Dairy Free Chocolate Genoise Wedding Cake
Posted: 05 August 2013 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am making my dear friend’s wedding cake, and I believe I want to go with a chocolate genoise.  However, due to Kosher laws and there already being meat served at the wedding, I was asked not to use any dairy (eggs = ok, but cream/butter = no go).

I have made a few batches so far using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks instead of butter, and the cake level has seemed slightly low - the amount of batter The Cake Bible says produces two inch high 9” and 6” rounds was maybe 1.5 inches high.  Is this as height normal?  Should I change the proportions when using fake butter, or go with shortening instead?

For frosting, I am deciding between Creme Ivoire Deluxe and the Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream (substituting white chocolate for bittersweet as a white frosting is desired).  Because store-bought white chocolate has dairy in it, I will be making my own from cacao butter.  Given this situation, which frosting would you recommend?

Many thanks!

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Posted: 06 August 2013 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You’re very kind to be making the wedding cake for a friend!

re: genoise height, it is not uncommon for bakers to come up with less height than is suggested in the recipe sidebars.  Did you melt, brown and strain the butter substitute to create a warm liquid oil?  If so, and if you also weighed or carefully measured that oil, then the butter substitute is probably not the culprit.  Genoise requires long, vigorous whipping followed by the gentlest, most efficient folding to achieve the best height.  Even one extra pass from the whisk while folding can reduce cake height. 

The other thing you might check is the size of your yolks.  Egg yolks give a lot of stability to a genoise foam, and if yours are running small that can also make it more challenging to come up with the right height.

You might decide to practice a few small genoise to see if you can improve your folding skills and get good height.

If you are worried about how the butter substitute is affecting your cake, you can also replace it with walnut oil (La Tourangelle), I believe there is a note in the end part of the 9” genoise recipe about that.

re: white chocolate frosting, if your butter substitute tastes reasonably good, I would recommend you make up a small test batch of the white chocolate mousseline, replacing the white chocolate with cocoa butter and vanilla.  WC Mousseline will give you a better working consistency than Creme Ivoire, and will be more of a crowd pleaser.  Creme Ivoire sets up firm, so there is only a limited window of time to work it on the cake.  Also, the cakes need to be stacked and left to settle before frosting with Creme Ivoire to help prevent cracking.  Fiinally, creme ivoire tastes strongly of white chocolate, which some people love but not everyone.

re: making a white chocolate egg white buttercream, you will need to make up a test batch and see how it tastes (might be too sweet) and if it will hold up on a cake that is out at room temp for several hours.

Chocolate wedding cakes are becoming popular, perhaps a chocolate ganache made with almond milk would be pleasing?  That is what I would choose if it were me smile

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Posted: 07 August 2013 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hello Mottmann,

Welcome to the forum! 

I’ve had to do a lot of dairy free baking for my family and they all adore the Deep Chocolate Passion cake from RHC—it’s the cake base for German Chocolate Cake.  I’d don’t want to steer you away from genoise if you are absolutely set on making it, but it’s super easy to make and bakes up lovely and has an airy soft texture.  It has no dairy and oil instead of butter.  I dabble with genoise and I have not mastered it yet so when I need dependable proven results, the deep chocolate passion has worked well. 

I’m also with Julie re: ganache vs. a white frosting. 

Let us know what you choose and be sure to post photos!

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Posted: 07 August 2013 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The posted picture is what the bride wants the cake to look like, so a white frosting it is!  Making the Mouseline Buttercream is the big task for tonight.

I made a wedding cake’s worth of genoise last night and then some, with 3 layers of each size instead of 2 because the proportions in that photo seem so tall.  However, looking at it now I may reduce my ambitions back down to 2 layers per tier, although I haven’t trimmed the edges yet because my syrup isn’t ready.  Also, I want to transport each tier separately to the wedding venue, and finding boxes high enough to hold 3 layer tiers is proving difficult, so that may be my limiting factor.

Using the walnut oil and being thorough, my cakes all came out close to 1.75” high each.

I used a strong coffee instead of the boiling water called for in the recipe, and I like the result in the little bit of cake I nibbled so far.

