New Year, New Class. Back to learning & baking. This January, I am enrolled in Cakes II, formerly “Classic to Modern Cakes”. Why the name change? No idea, but since I knew the previous name, I knew what the goal of the class was. We were expected to build on what we were taught in Cakes I by taking classic cakes and re-making them with some modern twists. We’ll see as the weeks go by how much “re-making” we really do…
From reading the syllabus, I could tell I would be in for some labour intensive classes. I was right.
Week 1 – How to make a Crunchy Caramel Cake.
What classic cake is this a variation of? Pavlova.
Pavlova is a dessert made with a meringue crust, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits.
For my crunchy caramel cake, we stayed consistent with the meringue base and whipped cream, but the meringue was flavoured with hazelnut and instead of fruit, we accented the whipped cream with caramel.
We began by making the meringue noisette layers. Composed of ground hazelnuts, cornstarch, egg whites, sugar and vanilla.
Ensuring our mixing bowl and whisk were completely clean we then began to whip the egg whites and sugar until we had stiff peaks. Then we added the vanilla and then mixed in the ground nuts and cornstarch carefully by hand making sure to prevent the loss of volume in the mixture.
Then using a piping bag and a plain tip, we piped rounds onto some parchment paper.
These rounds went into the oven to bake up until crunchy.
As they baked, we worked on making our butterscotch caramel. Water, sugar and glucose in a pot until it started to boil. Once we saw the mixture begin to turn the colour of honey, the heat was turned down and then cream and butter were added carefully. We stirred until mixed and then took off the heat to cool. We needed the mixture to thicken and cool so that it would be easy to layer on the cake and not melt the whipped cream.
Now it was time to whip the cream. Pretty self explanatory. Whip cream. Don’t over whip or else you would make butter. I’ll admit, we over whipped and made butter. I felt like such a newbie. But round two went well.
With all the components of the cake completed, it was time to assemble the cake.
Meringue, caramel, whipped cream. 3 layers worth.
If you like it sweet, this is the cake for you. Between all the layers, I counted about 7 cups of sugar in this dessert. Add all the whipped cream and this is a caloric nightmare. It does however taste delightful. The noisette layers were my favourite. Tasted like Ferraro Rocher but with some awesome crispness. I froze the cake in order to slice it cleanly, If you eat it right away, the whipped cream almost has an ice cream consistency, it is smooth and creamy. The caramel was perfectly soft.
Definitely, a messy cake – to make, to decorate and to eat. Had a little mishap trying to work the caramel, thus the blobs of caramel EVERYWHERE. I also wish I had used more caramel in my middle layers. But again, that’s why I take these classes, to learn the basics, do a test run and hopefully not repeat the mistakes next time. If there is a next time.
Next week we make a Sacher Torte…Stay tuned! =)