Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lacquered Birthday Cake

Normally for birthdays I just phone up a bakery and order a cake, simple, no stress, just pick it up and enjoy. However, having baked my daughter's birthday cake it was only fair that I would also bake my son's birthday cake and besides if I hadn't I know I would have heard something like -"mom loves me more because I got a homemade cake" to which my son would have responded with something like - "yes, but I'm mom's favourite".

I've been wanting to try the lacquered glaze in Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Bernanbaum for a while now so I knew for sure that I would use it on this cake. I also wanted the cake to be a genoise with a custard cream filling and frosted with a ganache. All of this sounded pretty good to me but in the end it wasn't the best combination of choices.

I made the genoise the day before using the recipe for Genoise Rose because it had five eggs in it and I thought it would give me more cake baked in a 9" x 3" round cake pan. This went off without a hitch. The cake baked up high, light and lovely and I could cut it into three layers.

Normally I use a recipe from The Five Roses Baking Book that makes a great custard cream that holds up really well in cake layers but I wanted to try something new. I decided to use a recipe for a chantilly custard cream in the Joy of Cooking and although it was good it just wasn't very stiff but once it cooled I managed to fill the cake layers moistened with coffee flavoured sugar syrup and all was well.

I made a simple ganache of chocolate and whipping cream and when this cooled I frosted the cake but this is where I realized that this wasn't the best choice for the light genoise because as I frosted the cake the cake's crust would lift off. I had to use a light hand so this would not happen. I also had to be careful frosting the sides of the cake as some of the custard was oozing out and made frosting difficult, but slowly I managed to frost the entire cake and by the time I was finished I thought the cake looked pretty good.
I had heard how easy it was to make the lacquer glaze and sure enough it was. Once it cooled to the proper temperature I poured it all at once over the cake making sure the sides were well glazed also. The only problem was that because the sides weren't prefectly straight, the glaze, which is unforgiving and shows any imperfections, was uneven here. The top was just fine and boy was it shiny.
After the glaze set a bit I wrote Happy Birthday Steven with royal icing and I was done.

If I had to do it all again I would not use a ganache for this cake because when it set it was just too stiff for the light cake and cream and slicing was difficult. A buttercream would have worked out better. We enjoyed it nonetheless and even had seconds.
Happy Easter!


jini said...

looks like a very pleased birthday guy, so you get stars for a successful venture!! the cake looks lovely!

doughadear said...

Thank you Jini. My hat goes off to all the people who make special cakes on a regular basis - it is so time consuming. But when you see the smile on there faces it's all worth it.

evil cake lady said...

custard, coffee, all sounds perfect! too bad it didn't come together quite right in the end. i admire your patience with the frosting...when it gets like that for me i usually just throw a fit.
happy birthday to your son and happy easter!

doughadear said...

I was pretty flustered by the end (I just didn't write about that part) especially since I had put so much thought into it. I was pleased with the glaze and would definitely make it again. Happy Easter to you too!

Melinda said...

Your genoise looks fantastic! I read lots of sad stories about flat genoise...but you have mastered genoise!
The glaze looks beautiful. But I hear you about the difficulties in uncooperative crusts and oozing of fillings. Been there, done that and had the hissy fit, too!
But actually, the cake looks great and reality is that other people are not as fussy as we, the baker, are. You spelt his name correctly and in icing! You are a swell Mom!
Happy birthday to your son!

doughadear said...

You are so right about bakers being picky! I have actually redone (after the hissy fit) cakes and bread when they didn't turn out just right. I remember making a panettone once for my cousins who were coming to visit. It was a beauty, tall and domed, but I removed it out of the oven too early and it deflated. You can just imagine the hissy fit! Well I was intent in serving panettone and started over again. I was glad I did because I found out it was my cousins birthday, so I stuck a candle in it and voula a birthday cake.

breadbasketcase said...

Oh, those children with their "Mom always liked you best" routine! But you are so right--you can't make a cake for one and not the other. Let this be a lesson to you--to the bakery for both of them! But I must say, your cake looks fabulous, even if you weren't 100% satisfied with it yourself. I'll bet you'd be delighted if someone had made it for you!

doughadear said...

You know my kids are both adults but the bantering still goes on. It's pretty funny.
Making fancy cakes is so time consuming! My hat goes off to you for making special cakes week after week.
By the way I am at the courthouse this week for possible jury duty selection - a very interesting process indeed.