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Lemon Poppyseed Wedding Cake - with lighter texture than pound cake?
Posted: 29 April 2008 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I run a small baking business which I hope to grow into a full-time venture. I have come to rely on Rose’s techniques consistently and love the blog as well as the forum!

I am making a wedding cake for a couple who initially wanted a lemon-poppyseed chiffon cake - they knew they didn’t want a heavy-textured cake like pound cake. I gave them both a classic (not italian) buttercream and a cream cheese based frosting to taste with the cake. They decided they loved the lemon buttercream but with a moister cake than chiffon.

Does anyone have any recommendations on what to do from here?

I could:
a. use Rose’s basic yellow butter wedding cake recipe and susbtitute lemon juice and oil for some of the liquid to flavor it.
and/or
b. give them a Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake (Rose’s recipe) to taste?
or
c. just throw poppyseeds into any lemon cake recipe?

This cake will need to serve 100, so I need a recipe that will scale up (and bake and stack up) properly in round layers.

ANY ideas and/or recommendations would be most appreciated.

Rachel of Scratch

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Posted: 30 April 2008 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Rachel, I used Rose’s white chocolate whisper cake (p 50-51) with a lemon curd based filling and lemon mousseline buttercream for my sister’s wedding cake last summer. It was a huge hit!

The white chocolate isn’t strong, just enough to balance and go beautifully with the lemon, give a melt-in-the-mouth texture and make the cake lighter than regular white or golden cake. I flavoured my syrup with lemon zest and vanilla. The filling was Rose’s lemon cream illusion mixed with some of the lemon mousseline bc I used for the exterior of the cake. I did the latter because for some reason, the cream illusion didn’t set. The bc gave it more body.

Not sure where you’d put the poppy seeds. hmmmm

Rose’s recipe for the cake is about 3x her base formula for butter cakes (i.e. serving 33 at a wedding). So you’d have to scale it up, taking care with the baking powder levels as she describes in TCB.

Good luck! Keep us posted.

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Posted: 30 April 2008 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi, folks-

Adding acid to a cake can make it set up too quickly in the oven, leaving it low and dense. (Yes. I tried this. It was not the hit of the potluck.) Lemon extract, lemon zest, or lemon oil will give you lemon flavor without changing the structure of the cake. Use pure lemon oil by drops, not by teaspoons. It is strong! To give tanginess, you can brush to cake with a sugar syrup with lemon juice.

Cathy

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Posted: 30 April 2008 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, Carol and Cathy!

Carol, I think I will try that cake on for size as I haven’t made it.

Cathy, thanks for your tip on adding acid! That explains a lot and I am not surprised to find out that it affects the outcome of the cake because as I recall from different experiments with adding citrus juice to cakes that I have had some low and dense clunkers. Knowing why is priceless, especially as I looove citrus and am wont to overdo it.

My mother makes a lemon-lime meringue pie with 4-5 times the amount of lemon juice called for, but that can get quite astringent, even for someone who loves lemon!

I will keep you guys posted!

Any other tips on lemom-poppyseed cakes would be most welcome!

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Posted: 24 June 2008 03:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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UPDATE: I have found the solution for this particular wedding cake and a great variation to the Yellow Butter Base Cake on page 492 in the Wedding/Special Occassion Chapter of TCB.

For the cake shown in this picture, I used one yellow base cake recipe to make two 6” layers.

At the very last stage of mixing, add:

1/4 tsp. lemon oil
1 Tablespoon holland blue poppy seeds
The zest of one small lemon (not quite a teaspoon)

This created a beautiful, delicate crumb with a pleasant lemon flavor (not intense) and the nice crunch of poppyseeds. I think you could add more seeds. Since I usually like my lemon frosting or icing to include a good amount of juice (and I got limoncello recently and think that plus lemon juice would be divine in the mousseline buttercream!!) the cake doesn’t need to be any more lemony.  Resist the temptation to add lemon juice to the batter.

