Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Here It Is

Well folks, I had a great vacation hiding in my cake cave and I am finally ready to come out of hibernation. Here's the post for my birthday cakes.

I only had one small moment of extreme displeasure that exploded into a small tantrum.

My roommate, who was present for the Zetta tantrum of 2004 agrees that this tantrum was only a small one in comparison. I can't believe I'm admitting that I throw tantrums when cakes don't come out right.

Of course, everybody who ate the cakes told me they liked them, and some even had seconds. People were nice enough to tell me they liked the look of Cake Two, even though it looked like complete crap. This is a testament to how much my friends must like me. Or maybe its a testament to how dearly my friends wish to avoid my tantrums. Hmm. That would change things.

Birthday Cake(s)
pay no attention to the cake in the back

May 27, 2006
Occasion: duh
Name of cake: A Better Ice Cream Cake
Cake One:
one genoise classique, split with Grand Marnier syrup
layered with Gold Medal Ribbon Ice Cream
frosted with white chocolate ganache
Cake Two:
one moist chocolate genoise, split with chambord syrup
filled with Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream
glazed in chocolate cream glaze

(5/26) Well here’s the things I wish I had done:
1. gotten the dry ice yesterday
2. so that i could have split and syruped the cakes yesterday and stuck in the cooler to freeze
3. and then i could have at least filled one of the cakes yesterday
4. so i wouldn’t have so much to do tomorrow
5. not left the GMR on the counter to soften, because our freezer keeps ice cream in a softened state anyway.
6. and then when i realized that the sides were ice cream soup, not have tried to stir it up thinking that would make it more solid when really it just made the whole ice cream tub chocolate with a caramel swirl (it was chocolate and vanilla swirled with ribbons of caramel).

I also forgot to buy chambord. So I am thinking…rum? But tomorrow I could go buy a little chambord. I only need 3 tbsp. Really, people.

Genoise are light little cakes. I don’t think my genoise classique rose as much as it should have, but of course I messed up when putting it together. I forgot to add the sugar to the eggs when heating and beating, and it was only after I had tripled the eggs in volume that I realized I totally messed up. So I added the sugar and put it back over the heat until lukewarm and then beat them up again for 5 minutes. Do eggs get tired? Can they get overbeaten? They can, can’t they?

Birthday Cake

I used my little plastic squirt tube bottle thingy to apply the syrup to the cakes and that was sooo much easier than trying to brush it on! Yay!

Birthday Cake

Also, used my brand new rotating cake stand tonight when cutting off the top and bottom layers of the cake and splitting in two and it rocked. It made all those tasks super easy. Thanks, Jellos.

I wish I had one of those expanding flan rings tonight for when I smeared ice cream all over the cake. I had the usual ¼ gap between the cake and the springform pan, so I know I got ice cream all down the side. Not sure what to do about that.

(6/13) Apparently, I was so overwhelmed by the cakes that I needed to take a two week break.

So, Cake One:
The genoise split like a good kid. I syruped the guy, put it back in the springform pan, and put the whole thing under dry ice in the cooler for 20 min. I smeared/packed on the ice cream (the whole gallon) and placed the second cake layer on top and back it went under the ice in the cooler. Then I realized that I have only one 9 in springform pan and that I couldn’t really do the same thing with cake two…so what to do. I decided to wait until Cake One was frozen solid and then take it out of the pan. This took overnight.

Birthday Cake
There's cake under that mess

So, the day of my birthday, instead of going out and picking peonies or seeing a movie or going to the sauna, I spent the day finishing up my cakes. Exactly what I didn’t want to do. Isn’t that why I started them early? Hmpf.

So, on my birthday, I first off decided to frost Cake One and then get it in its box so I could use the springform to put together Cake Two.

Birthday Cake

The white chocolate ganache is really whipped cream with melted white chocolate added, which stabilses the whipped cream, lightly sweetens it, makes it okay to freeze, and gives it a little tang. I used Green and Black’s white chocolate, which is really good stuff. The resulting white chocolate ganache was beautiful and perfectly sweetened. I frosted the cake and put it in its box and back under the dry ice. Cake One: complete.

Cake One

Cake Two: here there be problems.
I decided to have one fat cake layer on the bottom and the mint chocolate chip ice cream as the second fat cake layer. That part went together smoothly, I put the cake under the ice to wait until it was hard as a rock (which should have been overnight) and after a couple of hours realized I needed to get my ass in gear as I was going to be late for my own birthday party. Like usual. So I tried to be really present and patient when melting the chocolate and cream over the double boiler but I guess I failed because the chocolate separated AGAIN. I was at a total loss. I don’t know. Maybe there is more fat in the cream I use. Looking back there is a higher % of cocoa butter in the chocolate I used, so maybe the combination of the two just sent the mixture into high fat overload and that’s why all the oil separated from the solids. I even stuck it in the cuisinart to hopefully get it to emulsify again but no luck. Probably cooling it down, then slowly reheating it might have done the trick. But, I had left myself no time for such shenanigans.

This is EXACTLY why I don’t like leaving cake assemblage for the day of the party.

So I thought, maybe if I just get the shit on the cake as fast as I can, I can get it to solidify before it can totally separate. Well, I dumped the lumpy mass on the cake, and tried to get it to spread over the top and glaze the sides. Instead it sort of clumped around, glopped down the sides, and began melting the ice cream. So I quickly shoved the cake mess into its box and stuck it under the ice. As an excuse to get away from me and my (small!) tantrum, my roommate left the house to buy hot fudge.

Birthday Cake

I took a shower.

And went to my party.

Dry ice makes things REALLY hard. I could have let the cakes defrost for two hours at room temperature and they would have been at a nice and softened state. But I didn’t. So we have pictures of me sawing through these rock hard frozen cakes with a little steak knife the restaurant gave me. A friend of mine tried to help and actually broke the knife off inside Cake One. That part was funny.

Birthday Cake
I SWEAR it took 20 minutes to get the first piece cut.

So that night I didn’t think the cakes tasted like much of anything but hard cold stuff. People were nice and told me that they tasted good.

Birthday Cake
Frozen solid, solid, solid.

The next day I let a piece of each cake soften and I tried them again. Much better. However, the cakes didn’t hold a ton of flavor, nor could you discern the liquor that each was syruped in. But the white chocolate ganache froze beautifully (unlike regular whipped cream) and actually tasted pretty good.

So, oh well.

Next year, I'm hiring someone else to do my cakes!


  1. Nice to see you back in action, ECL!

  2. Yah. It is about damn time.

  3. Nice to see you, too Thursday!

  4. Whatever, Cassara. I'm so stealing your hunky lacrosse-playing boyfriend when you are in Sicily next month. Got it?