Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mocha Buttercream Torte & Ganache Torte

We've done a lot of new and challenging techniques in the last few Advanced Cakes classes, so I figure it's about time I get around to sharing these with you. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes...

Anyway, three weeks ago, we made the Mocha Buttercream Torte. In terms of building the cake, this one was fairly standard. We used three vanilla chiffon genoise layers and the mocha buttercream. The only twist here is that we also added a layer of apricot marmalade on the bottom layer to add color contrast and provide a bit of tart taste to the overall product.

The challenge in this cake came in the decoration. After marking the cake into 16 equal slices, we placed a three-inch ring in the center to mark an area for sliced almonds. We then piped a line of buttercream down the middle of each slice, then piped a line that crossed over the center line. The trickiest part was then piping a very thin line of chocolate over the second line, which provided a color contrast and an accent to the design. We then placed a mocha bean on each slice as well as sliced almonds in the center and around the bottom edge in order to finish the cake.

Overall, I was really pleased with my effort on this cake. It's one of the best cakes I have decorated to date so I feel like I am finally making progress in the area of cake decorating as a whole. And, I really liked the mocha flavor in this buttercream so that's a nice bonus.

Two weeks ago, we made the Ganache Torte. I love ganache, as much as I love saying the word ganache. What's not to love about cream and chocolate in perfect harmony, right?

Well, it wasn't exactly perfect harmony this time around. We attempted to make a soft ganache but it ended up being somewhat chipped. Regardless we were able to proceed and execute the cake.

This cake had three vanilla chiffon genoise layers as well. Nothing special in building the cake, just layering the cake with ganache. To decorate the top, we piped a reverse shell border and then piped 16 rosettes on top. The challenge in this cake was to pipe with chocolate the words "Happy 20th Birthday, Elizabeth" in a stylized font on a fondant disc, which was placed in the center of the cake.

A few weeks ago, we had a homework assignment to write the alphabet in capital and lower case letters as well as numbers in two different stylized fonts. Most people practice this piping in advance of making this cake, because it's somewhat nerve-racking to do this under pressure. I feel generally comfortable with piping based on my progress last semester so I chose not to make any time to practice ahead of time. I attempted one disc fully and then piped a second disc, and was pleased with my second effort. With the exception of the "E", I liked my stylized font and the accuracy with which I was able to pipe the greeting.

To date, this is the best effort I have made on a cake in this class, so I was again really pleased with my effort and my progress. A year ago, I couldn't pipe a reverse shell border, and I found it easy this time around, so that's good for my confidence and my progress. I'm also glad to know my piping skills have remained fairly intact even though I haven't practiced as often as I used to. All in all, I feel like I'm getting into a good stride in my cake decorating, and that's a pretty good feeling.

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