Ganache-Covered Wedding Cake with Sugared Kumquats
Posted: 13 August 2008 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]
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OK, so I have been deeply immersed in wedding planning as I am having the wedding in a backyard and there are a LOT of details and logistics to consider. Comparable to baking and transporting a wedding cake, actually! I have missed my baking pals.

About my own wedding cake….we are having southern-style BBQ for dinner at the reception, casual, delicious and fairly heavy. My fiance and I want to serve a cake covered in poured dark chocolate ganache (Rose’s recipe, of course) since it’s our favorite. As I have mentioned before in another thread, I LOVE the dark chocolate passion cake (with the chocolate “twigs”) that Rose featured on the blog as the only wedding cake she made away from her home kitchen….we would be having that cake if her book was out!!!

We considered red velvet or carrot cake and like lots of different flavors so we are open to changing this idea.  I was a little concerned about a chocolate cake after BBQ, so if anyone has any strong opinions about that please lay them on me.

We were thinking of a chocolate/devil’s food cake with orange filling (maybe the seville orange curd?) and dark chocolate ganache. The piping should be minimal beading as the friend who is baking this for me is not comfortable with intricate piping. The cake will then be decorated with simple seasonal fresh fruits and flowers in deep, bright orange tones (kumquats, orange flowers, ornamental peppers, etc.)

So I have searched the blog and forums so if you know where this has been discussed before, please feel free to point me in the right direction. I understand the storage requirements for ganache before it is on the cake. However, I don’t know whether the entire cake (once frosted) can handle being frozen or kept very cold. Once she makes the layers, she wanted to transport them in the car with dry ice! (They did this with their own wedding cake, but it arrived to the site too cold….so they will need to change it up a bit.) Actually she wanted to transport the whole, stacked cake in the car, but thanks to my experience (and you guys) I suggested she consider transporting the finished layers and stack and pipe onsite, right onto the cake table.

If it need to be assembled and piped prior to the day of it can be kept in an air-conditioned room, but so far I cannot find any available fridge space for the finished cake.

The wedding is outdoors in early October so it will be a warm day, but not a hot day.  We can and will place the cake table in the shade.

I have made ganache-covered cakes and chilled them before, but they do sweat a bit after coming out of the fridge. It doesn’t look bad, but shiny is better. Does the cake eventually sweat itself out and become shiny again? Should the ganache not be chilled at all? Has anyone ever kept a ganache-coated cake colder than room temp (i.e. around freezing, which is what the dry ice would do..)?

She lives 400 miles from the wedding site, and cannot use the kitchen at the wedding site except for a little bit of space to assemble and possibly a little fridge space. She may be able to do more but we can’t count on it due to a renovation at the house where the wedding will be held.  I am sure she could do a little mixing, filling pastry bags, etc, but we definitely can’t bake as the oven is terrible (and slanted.)

It’s quite tough. She may make the cake at a family member’s kitchen (150 miles away) and transport it. Either way she is stressed about it (which I COMPLETELY understand) and I told her I would research whether the layers could be frozen with the ganache on them.  She is a good baker and has made a few wedding cakes before, but the circumstances are tough….

What do you guys think? ANY tips, suggestions or thoughts are completely welcome!

smile

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Posted: 13 August 2008 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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My experience with a ganache coating is that it will stay shiny to a point, then it will dull slightly over time.  It doesn’t look exactly the same as it did when first poured on, even if you use corn syrup in it, but it looks fine to my eye.

Since transporting this may be the most stressful part of the whole endeavor, would you consider having different sizes of cake set up on individual stands?  You could have several 10”, 8” and perhaps 6” cakes (as many as you would need to serve the guests).  Each one can have the poured ganache glaze, and then decorated with the different things you mention: flowers, sugared kumquats, maybe even tiny pumpkins or gourds (be careful, though.  Many are grown as ornamentals and you would want to check before putting them on food).  You could have a little nosegay of flowers in the center of the largest cakes; then the sugared kumquats along the edges of another size and perhaps your monogram on a chocolate plaque on the one you cut in front of your guests if you are doing that. 

