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Strawberry Maria and cupcakes
Posted: 06 March 2009 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here’s the Strawberry Maria I made for my birthday last month- delicious!  And my husband and daughter together made a simple, wonderful dinner, I loved it!

I learned two things while making this cake:

First, it is possible to overwhip whole egg foams.  I recieved a KA 6 QT mixer for said birthday (woo hoo!) and this was the first cake I made with it.  With my old mixer, speeds were slower and it was much harder to overwhip.  In Bakewise, Shirley Corriher points out that after 2-5 minutes on high, one should beat on medium, because on either high or low, the foam will deteriorate.  She describes the overwhipped cake texture as larger bubbles at top, smaller at bottom, with lower height and more compact texture.  This was exactly what happened.  I had made two layers, intending to freeze one, so I just trimmed the denser bottom off and used both layers.

Second, different brands of cocoa powder have different weights for the same volume, a fact I learned from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread.  For months now, I have been trying to figure out what’s going on with my chocolate cakes, sometimes rich and flavorful and sometimes bland and lacking in flavor.  Sure enough, I have four different cocoa powders in my pantry right now.  According to Amy, you should measure cocoa powder by volume if you are using a different brand than what is called for.

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Posted: 06 March 2009 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Here are the results of a recent cupcake frenzy…

From left, chocolate fudge cake with vanilla mousseline, domingo cake with hazelnut mousseline, and golden almond cake with apricot-vanilla mousseline.

Of these, my favorite was the domingo/hazelnut, which was incredible.  It was sort of funny, because the domingo cake, tasted alone, had not been my favorite.  But combined with the hazelnut mousseline, it was wonderful.

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Posted: 06 March 2009 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This picture didn’t fit with the other cupcakes, so I’m posting it separately.  It is also the chocolate fudge cake, but when I made them (I had to make a lot for a school class) the pans wouldn’t all fit in my oven, so I left one out for 25 minutes while the others baked.  Predicatably, the cupcakes that were left out had overly-peaked tops.  So I made up a small bowl of chocolate butter glaze (no cream in the house that day) and just dipped the tops into the bowl of glaze.  It left a thin coating that balanced out the shape.  I have to say, though, that I liked the chocolate fudge cake better when paired with the vanilla mousseline.

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Posted: 06 March 2009 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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This is a picture from a year ago, I came across it and decided to add it.  It was my daughter’s birthday cake last year (notice complete lack of piping skills back then!).  She wanted the cake to taste like a white chocolate covered strawberry.  It is two 10” layers of genoise classic with a mild lemon syrup, torted with Rose’s strawberry puree for filling (thickened with a little gelatin).  The frosting is Creme Ivoire.  The photo doesn’t really show it, but it has gold dust brushed on the sides and lots of different kinds of glittery blue sprinkles on top, all of which she helped apply.

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Posted: 07 March 2009 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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What a difference a year makes - Wow!  Everything looks so beautiful, and I know they tasted amazing!  Excellent job!

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Posted: 07 March 2009 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks, Patrincia!  I tried the chocolate fudge cake on your recommendation, I really liked it- complex, not too sweet, and light/moist- lovely!

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Posted: 07 March 2009 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wow Julie! The strawberry maria and cupcakes look great, specially the lattice band. It has become my favourite way to decorate the sides of a chocolate cake now. I made one last week too for my daughter’s school. You should have seen the attention my daughter got when we walked in with it.

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Posted: 07 March 2009 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks, Rozanne!  I love working with chocolate, this is my second band (the first one was solid).  They yield a beautiful effect for not too much work!  With this one, I learned that the chocolate looks its best if it is cooled quickly during quick tempering, and if both the countertop and cake are at cool room temp.  For my first one, I was working on the countertop over the dishwasher, which had been running, so the surface was too warm!  And the cake had come straight out of the ‘fridge, so it was very cold. 

From start to finish, this band only took about 20 minutes, and I know it would have taken me longer than that to get the sides smooth and decorate them with piping.

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Posted: 07 March 2009 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I couldn’t agree more about the beautiful effect for not much work. Yes it helps if the buttercream on the cake is at room temp. I find the band adheres better to it as opposed to the cold buttercream.

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Posted: 09 March 2009 03:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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oh dear J, thank you so much for sharing such most perfectly executed cakes, and great photography!  the sliced strawberry maria is just awesome.  elegance through out, even from last year!

when I made my 12 tier Hawaii Way cake, entirely made of biscuit de savoie, i’ve noticed that it is possible to over whip whites even when always using cream of tartar, but never to a point where your cake fails.  i used my 6 qt KA, and stopped over whipping when I noticed a large ball of whipped whites will form inside the whisk.  the foam was as thick as it can get, but nothing terrible short that my huge JB prince balloon whisk wouldn’t handle!

just made a batch of dough for chocolate rose modeling, due April 9th.

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Posted: 09 March 2009 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Awesome!! Everything looks so beautful!!!  Not to mention I really want to eat it all too lol.
I love the looks of that cake.

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Posted: 09 March 2009 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hector, thanks so much for the kind words!  I get that ball of whites inside my KA 6QT whisk, too, when making a double batch of mousseline!  Can’t wait to see your next project- chocolate roses sound lovely.

Ski, it was indeed all very tasty, thanks to Rose’s beautiful recipes.  I’m enjoying learning a few simple piping and chocolate skills, they can really make a big difference in how a cake looks.  This was my first attempt at shells, the presentation was more forgiving, I think, than a single border.

I’m waiting with baited breath for the “Show & Tell” posts we can see when Rose’s new book comes out!  6 more months…

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Posted: 20 March 2009 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Wow!  Everything is so beautiful.  Excellent job on the chocolate band around the strawberry maria.  Wow!!!

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Posted: 21 March 2009 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thanks, Tammy!  I keep trying to think of a way to use the lattice band again for decorating another cake.  I love the look, and it is pretty fast and easy for someone with just-beginning-to-learn piping skills!

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Posted: 22 March 2009 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Julie,

  These all look so tasty. You did an excellent job with all of these and they look beautiful. I especially like your piping work on the cupcakes. Thank you for sharing your pictures.

~Matthew smile

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Posted: 22 March 2009 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Julie,

Even the photo from a year ago is beautiful - I’m a believer in simplicity. The smoothness of the frosting, even without piping, is very elegant. Also, the cupcakes look delish! I’m inspired to try the chocolate lattice and bands after your writing on them. Thanks for posting!

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