Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pâte à Bombe (French Buttercream)

All I can say is OMG - where have you been my entire life! Now mind you, I don't have a sweet tooth which is a good thing in this business; but this, oh, it's just PURE JOY!
Made by whisking egg yolks with a soft ball sugar mix the end result is a creamy, smooth, not overly sweet buttercream that you just want to eat with a spoon. I have to say, this could very well turn into my favorite buttercream!
So on to crumb-coating, icing and decorating our Génoise cake. Here's what I ended up with, definitely need more practice before practical exam!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

La Génoise Deuxième Partie (Part ll)

So today I went to get my masterpiece out of the refrigerator ( my génoise cake) and to my surprise it didn't look half bad! We then moved on to some torting and filling techniques. Torting cakes can be very intimidating and if you're a perfectionist it can drive you to the bottle! But for the first time I was able to get a nice level cut just by using the right tools and techniques. So lets go back to the beginning, cutting the top layer. This was done really by eyeballing.
Now after leveling the top, we measured our cakes with the goal of having 3 X 1"layers of cake. After measuring we marked our cakes where we would be torting. Then, using a long serrated knife and with elbow to the side of your body we gently scored the cake while rotating it on a cake turn table. Interestingly enough, if you keep your elbow in place it makes the scoring much easier and straighter! Again, we did this for the second mark on the cake.
After scoring the cake, we then proceeded to cut through along the scored lines and came out with some pretty leveled layers! Now keep in mind that this was a small 6" cake, so I'm assuming that it would be a little more difficult for larger cakes, yet it seemed to work beautifully. Before separating our layers, we again scored the cake vertically so that we could align the layers as we were filling the cakes.
Now, with three layers of cake in hand, we went on to use a rum flavored simple syrup on each layer. After applying simple syrup, we used buttercream to create a dam around the edge of the cake of about 1/2". If done correctly you should end up with a 4" cake.
Now, I cut the tip of my pastry bag a little to big so I ended up with a lot of buttercream on my cake...not a problem says my instructor, we can fix it! But before that, we used a light coat of apricot jam for filling and more buttercream on top. So how did we correct for the excess buttercream layer? Simple, when we put our next layer on top we pressed down hard enough to to have excess seep out and just cleaned it off with a spatula. This also helped with leveling the cake! We repeated the process with 2nd layer and topped off with third layer and some simple syrup. We then crumb coated our cake and into the fridge it went to set. Quick tip: Before crumboating the cake we inserted a skewer to help stabilized the cake, pretty useful when dealing with larger cakes. Next on the agenda: covering your cake with buttercream and some pipping. Pictures coming, don't expect anything fancy yet! ;-)

Peace, love and cake my friends!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Art of La Génoise

My first official day at FCI and I'm all dressed up!
So the task at hand was to bake a Génoise cake; simple ingredients, not so simple technique! This delicate batter is a wink away from deflating if not treated with a gentle hand. So I managed to create a wonderful egg and sugar mixture with a beautiful pale yellow that reminded me of Easter eggs and baby blankets. But oh how quickly something so good can go so wrong. My first mistake was trying to fold to much flour in at once, thus having to manipulate more to break up the flour. My second mistake, well really a boo-boo that could have been avoided. When adding the butter/batter combination to my egg/sugar mixture i poured right in the center vs pouring down the edges of my mixing pan. As my batter deflated so did my heart. Nothing to do except pour in my baking pan and put in the oven to avoid any further "deflation".  How did it turn out? Well, better than I anticipated but not as good as it could or should have. The top had a marked slant vs a nice round top. I guess we'll be cutting that piece off! Tomorrow we'll be torting and filling so i'll let you know what I think of the taste.

Peace, love and cake!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's official!

Well the moment has finally arrived! I'm officially a student @ FCI ( I just pinched myself) and I'm on my way to start the steep learning that is The Cake Techniques and Design course, aka, CAKE BOOTCAMP!
Our first assignment will be genoise cake, so i better make sure my eggs are nice and fluffy and folded in just right. Oh, and I hope I don't forget to address my Master Chef with a "Yes Chef" "No Chef".
As is the intent of my blog, I'll be passing on tips and insights I learn to all my fellow cakers so stay tuned.

Peace, love and cake!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Little Boys Are From Heaven

As I continue to prepare for the awaited start date of "cake class" I've been busy working on some fun things. This was a baby shower cake and cupcakes I made for a an expecting cousin! Baby safari cake in next!