Archive for July, 2012

Birthday cakes always put me under considerate stress…

…until it is finally done. One thing I learned is to always get my recipes from The person who created the cake I made this year is also the originator of the cake from last year, of my favorite blueberry muffins etc. etc. I vow to myself to continue making birthday cakes only from recipes she designed (and she made a million cakes, so I’ll never run out), and to be honest, words cannot explain to me how incredibly amazing she is. The goodness of her recipes go beyond my basic comprehension of baking, and I come to the conclusion that this probably means that I have absolutely no understanding of baking at all.

Yup, I frosted the cake on a cutting board.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly except that I used instant pudding (still surprisingly good) and did not really pay attention to how much mascarpone and heavy cream I put into each part. Basically the whole thing is just an almost random mixture of instant pudding powder, mascarpone, heavy cream and milk – and it was good that way. Oh I also used white chocolate pudding instead of vanilla pudding, because I prefer its taste. I even think that white chocolate pudding tastes better than normal chocolate pudding which… never really tastes like chocolate. The chocolate pudding was only good because I added copious amounts of melted dark chocolate chips, some of my favorite foods really.

Toffee, honey-glazed bananas, chocolate chips, whipped cream.

I am still not very good at frosting, especially when the frosting is made with only heavy whipping cream. All in all, a conditioner’s sugar + milk mixture is significantly easier to deal with. As a result, the cake actually looks best when you only look at its top – and I need to learn how to properly stiffen whipped cream to make frosting actually beautiful. One day, one day… Unfortunately I don’t think it is a healthy idea to experiment with whipped cream too much.

I think cake sections are more stylish than toppings.

Finally, of course the most important element is that such a cake looks good in cross-section. As you can see, the chocolate layer turned out to be way too thin, but that was okay. From bottom to top, these are 1 layer of white cake, 1 layer of bananas and vanilla pudding, 1 layer of white cake, 1 layer of chocolate pudding and 1 layer of chocolate cake. Originally they were supposed to all be the same thickness. But then chaos ensued and it did not turn out to be the same thickness. Such is life. But taste-wise it is a lovely cake (and it is so heavy that 40% of it is still in the fridge, hohoho.)

Freedom in a glass of cake

I have seen this posting about 3 years ago when it just came out, and absolutely loved the look of the section-type flag cake. Without having any patriotic feelings whatsoever (certainly not for another country, after all), I have always wanted to make this cake. It’s just… if a cake is just food coloring, it seems less interesting and appealing to me.

But the idea of making a flag cake stayed with me for years, and so finally, this year, I decided to give it a try. I don’t make cakes of this type very often – my staple are crumbles, pies, pound cakes and so on, the comparably more healthy type of cake. I rarely make cakes with lots of eggs, or lots of… anything. Most of all, I am worried that such a cake would turn out not moist enough, although for some reason I have improved over the last years. I do not recall the last time I made a cake where I got the impression that it turned out too dry, and that gives me hope.

I was delighted to see that the cake fit into my small cake glass.

I used this recipe, which got rave reviews on the internet. They were all right! The cake was moist and downright wonderful. But the pictures on the post are not all that promising, because I wanted a cake with the flat shape of the original cake. My prayers were answered. For some reason my cake turned out moist and lovely, but without poofing up unpleasantly in the middle.

The big drawback of getting a flat cake was the fact that it ended up being way too small, ahahaha. In the end, I cut the pieces of cakes in half and assembled a ‘half cake’, as evidenced by the last picture.

Aren’t these layers wonderful?

Due to lack of white chocolate (and generally the fact that chocolate is expensive), I went for a butter + confectioner’s sugar + milk frosting. For some reason I find myself incapable of following other people’s frosting recipes. What I do is to pour the base wet ingredients together and then add sugar and milk until I got the amount of frosting I wanted with the right consistency. In fact, I don’t even know what the right consistency is – I just make it thin enough so that it’s easy to apply the frosting, but for some reason I still find it hard to make frosting look good.

I am a complete newbie at frosting.

On a completely unrelated side note, I have recently discovered ponzu. It tastes delicious! (And it has a cute name… if I remember correctly, there is an irrelevant character in Hunter x Hunter by that name.) I think there should be more to it than soy sauce and something lemon-y because it tastes fairly acid. Ohhh this makes me want to make dumplings and put them inside!