Sammy the Seal

Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Birthday cake: lime/cherry mousse cake

In delicious on Wednesday, 25 June, 2014 at 19:20

lime cherry mousse cake 1

This is make-up for an ugly birthday cake I made two years ago, with lime and blueberry.  I wanted to include similar flavors, but it is cherry season. Lemon olive oil chiffon cake base, topped with poached cherries, then covered in lime mousse (lime curd and whipped cream, slightly set with gelatin), cherry gelée, tempered dark chocolate plaques inscribed with tempered white chocolate, and “twin” cherries in the middle, with additional cherries (and whipped cream) propping up the plaques, and candied lime zest around the perimeter.

This one is less blinding, but is slightly out-of-focus.
lime cherry mousse cake 2

Or, in the dark.

lime cherry mousse cake 3

The sweet, sweet innards (utilization alert: I used the syrup the cherries poached in as the syrup for the gelée, so I hope it tasted of extra cherry):

lime cherry mousse cake 4

Clearly I was going for a striped effect around the cake, and I wanted more stripes, closer together, but it’s hard to get zest straight (or to hold well).

lime cherry mousse cake 5

It didn’t turn out too bad, though the process was painstaking enough that I decided to just space them out. Easily the most frustrating part of the whole endeavor. I was mostly satisfied with my ambition, so, unlike usual, I didn’t beat myself up too much about it.

Overall, quite proud. Birthday, so obviously I wanted to make the effort worth it. I would’ve liked to try some, but it wasn’t for me. Although, I do have all the components to make more, if I want to sample for myself. In other Saturday news, I successfully, quickly (first try!), parallel parked someone else’s car. (I’m sure if we were driving my behemoth, it likely doesn’t work out.)

parallel parking 1

Impeccable curb-spacing. It was a good day!

parallel parking 2


THE final exam

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Wednesday, 7 May, 2014 at 21:47

exam gateau 1

I forgot about this, my capstone exam over four weeks ago. B+ on the practical,written bumped it up to an A- though. I was hoping for a B- on the practical, so a mildly nice surprise. Cardamom genoise, filled with lemon curd and lemon-zested italian meringue buttercream. The filigree was slightly out of temper, at least my curls were good. The ganache for the rosettes (not the pour) was slightly broken, damn it.

exam desserts 1

Ginger bavarian with lemon gêlée, ginger was weak though, boo hoo. There was supposed to be a raspberry underneath the gêlée but due to a misunderstanding, my chef didn’t have them that day. So I thought I’d use them as a garnish, but he forgot them the second day. Not blaming, just explaining why it looks so plain. The red was supposed to make it pop a little. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought, for something with color. The crème brulée had a soupçon of both ginger and cardamom. Unfortunately I had to rush to get everything done on time, so that last couple weren’t burned so well. Oh, and the lemon zest kitty tuile. Which fell over. Nice job distributing the caramel sauce, eh?

exam desserts 2

That’s better, slightly. Hide it….

exam croissants

And croissants. No cross-section, I forgot to get one. Not so thrilling to look at. Yes, that’s how they look. They were arranged more nicely, but I didn’t get to photograph before they were disassembled (for grading).

The model for the tuiles:

tuile model 1

If she were really the model, the tuiles would been fatter. But then they would’ve dwarfed the dessert. The inspiration, anyway.

tuile model 3

One last time:

exam gateau 2

Fun time, school, but exhausting. At least now I’m getting paid, rather than paying, to wake up early.

Banana cream hazelnut torte

In delicious on Monday, 3 February, 2014 at 19:58

banana cream hazelnut torte 1

More catching up with last week’s production. Two layers of hazelnut sponge, with a rope of crème chantilly around the circumference of the bottom layer, thin banana slices overlapping in circles inside the rope, then the second cake layer on top, dredged with powdered sugar, then twelve cream rosettes with a banana chip in each one. If you don’t like bananas, don’t touch this one, that’s what I say. (Bonus points award to those who get the terribly obscure Izzard reference, found at 19:00–  ”F— off!” “I heard that!”) A lot less extravagant than a mousse cake, but, as I was told, we’re going for a rustic look. And this fits the bill, in its unassuming appearance and simplicity of design. I didn’t get to try this one, I’m sure it was delicious, not to mention a lighter eat.

banana cream hazelnut torte 2

The cake layers are made with hazelnuts roasted and carefully ground in a food processor (RoboCoupe!) by pulsing. Why pulse? Because if you don’t, and don’t continually sift out the powdered bits, you get a paste, which later clumps with the flour, and thus an ugly, unusable cake. Trust me. I should’ve snapped a photo, rats. Like night and day.

