A weekend of birthdays
Posted: 27 November 2010 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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For my father-in-law’s birthday dinner tonight I made the Chocolate covered Strawberry Cake, but wan’t able to get the frosting to set up enough to stay on the sides.  It’s awfully drippy as you can see from the pic (cake strips not removed from the bottom yet) and keeps sliding down, no doubt helped by my mistakenly giving the sides of the cake a very thin crumb coating of mousseline because I was trying to even out the uneven sides.  Despite refrigeration the frosting won’t hold any swirls.  I’m not sure if it’s from our awfully hot weather or if I measured something incorrectly (gasp).  I sure hope it survives the car ride to dinner this evening, LOL. 

For my sister-in-law’s birthday I made a mini 5” cake using the same cake with the strawberry mousseline and Rose’s conserve as the filling, with vanilla mousseline flowers.  I really need a lot more practice piping those flowers.  I was very disappointed with my work as I put the tray of roses into the freezer, but after dinner when I pulled out the roses and set them on the cake and filled out the gaps with leaves etc. I realised it came together pretty decently, even the colour scheme which I originally thought would be too dull.  (This, even after working with a bunch of pictures in front of me!!)  I guess one can’t really go too far wrong with a bunch of buttercream flowers!! 

I have to say the cake scraps were delicious, and I look forward to having a slice tonight.

Off now to inspect the frosting (for about the nth time) to see if it has improved.

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Posted: 27 November 2010 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi LittleIsland,
Your Birthday Cakes are so beautiful.  Can’t wait to hear about the tasting notes. Your buttercream flowers are spectacular!  wink

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Posted: 27 November 2010 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Those are soooo beautiful, Little Island!! I love the decoration on both cakes, and the chocolate frosting looks like a glaze- intentionally falling down the sides, like a Boston creme pie. 

Happy Birthday to the lucky recipients!

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Posted: 27 November 2010 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Your cakes are gorgeous.  The flowers are beautiful.

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Posted: 27 November 2010 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for your kind comments everyone!!  “Spectacular” may be a bit ambitious for my flowers at the moment, but definitely something to aim for grin 

So pleased to report that after refrigeration of more than an hour, the chocolate frosting on the cake set up enough for me to be able to swirl it a bit more and achieve a neater appearance - no more drips.  Thank goodness!  It must just have been our incredible heat.  The cake held up well through a highly air-conditioned car ride and at the restaurant at shivering temps. 

I enjoyed the cake very much - but I think I might leave out the conserve layer in future.  I thought it competed a bit too much with the chocolate, while the strawberry mousseline layer is a bit more subtle (although I did my usual and boosted the strawberry flavour with freeze dried strawberry powder).  The kids in the family ate the cake and chocolate and left off the mousseline.  But I have to say, kids usually love the fruit mousseline on cupcakes.  Adults thought it was mousse, until I mentioned it was buttercream, and then it was horror at how fattening that would be, and they scraped it off.  Sadly for my baking, I am surrounded by friends and family with an absolute fear of fattening foods, so they usually eat only slivers of cake and avoid the buttercream. That’s sad because I usually spend a lot of time getting a huge fruit flavour into it and it is such a delicious recipe from Rose.  However I think if told it was low-fat mousse they’d probably enjoy it tongue wink

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Posted: 27 November 2010 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Both are georgeous!  You have a good eye for color and design.

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Posted: 27 November 2010 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I have to concur with the “spectacular” description of the buttercream flowers.  They are beautiful—their color, their execution and their clustering.  Your designs on both cakes are so festive and inviting.  I’m sorry to hear anyone scraped anything—I’m sure they’re as delicious as they are beautiful.  Your ultimate swirling of the chocolate looks like it echoes the stars on the top, at least in the photo. Really lovely work!!!!!!!

