Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 50

We're doing traditional European cakes now.  Today we did the Sacher (soccer) Torte.  Actually, it's not a real Sacher Torte because, unless you work at the Sacher hotel in Vienna, Austria, you're not allowed to make it.  The real thing says Sacher Torte across it.  If it just says Sacher or Sachertorte, it's a facsimile.

In short....

It's a dense chocolate cake with apricot jam in the middle and Kirsch syrup dabbed all over it

Then it's covered in ganache

and decorated with white chocolate filigree 

I also got to make ice cream for service today in this big, spiffy machine

I will get to use this a bit more coming up!

and my station in service was Creme Brulee so I got to play with the blow torch!

*The fact that the fire alarms went off and we all had to evacuate the building was in no way my fault*

Day 49

Since we're getting into more complicated desserts and cakes with more components, I won't be finishing as many projects each night and instead working on the cake over a couple of days.

That said, I completely finished my chocolate chiffon cake from yesterday so here are the latest pictures.

It looks a bit messier from this angle since I had to smooth out the top chocolate and redo it because I scored it wrong.

The white chocolate band tempered well which I am pretty excited about!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 48

Cakes and chocolate...does it get any better?

Today we made a Chocolate Honey Mousse Torte and it was amazing!  We started off by using a 6" round of the roll cake we made the other day for the Charlotte and a strip of Jaconde and stencil paste.  Jaconde is an almond roll cake  that bakes up thin and flexible.  The stencil paste is chocolate mixed with some other stuff, spread over a silpat then most of it gets scraped off with a comb so it leaves a squiggly design.  The cake gets poured over it and the whole thing bakes.  When it's done, you can cut it into strips and use it to line things like this:

The acetate will help hold everything together

The mousse gets poured into the mold

and when it's chilled, the acetate comes off and the whole thing is set

It was SOOOOO good!

Yesterday we made a chocolate chiffon cake and put the base for our whipped dark chocolate ganache in the fridge to chill overnight.  Today we whipped it into icing and frosted the cake with it.

Mmm, chocolate

Since we're working with chocolate right now we tried tempering both white and dark chocolate for this cake.

First we used the dark chocolate to draw designs on acetate tape.

Then the white chocolate got spread over it 
(if you look closely you can see some of my design underneath it)

Here's what my cake looked like after I got the band around it.  Pretty cool, huh?

I'm planning to use this same technique (although, I think I'll reverse the colors) on the chocolate item for my menu project.  I really like it, it's nice and complicated. :-D

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 47

So here's the finished Tiramisu that gave me so many problems yesterday...

The best part?  It wasn't even that good. Mine is SOOO much better.

Today I made a Charlotte Royale.  It starts as a roll cake that's lined with jam (in this case, apricot) and sliced

Then you line a bowl with the slices of cake

It gets filled with bavarian cream (with gelatin)

Then the cream gets covered with more cake (usually plain cake)

Once it sets, it gets turned out and glazed to keep the cake fresh

The finished product can be sliced and will hold its shape because of the gelatin

I have to say, I understand the reasoning for the gelatin, you want it to be able to stand up on its own...but it makes have a weird texture and the bavarian cream had almost no flavor.  Sad days!

By the way, the cheesecake was very good.  The only thing is, it needed way more ginger and less time.

Day 46

Today was one of the more frustrating days I have had since I started school.  Not because, as is usually the case, I didn't get anything done, but because one of the projects I was working on just would NOT work.

I was making Tiramisu and we had to do it the hard way (of course) by standing ladyfingers up inside a ring of acetate and getting them to stay.  The problem is that they don't stand up by themselves and topple over every few seconds.  I worked on it for nearly an hour and a half.  Chef Hall finally had to come over and pretty much do it for me because after starting over 20 or so times I was shaking and nearly in tears.  I felt a little justified, though, when it took him a good long time to do it too.

This is what the stupid thing looks like when it's together

The filling goes in there...well...yeah...duh....ok, moving on

I also finished my cheesecake today.  We had to make marbled cheesecake (i.e. regular cheesecake swirled with flavored filling) so I chose to make mine Orange Ginger.

You can hardly see the swirl but you can definitely see the orange zest!

It came out nicely, with just one little bubble on it

I haven't cut into it yet or tasted it...I'll let you know how it comes out!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 45

Sadly, I have no pictures for you today.  Tomorrow I will though.  It was another one of those nights where I basically just got things prepped for the next day.  I was so tired and couldn't seem to make myself move very fast.

We got the requirements for our wedding cake project, which I'm pretty excited about.  It's a 3 tiered cake that we can make in any style we want as long as we

  • Use sugar paste (rolled fondant) to cover each layer
  • Put a band of some sort around the bottom of each layer
  • Have 5 molded flowers (out of gum paste or rolled fondant or marzipan)
  • One layer has drop lace along the top edge
Other than that, it's up to us!  I have some awesome ideas (I've known about this for a while and have been planning it out) that Vincent and I are going to sit down and sketch out one day soon.  I can't tell you what it's going to be but it's exciting!! :-D

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 44


Today I started out by making Lemon Curd which, I realize, sounds real appetizing.  It is surprisingly tasty.  Very tart and smooth.  It's kind of like a lemon pudding...but better.

It starts out looking like melted butter in a pan and gets stirred until it's thick...but wait!  There's more!

THEN it gets poured through a chinois (shin-wah) over the butter

While that was chilling, I made a thin cake and sprinkled powdered sugar on it

Then I spread the lemon curd onto the cake

And rolled it up (the stuff on top is buttercream, I'll get to that next)

After the buttercream gets spread over the rolled-up cake, it gets cut into three pieces and made into....

