It's All Done With Mirrors...
|Dear Sweet Baby Jebus. Yet ANOTHER Daring Baker conquest. Wait! Hold on.. I gotta go look up "conquest"...|
1: the act or process of conquering
Mmmm hmmm.. okay that's a good word. Yes this was a conquest because it involved several highly scary steps, especially to a novice baker like myself. But! Because I AM a Daring Baker, I knew I could rise to this challenge and come out the other side hootin' and hollerin' VICTORY!!!
But.. uhh.. just to play it safe, I asked a Tartelette to come help me. squeeeeeeeee!
As most of you are aware by now (and if you aren't - where the freeg have you been?), Helene came to visit me for 5 glorious days of shopping, eating, baking, eating, cooking, exercising and eating. And during two of those days, we made this month's Daring Baker challenge recipe, a strawberry "mirror" cake, chosen by my favorite Queen of All That Is Fattening and Sugary - Gracie. Or some of you might know her as Peabody. Yes, my Gracie was this month's hostess with the mostess and the Strawberry Mirror Cake recipe she chose came from "Cakes and Pastries At The Academy by the California Culinary Academy 1993".
When I first saw this, I instantly remembered a cake recipe I'd seen on either allrecipes.com or recipezaar.com which was a raspberry mirror cake and although I didn't save that recipe (way to scary for me) it stayed with me. So I guess I had mixed feelings when I read Gracie's choice. On one hand I was tickled pink as there were no fakkin crepes to mess with, but on the other hand, sponge cake? bavarian cream? strawberry gelatin? God. I kinda eyed my fancy, still pretty much brand spankin' new, French crepe pan with a new appreciation for it. :P
Soooooo.. what did I think about this cake, eh? I thought about maybe playing it off as a not so bad of an experience because I didn't want to hurt Gracie's feelings.. but I think I've made it pretty damn clear by now - my most dreadful experiences are usually my most favorite. And besides, this would have nothing to do with Gracie and her wondefulness.. this would have to do with how one single person can still f*ck up a cake even with a French Pastry Chef standing 2 inches to her right. GOD.
Okay to be truthful, I don't remember much as this was the longest cake baking session of ALL TIME. Not that that's a bad thing - it was a great thing! Helene and I did more chatting (and sauce & ball making) than anything else that first day and I remember it with great fondness. Uhh aside from my barking footsies. You know, other than my bladder (which is thimble sized apparently), my feet are the smallest things about me.. and let me tell you, my friends, once they start feeling "unhappy" well, they don't let you forget it for a fakkin second. Although, to be fair we did accomplish a lot that day.. kinda. I remember wine?
Anyhoo.. there are several steps to a mirror cake, I've learned. The first is the sponge cake. Now from hearing from my fellow Daring Baker chicas and chicos, this cake wasn't easy for some. For me (us) it wasn't a problem. I believe it was due to that French gal and her egg beating abilities. My (our) cakes came out nice and fluffy, although slightly over done. HEY we were chatting!! Those set aside, I (we) started on the bavarian cream.
Here's where the nightmare started.
Okay well.. the actual making of the bavarian cream was not a problem. We (I) had no problems with the gelatin setting too quickly over the strawberry puree. I (we) might have given it a lil stir, I can't recall. But I have no recollection of any one part of this bavarian cream making going wrong. It poured nicely over the slightly dry (shutit!) sponge cake and was just enough to cover the cake completely yet still leaving enough room on the top for the "mirror". I (we) put it in the fridge to set up over night because well.. did I mention my barkin footsies? Sauce? Meatballs? W.I.N.E.? Yeah it was time to pack it in for the night, have a lil din-din and get some sleep. Oh, I should probably mention, (now keep in mind we still had the final step to finish) we started this challenge around 1:30 in the afternoon and we didn't finish it until 10 pm that night. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA! I TOLD YOU it was the longest cake making session EVER.