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Posted: 28 November 2010 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks for posting your pictures!  They’re gorgeous. I made the chocolate-covered strawberry cake once and also thought the strawberry mousseline flavor was a little mild, even pumped up with the American Spoon jam.  I ended up adding red food coloring to make it look more strawberry.  My family is just like yours—just the mention of buttercream is followed by protestations of “too rich!!” and it ends up getting scraped off, too.  But, masochist that I am, I continue to put buttercream or variations of it on my cakes—what’s not to like??  I usually end up doing one buttercream type cake for me, then I do something lemon or fruit-flavored to appease them. 

For example - for Thanksgiving I made the chestnut sand cake from TCB (“good, but too rich!”) and the lemon meringue cake from RHC (the bigger hit—as if lemon curd, with its butter, egg yolks, and sugar isn’t rich!!).

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Posted: 28 November 2010 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Little Island, the swirled sides look great!

Loopy, my family does the same thing, “too rich”, etc.- unless it’s chocolate, and then anything and everything is happily scarfed down.  Probably because “ganache” just doesn’t have the same connotations as words that include “cream” or “butter”, despite often containing both!

The only cakes I find that pretty much everyone will eat and love are cakes topped with fresh fruit.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Your cakes are quite beautiful LittleIsland!  Your buttercream roses are piped beautifully and they look so pretty against the color of the buttercream.  And I am glad that your chocolate frosting firmed up for you to swirl it around the sides of the cake.

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Posted: 28 November 2010 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Julie and Loopy, thank you for your stories… they made me smile, and feel heartened that I’m not the only one here in this situation, LOL.  Sometimes I feel so envious of those of us here whose family and friends love their creations, instead of being paranoid about butter and cream and complaining about everything being too sweet.  I think chocolate goes down better nowadays because we can cut the sweetness by using higher percentage cacao.

Julie, you’re right about the universally-loved cake topped with fruit.  And the cake has got to be the lightest sponge, light whipped cream (but not too much!) and topped with fruit grin  However, luckily for us who enjoy creating different things, that birthday cakes are still a necessary part of the celebration, even if not many people want to eat it.  So like you Loopy, I still stubbornly go on making mousseline.

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Posted: 29 November 2010 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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LittleIsland, your cakes are beautiful. I looked at the pictures first before reading what you wrote. And as I was gazing adoringly on the piped flowers, I was thinking that I gotta pipe flowers like that, and how “envious” I am of your skills. So I disagree with what you said about your piping skills and color coordination, I thought they are so gorgeous and excellent! smile

Adding to the stories about people’s perception of cakes/desserts.. when I bring homemade cakes to work it seems that people are not as interested in the as say Donuts from Krispy Creams or store-bought cheapo cakes. I guess I should start lying maybe when asked what’s in the cake, and say it contains no butter or whipped cream - as these 2 ingredients tend to send people scurrying away from the cake instead of to them!

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Posted: 30 November 2010 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Little Island I love your cake and roses are very very beautiful smile

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Posted: 09 December 2010 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Oh my goodness these are amazing, and just like everyone else, these buttercream mousseline roses are spectacular as is the color scheme, which frankly, is the first thing that caught my eye and impressed me when I opened the thread! I love the other cake too, the chocolate is so yummy looking! You did a great job swirling the sides too! I have to comment about the people’s families being fat-phobic. I am a nutritarian (gasp) meaning with the exception for holidays and birthdays, I eat only fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and do not eat anything else, at all, ever not even salt or oil for cooking!
I am fit and healthy because of this, having lost round 50ish pounds in 5 months about 1.5 years ago, and have kept it off. I love my lifestyle, but am CONSTANTLY boggled by the people that pass on cakes etc and then go eat other unhealthy things they deem “better” for them. I bet those people who avoided your mousseline eat french fries and pasta lol. Or maybe not, but still, life is too short for me to not enjoy the fruits of my labor on special occasions. The way I eat allows me to enjoy myself on these days without worry…I am so sorry people don’t fully appreciate your work! I know how frustrating that must be! I can promise you this, if you ever end up in the same town as me on MY birthday I will eat half the cake before your eyes lol.
They are incredible works of art! Just beautiful, and I thank you for sharing them with us.

Jemoiselle

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Posted: 10 December 2010 06:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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WOw thank you for that Jemoiselle grin  You’re too kind!!

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