Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back to Baking Through ...the Cake Bible

Yes, finally! We have returned to The Cake Bible. Robb and Janet actually got together for a day of baking and made a couple of things: The Scarlett Empress p.177, and Orange Glow Chiffon Cake p.155.

The Empress was OK, we had made the sponge cake and rolled it up with raspberry puree back in, dare I say... October. It sat patiently waiting in the freezer until this past week. This was not a great idea, but when we tucked it away, we thought we'd be back to it in a couple of weeks, not in several months! The texture of the cake didn't suffer, but the flavor did. We decided to push ahead and get it done, even with the not so tasty cake. This spectacle of the Empress is what we were interested in, and we figured it would be just fine if we didn't greedily gobble up every morsel.

The outside of the cake is slices of jelly roll and the filling is a vanilla Bavarian cream. It's a nice idea, an unusual twist compared to a regular buttercream filled layer cake. The flavor possibilities are endless, and all you need is a bowl to use as a mold.

We decided to whip out another cake while we were waiting for the Bavarian cream to set up. In the sponge-type cake section of The Cake Bible are a bunch of chiffon cakes and we chose the Orange Glow Chiffon Cake. Chiffon cakes have all the lovely qualities of angel food cake, along with an improved texture and flavor due to the addition of fat- oil and egg yolks. Go figure, fat makes stuff taste good. I loved the chiffon cake, it needs no frosting and satisfies a cake jones without much trouble.

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Double Daring Bakers: Mirror Cake

Finally, the much anticipated mirror cake! This was a Daring Bakers recipe from early 2007. I joined the group in December that year and there were still folks talking about the Strawberry Mirror cake. It is impressive looking, that's for sure.
The top is a shiny mirror like surface of jellied berry juice. In my case, I used strawberries and some other mixed berries- blackberry, raspberry and blueberry. I think one of the challenges that people face when making this is resisting the temptation to pour a bunch of juice on the top. The thin, only 1/16" layer of the mirror is really elegant once it's done, but doesn't feel like enough when you're pouring it on.
To assemble the cake, you make a Bavarian cream with fruit puree and fill the bottom of a spring form pan. You situate a layer of sponge cake in the cream, add more Bavarian cream, another cake layer, and top with more cream. My layering job filled the pan to the very top, so I improvised with a collar made of transparency paper- a tip learned from making the French Yule Log in December, thank you Daring Bakers! I was able to pour the juice layer on top and it set up without too much of it leaking down the sides. Whew!

Here's the cake firming up with the collar made of strips of transparency paper (yes it's taller than is needed). This actually worked out pretty well. I was able to smooth the top of the cream against the edge of the pan and get a nice even layer of the fruit jelly. On some of the images I found of the mirror cake, I noticed that it was pretty when whole, but any unevenness in the mirror layer was noticeable once it was cut. The accident of getting the pan too full is one I will definitely repeat!

See this post for the recipe. We liked this one a lot. Sort of reminiscent of the Strawberry Maria which was also a favorite.

Happy Baking!