For the filling, I mixed some lemon buttercream with the Raspberry Puree & Sauce (in the Cake Bible, page 337) and pressed a single layer of fresh raspberries into it. It was to die for and went beautifully with with the cake.


I will be using this combo on a wedding cake for 100!

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Posted: 24 June 2008 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Rachel, thanks for giving us the update. Cake sounds divine. I’m sure the couple will be well pleased.

Had a look at your flickr photostream, too. Some lovely work there—both the baking and the photography!

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Posted: 24 June 2008 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wow! Thank you Carol! smile

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Posted: 11 July 2008 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, not that anyone is looking at this thread but I figured I would update my wedding cake saga here. (The wedding is tomorrow and I am filling and frosting tonight. I have confirmed with the venue that it’s fine for me to stack and finish the cake onsite.)

I had a big problem baking the layers last night, but luckily I had done as much organization and prep work as possible so revocery wasn’t that difficult. It just had me up till 1am!

I was baking the 12” layers first and while the space between racks is 3” apart (as Rose recommends) a bar in the middle of the top rack (crosswise) actually drops a bit below 3”. Well, I was concerned about having enough time to bake the 12” layers one after the other and baked them at the same time….which would have been fine if not for that bar.

You can tell what’s coming, can’t you?

When checking for doneness on the top one, I ripped the top crust of the bottom pan right off because it had risen so high. I tried to salvage it and the top pan came out very underbaked, while the ripped one came out overbaked and uneven but actually had better structure than the underbaked layer. I still wraped and chilled them in case I need extra cake tonight for some reason, but went ahead and used the leftover whites (plus a couple of drops of yellow food coloring) and mixed a brand new batch of batter.

Luckily the second ones came out beautifully.

I am filling and crumb coating next. All of you stacked cake veterans ... do you transport plain tiers to the site and do all piping onsite once the cake is stacked? Do you do any design work or piping before transport? I was concerned about the mousseline buttercream remaining the proper texture to pipe onsite and the also holding up for the 5 hours in between set up and cake cutting. (To clarify, I am not concerned about the tiers themselves, they will be well-chilled, only whatever I am piping on while setting up the cake onsite.)

THANK YOU for all your advice so far, everybody!!!

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Posted: 11 July 2008 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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See my reply here:
http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/428/P15/

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Posted: 13 July 2008 09:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I thought I would update my original post with the results of this project even though I have blabbing about it all over the forums.

All in all, it turned out great! cool smile

I made my variation of Rose’s Yellow Butter Cake with lemon oil, zest and poppyseeds, split all the layers, brushed with lemon simple syrup, and filled with buttercream mixed with the Raspberry Puree, and frosted with Lemon Mousseline Buttercream.

There were certainly a few bumps along the way.

First, I had to rebake the 12” layers for the bottom tier because of a dumb mistake (lesson 1: always make sure you measure the space between the racks and that it is over 3”  just shy of that and the cake can stick to the rack above it!)

Second, I tried to save a batch of mousseline buttercream that had not set properly. I used it crumb coat the cake ~ a mistake. I made 2 smaller size batches of replacement mousseline for the outer coating of frosting and piping (which came out perfectly!) but the funky soupy buttercream which was used to crumb coat the cake started melting through in spots whenever it sat out more than a few minutes (it was a warm day, but not that hot). I was determined to save the first buttercream batch because it had 2 cups of lemon curd I had made for the occasion earlier in the week and it was so difficult to see it go to waste.

I decided my creation needed to be babysat through the ceremony and cocktail hour ~ into the walk in fridge it went and I planned to stay and move the cake back to the cake table myself. Luckily this cake was for friends of mine and they had some people cancel at the last minute. They just invited me to stay for the rest of the reception, which was lovely. So whereas normally mousseline can stay out for up to days straight, mind had to be chilled until 1 hour per serving.

Enough of that.