I like the looks of the deep chocolate passion, but what scares me about it is the hour of cooldown time in the recipe, I will be making so many layers in my friend’s condo in NY that this time constraint will considerably slow things down, and I seem to have the rhythm of doing small genoise batches in a kitchen aid down at this point.  Still, I may bake of a test batch tonight and see what the taste difference is.

My master plan so far is to use a grand marnier flavored syrup in the cake, coat each layer with a raspberry jam based glaze, and then cover with the mouseline buttercream, potentially with my homemade white chocolate added.

Thanks for the advice everyone!

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Posted: 08 August 2013 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sounds like you have been hard at work!  Great job doing all the test baking, it will really help you have a successful outcome.

I concur with Sherrie about trying the deep chocolate passion cake from RHC, it is a crowd pleaser and easier to make than the genoise.  But genoise is light, moist and elegant, I love it! smile

I have one small suggestion, and that is to taste your flavor combo- with all the components in place- before you commit to it.  Having a cake with coffee, walnut and cocoa sounds absolutely delicious.  And white chocolate would blend beautifully with those flavors.  I do wonder about adding in the grand marnier and raspberry on top of those- might be terrific, or might be too much going on, I’m not sure.  But worth it to taste it all together before deciding. 

Might be delicious to replace the jam glaze with ganache, which would intensify the lighter chocolate flavor of the genoise (you could keep to your theme flavors by using coffee and nut liqueur in place of some of the liquid in the ganache).  Liqueur flavors to go with the cocoa-walnut-coffee combo might be coffee (Kahlua, Tia Maria), or chocolate (Godiva, Marie Brizard), or something nut-based (Frangelico, Nocello). 

Sounds like a wonderful project, hope you’ll keep us posted- don’t forget to take pictures!  smile

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Posted: 08 August 2013 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks for the great ideas Julie!

I am definitely going to taste before committing, in the middle of the experimental phase right now.  However, think I’m going to stick with the genoise since it seems to be working for me now =)

I like the idea of the ganache instead of the glaze much better!  I was simply searching for something extra to put between the cake and the frosting.

I do believe that orange and chocolate are happy friends, but you’re right about the fruit flavor potentially being too much now that I have coffee and nut flavors in there too.

What do you think about a coffee liquor for the genoise syrup and then substituting almond milk for the cream in a ganache coat to go over each layer before frosting?


A hyperactive voice in the back of my mind still wants to have the orange flavor in the syrup as well as some orange oil in the buttercream frosting… do you think I should listen to this voice or hush it?  Oi vey…

 

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Posted: 08 August 2013 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mottmann - 08 August 2013 11:14 AM

A hyperactive voice in the back of my mind still wants to have the orange flavor in the syrup as well as some orange oil in the buttercream frosting… do you think I should listen to this voice or hush it?

Might be great, might not- hard to say without tasting it!  Often the key to pairing chocolate with fruit flavors is balance.  If you’re willing to make up a small test cake (or test cupcakes if you need to test several flavor schemes), you’ll know for sure.  And if you do test it out, please report back and let us know if you liked it.

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Posted: 29 October 2013 02:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Everything was am amazing success!

After some experimenting at home, I went for an almond milk ganache with a 2:1 bittersweet chocolate to almond milk ratio, diluted somewhat by the addition of kahlua and vanilla, so the final ratio of all liquids was probably about 1.75:1.  The mousseline buttercream made entirely out of earth balance buttery sticks was a little bit too salty and perhaps “off” in some other way as well, but I kept licking my fingers, so I knew it just needed a little bit of tweaking.  A 50/50 mix of the earth balance buttery sticks and shortening yielded great consistency and perfect flavor.  I also added a teaspoon of orange oil per batch of frosting, it was just enough to give the white chocolate mousseline a hint of orange if you looked for it, but not overwhelming.  For kosher white chocolate, I made my own using cocoa butter, powdered sugar, a little vanilla extra, and soy protein powder.  I forget which recipe I used online, but there was somewhat of consensus of google search results with this basic formula - they called for soy milk powder instead, but the local yuppie/hippie/health food store didn’t carry that item.

***important note for people of the future***—> buy your cocoa butter online ahead of time instead of at the store, you’ll save $20/pound


So, I arrive in Brooklyn with a giant suitcase full of drying racks, knives, scales, homemade white chocolate, a cake leveler, turn table, cake pans, large stainless steel bowls, and pyrex (which had definitely been gone over by bemused security officials), go off on a massive ingredient shopping run with the groom to be (eager to escape family) and begin!

