Sunday, January 22, 2012

Culinary IQ: Sunday, January 22, 2012; Make up of a cake

What Makes a Cake Special?
My answer to what makes a cake special is the quality of the ingredients used when making each component of the cake, the quality of the recipe, and the finished product.

Some of you may remember my rant several months ago regarding fondant. If you don't I will give you a short reminder, I think that fondant is a waist. Yes, fondant makes it easier to construct a beautiful cake, but if you know how to properly apply buttercream to a cake; I think it makes a much nicer looking cake and displays the talents of the cake maker. I am far from perfecting my icing skills but continue to practice. Also fondant to me is inedible. Ok enough reminder.

The cake above, I started earlier this week. It was a birthday cake for a special friend. I made an orange chiffon cake with grand mariner syrup, an orange cream filling and grand mariner buttercream. Here is how I went about it.

When making a chiffon cake you mix the dry ingredient together then incorporate the wet ingredients less the egg whites. Once the mixture is smooth you then beat the egg whites to a firm peak and fold them in. In this cake I used a good flavorless vegetable oil and freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh orange zest.
Once the layers were out of the oven I cooled them, removed them from the pan and wrapped in plastic to freeze until I was ready to construct the cake later in the week.

When I was ready to construct the cake, I took the layers out of the freezer to thaw and went about making the components. I made a grand marnier simple syrup to soak the layers with, an orange cream filling by combining orange curd with whipped cream and a grand marnier buttercream to ice the cake with.

Once all of the components were complete I started constructing the cake. First I sliced the layers in half horizontally making four layers. I placed the first layer on the cake board and soaked it generously with the grand marnier simple syrup. I piped a dam of buttercream around the edge of the layer to keep the orange cream from oozing out from between the layers. I then spread the top of the layer with the orange cream.
I followed the same process for each of the next two layers and only soaked the top layer with the grand marnier simple syrup.
Once the layers were in place I then crumb coated the cake in order to secure any crumbs and keep them from getting in final layer of buttercream. I placed the cake on a presentation cake board and then piped around the bottom and top of the cake.
Just before presenting the cake to the recipient trimmed it with fresh roses. The cake was enjoyed by all!

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