The cake turned out perfectly besides that! It transported like a charm! The mousseline I took with me for piping was satiny and held up beautifully! It tasted amazing!

I was grateful to be served a slice of my cake and analyze as well as enjoy it. The mousseline (flavored with limoncello and freshly squeezed lemon juice; and the crumb coat had lemon curd) really does melt in your mouth and translate the flavors so purely to your mouth. Several people said it was the best cake (and or wedding cake) they had ever had and people were excited about the poppyseeds! For some reason, that was a huge hit. I think that the flavor and texture combo was perfect ~ some familiar, some unexpected, and it all worked well together.

Every slice evaporated.

You see some more pictures here

I am glad that they requested this cake and set me off on this project. I have learned so much and gotten a great signature cake under my belt. I look forward to continuing to tackle new recipes in The Cake Bible as well and The Bread Bible* and Pie & Pastry Bible. Between the books and these forums, I am essentially putting myself through a baking correspondence course of the highest order. You guys have been so incredibly helpful.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support.

smile
Now that this is over I can dream up what I want my own wedding cake to be! (October 4)

Rachel
*I don’t have this one yet.

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Posted: 13 July 2008 10:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Congratulations on the cake, and on your upcoming wedding!

We had about the smallest wedding it is possible to have (married in front of a judge with 2 witnesses) and had Rose’s Chocolate Domingo cake for our dessert that evening. It was delicious!

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Posted: 14 July 2008 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Congratulations Rachel!!!  How wonderful that you were able to be a guest who was served a slice of your very first wedding cake!  I’m sure you heard lots of yummy comments from the other guests.  So, did you transport the cake stacked?  I love your use of rose hips on the cake - I just adore them.  Your piping is very unique as well smile.  Can’t wait to hear what you will do for your wedding…

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Posted: 14 July 2008 03:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Patrincia I was really happy the florist had rose hips! Everyone talked about how beautiful the cake was when all I could see was the puddling and uneveness of the buttercream. Thank God for flowers…and for walk~in fridges! Plus, it’s a good lesson that many of the mistakes you make go unnoticed.

I was blown away by the guests’ reaction to the cake~ I got comment after comment and was called over to 2 different tables by people who wanted to talk about my cake! Seeing how it went over as a guest was a real treat and a big relief because I had “proof” I did a good job when I tasted my own cake. I got the most comments about the buttercream ~ people remarked on how soft and delicious it was (that it wasn’t gritty or crusted over or gummy like fondant) and wanted to know what it was. I had the pleasure of explaining why thanks to Rose’s detailed “understanding” sections. Oh, and the poppyseeds were a conversation point as I posted about above.

I took your cue and transported the layers separately in the car and stacked it onsite. The drive was remarkably smooth. I used nonskid liner on the back cargo area of my fiance’s Toyota Rav 4 (perfect for this!) which is flat and large. I had the plastic straw supports inserted already. When I got to the site, the cake table was not up yet. Once it got there I started to stack the layers and pipe and the cake was sweating.

I was starting to sweat, too! I could see the bottom layer puddling in spots and it was nervewracking. Luckily the folks didn’t notice, and two people who saw it actually asked me how I got the “cool marble texture effect.” Then I made the decision to stick in the fridge and I am so glad.

I actually ate 1.5 pieces of my own cake.  grin

We are getting married in the fall (Indian Summer in Northern California) and the meal is BBQ and we have come up with a few ideas including chocolate orange. Maybe a chocolate genoise with burnt orange mousseline and poured ganache? Or maybe that would be too heavy. Something with kumquat? This is a hard but very fun decision to make.
smile
R
P.S. I decided against the use of fresh raspberries in the filling for lack of time and it was still great.

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Posted: 14 July 2008 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Congratualtions on your upcoming wedding and this cake. The cake looks wonderful.  smile You did a great job!

