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June Bake-Off - Buttercream
Posted: 15 June 2010 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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It’s the 15th of June, and I’m the first to post? Did I miss something? Or did everybody have as miserable a time with it as I did? But this forum is to share the frustrations as well.

Soooooo….. I made the Almond Shamah Chiffon Cake, with a Mousseline Buttercream and Rhubarb. It was nice and cool in the kitchen when I started, but by the time I got to the buttercream it was baking hot in there… I should have changed my plans right then and there.

But first the cake: I used 2/3 whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/3 white whole wheat. And instead of a 9” cake I made an 8” and a 4” cake, which take the same amount of dough. The cakes came out great, rose to about 1.5”, and the crumbs tasted heavenly, though like the dough a bit sweet for my taste. So sweet in fact that I was dubious about syruping. I figured I had to in order to get a moist cake, but I replaced the Amaretto with Grappa to cut the sweet taste a bit and to reduce the sugar. Everything went well to here.

As you probably got from comments on top - the mousseline was a DISASTER!!! It behaved extremely well until the second to last spoon of butter. It fell apart, and despite efforts to cool it it didn’t want to come back together, plus of course all the fluffiness was gone. I ended up adding an egg yolk for its emulsifying properties, and it eventually worked. Since I lost quite a bit of volume I put in some left-over neoclassic I had in the freezer…. Remembering that I didn’t like the Mousseline with just Vanilla I put in more Grappa, and I loved the taste! Like in the cake, the Grappa helped with cutting the sweetness.

For the filling I had some rhubarb which I sauteed down, and cooked the fluids down to a nice thick syrup, and added - you guessed it - more Grappa! I mixed it with some of the buttercream, about 1:1, and it was a delicious filling!

I wasn’t able to do much in terms of decorating the cakes, I tried piping it but it fell apart again in the bag because my hands were too warm I guess. So I smoothened everything, and put the remainder of the rhubarb around the small cake. MISTAKE! Cooked rhubarb looks like - oh well, no details, let’s just say it doesn’t work well as a decoration, especially when it’s mostly green and not red. I ended up cutting up some mango to hide the rhubarb.

Taste test: I thought it was waaaaayyyyyy too sweet. The small cake was eaten by 4 Europeans on day 2, and it was the one that had the rhubarb and the mango “decoration”. It was very very sweet. The large cake went to a housewarming party on day 3, and it came out a little better - perhaps it needed the extra day in the fridge. Plus the crowd was half German half American, and the Americans loved it. The Germans loved it but all said it was a bit sweet. However, it can’t have been all that bad, I got 2 requests for a recipe and a marriage proposal from one of the German guys out of it - LOL!

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Posted: 15 June 2010 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s really quite pretty!  Like a gift package extravagently ribboned!  And the rhubard looks more apply….than ‘anything’ else, I think!

You did some fast thinking on your feet with that frosting!!

So, did you accept????? LOL!

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Posted: 15 June 2010 07:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You’re very kind, Anne. Apply. Yeah. That’s not what it reminded me of grin

No I didn’t, I’m quite happy with the one I have!

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Posted: 15 June 2010 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Appley?  Well, when something’s not a word, it’s hard to spell!

I have a friend with a Lebanese husband, and I always tell her that I have to marry me a Lebanese husband someday so he can make me delicious stuffed grape leaves like hers does!  My hub is just lucky he’s Mr. Wonderful, that’s all I got to say!!!!!

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Posted: 16 June 2010 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Silke, so glad you started us off, and all things considered, I think you made a terrific save and, ultimately, a great cake!  I’d be very happy with a slice.  smile

Silke - 15 June 2010 06:03 PM

It’s the 15th of June, and I’m the first to post?

I had the best intentions of baking and posting earlier, but life got in the way.  I’ll still be able to post later this month, but not the project I had hoped, sigh.

It was nice and cool in the kitchen when I started, but by the time I got to the buttercream it was baking hot in there.

I’ve heard professional bakers say that the temp of the butter affects the texture of the finished buttercream, i.e., if you make it with warm, soft butter the finished buttercream will be soft, too.  I’m thinking warm butter may be the reason for both your soft final texture and the reason that the buttercream curdled and lost volume.

a bit sweet for my taste. So sweet in fact that I was dubious about syruping.

This cake has 26% sugar by weight, before syruping, I would probably be with you in finding it a little sweet.  Good thing it’s paired with tart raspberry, and in your case, tart rhubarb.

It behaved extremely well until the second to last spoon of butter. It fell apart, and despite efforts to cool it it didn’t want to come back together, plus of course all the fluffiness was gone.

This sounds like it curdled.  Believe it or not, that’s OK.  When I make mousseline, it curdles every single time.  The two things that help are whipping with a whisk at a higher speed (crank that KA up to 8 or so), and having the meringue and the butter at close to the same temp before you start.  Before I had a high-powered mixer, my mousseline would always curdle dramatically, tightening up in a compact ball before coming together again.  Have faith, keep beating on high, continue to add the rest of the butter, and it will re-emulsify.  You may also need to correct the temp with a water bath or stint in the fridge, use a thermometer to see if it’s too warm.

