Please help with a special cake!
Posted: 13 November 2008 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My husband and I are hosting a party for our 25th anniversary in 3 weeks. 

I was searching for a cake to make ahead and found one, a dense chocolate pound cake baked in a bundt pan, split horizontally, filled and topped with a fluffy chocolate Italian buttercream, and garnished with a generous amount of chocolate curls.  The cake can be baked ahead and frozen, which is perfect.  And I’m figuring that I can make the chocolate curls several days ahead and tightly wrap in plastic, keeping them in a cool, dry place.

But the frosting is worrying me because I have never made this type before.  For most of the cakes I have made, I’ve used either an uncooked buttercream or a cream-cheese based frosting.  But I want what I think an Italian buttercream would be—not too sweet, fluffy, chocolatey.  However, this must be made two days in advance to fit into my dinner-prep timeline, and I’m not certain how such a frosting will hold up for that length of time.

I would greatly appreciate any advice that anyone could give me on making this type of frosting in advance.  smile  Thank you.

ps-  Also could the cake be assembled, minus the chocolate curls, 20 hours before serving?  If so, should it be refrigerated?

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Posted: 13 November 2008 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Vicci - Welcome to the forum. 

Italian Meringue Buttercream is absolutely heavenly!  Does the IMBC you’re planning on using include a meringue base made with a cooked sugar syrup?  If so, it’s fine kept at room temperature for 2 days (refrigerated for 10 days, frozen for 8 months - according to the best IMBC recipe in the world, The Cake Bible’s Mousseline Buttercream).  If chilled, be sure the IMBC has come to room temp before rebeating to restore it’s consistency before using.  The IMBC will have to be rebeaten slightly after sitting for a while too, it becomes a little “spongy” upon standing… a handheld mixer or even a whisk works fine for this, but the whip attachment on a stand mixer is also great. 

VERY IMPORTANT:  Be sure the IMBC is at room temperature before serving, and definitely be sure to use UNSALTED butter when making it (or I promise, it will taste like you’re eating a stick of butter). 

You should have no problems making your chocolate curls ahead of time… if you’ve never done it before, I find warming a block of chocolate with my hand for a few moments helps a vegetable peeler make wonderful curls.  You could also spread a thin layer of melted chocolate on a marble slab or the back of a baking sheet and use a bench scraper to make larger curls when the chocolate starts to set-up (the peeler is the easier technique, but the curls will be smaller). 

You could assemble the cake 20 hours ahead of time, but be sure to wrap it extremely well if you do so, so it doesn’t dry out.  Refrigeration isn’t necessary 20 hours before serving, but if you do refrigerate it, be sure to pull it of the fridge a few hours before service. 

Happy 25th!!!

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Posted: 13 November 2008 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thank you for the welcome, and for the great advice, Patrincia!

“Mousseline buttercream”?  The name frightens me more than “Italian Meringue Buttercream”!  wink  Yes, the IMBC recipe which I found uses a hot simple syrup beaten into meringue.  I am going to use a stand KA mixer to make the frosting.  I will look into the Mousseline buttercream recipe, though, if it is the best IMBC in the world!  smile 

I think that I may assemble the cake earlier in the day (maybe 9 hours prior to serving) and our house is cool, so will leave it in the pantry instead of refrigerating it.  And take it into the warmer kitchen area before we start to eat dinner.


I bake, oh, maybe a half dozen cakes a year (I am more of a bread baker than a cake baker) and the info which you gave me makes me a lot more comfortable with what I am about to do.  A lot more comfortable!  I appreciate your help so very much.

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Posted: 14 November 2008 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, you’re very welcome… it sounds to me like you’ll be just fine smile.  Give yourself plenty of time to make the buttercream so you don’t find yourself panicking at the last minute because you don’t think the buttercream is going to “come together” (remember it can be made well ahead of time, and don’t worry about having too much, you’ll fall in love and want a batch in your freezer at all times!).  Another helpful suggestion… be sure your meringue and sugar syrup has whipped until the mixing bowl is completely cool before you start adding your room temperature unsalted butter.  Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

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Posted: 14 November 2008 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Oh, oh, oh…. and I can’t fail to mention the most important factor, use an accurate thermometer so your sugar syrup reaches the proper temp.  smile  (it sounds like a lot to deal with, but it’s really very easy… once you’ve done it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to try it)
wink

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Posted: 14 November 2008 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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if you want a cream cheese frosting, rose has a recipe which uses no eggs at all.

white chocolate cream cheese butter cream in the cake bible.

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Posted: 14 November 2008 11:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks again, Patrincia!  I just bought a new candy thermometer last year because I was getting inconsistent results with a toffee recipe, so I should be good to go.  I’m really excited to try this recipe, I just may whip up a batch early,  to freeze and have on hand for holiday cakes.  I had no idea that it could even be frozen!

Jen68, that cream cheese buttercream will be marked as a to try in my book.  My Dad’s 75th birthday is in 4 months and he loves cream cheese frosting.  Thanks!

Note-  What a great forum!  :D

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Posted: 14 November 2008 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Great Vicci - Frozen buttercream is a wonderful thing to have on hand.  I store it in a vacuum sealed storage bag and thaw it overnight in the fridge, then put the sealed bag on the counter first thing in the morning so the buttercream can come to room temperature and be waiting for me when I’m ready to use it.  If you search the blog, Hector developed a quick-thaw microwave method.

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Posted: 16 November 2008 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Patrincia, may I ask your advice with a couple of related questions? 

This is my plan—I will make the buttercream a couple of days ahead and refrigerate it.  Then, after bringing to room temperature, I will rewhip it (will not have to haul my KA out of the cupboard, but can use my electric hand mixer, correct?).  I can frost the cake about 9 hours prior to serving and will store it in a cool room.  My (newest) questions are—will the buttercream stay soft or firm up after the frosting?  Should I add the chocolate curl garnish just after frosting?  And, finally, would I use plastic wrap to cover the finished cake or could I use a “cake saver” lid (hard plastic dome)?

I am so glad that I posted here—you have eliminated 95% of my anxiety about making this dessert!  smile

Thank you in advance for your answers.

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Posted: 16 November 2008 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hi Vicci,

Yep, you can use your hand mixer, no problem (even a whisk will do!).  The Mousseline will stay soft, but it will hold it’s shape beautifully at room temperature (and even warmer).  If your Mousseline is exposed, I would opt for a cake saver lid because plastic wrap will just stick to your decorated cake and make a mess.  I think you would probably be okay to place the chocolate curls on 9 hours ahead, I would more than likely wait and place them on just before serving, keeping them in a cool, dark, moisture free storage container until needed. 

I hope you’ll be able to post a photo of your finished cake!

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Posted: 16 November 2008 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Patrincia, thank you yet again!

I will certainly post the photo in about 3 (gulp!) weeks.  My friends are used to waiting while I photograph our food (at least the cake can’t get cold while I do so!).  wink

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