Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Guess who had a big birthday??

Robb, that's who!! He turned 40 and had a pretty terrific surprise party put together by his partner, Michael.
Who knew there was
a decent place to go here in Peekskill?? Henry's on Hudson had been reported to be a real s&#t hole. It's a motel restaurant so expectations were low to boot. But it was shockingly good! The food and beer selection was good, the service was excellent, and no one could complain about gorgeous views of the Hudson river at sunset.
My contribution to this monumental event was, naturally, a birthday cake. What to make for Robb... It has to be special, that's a given. I don't want for him to "know" all the elements. Uh, but I can't remember what he doesn't fancy. I'm sure that he's not fond of coconut, but what else... I don't want it to be too predictable...not just chocolate... Ok here goes!

It's a variation on a Baumtorte. This is not a widely known cake (at least here in the U.S.). It's not one that you are likely to see done commercially, either. The labor is a killer, although I bet it wouldn't be that hard to mechanize production. It's a cake that gets baked, broiled really, in thin layers one at a time, so that the end result is a short cake with tons of layers that looks like a cross section of a tree trunk. The almond paste batter gets spread into a very thin layer and broiled until its set, every other layer gets brushed with apricot and dusted with ground pistachios.
In honor of Robb's 40 years, I thought it appropriate to make it with 40 layers. I counted the cake batter layers. A second layer had 29, figuring that's the age many of us wish to stay in perpetuity.

The normal Baumtorte would be cov
ered in Apricot and glazed with chocolate. It's tapered sides then covered with ground pistachio. To create a little more drama with this tiered version, I made an Apricot Silk Meringue Buttercream- our favorite from the cake bible (p. 239) with creme Anglaise, Italian meringue, butter, and apricot puree ( p. 335).

My piping skills are im
proving, and even though I thought it would be smashing to have some chocolate scroll work piped on the pale orange frosting, I decided not to ruin the cake! Instead, I recycled something we had done before. Robb and I liked it so well on the Strawberry Maria (CB p. 184), that along with the buttercream replay I didn't think he'd mind seeing it.

I experimented with some candy making molds, too. The little cordial cups came out pretty well and I liked the marbled look of the white and dark chocolate. I filled them with the frosting, although some apricot puree topped with frosting would have been better. Live and learn, right?

Robb's gifts there are an Easy Bake oven- yes they still make them- and some extra cake mix and tools to go whit it. My Dad always said it made a perfectly edible cake, hopefully we'll see sometime soon.

Lots of great folks were at his party, including Robb's friend Rob who was kind enough to share some of the photos he
took at the event. Thanks Rob!

To be fair, I'll add a picture that Rob shot of me at the party too. I'm no spring chicken either, my 40th is only 1 month away!

Happy birthday!

P.S. If you're dying for the recipe to the cake, just send me an email. Or google for it, I found little to no variation in recipes for it.


Lori said...

THe cake is beautiful. So many nice elements pulled together.

Will be back to check out your CHoc Instesity Cake

Audax Artifex said...

40 layers and 29 layers you are one busy baker! Clearly this cake is a labour of love and worth the results from the photos. Great effort and the taste combinations are a classic. A fabulous cake for a birthday party.

Gina said...

What a beautiful cake! And with 69 total layers? Wow. I agree w/a PP - definitely a fabulous cake.

Lis said...

Now that's a gorgeous cake, Janet!

Here's a lil secret.. but if anyone were to ask me, I'd deny it vehemently!! This torte reminds me of the infamous crepe cake of Daring Baker lore.. the secret? I liked the crepe cake - the paper thin layers of crepe with the thin layer of filling was amazing in taste.

Did I just say that out loud??

Anyhoo.. I will DEFINITELY make this cake now.. I never realized there was another cake out there that was similiar in the thin layer construction.

And your chocolate work is gorgeous!!

Happy belated birthday, Robb!!


Liliana said...

What a beautiful cake - a real labor of love!

Lauren said...

That cake looks AMAZING and incredibly complicated. I am very intrigued and may have to try it. HE is one lucky guy!!

marye said...

WOW~! You did an awesome job o that! I had heard of it but never tried it.

Beth said...

It looks awesome! You are a great friend to put all of that time and effort into a birthday cake, and I'm sure your efforts were greatly appreciated. The delivery is always the most nerve wracking part!

~brianna~ said...

Beautiful Cake!!!