Jul 28, 2010

Last Cake, Next Cake

Believe it or not, many of us seemed to OD a little on chocolate this week--who would have thought such a thing was possible? But after the next two weeks, with their emphasis on light and fruity, we'll be ready for the chocolate feather bed cake. That cake requires cutting up and stacking, but we'll worry about that later.

Monica, whose photographs always make me want to make whatever she's making, even if I just made it, describes these as "a marriage in chocolate heaven." But she, like many others, had some problems with the cocoa mixture, which she said is "not smooth, but a very heavy paste." Much discussion about this issue in the comments to Monica's post, and also in Rose's Forum. Consensus from the Forum: If you use a high-quality, high-fat cocoa, you won't have this issue. But you may have to do a little digging to find out if your cocoa is high fat. Plaudits to the regulars on the Forum, who always seem to have the right answer!
Nancy B. was lucky enough to have some leftover glaze, so she only had to do two stages of the three-stage cupcake. And she decided that if she made this "nice chocolate cupcake" again, she'd "use regular cupcake liners, spread [her] ganache freely, and forget the lacquer glaze."
Gartblue also found leftover chocolate glaze in her freezer--where everything's marked and dated. And she thought the glaze tasted better the second time around: "it tasted just perfect. I love the cake. I love the milk chocolate syrup and the glaze made it extra special. Yup. Definitely will bake again."
Although Nancy B. thought her glaze was a little too thick, Julie had the opposite problem: a glaze too "thin and runny." She thought part of the problem was that her cupcakes (she made only 9 instead of the 14 called for--not the only person who didn't make 14!) were too big and domed, not flat, like they'd be if she'd made 14. We're all getting to be such perfectionists! Glaze too thick, glaze too thin.... Nobody's ever satisfied.
But Vicki came pretty darned close to being completely satisfied with these cupcakes, which she says is now her "absolute favorite cake," because "more than any other chocolate cake recipe, this one hits the spot." Almost as good as Duncan Hines.
If these cupcakes brought satisfaction to Vicki, however, they seriously annoyed Raymond, who will not be satisfied "until this national craze for having cutesy, ridiculous cupcakes for every occasion has vanished." I have to say that for someone who doesn't like cupcakes, Raymond makes some absolutely beautiful examples of the genre.
Katya fell right in the middle of Vicki and Raymond, with her "iffy" cupcakes--iffy, she hastened to add, because 1) she improvised, being out of a few key ingredients, and 2) failed to follow directions to a T. I'm sure that no one else can identify with failing to follow directions and being out of key ingredients.
And welcome back to Nicola, who might have eased back into the real world from her temporary assignment of "drinking G&Ts whilst watching the sunset." Instead, she not only made these cupcakes, but also has plans to whip up a three-tier wedding cake this weekend. Not to mention the tractor cake she just baked for Little Assistant's second birthday.
The FEATURED BAKER title goes to someone who didn't even make the glaze, but whose cupcakes nevertheless looked very, very Grand. Jenn followed Rose's alternative directions, which were to omit the glaze and cover the chocolate-syrup-ganache-topped cupcakes with Les Perles. Except that she didn't use Les Perles, she used chocolate pearls she'd bought at Whole Foods. Jenn must have the steady hands of a surgeon. She painstakingly placed those little baby chocolate pearls on top of the cakes, making a myriad of designs, including a little "i ♥ u."
Very cute!

Like most of you, I'm looking forward to the lemon meringue cake. Or at least I was, until Jenn posted this dark warning: "Though it is kinda scary to bake Italian meringue. I've heard stories of the thing completely dissolving in the oven, yikes! I'd better have extra egg whites de-frosted." Yikes is right! Now I'm scared too. And I realize that I've never made lemon meringue pie, much less lemon meringue cake. And I really, really don't want a pile of dissolved meringue at the bottom of the oven.
Make sure you have plenty of eggs. Even if all goes well, it will take six whole eggs, five yolks, and six whites to make the curd, cake, and meringue. And allow time for cooling the curd before assembling the cake.
Next will be the Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down Torte. Rose likes to use greengage plums, but you can also use other varieties of plums (or apricots or peaches). You should have a ten-inch round cake pan or saute pan for this cake.


