It’s Kim’s Birthday! It’s Joe’s Birthday!

Invited to the family birthday celebration of the dynamic duo of daughter Kim and father Joe (parental, not priestley type father), I asked if I could bring a couple of varieties of pastries I was working on that day. I was making some tartlets in recognition of the Mandarin Orange Festival recently held in this area. I also wanted to make ganache/caramel/sea-salt tartlets. Also, having just binge watched several seasons of The Great British Bake Off with Fran I was compelled to try my hand at a roulade. I told Kim I would bring those that were successful. Disasters never leave home.

I have a nice, easy recipe for tartlet shells and used it to make a dozen, six small 2½”  and six img_0003larger 3″ diameter, wanting more surface areaimg_0001 for the orange slices. Because the oranges are very sweet and the creme de Patisserie is likewise sweet, I wanted to add something to balance. I added the zest of three small mandarin oranges to the creme pat to add just a little bitter to the mix. (Hindsight – use 3 slices,  not 5. Even small slices were too big/many.)

Sadly, the ganache did not set (too much hot cream initially, and not enough time to img_0005correct it before the party.) Happily, I had some extra creme pat so I could substitute some img_0006blackberry tarts for the ganache/caramel/sea-salt ones originally planned. (Remember, disasters stay home.)

Back to the GBBO binge.  A roulade is a rolled sponge cake filled with something. Think Swiss Roll but without the chocolate and yodelling. I filled mine with cream cheese frosting, a blackberry reduction and fresh blackberries, hence extra blackberries for tartlets above.

I made a genoise sponge, taking a bit of a risk having never attempted one. A genoise is a sponge cake that is leavened naturally with eggs using the foaming method which is the gentle warming of the eggs with sugar and beating them until they are foamy and thick. After baking and while still warm the sponge is dusted with confectioners sugar, rolled up in parchment paper and left to cool. While waiting for it to cool, I made the berry reduction and cream cheese frosting. The reduction is simply mixing equal weights berry and sugar and cook over medium heat until boiling for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. The cream cheese recipe, while equally simple is below. Once the two spreads are ready, carefully unroll the now cooled sponge, coat with both layers, lay a dozen or so fresh berries on the fillings and re-roll, this time without the parchment paper.  Refrigerate until the filling is set, dust the top with more confectioners sugar, trim the edges to a clean line and serve.

Note: I am slowly converting recipes to weight and want to be consistent with units but am too damned lazy to convert existing recipes until I need to.

Tartlet Shell

  • 50 g cold butter cut into small cubes
  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 30 g icing
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 egg – ½ for the dough and the other ½ reserved for an egg wash



  1. Mix butter with sugar
  2. Add salt then vanilla
  3. Add egg
  4. Stir in flour. Mix by hand until incorporated
  5. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 min


  1. Butter tartlet pans, or use non-stick pans
  2. Roll dough to about ⅛” thick
  3. Lay over tart mold and press into all crevices
  4. Roll top to cut off excess
  5. Prick holes in bottom and sides of formed dough
  6. Fill tarts with pastry weights (I put beans in a cupcake paper and remove 5 minutes before the end of the bake.)
  7. Paint edges of the tartlet with the egg wash.
  8. Bake in preheated oven 350 deg F (175 C) for 15 min
  9. Immediately remove from pans and cool on a wire rack

Creme Patisserie (Creme Pat to us philistines)

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks


  1. Whisk eggs and milk
  2. Add 2 Tbl butter
  3. Bring to boil whisking constantly
  4. Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
  5. Sieve into a bowl
  6. Add and stir 1 tsp vanilla
  7. Cover with plastic directly touching the cream
  8. Refrigerate

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and beat it with the whisk attachment to make as light, airy and spreadable as possible.
  2. Easy, huh?

Genoise Sponge

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cake flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch


Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a jelly roll pan, line it with parchment paper, and butter that too.

  1. Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
  2. Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees (test with your finger or play with your infrared thermometer, which is what I do). Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.
  3. While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.
  4. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder. There is a balance between incorporating all the flour mixture and deflating the egg mixture. Be thorough but careful.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake the gênoise for about 25 minutes, or until well risen, deep gold, and firm to the touch. Do not over bake it.  Also, do not over fill the pan. Very thick genoise is more difficult to roll.
  7. Immediately use a small pairing knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack, then reinvert onto another rack and let the cake cool right side up on the paper. Remove the paper when the cake is cool.


Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several days, or double wrap and freeze for up to a month


2 thoughts on “It’s Kim’s Birthday! It’s Joe’s Birthday!

  1. Pingback: Party Tarty | aBatteredOldSuitcase

  2. Pingback: Savor the Moment | aBatteredOldSuitcase

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