I just had my first requested “cake tasting” for a bride who is the daughter of a friend. I was so nervous about it, but it worked out very well - the house was spotless, the kids were invisible, and the bride and groom devowered everything. The bride to be had vanilla cake in mind to begin with, but didn’t mind if I offered additional flavors for them to try. For the buttercream, they were open to anything but coffee. So I make a 9” layer of white velvet cake and golden almond cake - she like the white, he the almond . He was very smart and let his future bride ultimately decide the cake flavor.
I made one batch of Mousseline and flavored it 7 ways - vanilla, vanilla bean, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, chocolate, and pistachio. I used the French Essence I purchased at La Cuisine for the strawberry and pistachio flavors - they both absolutely loved the pistachio, but thought it might not be as widely enjoyed by their guests as some of the other flavors. The next two flavors they liked the most were strawberry and chocolate - they contemplated choosing alternating tiers of each, but chose the strawberry in the end because they said it was more “summery”.
Btw, the strawberry essence is a super dark ruby color and it’s very liquid-y like an extract; the pistachio essence is a dark caramel color and is very thick - I wasn’t sure the little dropper would be able to suck any out of the bottle, but it did (I had to green up the bc with a few drops of green food color).
I didn’t think to take any photos, but I arranged little scoops of the various buttercreams on a plate using my mini portion scoop - it looked like an artists pallet.