(seriously, it's supposed to be a Bucche de Noel, a yule log cake.  It's usually brown and has meringue mushrooms)

This is the beginning of a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake...mmmm.

And when it's done, it looks even tastier.  It was SOOO good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 43

Now that I'm in Term 2, every few days I will be staying late to work the dessert service in the restaurant that the school runs.  Everyday, though, whether I'm actually working service or not, each group has to prepare something for that night.  Since it's a set menu in the restaurant, there are a limited number of things we have to do but tonight it was my group's turn to finish the OCI Dream Tortes that were in the freezer and get them ready to be served.  We did this by removing them from their pans, covering them with ganache and slicing them...

Mmm, chocolate on chocolate, covering chocolate

We also had our own projects to do liiiiiike...

Angel Food Cake!  Mmm, so light and fluffy!

We also made Carrot Cake with cream cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream and decorated with little marzipan carrots.  Teehee!

Next week, things get a bit more complicated...This is the part I'm looking forward to.  :-D

Day 42

If 42 is the Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything and today we worked on cakes, does that mean that cake is the Answer? ...I think it might.

We continued our cake from yesterday by making the buttercream icing.  Since we made Swiss Meringue Buttercream, a meringue had to be made first.

There are 3 types of meringue.  There is French Meringue, or Common Meringue, that is simply made by whisking egg whites and sugar together.  This is the meringue most of us think of but it is the least stable.  The second, and slightly more stable, meringue is Swiss Meringue.  The egg whites and sugar are heated to 110 degrees to dissolve the sugar and warm the egg whites for more volume.  The third and most stable is Italian Merinuge.  This is begun by whipping the egg whites to a soft foam and then adding a heated simple syrup solution (sugar and water) as the whites are being whisked.  While the finished product is the most stable of the three, Italian Meringue is also the most temperamental to make.

Since we made Swiss Meringue, the eggwhites and sugar start by getting heated over a bain marie until the sugar dissolves

The eggwhites then get whipped to a stiff consistency

Since we were making buttercream, the next step was to add the soft this case, 3 pounds of it, in pieces, to the meringue while it was being whipped

Finally, it looks like this (it's actually pure white but my flash was being funny)

When that was done, it was time to start putting the cake together.

First, I cut it in half and tamped simple syrup on each half to keep it moist.  I didn't do very well getting it out of the pan, you can see it's a bit torn up....thank goodness for buttercream!

In goes the filling, the top gets put on and the rest of the cake gets iced

Here's the finished product.  It got scored into 14 pieces (mine's a bit off...damn geometry) and a rosette piped onto each piece

It came out nicely, though the icing was about twice as thick as it should have been

At least it's all pretty level!  Not bad for my first cake in a while

Tomorrow we continue our Fun With Cakes and Buttercream...same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. :-)

Day 41 and The Beginning of Term 2

Today was the beginning of my second term of school and working with Chef Hall.  He is an interesting character.  He can be quite intimidating but is obviously very passionate about what he does.  It will be very good to work with him, if frustrating at times.

We started out full force by making a cake.  We didn't get it finished tonight but we did have 3 or 4 demos and got the cake baked off.

It's a plain chiffon cake.  Very light and fluffy since it's made with meringue

Chef Hall demo-ing how to fix your buttercream with a blowtorch if it breaks....Awesome

Tomorrow we'll continue with our chiffon cake and, I'm sure, get several other assignments.  YAY CAKES!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 40 and The End of Term 1!

Today was our last day with Chef Wild.  On Wednesday, we move on to Term 2 and start with Chef Hall.  Being the last day of the term, it was our make-up day.  A chance to catch up on things we either missed or needed to redo from the last 20 days.  If we had extra time or if we didn't have anything to make up, we could use the time to experiment or just make something tasty.

I had a few things to get done.

First off, I redid my Bouchees.  They passed this time!

Also with puff dough, I finished my palmiers (palm-ee-ays) which are just puff dough wrapped up with sugar in it and baked between two sheet pans to make them flat

Amber and I finished our chessboard cookies which, in my opinion, are bland and really only aesthetic

I did have a little extra time so I made something I'd been wanting to since the beginning of this 20 day period...

Olive Bread!

I made this with Pain au Levain, the French Sourdough and it came out very tasty.  Nice texture and light.  Next time I think I will reduce the salt due to the kalmata olives adding their own (I really should have thought of that).

Day 39

Meringue is an interesting starts out as liquid egg whites, kinda gloopy, not much to look at...then you start incorporating air and it gets all foamy and icky looking....then you add sugar and keep whipping.  Eventually you end up with this pure white, sticky, wonderfully tasty, light-as-a-cloud...stuff.  That is, of course, as long as all your equipment was completely clean and there were no traces of yolk in your whites and you didn't look at it funny and it was just the right temperature and humidity.  When it works, there are about a bajillion things you can do with meringue, depending on the stiffness.

Today, we did one of them.  We made Meringue Fingers, little piped strips of meringue that get topped with nuts and baked until they're crispy on the outside and just slightly chewy on the inside.

The ones on the left have Hazelnuts on them while I sprinkled cocoa powder on the others (these turned out to be my favorite)

I also finished my petit fours glace today.  They are little pieces of almond pound cake, topped with apricot jam, then topped with marzipan, coated in liquid fondant a few times and decorated with chocolate.

They were tasty...but not enough for the amount of work that went into them

Tomorrow is the last day of Term 1!  I have a few things to finish but I feel pretty confident I can get it done.  This section of the term has gone much better than the last.