Next morning we were up and at it early (NOT) - 'kay once we (I) dragged our (my) dead arses out of the office and into the shower it was probably already 10ish. We still needed to run up to the store because we ran out of gelatin when making the bavarian cream and couldn't finish the "mirror" part without it. Suffice to say, that the actual mirror layer was a breeze to make (I think some French gal did it?) and I was already focused on macarons. Dudes! She taught me macarons!! WOOO!! Our (my) challenge cake was set back into the fridge to set up and we had planned on cutting into it that night after dinner.
Blah blah macarons blah blah deee blah blah buttercream blah blah blah dee blah blah crunchedy light and fluffy shells blah blah blah lemon-ginger dee blah blah later.. the dinner dishes were done and it was time to cut the cake!!! We were all quite excited at the prospect of this.. as my sis and mom were there and had heard so much about the cake. heeeeeeee.
So I (we) took it out and warmed up the ring on the springform before gently removing it.. it left some "scars" on the sides, but we chose to ignore this.. what we couldn't ignore was, uhmm.. the color. At least I couldn't quite get past it and I did a quick search for my sunglasses. Mmmm hmmm what was a gorgeous shade of light pink when put into the refrigerator the night before had turned both dark and yet bright over night. I'd say.. somewhere between magenta and Pepto Bismol. Certainly not the light "strawberry kissed" shade of pink that the cake in the photo looked like. But that's okay - after all I was born and raised under the motto of "Who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good!" And so slicing commenced.
As I passed a plate of hot pink cake to each family member I thought to myself, "Hmmm.. this bavarian cream feels as if I'm slicing through Jell-o". So I gave the platter a lil shimmie shake and the whole cake kinda bloobled and wiggled. Not really knowing what that would mean as far a texture goes, we all grabbed forks and took ourselves a great big bite of hot pink... melted erasers? I was sitting across the table from my mom.. and the look on her face, really was priceless. My sister politely put down her fork and dabbed at the corners of her mouth with her napkin. I kinda poked at it a bit and went in for another forkful hoping I'd just hit up on a spot where maybe the gelatin didn't dissolve completely. Nope, not so lucky. The texture of my (our) cake was rather spongey but yet also quite rubbery. The cake layers themselves, were about as dry as the Mojave, but they were light and fluffy. So that's good, right? Now the mirror part.. well that part I scraped off the rest of my slice and ate it by itself. It was the best strawberry jello I've ever had.
The party broke up soon after and I tried my hardest to pack up a few slices (and by a few slices I mean half the cake) for my mom but she ran out of the house with her arms clamped firmly to her sides. I eyed both Nigel and Chloe who were looking at me with this glint of hope in their eyes, but I just could not give them any.
I love my dogs.
So what the hell went wrong? I don't know.. I originally thought it was because we let the bavarian cream set up too long by keeping it in the fridge over night and most of the next day. But, from reading comments left by other Daring Bakers, others had left their cakes in the fridge for that long - or longer - and they didn't seem to get the rubber sponge effect. And then I though, "Oh No. The gelatin measurement was a typo. It wasn't suppose to be
The good news is.. this can't be an all bad recipe, because it's sounding like my bad experience wasn't the experience of many of the others. Hell one gal (you're going to have to go read to find out who!) won 3rd place in a bake-off contest with her Strawberry Mirror Cake! I'm so damn proud of her. =)
But all in all, this was a fantabulous experience for me. I learned how to make a sponge cake - and seriously, if we hadn't been chit chatting and not paying attention, we would have taken it out on time and it would have been superb. It had a really good flavor - although if there ever was another time I'd make this I would pour the soaking liquid on it after poking holes all through the layers. That might have helped with the dryness of over baking it. And really? What more could I ask for.. I had one of my closest and dearest friends with me the whole time, making me forget about my barkin' feet, causing my face to be in constant smile mode, and just generally feeling damn happy that I started this blogging hobby of mine 16 months ago. =)
Okay.. so here's the deal, kids.. we no longer have individual Daring Baker blogrolls on our personal blogs. We've decided to create a blog to specifically house the "official" Daring Baker blogroll that we can update constantly. So will still point to my right sidebar, which will direct you to a link which will bring you to the list of our active and gorgeous members. Woot!
Whatcha waiting for?? Go read! :D