Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Week of Cakes and Coughs

You may have been wondering why I haven't posted in a while, but I'm back now. I've been battling a bad cold for the past week and had to miss a few days of class. My cold is finally subsiding and I managed to go to class for two and a half days last week, which is when I got to work on cakes.

We started out learning to make a Genoise, an Italian sponge cake that uses only air incorporated into the batter as its only leavening agent. Because air must be trapped inside the batter, it is a bit tricky to successfully make this cake and our class has had to make several attempts.

The key is in the folding technique used to mix the ingredients. While spinning the bowl, use a bowl scraper to scrape from the center to the edge of the bowl and flip your scoop of batter over. If you fold it incorrectly or if you fold it too much then you lose air and end up with a flat cake. You also have to move quickly to get it in the oven immediately after you finish folding and take care not to jostle the pan or you will knock out the air. Also, if the oven is too hot then the air in the batter will expand too quickly and will flatten your cake. See what I mean about it being a bit tricky?

Eventually, we did get a few cakes to come out right, but most of the class agreed that the recipe itself was a bit dry and bland since the Genoise isn't a very sweet cake to begin with. We did manage to make a decent Sachertorte (see photos) with the chocolate Genoise cakes by filling the layers, dripping ganache on top and adding almonds on the sides.

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