Meyer Lemon Cake/Mousseline frosting/Fondant: The Trials
Posted: 24 January 2009 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So last night I baked the batch of fresh meyer lemon cheese cake pound cake squares.  After reading other comments, I’ll use a 13x9 pan and cut it up into small squares on the next batch. 

My initial results:
1) The squares came out great (except the last 6 slightly overdone since I didn’t hear the timer).  Very creamy and moist.  I had thought they may have been slightly undercooked but I think it was just the cream cheese giving it more or a creamy texture. (Made them on Friday Night)

2) I halved the mousseline recipe (on Saturday morning) just to give it a try in case something went wrong.  Everything seemed perfect.  I did have a couple of issues though.  My candy thermometer and saucepan required me to double the full batch amount of sugar and water in order to get a temperature measurement.  After I transfered the syrup to a pyrex measuring cup, I guessed at about a 4th of what was there (about 1/2 c. syrup).  I’m sure my butter wasn’t too hot. (room temp isn’t even that high here) but it may have been too cold.  About half way through the butter addition it looked like it started to curdle.  I upped the speed to try and get it smooth, but I wasn’t seeing any results.  It felt cold to the touch, so I tried the double boiler/ice bath.  That seemed to work.  Upon more butter addition, it started to curdle again.  I just kept going and when I got all the butter in, it emulsified.  Odd thing though, when I drizzled in the liquer, it seemed to break apart in flakes.  I just let it go for a little bit and it creamed.  Looked almost like the liquer was stopping it from sticking to the side of the bowl and it was just sliding around.

My real buttercream experience is limited but it seemed like it was more on the butter side of flavor than sugar or the liquer flavor.  Is it okay to add more liquer to boost the flavor?  (I think this was talked about in another thread which Im going to search for.)

3) Now being slightly impatient I decided to try and fondant cover the cakes.  The one of the left in the photos is with just a crumb coat and the one on the right is with a second coat of buttercream.  A couple of things I realized here.  I need practice with my fondant application.  I need to work on leveling the buttercream better.  But I also just wanted to see the flavor combination before going forward.

Thanks for all the help everyone here is giving and I can’t wait to share a proper looking fondant covered cake here.

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Posted: 24 January 2009 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Brian - get yourself some fondant smoothers - I find them a necessity when applying fondant.  You can buy them at Michael’s, JoAnn’s, Wal-Mart, etc.  The run about $5-6 each.  Also, there are some great youtube videos on the subject that you might find helpful.

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Posted: 24 January 2009 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Brian, your experience making mousseline buttercream sounds a lot like what happens at my house.  Honestly, I’ve never had a batch that hasn’t curdled, and when I stop adding butter and turn up the speed, it never comes together (or comes together only slightly, then curdles again with another spoonful of butter, so that one has to beat 10-15 minutes between each spoonful!).  Same thing happens, summer (warmer butter) or winter (cooler butter).  I will say that it always seems to come out OK, though, once it emulsifies. 

When taking the temp of the sugar syrup, it’s OK to tilt the pan to get a deep enough puddle to take a reading, though you may find in time that it’s easiest to double the recipe and freeze what you don’t use. 

As for adding flavorings, are you making the lemon curd version?  I must admit that the more flavorings I add to mousseline, the better I like it.  And the lemon curd version is one of my all-time favorites, it is glorious.  In my experience you can increase the amount of flavorings (liqueur, curd, etc.) in moussline, but I think it reduces the temperature resistance, so be sure to take that into account.

I will say that with the time it takes to cool the meringue and then to beat (and beat and beat) in order to minimize curdling, I feel like the silk meringue BC is just as fast, despite the extra step of making the custard.  And I love the added flavor of the custard base.

One other thought, I don’t know your recipe, but switching it to a large rectangular pan may require more structure than the little squares.  That will also have a more sharp-edged shape.  If it calls for baking powder, it should be reduced for the larger pan.

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Posted: 25 January 2009 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thicker fondant and smoothers = success!  I just have to work on getting sharper corners & edges now.  Mine seem more rounded.  They still look good but a perfect edge is my next goal.

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Posted: 25 January 2009 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Brian - 25 January 2009 06:01 PM

I just have to work on getting sharper corners & edges now.  Mine seem more rounded.  They still look good but a perfect edge is my next goal.

You can use the smoothers to get nice squared corners - check out some youtube videos for demonstrations.

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Posted: 25 January 2009 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Brian, what you describe on the Mousseline is exactly what happens, you are doing fine.  Yes, it is never smooth during the butter addition, breaking at some points.  Also when adding the liquor.  But at the end, when all is in together, it “emulsifies” in to perfection.  Be sure to use unsalted butter.

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Posted: 26 January 2009 12:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thank you for the update, Brian. Practice truly does make perfect, so don’t get discouraged if your cakes don’t come out looking like you want on the first try. Personally, I find fondant extremely challenging, and I rarely ever do fondant cakes because I’m just not that good at it. I have to give you credit for tacking it.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 02:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hi Julie, and all - well after poor failed All Occasion Yellow Downy Butter cake yesterday, today I proceeded on to the dreaded Mousseline. Everything seemed okay, very careful mis en place, until the sugar - I used an old copper caramelizing pan that I have had forever, on electric stove. I had purchased a Taylor candy thermometer (a giant thing). I couldn’t get the thermometer to read 248 - 252, even by tipping and tipping. I was hot and fighting burning it and myself. Finally, I just gave up and added it,
really just turning hard (whew). The Mousseline never really curdled, but I was watching very carefully and there was a moment when I wasn’t sure, so I just whipped it on high for a minute or so. I drizzled in 3/4 c. of lemon curd. Then I slathered it all over the poor undercooked cake from yesterday, and put it in the fridge. I then proceeded to scoop up fingerfuls of the excess and happily enjoyed this ambrosia right out of the bowl! Mmmmm.
It has helped so much tonight to hear all of your insights pertinent to all of our recent endeavors, for example that sugar temp will change several degrees at a time, not just one. I recall Hector mentioning a thermometer he and Rose use. Hector do you remember which one? It was about $20. Another really important solution re the thermometer temp problem for me was the advice to just double the batch! And I would have thought freezing would render a sticky mess.
Thanks again everyone,
Joan

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