Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Group Wedding Cake

Our last cake of the semester required us to work in a group of three to create a three-tiered wedding cake. My group was assigned the shape of triangle for our cake, while other groups were assigned the shapes of octagon or flower. The wedding cake segment of class was spread out over five different class sessions.

During the first session, we listened to Chef talk aimlessly about different types of wedding cakes, different country's wedding cake traditions, and other random stuff for over two hours. It was incredibly boring. After his incessant information session, he described that we'd have to create a three-tier wedding cake. Each cake layer had to be at least 4 inches tall, and each of us had to decorate one layer.

During the second class session, we brainstormed ideas with our group members and prepared an ingredient and supply list.

During the third class session, we baked our cakes and prepared buttercream. My group also colored fondant and royal icing because we would be using these in our cake.

During the fourth class session, we each had to build and ice our cake layer, which I struggled with tremendously. I had to ice the middle layer which was 11 inches. I am not yet very comfortable with icing straight pointy sides necessary for a cake in the shape of a triangle or square, so this was challenging for me. Overall, I didn't realize how lopsided my layer was until the fifth class session, when we assembled the cake.

On the fifth day, we covered our cake board in foil and placed down the first layer, which was a 14 inch triangle. We rolled out fondant to look like a ribbon placed around the bottom edge of the cake. We then used tweezers to place triangles of three edible pearls in rows across the layer.

We then put dowels in the cake to help the middle layer stand straight, which only helped some to straighten out my crooked layer. On the second layer we placed another fondant ribbon around the bottom edge. We then placed a fondant plaque that I had previously piped with our initials - KJC - in royal icing.

We then put dowels in again to place the top layer, which was 8 inches long. We decorated this layer like the bottom one, with a fondant ribbon around the bottom edge and rows of pearls. Atop the cake, we placed a bow made from fondant. We then had to move the cake to the dining room to be displayed.

Rectangle Birthday Cake

Our last individual cake of the semester required us to complete a rectangular shaped cake for a child's birthday. We did this over three class sessions. On the first day, we baked Spanish vanilla sheet cakes which contain chunks of chopped chocolate. We also prepared Italian buttercream and cut out white fondant rectangles to dry.

On the second day, we prepared part of the decoration for the fondant rectangles. Chef gave us a picture of a dog which we traced with a pencil in order to create a pencil transfer onto the fondant.

After we had a pencil outline of the dog on the fondant, we used piping chocolate to outline the design.

We then colored piping gels to the colors of our choices and filled in the outline to complete the dog.

During the third class period, we assembled the cake. We did this by cutting three rectangle pieces of cake and layering them with simple syrup and buttercream. We placed the fondant decoration on top, then used piping chocolate to create a border and write the words "Happy 5th Birthday, Jenny." We finished the cake by piping a shell border around the top edge and the bottom edge.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

On Friday, October 28th, my Retail Bakeshop class hosted a Cupcake Sale, where faculty and staff could pre-order different types of cupcakes. Instead of a cupcake option, Gilly and I prepared a pumpkin whoopie pie with a maple cream cheese filling.

In order to jazz up the whoopie pie, we came up with a rolled fondant decoration. We first cut a scalloped circle out of rolled fondat, then cut a pumpkin out of the center. We replaced the center with an orange pumpkin cut out.

Next, Gilly worked really hard putting the final touches on the decorations, while I filled the whoopie pies.

All in all, we had a lot of fun experimenting with decorations for our whoopie
pies. These pumpkin ones are really delicious!

Tortes Times Three: Marzipan Dome, Lutetia, Sacher

We had a busy month in Advanced Cake Decorating, executing three different tortes that each have interesting components and techniques.

The first torte is the Marzipan Dome Torte. From the bottom up, we built this torte with the following layers: walnut chiffon genoise, brandy simple syrup, raspberry marmalade, marzipan, walnut chiffon genoise, brandy simple syrup, praline buttercream, walnut chiffon genoise, brandy simple syrup, raspberry marmalade, praline buttercream, and walnut chiffon genoise. After building the layers, we used our serrated knife to cut the cake into a dome shape. Once we had the dome, we covered the entire torte in praline buttercream.

We next rolled out a layer of marzipan to cover the entire torte, placed this on top, and carefully used our hands to smooth out the dome all around. We trimmed the bottom edges. We marked the torte into 16 equal slices, and used piping chocolate to pipe a thin ornament on each slice. We finished the torte by creating a marzipan rose, colored with a spray gun, and three leaves.

The second torte we executed was the Lutetia Torte, named for a Romanian princess. This torte also contains layers of walnut chiffon genoise, rum simple syrup, and raspberry marmalade, but it varies in that it contains chantilly cream and soft ganache. After building the torte, it was chilled for 20 minutes so the soft ganache could set up. While chilling, we took time to prepare a ganache coating. This was spread over the torte and smoothed as best as possible using a palette knife.

To decorate this torte, we marked it into 16 equal slices. Using royal icing, we piped a design on the edge of each slice. A quarter piece of walnut dipped in chocolate was placed within the piping.

We finished this torte by creating a carnation out of marzipan, which was also colored with a spray gun and adorned with three green leaves.

The third torte executed was the Sacher torte, named for the pastry chef in Austria who created it. The cake layers for this torte contain marzipan and cake crumbs in addition to hazelnut flour and cocoa powder so generally speaking this is a flavor profile that I can get excited about. This torte has two layers of the Sacher cake with a layer of apricot marmalade in between. It is covered with soft ganache, then chilled for 20 minutes, before being covered in ganache coating.

To decorate this torte, we marked it into 16 equal slices and used piping chocolate to pipe "Sacher" on each slice. We had to do this in the style used by Sacher himself.

Overall, these tortes allowed me the opportunity to execute a variety of new techniques such as building a dome out of cake, covering a cake with marzipan or ganache, piping with different goals in mind, and using marzipan to create roses and carnations. All in all, it was a busy month with lots of new techniques and skills.