Katya said...

My cupcakes were iffy, in that they weren't, well...what Rose was after...but as I mentioned in the update, my improvised glaze did strongly resemble a Hostess or Little Debbie chocolate coating after a day or two in the refrigerator. Now I know how they make those (and secretly I really like them).

Making lemon meringue cake tomorrow--I'll let y'all know of any issues that arise.

Jenn said...

Awww Marie.. thanks for naming me the featured baker! I feel so privileged :). I love the little ♥ in your post, very cute :).

Sorry for the scare on the lemon meringue. I am really looking forward to the lemon meringue though - I love lemon curd!

Let's keep our fingers crossed that everything will turn out well!

faithy said...

Congrats Jenn!!

Marie, don't worry about the Meringue..i did mine all wrong but it still stayed on very well in the oven! Didn't melt or anything.. and in fact looked rather pretty..lol!

Monica said...

Congratulations to my chica - Jenn! Truly deserved - I love her decorations on top of those little morsels.

Like everyone else here, I'm really looking forward to the next cake as well. And Marie and like you never made the pie either, since the "toasting" of the meringue always scare the bezz-jezz out of me. But, since I join you guys, nothing scares me anymore (except piping, and yeast and rolling pins and never mind – I still scare of everything!).

I'm thinking of pulling all the stops and finally using the kitchen torch that I got as a present a gazzillion years ago and toast the meringue that way, wonder if that would work???

Stay tune for that – I may have Tom film the whole mess so you guys can get a laugh.

Monica said...

I could not help myself, but found this great site that gives you great tips in order to make the perfect meringue.


In my case I don't need to be scare of the whole thing melting in the oven, but for the humidity that we are having in Florida (over 50% to 60%) right now to melt it even BEFORE I put it in the oven!

Crossing my fingers that it does not RAIN this weekend (its predicted that it will do so Saturday AND Sunday), or else this is not going to go over well.

Jenn said...

Thanks Faithy & Monica :).

Monica, I think for the torching you need to make sure the temperature of the fire is not higher than the oven temperature for the meringue. I don't know for sure, as I've never done this before either, but just a thought!

I'm YAY for the film, please please please.. :)!

Hanaâ said...

Congratulations Jenn. Well-deserved! I loved the "I heart U" on the cupcake :o)

I'm probably going to skip the Lemon Meringue Cake. Two reasons: 1) not a big fan of lemon curd (too eggy), 2) need a Chocolate dessert for the dinner party I'm going to (my friend hearts chocolate) :o) I'm thinking Chocolate Cheesecake!

Vicki said...

Congrat's Jenn! Your cupcakes were darling.

Katya said...

Don't fear the meringue! Mine came out just perfectly--loved the addition of lemon juice right into it. Do fear the humidity--I wish I'd made mine right before we ate. As it was, I babied it and gave it my air conditioned bedroom to keep it in some semblance of order. It was VERY well received.

evil cake lady said...

aw man! i got all mixed up and thought the next cake was the plum-blueberry upside down torte. i just picked a ton of blueberries this morning in prep for the cake. i guess i'm making two cakes this weekend! you guys wanna come over for cake?

congrats jenn! i love your decorations, and i am LOVING your photos! (camera envy begins now)

Jenn said...

ECL, what r u talking about? you take AWESOME photos!

Abigail said...

Thank you heavenly bakers! I thought I'd try a chocolate cupcake from a local bakery, thinking it would be better than filling my house with cupcakes. Their cupcake actually made me mad! Dry, heavy chemical flavor... surely it's possible to make a better chocolate cupcake? And here you all are, making better cupcakes!

Mendy said...


Congrats Jenn. Always a great job!