Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Dear Hubby!

This cake was made for my sweet Husband, my best friend in this whole wide world right next to Jesus. He challenged me in requesting this cake specifically, as usually it's up to me! He used to love the original Nintendo NES system as a kid, still has one, and let me just say, it is the cause of many hours of lost sleep! I wanted to make him this cake so badly, even though it was intimidating to me as all get out. You see, in the cake world the simpler the design, the harder it is! It is very backwards! Add to that I have never done a square cake in fondant (my cheeseburger cake does NOT count LOL) or an odd shape like the bottom edges here that are sharply angled. I had no idea how I was going to pull this off, and wondered if I would have to devise a plan to excuse myself for not posting photos just in case it ended up a disaster worthy of Cake Wrecks! Luckily for him, and me (!) it is recognizable, and turned out good enough for me and more than good enough for him. I am my own harshest critic, although others have tried to test that theory bah ha ha! That's one arena where I always come out on top, unfortunately.  I had some wonderful examples on Cake Central to use as inspiration! Most importantly, I had the real deal right next to me at all times to model. At one point (insert cringe here) I practiced applying fondant to the corner of the actual console! Don't tell Thomas! Oops, too late now! Cats outta the bag! LOL

So, what's inside? Everyone knows I adore Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have learned to have people sample the recipes because the chocolate recipes are unlike other chocolate cake recipes sold in boxes LMBO, and you either love it or hate it. The caviar of the chocolate cake world, not quite to everyone's tastes but when you do fancy it, nothing ever tastes the same again. To me, they remind me of oreo cookies mixed with actual rich chocolate. Very sharp, straight to the point, matter of fact in your face chocolate flavor. It looks chocolate colored because it IS chocolate! Intense! Nevermind that, this cake is YELLOW! Just felt the need to mention that because after all, this is my blog and you can't make me stay on topic! Na-na-na-na-naaaa! Ok, seriously.  It's a yellow scratch cake, with fresh strawberry conserve/bakery  filling, wilton buttercream based spackle, and marshmallow fondant. As usual, everything is made from scratch. Nothing new there.

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe:

Buttercream Recipe:

I needed a two 10 inch cake bases to start from, as I needed to carve it all up anyhow. So, I ran into a problem. All of Rose's recipes are made for either 8 or 9 inch pans, usually single layer, sometimes double but the double recipes were not the right size. Now back in the day I would have just winged it, heh, or made two batches. I know better now. So, in The Cake Bible, her first cake book to my knowledge, in the back is a special guide for creating custom recipes for odd shaped or sized pans for classic white, yellow and chocolate cakes. She calls this the "Rose Factor". She has a base recipe for each type of cake, you use a chart that corresponds with different sizes of pans, follow a matrix design to the number of multiples of the base recipe it would need to produce two full layers of that sized cake, and go to work calculating baking powder levels with another chart. It sounds like a lot of work (it is) but Rose's recipes are worth it. Hands down. I made my custom recipe for two high 10 inch layers of cake which would later make four torted layers, and off I went.

Out of respect to Rose, I will never post her recipes in my featurettes. Please, please don't be upset, but we have quite a following on her baking blog/forum/instruction site and I just wouldn't feel right doing that to her. Now, she does post recipes herself, so check it out! Please do yourself a HUGE favor and buy her books! Even if I posted the recipe (which I won't) you really need to read her books to understand her complex cake science processes, and apply them to the recipes. Knowing the recipe isn't enough in this case, anyways. I bought all mine on, it changed my baking life!

Onward, per Thomas' request, I used classic wilton buttercream, which I then made into a spackle using Toba Garrett's method from "The Well Decorated Cake" another awesome book! That was for under the fondant. Inside was a different matter. Thomas requested a jelly like filling, similar to bakery style cakes. I have never done this before, so it was a first. After researching many different recipes I decided to just wing it and throw stuff together, making my own recipe.

Fresh Strawberry Bakery Filling:

I used two packages of strawberries, washed and pureed them in my vitamix. Then I cooked then in a pot with about 3/4 cup sugar until they smelled right. Remember, I don't taste anything I make anymore, it's all by smell! LOL Yeah, I know. I know. So, when that smelled pleasant, I added some bloomed plain gelatin powder (about 1/2-3/4 package) and little by little, cornstarch. Once it thickened up how I wanted it, keeping in mind I wanted it very thick and gelatinous so it didn't soak into the cake layers or cause things to slide or shift once stacked and covered, I let it cool. It was very simple, still had the tartness of the berries (the sugar was NOT overpowering at all) and didn't soak into the cake. Next!

I have learned the importance of using a simple syrup on my cake layers as I stack them, to preserve moisture levels as I decorate (yeah, I'm slow) and to perfume the cake further. So, this time I whipped up a syrup (1c water and 1c sugar) boiled it, then added a splash of rum. Nom! The alcohol cooks off leaving a nice perfume and a hint of sweetness. I don't use much on my cakes anymore. Practice really does make perfect. It doesn't take much, just think of how pavement looks after it starts raining for the first minute. That is what you want the cake to look like. Droplets speckled, no puddles. Thank you!

I stacked them up, started carving, filling, syruping and spackled. Let it chill to firm up, then made my fondant and covered it. Voila! Ok, I skipped a lot, but you get the jest of it. The fondant didn't want to cooperate due to the high humidity of the day, and my colors kept changing as the fondant sat. Yeah yeah, I've made enough cakes that I know colors deepen upon sitting blah blah blah but this was nuts. I' get it perfectly matched to the NES system next to it, then two hours later it would be green or blue! So I'd color correct it again and again, until I was satisfied with the shade of gray. Gah! Eventually, I had to decide close enough was close enough :) It still looked green/gray in photos, but in person, at least for the first day of it's cake life, it was gray LOL. Time for some new color powders I think, instead of this wilton stuff. Blech!

Happy Birthday my sweet Hero, I love you endlessly! "...and many more!!!!!!"

Till November...