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Posted: 15 July 2008 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I just caught up on your project.  My first thought was (on the night you baked the 12” cakes) “only 1 am?!”  Wow! You did well.  Don’t forget to offset your pans front/back & left/right when you bake two layers at a time.  It helps the heat circulate better.  I don’t know how much difference it makes with a 12” pan, but I did it with 10” ones.  It keeps the lower pan from insulating the upper one (or something like that).

As far as not wasting the buttercream that didn’t “set”.  Next time, cut your losses, save time and make a new batch.  It’ll save you stress in the long run.  Lemon curd isn’t that difficult to make.  Stick the imperfect product in the freezer and use it some other way.  Fill an impromptu cake or cupcakes.  Profiteroles, anything that allows for less than perfect “set”.  It will still taste fabulous and won’t go to waste.  Hector mentioned in another post (see http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/474/)

hectorwong - 08 July 2008 06:07 PM

this just reminds me that you can warm up some mousseline or silk meringue and serve it like a great dessert sauce!  orange hinted will be wonderful on warm bread pudding as one take.

keep your mousseline in the freezer and scoop it like ice cream when you need to use it.  if you can manage to use warmed dessert plates to serve any cake, put a small scoop on the warm/hot plate to turn the mousseline into a sauce, then put your cake slice on top.  wonderful.  just like my 2007 birthday cake, here a picture that I have repeatedly posted and reported: do notice the melted silk meringue buttercream

using softened or melted buttercream as a dessert sauce.  Go crazy (with ideas, not with adapting to a recipe that isn’t behaving properly.)

Did you do any testing to see how the flavors worked together prior to assembling your final product?  If so, how brave.  I always want to see how things taste together, even if its just a pile of cake trimmings and a tablespoon of buttercream with a raspberry squished into it.  Quality control and all. wink  It sounds wonderful.

Chocolate and orange is a great combination and would be wonderful for an October wedding.  I don’t think the leaves turn in CA but you could pretend with a “harvest” motif.  Here in Maine, October is all about leaves.

Oh, and from what I’ve heard.  Take a good long think before taking on your own wedding cake.  You’ll have enough to worry about.  How about getting an apprentice and training them over the next two months?

JennyBee

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Posted: 16 July 2008 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yes I did several tests to come up with the cake recipe variation and filling combo, but hadn’t used the mousseline buttercream with lemon/limoncello to frost it. (The couple initally wanted the powdered sugar buttercream and then decided it was too sweet.) With the change from powedered sugar buttercream to mousseline with a yummy liqueur, I knew it would taste good.

Here’s a picture of the test cake, a 6” layer.

I agree about cutting my losses! That was my most important lesson on this project - learning when to just start again.

Oh, and to clarify, this wasn’t my first wedding cake, but it was certainly my most challenging one - it was the largest stacked cake I have done- I torted/split layers for the first time, I made lemon curd for the first time, and I used mousseline for a “customer” for the first time. I got an Ateco 612 for the occassion.

Also, I wasn’t planning on taking on my own wedding cake. Everyone advised me against it and I am so glad. This project was enough and I am really glad I got to do it and get it under my belt.

However, I will be making my fiance some pecan tarts ahead of time as a surprise (they are his favorite) to serve for dessert with the cake. [Sidebar: Patrincia, I did see Lyle’s Golden Syrup in a local market!] My dear friend who made her own wedding cake (she had help!) and a couple other wedding cakes offered to make mine as a gift. So I am leafing through the Cake Bible and Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes for inspiration since she will make us whatever we want. I am thinking chocolate cake or something covered with ganache (our favorite) decorated with sugared kumquats & persimmons (both in season in fall in northern california) and some non-poisonous deep-orange colored flowers. I think bright orange stands out so well against dark brown. (I always serve my brownies on a vintage orange platter.)

Actually, what I really wanted was the Deep Chocolate Passion Cake just because it is SO gorgeous, but the recipe won’t be out till next year, so I will have to push someone else into that for their wedding cake so I can make it. smile

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