor; I had two hours time remaining when I finished making the ganache, only to see that the recipe called for it cool for five hours.  I placed the bowl in a bigger bowl of ice water for an hour, then into the freezer.  It *barely* was spreadable at the last possible minute.  I really need to learn to make things ahead of time so it’s not quite so much of a rush.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Charles, that sounds like an absolutely wonderful cake!  The genoise au chocolate is one of my all-time favorite cakes- I’d love a slice with a little cup of espresso :)

Did you use your method of folding in the flour in the mixer with this one?  Did that work out well?

Congratulations on making all those components.  What did you use as the base for the espresso bc, was it mousseline? 

Glad you managed to firm up the ganache in time- Rose mentions that in a pinch, whisking can help firm up ganache (though it lightens the color).  Nearly every time I make ganache now I make it at night and let it sit on the counter overnight to set.  I do this even for light whipped ganache, it gets down to about 65F (whipping temp) on a cool counter by morning.  I always bring the cream to a boil, and I often add liqueur, so I feel like it’s OK to leave ganache out.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Julie - 07 April 2010 12:10 PM

Did you use your method of folding in the flour in the mixer with this one?  Did that work out well?

I actually tried an unfortunate combination of the “Pellets be Gone” technique and my “Dump it all in the mixer while mixing” technique.  The chocolate and flour made a thick heavy lump of chocolate paste that sank to the bottom of the bowl with a “whoosh!” Oops.  I had thought just before dumping that I wished it were more liquid.  I’ll probably have to choose between my previous technique and the pellets be gone.  wink  I’m really not sure how it affected the final height; I made the cake in 7-in pans, so I had plenty of batter left over.  The height of the layers was adequate.

Since the BC was going to be inside the cake, I opted for the simplest BC, the neo classic.  I made a half batch and 2 tablespoons of espresso powder dissolved in a like amount of water gave it a good kick.

One question I had regarding the chocolate for the genoise….Rose has us boiling the chocolate with water for several minutes until it becomes pudding like, but the chocolate “breaks” during the process, or so it seems.  I don’t guess it matters, since it gets mixed in the cake, rather than serving as icing.  But I also noticed that the ganache has what looks like flecks of chocolate scattered throughout, but was particularly prominent on the bottom.  Is this normal?

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Posted: 07 April 2010 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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CharlesT - 07 April 2010 01:31 PM

I actually tried an unfortunate combination of the “Pellets be Gone” technique and my “Dump it all in the mixer while mixing” technique.

Oh, wow!  Thanks for reporting on this, you may have saved me from trying something similar…  Glad the final cake was still in good shape.
Have you tried the “dump it in the mixer” technique with the genoise au chocolat (cocoa powder version)?

One question I had regarding the chocolate for the genoise….Rose has us boiling the chocolate with water for several minutes until it becomes pudding like, but the chocolate “breaks” during the process, or so it seems.

I’ve had this happen, too, but not every time.  I think it has to do either with how vigorously it boils, i.e., it may happen more frequently with a rolling boil than with a bare simmer. Or, it may be that some chocolates do this more easily than others.  Lately, it hasn’t been happening, and I’ve noticed that many of my chocolate issues have improved, perhaps because I’ve switched to Green & Black’s for my go-to chocolate (I used to use Callebaut bulk).  With the G&B, which is a higher % chocolate, I normally need to reduce the chocolate and then add sugar to bring the cocoa solids and sugar to same levels called for in the recipe.  My ganaches are much smoother with G&B. 

But I also noticed that the ganache has what looks like flecks of chocolate scattered throughout, but was particularly prominent on the bottom.  Is this normal?

I’ve made the midnight ganache, http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/2112/ and did not have this problem. 

Three thoughts on this:

Could be that your chocolate wasn’t in small enough pieces (did you make it in the food processor?). 

Some chocolates do this more than others. Which chocolate did you use?  I’ve definitely had this happen with Callebut bulk, but never with G&B.  I’ll still use the Callebaut sometimes for a ganache filling, because I like the flavor, but I try to avoid it for an outer frosting because of the little pinpoint flecks.  They generally improve with additional heating, but I’ve never been able to completely eliminate them for fear of breaking the ganache.

Could be related to the fast chilling.  Not sure I have a thorough understanding of the cocoa butter crystalization process, but it is capable of forming a number of different kinds of crystals depending on circumstances, and the fast chilling could have tweaked something in favor of larger crystals.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Julie - 07 April 2010 02:22 PM

I?ve made the midnight ganache

Julie, I’m sorry, but I had a slip of the fingers…I meant genoise, rather than ganache. The ganache was perfect, but the genoise had flecks of chocolate all through it.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Hmmm, no, it isn’t normal.  Moist choc genoise has a very soft, very fine texture, it is softer and finer-grained than the gen au choc.  Seems like it could be related to the mixing method, perhaps flour pellets were formed and mixed with chocolate?.  Were they dry (flour) or melt in your mouth (cocoa butter)?

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Posted: 07 April 2010 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Julie - 07 April 2010 02:34 PM

Hmmm, no, it isn’t normal.  Moist choc genoise has a very soft, very fine texture, it is softer and finer-grained than the gen au choc.  Seems like it could be related to the mixing method, perhaps flour pellets were formed and mixed with chocolate?.  Were they dry (flour) or melt in your mouth (cocoa butter)?

The texture was fine, I think, but the ratio of filling/frosting to cake was pretty high.  grin  I didn’t detect any lumps at all.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Charles, don’t know if you caught this part in the original “Pellets be Gone” post, but I tested that method with the regular genoise au chocolat many times, and it was a complete disaster every time. You’re right, there isn’t enough liquid, but when you add more, it makes the genoise too dense.

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Posted: 07 April 2010 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Matthew - 07 April 2010 04:04 PM

Charles, don’t know if you caught this part in the original “Pellets be Gone” post, but I tested that method with the regular genoise au chocolat many times, and it was a complete disaster every time. You’re right, there isn’t enough liquid, but when you add more, it makes the genoise too dense.

No, I didn’t see that part. There probably is a limit to how much stuff you can add while the mixer is running.  My successful efforts in the past have been limited to the flour; the butter I did the regular way.  On the other hand, Sherry Yard dumps the butter in while mixing, but folds in the flour.

Didn’t I see somewhere that mixing a bit of the sugar with the flour helps prevent pellets?

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