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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TCB: Black Forrest Cake and Biscuit de Savoie

A couple of cakes I made recently outside the HCB bakers. Both from TCB.
Black Forrest Cake. I made 1/2 recipe of Moist Chocolate Genoise, split it in half. Syruped with the reduced canned cherry syrup with brandy. I baked the cake in a regular 9 inch pan. I placed the 1st layer inside a springfoam pan (without the bottom). Top with the Stabilized Whipped Cream, then poked in the halved cherry all around the insides, placed the 2nd layer on top, top again with whipped cream, then piped the swirls (I don’t know if they’re rosettes or what shapes they are LOL). Top with cherries and shaved chocolate.
A couple of changes to the recipe: the last time I made this cake (a couple of years ago), it was too alcoholic for me. Since I made this for a dinner party where I’m not sure people are used to hard liquor, I only use less than 1/2 the required brandy amount. Unfortunately, I think I reduce it too much because we ended up not tasting the alcohol at all. Funny enough, a couple of friend there said it’s too much alcohol - so I guess it’s a good decision.
Tasting impression: Aside from the lack of alcohol, the cake is really good. I find the whipped cream is too plain, probably also because there’s not much alcohol taste in the cake so the plain whipped cream flavor stands out more. For next time, if I use less alcohol in the syrup, I want to try adding liqour to the whipped cream or making the light whipped ganache variation (which sounds really yummy!).

Biscuit de Savoie. I mistakenly ordered two 9 x 1.5 inch Magic Line pan from Amazon (instead of 9 x 2 inch pan). Good thing is that these pan becomes the perfect excuse for Biscuit de Savoie. I’ve been wanting to try this one ever since I saw Hector’s amazing project. The recipe calls for three 9 x 1.5 inch layers but I only made 2 layers so I multiple the recipe by 2/3. The cake itself is very easy to make, no real suprises or crazy challenges. I syruped the cake with Chambord. The frosting is Raspberry Mousseline from TCB (with a couple of tablespoon of Chambord). I loved raspberries so I actually made the full recipe of the raspberry sauce so I can use some to drizzle on top of the cake. I also didn’t add too much sugar in the sauce so it taste pretty tart, which I love and it ended up going well with the sweet cake.
Tasting impression: There are no words to describe this cake. It is soooooo yummy. The Biscuit is so moist and tender and sweet. And mousseline is so heavenly! It kinda bothered me that the cake is so pink though. I think it’s super cute but everytime I eat it I think “hm.. it’s really pink.” I also find it hillarious that it bothered me, considering there’s no artificial flavoring and the pink color comes from the frozen raspberries.

Monday, February 15, 2010

HCB: Double Chocolate Valentine

Yesterday was apparently not the day for me to bake. Why? Keep reading, and you will find out.

I went to the grocery store yesterday with the intention of purchasing the raspberries. But seeing the price ($5 per pint) I changed my mind. Instead, I made 1/4 recipe of the raspberry sauce from The Cake Bible and folded it into the whipped cream. I have purchased the heart-shaped Wilton pan from Amazon for this special occasion, but since I vowed to make 1/2 recipes, I ended up using the round 6 inch pan.

Overall, this cake was very easy to make. The ganache was a breeze to make too, which was a relief considering my luck with ganache. I didn't have wooden skewer, so I poked the cake with metal skewer which was a tad bigger than the wooden one. At first I was afraid I'm gonna damage the cake too much, but it ended up okay and the bigger holes absorbed the ganache quickly.

So far so good....

Piping was fun as well. I love how pink the cream looks. The cake looks very different than if I had decorated with raspberries. I still think raspberries would have been prettier, but oh well. I made my decision and now gotta move on.

Now comes the tasting impression: I do not like this cake. It was too fudgy and not sweet enough. I'm trying to think back to see if maybe I messed up the sugar content in the batter - it's bound to happen since I make 1/2 recipe. Hm.. hang on, let me go re-read the recipe.

Flipping pages in RHC...

Scanning through the list of ingredients...

