Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Week Fifteen: Cakes

My hectic schedule combined with summer weekend get-aways has left me a bit behind on my postings.  I hope you don't mind me going quickly through this week, as it is a bit difficult to remember every detail two weeks later.
During this week, we began decorating cakes individually in class.  With a little guidance from our chef-instructor on the desired thickness of layers, we are allowed to create our version of the cake, decorating as detailed in the instructors or by ideas we have personally.
The first cake we decorated this week used the lemon-scented white cakes we made last week and held in the refrigerator over the weekend.  I chose a lemon-raspberry flavor combination for finishing: raspberry jam striped in between layers of lemon butter cream.

I was pleased with the evenness of my layers and final look of the cake.  My rosette-piping skills need some honing, but I was still pleased with my first effort.
Tuesday's class during this week was cancelled due to the fact there was no running water at the school.  I was thrilled to have the evening because Mike found out earlier that day he passed Level One of his CFA exam.  Instead of getting covered in buttercream, I was able to celebrate with Mike and his father over wonderful food and wine at a nearby Italian restaurant.
We returned to class Wednesday for another night finishing cakes, this time a chocolate layer cake.  Before we started doing this, we made up the baked almond frangipane cake which would be cooled, layered and held overnight for tomorrow's class.
I used a rich ganache as the filling between the two layers of chocolate cake and then iced it with a coffee buttercream.  I became a bit more creative in my finishing this evening, creating the cake I had envisioned all day at 
I used semisweet chocolate shavings on the sides and then equally spaced twelve chocolate covered espresso beans around the top.  I was again pleased to find the layering was equal and the cake was gooey, chocolatey and delicious.  I was so excited to take the cake home to share with Mike; so imagine how disappointed I was to find the cake was destroyed somewhere along my trip home.  There was one small, salvageable piece which I sadly served to Mike on our crisp white plates.  One bite and Mike suddenly seemed to sympathize with my disappointment.
I absolutely could not wait for Thursday night : petit fours!  All day, I sketched out a design each time I dreamed of these little confections.  My excitement grew as we cut out the cakes, two layers baked almond frangipane separated by a thin stripe of raspberry jam, into bite-sized portions.

I chose the gels for coloring the melted fondant: sky blue, mint green and white.  And that is where my excitement for petit fours stopped.  The melted fondant would only coat the cakes if it was exactly the right temperature.  Too hot and it would seep into the cake, too cold and it would become a thick glob on top of the cake.  Needless to say, it was frustrating. 

They were also incredibly sweet - which coupled with four hours of frustration led me to decide I would never make petit fours again.  At least not willingly.


  1. Vic liked the petit fours. Surprise, surprise.

  2. Beautiful petit fours. Too bad you don't like making them as they look delicious.


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