The stands can be as simple as overturned milk or soda bottle crates with table linens to cover, or porcelain cake stands borrowed from friends and family.

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Posted: 13 August 2008 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I love Jeanne’s solution for displaying the individual tiers.  You could also use upsidedown cake pans that are covered in decorative fabric (tuck the raw edges of the fabric right under the pans.  pans should be a smaller diameter than the tiers - say a 12” cake on an 8” pan, etc). 

I haven’t had any experience freezing ganache covered cakes, but I’ve refrigerated them and any condensation that forms will dissipate eventually, but again, like Jeanne said, you loose a bit of the shine factor. 

Is pouring ganache onto the cake(s) at the last minute an option?

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Posted: 13 August 2008 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I hope it will be a success!

Ganache is my hands-down favorite frosting for a cake. But since the refrigerator situation is uncertain, why don’t you consider using chocolate buttercream (p. 250 of “The Cake Bible). I just made this buttercream to fill a chocolate cake for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. The outside of the cake was mousseline buttercream flavored with orange liqueur. The cake looked wonderful, and tasted like a dream. Even my husband, who definitely loves ganache more than buttercream, loved it. I received many compliments from the guests, as people went for second and third helpings.

I was able to keep the cake at room temperature, in an air conditioned house in Los Angeles, for the entire day without any loss of quality. Just know that the chocolate buttercream will sweat if it has been refrigerated. The important thing is to leave it undisturbed until the condensation evaporates, otherwise, if the water droplets get mixed in, the chocolate buttercream will get a grainy texture. But once the condensation evaporates, the buttercream looks as good as new.

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Posted: 13 August 2008 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I almost felt I am writing this myself, as it is the same challenge I will have on September 13th.

I am preparing myself to zero refrigerator space.  What I will assure is find a source of dry ice, ice packs, and huge styrofoam boxes and coolers.

The wedding cake is 20 inches tall and these are the logistics:

1- The 9 layers of Biscuit de Savoie (or maybe Golden Genoise), 9x2, will be baked and individually frozen.  I am flying these in a styrofoam box or cooler with dry ice.  Upon arriving, I will gradually thaw these by removing the dry ice and replacing with ice packs, keeping the cakes in the cooler box.  I am arriving on Wednesday night and the wedding is on Saturday.  I want to transport the cakes well frozen because they are rock hard and I won’t smash anything.

2- The filling is already done and frozen, Silk Meringue Buttercream.  I will follow the same as above for transportation and thawing.

3- The frosting (Mousseline Buttercream) will be whipped and applied on site as I want maximum smoothness.  This is objectable, as I think I can get it as smooth with previously frozen mousseline!  I may or may not do ahead and freeze, depending on my time.

4- The buttercream roses will be done ahead of time, too, and frozen.  They must be applied frozen since I will be placing these vertically on the sides of the tall cake.

On Friday, I will assemble the cake on site, all the way, and place it on the cake table.  I will cover it with a huge styrofoam box and sufficient dry ice to keep things cool but not frozen.  If you wrap your dry ice with ice packs, the temperature will not be frozen cold.

Good luck.  Worrying about how shiny your chocolate ganache turns out will be the least of my worries.  NOBODY will notice (including the ordering bride on the wedding day) if the ganache lacked luster!

To make a HUGE styrofoam box, you buy loose sheets of styrofoam and tape together, or you cut off the bottom of one box and stack on top of one other.

good luck.  I think your flavor choices are just fine.

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Posted: 14 August 2008 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hector, see if you can find a garment bag box - it might help.  This is how a friend of mine transports her tiered cakes from San Diego to LA - in the van, with a “cooler” made from the garment bag box, styro and dry ice. 


Good luck to you both! smile

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Posted: 14 August 2008 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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great info!

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Posted: 19 August 2008 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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WOW! Thank you everyone! Unfortunately I didn’t get the normal email notice of everyone’s replies to my thread so I didn’t realize I was missing out on the discussion. I am glad to know about the dry ice trick (to wrap them ice packs)—thanks Hector!

Also, I like the idea of diplaying the tiers separately!
I will talk to my friend and report back.

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