Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Polish Princess Cake

                            Warning: Do not read this story until you have baked your Princess lol

Zounds!    What little monster is growing in my oven? A Princess? Indeed, it would not appear to be so.

*To answer that very question, I now offer a fine reward of the difficult-to-obtain frozen sour cherries, or cranberries, to the first person who can solve the riddle of the problem of my Polish Princess Cake #1 featured above. 

For all of the members of our clan, this will be a throwing down of the glove, and will most likely pique Mr. Tony and Mr. Raymond, who do enjoy a puzzlement. Therefore, I shall offer no clues regarding the problem of Cake #1.

Above, the mis en place was in order for the cake. The photos below picture the mixing -

The next picture is the one that caused me to look at the batter a little askance since I had noticed as it was going into the pan it 
almost filled it. I made sure to wipe around top edge as Rose does.

Since I was curious I watched the cake more closely than usual. At first I was delighted to see her happily rising, - rising, - and rising ~~~~~~~ to the top of the pan ~ over the top of the pan - Nooooo!

I removed it after poking and finding soup inside - back into the oven - several times. Finally I gave up and began to just peel back the crust such as it was. You can see.

There was no salvation. I eyed it with disdain and summarily set it into the trash.   Hence the riddle -- The cause of the problem?

                                                # # # #

Cake #2:  The next day I began again, recalling Peggy remaking the whipped cream. Once again, mis en place, and so forth - the lonesome syrup was still a bright spot sitting there waiting with delightful fumes emanating from it.

With the first cake I had not gotten to the pastry cream stage so this was a new adventure.

I didn't quite recall what Peggy said about the stages of the cake, so I just attempted to follow directions. All of the many. I find that I sometimes get confused about small things. I won't list them. Perhaps sometime I should list a few just to see if anyone else wonders about things I wonder about.

I had to syrup the day after I made the new cake, but I thought that okay. Bottoms up. I always eye the sopping cake with a jaundiced eye, but the recipe reminds to put 1 /3 syrup on the bottom and the remaining enormous quantity onto the top through the sieve of poked holes. I have never had a problem with genoise, but this was odd, a sponge. However - I even remembered to put the blasted 3T of warm water in the batter at the last moment. The cake appeared happy so all was well. But the syrup worried me. Still. Anyhow, not to belabor a point - more ...

I made the pastry buttercream: I measured the pastry buttercream. Put the bowl on the scale and took out some cream to leave 530 g. in the scale bowl. I thought the amount in the other bowl looked odd. It was. I ended up with about 400+ in each bowl. Hmm. I am not good at math and could not even consider Rose's formula, so I decided I would just take 530g and make what I liked best for the top - the chocolate-raisin pastry buttercream and put the lesser amount of cocoa-walnut as the center layer. I will swear I did not eat the other part of that cream.

Next day. More 'Compose the Cake'. Yay. Faith springs eternal, don'tcha know -- Soften the smaller bit, slowly mix, add cocoa, it becomes granular - Omg. And I am sick from eating it, I could care less if it is granular, especially since the granules are baby butter bits and I loooove it. So, I mixed in the walnuts and that was the middle layer come hell or highwater. Goopy. Onto the cake. Back into the fridge. Cake still seeping its delicious syrup. Was fresh out of Polish Vodka, used Swiss Kirschwasser.

later sliced
The next day. I attempted the impossible [again]. I needed a collar to elevate the 2 3/4" tall sides to 3 inches. Heavy duty foil. After wasting a roll or two, I knew it was not happening and the sponge is becoming very unsettled and syrup oozing. I spent over an hour trying to make it happen. If I got it off, I couldn't get the sides back on. But a flash! Aha! Remember that enlargeable ring? It worked! It held the cake on the glass bottom - and a collar. Hallelujah! Back to the fridge.

Next day. No miracle. The chilled buttercream is like a rock. Thaw the larger amount of the buttercream and mix slowly, although I will admit to a moment of fury during which I zapped it on high, but it did not get granular, just goopy. I folded in the raisins and chocolate and added it to the top with its grated chocolate

Chilled again ..

On the third day, I think, this morning as a matter of a fact, I got it out for its portrait and, as my daughter did when she had her first portrait made, it threw a full-blown tantrum and collapsed into a sodden mass. I shored it up and took another picture to fool you. I cut a couple of portions and took the rest of it to work where one lady ate a piece, pronounced it delicious, which it was, and said it didn't matter that it was the consistency of porridge. It was still in the office kitchen when my husband came to take me home to watch Dancing With the Stars, which I think I like infinitely better than baking obstinate cakes. Perhaps I would be batter at it.

Having been shored up ...

In full regalia

                                    At least the plate is royal.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake Genoise

Fortunately, strawberries are in season now and were very large, ruby red inside, and marvelous in flavor - a perfect time for this recipe at Easter.

To begin:  Thawing frozen strawberries in the oven with pilot light on requires no specific waiting, just a few hours -- or overnight for me. 

Prepared puree and syrup

Mis on place below:  Eggs and sugar for eggfoam.
Butter for buerre noisette and **A Xmas gift of Tahitian beans, and Vanilla from Tahitian beans made by my daughter].  
Flour and Rumsford cornstarch for batter.
And whipped cream!

Egg Foam

Into the oven 375' - the batter looked like tapicoa -

The genoise was perfect. Not a flaw. I had been careful to have Baker's Joy in every possible space and it was beautiful with each fruit defined.

Ready to turn the cake that has a paper towel placed it the indentation on the top of it to prevent collapse of the genoise.

Turned cake and peeling off parchment revealing bottom crust.

 Gently scraping off soft bottom crust with long knife used for torting, and useful here for control.

The strawberry syrup that will first be brushed onto the bottom of genoise and then again on top.

   Well - I had a problem. I have known I had an aesthetic problem. Things bother me. I have a cake showing off fruit. I am advised to put puree in the flat portion of the cake and it will be red and I can see this will ooze over my fruit because it is so tiny.
So, I made some Amoretti apricot that I have and sat down and painted fruit. This way it was delineated well from the puree and when the strawberries were put on I also cut slivers between the different fruits.

I was happy.

                      A little slice of Heaven
                          Mmmm Mmmm Good!