Not shown: a cake that was sliced too high (not by me!), and, being a cake that typically sinks in the middle upon cooling, one of the layers had a hole. Consequently, I took the remaining bottom and sliced that one in two, 1/4″ or so each layer. Pretty good for a sponge, and this one is even more tender than your typical sponge and was room temp, rather than easier-to-slice cold. But hey, I got a thumbs-up from the people watching through the window. I felt them staring, but it appeared to be a compliment of my utilization, and knifing, even. That cake was not as tall, and not as pretty, but at least I got the max of three cakes out of it. So, another look at one of the others:

banana cream hazelnut torte 3

And a fatty:

furry fatty 1

furry fatty 2

Mint chocolate mousse cake

In delicious on Monday, 3 February, 2014 at 18:43

mint chocolate mousse cake 1

From last week. Bombe base folded with milk/dark chocolate ganache and whipped cream, a little gelatin, with a gelatin-set disk of crème brûlée in the center, and a chocolate biscuit (joconde) cake bottom. Sprayed in chocolate, with a dark chocolate plaque, and the numbers out of some kind of icing. I did everything but the plaque, so I don’t know.

mint chocolate mousse cake 6
mint chocolate mousse cake 2

mint chocolate mousse cake 3

mint chocolate mousse cake 4


I couldn’t care less about the Seahawks, or football, for that matter, but what the heck. I guess it would’ve looked plain without the colors and accoutrements. They are pretty, and if I were a big fan of chocolate, I probably would’ve enjoyed the taste even more. Not minty enough, in my opinion, but that was my chef’s call, ha. And less sweet than normal cake, always a cook thing. I like these kinds of desserts better.
mint chocolate mousse cake 5

Peppermint red velvet cake

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 22 December, 2013 at 13:09

peppermint red velvet cake 1

Red velvet cake, italian buttercream flavored with peppermint oil and pulverized candy cane bits folded in. Not surprisingly, this was for a holiday function. Despite my indifference/relative lack of enthusiasm for chocolate cake, I quite enjoyed this. However, I don’t know what the big deal of red velvet is–  it’s essentially chocolate cake with red food coloring! I think the use of the word “velvet” makes the speaker/consumer feel fancy. It’s chocolate cake, yo. Italian buttercream, however, always a good choice. It’s lighter and less sweet then American-style buttercream. (I like boiled icings, they’re fun.)

I often have trouble decorating and finishing cakes, mainly because I want something other than a standard type of border, rosette, flowers and such. Fortunately, crumb coating is easy and utilized all my extra scraps. But the rest took me a while. Thank goodness for my #96 tip. A smooth surface is nice, but I like texture. Plus, it hides any uneven parts, ha. That being said, I can’t keep replicating this, as pleased as I am with how lucky I got. I don’t want to have to resort to merely aping things I liked.

peppermint red velvet cake 4

The finishing part took a bit too. Simple worked better this time. I saved the larger bits of candy to sprinkle on at the end, but, having little icing left, I was wondering what to do to the top. Lines, flowers, rosettes? I kept changing my mind and screwing up, and the icing got soft and changed color a little from being piped over and over. It got so soft that I just decided to spread it on intentionally unevenly by pulling up at random, then sprinkled. The irony is that it had a better effect than when I was trying.  Messing up is great, eh?

peppermint red velvet cake 3

Once again, time to critique layering. It felt good, but somehow that bottom layer still got too much. But around the sides and on top, I thought I did well– not much thicker than the layers.

peppermint red velvet cake section 1

Unfortunately, the cake was still relatively cold, and I didn’t have a knife and pitcher of hot water, so this it’s kinda crumbly and ugly. I really wish I coulda sliced this when the icing was room temp.; with the exception of the bottom layer, I think it would’ve looked nice.

peppermint red velvet cake section 2

The slices look a bit classier though. With the close-up detail showing, I would once again like to thank my 96 tip.

peppermint red velvet cake slice 2

peppermint red velvet cake slice 1

peppermint red velvet cake slice 3

Unintended crumbing creates cute, photogenic touch:

peppermint red velvet cake slice 4

I think this is one of my better cakes, by far, even if the cake and icing was still a bit firm for cutting purposes. Oh well, can’t have everything.

peppermint red velvet cake 2


Oh, hello there, princess:

cute furry cat 1

cute furry cat 2

Dobos torte, failures and successes

In delicious on Thursday, 12 September, 2013 at 13:33

dobos 1st attempt 1

The Hungarian classic. I might as well disclose up front, the taste, specifically, the texture of the cake layers, was no good. Tough and chewy, yuck. I followed a recipe to the letter, rather than applying what I knew.  It was a separated egg sponge, and it said to mix the flour in thoroughly, then the egg whites. Tsk. Also, I was referencing another recipe  which had a different baking temperature and said to bake until brown. However, the recipe I used has less than 50% sugar than that one. So there’s your browning. So I ended up overbaking the layers by about 100%, as well as possibly overmixing (the recipe had 8 ounces of bread flour as well). Looked great though:

dobos 1st attempt 2

The caramel came out great too, perfect in my opinion. Oh, those dark bits in the icing? Chocolate got too cool when folding into the buttercream. Whoops. I should be ashamed for not folding quickly and more thoroughly, tsk.

