Saturday, February 19, 2011

groom's cake

vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream

Anthony and I collaborated on a groom's cake in the likeness of a Yankee's cap. The cake itself was four layers. Three of the layers were baked in round cake pans and the rounded top was baked in a special domed cake pan. Anthony built the cake while I cut out the logo and applied the stitching details.
Below is a picture of the cake before we put the brim or the logo on. We applied some texture to the fondant with a paper towel so that it looked more like cloth.

For the finishing touch, we lightly airbrushed the cap with metallic pearl just to give it a bit of shine. The airbrush was acting up today, so we had to take it all apart before it would work again.

I don't follow baseball as closely as I used to, but my old prejudices are still intact. If it had been a Met's cap, it just wouldn't have been as fun to make. Besides the fact that Mets are the biggest choke artists in baseball, how can anyone root for a team with such a stupid name? Kind of reminds me of the Jets, too, come to think of it...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

my valentine

chocolate charlotte
I think I am a pretty easy going valentine. I like red roses and a nice dinner out with Chris, my husband. Chris is pretty easy going too. He never asks for anything so I usually make him a dessert with an explosion of chocolate, his flavor of choice for sweet things.

I've been out of school now for a year and haven't gotten much of a chance to make many of the French desserts and pastries I learned there. So I decided for Valentine's day I would do something classically French---a Charlotte Russe. All chocolate of course. One of the chef's at school said it was made by a French chef for their Russian employer and was made to echo the shape of a classic Russian hat called a Ushanka.

I made chocolate lady fingers which are made by whipping the whites and yolks separately then folding them together with flour and cocoa powder. You assemble the cake in a cake ring, so I piped the batter for the lady fingers to the height of the ring. I also piped a 6 inch round with the batter to form the base of the cake. Once they cooled, I picked up the lady fingers in one long strip and pressed them inside of the cake ring to form the wall that would hold the chocolate mousse filling.

I made the mousse from a recipe in Nick Maglieri's book, Perfect Cakes. I liked this recipe mainly because it did not involve any gelatin. I HATE GELATIN and I hate what it does to the texture of a mousse. The mousses we made in school all had gelatin and it drove me nuts. At work, chef served a mousse that consisted of fruit puree, whipped cream and lime curd. It was delicious and thick enough to hold its shape without any help from my arch-nemesis, gelatin. This chocolate mousse had butter, chocolate, egg yolks, sugar and whipped cream. PERFECT.

After I poured the mousse into the center of my lady fingers, I let it set, them covered it in a chocolate glaze containing equal parts heavy cream and dark chocolate and a little bit of corn syrup.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

nutella beignet

For the big game today I decided to (finally!) make my own nutella beignets, or donuts. I have been thinking about doing this since I was in Paris last year. I started with the filling. I used a recipe from the most recent issue of La Cucina Italiana which called for combining toasted hazelnuts, milk chocolate, grapeseed oil, sugar in the raw and a dash of salt in a food processor and blending until combined. This is Nutella, but on STEROIDS.

Next I made the dough. I used a recipe from work that Chef uses for bomboloni, which are small Italian donuts that are usually served filled with a pastry cream. The recipe is similar to a brioche dough which has butter added to the dough once it has been kneaded enough to be fairly elastic. I let the dough sit overnight before shaping it this morning. Letting the dough sit overnight helps the butter firm up inside the dough and helps the dough relax so that it is easier to shape. I formed the dough into 65 gram balls and let them rise on the counter for a few hours.

I haven't fried anything since I was in school so this was an adventure. I fried the donuts at 350 degrees for roughly 5 minutes total, flipping them fairly often to prevent a white line of dough from forming around the middle of the donuts.

Once they cooled, I rolled them in sugar and pumped them full of my hazelnut mix. I have to give a shout out to Luis from work. I originally planned to just use a piping tip to poke a hole in the donut to pipe the filling into. Luis recommended that I enlarge the insides of the hole with a skewer so that I could get more filling inside. It's all about the filling you know...