The cakes portion of our program is divided into two portions, separated by the second half of the bread unit. Making cakes are really time consuming. One cake we made this week had seven different components that had to be made. I figure it probably took about 3 hours of actual working in order to make that cake.
On Tuesday, the theme seemed to be chocolate. I like chocolate (not as much as vanilla), but working with it is just messy. Tuesday night I had to apply stain spray to my whole uniform. The first cake was a chocolate ganache cake. We built the cake in a ring mold using layers of chocolate genoise and chocolate ganache. Once the cake set in the freezer, we took it out of the mold and poured a chocolate glaze over the entire thing.
Using organic roses (so that they're not sprayed with pesticides), we made candied flower petals. We took the petals and brushed them with egg whites and then rolled them in superfine sugar. This was a really pretty and easy touch to add to the top of the cake.
The second chocolate cake was the one that had seven components was the Marjolaine. We made the chocolate genoise and the nut meringue layers the class before. From bottom to top it was: chocolate genoise (cake), chocolate ganache, nut meringue, chocolate whipped cream, nut meringue, praline buttercream, nut meringue, whipped cream, and a last nut meringue. The whole thing was then covered in the praline buttercream and coated with the chocolate glaze. This was a really decadent cake. And being as it took so long to make, a special occasion cake.
Next up for the week was our Charlotte Russe. The outside was built out of ladyfingers and inside was a white peach Bavarian (similar to a mousse). Both the ladyfingers and the Bavarian were amazing. It was a really fresh-tasting cake. I could see myself eating this in the summer. My ladyfinger piping skills needs some work, so I think I will be making it again.
Thursday night I had a really rough night at class. One of those nights where I was just like "whyyyyy did I come? Why am I not at the bar with my friends??" I love pastry school, and I'm so happy I made this decision to enroll. That said, not every class is a walk in the park. On Thursday, my jaconde (a very thin sheet cake we were using for two different cakes) was over-baked (each class has two assigned people to be bakers) and then another classmate carelessly unmolded my cake and broke it into many pieces. After that, the cake was basically unusable. I'm a total perfectionist when it comes to baking and school, so I was pretty unhappy about this. I ended up being able to scavenge some of my classmate's leftovers in order to make both of my cakes.
The Charlotte Royale was one of the cakes we made with the jaconde. We made a jelly roll using the cake and apricot jam. The log was cut into thin slices and we lined a bowl with them. The cake was them filled with a vanilla Bavarian cream with a round of white genoise placed for what would become the bottom of the cake. Once the cake set in the freezer, we flipped it over out of the bowl. I'm not sure yet how this cake tastes (it's one of three in my freezer currently), but it looks like a brain. If we had used red raspberry jam, this would have been the perfect Halloween cake. Right next to the peeled grape "eye balls."
The next cake was one I was really excited to learn how to make. When I lived in Boston, there was this amazing dessert bar/bakery called Finale and they always had these type of cakes in the display case where the outside was a patterned cake. I never had any idea of how they got the cake baked into that pattern, but now I know the secret. Using a stencil and some chocolate cake batter (pate a cornet to be exact), you apply the chocolate to the Silpat (nonstick liner) and then freeze it. Once it's frozen, you put a white batter on top of the chocolate design, spread it thin, and then bake it. It's amazing!
This is the unfinished chocolate mousse cake that is currently in my freezer. I texted my roommate on Saturday, "If you're feeling inclined to bring home anything that needs to be frozen, don't." We have this cake, a Charlotte Russe, and a Charlotte Royale in the freezer taking up basically every inch of space. The chocolate mousse cake has white chocolate and chocolate mousse on the inside. Our mousse came out not as great as we had hoped, but tasted great. At some point this week, I'll finish that cake with some whipped cream and bring it to work. I'm really enjoying cakes so far. It's rewarding to have all the different components come together into something beautiful. This week we tackle some traditional American cakes, which will be a nice break from the plain and boring genoise!