Straight Down the Middle

As we near the end (of some peoples playing season,) one of my golf buddies invited our foursome and families over for a patio dinner before the weather starts turning cold(er). I offered to bring a cake along to the dinner. This is what I made this morning

It’s my extreme chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.

The trees are gum-paste cones made by wrapping thin gum-paste around a form, then set to dry overnight.

Of course, I rarely hit it straight down the middle!!

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I was working on the railroad…. err kitchen, yeah!! that’s the ticket… kitchen!!

Remember the yellow cake with meringue frosting from a couple of weeks ago. I bet you didn’t realize that was just a practice cake! The real one was for Fran’s work where they are working on a strategic plan. I used David’s Yellow Cake (that is just a name. It could just as easily been Ralph’s Yellow Cake, its just someone named David published the recipe first) as the basis of a commemorative cake for the City of Tamarac.Tamarac Cake

The difference between this cake and the original Yellow Cake is I used fondant to cover this cake and gum paste to make all the emblems and logos. I cheated and used sugar letters to spell “Team 4 Information Management”. My piping skills to write that much just aren’t there… yet. As usual, everything is cake or candy and edible.

CAUTION: Weekdays off can be dangerous

Having Tuesday off was good. On the other hand it was very good. I wanted a new dessert to have for the occasional dinner. I have some new small glass flared dessert dishes and in my world the glass or dish is always full.

The dessert is a dark chocolate mousse, layered with a light chocolate mousse and topped with a Bavarian cream, shaved dark chocolate, dusted with cinnamon with a sugar/cinnamon stick for garnish.

Dark Chocolate Mousse:

  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2  tablespoons (1 ounce) salted butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs  separated
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added. Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream. Pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes.

Put the bowls on a small cookie sheet ( I used a 9″x12″ jelly roll pan.) Tip the pans at a sharp angle. I used a beer bottle under one end (I wonder where that bottle came from?)  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Light Chocolate Mousse (6 servings)

  • 1/2 cup water, boiling
  • 2 tsp gelatin (powdered)
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs separated and at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Combine water and gelatin in a small bowl and whisk until gelatin has completely dissolved. Whisk in cocoa powder and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, working with 1-2 tbsp at a time, while you beat the egg whites. Once the egg white mixture has reached soft peaks, beat in the egg yolks one at a time at high speed. Slowly pour in the gelatin mixture and mix until uniform in color and well-combined.

Remove the dark chocolate filled dishes and tip them the opposite way on the counter. Evenly distribute the mousse into then and refrigerate keeping the same angle until set, at least 3 hours.

Bavarian Cream (2 Servings )

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small bowl, stir together the gelatin and cold water. Set aside to soften. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Pour the hot milk in a steady stream into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour the custard through a strainer.  Stir in the softened gelatin and vanilla and stir to melt the gelatin. Allow to cool. When the mixture has cooled almost to room temperature, whip the heavy cream to medium stiffness and fold it into the custard. Immediately transfer the Bavarian cream to the dessert cups laying level on the counter, as it will firm up quickly as the gelatin sets. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Before serving, I grated some dark chocolate over the Bavarian cream. I also rolled some gum paste that I had in a combination of sugar and cinnamon to offset the sweetness of the mousse. Cut the gum paste into rectangles about 1″ x 2″ and roll into a tube with the sugar/cinnamon coating on the outside.

Hall of Famers don’t hit home runs every time…

Not every at bat will be a homer, some are base hits, sometimes you strike out.

Last night was an extra base hit. The flavors were good, the presentation adequate

but, for me, it lacked snap. The mahi-mahi recipe was good, not great. I won’t do it again and won’t post the recipe. The rice was very good (thanks to Keith B.) The dessert was a cake I saw online. Again the flavor was good but the presentation – no so much.

Rice: Cut corn from a fresh ear and saute in a little butter and EVO until tender. Boil about 3/4th’s cup of water with 3-4oz of tomato juice. Remove from heat, add rice, corn and a little cut cilantro. Let the rice soak up the liquid and fluff with a fork.

The chocolate rolls were excellent (tasted like tootsie roll) made from chocolate fondant and white gum paste. Full disclosure: usually I make my own fondant and gum paste, but I have not been able to make a good chocolate fondant. I bought this at Michael’s.

rolled together, cut into rectangles and rolled up loosely. The cake was too high for what it was. The layers should have been half as high, 1/2″ rather than 1″. the cake would have been lower resulting in smaller portions but easier to balance.

Cake: the cake is a white velvet made in a jelly roll pan.

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a small bowl, sift 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  2. Blend shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Mix in the flour mixture. Add 3/4 cup milk; beat for 2 minutes. Add egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup milk. Beat well.
  3. Grease and flour 8 1/2 x 12″ Jelly Roll pan. Pour the batter into the pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cake layers on a wire rack
The chocolate base for the cake is made by melting 2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate ( I use a double boiler) and adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of HOT heavy cream. Mix it well and when still hot and pliable spread a thin layer on waxed paper. The size should be about 1/3rd of the size of your cake pan.
Cut the cake into thirds so each will be about 8″ x 4″. Place the lower layer in the still warm chocolate. Frost the top of that layer with butter cream frosting. Add the second, and third layers with frosting in between.
I tried a number of ways to make the orange drizzle frosting. The easiest was to melt some apple jelly, add some orange essence and some orange food coloring. The best tasting was to mix 1/4 cup filtered orange juice (running through a coffee filter clarifies the OJ), adding 1 cup sugar and 1/2 packet of gelatin. I may want to cut back on the gelatin. bring it all to a boil then refrigerate until thick. Spread over the top letting it drizzle down the sides. Make a little royal icing (1 tsp meringue power, 1/2 cup powered sugar and 1 – 2 tablespoons warm water, depending on how thick you want the icing) and “glue” a chocolate roll on each piece of cake using the royal icing. Note: one of mine would not stick to the orange glaze so I pushed a toothpick through the icing into the cake.
Why is a nice easy chicken parmigiana, linguine and maybe a chocolate souffle sounding good to me? Or maybe wings at Bru’s room.