Monday, May 17, 2004

I'm going to split today's update into a couple posts, since a lot got done recently. I spent the whole weekend preparing cake components. I want to bring one of each of the three kinds of cakes my sister and her fiancé picked out to their engagement party at the beginning of June. I also wanted to do a test run of each cake so wasn't surprised by anything right before the party. I think I baked ten cake layers on Saturday. Everything was wrapped and tossed into the freezer for later assembly. I figure it makes sense to prepare as much as possible in advance to avoid a last-minute panic.

In the first picture, you'll see the first two layers of chocolate sour cream cake, for eventually inclusion in the chocolate with raspberry buttercream cake.


Next, you'll see three phases of the white cake layers (for the white cake with lemon and blackberry curds). First, the batter in the pans. Next, the pans in the oven, part-way through baking. Anyone see disaster looming? The first batch of those ended up rising past the edge of the pans and overflowing onto the oven coils. Smokey! I ended up cooling down the oven and scrubbing it out before I started the next batch. The second time around, I poured some of the excess batter into a cupcake pan. Bonus. I used the same white cake recipe as for that lemon-filled cake I made a few weeks ago. If you recall, I had some problems with those cakes being fragile and crumbly, which at the time I attributed to the whole wheat pastry flour. I had a little bit of the same problem again this time, although not quite as much. Moreso with the crazy overflowing batch. How would I change it next time? Maybe include some higher-protein all-purpose flour? Not sure. You can see in the next picture how the first couple cakes started to crumble around the edges. Hopefully, they will hold together enough to assemble them into whole cakes later.

test_whitebatter test_whitebaking test_whitecakes_done

The last picture is of the flourless chocolate raspberry truffle cake, part-way through baking. That one was really fascinating. Since it's made without flour, it was really almost more of a flan or custard-like recipe. Melted chocolate, eggs, cream, raspberries. That one should be interesting to taste. Also interesting, the recipe called for a single three-inch deep layer. Well, I don't own a 3-inch deep cake pan, and I couldn't find one at any of the stores I checked, either. I ended up getting a 3-inch deep springform pan, which you would normally use for something like cheesecake. It ended up working out well. I wrapped it in foil to seal it enough to put in a water bath, as you can see in the picture.


Finally, on Sunday I made a couple batches of chocolate italian buttercream (egg whites + almost-caramelized sugar + lots of butter + melted chocolate) and a batch of raspberry italian buttercream (egg whites + almost-caramelized sugar + lots of butter + pureed raspberries). I declined to strain the seeds out of the raspberry puree. That's texture. Good, bad? You decide. Oooh, and I got to buy a candy thermometer just for the occasion.