However, it can’t have been all that bad, I got 2 requests for a recipe and a marriage proposal from one of the German guys out of it - LOL!

LOL!  That’s great!

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Posted: 16 June 2010 08:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hi All, I haven’t been on the forums for weeks and just happened on this post.  I had made cupcakes with two kinds of buttercream on Sunday so guess they qualify.  The cupcakes are RHC Chocolate Butter cupcakes and the frostings are the Golden Neoclassical and Chocolate egg-white frosting also both from RHC.  All very delicious.  It’s quite cold here so no problems like you had Silke.  The chocolate one broke (as always, like Julie says) but came together again before I finished adding the butter.  The other one did not break but then it’s a different animal!  Silke, in my experience all the meringue based buttercreams lose volume when they transform from meringe to creamy - I’m sure it’s part of the process as the buttercream is much denser than meringue.

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Posted: 16 June 2010 09:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Hi Annie, and welcome back!  So nice to “see” you.  grin

Love those cupcakes, especially the two-tone design.  How would you compare the RHC cupcakes to ones made from all-american chocolate butter cake?

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Posted: 16 June 2010 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Oh, a choice!  You make it hard on your guests, you know, becuase they are both so pretty!  I guess if one is going to have angst, this is the best kind!!!

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Posted: 17 June 2010 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Silke, what temperature was your butter and what temperature was your meringue?

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Posted: 17 June 2010 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Annie, your cupcakes look so good!  Wish I was there to share with you! LOL

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Posted: 18 June 2010 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Silke,
I was going to post the last couple of weeks for Jun Bake Off but both experiment failed, smile. Here’s one of them, I posted under Cakes Q&A. I made the Chocolate-covered Strawberry Cake.

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/2377/

I sometimes reduce the sugar in Rose’s cake by 10-15%, depending on how much sugar there is. I know I will risk compromising something, but I don’t like it if it’s too sweet. For the chocolate strawberry cake I reduce 10% and the result is okay.

Sorry you had trouble with mousseline. Mine failed too - though for different reason.
Your cake looks very pretty though, I love the mango drapery, looks yummy!

How did you come up with the flour substitution? Is this based on some calculation? The texture seem fine from the picture, how is it compared to cake flour?

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Posted: 18 June 2010 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Annie, I love the cupcakes design, looks very pretty and fancy smile.

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Posted: 18 June 2010 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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@Annie: Good to see you - and beautiful cupcakes! I made the chocolate buttercream before and it behaved extremely well, no curdling whatsoever. Hm…

@Jenn: Very cute cake with the black hat! I think it looks like it’s going for a graduation ceremony. Glad that it worked the second time around. I’m going to stay away from the Mousseline, don’t like the taste as much as the classic or neoclassic, and they have much less drama…

@Julie: Hm, I guess it’s supposed to curdle but even after beating it forever, putting it in the fridge and then beating it some more it didn’t want to come back together. Good thing for chemistry class - the emulsifier worked grin

@Hector: I’m pretty sure the butter was around 67F, perhaps 70F. The meringue was probably a bit warmer, but because I feared disaster I stuck the bowl in the fridge halfway through. Like I said, it worked till I was almost done, but once it curdled it really didn’t want to come back together.

And nooooo even though the guy was very cute I’m dubious of proposals based on me being a good host and baker. Plus my hubby is a keeper grin

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Posted: 26 June 2010 01:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Here’s my golden genoise (all-yolk genoise) with lemon curd mousseline, it was delicious.  This is one of my all-time favorite cakes, I was glad to make it again. 

This was for a large group, so it was cut wedding-cake style (concentric circles).  I baked a double recipe in two 10x2” rounds, they took 30-35min to bake and were just over 1.5 inches tall.  And I was very happy to try out my new Matfer star tips, they worked very well even if they weren’t quite as pretty as Hector’s blue ones.

Added by later edit:  Forgot to mention that I made this mousseline with Rose’s new method from RHC.  After beating the meringue for a couple of minutes, I covered it with plastic wrap and allowed it to cool while I did something else-  so much easier than endless beating while waiting for it to come down to a cool enough temp to continue with the buttercream.  When it was cool, I dumped all the meringue into the whipped butter (all at once) and beat it on med-high.  It worked perfectly, a little curdling, but not as much as when the meringue and butter are different temps. 

I noticed with this batch, and also with every batch of silk meringue, that there was a noticeable loss of volume when stored, brought back to room temp, and hand-whisked.  Perhaps additional beating would have restored the volume, I didn’t try because I was going to pipe with it and didn’t mind a few less air bubbles.

Also, I tried a test cake using potato starch instead of cornstarch, but didn’t like it.  There was a funny taste and texture.

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Posted: 26 June 2010 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Julie, that is beautiful, just what I aspire to when I master piping! LOL

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Posted: 26 June 2010 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Julie, those cakes are so pretty. The roses are just so fluffy and inviting, and I love the vertical “upsweep” of the frosting on the sides.  Congratulations!

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