dobos 1st attempt 3

Layering was fine, a bit thick on some layers. It looks good enough, so if I didn’t say anything about consuming it, no one would ever know. But, I’m trying to improve, not impress.
dobos 1st attempt section 1

dobos 1st attempt section 2

I was so disappointed and apologetic (and slightly ashamed)– I tossed out the last quarter of it– that I had to do it again the next day, just to get it right. I alternated the egg whites and flour, stuck to the one recipe’s baking time and temperature, paid closer attention (i.e., opened the oven door and touch-tested more) and it came out much better. These layers were soft and spongy, just like a sponge cake. I’ve seen this cake masked in almonds, and plain, but I already did the plain, so why not. Also, some prop up the slices with rosettes or nuts, some lay them flat, and I already did the former.

dobos 2nd attempt 1

Unfortunately, the sugar is way undercooked, obviously. I wonder if it even got to 300°. It was chewy and sticky, not crisp. (Damn it!) It looked amber in the pan, but it was just the concentration of the color. That and I’m always worried about burning sugar, even though sugar is cheap and the whole process takes but a few minutes. It should be dark amber, not light golden. Oh well. Damn it, just 20-30 seconds would’ve made all the difference.

dobos 2nd attempt 2

Less icing too, but only because I was using the leftover from the first cake and I had to make it last.

dobos 2nd attempt section

dobos 2nd attempt slice

If only I could switch the top layer of the first with that of the second, I could’ve had a cake where the entire thing is edible, fancy that.

Black forest cake, more laundry

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Friday, 6 September, 2013 at 15:21

black forest cake whole 2

This one’s pretty standard, as far as traditional components go. I didn’t do anything outrageous to it. Chocolate cake, layers brushed with kirsch dessert syrup, fresh cherry halves (macerated in kirschwasser for a few hours) on each layer, filled and iced with whipped cream, coated with chocolate shavings.

black forest cake whole 1

Unfortunately, I removed all the stems up front, I bet it would’ve looked better with them sticking up. It’s just as well, though, as I wouldn’t be able to close the box.

black forest cake whole 3

Layering was fine, as far as I can tell:

black forest cake section 1

That’s whipped cream for you. I suppose if I want it even messier, I could do devil’s food. I thought about, but was missing an ingredient or two.

It’s always a good time for laundry shots:

more laundry 1


more laundry 2


more laundry 3


Chocolate cake, caramel buttercream, poured in ganache

In delicious on Thursday, 5 September, 2013 at 12:15

chocolate cake caramel bc ganache whole

Also known as, trying to get rid of ingredients and product that I’ve had a while. I think I made this two weeks ago. Ganache didn’t set up firm enough for my liking, which was strange because it shouldn’t have been a bitch to pour. Also, I was in a rush, so that was my fault. But, despite the messy piping and pouring, it’s shiny like it’s supposed to be, so it still looks kinda classy, maybe a little fancy, even. And my layering is getting better, no drastic difference in icing thickness:

chocolate cake caramel bc ganache section 1

A better photo, plus it shows off the hazelnut raspberry pavé in the back:

chocolate cake caramel bc ganache section 2

I didn’t bring milk, though.

chocolate cake caramel bc ganache slice 1

chocolate cake caramel bc ganache slice 2

Lemon meringue mousse cake

In delicious on Friday, 26 July, 2013 at 17:11

lemon mousse cake baked meringue 2

Genoise layers filled with lemon mousse and coated in Italian meringue. Very pretty, relatively satisfied. Except, as far as make-up, the cake layers could be about half as thin, and mousse could be a bit thicker. But this was partly out of necessity, as I had finite lemon and could only make a finite amount of lemon curd as my mousse base.

lemon mousse cake cross-section

The top layer was too thick, tsk tsk. Mousse cake should have more mousse. The slight discoloration on some  of the layers is syrup I had used to poach nectarines a few weeks back, and I couldn’t be bothered to make plain simple syrup. I probably should’ve scraped more crumbs off the bottom and top, I don’t like all that brown.

Split and filled but unfrosted:

lemon mousse cake no meringue

Coated in meringue before browning. Looks pretty enough untoasted:

lemon mousse cake unbaked meringue

And once more, the result:

lemon mousse cake baked meringue 1

Perhaps some outer decor or garnish or dusting next time, it’s a bit plain. Oh well. Keep on learning.

Banana cake, caramel buttercream + caramelized bananas

In delicious on Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 11:56

caramel banana cake 1

Done concurrently with the tart. Banana cake filled and iced with caramel buttercream, with leftover caramel sauce (for the buttercream) and caramelized bananas. I intended to have a drizzle effect with the sauce, like with seized chocolate, but it’s not thick enough so it ran all the way down. Oh well.

caramel banana cake 5

caramel banana cake 2

Another lesson learned that I probably should’ve known: caramelized fruits only work when served fresh.

caramel banana cake section

Naturally, the caramel dissolves as it absorbs moisture from the air. Duh. I was pretty happy with the layering, although I got that thicker portion in the center which I tend to do. Poo. The rest of the icing is pretty good, not too copious.

caramel banana cake slice 2

caramel banana cake slice 1

It still was delicious, but that color, well. Next time cake will be served the day of while it’s still golden. Or I could purchase a torch and caramelize them to order. Enough sallow color, ick. Back to happy fresh land:

caramel banana cake 3

caramel banana cake 4