Lesson 85: Cake Decorating

Friday, March 26, 2010

It has been a crazy couple of days!! Yesterday I went into the city early for an interview with Good Housekeeping Magazine for my externship. I must say the Good Housekeeping Institute is very impressive! I had a few hours to kill before class, so I spent some time in Starbucks studying for the first Module 4 exam and grabbed some lunch at Whole Foods.

Yesterday's class began with the exam (I think I did well!) and continued with some cake baking. In groups of 2 we made three different types of cakes..and multiple of each type. We made a lemon-scented cake, "pan di spagna" (a sponge cake), and a chocolate cake. Here are our lemon-scented cakes right out of the oven:
We ended the class by making a batch of buttercream to reserve for the next day of cake decorating. Buttercream..is...amazing. I will never make another frosting other than buttercream because it is seriously the best!

Class ran a bit late yesterday, but I ran out to meet my date for the night :) .. For dinner we went to Blue Ribbon Restaurant (you can find my review here). Obviously, we ordered the bone marrow to start. It was amazing, just like last time!

I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to class today knowing that we had to decorate our cakes. I have never had the patience or creativity to decorate cakes. Not to mention, the lack of sleep from the past couple nights really caught up to me this morning so I was EXHAUSTED. However, I stayed focused during class, tried my best, and got it done!

It was sort of fun because we were able to experiment with different flavor ganaches, fillings, and decorations. We were basically given complete freedom with the types of cake we wanted to make, as long as we kept it neat and simple. I started out by choosing the chocolate cake to decorate. When I went to split the layers of the cake, it completely fell apart. The cake was so moist that it was extremely difficult to work with. I decided to ditch that idea and went for the pan di spagna.

I started out by splitting the cake into 3 layers. Next, it was time to layer up the cake. I laid down the first layer and brushed it with a simple syrup and hazlenut liquor mixture (to add moisture to the cake). Then, I spread on a layer of rich chocolate ganach and praline flavored buttercream. To make this flavored buttercream, I simple whipped in some praline paste into the prepared buttercream. Yummmmm.. this tasted soo good! Anyways, I continued to layer up the next 2 layers in the same fashion. After the top layer of cake went on, I brushed it with the simple syrup/liquor and then started frosting the sides of the cake with the praline buttercream.

This part..not so easy... We had to hold the cake in the air with one hand while we frosted the sides of the cake. Clearly, in this picture I was concentrating VERY hard:
Haha.. I seriously worked so hard today to not mess up this cake. After I frosted the sides, I frosted the top and then evened out the frosting so that it was smooth all around the cake.

Next, was the part I really hate.. piping. I made a twisted border around the cake. It wasn't perfect, but turned out okay. I definitely need practice with piping. I decorated the cake with chocolate shavings in the center with a few hazlenuts, candied lavendar for color, and crushed toasted hazlenuts around the sides. Drum roll please................


For my cake?

And the side view:

Very basic, but I thought it was neat and pretty (besides a few piping mistakes..).

Who's the lucky recipient of this cake you ask? One lucky guy ;) ..as long as he gives me a slice to try!!!

I skipped wine class tonight because I needed SLEEP tonight and I had to get this cake in the fridge. Plus I'm heading back to school early tomorrow to help Chef Chad with an Italian Easter recreational class (should be fun!).


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