Sugar 200 grams, 1/2 recipe = 100 grams...

Reading the instructions, it said to combine flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in the mixer.


Shoot, I can't remember if I added sugar! But considering that the cake taste strongly of unsweetened cocoa powder, I deduct that I most probably did not add the sugar!!!


Seriously... how stupid can one be?!? Though I do have to admit I sorta have a habit of messing up the easy recipes. Oh well, I guess I shouldn't expect every cake I make to be perfect :). I will try this again though - someday. And I will double check everything!

Side note: how come the cake rose at all?

Ok, I'm not really crying, but I'm really sad that it taste bad. I was really looking forward to this cake. I even watched the videos that Rose has posted on her blog when she made it with Dede Wilson.

How can I fix the cake now? I'm thinking sprinkling a lot of powdered sugar on top? What do you all think?

Monday, February 8, 2010

HCB: True Orange Genoise

In an attempt of baking more often but eating less quantity, I vowed to try to make 1/2 recipes from now on. So for this week's selection, I baked 1/2 the genoise in 6 inch pan. I measured everything correctly, but alas, the genoise only turn out to be 1 inch tall! I was too sad and annoyed (and lazy) to remake it so I went ahead with the rest of the recipe.

The syrup was a breeze to make - I used Grand Marnier instead of Triple Sec since that's what I have on hand.

There has been many discussions among my HCB friends about finding Seville oranges. I couldn't find any here so I went with navel oranges instead. Making the orange curd was pretty easy. I love the smell of the curd as I was stirring it on the stove. Smell so orange-y (this is not a real word, though I think it should be :) and tart! It taste yummy too (I stole a spoonful) - and I can't imagine how much better Seville orange curd would have tasted.

I actually had mixed feelings about this cake. Flavor-wise, I was really looking forward it because my favorite chocolate is dark chocolate with oranges. What worries me is because it calls for ganache. Ganache is my nemesis in baking!!! The first time I made ganache last year, it turned grainy and gooey and icky looking so I threw it out. The second time I made it, it never set - even after a day of refrigeration (though it didn't go to waste this time, I bought strawberries and banana and had a yummy chocolate fondue :)). Oh, and keep in mind that I tried different recipes here - so it's not the recipes' fault. You would think third time's the charm, but no, not in this case. The light-whipped ganache I made last month - I renamed into chocolate butter. The texture was odd, too creamy and it didn't want to stick to the cake. It still taste good and we ate the whole cake :). This weekend was the fourth attempt of said nemesis. I made 2/3 of the ganache. Everything went well and I leave the ganache to set in a container at room temperature while I made some soup. Well, 1/2 hour afterwards the ganache looks like it has set so I prepped the cake to be decorated. By the time I was gonna spread the ganache, it was too hard to spread easily. I still persevered but I ended up pushing some of the curd out (they were oozing from the sides of the cake). It's no big loss though I think the cake would lose some of its orange flavor. Back to ganache, I managed to spread it all around the cake nicely - but I didn't have anything left to drizzle on top of the cake (though at this point the ganache is not drizzalable). So I went ahead and made a small batch of it. I made 1/5 of the recipe. This quantity is too small to do in a small food processor, or so I found out right away. So I scrape the whole thing off to a saucepan and heat on low heat while mixing on the stove. This is where the disaster happen. The mixture start to separate. It looks oily and odd. I was about to give up when I remembered an advice from Annie (from Rose's blog) about adding some cream to it. I added about 1 tsp of cream and mix, still looks odd, I add 1 more tsp of cream, and the whole thing came back looking more like ganache. The good thing about the cream also is that it makes the ganache drizzalable (I love this made up word :). And this is the result...

Lalala... I'm so happy that I managed to save ganache...

Tasting impressions: I love this cake! It's really really good! I do wish it's a bit more tart or orange-y. And I realized after it's all done that Rose give tips of reducing the juice oranges if not using Seville - which I forgot to do. Oh well, for next time. For now, I am enjoying this yummy yummy cake.