My host had wrangled a kitchen aid for me, but it was a 4.5 qt rather than a 5 qt model.  Amazingly, it was enough, but just barely so - while whipping the eggs for 12” layers, the mix would bulge over the top, but miraculously stayed contained.

To ensure full and even layers, I boosted the genoise au chocolat recipe listed on page 499 by an extra third - I decided I’d rather have more cake to trim than spend the time and effort baking a layer that was too short.

And so began about 2 solid days of baking cakes (followed by more of playing with cake).  I got into a rhythm where I would have the next batch ready to go right as it was time to depan the previous.  Once I got going, I expanded my ambitions back to 3 layers tiers.  I was also paranoid of disaster striking, so opted to make two full cakes.  So, 18 layers overall minimum.  I believe I made 3 extra of each size so I could choose from the best if some came out weak, and also to have extra to give to my gracious host and the loaner of the kitchen aid.

Luckily my host was a good New Yorker, and had nothing but a few eggs and condiments in her fridge, so I was able to fill it completely.

When it came time to trim all of these cakes, I was extremely grateful I had purchased the wilton cake leveler (http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?sku=415-800).  Its adjustment setting were fairly crude, necessitating a fair amount of trimming, but since I had baked tall cakes and was going for 3 layers/tier, this loss didn’t matter to me, whereas getting the cakes evenly flat quickly was a high priority.

I used a wide pastry brush to apply the kahlua syrup.  If I were to do it again, I would invest in a syringe.

In my smallish kitchen aid, I shrunk the mousseline buttercream recipe on 514 to 85% of listed amounts, which just fit.  I think I ended up making 4 or 5 batches.

Getting the cakes from Brooklyn to the venue in Manhattan was a source of stress dreams for me for about 2 months.  I was able to find 10x10x10 cake boxes for the smaller tiers easily, but was unable to find any boxes able to fit the 12” tiers that were probably about 7” high (there were plenty online, but I really didn’t want a case of 50).  Eventually I realized I was being silly, walked a few blocks to a fed ex store on Myrtle, and got two 14x14x14 boxes.

I called up a private car service and ordered and SUV, and filled my carry on suitcase with frosting and spatulas, and took off to the wedding.  My paranoia over this ride was justified.  Both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges were closed, so the Williamsburg bridge was a stop and go disaster.  The driver had to stop short in the middle of the bridge as we were cut off, and I heard one cake break free of its frosting glue to the bottom of the box and smack into the side wall— one down… I could lose two more if they were the right two.  But that was it.  Made it to the venue just in time to run out into the park were photos were just starting.  For the stacking, I used boba straws as they are far thicker and stronger.  The frosting I had made 2-3 hours earlier was still soft and pliant, I did not need to re-beat it onsite as I feared, and the tiers were spackled together with ease.  I was given a box of wildflowers from the florist, and I set about with some childhood friends to decorate… and voila, beauty.

Everyone loved looking at it, and eating it, and folks who normally don’t really care for cake took seconds.  People kept asking the groom where they could get a cake like this, and he laughed and told them tough luck.

Thank you Julie for your great advice, you were a huge help in this turning out wonderfully!

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Posted: 29 October 2013 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Pictures of the final product!

(new post because of file size limit)

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Posted: 29 October 2013 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I think your post got missed somehow. BTW, that is a beautiful cake and I love how you arranged the wild flowers. Excellent!!!

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Posted: 30 October 2013 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Looks amazing, job well done!!!

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Posted: 30 October 2013 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Love your story and the pictures. Very well done- plus extra points for making you own kosher white chocolate! [Isn’t Valrhona Kosher?]

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Posted: 30 October 2013 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Very well done!

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Posted: 03 November 2013 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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This was an amazing effort and story, as well as a delicious-looking and pretty cake! My days of making and travelling with wedding cakes in NYC are long gone, but this made me ever so slightly nostalgic.
Non-dairy white chocolate, huh? I’ve been playing with this idea as well, not for religious reasons but for allergy-related ones… I’ve encountered the best results with coconut and soy powder, but still tinkering.
Congratulations on a great job, the couple have a great start on their union if they can count on friends like you!

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