Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Week Sixteen: Cakes, continued

While my waistline protested, we continued cake instruction through last week.  On Monday night, we worked in teams to create a seven-layer Dobosotort, a traditional Venesian cake.  This involved spreading nine wafer-thin cake layers on sheet pans.  After a quick ten minutes in the oven, they emerged as delicate, crispy layers needing just a few moments to cool before frosting. 
While we waited for the layers to cool, each team also made another tort: our team was assigned a chocolate, walnut tort.  I made this up while my partner worked on the chocolate buttercream for the Dobosotort.
Once the chocolate walnut tort was in the oven, we set about constructing the seven-layer masterpiece.  Each thin cake layer was topped with an equally thin layer of chocolate buttercream, one on top of the other.  The remaining two layers were to be coated in caramel, allowed to harden and then cut into large triangles to top the tort.
The night was going smoothly and with only fifteen minutes left of class, I began to cut the caramel-coated cake layers into triangles.  As I used my chef's knife to try to unstick one of the layers from the cooling rack, the knife slipped and my left index finger caught the impact.  So I spent the next two-and-a-half hours in the emergency room with a bloody finger making small talk with one of the program directors.
I never actually went to sleep Monday night because every time I closed my eyes, I just saw the accident happening over and over again.  It makes for a long week when Monday and Tuesday are one day rolled into one.
I arrived at class Tuesday night sporting three stitches and a splint, still nauseous and hating caramel even more than before.  Luckily, I only had to make a few small adjustments in order to work on the recipes for the evening: angel food cake and chiffon.  The bandaged finger was really only a problem when I was trying to move equipment (KitchenAid mixers, inductions, etc). - which I managed to do since my partner apparently had better things to do.
We made a cocoa angel food cake - or rather, I made the cocoa angel food cake as my partner got the ingredients for the chiffon cake ready.  I gingerly got that in the oven and got ready for the chiffon cake.  I asked my partner if he would like to make the chiffon to which he informed me he would make his own.  Have I mentioned people can sometimes be a bit difficult to work with?
Nonetheless, I whipped up my lemon chiffon cake and also got that in the oven.
The instructor was nice enough to have everyone save their cakes from the night before, so I would not miss the tasting. 

The Dobosotorte (aka finger murderer) was lovely.  The layers were beautifully symmetrical and it tasted a bit like a Kit-Kat bar.

I was disappointed by the chocolate walnut tort.  I expected a very dense, chocolaty mouthful of cake, but instead it was lighter and not very rich.

Also, I am not a fan of angel food cake.  I tried several versions (cinnamon, all-spice, cocoa and ginger) so I can say I gave it an honest try.

The chiffon cakes were not that much better - although I did like the pecan version which was unmolded Wednesday evening.
We had a substitute chef-instructor Wednesday evening who worked with us as we created plain genoise cakes, chocolate genoise cakes and many items which would be used to finish cakes during Thursday and the following Monday's class.
For Thursday evening, our only task was to individually finish the plain genoise cakes.  I decided to make the lemon-raspberry genoise cake and set about mise-en-placing my items.  I enjoy the recent evenings where we have been finishing cakes - for me it's relaxing and allows my creative side and perfectionist personality to work together.
Once the cake was put together and frosted, I started on the sides.  I envisioned the sugared almonds placed around the cake almost like cobblestones and since I had plenty of time, I set about doing so.
I was not thrilled with the design on the top of the cake, but I really did like the effect of the almonds on the sides.

It was a long week.  I stayed exhausted from Monday night on, never really recovering from losing sleep that night.  As much as I am loving the program, I think I am ready to see the end of this hectic schedule.

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