Late to the party but finally here, Zach's La Bomba: the Portland contigent, is ready for consumption. For Marie and NancyB, this is their last cake of Rose's Heavenly Cakes, and for all of us, the last official cake of the Heavenly Cakes Bake-Through. The straggler's bake-through will continue with Jenn of Knitty Baker fame manning the helm and as I am 26 cakes from the end, the bake-through for ECL continues.
May 18, 2011
Name of Cake: The Bomb
Constituents; Blackberry chocolate mousse atop a flourless chocolate sponge cake glazed in the ever shiny lacquer glaze
This cake intimidated me possibly more than the Apple Caramel Charlotte.
There is one more cake in the book that intimidates me, and that is the Holiday Pinecone where you make your own freakin chocolate fondant and try not to cut your fingers off when you make the pinecone scales with a razor blade.
The Apple Caramel Charlotte had seven pages of instructions and probably as many steps and dirty dishes as Zach's La Bomba, but I cleared out my weekend and committed to getting that thing done.
(In retrospect, I am surprised I didn't feel intimidated by the St. Honore Trifle as that is just as complicated and dish-dirtying a recipe...go figure.)
So the bomb is gently thawing out in the refrigerator having been glazed with the lacquer glaze around 4:15 this afternoon. FINALLY.
I started out making the cake layer, which is a flourless souffle type of cake, which requires six or seven separated eggs. The yolks and sugar are beaten until the glorious ribbon stage, which I tried not to photograph since I photograph the ribbon stage every time, in fact I am thinking of making a flickr photoset all about the various shots of the egg yolk ribbon stage I keep taking...But I digress. I had a beer to celebrate the completion of this cake, and I sort of drank it fast. The egg whites are whipped into a lovely meringue, which unfortunately plays second fiddle to the ribbon stage these days (sorry egg whites).
The beribboned yolks are marred by a mass of melted chocolate, which turns the lovely yellow mixture into a sticky, thick brown blob. It was quite difficult to fold the two together so I wondered if I had done something wrong. The sticky brown stuff is folded into the white meringue and eventually you get a nice foamy batter which is baked in a sheet pan for about 15 minutes.
Then all those geometry lessons from high school come into play, as you are first to select a six cup bowl to use as the mold for the bombe, and then to cut out a cake circle that is the same diameter as the inside lip of the bowl. I found a perfect six cup glass pyrex bowl, measured the inside of the top, and then wondered how I was going to cut a cake circle that fit that diameter. Where was a compass when I needed it? Eventually I got it all sorted out and cut out the one cake circle I needed, and pooh-pooed the idea of cutting out a second circle. The rest of the cake ended up in a ziploc bag, which was ok with strawberry ice cream, but perfect frosted with nutella and layered like a little cake. Next time, I am cutting the cake recipe in half.
The cut-out cake circle goes into a ziploc bag and into the refrigerator to firm up, so that it later on it can be manhandled without consequence.
The sabayon freaked me out as I thought it would take all day to put together, require every single bowl, pot, and utensil I had at my disposal, and probably three separate runs to the store for forgotten ingredients so I kept putting it off until I felt like I had the time to tackle the recipe. Part of the problem was that I has no idea what the fudge a sabayon was, so I would have no idea if I made a successful one or not. Luckily, Marie mentioned it was basically a first cousin to zabaglione, which I have made a couple of times, and many HCB said it was a lengthy process and did dirty every bowl in the house, but it wasn't difficult. THEN Zach of La Bomba fame commented on Marie's post that one could use a hand mixer to make the sabayon, and I said OK!
I am sorry I did not take many photos, but I lost my light and was up to my elbows in egg foam and melted chocolate.
A little ganache is made and set aside in a warm spot while the egg yolks and the blackberry black tea are sabayoned. I went with the Blackberry Sage Black Tea and it wasn't bad, but one teabag was only about half a tablespoon so I used two to steep the tea. The egg yolks are whisked (or beaten with the hand mixer) in a double boiler with the tea and some sugar until doubled in volume. The ganache gets folded into this and the whole thing set aside until needed.
Next up, the blackberries are pureed and strained--I used the immersion blender and it took less than a minute to puree. I used frozen berries since fresh blackberries won't be around for many months yet. Sadly, the berries smelled more vegetal than fruity--like the blackberry vine rather than the blackberry fruit, but a quick taste of the completed mousse says chocolate and blackberries, so I guess it turned out all right. I will know for sure in 45 minutes.
The strained blackberry puree is gently cooked with a little bit of gelatin and set aside. Another ganache is made and set aside. Whipped cream is whipped, the ganache is beaten in, the puree is folded into that, and finally the sabayon is folded into that. Now the chocolate-blackberry mousse can be placed into the chosen mold, the cake circle placed on top, and everything is frozen for at least eight hours.
Today it was time to finish this bad boy and publish a blog post. Last night, when arranging all the crap I have in my freezer to make room for the bombe, I found a tub of lacquer glaze from back when we made the baby grands. According to my tub, there was just under one cup of glaze, which was going to be more than enough to glaze the cake. Hooray! One less step to do!
Today when I went to defrost and re-heat my lacquer glaze, I discovered that my thermometer was on the fritz as it kept insisting room temperature was 160 degrees. So I reheated the glaze to what I thought would be good glazing consistency, since I had no precise way of telling when the glaze was 86 degrees.
It took a bit of hard negotiating to get the bombe out of the mold. I used a combination of a hair dryer (to warm the bowl and thus, the contents) and slamming the inverted bowl and the greased cake rack down on the counter (it sounds more brutal than it was). At last the bombe was free, but it needed a quick trip back to the freezer to firm up.
The glaze was warm, the bombe was cold, it was time for the fun part. Like most bakers, I forgot to take a few photos of the glazing of the dessert because I was having too much fun being entranced by the whole shiny thing. The now-shiny glazed bombe needs to thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours, which is where it is presently. And now we are caught up.
Be back at 6:15.
It is a little icky to coat the knife in nonstick spray instead of dipping into hot water, but Rose warns warming the knife will just melt the glaze into the cake leaving behind a hot mess. So get over the ick factor and coat the knife in Pam. This cake is amazing. It is rich yet light, soft in texture but bold in flavor. I was worried those blackberries wouldn't provide much blackberry flavor at all but they did. The chocolate is the first and foremost taste, then the fruity blackberry fills up your mouth afterwards. The filling is the creamiest and softest of mousses. The lacquer glaze hits you with a strong cocoa pow. My least favorite component is the cake. It is fine but it isn't all that interesting in either texture or flavor. Perhaps I would fire the cake base and serve just the filling and glaze in sundae cups, or jam jars. Then I could fold in some fresh, crushed blackberries for texture and big seedy flavor. Or maybe use a chocolate meringue disk or dacquoise instead. The dessert is indeed a showstopper and a perfect way to show your friends exactly how awesome your baking skills have become.
And now, on to what I have been itching/dreading to do all day: knit. I'm knitting the Highland Triangle Shawl and it is time to pick up 262 stitches for the border. Another intimidating project!