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Month long cake endeavor—done!
Posted: 02 March 2011 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I started planning this cake at the beginning of February for a friend’s birthday/bon voyage to Costa Rica. It was a a genoise classique, syruped with the fresh preserved pineapple syrup (cooked and diluted with coconut water), filled with pineapple neoclassic and pineapples poached in cardamom and Meyer lemon, frosted with the same buttercream, and sides patted with freshly grated coconut.

It was my first formal cake, and it was definitely quite an adventure to make all the components and assemble the cake. It took an entire month just to get everything together, but it worked out great in the end! The buttercream was lovely and the entire cake was deeply infused with a delicate pineapple aroma, and it wasn’t too sweet as some cakes can be. Just the way my guests like their cakes!

Check out the photos and critique!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=292940&id=517859766&l=b43457465c

I did have quite a struggle with the genoise though. I had to make THREE cakes before managing one that was 1.5 inches high, which was still half an inch short! I even had problems using the Matfer giant whisk. I guess it is my overfolding, as I notice the batter deflating while folding in the flour. On my third genoise, I was so frustrated that I forgot to add the butter. So I’m not sure if the higher volume I acheived was due to less folding or just the omission of the butter. I definitely need to practice more. Please share your genoise tips!

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Posted: 02 March 2011 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fabulous cake, Michael!  It looks very fluffy and delicious.  All the flavors sound so good together and, from your pics, it looks like everyone really enjoyed it!

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Posted: 02 March 2011 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Congratulations, Michael, you did a wonderful job!  The cake looks delicious, I especially love the way you added pineapple to the filling, fruit and genoise are so good together.  I’ll bet you learned a lot with this project.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 01:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thank you! I definitely experienced all the vagaries of genoise and buttercream. I think I got buttercream down now, but I still need to practice the genoise some more. On the bright side, I have amassed two flat genoise in the freezer, which I think might be good for a cheesecake base? Cheesecake is sort of dense itself, so maybe it’ll go well with a dense, rubbery genoise. Tell me if I’m crazy.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Congrats on your first formal cake!!  I love that you baked it three times to get it right—nothing like perseverance in pursuit of perfection.  I bet your cake tasted delicious because you took time to do all of the details right—coconut water, cardamom, poaching syrup…sounds terrific!

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Posted: 03 March 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Cheesecake base sounds perfect.  A short, dense genoise can be a little tough or rubbery, so you might want to torte the layer so it’s thin and lightly syrup it, both of which will promote tenderness.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Michael, u r way en route to master genoise. ?looks ok and the flavors sound great. ?are u heating the eggs? ?are u using a stand mixer and beat for at least 6 mins till triple or more in volume? ?the butter must be warm and folded w one cup of batter first. ?

folding the flour does deflate, and don’t wait till all the flour disappears; when adding the butter/batter then u fold till completion otherwise u would be overfolding. ?in fact, just make sure the flour is fairly uniform across the batter and when you pour the batter to fill the pans then u can wiggle a spatula on the pour stream so the last bit of flour has a chance to?blend in.

I normally regain original beaten egg volume (prior removing 1 cup and prior adding flour), after the butter/batter is added.

also, watch YouTube. ?Rose has a genoise demo.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Last year I bought a matfer whisk, as Hector recommended. I used it the other day for a genoise (I hadn’t made one in about 2 years). I found it did aid in a much quicker incorporation of the ingredients. I lost much less volume, but my cake was no longer 2 inches after it cooled. Still, an improvement. I’m curious to try other sponge cakes now. Also, what are the best substitutes for liqueur in the syrup. I made a quick sugar/water syrup and added some lemon oil it was good. We don’t keep many liqueurs on hand, and I do not anticipate buying them just to use a tablespoon. Thanks.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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i think the final height is 1.5 to 1.75 inch?  most all of Rose’s cakes have a finished height of less than the cake pan

glad you got the whisk, i love mine’s.

on Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, Rose recommends plain orange juice instead of a syrup with grand marnier for example.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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hectorwong - 03 March 2011 05:20 PM

Michael, u r way en route to master genoise. ?looks ok and the flavors sound great. ?are u heating the eggs? ?are u using a stand mixer and beat for at least 6 mins till triple or more in volume? ?the butter must be warm and folded w one cup of batter first. ?

folding the flour does deflate, and don’t wait till all the flour disappears; when adding the butter/batter then u fold till completion otherwise u would be overfolding. ?in fact, just make sure the flour is fairly uniform across the batter and when you pour the batter to fill the pans then u can wiggle a spatula on the pour stream so the last bit of flour has a chance to?blend in.

I normally regain original beaten egg volume (prior removing 1 cup and prior adding flour), after the butter/batter is added.

also, watch YouTube. ?Rose has a genoise demo.

Hi Hector, your idea of wiggling the spatula on the stream is such a clever idea! I’ll try it next time. I definitely did heat my eggs until they were hot to the touch, and they tripled in volume after beating (I actually measured.). Because I don’t have a stand mixer and my hand mixer doesn’t have a good whisk attachment, I beat the eggs for almost 20 minutes by hand using the Matfer giant whisk—the Julia Child way!

I think my problem is in the step of folding in the flour. I watched Rose’s video, and when she folds, the whole mass of batter turns over. I have trouble getting the whole mass to turn over with the wide mixing bowl I have. I find that the traditional technique of cutting down the center, then dragging the batter up and over and turning the bowl just doesn’t do it. I need to tilt my bowl in order to turn over the batter in one mass. Same thing when I whip eggs. I need to tilt the bowl to get good contact between the whisk and eggs.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 09:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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NO, the problem is that the eggs where not beaten long enough.  now that it is revealed not using a stand mixer.

honestly, even a hand mixer doesn’t cut it.

i wouldn’t attempt making genoise whipping by hand, unless you want to be a here.  it may also develop carpal tunnel.  and it won’t make your genoise any better.

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Posted: 03 March 2011 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Unfortunately, making it by hand is the only way I can do it until I get a stand mixer. Even though I whipped it by hand, the eggs did triple in volume and they got very thick and stiff, so much that you can drop a dollop of the egg foam and it won’t dissolve back into the batter. It almost forms some peaks like egg whites. People had to have done it by hand before there were stand mixers. But yes, it does hurt the wrist, and I try not to do it often. I will get a stand mixer some day. There are more important things to tackle in baking than whipping eggs by hand.

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Posted: 04 March 2011 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I agree with Hector, I think the eggs were not beaten long enough to give maximum stability.  But you can be pleased that you probably made the best genoise possible with hand whisking.

Just to give you an idea of how much whipping goes into the eggs, they reach triple volume after about three minutes of high-powered stand mixer whipping, but then you whip for at least another two minutes to reach maximum stability. So if it took you 20 minutes to reach triple volume, you might have needed another fifteen minutes or so of hand whipping to equal the stand mixer results.  Whew!

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Posted: 04 March 2011 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Which Matfer whisk?

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Posted: 04 March 2011 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I know, hand whipping is so much slower. Next time I do this, maybe I’ll get someone to switch off with me every five minutes.

@Flour Girl: This is the whisk. http://www.amazon.com/Egg-Whisk-Length-Balloon-Bourgeat/dp/B000XXA2ZC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1299265095&sr=8-2 You can find cheaper ones online too.

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Posted: 04 March 2011 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Wonderful cake michael!! I love your flavor combinations.

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