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Monday, March 29, 2010

HCB: Le Succes

This is one of those cakes that seem like it's going to be super easy but turn out having a hidden challenge along the way.

It all starts out easy enough. Blanched almonds, process them with the sugar in food processor until fine. Then whipped egg whites, add cream of tartar and sugar. Once the egg whites are stiff and glossy, fold the almond sugar mixture into the whipped egg whites. Next comes my favorite part, piping. I love piping, I find it fun.

Btw, I love that Rose is so specific, she even gave instruction on how to make the circles if you are using silpat. I dipped my 6 inch cake pan into cocoa powder, then tap it on the silpat. I would never have figured this out myself!
So far everything went well, the challenge come upon unmolding the meringue. Per Rose's instruction, the circles are very soft and therefore you have to unmold it carefully. I tried to do this super carefully, but I am also impatient so I tore 2 out of 3 of the circles. I didn't take a picture of it b/c it looks just too sad. But oh well, the good thing is that all these will be frosted with yummy ganache, so I'd be able to hide the imperfections!

I'm getting pretty good at making ganache now (yay!). I didn't even use the food processor, just mix it in the bowl. This is the first time I use creme fraiche for ganache. Instead of using instant lemon tea, I used Starbuck's decaf instant coffee. Not trying to promote Starbucks or anything, but I love their new instant coffee. The ganache smells and taste very coffee-y. I love the smell of coffee so I think it is heavenly. But I do wonder what the tea version will taste like. Hm.. will have to make this one again using tea.

I am trying to improve my cake-photography skills. These pictures are taken with natural light, white balance on, ISO setting 100, and flash off. I think they are not bad, better than my previous pictures - taken during the night. This means that I would need to bake on Saturday or early enough on Sunday so I can take a picture early enough :). Which means I need to be organized enough to do this, LOL!

Tasting impression: 
YUM! (this seems to be my general consensus for Rose's cake). I like the crunchy texture of the meringue. Though I do think the balance of portion between meringue and ganache is off - there's too much ganache, too little meringue. I do love the creme fraiche in ganache more than regular heavy cream. It taste more tart and it balance the chocolate taste nicely. The coffee smell is stronger than the taste. Overall I think the cake is pretty good. It is definitely a very interesting combo and cake experience. Thank you Rose for this yummy recipe!


  1. Lovely looking cake! Your pictures came out nice.

  2. your photos look great! i am a very firm believer that food under flash photography looks terrible. when i take night photos of food i crank up the exposure or fix them later in picasa to adjust for light. they still don't look as good as natural light, so like you i try to keep myself organized!! the tea gave the ganache a nice subtle flavor, but coffee and chocolate are always a good pairing!

  3. Well your photos are excellent... natural light is the way to go... a tip: you don't need the ISO setting if you are using natura light *wink*.... use Macro :) They will come out even sharper.

    And you are right, this cake has hidden pit-falls.

  4. Your cake looks amazing! Your piping is awesome! the swirls!

  5. The cake looks wonderful. Thanks for the idea to use coffee instead of tea.

  6. I totally agree with you about the proportion of meringue to ganache. This ganache is so rich that it overwhelms the cake. I thought about doubling the cake to make this a bit larger.


  7. Your photos look grand. Lucky that day light saving and summer will make for brighter photos with not quite so much organisation!!

    Thanks for the tip about too much ganache... I will make less than is called for. I prefer more cake than ganache.

    Using coffee in place of tea - mochalicious!

  8. Beautiful!!! Love the black and white contrast. I've made a sour cream ganache before (from TCB) and that was slightly tart and delicious. I'm thinking it probably is similar to the creme fraiche ganache.

  9. Your cake looks great. Thanks for the tips. I think the coffee sounds very nice - I like the scent also. I have a new camera, but haven't the remotest idea how to do all these intricate settings - hard enough measurng on acale, lol. joan


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